Shelly Barnes


Summer is a great time to get to know your coworkers better! Having all your coworkers bring their favorite healthy dish is a great way to get a taste of everyone’s unique style, and who doesn’t love an excuse to eat?

Encourage coworkers to showcase their culture. Diversity in the workplace is so important, and food can be a great way to explore that. Also, try bringing dishes with a new twist on familiar veggies or try something new with a more uncommon farmers market find!

Enjoy these tips to make your office picnic more fun:

  • Set a date that will work for everyone in the office and select a location, whether it is in your office or somewhere outdoors.
  • Set out a sign up sheet in a central location in the office for everyone to sign up for a dish.
  • Try out a new recipe or an old favorite. Bring copies of the recipe to share.
  • Decorate! Select a fun theme or just add some colorful decorations.
  • Add in some fun activities to help you get to know each other better. Try some of the conversation starters below or play a game.
  • Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the time with your coworkers!

Not sure how to start a conversation?  Use these conversation starters:

  • What are you currently watching?
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?
  • What fun plans do you have with your family this summer?
  • What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
  • What kind of pet do you have, and how did you choose its name?
  • What’s the best thing that has happened to you so far this week?

Looking for some recipe inspiration?  Check out this fresh recipe using in season ingredients.

Tomato & Cucumber Open Face Sandwiches 

Serving Size: 1 open face sandwich 


  • 1 (8 oz.) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cucumbers, seeds removed, diced (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ½ teaspoons fresh dill, chopped 
  • 2 ½ teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for serving)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (plus more for serving)
  • 6 slices whole wheat bread, toasted 
  • 1 ½ to 1 ¾ lb. fresh tomatoes, cut into ½ inch slices 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Thinly sliced chives 


1. Stir together cream cheese, cucumbers, red onion, dill, mint, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.

2. Spread about ¼ cup of the cucumber mixture onto each slices of toasted bread. Top each with 2-3 tomato slices and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle tomatoes with chives, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Calories 226, Saturated fat 4g, Sodium 463mg, Added sugar 0g, Dietary fiber 3g, Vitamin C 23mg

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. for all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability and is an Equal Opportunity With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to all citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

For information on this or other family and consumer sciences related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes can be reached at or 615-444-9584.

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