A Healthy Fourth Of July Menu That Will Accommodate Both Your Vegan and Meat Eating Friends.

A Healthy Fourth Of July Menu That Will Accommodate Both Your Vegan and Meat Eating Friends.

It seems like summer just got here how the hell are we already into JULY?!?! I know we aren’t technically there yet but it is only a matter of days. I don’t know about you but time feels like it is moving at hyper speed. Living on the East Coast I cherish the warm and sunny summer months. I love the diversity of the seasons in PA but I wouldn’t mind an extended summer. My personal opinion is that three months is just not enough time. Could I perhaps have more months to run around in a bathingsuit barefoot and happy please?!?!

Summer never seems long enough for me so naturally I try and get the most I possibly can out of the sunny waether. I spend as much time outside as I possibly can doing pretty much everything from eating to working out to working on the blog or any other design work that I can manage to do outside. Weather permitting, any sit-down meal is an outdoor experience in the summer and  I heart with a capital ❤️ a good picnic! It is amongst one of the many reasons I love the summer time. Picnicking combines two things I love eating and adventuring. Pack a picnic and…..

 

 

Go to the Beach

Go on Hike

Star Gaze

Go to an outdoor concert

Go to a polo match

Get in the car and explore new places

Go on a boat ride

 

Pack the right supplies and get yourself a good cooler to keep everything fresh and your all set to go for the day. You can go anywhere and do anything and still be properly and happily feed. Just make sure you're fully equipped for your adventure. Here's my essential list for a great picnic adventure:

 

  1. Picnic basket or cooler
     
  2. Bottled water (freeze overnight and use as an ice pack)
     
  3. Outdoor dinnerware
     
  4. Flatware or plastic silverware
     
  5. Napkins
     
  6. Glassware (non breakable)
     
  7. Corkscrew and/or bottle opener
     
  8. Tablecloth, sweatshirt blanket, or sari
     
  9. Decorative centerpiece (hurricane candles, a cup of freshly plucked wildflowers, a beautiful dessert)
     
  10. Sunscreen
     
  11. Bug spray or citronella candles
     
  12. Trash bag 

The Fourth of July is next week so I’m thinking instead of the usual backyard BBQ  I want to change things up and go for a picnic with the crew. In preparation I put together a great picnic menu and decided to do a test run this week with my two or my favorite beings: my niece Emerson and of course my metaphorical first born child Dolce Doodle. 

 


The breakdown on the menu….

As you know from our recent posts Anna and I have pretty recently finished cleansing. I’m feeling great from the detox and rather then mess with a good thing by falling off the wagon over the holiday I wanted to keep the menu on the cleaner side. Don’t worry healthy in no way means we are sacrificing the yumminess factor. The recipes below are my own creation. They are all a hundred percent gluten free and delicious. Satisfaction guaranteed! 

 

The crew I roll with is all over the place with what they do ant don’t eat so I wanted to make sure that there are menu options for all. The meatloaf and cornbread are the only two items that are not easily made vegan. So rather then exclude my vegan homies I am linking you to alternative recipes from my two of my go to vegan cooking blogs: Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows!

 

I hate waste and I love efficiency. Here are some  tips for prepping the menu…. 

# 1 Roast the poblanos for the meatloaf and cornbread in one shot. 

# 2 Buy a quart of buttermilk and you will use exactly the entire quart for both the meatloaf and  cornbread.

 # 3 Boil and remove the corn from the cob for both the cornbread and salad.

# Use a mini food processor to finely chop up your veggies.

#Re-use your pans as much as possible. Cook your meatloaf first using your cast iron skillet for the corn bread to sauté all of your veggies for the rest of the meal.

On The Menu


        Main

Summer Turkey Meatloaf 

Vegan option

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf

 

Side

Poblano Pepper Corn Bread

Vegan Option

       Vegan Corn Bread

          Salad

Kale Salad with Pecorino, Walnuts,

           Raisins, and Corn.

Desert

Raspberry Peach Chia Pudding


Summer Turkey Meatloaf

A summer twist on an old classic. Summer squash is plentiful this time of year and I’m always looking for creative ways to use the veggies I have on hand. Grated and mixed into the meatloaf the moisture of the squash keeps this meatloaf super moist no Worcestershire or ketchup needed. 

What You Need

3 slices organic bread

2 pounds of organic ground turkey

1 cup of grated yellow summer squash

3 eggs

2 cups of buttermilk

1 Poblano

3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup chopped basil 

1 tsp Maldron sea salt

Fresh Ground Black Pepper
 

The How To

Heat your oven to 350˚ F. Lightly coat 2 8.5" x 4.5 loaf pans with nonstick spray or oil. Tear the bread into chunks and then blend it, in a food processor, into breadcrumbs. Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. You should have about 1 cup.

