The Perfect Picnic

Be a Picnic ProAugust is a great month to head to the park with a few friends and a basket full of fresh goodies. Here are some easy tips and tricks to crafting the best personal outdoor lunch lounge.

  • The venue. Bring a comfortable yet thin blanket to the park or beach incase there are no picnic tables. The thinness allows you to still feel and appreciate the natural earth beneath you but the comfort brings relaxation and a more chill atmosphere to your meal. Our Healthy Living Coordinator says bringing a tapestry with you can add a fun design to the atmosphere and is often a good size for groups because you want to make sure it’s large enough so everyone can fit and feel included! Pick a spot under a tree or umbrella if it’s a really sunny day and bring along a few items from a first aid kit for safety. A trash bag is a good idea to bring to stay environmentally friendly. basket
  • The snacks. Picnics are all about fresh finger foods and delicious snacks. Pack your treats in a basket or tote bag just before leaving so that temperature sensitive foods don’t spoil (2 hours is the magic time before food starts to go bad!). If you pack foods that aren’t going to spoil you can maintain your relaxed attitude by not having to worry about food safety. Remember to bring drinks to stay hydrated and refreshed. Don’t forget your essentials like napkins, plates and silverware. Here are some fun, healthy and safe picnic friendly foods: hard artisan cheeses and crackers, bread rolls, whole fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and dried meat like jerky, jams and jellies, peanut butter and recipes…yum.cucumbersandwiches
      • Tomato, Peach and Red Onion Salad (Serves 4)
        • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
        • 1 ripe peach, diced
        • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
        • 2 tablespoons olive oil
        • juice from half a lemon
        • salt and pepper
        • Combine everything in a large jar or plastic container. Seal the container and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Best made the day of.
      • Watermelon and Strawberry Lemonade (Serves 8)
        • 8 cups cubed seeded watermelon
        • 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved
        • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
        • 5 tablespoons honey
        • 2 cups water
        • Combine ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
      • Cucumber Sandwiches (Serves 2)
        • 9 tablespoons cream cheese (can substitute goat cheese)
        • 5 tablespoons sour cream
        • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
        • 3 tablespoons dried dill weed
        • Lettuce Leaves, romaine or iceberg recommended
        • 1 Cucumber, thinly sliced about 6 inches long
        • 2 thinned whole wheat bread slices
        • Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic. Spread over slices of bread. Lay lettuce leaf on top of spread.  Lay 3 to 4 cucumber slices onto lettuce. Sprinkle with dried dill. 
  • The entertainment. Plan a few fun outdoor friendly games for the day. Have some activities prepared that can be played in a group either lounging on the blanket or more active games to move around. Games like Heads up!, Apples to Apples or Uno can be fun for the whole family on the blanket or bring a book to relax and read. A volleyball or frisbee is an easy activity to toss around with a group by playing keep it up or just take a walk and enjoy the scenery. marbles.png

The Power of Blue…Blueberries that is!

Blueberries are a great addition to everyone’s diet. They are super nutritious and prevent or minimize health issues. Take a look at the benefits below to see how these tiny but mighty berries can work wonders in your life.


Cluster of wild berries Nutrition Assistant, Michelle Ernst Voegele’s family picked in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Nutritional Benefits: Vitamin C, manganese, fiber, and antioxidants

Health Benefits: Cuts the risk of Diabetes, lowers blood pressure, and prevents heart disease

Blueberries can be bought either fresh or frozen and can even be found in the wild, especially in the northern states. 

This powerhouse fruit can be included in many scrumptiously delicious recipes. Some of Michelle’s favorite ways to indulge in blueberries is in a dreamy yogurt parfait or freezing them to use in a perfect summer smoothie. Here is one recipe that is sure to please the crowd during these hot summer months:

Banana and Blueberry “Ice Cream”

Thanks for the tips Michelle!

Simple Watermelon Smoothie

Untitled designWe know Summer is officially here when we see watermelons showing up at the local farmer’s market. Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants that help us fight off diseases, especially beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Our bodies use beta-carotene and convert it to Vitamin A, which helps keep our eyesight and skin healthy and strong. Vitamin C helps our wounds heal and boosts up the immune system to keep us from getting sick. Watermelon can also help us stay hydrated throughout the Summer because of its high water content.

A simple Watermelon Pina Colada Smooth might be what you’re looking for!

All you need is:

  • Chopped watermelon
  • Chopped pineapples
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt, coconut milk or water, and ice

Mix everything in a blender and you’re ready to go!

Recipe from Extension Scholar and Healthy Living Ambassador, Chu Zhou

Super Strawberries

This is healthy habits with Kyle Merritt and today’s healthy topic is Strawberries. Strawberries are sweet, soft, red fruits that are coated with seeds. The Native Americans discovered strawberries in the late eighteen hundreds. Strawberries…

  • Help to prevent cancer
  • Brighten your teeth
  • Protects your heart
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Keep eyes strong
  • Fight aging
  • Strengthen bones

StrawberryLook at all the advantages of the strawberry. If you want to get these advantages but do not like strawberries, make a strawberry smoothie. Then you can enjoy health improvements and super strawberries! 

What a Peach!

This is Healthy Habits with Kyle Merritt and today’s healthy topic is peaches. The peach is a member of the rose family. There are two main kinds of peaches, clingstone and freestone. A large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber. 


  • Sources of Vitamins A and C
  • Rich in Potassium, Fluoride, and Iron
  • Good for digestion
  • Reduce hair loss
  • Prevent cancer
  • Produce healthy eyes
  • Improve skin
  • Low in fat
  • Delicious

Wow! Look at all of the benefits of the peach! They are super powerful and can make an impact if you choose to eat them. Try them baked with honey for a delicious summer treat. Enjoy your super peaches!