As you probably know, we LOVE having picnics. For us, there’s nothing better than grabbing a group of friends and heading down to the beach to catch a magical Byron sunset, vino in hand and platter in tow.
So for me, one of the hardest things I found about doing Plastic Free July was figuring out what to pack for a picnic or for watching the sunset! I didn’t want to miss out on these special moments in life, especially when we’re blessed with such natural beauty here in Byron. So I got to thinking and all I needed to do was make a few easy alternatives and just take a slightly different approach. So we got creative in the kitchen and found such inspiration from one of our favourite cook books ~ Whole by Natural Harry . It’s full of delicious, wholesome, plant-based recipes perfect for every day life and creating your very own plastic free picnic! Keep scrolling for one of the recipes we used!
Excited and inspired, we decided to make some home-made snacks from our Whole by Natural Harry cook book as well as purchase some snacks from our favourite spots in Byron.
Beetroot & mint dip
Garlic & Rosemary dip
Pumpkin & brown rice ‘arrancini’ balls
Choc chip fudge
Crudités (chopped carrots, capsicum, cucumber)
Local store-bought snacks:
Lime & black pepper fava beans
Moorish nut mix
Dark chocolate covered goji berries
First stop The Source (our favourite bulk foods store). We love everything about The Source from their initial roots in Byron to their philosophy of taking only what you need, connecting to the source of your food and embracing a better, low waste way of living and shopping. We shop there weekly, and are now in the habit of taking our own containers to refill to make grocery shopping completely waste free. They have such a diverse range of products – from lunch box snacks, to pre made muesli, all your grains, flours rice, herbs, spices, protein powder, oils, honey – the list goes on! See our blog on setting up a plastic free pantry here . Then off to the Bay Grocer!
When buying produce it’s so important to consider food miles as this is a huge contributor to global pollution, resource use and climate change. Wherever possible eat in season to your region, and shop at a farmer’s market or a grocer that sources their produce from local farmers. Not only does this help the planet by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide through the distance food travels, but you’re also supporting your community and are guaranteed the food will be so much more fresh and full of wholesome nutrients!
We bought all of our produce from the Bay Grocer in Byron, who follow these principles so know we can shop confidently knowing we are supporting our local network of farmers and in turn, our community.
Our platter was vegan – but you can always add cheese, simply BYO container to your local deli to avoid unnecessary packaging! However, we are yet to find plastic free crackers or chips – so if anyone has come across these please let us know!
We spent a bit of time in the kitchen preparing for our plastic free picnic, but there are so many swaps you could make if you wanted to create a platter on the go. The Source has an amazing selection of dried fruit and nut mixes as well as a delicious array of savoury and sweet snacks (the moon macadamias are an absolute must!).
Next, what to put all of our delicious food in? Let’s start with the most beautiful, luxurious picnic basket we’ve ever seen – equipped with the most gorgeous wooden, four-piece dining set and beautiful tumblers set in rattan cases. I personally love how the lining is removable and can be washed between uses. It’s such a beautiful keepsake and heirloom piece – we will cherish ours for a lifetime!
So with our plastic free picnic in hand, we headed down to the beach to catch the final hours of daylight and welcome in a beautiful peachy pink Winter sunset. It’s little adjustments to our daily habits that can make such a huge collective difference! So why not grab your friends, get creative in the kitchen and create memories that last forever, whilst walking a little lighter on our precious Mama Earth!
PUMPKIN & BROWN RICE ‘ARANCINI’ BALLS
If you have leftover brown rice this is a perfect way to use it. You get to avoid waste as well as making something tasty. It’s also a good recipe to make a big batch of on a Sunday for your weekly food prep. They travel so well and you can add them to a lunch box of greens and roasted veggies. I also like to add them to platters, as pictured, or crumble them and toast in a tasty wrap. The options are endless.
Makes about 16 balls
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
¾ cup (140g) brown rice, rinsed and drained
2 cups (300g) pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 cup cashew ‘parmesan’ (see page 272)
⅓ (20g) cup chives, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F fan forced and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Bring the rice and 2 cups of water to boil and reduce to a simmer until all the water is absorbed.
Steam pumpkin until soft. Combine the steamed pumpkin, cooked brown rice, ‘parmesan’ and chives in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
Line a baking tray with baking paper, mould mixture into balls and evenly space out on tray. Place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes.