Elegant Heart Healthy Picnic by the Sea

Congratulations, you’re one step closer to becoming the next Food Blog Star!
Your entry has advanced to the next round of Project Food Blog 2010.
Your next challenge? “Road Trip.”

Challenge Prompt: For this challenge, you’re tasked with creating a delicious meal that will travel well and still look great. From picnics and school lunches to bento boxes, or any other meal on the go, you need to whip up a entree, side, drink, and dessert to enjoy after hitting the road. Be sure that your meal fits inside the Project Food Blog Road Trip Cooler. (from foodbuzz here)

Shall we go for a drive?
I want to show you where my secret favorite picnic table is located!

Often times, eating on the road can be less than healthful. On Taste With The Eyes I am always excited to share delicious foods that are also good for the heart. Heart healthy eating has two components. First, it is to eliminate foods that are high in cholesterol and detrimental to the heart, such as trans fat. Second, it is about adding food to the diet that is good for the heart, like those high in fiber and rich in omega-3s.  The delectable meal I prepared for our Road Trip is heart healthy and travels quite well. So – the weather is perfect! High 60’s with a slight breeze. And with those clouds, there is the promise of a breathtaking sunset. Let’s go down to the beach!

The meal is all packed up in the Road Trip Cooler, including all the beverages. The china, glass, and silver are wrapped in bubble wrap and carried in a couple reusable grocery bags from Whole Foods, as are the flowers, linens, and decorations.

This nifty Road Trip Cooler is actually quite spacious. Thanks foodbuzz!

The food and beverage (with the exception of the cake and red wine) were well chilled before they went into the Cooler. And in addition to the food and beverage, I also included 3 frozen gel-packs to keep the food cold.

The Menu

cold poached salmon over multi grain angel hair pasta
meyer lemon slivers, shaved fennel, kalamata olive, marinated artichoke with oregano, fat-free feta
olive oil meyer lemon dill sauce

edamame, cucumber, and red jalapeño
cayenne rice-wine vinegar marinade

etude carneros pinot noir 2008 (375 ml)
fiji bottled water
cold vanilla soy latte

orange olive oil cake
rosemary, almond, and flax seed

The Decorations

We brought a basket full of seahorses, seashells, and a silver sea urchin as well as coral and a large decorative shell. The linens are all white and can be easily laundered and bleached after the picnic. I cut the roses from my garden, brought the pruner with and arranged them in vases at the beach.

The dessert cake packets in the basket are decorated with starfish and raffia.

It’s a Road Trip yes, but we still had to have a little wine (half-bottle) with the meal.
Red, of course, for its heart health benefits! Pinot Noir pairs well with the salmon.

Cheers Sally!

Etude Carneros Pinot Noir 2008

dark plum in color, elegant and silky
aromas of spice and smoke, flavors of cherry and pomegranate
outstanding wine!

The Entree

This is fresh Canadian King Salmon. The filets are poached in a Court Bouillon, then chilled. Multi grain angel hair pasta is tossed with a meyer lemon olive oil dill sauce, meyer lemon slivers (the rind is soft and edible), shaved fresh fennel, artichokes marinated in olive oil and meyer lemon juice with oregano. Fat-free feta and sliced kalamata olives are sprinkled over the pasta. The salmon is placed atop the pasta, with a drizzle more of the sauce and a dill sprig.

UPDATE: The cold poached salmon recipe, including some “behind the elegance” picnic photos, now posted on Taste With The Eyes here.

The Side

Shelled edamame are cooked in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, drained and chilled. English cucumber is sliced very thin on a mandoline. The marinade is rice wine vinegar seasoned with cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and sugar. All the ingredients including a sliced red jalapeño are placed in a plastic container and refrigerated until its time to pack the cooler.

The Dessert

The setting sun casts a beautiful light on the dessert packages.
The delicious heart healthy orange olive oil cake recipe was posted earlier today.
Please take a look here.

Pelicans in formation!

The sun is going down, it’s time to unwrap the parchment packets and enjoy our dessert!

The Drink

Enjoying a cold Vanilla Soy Latte is the perfect way to end the meal before packing up and heading back to the car. We pair espresso for the pick-me-up and vanilla soy milk for its heart benefits. I brew espresso coffee and add vanilla soy milk. I do not add ice because it dilutes the drink. Once it comes to room-temperature, it is refrigerated in the stainless steel bottle. I re-use the water glasses for the latte.

We got our breathtaking sunset, alright!

To Our Healthy Hearts!

On the way home we nibble on dark chocolate and dried blueberries
and vow to return to the secret picnic spot soon.

