Project Food Blog: A Girl’s Picnic*


What do you do when you are incredibly surprised to have made it to the next round of Project Food Blog and you have to create “a delicious meal that will travel well and still look great”? You call your three best friends of course! And you tell them, I MADE IT! And they squeal with delight with you and then they immediately start helping you plan…which I could not be more thankful for! I was so nervous this round for some reason…I think because we are getting closer and closer and have passed the half way point. Every time I make it, I do a crazy happy dance…and then the nervousness immediately sets in. But this round was different, because this round I had three amazing, beautiful foodie ladies there to support me and be my sous chefs!

This round I think was my favorite round yet! I loved coming up with recipes that will travel well…which for me meant we went vegetarian. Traveling with meat always makes me nervous and the last thing I would want, would be to make someone sick. So I looked for recipes that could go all day long in a cooler (like my adorable new cooler, in the pictures, from Project Food Blog) and still be delicious.

We decided to head down to Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa for our picnic. It was a beautiful, sunny, 85 degrees day! We were so lucky to have such wonderful weather!

We started our picnic with my favorite thing in the whole world…CHEESE! We had smoked cheddar, jalapeno pepper cheese, parmesan, goat cheese covered in herbs and garlic, bleu cheese, grapes, caper berries, and olives stuffed with garlic!

Then we broke out the Spiked Raspberry Lemonade! HOLY YUM! This stuff rocks! Raspberry Vodka, fresh squeezed lemonade, and raspberry puree makes for one dangerous delicious cocktail! I will be sharing the exact recipe later on this week…and trust me, you want to make it as soon as possible.

For our main entree we had hand pies! I had never heard of, nor had a hand pie before…but now am in serious, hard core love! Almost anything wrapped up in pie crust is delicious, but the combination of tomatoes, red onion, zucchini, and goat cheese in these…is simply divine. You serve them room temperature, which made them perfect for a picnic or to take on a road trip. Just wrap them up and they can go 24 hours without having to be refrigerated! Check the end of this post for the recipe!

And as our side dish we had Israeli Couscous Salad, food so nice they named it twice! Israeli Couscous is very different from normal couscous. As you can see in the photo, the actual granule is much larger then normal…and in my opinion, much tastier. This salad was made with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and turmeric. You can serve it hot or at room temperature, but honestly I tried it both ways and found I preferred it served at room temperature. This recipe also travels very well and since it is actually vegan can go for quite a while without refrigeration! The recipe, in full, will also be posted later this week.

And lastly, DESSERT! My second favorite part of any meal! We had Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Maple filling and Chocolate Cupcakes with Clementine Frosting. These were both so delicious that we even had uninvited guests munching away on them….ANTS! The girls told me not to place the desserts on the ground…but being stubborn I didn’t listen and honestly who knew ants moved so fast! But luckily they did not get into all of the cupcakes and whoopie pies and we were still able to enjoy them! Both of these recipes will also be posted later this week.

This honestly was my favorite challenge yet. Between the great food, amazing company, great weather and flowing Spiked Raspberry Lemonade…nothing could have been better. I actually think I may start a traditional Girl’s Picnic in October thanks to this! So thank you ladies for joining me! And thank you Foodbuzz! And thank you Park Ranger for pointing us towards the perfect picnic table spot in the shade!




Tomato and Zucchini Hand Pies


1 box pie crust (or homemade if you have the time)
4-5 large, ripe tomatoes cut into 1/2″ slices
1/2 purple onion, thickly sliced
1 medium zucchini cut into quarters
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely chopped, fresh oregano
1/2 C crumbled goat or feta cheese
1 large egg white beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a muffin tin.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust to 1/8″ thick. Cut into 4″ squares. Press each square into the cup of your muffin tin leaving an overhang. Chill for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place tomatoes, onion, and zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Roast about 30 minutes or until tomatoes begin to shrivel. Let cool slightly then transfer to a bowl. Chop any large pieces to about 1/2″.

Divide half the oregano and cheese among the 12 dough lined muffin cups. Top with the tomato-zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and oregano. Fold corners of dough towards the center and brush with egg wash.

Reduce oven heat to 375. Bake pies until crusts are golden brown about 50-60 minutes.

Let pies cool completely in the muffin tin on a wire wrack.

If not eating the same day, pies store well in the muffin tin in the fridge for about 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Adapted from Miss Lemonie originally from Martha Stewart


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38 Responses to “Project Food Blog: A Girl’s Picnic”

  1. 1

    Becca — October 24, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    Adorable girls and adorable food! Those hand pockets look like a must try for me!
    I’ll continue voting for you, Jessica, and I am sure I will be there at the end…when you win…to share in your happy dance of victory!

    If you have a spare minute and could vote for ME in my endeavor at becoming the next Good Mood Blogger for Nature Made, I would appreciate it VERY much!

  2. 2

    Katie — October 24, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    Oh goodness, the raspberry spiked lemonade looks KILLER! And refreshing…

    Looks like an absolutely lovely gathering!

  3. 3

    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — October 24, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    These are such beautiful photos with awesome food and good friends! It looks like you had a great time, Jess. Thank you for sharing!

  4. 4

    Foodiewife — October 24, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

    The handpies really got my attention. They sound and look delicious. What a great picnic you ladies had. Isn’t it fun to break bread with folks who love to cook as much as we do? Good luck with voting. Great job!

  5. 5

    amanda @ fake ginger — October 24, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

    What a fun picnic! Everything looks delicious!

  6. 6

    Samarie — October 24, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    I loved those raspberry lemonades, they were definitely my favorite part of the picnic, well along with those pumpkin whoopie pies. Thanks you Jess for letting me be part of this the food was delicious. 😀

  7. 7

    Jessica — October 24, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

    Okay, I’m gonna have to check back for the whoopie pie recipe! Yummmmm.

