Picnic Sandwiches

I know what you are thinking. Picnic sandwiches sounds like something everyone already knows how to make. Sandwiches have to be the easiest meal on earth. In fact, I usually throw together sandwiches when I do not feel like cooking. Well, this is about more than the sandwich. This is really about the picnic.

I now have three teenagers living in my house. They are 14, 15 and 16. It has been difficult lately to get everyone to agree on something to do together as a family. Trying to get five people to agree on a restaurant or a movie is tough. It is even more difficult to convince my teens that outdoor activities are a good idea, especially if Claud and I are doing it with them.

I have to admit that Jack likes to skateboard at the skate park; but, this isn’t something everyone else wants to do. This is not a family activity. Skating is what he does with his friends. I think he would be embarrassed if I hung out at the park. The girls pretty much prefer to stay indoors, glued to their phones or Netflix or the computer. That is, of course, unless we are going shopping. Then, they will go anytime.

We usually don’t force the teens to go anywhere with us anymore. We figure, if they don’t want to go with us, they will just ruin the time for the rest of us. We had to learn this the hard way until we decided to just leave them at home. That is nicer for all involved. Now, we offer to take them with us wherever we go and if they say no, we say, “Okay, see you later,” and go off on our merry way.

Recently, we were told about this amazing park nearby. It was once a ranch owned by Howard Hughes, although he never actually lived there. He bought it for his wife who also never lived there. Anyway, our friend, Darren, told us that it is really beautiful with big shady trees, green grass and a lake. That is definitely something to see in Las Vegas. We are used to palm trees, rocks and very little shade.

Claud and I were getting ready to run to the store to get what we needed to make for sandwiches so we could picnic at the ranch. We asked the kids if they would like to come along so we knew how much we needed to buy at the store. Ruby said she would go with us right away without hesitation. She is up for anything. This may be because she is my niece. I am not sure. I am not complaining though or questioning it. I love that she likes to do things with us. Daphne moaned and said, “A picnic? Huh? Sounds boring. We are just going to sit outside and eat?” I told her more about the place and how the ranch house is like a museum. I explained that it is green and there is a lake. She wasn’t amused but she did agree to join us. Jack said, “no way. I’d rather stay home.” Wow, I thought, two out of three is not bad.

The four of us went to the store. We decided to buy big baguettes and fill them with cheese, ham, roasted red peppers, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. Some sections didn’t have tomatoes and others didn’t have ham. One part had no mayonnaise. We tried to accommodate all of our tastes somewhere within the sandwich. We received a call from our friend who told us about the ranch and he and his daughter decided to join us. We made sure to have enough sandwiches for everyone. We put the sandwich together how we each wanted it. Then, we cut our sections into individual sandwiches.

We filled up a cooler with waters, soft drinks, potato salad and pasta salad. I threw in a bag of chips. As we were filling up the car with all of our goodies, Jack decided he would come. This was incredible. I was so happy to have everyone all packed into he car together.

Darren arrived to the park with a Frisbee and a football. He has a 13-year-old daughter. Soon, all four teens and us parents were playing football. I stopped for a bit to take about a thousand pictures. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I had to document it. Jack was smiling. They were all having fun hanging out with their parents throwing a ball around. We ended up playing Frisbee too. Oh, and nobody complained about their sandwiches. It was a really good day. I am pretty sure this is the start of a whole new thing in our family. We are going to spend a lot more time outside together, unless this was just a fluke. I certainly hope not.

Picnic Sandwiches

Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 8

2 long baguettes, sliced in half, lengthwise

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mustard

2 tomatoes, sliced

3 roasted red peppers, sliced

onion, sliced

4 large romaine lettuce leaves

16 slices of mozzarella cheese

12 slices of ham

Spread the mayonnaise and mustard along the top half and the lower half of the bread. Layer the rest of the ingredients in between the bread. Place the top half on top. Cover with plastic wrap. Cut into eight sandwiches. Serve in between football and Frisbee games.

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