Bike Picnics: 5 Steps to Reviving the Outdoor Family Dinner Tradition

Living in LA, it is second nature, for most, to just jump in the car and be on your merry way, but sometimes shaking up old family traditions make way for new perspectives and awesome adventures. This past summer our five year old took off her training wheels and sped into the world of cycling, so we thought, what better way to honor her new-found freedom than by starting a new family tradition; bike picnicking.

It’s a fairly simple concept. Pack up dinner. Secure it on your bike. Head to your favorite neighborhood park. Eat and be merry. But, we discovered very quickly there are many details that needed to be worked out in order for the whole family to enjoy, so here, in a nutshell are the lessons we’ve learned to get the most out of our new family tradition.

Photo Courtesy Kerem Hanci

1. Respect Your Child’s Ability

Don’t choose a park clear across town if your little one’s legs generally only make it once around the block. Take into consideration the entire family’s endurance level and map your course accordingly.

2. Know the Code of the Road

Study up and then impart that adult-sized wisdom to your kids, empowering them with the knowledge to stay safe. Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as the vehicles. Stay alert at all times, and remember, a bicycle is a vehicle which should obey all traffic signals and signs.

Photo Courtesy Kerem Hanci

3. Securely Stow Your Food

The last thing you want, after thoughtfully and carefully preparing and packing a lovely family dinner, is for it all to end up like roadkill, spilled out across the asphalt. Use a big front-wheel basket, or even better, a cool and convenient cargo trailer, like this Burley Nomad. Guaranteed to hold everyone’s eats, with room left over for mom and dad’s beer. I got my hands on one of these sweet Nomads when Burley invited me to be one of their #MothersOfNature Ambassadors and I can’t wait to find more cool uses for this cargo trailer!

4. Be Prepared for Mishaps

Being prepared is rule #1 of parenthood and biking is no exception. Invest in a small bike repair kit and a first aid kit, and make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Of course, chances are your ride will be smooth sailing, but you never know when it may come in handy.

Biking kids
Photo Courtesy Kerem Hanci

5. Feast Like Royalty

If there’s one thing I know for sure, any outdoor activity is better with a delicious reward. I am known for going a bit overboard, sometimes when it comes to make-ahead meals to enjoy in nature, but here are a few super simple ideas the whole family will devour.

1 Heirloom Tomato
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil
Red Onion
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Thinly slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and red onions then lay them on a plate, alternating tomato, mozzarella, basil leaf. Once you have used up all of the sliced ingredients, sprinkle red onions on top, lightly salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

Roasted Broccoli & Fennel
2 heads of Broccoli
1 Fennel Bulb
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Cut the heads of broccoli into florets and slice the fennel. Toss everything lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Fruit Salad
2 Large Apples
1 small container of Blueberries
3 Persian Cucumbers
1/4 pound of Grapes

Core and slice 2 apples. Remove grapes from stem. Peel and chop cucumbers. Toss everything into a bowl and serve!

[Food Series] Cut Calories and Cool Down This Summer with 3 Delicious Yoghurty Recipes

Yogurt is a staple in our family’s diet. It is consumed on a weekly basis and in the hot Los Angeles summer months, we eat it daily. We don’t need a fancy yoghurt recipe to jazz it up, plain and simple, we love yoghurt how ever its served up!

Over a decade ago, we discovered Mountain High Yoghurt and have been loyal fans ever since. Not only is it rich and creamy, it is one of those brands still making yogurt the traditional European way; mixing milk and cultures together. It is simply yoghurt with none of the fillers, gelatin or any of that other silly stuff, made from cows that are happy and hormone free.

The benefits of yoghurt are multi-faceted, full of nutrients and half the calories of other similar foods, it can be easily substituted for high fat foods like sour cream and mayonnaise without sacrificing flavor. In addition to being full of protein and high in important minerals like magnesium and potassium, yoghurt is loaded with friendly bacteria called probiotics.