    That couscous looks so simple and delicious, sounds like you ladies had a great time! Fingers crossed for the next round!

  8. 8

    notyet100 — October 24, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

    everything looks good,..good luck for the next challenge

  9. 9

    Kerstin — October 24, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    The hand pies are such a perfect picnic idea – love it! Can’t wait to vote!

  10. 10

    Heather @ He Cooks She Cooks — October 25, 2010 @ 8:15 am

    This looks like it was a WONDERFUL time. Nothing better then good food and good friends right? You have my vote.

  11. 11

    cookeatlove — October 25, 2010 @ 8:34 am

    Wow. I love your post. The picnic looks so beautiful. You have my vote sister.

  12. 12

    Jenny — October 25, 2010 @ 9:16 am

    This is adorable! I love the way you made the whoopie pies! Very creative:)

  13. 13

    sippitysup — October 25, 2010 @ 10:06 am

    Who spiked the pink lemonade? Cuz this boy needs a double… GREG

  14. 14

    Jenna — October 25, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    Beautiful pictures! It looks like such a fun time . . . right now I could probably devour at least a dozen of your cute little savory pies. Mmmm! So glad you made it to the next level of PFB!

  15. 15

    Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot — October 25, 2010 @ 10:54 am

    It all looks awesome Jessica! I especially love your Spiked Raspberry Lemonade and hand pies! Looks like you had a lot of fun with this one. :)

  16. 16

    Lisa~Korean American Mommy — October 25, 2010 @ 12:20 pm

    What a great gals picnic. Love the menu and real glass for drinks, classy (= You have my vote!

  17. 17

    My Barbarian Table — October 25, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

    you had me at the cheese plate!

  18. 18

    Melissa @ Made in Melissa's Kitchen — October 25, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    Another great entry! Your meal looks wonderful, especially those handpies!

  19. 19

    Jacob's Kitchen — October 25, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

    What a fabulous picnic! That lemonade is calling my name. And starting with a cheese course always feels special (and tastes delicious!) And the cupcakes and pumpkin whoopie pies are the perfect (and adorable) end to the meal. Nicely done. I voted for you!

    Good luck! Hope to see us both in round 7!!! =)

  20. 20

    Heather — October 25, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

    Everything looks awesome.

  21. 21

    whatsfordinneracrossstatelines — October 25, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    What a great picnic. It’s a toss up between the lemonade and the hand pies for my favorites. Perfect to grab some friends to share it with! Good Luck to you!

  22. 22

    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels — October 25, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    I just love that you took your friends on a picnic with you and what an incredibly delicious picnic it is! I LOVE the hand pies you made, they look soooo tasty. I’m going to have to try them out. And spiked raspberry lemonade?!?! YUM! You did an awesome job with this challenge and once again, I’ll be voting for you. Best of luck! :)

  23. 23

    Tiny Urban Kitchen — October 25, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    You had FANTASTIC sun while everyone else was either sitting in a rain cloud or bundled up in sweaters! Looks like a lovely picnic!

  24. 24

    Amanda — October 25, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    Love the pumpkin whoopie pies! They came out so cute! Goodluck w PFB!

  25. 25

    Lisa — October 25, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

    Those cupcakes made me drool a little. Nice job! Sending you a vote.

  26. 26

    Lori Lynn — October 26, 2010 @ 7:58 am

    I love that hand pie recipe, cannot wait to try that!
    Looks like you and your friends had an awesome picnic!
    Happy to give my vote, good luck!

  27. 27

    Dana — October 26, 2010 @ 9:21 am

    What a fun girl’s day out! I love the hand pies, and will be making them soon!!

  28. 28

    ErinsFoodFiles — October 26, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

    I’m assuming my invite was lost in the mail. Looks divine, and now I’ve voted for you! :)

  29. 29

    Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen — October 26, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

    Your cupcakes look amazing! Nice work on this challenge!

  30. 30

    Sues — October 26, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    Beautiful picnic! The hand pies look amazing :) :) Good luck!!

  31. 31

    Mariko — October 27, 2010 @ 2:33 am

    I would love one of those pies. Savory pie is wonderful.

  32. 32

    stephchows — October 27, 2010 @ 9:20 am

    lovely job and what a beautiful location!

  33. 33

    Winnie — October 27, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    What a beautiful picnic. I love all your photos, but think the spiked lemonade is my fav. Voting for you and sure hope we both get to make a video :)

  34. 34

    Sharlene — October 27, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

    Congratulations on making it into the next round! Those hand pies look amazing. I’ve never had one before but I’m a big fan of self-contained food! It looks like it was a wonderful day for an outing!

  35. 35

    Suzy — October 27, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    I am just loving this Project Food Blog because I am finding so many new blogs to follow! I have just added you to my Google Reader!

    What a fun picnic with your girlfriends…great food, great company, and great surroundings. I just voted for you and looking forward to seeing your post for the next challenge!

  36. 36

    Liren — October 28, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

    Oh dear heavens, did you say Pumpkin Whoopie Pies? I’m sold! Seriously speaking, what a wonderful picnic – it looks like you all had a fabulous day. Good luck and hope to see you in the next challenge :)

  37. 37

    Peggy — October 29, 2010 @ 8:21 am

    What a great outing! It’s great that you had your friends join you and the meal sounds perfect for a picnic! Good luck, and I’m know you’ll make it to round 7!

  38. 38

    The Novice Chef » Let’s catch up! (plus things to do in Nashville) — October 10, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    […] of mine and is brand new to food blogging! We have been great friends for years and she has always supported this little blog I have. I am so happy she now has a blog of her own to share her amazing recipes […]

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