The Perfect Picnic

My husband and I decided that we were going to enjoy our last day of summer vacation to the fullest. On Sunday night, I prepped some various items for us to snack on in the great outdoors.

We have the coolest picnic cooler bag thing that Sonny's cousin gave us for our wedding...it looks like this:

I packed it up with the following items:

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Homemade Granola Bars
Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made the Curry Chicken Salad on Sunday night and popped it in the fridge. I set up the cucumbers and yogurt to drain overnight for the Creamy Cucumber Salad. The Homemade Granola Bars were also made on Sunday night. I grabbed a bag of pre-formed chocolate chip cookie dough from the freezer and placed the frozen balls of dough directly in the oven on a cookie sheet (I always reserve some dough when I make cookies so that I have it on hand in the freezer for occasions like this).

By doing a little bit of work ahead of time, all I had to do was assemble the sandwiches and throw the cucumber salad together before leaving for our picnic.

Creamy Cucumber Salad
~With a little planning ahead, this is very simple to make~

  • 4 hothouse cucumbers, thinly sliced (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 2 small red onions, thinly sliced in half rounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  1. Mix the cucumbers, red onions, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt in a bowl. Pour them into a colander and suspend it over a bowl. Wrap the bowl and colander with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to drain for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.
  2. Pour the yogurt into a sieve (mesh strainer) lined with a paper towel and suspend it over another bowl. Wrap the bowl and sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Discard the liquid that collects in the second bowl.
  3. When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a kitchen towel and press the towel lightly to remove most of the liquid.
  4. Place the cucumbers and yogurt in a large bowl with the sour cream, vinegar, dill, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper. Toss well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.
  5. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and serve chilled.
Recipe taken from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Homemade Granola Bars
~These smell delicious as they are baking!~

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates (I got prunes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (I always get nuts and dried fruit from the bulk section in the grocery store...it's so much cheaper and I can get exactly the quantity I need!)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
  4. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture.
  5. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe taken from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

We found the perfect spot under a big tree right by the water...it was so peaceful.

Here is a picture of our lovely picnic before we ate it all up!

The weather was hot, but it was cool and breezy by the water and under the shade of a tree. It was a truly relaxing and lovely way to spend a summer afternoon.


  1. Great site! Thanks for the email... I am totally going to email you back, but haven't had moment! I'm going to love reading your blog!!! :)

  2. So romantic! :) The granola sounds good - always looking for good granola recipes! Have a good week back at school! (Or is it next week?)

  3. Thanks, Steph...I go back tomorrow for inservice and then the kids start next Monday. Where did the time go?? It was a great summer, though :)

  4. Where were you here, what a pretty spot