Now that the weather is finally improving and quarantine restrictions are lightening, we can start to venture out into the fresh air. But, it is important to pack accordingly.
A romantic picnic in the park
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
- ½ (6.75 ounces) package dried rice noodles
- 8 rice wrappers (8.5-inch diameter)
- 8 fresh mint leaves
- 8 cooked medium shrimp, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 ½ cups bean sprouts
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
- ½ cup cilantro leaves
- Place the rice noodles in a large bowl of hot water until cooked, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Fill a large bowl with hot water, and soak the rice wrapper sheets one at a time until softened, but still rather firm; about 20 seconds. Place the sheets on a large dishcloth, separate from each other. Place a mint leaf into the center of each wrapper. Place two shrimp halves over the mint leaf, top with a small handful of the noodles, and 5 to 6 bean sprouts. Season to taste with fish sauce, and garnish with cilantro leaves.
- Roll them, burrito style, by folding the bottom of the wrapper over the filling in the center. Fold in the left and right sides, then roll the entire thing away from you tightly.
Hiking forest pathways
- 10 cups popcorn, popped (2 bags will do it)
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
- ½ cup white corn syrup
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 cup chocolate covered raisins (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine popcorn with peanuts; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup, stir together over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and let it boil, without stirring. If you are using a candy thermometer when it reaches 250ºF you can remove it. If you are not using a candy thermometer, let it boil for right around 8 minutes, then remove from heat.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the ½ cup of peanut butter until it is liquid, about 30 seconds. Carefully, stir the peanut butter into the caramel mixture you have created. Drizzle over popcorn mixture, stirring to combine. Add raisins if you would like. Mix until popcorn is coated and chocolate is melted.
- Spread on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Let stand in a cool, dry place until set, about 20 minutes. Break into clusters.
Lounging on a beach
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
- 1-1/2 cups green grapes
- 8 ounces cubed cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or a combination of cheeses
- For the dip, mix the first 4 ingredients.
- On 12 wooden skewers, alternately thread strawberries, grapes, and cheese cubes.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Snowshoeing up a mountainside
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds dried and hulled
- 1/2 cup chopped, roasted & salted almonds
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- Place the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on a parchment paper-lined pan and roast for 8 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325º
- In a medium pot on medium-low heat, add the syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut sugar, and cranberry juice. Heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved then remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, and sea salt. Mix with a spoon (mixing with your hands does a much better job!) until combined.
- Place mixture back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out to fill the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes then stir in cranberries.
- Return to the oven and bake for 30-35 more minutes. Remove when still slightly “uncrunched” because it will continue to crisp up as it cools.