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It’s Labor Day weekend, so I have picnics on the brain.

However, it would be very difficult to top the absolutely perfect Vegan picnic at the lakefront that I had earlier this summer with my PPK friends.

This was the last group outing we had before Jeni & Hector moved out of Chicago, and it was certainly a memorable afternoon.

Hector & Jeni

 

It was a very hot day – near 90 degrees I think, but under the shade of a tree along the lake, the temperature was surprisingly comfortable!  I also brought with me some of my all-time favorite natural bug-spray, a hat, a water bottle, and a soft-sided cooler, so I was prepared to stay out there for hours.

The warm weather made it a perfect day for Lemonade, or Green Limonade, which I brought along with me.  This was just water blended with spinach, lemon juice, lime juice, and raw sugar (next time, I’ll add some Basil too).  The Growler container I bought from Caribou made it both easy to transport and easy to shake when the green color started to settle towards the bottom.

Jeni and Nissa also brought their puppies.  Nissa’s dog Oliver is a regular at our Potluck events, but this was the first time I got to meet Phoebe, Jeni’s pug puppy.  Phoebe doesn’t do well in the heat, so she only stayed with us in the park for a few minutes before Hector dropped her off at home, but it was so fun to meet this wiggly little girl!  I think Oliver agreed.

Oliver

 

Oliver & Phoebe

 

While we waited for Hector to return from taking Phoebe home, we munched on a few appetizers.

Jenny made a Black-Bean dip that was delicious, healthy, and so simple! I believe it was just pureed Black Beans with water, nutritional yeast, and some seasoning.

I brought a batch of Roasted Red Pepper & Almond Hummus from Eat Drink & Be Vegan (a book that actually has an entire chapter of hummus recipes!).

Black Bean Dip and Roasted Red Pepper & Almond Hummus

 

Once the whole group had arrived, it was time for the main courses!

Nissa made the Deli-Style Macaroni Salad from Veganomicon, which tasted exactly like the classic picnic dish.

I made Quinoa Tabbouleh, a recipe that my friend Stefanie (hi, Steffy!)  had passed on to me.  My favorite part about her version is that it includes Mint and Cilantro in addition to the traditional Parsley, which made it extra refreshing on a hot day.

But my favorite dish of all was Jeni’s Potato & Chorizo dish.  It was simply a sautee of Field Roast Chorizo, Potatoes, and Onions, but wow! this was good stuff.

Deli-Style Macaroni Salad, Chorizo & Potatoes, Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

We were pretty stuffed, so we relaxed and played Frisbee for a while before having dessert.

Megan & Nissa (the two that started all these amazing potlucks!)

 

As usual with our group, the Desserts always steal the show.

Jeni made Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies using a unique ingredient – Piloncillo (also known as Panela) – an unrefined sugar common in Latin America.  I love how she always introduces us to such traditional ingredients!

Megan made a Chocolate Tofu Pudding that was soooo good!  She added Brandy and Blackberries to the pudding which gave it a multi-dimensional flavor.

And I keep telling Nissa that I can’t believe she’s not a pastry chef.  Look how perfect her Strawberry-Lemonade Whoopie Pies turned out!  

Strawberry-Lemonade Whoopie Pies, Mexican Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and Chocolate-Blackberry-Brandy Pudding!

 

What a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon with good friends, delicious food, and a shady spot near the lake.

Our group (minus me – the photographer!)

I’d love to hear from you!

Tell me about your most recent picnic!

What’s your go-to picnic dish?