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.

bike-picnic-burley
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.

bike-picnic-burley-2
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.

Caprese
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!

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[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

[Food Series] Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Our family just recently started receiving our produce through a community supported agriculture (CSA) delivery service. Everything is locally grown, seasonal, organic and delivered to our doorstep. When I open my front door, once a week, and our box of goodies is sitting there, it’s almost like I won the lottery and can’t wait to open it up to see what we’ve won! This week was a ton of butternut squash, so I decided to make soup! This is a seriously healthy, nutritious and hearty meal, perfect for a cozy, winter family dinner. Enjoy!

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Ingredients
2 lbs Butternut Squash
1 tablespoon ground Ginger
3 Bay Leaves
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 15oz can of low sodium organic garbanzo beans
4 cups water
Pepper
1 tablespoon Pine Nuts
1 Avocado

This recipe is seriously easy!! First peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash, then cut into one inch cubes. Throw everything (except for the pine nuts and avocado) into a soup pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and let it simmer. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread out the pine nuts on a lined baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 3 minutes, making sure to watch them closely so they don’t scorch. Thinly slice the avocado. When the butternut squash is easily mashable with a fork (approximately 20-30 minutes), use a hand held immersion blender to puree the soup, directly in the pot. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with avocado slices and pine nuts and devour! I served this up with leeks in olive oil. Heavenly.