Bread Salad with Molasses-Mustard Grilled Chicken
Blondies with Fresh Raspberries and Key Lime Glaze
Cold Water and Chilled Wine
The Hike: Bald Mountain in Dedham
For details on hiking Bald Mountain in Dedham, check out the One-minute hike: Bald Mountain, Dedham, Maine post in the “Act Out with Aislinn” blog.
I skied Bald Mountain back in the seventies when I was in high school and never thought too much about the mountain until I moved to Holden to raise my family in the early nineties and discovered that it was now in my backyard. My daughter, Georgia, rode in my backpack while my two young sons scrambled up the steep rock trail on their first trip up the old ski hill. Twenty years later we are still enjoying the short thigh burner up to the scenic summit. A great hike like this nearby allows us to simply pop out of the house for 30 minutes of good aerobic exercise, enjoy a delightful late afternoon lunch with a view that can stretch from Katahdin to the coast and, ninety minutes later, be back home checking off items on the to-do list. I just finished the first coat of paint on the railings off the back deck and we sprung into action to get out for our hike and lunch while it dried. Georgia was, again, having footwear angst.
“Maybe I’ll just wear sandals again”, she said.
“You can’t, it is steep going down and there are loose rocks; you’ll slip and fall and your mangled body will end up all the way down in the parking lot. Also, we’re carrying wine and how is it going to look if you smell like booze when the paramedics come to haul you away to the hospital just because you don’t like the way your feet look in proper hiking shoes?”
My kids go on and on about how I supposedly warped them by offering what they claim are exaggerated stories of injury and death resulting from seemingly harmless everyday events. I see that as my parental responsibility. The first time my oldest son broke free from my hand and dashed across the grocery store parking lot to our car, I knew I had to do something to make an impression on these kids about the dangers of darting out in traffic. I simply strapped them into their car seats and drove around until I found some road kill, pulled over, and made them take a good look at what happens when you run out into the road. Don’t call DHS on me, it was almost two decades ago and what looks bad now is just relative to the time. The attachment parenting advocates should be especially thankful of this truism. My mom told me never to run with a sharp object or I’d poke me eye out. I still carry a knife like I’m transporting a nuclear bomb and, guess what? I still have both my eyes.
Georgia said, “I’ll wear my old cheering sneakers.”
She does listen to me. My work was not in vain.
Seriously, this hike is frequented by families and people with pets and it is a great hike for that purpose because it is quite short but, it is steep, which is more of an issue on the way down than up because there are some small loose pebbles that can give a little skid under the foot.
Because this hike is short and close to my house, I packed lunch a little differently than I would if we were driving an hour or so for a longer hike. The bread salad is perfect for any backpack picnic but if you are keeping it in the cooler longer than an hour, pack the chicken in a bag separate from the rest of the salad and put an ice pack directly on the meat. Add the chicken to the salad before serving. Foodie on Foot recipes are created with food safety in mind but, there are steps you picnickers need to take also in order to make sure there are no cramps in the fun! Here’s a link to the Maine Cooperative Extension resources on food safety and I’ll list here my top precautions.
- Use new food: All food, even when refrigerated properly, spoils over time, so, pack fresh, cold food in your cooler. If it “needs to be eaten” then don’t pack it.
- Use cold packs and pack chilled foods tightly together: You don’t want to cool empty space. Tightly packed food with lots of ice packs will keep the contents colder.
- Wash your food: I am not going to post any recipes using raw meats, so my main concern is how you treat your fruits and vegetables. Whatever contaminants are on the outside of your cantaloupe or watermelon are going right to the fruit when you cut through it without thoroughly washing the outside of the fruit. Wash all your fruits and vegetables thoroughly, they are a major source of food related illnesses.
- Wash your hands: Keep your hands and prep area clean. Be cautious of cross contamination. Never share cutting boards and utensils used for raw meats with any other food without cleaning and sterilizing first.
Below is a description of how to pack for this lunch, again, the menu is Bread Salad with Molasses-Mustard grilled Chicken for lunch and Blondies with Fresh Raspberries and Key Lime Glaze for dessert. We enjoyed icy cold water and a small glass (remember the small rocks on the steep slope on the way down) of Chateau Magence Graves Blanc. Happy backpack picnicking!
Pack the chilled bread salad in ziplock bags and chill them until ready to leave for your hike. I like portioning it out into individual servings to make it easier to serve and the quart sized bags fit nicely into the small lunch bag style cooler. If the food is going to be in the pack more than an hour, do not mix the chicken into the salad, pack it separately and mix together before serving.
The Blondies with Fresh Raspberries and Key Lime Glaze should be packed in a small plastic container with a little plastic wrap between the layers and chilled. They are a little delicate for hiking but so worth the space in the cooler.
I like using the small, flat ice packs. Put the ice pack inside a plastic bag and place directly on the chicken and the bread salad bags. Since there is only two of us for lunch today, I slide the bags inside the plastic containers that will be our serving dishes. If you are packing for more, do not put the serving containers in the cooler and use the additional space for more food and cool packs.
Remember, pack your cooler space tightly with cold food items and freezer cool packs to keep all items nicely chilled. I put all items (forks, napkin, cups, containers) that do not need to be kept cool in a plastic bag and tie it to the outside of my pack.
The Molasses-Mustard Grilled Chicken/Stop Thinking and Cook Pantry Guide PickUp Number.
The Bread Salad Recipe/ Stop Thinking and Cook Pantry Guide PickUp Number.
Blondies with Fresh Raspberries and Key Lime Glaze/Stop Thinking and Cook Pantry Guide PickUp Number.