 

Roast the poblano pepper over the grill until lightly blistered. Remove the seeds and core from the pepper.

 

Add the the roasted poblano and garlic to the food processor, and pulse it until they are finely chopped. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, coat the bottom with olive oil, and heat the oil for a minute; add the finely chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the vegetables to the large bowl with breadcrumbs, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the ingredients together with a fork or your hands until evenly blended.

 

Evenly distribute the mixture into both loaf pans. 

 

Bake for 60 min at 350˚.


Corn Bread

MMMMM! I love me some cornbread.There are few foods that are truly American staples and cornbread is one of them, which makes it a perfect addition to this 4th of July menu. This cornbread uses a combination of grits and the traditionally used cornmeal. The blend gives the cornbread a slight crunch to the texture of this bread. Oh and you should totally experiment with adding your own additions to the recipe. I’ve used poblano and fresh corn in this version but it is also great with sausage, cheese, jalapeño, even lavender. The skies the limit!

What You Need

 1 stick of unsalted butter

½ cup maple syrup

2 cups buttermilk

3 large eggs

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup of corn grits

1 cup gluten free flour

1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons maldon salt

½ teaspoon/5 grams baking soda

1 poblano pepper roasted and seeds removed

2 ears of corn cooked and cut off the cob

The How To

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On the stovetop, in a 11- or 12-inch cast Iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan to lightly coat sides and bottom, until the foam subsides and the butter turns a deep nut brown. (Watch carefully to see that it does not burn.)

 

Pour brown butter into a large bowl. (Do not wipe out the pan.) Whisk the maple syrup into the butter, then whisk in buttermilk. Set Aside.

 

Return to the skillet lightly sauté the corn and poblano pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool.

Once the buttermilk and butter mixture is cool to the touch add eggs and whisk. Whisk in the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, salt and baking soda. 

 

Fold the poblano and corn (or if you have decided to get creative here this would be the time to add those ingredients as well) into the batter.

 

Butter and reheat your skillet. Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into it emerges clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before slicing.


Kale Salad with Pecorino, Walnuts,

  Raisins, and Corn.

Kale Salads are a great option for picnics. Unlike most other salad greens kale is a sturdier green; meaning this salad won't wilt on you. In fact, the longer the kale marinates in it's dressing the more tender these tough greens become.  I have adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  The dressing for this salad is simple using only olive oil, lemon, and white wine vinegar. 

What You Need

1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup  golden raisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Maldon Smoked Sea Salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch (about 14 ounces) tuscan kale
2 ounces (1/2 cup) grated pecorino cheese (eliminate for vegan option)
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

The How To

 Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop. 

In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid. 

 Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. I always find removing the ribs annoying with a knife, because the leaves want to roll in on the knife and make it hard to get a clean cut. Instead, I’ve taken to tearing the ribs off with my fingers, which is much easier for me. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise. 

 Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnut, corn and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.


Raspberry and Peach Chia Pudding

A healthy desert that is easily transportable. This desert is a great picnic basket option.  I used small mason jars to create individually sized servings.   Raspberries are at the height of their season and fresh ripe peaches are just becoming available in PA. The use of the fresh ripe fruit eliminates the need for any additional sweeteners in this recipe.

What You Need

3 cups of raspberries

4 peaches pit removed and cut into slices

1/2 cup of chia seeds

2 cups of almond milk

2 tsp of vanilla extract

4 8 oz mason jars

 

The How To

In a blender combine 3 peaches, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.

 

Pour almond milk and peach blend into a bowl. Add 2 cups raspberries and using the back of your fork smash the raspberries into the almond milk; breaking the raspberries apart into smaller pieces.

 

At this point taste your almond milk blend and if you feel that fruit does not provide enough of a sugar rush for you then now would be the time to add agave or honey to the equation.

 

Add chia seeds and place in the fridge for at least an hour occasionally checking back on your pudding and giving it a nice stir.

 

When pudding is set remove from fridge. Fill mason jars creating four layers; set down a layer of chia followed by a layer of the remaining fruit, followed by another layer of chia, and finishing with a layer of fruit. Fill all four jars in this way.

Enjoy!


I hope you all are inspired to take your Fourth of July celebration out of the backyard this year. Please share your picnic adventures and/or any picnicking tips or tricks I may have missed!


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