Beach Picnic at Lake Erie to Soak up the End of Summer

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Soak up the last days of summer with a healthy, seasonal menu for a beach picnic inspired by my trip to the shores of Lake Erie.

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

We slept with the windows closed for the first time recently. The apartment was so quiet. The overnight arrival of fall and the panes of glass stifled the typical antics of our street- the late night bar releases, the Starbucks-drinking “punk” who only seems to joyride/rev his motorcycle on our block, the random gaggle of children walking in the middle of the street, yelling into their cell phones…

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

The arrival of fall made our block so peaceful, and time seemed to slow. It was similar to the muffling power of the lake, the rhythms of the docile waves, the dwindling conversations of the last beach goers, and the occasional din of seagulls fighting over the last beach picnics. Visiting Erie is becoming my end of summer tradition, and if the frigid waters were any indication, we made it just in time. 

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

As much as I love adventures with Julep, she’s not much for adventures built solely upon lounging. Instead, the Urban Farmer and I flew solo on this summer Saturday, which was fortunate, since there were signs advising the algae levels were unsafe for dogs (!!!). We arrived at a quiet beach, a far cry from the crowds I imagined would be soaking up the end of the season, and a very disappointing “No Swimming” sign.  

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Once we realized the signs were there because the lifeguards were not (and not because we’d contract a flesh-eating bacteria), we threw caution to the wind, braced ourselves for the colder water and swam at our own risk. Once we had thoroughly pruned, we collected the perfectly flat pebbles, and on that day, at 33 years of age, I, Quelcy Kogel, SKIPPED MY VERY FIRST STONE, a moment serendipitously documented by GoErie, including my age and all. After I achieved multiple skips with one stone, then, of course, it was time to enjoy the beach picnic…

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic Menu

Ramen Cabbage Salad (Vegan/GF)
Zucchini Reubens with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing (Vegetarian)
Watermelon
Underwood Pinot Gris (shhhhh…)
Cold Brew Coffee (w/ coffee ice cubes)

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Much like skipping stones, this Ramen Cabbage Salad was a whole childhood in the making. It was one of my favorite side dishes from my mom’s dinner party repertoire, but I parted ways with this salad when I parted ways with Oodles of Noodles and its questionable ingredients. However, I recently discovered a brown rice ramen noodle that put this salad back in the game and in the spotlight of this beach picnic. 

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Last year, my best girl and I sipped secret whiskey cocktails for our beach picnic, but this year, I went It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia style– wine in a can! I’ve long been curious about this  “pinkies down” wine from Oregon’s Union Wine Co., especially after seeing Andrea Bemis sip it on her farm. 

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

So we gave it a whirl…

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

My brain kept expecting a fizzy beverage from a can, so my mouth was a little confused, but all in all, it’s a good can of wine, inconspicuous, and perfectly transportable- just don’t drink it too fast.

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

My stone-skipping sensei

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

The pebbly beaches of Lake Erie- perfect for skipping stones

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

I wish I could say I constructed this myself…

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beach Picnic // www.WithTheGrains.com

Here’s to sneaking in those end of summer traditions, sneaking into lakes and sneaking sips from a can! Enjoy the long weekend!  

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