Tag Archives: picnic food

4th of July recap, buffet-style

Ok, folks…now that the 4th of July festivities are over, it’s time to bust out your best rain dances. We’re expecting several days of 100º+ weather this week, and the lovely veggies are looking verrrrry wilty.

Despite my pitifully slow new internet service (pics are taking FOREVER to upload), I’m ready to recap the river party! I’m happy to report that once I was around my friends and family, I all but forgot about the body issues that had been creeping up on me (see previous post.) It helped me relax a little knowing many of them had been hitting the keg, so any flaws I felt self-conscious about were probably nicely blurred. Besides, all the attention was on the baby anyway… :)

I knew there would be lots of kids around (not around the aforementioned keg, of course), so I picked up these faux Silly Bandz in an attempt to spread the healthy eating bug. See…it’s a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, whole wheat pizza, an iced decaf green tea with lemon and a banana dog, a la the Healthy Everythingtarian!

They were more interested in this:

Here’s an overview of the day. Sorry about the meager photos…it was a juggling act with baby in one hand, camera in the other.

Jerk chicken, a honey mustard pork loin…this was only the beginning…

There were hundreds of burgers and dogs, but my pic mysteriously disappeared, much like they did…

You can see some of them here, with Chef Extraordinaire, Rich.

The spread just kept keep growing as the day went on…

Doin’ it Central PA-style, with crock pots and lots of stuff made with mayo and eggs…


 I have to give the prize for Best Scary Buffet Item to the CAKE-EATING CAKE MONSTER!

I managed to refrain from digging in to the massive tables of junk food, opting instead for some fresh salsa (funny, no one else touched that…), a few blueberries and a bit of Chef Rich’s Jerk Chicken (BANGin’!)

My husband was SO excited for our boy’s first dip in the river. Me? Nervous? Of course not, why do you ask? ;)

Little man had a blast licking watermelon, eating the guts out of my squished blueberries, and getting attention from everyone. There were lots of other babies to play with (and 2 other breastfeeding moms for me to chat with! Yay!).

Don’t worry….he was slathered in baby sunscreen.

I wish I always had this view while nursing my boy…he drifted off for a nap, and I just sat and looked at the water for about a half an hour. THAT certainly doesn’t happen much lately…

The long, hot day ended with a bang…several of them actually. Big, loud ones that made my poor baby cry and cling to my neck. He shrugged it off quickly, though, and watched the rest of the show with wide eyes and a big “O” shaped mouth. 

Fun stuff. Hope you all had a happy 4th! 


How was your 4th of July celebration?

There’s a picnic buffet, you scan the table: What are you looking for?


Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Tangy Corn and Black Bean Salad

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! The weather here was stellar, and you just can’t beat a sunny 3-day weekend.

In our circle of friends, Memorial Day is not only a day to remember and honor our fallen soldiers, but it’s also the beginning of the summer cookout season! Without fail, we will be invited to an outdoor party every single weekend from now until Labor Day, and possibly beyond. 

I love hanging out with friends, lounging in a lawn chair, and drinking a cold beer as much as the next guy, but those kinds of days do not do good things for the “Summer To-Do List” of house projects.

All this BBQin’ poses another problem, and I’ll bet it’s one to which all of you fine folks out in blogland can relate. 

What do you EAT at these things?

Burgers? Occasionally. Most mayonnaisey salads? Nope. Chips? Nope. Soda? Nope. Hot dogs? ACK! Deviled eggs? Double ACK!

I could go on for pages, but you get the idea.

Now, I’m not vegan, and I’m not even vegetarian, but I eat little meat and I strive to eat whole, organic foods whenever possible. How do you explain that? I was asked just today if I was vegan and I didn’t know how to respond. “Um, no, but I really like the way I feel when I eat vegan food, but I eat meat once in a while, and fish, and I don’t believe that dairy products are healthy for us, but I can’t seem to get the ice cream monkey off my back…”

It’s a complicated answer, especially when I’m explaining it to people who don’t know me. I end up looking like little more than a really picky eater, or I just look rude. Really, the answer is:

I just don’t eat like you eat.

I told my husband I might just adopt the vegan label and become a closet-burger eater on the rare occasion when I happen to find some grass-fed beef and I’m in the mood. It would simplify things, I think. Sure, I could just not explain it, but it always comes up. Always. It’s probably because I have horrible food anxiety when I’m around groups of people, and I often sit there with an empty plate while everyone else eats, but I think that is a subject for another day…

And then there’s the question of what to bring. My go-to item for a BYODish cookout is a simple watermelon. Kids and adults love it, it’s quick and easy, and I know I will have something to eat. 

But that’s boring, and there is that little part of me that holds on to that tiny glimmer of hope that if I bring something non-traditional, something that I like, it just might go over BIG!

It never happens (but then I have lots of leftovers for myself :D )

Today’s cookout was at my husband’s brother’s house. I really wasn’t feeling the watermelon, so I decided on another on my go-to list: a tangy corn and black bean salad. This one usually wins a few fans, and it’s fantastic served alone, on a burger, or (my personal favorite) on a piece of fish.

I adapted this recipe by combining the best parts of several I’ve tried. It’s got a nice vinegar-y bite, which I totally dig.

Tangy Corn and Black Bean Salad

Cook 2 ears of fresh corn, cut corn from cobs. 

In a large bowl, combine: 


 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp white sugar

1/2 tsp chili pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

freshly chopped cilantro, to taste (3–4 Tbsp)

Spritz of fresh lime

Mix and refrigerate 1–2 hours so flavors can mingle.


I didn’t see any on the kids’ plates, but I didn’t have any leftovers either!

Score one for the veg!


What do you call your “eating style”? Do you subscribe to any one label, or are you a hybrid mix like me? Do you find it hard to explain?

What’s your favorite dish to bring to a cookout? 


Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday