Picnic Idea #1: Tuna Sandwiches & Spiced Eggs

The weather is immaculate here, bold sunny days with gentle breezes, so we took the opportunity to explore several local parks. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have read about my fear of bears while out hiking around last weekend. Although Joe thinks I’m irrational, I can’t help but reiterate that the sign is there for a reason.

Stanley Park Picnic

I nervously walked through the silent forest, it was anything but relaxing. I took comfort in seeing other hikers who didn’t appear to have been mauled. Happy with surviving our brief trek, we headed over to Stanley Park for a gorgeous view of the city, the only apparent threat being the hoards of tourists.

My goal for the weekend was to picnic and I wasn’t about to do it in bear country. Stanley Park offered a safer locale for opening containers of fragrant tuna and boiled eggs. Admittedly, sitting in the sun and nibbling on food is one of my favorite things to do, and if it didn’t sound so lazy I would list it as one of my favorite hobbies.

I enjoy planning and prepping for picnics. I like to pack a variety of foods that are both nourishing and refreshing. After a quick trip to the market, I decided to make a mayo-less tuna sandwich on crusty baguette, along with spiced hard boiled eggs, pomegranate seeds, and flax corn chips. Crispy, crunchy, chewy, soft and juicy. All of my favorite textures.

Picnic Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad
2 cans tuna (in water), drained
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
zest of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
dash of pepper

Toss ingredients, adding enough oil to lightly coat. Feel feel to add or subtract ingredients based on preference. Fill a sliced baguette, or any sturdy bread, with the tuna salad. Place on waxed paper and tightly roll, twisting the ends of the paper at each end. These will hold nicely throughout the day without becoming soggy.

Spiced Eggs
4 boiled eggs, peeled
dash Chinese 5 spice
dash red chili pepper
dash salt

I love boiled eggs at picnics, especially when they’re deviled but only if we’re packing them on ice. There’s something about warmed mayo which makes me quiver. I opted to keep it simple and sprinkled the eggs with a few spices, so there would be no need to pack salt or other seasonings.

You might also try rolling the peeled eggs in finely chopped dill or other fresh herbs, along with a bit of salt. Delicious, flavorful and quick to make. A good burst of protein when taking longer hikes. For my egg ideas, see my short article on “10 Unique Uses for Hard Boiled Eggs“.

Fresh Fruit
Since picnics seem to always involve some amount of hot weather and hiking, I like to pack a juicy fruit. For our picnic, I chose pomegranate seeds but watermelon, pears, or peaches would have been good as well.

Recently, I received two free product samples for juice which we hadn’t yet tried. I packed each one in a chilled thermos for taste testing.

POM – The juice promotes itself on the antioxidant content and associated health benefits. In addition to cardiovascular improvement, I was surprised to see additional benefits associated with prostate health and erectile functioning with actual clinical information to back up its statements. And, given the cardiovascular issues in my family, I am excited to see POM now offers POMx, a pomegranate supplement pill.

But, how does it taste? It’s tangy and flavorful, reminding me a more pleasant form of cranberry juice. Since we also packed fresh pomegranate seeds in our picnic, we felt fully fortified for a day in the sun. It was during my first month of blogging two years ago that I recorded my first pomegranate experience, and as you’ll read, I was not impressed. In retrospect, a little knowledge on how to use fresh pomegranate would have helped. I’ve come a long way since then and now enjoy them quite a bit.

V8 V-Fusion – Since moving to Vancouver, Joe started to buy a brand of juice which is a mix of fruits and vegetables. I normally don’t spend the money on such items but since he’s the one least likely to eat enough vegetables, I’ve encouraged his new found sense of health consciousness. I jumped a the chance to try this product as it provides a full serving of fruits and vegetables in each 8 ounce glass. Additionally, it includes an antioxidant combination of vitamins A, C and E.

What happens when you mix fruit and veggies in a glass? It’s delicious! We sampled the Goji Raspberry flavor and it was truly fruity, no undertones of the sweet potato or carrots it includes. While I don’t advocate replacing all of your fresh veggies with bottled juice, I view it as a tasty supplement. And, I like that it’s low in sodium with only 110 calories per serving.

