Let’s start with Valerie Waters’ thoughts about Exercise and see if they will give us some ideas about what to do this summer. Valerie says, “Exercising is a great fat buster, muscle toner, and stress-reducer; good news for all of us multi-taskers out there. But it doesn’t have to take hours and hours at the gym; my philosophy is get in, get out, get a life! Even simple steps like taking the stairs at work, going for a walk with the kids or some active playtime with them at the park can all make a real difference.”
Well, we thought Valerie was right on target, and started searching for ways to have fun — not too pricey and outdoors — that the whole family can do together, and here are some of the things we found.
Explore the possibilities in your own backyard. First, make it attractive with areas devoted to eating, active play, and someplace to just relax and enjoy; but keep it simple. String a hammock between two trees or posts; a kiddy pool or spray bottles filled with water for everybody can keep you cool, and a blanket or rug spread on the ground provides a place to eat and to play.
Daytime is great, but working moms and dads might better join the fun of stargazing or gathering ’round a campfire (in an outdoor fireplace or even the grill) just talking and watching the fire at night. There is fun in toasting marshmallows or doing the whole trip to S’Mores; singing songs and telling ghost stories.
If the yard is big enough, indulge in a quick game of flashlight tag, dodgeball or musical chairs.
Use your imagination, go local, and enjoy those simple things that happen really close to home, too, such as an escape from your backyard to picnics in the park or a neighborhood block party.
No matter what you choose to do, when it comes to eating outdoors whether in the backyard, down the block, or in the park, there are a number of simple rules about handling food safely that must be followed. To protect yourself, your family, and friends from food borne illness in the summer months, safe food handling when eating outdoors is critical.
Pack food safely. Keep cold food cold. From freezer or refrigerator to picnic table, cold foods should be stored at 40°F. Provide lots of ice or gel packs so that the cooler stays cold.
Organize coolers so that perishable foods won’t be exposed to warm outdoor temperatures until ready to eat.
A good rule is to pack beverages separately so that opening that cooler frequently will not heat up other more perishable foods.
Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped and separated from other foods.
Clean fresh fruits and vegetables by rinsing thoroughly under running water, scrubbing with a brush when needed, and drying with a clean paper or cloth towel before packing in the cooler.
Cook foods to those safe temperatures recommended by FDA.
Often overlooked but maybe more important outdoors than indoors, a quick cleanup of the preparation, cooking and eating surfaces and proper hand cleaning are vital to food safety. Running water, if available, or a water jug with soap and paper towels, or even disposable towelettes gets the job done quickly.
Take care to keep all utensils and platters clean. Never reuse platters that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood to serve cooked food. Always have a clean platter available.
For fun at home or dining elsewhere, be food safe and enjoy!
It’s Picnic Season!
July is prime time for picnicking. Pack up the cooler, the grill, and your family and friends and find some shade. Picnicking provides an opportunity for you and your loved ones to enjoy Mother Nature and fun food together. There are no rules against making a mess while you eat on a picnic, so do it with a smile.
Sweet Potato Empanadas provide the perfect beginning to any picnic meal. They are a great way to include Vitamin A and Vitamin C in your day. Snack on these prior to diving into the main dish.
Have you thought of picnicking in the Caribbean? Well, you can, but without packing your bags. Try Island Chicken Wraps for a deliciously ingenious creation. Have fun pairing Jamaican jerk spice with sweet fruit.
Or you might choose our Recipe of The Month, Jane’s Favorite Tri-Colored Salad to attract that hungry company. Both of these will taste even better with a little time in the cooler.
Make a huge batch of Nutty Raisin Nibbles for your whole family to snack on throughout the picnic and keep the leftovers at hand at home for a quick energy boost.
Having Fun Outdoors
Frisbee, soccer, wiffleball, bike riding, rugby, kickball…the possibilities are endless. Grab your loved ones and head for the field. Exercise is just as important, if not more so than a healthy diet. Get active this summer!
Can you multitask? How about catch a Frisbee in one hand and eat a Tortilla Roll Up with Peanut Butter and California Raisinsin the other? You should give it a try. The whole wheat tortilla, energy packed peanut butter, and good California Raisins will give you the boost to make that winning catch.
Pop a handful of Sunshine Snack Mix into your mouth before you run out to the kickball field. Your body will thank you. Our Junior Chef evaluated this recipe, and when asked if she would make this again, she replied, “Ooooh yes! They were very easy to make and do not have a lot of ingredients.”
Pack a few Toasted Raisin-Apple Munchables into your bike basket the next time you go for a ride. You’ll have a tasty snack waiting for you on your rest break. The raisins and apples will add zing to your pedaling.
Kids in the Kitchen
Every meal — indoors or out — requires preparation. Getting kids to help provides precious bonding time with Mom or Dad and teaches valuable survival skills, such as counting, measuring, patience, and creativity. Shopping with Mom or Dad is one of those everyday learning processes; bring your kids along.
Let the kids roll their own lunch with a Pinwheel Roll-Up Sandwich. This sandwich is easy-to-make and low fat, so let them have lots of fun.
Try cereal on a stick with Raisin Cereal Pops. These are a sweet treat without the mess. Kids will love eating this combination of cereal, marshmallows, and raisins on a stick. They’ll want to make them time and time, again.
Your kids will be begging you for more Raisin Peanut Butter Balls, after just one taste. Portable and fun to create and eat, our Junior Chef said, “These are crunchy and sweet.” Who could say ‘no’ to that?
Hottest Days of Summer
The Dog Days of Summer — the hottest and muggiest days of the season — are here! Named for “the dog star”, the constellation Sirius, that rises and sets with the sun during this season, it was believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun creates a time with hotter weather from July 3 to August 11. Avoid adding more heat with these recipes that do not require an oven or stove.
Start your day off the right way, without any sweat, by creating a Berry Berry Freeze and enjoy the refreshing sips of this smoothie. Change things up by substituting other berries.
These are just a few of the great recipes to be found at LoveYourRaisins.com. Wherever you go, whatever you do, California Raisins add to the fun and enjoyment. From snacks to barbecues to special desserts, they are the Wise Choice for better eating, every time!
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