HEART HEALTH Benefits in the “Elegant Picnic by the Sea” Meal:

  • salmon – a top food for heart health, it’s rich in the omega-3s EPA and DHA. Omega-3s lower risk of rhythm disorders. Salmon also lowers blood triglycerides and reduces inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of salmon or other oily fish a week.
  • multi grain pasta – has more protein, more fiber and added plant omega-3s compared to white pasta.
  • extra virgin olive oil –  this oil, made from the first press of olives, is especially rich in heart-healthy antioxidants called polyphenols, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats. When olive oil replaces saturated fat (like butter), it can help lower cholesterol levels. Polyphenols may protect blood vessels.
  • red wine – if you drink alcohol, a little red wine may be a heart-healthy choice. Resveratrol and catechins, two antioxidants in red wine, may protect artery walls. Alcohol can also boost HDL, the good cholesterol.
  • edamame – these green soybeans are packed with soy protein, which can lower blood triglyceride levels. A half cup of edamame also has 9 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber — equal to four slices of whole-wheat bread.
  • orange – this sweet, juicy fruit contains the cholesterol-fighting fiber pectin — as well as potassium, which helps control blood pressure.
  • almond – just a handful adds a good measure of heart health to your meals. They’re chock full of vitamin E, plant sterols, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Almonds may help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • rosemary – has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • flax – this shiny, honey-colored seed has three elements that are good for your heart: fiber, phytochemicals called lignans, and ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. Grind flaxseed for the best nutrition.
  • coffee – may help protect your heart by warding off type 2 diabetes. Studies show that people who drink 3-4 cups a day may cut their risk by 25% — and even decaffeinated coffee works.
  • cayenne pepper – shaking hot chili powder on food may help prevent a spike in insulin levels after meals.
  • kosher salt -this may be worth a try for people trying to control high blood pressure. It has half the sodium of table salt, thanks to its large crystals.
  • omega-3 fatty acids – found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, and algae oil — provide significant reductions in triglyceride levels and increases in good HDL cholesterol.
  • soy – this high-quality protein contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals — all the ingredients for a heart-healthy meal. Also, a diet rich in soy protein can lower triglycerides, which help prevent cardiovascular disease and keep your heart strong and healthy. In those with high cholesterol levels,the benefits of soy foods are due to their high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • chocolate – dark chocolate contains healthful flavonoids similar to those found in tea, red wine, fruits, and vegetables. Studies have shown that small portions of dark chocolate can improve blood vessel flow and may improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity to help reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • blueberries – the list of healthy nutrients in blueberries is extensive: anthocyanins give them their deep blue color and support heart health. Blueberries also contain ellagic acid, beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

Source: WebMD

Votes may be cast for Challenge #6: Road Trip through Thursday, October 28th, 6 PM Pacific Time.

If you are a fan of the Elegant Heart Healthy Picnic by the Sea,
your vote would be much appreciated!

Click HERE to Vote!

46 thoughts on “ELEGANT PICNIC BY THE SEA”

  1. I was so delighted that Lori called~~
    I never know what she might have happening>>? but it always ends up with my tummy feeling wonderful….
    So lucky me~ after spending my day at an open house that was vacant, with just a Greek yogurt to calm my hunger, Yeepeee! Lori my foodie star calls , Hey Sal~ come on down to our special place and have dinner with me…the picnic was like we were somewhere in a hidden paradise with the ocean sounds the birds the beautiful table set for a Queen, this was such a gift I wish you all to have such joyful gifts as this….just do it!
    Love to Lori (~) Sal

  2. Lori Lynn?

    YOU ARE A GENIUS !!!!!!! Please, next time you do that…you have to invite me !!! EVERYTHING is perfect…the magnificent food, the refined decorations, the place !!! even the birds flying!!! (how much did you have to pay for them to “participate” in your post? lol
    And then, all the health tips…Chapeau !!!

  3. This is more than a road trip – it is a destination. I noted the winning pasta dish and will be making it this weekend. I love how your signature roses accompanied you. And I do heart picnics with linen and china.

  4. Speechless is what I am Lori Lynn. From the sunset to the dessert packet to the stunning decorations this is truly a special picnic to be shared by those special to us.

  5. Lori Lynn, this is so beautiful! I mean, a setting like that, with the AMAZING food you made…it’s just fantastic. I love your ideas, so creative. You make healthy food that is so tempting and luxurious. It was definitley a treat to read.

  6. That might be the most perfect place for a picnic ever. I love the heart-healthy focus and everything looks really scrumptious. I’ll be trying out your olive oil cake recipe soon! Great job and good luck.

  7. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your post! I have a bit of an affinity for the ocean, and your sunset shots drew me in. While I’m on the coast here in CA I haven’t seen a sunset in weeks due to our gray, drizzly weather. Your picnic was stunning, absolutely amazing! I can’t believe you brought china to the beach…nicely done!!

  8. Wow. What gorgeous pics of the ocean. A California native, I’ve spent a lot of time by the sea, and you captured it beautifully. Only now I’m starving! Guess that was the point 😉

  9. Love the eat healthy idea and the simple elegance of it all. Almost makes me wish I ate seafood! LOL I really do love it all! Great ideas and so beautiful all around.

  10. LoriLynn, this here is fantastic. I would have loved to be a lingering fly just to smell and witness all the lovely scenery. The detail to attention is fantastic. And, I appreciate the nutritional values offered at the end. Nice.

  11. I love how elegant and beautiful this is! You have a vote from me!

    For my entry, I wanted to create a road trip and picnic for my boyfriend, who had recently given me a “do over” of one of my childhood memories. I decided to give him his own “do over” — a special birthday picnic with a heart-themed meal. Come see if you’d like 🙂

  12. One of the advantages of leaving on the West Coast is enjoying ever different sunsets on the beach. A truly beautiful picnic setting and food. I know I am repeating myself, but, what else can I say? You are a master of the art of entertaining guests by preparing elegant table settings and offering delicious food that is a pleasure to look at before it becomes an even bigger pleasure to eat.

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