Indian Summer Picnique

The day was orange and hot, Jaime and her children had been waiting for us for twenty-seven minutes. We peeled into the dusted parking lot and pulled seven baskets from the trunk of the car. I offered a pleading apology that we were arriving so late. Though we’d been planning an end-of-summer picnic for sometime, the day had snuck itself between our lengthened vacation schedule, Jaime’s impending move, school supply shopping, closet cleaning, and had become rather than an end of season revelling. That morning, I’d even had the audacity to annouce the words aloud: We should have just cancelled it.

But as seven sun-browned children took the handles of seven carefully packed lunch buckets and moved on their merry way down the winding dirt path, I fell in step with Jaime and together we all walked away from our world laden with inconvenient conveniences and breathed ourselves into the blissful simplicity of yesteryear. Two steps and ten words later, I remembered how finely suited the human soul is to kinship and felt glad to be at the side of a friend.

The children lumbered over a bridge as we mom’s feigned humility over our lunch offerings.

The lunch baskets are adorable!” Jaime offered.

Oh, those old things?” I wiped away the compliment as quickly as I’d wiped out our grocery budget on making said lunches look authentically delightsome. But, I wasn’t about to let Jamie–you know, the one and only Sophistimom–know my homemade lunches don’t always look so smart, so I said simply, “Well. I hope the kids like them.

Jaime took the opportunity to connect her haute ways with we common-folk, “Well, I hope you like what I brought, too. I wasn’t sure I’d have enough time to finish baking my home cooked artisinal bread while roasting the golden beets and milking our swiss goat for fresh cheese, so the last few moments before we left were a real rush.

(Allright, she doesn’t have a goat, but the rest of that statement is pure truth.)

Over her Fresh Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Thyme, we mused over how dearly we love our beloved, watching as our children poked around a green lake which reflected white dots of sunshine on their faces, in their hair.

Along the way to a golden field, we talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of blogging, then let our children run free while we snapped pictures of each other, both of us taking turns playing paparazzi, then starlet.

When the hot afternoon began to fade into a bluing afterevening, we said our melancholy goodbyes. Jaime and her children were to leave within the week for a new home, a new life, a new start. A move which will leave me and my brood with memories of afternoon tea, clever birthday cakes, spontaeous sleepovers, and this: An afternoon where we left our messy kitchens and drove like mad to a dusty parking lot, putting our busy lives in their proper place so that we might celebrate


That wonderfully old-fashioned, new-fangled thing the human soul simply can’t live without.

I’m so glad we didn’t cancel it.

Peanut Butter, Nutella, and Marshmallow Fluff with an array of fresh fruits. Not for the small of mouth.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slather Olive oil generously atop, sprinkle with a half packet of Good Season’s Italian dressing mix. Roast for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining dressing mix and fresh-grated parmesan atop. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper to tote along for lunch.
* * *
Don’t miss Jaime’s breathtaking recipes for

Summer Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad,

Fresh Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches,

Raspberry, Peach & Panna Cotta Parfaits with Shaken Cream

And her picnic story as written on

CLICK HERE to read all about it.

How are you relishing your final days of summer?

21 Responses to “Indian Summer Picnique”

  1. springrose says:

    That looks so fun and yummy! It makes me think I better come up with some great lunches for my girls this school year, you all put me to shame!

  2. Jeannetta says:

    All I can say is-wow!

  3. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction says:

    Saw the picture of the triple-decker PB&J on Tastespotting, and it immediately caught my attention! What a fantastic idea! I love all of your pictures… glad I discovered your blog!

  4. Phoenix says:

    Okay, officially hungry now…off to find a lunch that compares to this…

  5. Becki Madsen says:

    What adorable lunch totes Brooke! You and Jaime put even Martha Stewart to shame! Thanks for the visit yesterday and I hope I didn't seem too crazy!

  6. Camille says:

    You never cease to amaze me! The creativity! The food! The photography! I'm sure the kids absolutely loved it! I did! And I'm just reading about it! :)

  7. Noodle says:

    You just induced an Autumn Moment, that cozy feeling connected with wiener roasts, falling leaves, soft quilts, and baking!
    I absolutely adore the lunch-baskets-with-books-included, Brooke. You manage to amuse, inform, and inspire me with every post. I could warm my hands on this one!

  8. dragonfly pie says:

    Oh man oh man, the triple decker pb&j and the roast corn, I wish I was there.

  9. SweetThings says:

    Just amazing! All your photography, ideas and how you creatively brought it all together. And of course, I bet it was all so yummy!

  10. oneshotbeyond says:

    gorgeous ideas!

  11. Cristine says:

    What great pictures! That Nutella sandwich is calling my name!

  12. betty says:

    Wonderful,yummy site-thanks for the pictures and info! Betty

  13. Phantomkid says:

    Wow mom! This is amazing. The food was SO GOOD!

  14. L.R. M-J says:

    Fantastique!!…the food, the photos, the friendship…coming to you from across the ocean…wow, the Frenchies would die a slow death if they saw your fantastic spread! mmmmm. Into my google reader you go!
    p.s. How do you create the photo collages/script labels??

  15. KaraLyn says:

    I attended your husband's class at Ed. Week. He may have gotten you a few blog stalkers. The story of Abby is wonderful. What a powerful answer to the prayers of you and your daughter.

    I also love your cupcakes. I am a cupcake connoisseur also. Although I only make them occasionally. I am definitely going to try the kiwi cupcakes. They look fabulous. I made some last week that may be worthy of you, the cupcake queen. Take a look at them on my blog. My cupcakes are good, your blog makes my blog look sick. How do you do it? Your photography, formatting etc. are so beautiful.

  16. Michelle says:

    This is so fun and creative! May I ask if those adorable baskets are available online? I saw one in a garden shop a few years ago on display — I have been looking for them in craft stores ever since! So cute!

  17. Bethany says:

    I just found your blog through Julie Sivley's blog. I can't wait to try your recipes! I love Jaime's blog too! Knew her in college – she is amazing!!

  18. koopermom says:

    What a perfect picnic! I've never been to your blog before, you were above me in SITS today!! have a great weekend!

  19. […] images to pull together yesterday’s back to school party post, I stumbled across Brooke at Cheeky Kitchen and Jaimee at Sophistimom, two talented women who are also moms and friends. I was instantly […]

  20. […] at Cheeky Kitchen and her friend Jaimie at Sophistimom took their kids on this picnic one year to mark the end of […]

  21. Brenda says:

    Where did you get the baskets from?

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