Where did this summer go? Labor Day is already here and I didn't even get around to half of the summer activities I wanted to do. I guess that skydiving roadtrip pool party will have to wait until next summer. At least the weather is still nice enough to have a picnic, so that's what we did.

picnic basket

Picnics should be simple and relaxing, so I decided to make some simple things to eat. Don't stress about creating an epic meal for your Labor Day picnic. Make something easy and enjoy your picnic and the sounds of dogs, kids, and that squirrel who won't stop making noises in the tree above you. Just drink your wine out of your water bottle and enjoy life.

cutting the cheeseItalianpicnicparfaitfocaccia doughfocaccia doughfocaccia

Homemade Focaccia

  • 1 3/4 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 5 Cups All-Purpose Flour 
    • plus extra for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
    • plus Sea Salt (or pink Himalayan salt for sprinkling)
  • 5 tablespoons Butter melted
  • Olive Oil for drizzling
  1. In a small bowl combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Fun fact: sugar makes yeast fart. Put the bowl in microwave for 15 minutes, but DO NOT turn it on. The microwave is a warmish environment that allows the yeast to grow.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, butter and the yeasty sugar water. Combine using a mixer with dough hooks on low speed for 1 minute. Once the dough clumps together crank the speed up to medium and continue kneading for another 5 minutes or so. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and soft. Add more flour to the dough if it becomes sticky and tacky.
  3. Finally get around to cleaning off some counter space, and then immediately cover it lightly in flour. Knead the dough by hand once or twice, add more flour if needed.
  4. Coat a clean mixing bowl with the olive oil and place the dough ball in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in microwave with a cup of hot water for at least an hour. The dough should double in size.
  5. Coat a casserole pan with olive oil. Stretch the dough out in the pan. Press it out to the edges of the pan. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 425. Let the dough rise until the oven reaches temperature. Press little indentations with your finger into the dough, like the picture above. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the dough and be pretty liberal with your oil. Then grind the salt over the dough and then bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  7. Let it cool before slicing into it. Add any sort of meat and cheese to this bread to make a delicious picnic sandwich. We went with prosciutto and asiago.

whipped cream parfait
whipped cream
whipped cream
mason jar raspberry and chocolate parfait

Mason Jar Parfait

Serves two
  • 2 Shortcakes cubed
  • 12 Raspberries
  • 3 oz. Dark Chocolate shaved
  • Whipped Cream
    • 1 1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
    • 1 tablespoon Sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  1. Using a mixer whip the cream, sugar and vanilla over medium speed for 3 minutes or so.
  2. Split the shortcake between two mason jars. Then add some whipped cream, then the raspberries, then chocolate, more whipped cream and top it off with more chocolate.
  3. Cap it and there you go, a perfect portable picnic dessert.
mason jar parfaits

Keep your picnic simple and enjoy your Labor Day weekend! These picturesque picnic pics by Katy Weaver