Thursday, August 4, 2016

Picnicking in Baltimore City

This summer, Roland Park Place in Baltimore challenged me with the question: If you were to have a great vegetarian picnic in Baltimore city, what would you prepare and where would you go?

Baltimore has a lot of great spots to picnic with amazing parks (Patterson, Wyman, Druid Hill), beautiful hiking areas (Cylburn Arboretum, Gwynns Falls, Loch Raven), and lovely waterside spots (Lake Roland, Druid Hill, Lake Montebello). 

Chickpea loves exploring the city's parks!
Patterson Park (left) and Druid Hill (right)
For this outing, I chose Wyman Park near Tudor Arms to set up a spot for a quick picnic with my pup, Chickpea. 

It's a short walking distance from my house and is a cute open area. Now, I have to choose what to bring!

Roland Park Place was kind enough to set me up with some snacks ahead of time, but I wanted to bring some staples as well. I grabbed some fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream (recipe is below). I made some cucumber sandwiches, which are fresh and light, but will still fill you up. I grabbed some Perrier seltzer & Annie's fruit snacks to round it out.

A few other good vegetarian options for a picnic: my Green Monstah sandwich, homemade Lunchables (especially if you are bringing little ones with you), a nice salad (some options are here, here, or here), pasta salad, and maybe even some homemade dog treats for your pup

Chickpea and I set up out little picnic spot out in Wyman Park and it was perfect. 

Chickpea scoped out the picnic area for us
Other things I love to bring along with me to a picnic: a stake for Chickpea so she can roam around without running away, a book or two or three, sunscreen, some headphones (if I'm by myself) or speakers (if I'm with a group), and a solar phone charger.

Whatever you do this late summer/early fall, I hope you choose to get out in your community, bring along some snacks, and enjoy yourself!

Homemade Whipped Cream

One (1) cup of chilled Heavy Whipping Cream
Three (3) tablespoons of Sugar -- I usually add them in slowly to taste as I go
One (1) teaspoon of vanilla extract
Anything else you'd like to incorporate to change the flavor (cinnamon, maple, sweet alcohol, etc)

Pour the cream and vanilla extract into a large bowl.
With a hand mixer or Kitchenaid mixer, start to whisk the liquid.
Slowly add the sugar.
Continue to beat the cream until peaks begin to form. I aim for soft peaks because too little mixing will have it become runny and too much will start to get the sugar and cream to break down.
If you want to keep it for later, refrigerate and when you're ready to use again, whip it back for another 20-30 seconds to get the desired consistency.