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Spring is my favorite season. The plants come back to life, the birds start building nests and the days get longer and longer. And, as the weather starts to warm, I’m able to spend more and more time outside. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve been waiting for the advent of spring to start exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest by hiking and road-tripping and picnicking my way through town and beyond. And friends, that time is now!
I started close to home by spreading my blanket in my own little corner of the Washington Park Arboretum. A beautifully sprawling, moss-covered tree provided the perfect backdrop for a spring-themed picnic with all the accoutrements: an abundance of fresh flowers, cozy blankets, some pillows for lounging, plenty of delicious snacks, a domino set and the most perfect wicker picnic basket.
Let’s do a deep dive into that picnic basket, Mary Poppins-style, shall we? The first thing I pulled out was a fresh baguette, some habanero cheddar cheese, crackers and almonds for snacking. Then, I dished up some delicious orzo with smoked salmon, asparagus and a lemon vinaigrette. This is a great picnic dish, because it can easily be made ahead of time and tastes great served cold or at room temperature. Scroll down to check out the full recipe!
Last not certainly not least, I whipped out the refreshments for the afternoon: some Aquafina Sparkling Lemon-Lime water purchased from Target and chilled ice cold, of course. Since it has zero calories, zero sugar and zero artificial flavors, you can drink as much as you like on a warm spring day and you’ll end up feeling refreshed and hydrated rather than tired from too much sugar or hungover from one too many glasses of rosé.
If you’re curious to try one of the new Aquafina Sparkling flavors like Black Cherry Dragonfruit or Mango Pineapple, pop on over to your local Target for a taste test—for the next few weeks you can get 25% off Aquafina Sparkling at Target with this Cartwheel offer—and while you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a couple of these beautiful copper candle-lit lanterns in case the conversation and company keep you out past dark.
Orzo with Smoked Salmon, Asparagus & Lemon Vinaigrette
• 1 box orzo
• 3 oz smoked salmon
• 1 bunch asparagus
• 2 tsp whole grain mustard
• the juice of two small lemons
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• salt and pepper, to taste
• dill, for garnish
1. Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box.
2. Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends. Slice each stalk into three pieces.
3. Season with salt and pepper, then sauté the asparagus in olive oil on medium heat until just tender, about five to seven minutes.
4. Make the vinaigrette by whisking olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and salt and pepper together.
5. Combine the orzo and asparagus, then drizzle the vinaigrette over the whole thing and mix well. Top with broken-up pieces of smoked salmon and sprigs of dill.
6. Chill until you’re ready to get your picnic on!
Palm print pillow // yellow pillows // small copper lantern // large copper lantern // striped blanket // waffle-knit blanket // gold flatware // table runner // napkins // picnic basket // check towels