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Cooking with Karina: Picnic Spreads

Karina Arnold
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Olive Hummus

Karina Arnold brings this Olive Hummus on picnics. 

Karina Arnold is a junior at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

April 22nd, 1970 marks the first Earth Day. Unlike the earth, the celebration of Earth Day is young. Wisconsin-born senator Gaylord Nelson crusaded for a national day of environmental focus during a wave of environmentalism. Nelson couldn’t have picked a better month than April. Not too hot nor cold, usually sunny and with flowers in full bloom, Mother Earth is best dressed Earth Day.

This Earth Day, celebrate in the great outdoors. This year, Earth Day falls on a Sunday, the perfect day for an outdoor picnic at one of Houston’s many parks. My favorite spot is outside the Menil Collection, where you can wander through the free museum and finish with a picnic outside. This Parks Guide has great suggestions for parks you and your family and friends can lay your blanket, and see suggestions here for great parks for little ones.

Mother Nature provides the park, you provide the spread. These picnic hacks give great suggestions to pack the perfect picnic. For my picnics, the easiest and most delicious picnics involve a sandwich bar. Picnic patrons can build their own meal, preventing soggy sammies and less prep.

Throw in a jar of jam, peanut-butter and fruits for a PB&J party. For a more Mediterranean spread, bring pita pockets, this Olive Hummus and a veggie plate. Following the basic formula of bread+fillings+knifes+napkins ensures you have your bases covered. A fam favorite is my Salmon Salad recipe you can spread in-between two slices of sourdough and drink with a refreshing Watermelon Cooler.

Picnics also work best with a solid foundation, more specifically, a blanket foundation. Choose a tough, large blanket with little fuzz or fluff that can shed and sneak into your food. Furthermore, use speakers, shoes or baskets as anchors for each corner to minimizing wind-rustling.

If nature decides to rain on your Earth Day parade, take it inside. Shelter under a gazebo or in a house with a lot of windows. Watch the rain fall while sitting in your blanket fort enjoying the fruits, vegetables and grains the earth gave you.

Gayord Nelson created this holiday to call attention to the fact that every living organism benefits from the Earth’s shelter and nutrients. Pack your picnic, friends and feast in nature’s bounty. Where are your favorite picnic spots? Comment below!

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