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Three Tips for Hosting a Picnic Lunch

We partnered with Kristin Schell of The Turquoise Table. Check out her helpful hospitality tips and picnic ideas for hosting a casual lunch for friends and neighbors.

Peachy Neighbors

I can always tell when my neighbor Doris is home because she leaves her white-paneled front door open. A thin, glass storm door keeps the bugs out and the cool air in.

Recently, I noticed things were pretty quiet around Doris’ house. Her closed front door was the telltale sign. One morning, I wandered over to check on her. I rang the bell a few times and peered in the side yard, then figured she was most likely visiting her daughter or out at the ranch.

A few days later, a brown paper bag filled with fresh peaches showed up on the Turquoise Table. There was no note, but I knew Doris had left the fruit even before I listened to her voicemail.

“I’ve been busy as a bee. Check your Turquoise Table, I left you a little something from the ranch. I’ll be back home in a few days. Love you.”

picnic lunch

Rhythm of Summer

Our neighborhood takes on a different rhythm in summertime. The predictable daily school routines and work patterns are off-kilter. Summer brings a refreshing pace, for sure. But with all the coming and going, I miss seeing everyone on a regular basis.

Inspired by Doris’ delicious peaches, and bacon left over from breakfast, I decided to kick our summer sandwich game up a notch.

Plus, it was time to reconnect with our friends.

When it’s too hot to cook, a picnic lunch is the perfect solution to bring neighbors and friends together. A quick text to a few neighbors and our picnic lunch was set.

July 25 TM Post Vertical

Simple Sandwich Fix

A far cry from the standard peanut butter and jelly, these tasty, easy-to-assemble sandwiches boast the essential flavors of summer. Basil and peaches! For an added measure of nostalgia, I like to serve our favorite pimento cheese on thin white bread, too.

July 25th Piminto Cheese Picnic Lunch

Pile the sandwiches on a breadboard or serving tray and head out to the Turquoise Table. Fruit salad or vine-ripe tomatoes are delicious additions. Anything juicy and oven-free!

July 25 Blog Post Bacon Arugula Peach Sandwiches

Bacon, Peach & Arugula Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 4 Ciabatta rolls
  • ¼ cup pesto (store bought or homemade)
  • 2 peaches, halved, pitted and thinly sliced
  • Arugula, for topping

Instructions

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning a few times until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Toast the bread and spread evenly with the pesto. Divide the peaches, bacon and arugula among half of the bread slices; top with the remaining bread slices.

File Jul 22, 10 41 17 AM

Tips for Hosting a Picnic Lunch at the Turquoise Table

  1. Don’t cook! When the temperature is blazing, keep things cool in the kitchen. Sandwiches and salads are perfect picnic table fare.
  2. Casual cool. As we like to say, “if you aren’t barefoot or in flip flops you’re over dressed.” Come as you are.
  3. Conversation = Connection. Make space for meaningful conversation. It’s not about the food being served, but those who are gathered around the table.

July 25 RESIZE for TM Blog Header

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Dining and Kitchen, Outdoor
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Kristin Schell

Meet the Contributor

Blog: The Turquoise Table

My home Tuesday Morning location: Burnet Road, Austin, TX

My favorite Tuesday Morning department: That’s like picking a favorite child! Probably seasonal, housewares and food. Oh, and linens.

A little about me: I’m on a mission to love my neighbors. I put an ordinary picnic table in my front yard, painted it turquoise and invited neighbors, friends and even strangers to hang out and do life together at The Turquoise Table. I live in Austin with my husband and our 4 children. My favorite color is turquoise, but I bleed burnt orange for The University of Texas. I believe the answer to world peace might involve a bowl of queso and salty tortilla chips.

What I love to write about: I love bringing people to the table and encouraging others to gather with family and friends, too. My book The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard releases on June 6, 2017 with Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

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7 Comments

  1. Reply Elaine Astorino

    First time reader, and enjoyed your sharing front yard picnic lunch.
    I never thought to combine peaches & bacon, and I will try it. Love your casual get togethers with neighbors, friends and whom ever might stroll by your tourqoise table. BTW: Tourqoise is my color scheme at my pool cabana.

  2. Reply jodi

    Wish I lived in your neighborhood.

  3. Reply Beth Berling

    Love your turquoise table idea! Can’t wait to read your book.

  4. Reply Treasure Faircloth

    thank you for your comments- enjoyed reading about your table in your front yard – seem like a great idea
    do you allow people to use it even if your are not present

    treasure

  5. Reply Vivian Bowers

    I am not moved often to respond to articles Kristin, but your “about you” piece really warmed my heart.
    Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration. I look forward to reading your book. Oh and turquoise is my go to color

  6. Reply Phyllis Simpson

    I think I’m going to thoroughly enjoy hearing from The Turquoise Table! Thank You! I love Tuesday Morning and will look for your products!

  7. Reply Sue

    I’ve read about you and your wonderful table before but did not realize you were in Austin. I’m in Round Rock – almost neighbors! We’ve lived in the same house for 40 years and some of our original neighbors are still here as well. Our neighbor put a fire pit in his front yard and almost every evening a bunch of us would sit around it and talk about everything and nothing. Some would bring wine, others would bring little snacks, it was casual and lots of fun. But, understandably, fire pit sitting doesn’t happen when it’s 104 out. When it cools down a bit in the afternoon, maybe I’ll drag one of our tables from the back to the front and pour some tea and chill some wine and invite everyone over. I do have one questions for you, how do you deal with all the biting ants (fire ants, especially) that are always hiding and waiting for some toes to bite? Thanks and now that I know about your blog, I’ll be following you.