This week, I needed a reset button. A reminder of my goals, my intention and my inspiration. Who would’ve thought that reset button would come in the form of a picnic…one with bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed hot dogs at that.
To celebrate our 6 year anniversary, I surprised my boyfriend with a picnic basket filled with the foods that remind me of our first days together. We met in 2012 at a golf tournament, where we worked for the food services company catering the event. We were partnered up in a food truck, tasked with organizing and sending out every meal (breakfast, lunch, and snack) to be served to the guests each day. It was cramped, it was cold, and it was messy, but Jer and I became a team immediately and not only skilled it each day, but unintentionally bonded over so many food items. (Seriously. If Jeremy said the word “Crudités” right now, I would still burst out laughing even 6 years later.)
Because the golf tournament ran through the middle of summer, many of the foods that were served were reminiscent of American barbecue. Jer and I were constantly surrounded by pasta salads and veggie platters, and always wanted a bite of the legendary bacon-wrapped hot dogs called “Texas Tommies.” It makes sense that these were the first things that came to mind when trying to think of a way to commemorate six years of being together. Love is patient, love is kind, love is sharing a meal with the one who sets your soul on fire ♥
For my picnic basket, I prepared three main dishes: a Raw Veggie “Crudites” Platter, a Greek-Inspired Cavatappi Pasta Salad, and Hot Dogs stuffed with Smoked Gouda, wrapped in Bacon. I also threw in an Endangered Species Chocolate bar for a quick dessert and a couple Truly Spiked Seltzers to wash the meal down. Instead of writing a long list of ingredients and directions, I am just going to briefly describe how to make each food item so that you can customize them with whatever you have in your fridge and pantry. Enjoy!
Crudites Platter: Clean or peel 4-5 of your desired veggies. For this meal, I used Cucumbers, Carrots, Red Bell Pepper, Yellow Bell Pepper, and Celery, but you could also use Snap Peas, Radishes, Grape Tomatoes, or whatever veggies you like best. The world is your oyster, darling, so pick what you like! Chop them into thin slices and serve with your favorite dressing. Today I used Annie’s Homegrown Goddess Dressing, but you could also use ranch or hummus.
Cavatappi Salad: Grab your favorite type of pasta and boil it for about two minutes less than the recommended time on the box. While your pasta is boiling, dice 1/2 of a red onion and 1/2 of a cucumber into small bite-sized pieces. In a small measuring cup, mix together 1/2 cup of olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of feta crumbles and either a handful of fresh oregano, or about 1 tsp of dried oregano. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir well. Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add to your diced onion and cucumber mixture. Pour in your dressing and stir well.
Texas Tommies: Prep your favorite hot dogs (I used all-natural beef) by carefully slicing them length-wise, making sure not to cut all the way through. Fill the hotdog with your favorite cheese (ours is smoked gouda) all the way down the length of the dog. Wrap two slices of bacon around your hot dog, one at a time, so that it is fully covered from one end to another. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the bacon is fully cooked through. Wrap in aluminum foil and pack in an air-tight container to maintain its warmth, and serve with hot dog buns and your favorite toppings.
Lastly, grab something sweet that will satisfy your dessert craving, and whatever drinks you and your picnic partner prefer. Don’t forget to pack napkins, utensils, and a comfy blanket! Happy picnic-ing!