Life really can be a picnic!

Everyone loves a picnic! This blog is about some of the things I love the most, and the term "picnic" just about covers them all. First of all, a picnic has to include food; simple food that is easy to fix. Next, you need someplace fun or different to visit; a nice, peaceful location. And of course, you always need to take along a good book to read and a well-used quilt to spread everything out on. So, there you have it! Easy recipes, good books, fun quilts along with some interesting, down-to-earth places to visit. You can even take your family or a friend or two if you want.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


"For each new morning with it's light,
  For rest and shelter of the night,
  For health and food, for love and friends,
  For everything thy goodness sends."~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Thanksgiving is almost here and it's always been one of my very favorite holidays.  I don't know why anyone would want to miss out on it by going shopping.  My friend, Dana and I got to go into Salt Lake City to the Little America Hotel and see the Holiday Quilt Show. There were some beautiful quilts there.  Each one was hand quilted.  The show went until Friday, the day the quilts were auctioned off and all the money went for medical research.  Here are pictures of some of my favorites.

I just wanted to include a couple of recipes I think are wonderful for November.  I was surprised at how good the meatloaf was and the cranberry sauce recipe comes from my husband's aunt.  So it's an old family favorite that everyone loves.

Turkey Meatloaf
2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium granny smith apple, cored and diced
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup bread crumbs
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 ¼ lbs. ground turkey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.  Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and cook apple, celery and onion until soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.  Let cool.  Whisk together eggs, milk, poultry seasoning and salt in large bowl.  Stir in bread crumbs and cheese until well combined.  Add ground turkey and onion mixture and lightly mix until well combined.  Do not over mix.  Press mixture into loaf pan and cover with foil.  Bake until cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes (165 degrees in center of loaf).  Serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.


Cranberry Pineapple Relish
2 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
½ cup crushed pineapple
Juice of ½ an orange
1 medium delicious apple, shredded
Cook cranberries in water until skins pop. Add sugar and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Cool.  Add remaining ingredients and chill thoroughly.

     I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time.  I read it just in time for the movie to come out.  This is such a fantastic book about forgiveness.  If we could all just be as forgiving as this man was, the world would be a much better place for all of us to live in.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nostalgic November

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”~ inscription on John Wayne's headstone

     The first day of November was my Dad's birthday.  He would have been 84 years old.  He's been gone now for almost 30 years.  I miss him a lot.  He was a bit of a cowboy.  He loved his boots, his cows, Louis L'amour books and John Wayne.  He also loved to sing.  I think I'll dedicate this blog to him.  He encouraged my creativity and frequently complimented my improving sewing abilities.

This is the bench pillow that I made for my entryway bench.  It will be there the whole month of November.  It's by Kimberbell Patterns.  I bought the kit to make it last year at the fall shop hop.  I love the shiney burlap for the letters and the big buttons for the owl eyes.

Cowboy Special
(Or Cheesy Beef and Mac)
1 lb. lean ground beef                                     1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, diced                                   ½ tsp. seasoning salt
2 cloves garlic, minced                                   pepper to taste
2 cups beef broth                                            1 ½ cups macaroni
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce                             1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in large pot until onions are soft.  Add beef broth, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and seasonings.  Bring to a boil and add macaroni.  Reduce heat and put a lid on the pot.  Simmer for about 15 minutes or until pasta is done.  Stir every few minutes to prevent mixture from sticking to the pan.  Turn heat off and sprinkle cheese on top.  Serve hot.  Serves 5-6.

Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter, oil and sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Gradually stir in the flour mixture until well blended.  Mix in oats and butterscotch chips.  Drop from a teaspoon onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden.  Let stand for a few minutes on cookie sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  (We use any kind of chips and sometimes use a combination of several different kinds.)

     We read this book by Louis L'amour this month in Book Club.  Strangely, it's only the second Louis L'amour book I've ever read.  It's one of the books in the Sackett group.  I liked it.  There was plenty of adventure and intrigue and it was one of those books that is hard to put down once you start reading it.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Life: The Great Mystery

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up ’cause they’re looking for ideas.”~ Paula Poundstone

     I finally finished the Mystery Quilt that we started at Quilt Guild.  This is the first time I have ever done a mystery quilt and I enjoyed it; even though I'm kind of one of those control freaks who like to make all my own decisions and know exactly what's going to happen.  I usually don't enjoy surprises so I had to let go with this one a little and just enjoy the process.  I even had fun using the leftover fabric to make a pieced backing.

     One of my grandsons had his 4th birthday this month and we helped him celebrate by taking our children and the grandkids to This Is The Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.  We had fun touring old pioneer homes, doing crafts, riding on the train, playing with toys, petting animals and panning for gold.  The nice thing about this place is people of all ages can have fun!


       I love baking in the fall when the days finally cool down a little.  These muffins are all about fall flavor.  They are so tasty.

Apple Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup flour                                                   2 eggs
3/4 cup whole wheat flour                     ½ cup applesauce
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice                          ¼ cup canola oil
½ tsp. baking soda                                     3/4 cup brown sugar                   
1 tsp. baking powder                                1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt                                                    1 cup canned pumpkin
                                                                      2 cups finely diced apples

Streusel Topping

2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, cut in small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients together.  In a large bowl mix eggs, applesauce, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin.  Add dry ingredients to this mixture and stir until combined.  Fold in apples.  Spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.  Combine streusel ingredients and sprinkle over muffin batter. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.


     Here's another Fall recipe that tastes just right in the Autumn months.  I used Jennie-O turkey sausage to make it a little lighter.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet
(adapted from a recipe from Taste of Home)
1 pound red potatoes, cubed
3 Tbsp. water
¾ pound kielbasa sausage, cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. pepper
4 cups fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
Place potatoes and water in microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until tender; drain. 
In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender.  Add potatoes and saute 3-5 minutes longer or until potatoes and sausage are lightly browned. 
Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme and pepper; stir into the skillet.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Add spinach and bacon; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.  Serves 4.

     In the month of October we read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for Book Club.  It was very entertaining and something most different from what I normally read.

     Just a couple of extras here.  These are the donuts that I served to my cub scouts after our field trip last week.  And this is the table runner I made from a Halloween panel and some charm squares.