So, how did our picnic turn out?
We were on the brink of starvation when we reached Stanley Park and immediately found a shaded spot to unpack our lunch. The sandwiches were delicious – I love the added zip you get from the salty olives and tangy lemon zest. A cricket game started up next to our picnic table, so we also had entertainment … until the balls started to land too close for comfort.

Next, we headed down near the seawall on a sunny patch of grass, watching tourists react to the beautiful city view. I read a book for awhile and then fell asleep, the sun softening my muscles as I napped. I woke myself when I started to snore. It turned out to be utterly relaxing, just as I had hoped. And, there were no bears.

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  1. Sounds like great days of relaxation and eating in the sun Allen! I love the tuna sandwich mix! And please be careful of those cricket balls…LOL!

  2. Just went for a picnic myself yesterday, will have to keep this post handy. Love the simplicity of the boiled egg, I always overthink, must try this out.

  3. You get the sun while we slowly get into hibernation. The spiced-egg is a great idea. HAve u try dip it in soy sauce instead of salt? It is a very nostalgic thing to do when I was a kid. You cant beat hard boiled egg with simple soy sauce.. A quick snacking solution anyway :)

  4. I have to agree on the V8 Fusion– I discovered this a while back and have used it primarily to make smoothies. I blend it up with some plain yogurt and frozen fruit– very tasty!

  5. sounds glorious! I love the pomegranate seeds and the spiced eggs in your sandwich. So creative. I’m going to try it next time I bring home a nice crusty baguette. So lovely!

  6. “The brink of starvation?” Ha ha ha! I love it. More pluses to the mayo-less tuna salad includes no risk of mayo sitting out and possibly making you ill. I love taking walks, as long as there’s plenty of clouds out and there’s a gentle breeze.
    I was going to say something about bears, but never mind! :)

  7. We were in Stanley Park last Thursday. What a beautiful place. I’m with you with the walks in the woods. I’m so afraid of bears that I prefer to go to parks where there is more life. I’m enjoying the weather as well in Comox. It’s beautiful. Thanks for the picnic ideas. I have to try that V8 Fusion.

  8. Peter G: Cricket balls are scary :-)

    Erica Lam: I am addicted to eggs, so always trying to find new ways to use them

    Billy@AFTF: Soy sauce on eggs is delicious! I sometimes make tea eggs too, yum.

    April: A V-8 Fusion smoothie sounds delicious!

    Christina: I haven’t tried replacing mayo with yogurt in tuna salad but bet it’s wonderful. I’ve seen someone use yogurt in place of mayo in egg salad or deviled eggs though. Great idea!

    Eralda: Thanks!

    Manggy: I may have exaggerated a little …

    Helene: You should have pinged me to join you :-)

    Nina: You’re welcome!

    Zoe: Pomegranate seeds are a great snack — even good sprinkled over my morning bowl of cereal :-)

    Kat: Thank you!

    Sylvie: Picnics are such a fun way to relax, I need to do them more often.

    Karina: I love kalamata olives too — salty yumminess

    Lululu: Thanks – glad you found it useful info!

    Heidi: I’ve found this tuna recipe to be a good switch up on the original. It’s cleaner and lighter, but full of flavor.

  9. I haven’t been on a picnic in SO long! Since I live in the land of year-round picnic weather, I really should take advantage of it more. Great ideas and beautiful photos, as always. I’m inspired!

  10. I am so jealous you’ve got pomegranate seeds available! my favorite! none down here in Texas right now…I also have such fond memories of biking through Stanley Park (and getting lost!)…lovely place, lovely meal. thanks for sharing.

  11. I too am jealous of the pomegranate seeds! Like Nishta, I’m in Texas, and doing without. But love the addition of olives in the tuna salad, yum! That’ll have to be one of my lunches I bring to work fairly soon!

  12. It looks like it was a lovely day. I love the variety of textures with your menu. I’m going to have to try the spiced eggs for breakfast to shake things up a bit.

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