Blech - guys, let me be honest. After 4 full weeks of burger upon burger upon burger, I was kind of tired of burgers. I was craving something lighter. Something, perhaps a bit more healthy. And something definitely EASIER. But still related to picnics.
That's why I decided that today I would share my absolute FAVORITE summertime picnic sandwich - BAR NONE. It isn't novel. It isn't creative or crazy or in any way difficult. It's just my favorite. You probably like it too. It is the cucumber, tomato and cheese sandwich. Yum.
For the fun of it, I went ahead and bought that childhood staple - Wonderbread. I know, totally grossly unhealthy as far as bread goes. But the kids like it and I have to admit that I've had an aversion to wheat or whole grain bread ever since my first pregnancy. Is that weird or what? Any suggestions for good bread for me?
Would you like to know my secret ingredient? What makes this cucumber sandwich the best cucumber sandwich?
I want to tell you about these awesome containers. I wasn't paid to do a review or anything, just wanted to let you know I think they are great for picnics! I don't even know what brand they are, but you can find them over by the Gladware and stuff. What makes them different from other tupperware or gladware is that the top TWISTS on, which makes me feel a whole lot more secure that my food will stay put and nothing will leak. ALSO, they're better than using sandwich bags because you can reuse them. BUT, they are also cheap. So if you don't come home with one due to destruction or carelessness, no biggie.
Oh, and I made a salad. I call it: Berries and Cream Salad. I thought it might be kind of side dish-y, but really it's more of a dessert.
Berries and Cream Salad
Your favorite berries of all varieties
I used 1 package each of:
Small carton of heavy cream
1/4 C (or less) of sugar
8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
1/4 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Turn your heavy cream into whipped cream: pour your cream into a bowl and beat it on high until it starts to thicken a bit. Start pouring your sugar in, a VERY little bit at a time (don't pour it in too much too quickly or your cream will never thicken). You don't need to use exactly 1/4 C - you can use more or less to taste. As you add the sugar, continue to beat. When the cream is sweetened enough to your liking, stop adding sugar and just beat until the cream is very thick and holds a shape. Set your whipped cream aside. Whip your cream cheese until it is creamy. Add the powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla. Mix well. Fold in the whipped cream. In a large bowl, add all your berries together and mix gently. Add the cream mixture and stir until all the berries are covered.
**You can add more or less cream mixture to the berries according to taste. For the above recipe, there was definitely more cream than necessary for the amount of berries - so perhaps you will want to add more fruit in order to use up all the cream. Just a suggestion.
This was mini's favorite part of the meal. As you can see, she couldn't get enough.
And she was pretty sad when we tried to feed her other things...
Now, I have a horrible dessert confession to make. It is awful. You may want to stop following me when you hear it. I only pray that you can keep an open mind.
First, a little background. Because this dessert needs it, trust me.
Ok first. A few weeks ago, my dad, sister IL and I were talking about the oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies I'd made for everyone. No, wait. I have to go back further. To the history of the great state I call home. Wisconsin. I don't know who, I don't know why... I have to believe that somewhere down the line, someone thought to himself, "Well, we've got the beer gut covered, how can we make ourselves even more unhealthy?" And so, we decided to deep fry everything in sight. It's true. We started with cheese. Since that's what we make here. Have you had a deep fried cheese curd? Not a mozzarella stick... no, no... that's for amateurs. I'm talking cheddar. Not sticks - curds. Ok, it's actually really good. Then we moved on to other more conventional favorites - funnel cakes, tiger paws, elephant ears. But this was too tame. So we progressed to what I believe was divinely inspired - twinkies. Deep fried twinkies. If you haven't tried one, you should. Then never eat one again, because your heart will stop. Well, after this initial foray into deep fried junk food, someone just went on a crazy rampage of artery-clogging craziness. It is now common occurrence to pass by deep fried twinkies, ice cream, oreos, and snickers at fairs and other summer events, along with all the normal deep fried stuff like chicken and jalapenos - and honestly, there's probably a whole lot more that we deep fry that I'm just not aware of. Yes, I've tried the snickers and the twinkie. Yes, they are really good. Yes, they are REALLY bad for you. I've only done it once, people. Come on. Now, if you aren't already totally grossed out, you can read on for the rest of the background.
So, we were having this conversation - my sister IL, Dad and I - about the oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies and we begin to brainstorm other things that might be tasty inside a chocolate chip cookie. I mean, if you can put a cookie inside a cookie, what COULDN'T you put in a cookie??? Stay tuned for more on that later, by the way... when suddenly our conversation turned a little weird. We began listing strange combos that actually taste really delicious together. Sister IL brought up chocolate dipped bacon (which apparently is delicious) and I threw out the bacon-wrapped peanut butter, of which I am a big fan. And suddenly she shouts - "By George, that's IT!" or something like that. She's not British, so she probably didn't use those exact words, but you get the idea. "That's IT! Bacon-wrapped peanut butter inside a chocolate chip cookie!" And my dad adds: "Wow. Now all you have to do is deep-fry it." And I throw in my two sense: "And put it on a stick!" Well, then we had to come up with a name for it, of course, and decided upon: Muddy Pig on a Stick.
We were being tongue in cheek, a little. The fact is, though, that that really IS something you would find floating around the county fair here. And I thought, laughing just a little bit to myself, how funny it would be if I did actually make a muddy pig on a stick and serve it to my dad and sister IL. We'd laugh a lot and then maybe we could sell it to some carny and make tons of money. Kidding.
Ok, so, if you're still reading that means I haven't disgusted you enough yet with all this lard-encrusted talk. That means I should maybe just go ahead and tell you that I DID make it. Kind of:
The whole "on a stick" thing proved too difficult for my skill level, unfortunately, so the skewers were thrown to the dogs and we ended up with Muddy Pigs on a paper plate. With a tiny dusting of powdered sugar. And... well, truthfully, they weren't awful, really. Not fresh out of the oven - er, pot - and steamy hot. But let me tell you, they sure don't keep well. In fact, I'd call them disgusting on a GRAND SCALE when they are cold. I think there may be something to the deep fried junk food thing (you know, in moderation, like once every other year...) but THIS definitely is NOT it.
All that just to let you know that I don't really have a dessert for you tonight. You don't want this recipe, trust me.
PS, look here for the Shrinky Dink Monster Lab Kit giveaway winners!