Niagara Gazette

May 30, 2013

APRONS READY: Picnic secret is full taste with minimal mess

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Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — For me, a sunny day, a long walk and a picnic with family is priceless. Even with seasonal allergies, I try to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of Niagara as much as possible. 

Niagara County is full of beautiful parks and walking paths. We have the state parks near the falls, the towpaths along the Erie Canal and the picturesque lakeshore of Lake Ontario. There are numerous places to walk outdoors in Niagara County and a fair number of malls if you are looking to walk indoors.

When heading out on a picnic, I plan ahead to have water and snacks for everyone. Depending on who is going on the hike, I might be the one carrying the backpack and I prefer a light pack. Bottled water is heavy and there isn’t any way to make it lighter so I choose to make lighter snacks that do not need to be kept on ice.

The secret to good food while on a walk or hike is light weight, full taste and minimal mess. Tuna in the no mess pouches is easy and does not need to be kept cold. Whole grain pita with peanut butter is light, filling and no mess. Fresh and dried fruits are easy to take along but when you add nuts, the weight goes up.

The following recipe for corn, tomato and cucumber salad has a vinegar dressing and is safe to eat when it hasn’t been in the refrigerator. I make it the night before, pack it in individual covered bowls and store it in the refrigerator. Right before leaving for the hike, I wrap the individual containers in a couple of layers to keep them cold as long as possible. 

This year, it felt like winter just would not end. It was not a bad winter just a long one. Finally, we have some sunny, warm days and we should be outside enjoying the weather. With our busy schedules, sometimes the only time we have to walk outside is on our lunch break and that’s okay. If you look, you can find a walking path near your work. For a list of Niagara Falls walking trails, visit the Creating Healthy Places page at www.CCENiagaraCounty.org.

Corn, tomato and cucumber salad

4 ears of corn, cooked (to equal about 2 to 21/2 cups corn kernels)

2 large ripe tomatoes

2 medium cucumbers

1/2 cup lime juice (or white wine vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 medium red onion, diced

6 tablespoons parsley

Cut kernels from corn and place in medium bowl.

Seed and dice the tomatoes and cucumbers and add to the bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together lime juice, sugar, oil, salt and pepper. 

Toss corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers with dressing.

Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Add chopped parsley or cilantro just before serving.

Yields about 8 servings, serving size 3/4 cup. 110 calories, 5g fat, 30mg sodium, 16g carbohydrates, 3g fiber and 3g protein.

— Recipe adapted from Vegetable of the Month Club, Cornell University

Jennifer Grier works with Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play. It is a five year grant awarded by the New York State Department of Health to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. The grant aims to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases among the people of Niagara Falls by making it easier to be physically active and to eat more healthy foods. CCE Niagara County provides equal program and employment opportunities.