Picnics & Baseball

It seems summer is fading fast.  This weekend we celebrated the last holiday of the season grilling out, watching football, doing a few things around the house (everyone strips wallpaper at 2 AM, right?), and capped off the weekend with a tailgate and Atlanta Braves baseball.
I grew up on Atlanta Braves baseball in the 1980’s.  You know, that was the years that they weren’t very good, but we didn’t care.  So often during the summer months you could find us at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium watching great players like Glenn Hubbard, Phil Neikro, Bob Horner, Pasqual Perez, Bruce Benedict and my all-time favorite, Dale Murphy.
{I wore number three when I played softball for years because of Dale Murphy.} 
 Those were the days when Cobb County schools gave you two free tickets every time you made straight A’s, so every 6-weeks when report cards came out, my younger sister and I would each receive our vouchers for tickets, Dad would order extra for the rest of the family and off we would go to watch baseball.  Those were really great times!
My baby sister (she was too young to remember those days) and her husband love baseball and received an email special that included a throwback Dale Murphy jersey for the game on Labor Day if you bought a package deal.  We thought it would be a great way to spend the holiday and had them order tickets for us as well.
While the day was quite muggy and overcast, and I really miss the old Fulton County stadium, we had a wonderful time making memories with a new generation of the family.
The throwback jerseys were a real hit with my kids, but the big win by the Braves over he Rockies was quite a show!
Prior to game-time we enjoyed a tailgate lunch at the truck. I love a good picnic, and know with cooler weather soon to be approaching, picnics will once again become enjoyable and more commonplace.
  Picnics are great because they can be as formal or as casual as you would like.  I have colorful plastic plates that we always use for our picnics with matching cups.  I always add silverware and cloth napkins.  Not only is this a “green” option, it is a great way to dress up a picnic with the kids.  Make sure you also pack a trash bag.  You don’t want to leave a mess.
Since we have been careful about how we eat, I wanted to carry this over to our picnic.  I planned a heathy menu that was quite filling, and believe it or not, really delicious.
Here are a few suggestions for a healthy picnic…..
1.  Hummus …. served with fresh veggies or unsalted pita chips offers up a filling serving of protein and carbs.
2. Salsa …. make it fresh, season it with lime juice instead of salt for a better option.  You can enjoy this with unsalted  tortilla or pita chips.
3.  Pita chips …. don’t buy them in a bag, but make your own.  Cut up fresh pita bread and toast about 10 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees.
4.  Fresh fruit ….. make kebobs of seasonal fruit.  Strawberries, grapes and pineapple make a great combination.
5.  An old fashioned sandwich on whole wheat bread …. choose peanut butter or a lower sodium meat for your sandwich.  Leave off the cheese and opt for lettuce and tomato instead.
6.  Cut fresh vegetables ….. celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower.  Choose your favorites!  If you want a dip for these use Greek yogurt with a few fresh herbs and forgo the premade dips at the grocery store.
7.   Baked chicken …. if you have time and can keep it warm (or even like cold chicken).   Lightly bread in Panko (Japanese bread crumbs), season with Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash and bake at 400 degrees until done.  Use tenders and make you a delicious chicken sandwich using Pepperidge Farm whole wheat sandwich rounds.
8.  Salad …. yes, I know, another salad.  But, the fresh greens, tomatoes & cucumbers are really good for you.  Don’t want another tossed salad?  Make a pasta salad (not out of a box).  Fill it with fresh veggies and a homemade vinaigrette.
9.  If you need a dessert, opt for an angel food cake tope with fresh berries.  Just resist to sugar those berries before eating them!
10. Keep your beverages light as well …. unsweetened tea or water with lemon, or pink lemonade Crystal Light makes a great option.
How did you spend the last holiday of the summer?  What does your picnic menu consist of?

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