Make healthy picnic fare for summer food fun

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Summer in the Lowcountry means picnic time. But that doesn't necessarily mean giving up our habits for eating healthfully.

With good planning, we can prepare some delicious recipes that go right along with the idea of summer fun. For example, how does a barbecue protein coupled with delicious baked beans and out-of-this-world cherry "nice dream" sound? It sounds pretty good to me.

For the protein, I use soy curls. Soy curls are nothing more than an extruded soy product made by Butler Foods in Portland, Ore. I'm not aware of any local sources for purchasing soy curls, but they can be bought online either directly from Butler Foods or from Amazon.

I always keep a few bags on hand because they are delicious, and they taste just like strips of chicken.

The other brand-name product that I use is Bone Suckin' Sauce, which can be purchased at most grocery stores in the local area. That is one of the few brands I have found that does not use high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredient.

To make the soy curls, I follow the directions on the package for soaking them, and then I refrigerate them overnight in a mixture of Bone Suckin' Sauce, diced Vidalia onion, black pepper and taco seasoning.

The next day, remove this from the refrigerator and heat in a frying pan. No oil is necessary, but stir until hot. You now have a delicious chicken-like main course for your picnic.

For the baked beans, put 2 cups of cooked pinto beans in a Dutch oven pot with a large diced yellow onion, 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 1/3 cup of maple syrup, 4 tablespoons of ketchup and the juice of one lemon.

Bake covered in the oven at 360 degrees for one hour.

Alternatively, I have cooked this recipe in a slow cooker for six hours. Once cooked, add Liquid Smoke to taste and enjoy.

But what picnic would be complete without some ice cream? I offer the next best thing (actually I think it's just as good). Let's say there are three of you going on the picnic. Freeze three bananas after peeling and cutting the bananas into bite-size pieces.

Then place the frozen bananas, one cup of frozen cherries, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of almond milk in a food processor and pulse to break up the fruit. As necessary, use a spoon to break up the large chunks. Then blend until smooth.

Add chocolate chips and additional cherries and pulse until mixed.

Now, you're ready for a healthy picnic. Enjoy!

J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on the whole food, plant-based way of eating.

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Health & Wellness
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