Mountain High Yoghurt contains numerous strains of probiotics including L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus, which are live and active starter cultures that turn milk into yoghurt; and L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, and L. casei, which are live and active probiotic cultures.

  • L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, and L. casei serve numerous functions in digestion, metabolism (the breakdown and synthesis of energy and vital nutrients), and immunity. Healthy levels of these probiotic cultures can:      
  • stimulate the immune system to resist illness, including infection from the common cold and influenza viruses, as well as more serious pathogens     
  • discourage the growth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens     
  • aid digestion by increasing enzyme levels     
  • increase absorption of calcium and other nutrients     
  • help break down lactose (milk sugar)     
  • reduce/avoid the onset of or speed recovery from diarrhea
So, now that you know a little bit more than you ever thought you’d know about yoghurt, let’s get to it! I am serving up a few deliciously easy ways for your family to cut down on calories and cool down this summer. Enjoy!

Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup (Cacık)

6 Cups of Whole Plain Mountain High Yogurt 
2 Cloves of Garlic 
4 Persian Cucumbers 
1 Cup of Water  
Into a large bowl, grate the peeled cucumbers and use a zester or microplane to add the garlic. Dump the Mountain High Yoghurt and water into the large bowl with the cucumber and garlic and blend until it is smooth. I usually use a fork because it easily breaks up all of the lumps, but doesn’t aerate the yogurt. Chill and serve! That’s it, literally!  
In our house, we usually prefer it on the thicker side, but feel free to add more water, in very small increments, to get it to the consistency that works for you. This dish is also delicious with finely chopped mint or dill, a drizzle of olive oil or served as a side dish with any yummy protein!

Summer Yoghurt Pasta

1LB Whole Grain Pasta
2 cups Whole Plain Mountain High Yoghurt
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 cup sliced Mediterranean Olives
Boil the whole grain pasta according to the instructions listed on its packaging. Drain pasta and place it into a large mixing bowl while still hot. Add the Mountain High Yoghurt, Herbes de Provence and Mediterranean olives and mix. Serve warm.

Healthy and Delicious Oatmeal Banana Bread

2 1/2 cups of Organic Whole Oats 
2 very ripe Bananas 
1/2 cup Honey 
1 cup Whole Plain Mountain High Yoghurt 
2 Eggs 
1/2 cup applesauce 
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 teaspoon Baking Powder  
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Throw the oats in to a food processor until they become a fine, powdery consistency. Into the oatmeal flour, incorporate the other dry ingredients; nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly begin to blend in the wet ingredients, starting with the applesauce, then add the 2 eggs, Mountain High Yoghurt, bananas, vanilla extract and lastly the honey. Scrape the sides of the processor to ensure there aren’t clumps of the dry mixture stuck and all of the banana is pureed throughout. Spray two bread pans with non-stick cooking spray and evenly divide the batter between the two pans. Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now here’s your chance to become a loyal Mountain High Yoghurt loving family just like ours! Subscribe to the Mountain High Yoghurt monthly newsletter and download a coupon to save $1.00 when you buy 2 tubs!

We want to hear from you! Try our recipes and let us know what your family thought!

[Food Series] 3 Detoxifying and Anti-Inflammatory Homemade Juices

For years now, I witnessed the debilitating pain that inflammation can cause a body. I have a close family member who has been dealing with the painful issues associated with osteoarthritis and I am always trying new ways to keep their symptoms at bay. I truly believe that diet assists 99.9% of our health and well being, as well as regular physical activity and I am hoping, if you are dealing with any inflammatory dis-ease, these simple and delicious juices might just give you a bit of relief! Enjoy!

3 Detoxifying and Anti-Inflammatory  Homemade Juices

Rise and Shine
1/2 Papaya
1 Orange
1/2 cup Pineapple
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric

The Afternoon Anti-Inflammatory
1 Apple
4 Asparagus
3 Celery
1 bunch Parsley

Evening Star
2 Golden Beets
3 Carrots
1 Pear
2 Cucumbers