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Portable Picnic Lunch for the college grad

Picnic Lunch for the College Grad

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If I had  been better organized, we’d be dining in one of our favorite Bloomington, Indiana, restaurants, but instead we schlepped this Picnic Lunch for the College grad to eat after the ceremony. 
Portable Picnic Lunch for the college grad

Picnic Lunch for the College Grad

Meeting up with a girlfriend for tea sent this plan in motion. Granted, she’s the mom of a daughter graduate and my Nick might not even notice the paper plates in his school colors, coordinated napkins and kicked up lunch menu. But this event deserved a mini celebration. I packed up this picnic lunch and schlepped it down to campus to eat after the festivities!

One of Nick’s frequent responses when I inquire if he’s ready to eat is always, “I’m always hungry, Mom.” So I knew that sitting in an outdoor stadium for 2+ hours for commencement ceremonies would have him ravenous. Unlike his father, he inhaled his chicken salad sandwich laden with nuts, dried and fresh fruit and diced celery. It hit the spot!

College graduationThe Menu

I totally swiped Cecelia’s menu in exchange for a few shopping tips. She’s the mom of 4 daughters and has been through this 3 times before. Chicken salad in croissants wrapped in red and white parchment, a simple fruit salad, and oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies were packed in our cooler early on graduation day.

Napkins and paper plates were also in the school colors of “Crimson and Cream.” We didn’t dare eat off any plates in the boys’ kitchen as we saw the state of their housekeeping only the week before when they bragged about “swiffering” recently. Though “recently” apparently meant 2 weeks prior. Here are links to the lunch dishes if you’d like to borrow this menu for your upcoming celebration:

Fruity Chicken Salad | A Classic Chicken Salad jazzed up with dried cherries, grapes and pecans for a Picnic Lunch

Fruity Chicken Salad minus nuts and dried cherries for the guys and served on croissants

Honey Lime Fruit Salad | Scrumptious fresh fruit dressed with honey, lime juice, vanilla and poppy seeds for a Picnic Lunch

Honey-Lime Fruit Salad or Chopped Fresh Fruit

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Packed full of chocolate, oats, nuts and dried cherries

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Portable Picnic Lunch for the college grad

Here’s a snap of our actual lunch, decked out in Crimson and Cream! As I suspected, Nick was more interested in the food than the festive decor. He was starving!

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28 comments on “Picnic Lunch for the College Grad”

  1. Ha! I see it completely differently….I think the fact that you made a picnic lunch of proof positive that you are so well organized. Those who can’t muster a picnic lunch are doomed to wait in line with the other hordes of graduates at a local restaurant.

    And “swiffering?” That cracked me up. Yeah, swiffering once a semester = deep cleaning, in the life of a college student.

  2. BTW Congrats to your very handsome son!!! I love how you made it all so pretty and matched it to the school colours – so creative. Love what you wore – you look amazing!

  3. Congrats! I my daughter is a junior at IU, so we’ll be going through it all next year! Our favorite place to eat in Bloomington is The Farm! Sounds like a great picnic!

  4. Congratulations Liz! What an awesome lunch and perfect way to celebrate. Your son is so handsome and he looks so happy. Good for him!!!! Love that fruit salad and the sandwich – they look amazing!

  5. A picnic lunch is such a cute idea!! What a fun time!

  6. Congrats!!! This lunch looks amazing and I love the bright and colorful fruit salad! So delicious 🙂

  7. The “swiffering” comment cracked my up. Such a guy thing. I think a picnic lunch is perfect for a graduation. The fact that you thought to buy paper plates in school colors tells me that you’re more organized than you are giving yourself credit.

  8. Looks like a wonderful lunch. Congratulations to your son and his very big accomplishment.

  9. What a fun way to celebrate! And, congratulations on your son’s graduation.

  10. Dear LIzzy, Congratulations! What a wonderful celebration in a beautiful fun way.
    I love this joyful picnic. Wishing your son the very best for each and everyday; filled with all love, blessings and happiness that life may bring.
    xoxo Catherine

  11. Aw, congrats to your son! (And to you–it’s a big accomplishment for the parents as well!) This looks like a completely delicious picnic menu. I’m ready for summer picnic season in a major way!

  12. Wonderful way to celebrate your son’s graduation! Thank you for sharing the chicken salad recipe. (Millions of years ago – in my 20s I was a tea room modeled and would gobble very similar sandwiches after the show…Ps. It was Bullocks Wilshire – a very upscale store with upscale food like yours!) Curious as to where Nick will intern and start his career =)

  13. Congratulations and great picture! The presentation was lovely and maybe it’s just a guy thing that he didn’t notice it. Chicken salad sandwiches are on my menu for today and like your’s the nuts and fruit will have to go.

  14. Congratulations to your son and to you for such an amazing picnic, I’m sure it was a great day. I remember my graduation and I wish I had a picnic like this 🙂

  15. I think the way you chose to celebrate was perfect and you didn’t have any crowds to contend with at a restaurant. Congratulations to your son.

  16. I think this was a wonderful way to celebrate a graduation. Congratulations to Nick!

  17. This is a great lunch. I would like to try the chicken salad. Your photos with your son are wonderful. Congratulations to you both! An outstanding achievement.

  18. Congrats to Nick, as well as you and Tom for raising such a fabulous hooligan. You must be so very proud of him. I mean, barring the whole swiffering thing. The rest is pretty awesome. *giggles*

    Love that you packed a picnic lunch. Everything looks delicious. And I am desperate to know where you bought the paper for the sandwiches. Us food bloggers and our obsession with cute props, it’s like a sickness.

  19. Congratulations to Nick!!! I know you’re super proud of him! Love the menu! That Honey-Lime Fruit Salad looks amazing!

  20. You look fabulous, & of course the food too! Have an awesome week, babe! xoxo

  21. Congrats to all! Alex wanted to grill steaks with all his friends and you wouldn’t believe the state of that kitchen! Luckily he and a another mother took charge and I only had to bring pies from the farmer’s market. There is one benefit to living far away!You all look so happy, Liz!

  22. Congrats all! Loving your lunch and reckon it is the perfect way to celebrate. Loving the fruit salad, simple yet so dang pretty and healthy too. And those sandwiches… YARM! PS: Your son is a bit of a hottie! 🙂

  23. Hi Liz, first congrats to your son, what an achievement. Your picnic lunch sounds delicious, especially the cookies.

  24. Picnic lunch is the perfect way to celebrate! When I throw summer parties I always do chicken salad on croissants! It’s such a crown pleaser 🙂

  25. Wow…how special! You’re a wonderful, wonderful mother! Congratulations on Nick’s graduation.

  26. Félicitations on Nick’s graduation! You know I think I prefeer your picnic to go in a restaurant! It’s so nice 😉

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