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, April 13, 2014

Spring's Promise

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time."  ~Martin Luther

This is yet another quilt that I've made to help use up scraps from my sewing room.  I keep thinking I should be making a good size dent but I wonder.  Maybe the fabric multiplies during the night as we sleep.  This pattern is from Fig Tree and is called Painted Lady.  I think it is the epitome of Springtime.
     I read this book about a week ago.  It has a beautiful message and helped bring me closer to my savior.  It is geared toward people of all faiths and quotes many scriptures from the New Testament.  Connie has thrown in some experiences from her own life and family that have helped her grow.
              Here are a couple of Easter recipes that your family might enjoy like mine does.

Sausage Strata

8 pieces day old bread, cubed                                    2 cups grated cheese
1 lb. country sausage                                                  12 eggs
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped                                 2 ½ cups milk
½ tsp. garlic powder                                                   2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. onion powder                                                   ½ tsp. salt
2 green onions, diced                                                 ¼ tsp. pepper

Spray a 9x13” baking dish with cooking spray.  Put bread crumbs in bottom of dish.  Brown sausage in medium frying pan.  Add spinach, garlic powder and onion powder.  Saute’ until spinach is wilted.  Sprinkle green onions on top of bread crumbs.  Spread sausage mixture on top of that. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of sausage mixture.   Mix eggs, milk, dry mustard, salt and pepper in mixing bowl.  Beat eggs until well beaten.  Bake for 60-70 minutes in a 350 degree oven until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  Note: other vegetables may be used such as mushrooms, zucchini, onions, etc.


Mandarin Orange Cake
1 pkg. lemon cake mix                       

3 eggs

½ cup oil

2- 11 oz. can mandarin orange segments

1 8 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice

1 3.5 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix

            Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.  In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and juice from mandarin oranges.  Beat until smooth.  Add mandarin oranges and mix.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  To make the topping:  In a large bowl, mix together pineapple with juice and dry pudding until blended.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spread on cake and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Girl's Weekend!

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.  ~Author Unknown

     I had a fun weekend shared with my sister, my daughter and my niece.  We traveled over 4 hours to Moab, Utah to visit Arches National Park.  We had such a great time together and loved seeing the beautiful creations of nature.  Of course my first stop was the quilt shop there in Moab--called It's Sew Moab.


The Gossips


Balancing Rock

Delicate Arch


Sand Dune Arch

Broken Arch
North and South Windows
Turret Arch
Skyline Arch


                                                                  Skyline Arch from opposite side

Here are some more comfort food  recipes that are so easy to make.

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 pot 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.

Applesauce Bars
¼ cup butter, softened                                    1 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar                                          1 tsp. baking soda
1egg                                                               ½ tsp. salt
1 cup applesauce                                            1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together butter, brown sugar and egg in medium bowl until smooth.  Stir in the applesauce.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; stir into the applesauce mixture until well-blended.  Spread mixture into a greased 9x13 “ baking pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.  Makes 20.


I love this book.  It reminds me so much of my childhood.  I had four sisters and one brother.  Many of the characters in this book resemble my sisters at some point or another.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Life...A Stitch at a Time

 "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that stitch at a time, taken patiently."~ Oliver Wendell Holms
I was hoping to have this quilt long finished by now then I realized that I need to be happy in the process and not wish for everything to be done but enjoy the journey of life (and quilting) as it happens.  I have enjoyed working on this happy robin quilt.  It's a pattern by Prairie Grove Peddler.  I don't always hand quilt a quilt but I decided to give it a go on this one since it's a bit smaller.

     Life is green.  It is a living, growing thing.  If we are not happy today, tomorrow will be a new day and it can be happy. 

How can one get mad at this cute thing for picking one of Grandma's daffodils.
My daughter wanted to have a green party with a few friends for St. Patrick's Day.  We found a pair of cute green socks for each girl and they had so much fun playing Just Dance in their green socks on the xbox. Then they ate a lot of green food, along with potato soup and they made their own panini sandwiches.  The girls enjoyed a refreshing green lime smoothie. Last of all they had a treasure hunt through the house and the yard where they found a green treasure that was hidden by leprechauns just for them.  I think they had a good time!



Ham and Potato Soup
           5 cups peeled and diced potatoes                        dash of cayenne pepper
           1 cup diced celery                                                   1 ½ cups cubed cooked ham
           1 cup diced onions                                                  6 Tbsp. butter
          4 cups chicken broth                                               6 Tbsp. flour
          ½ tsp. garlic powder                                               3 cups milk
          ¼ tsp. white pepper                                           chives, dry or diced fresh                   
          ½ tsp. salt                                                                              
     Combine potatoes, celery and onions and chicken broth in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and cover and simmer on low until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add seasonings. Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook stirring constantly, until thick, about 1 minute.  Slowly stir in milk and continue to whisk until mixture thickens.  Add flour mixture to soup.  Add ham and stir until warmed through.  Garnish with chives.

Lime Sherbet Slush

                        2 cups lime sherbet                            ½ cup limeade concentrate
                        12 ice cubes                                        2 cups chilled Sprite or 7-Up
     Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve immediately.  Makes about 4 servings.

     Here's another recipe appropriate for March that I'm just throwing in for the fun of it.  I was surprised at how good this was.  But then again everyone loves bacon!
Fried Cabbage
6 strips bacon                                                 ¼ cup chicken broth
½ head cabbage, shredded                             1 tsp. vinegar
½ medium onion                                             ½ tsp. salt
                                                                                    ¼ tsp. pepper
Fry bacon in a large skillet.  Remove bacon from pan and allow to drain on a paper towel.  Add cabbage and onion to skillet and cook until cabbage begins to wilt.  Add chicken broth, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add crumbled bacon and stir.  Serve hot.

     Another thing I wasn't able to finish this week was the book I am reading.  Unraveled, by Julie Daines is a fairy tale about a crippled girl who has a chance to walk and live her life with the help of a pair of enchanted shoes.  I am enjoying the book and hope to finish it soon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finding Comfort

God’s Embroidery

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.
She would smile at me, look down and gently say, “My son, you go about your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.”
I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Son, come and sit on my knee.” This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, “My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.”
Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, “Father, what are doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright?”
The Father seems to tell me, “‘My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side.”
Submitted by IM4JESUS!

     A friend of mine quoted this story in church and I was touched by it.  I think each one of us struggles with the day to day stuff of life and I found comfort in this little story.  Today's blog is all about finding comfort.

This was the view from my back yard to the east before sunset just after the latest snowstorm.  I find comfort in nature.  It reminds me that God is in charge and He knows what is best for me.  He has created so many beautiful things for each of us to enjoy.
 I find comfort from friends.  My friend, Pam, could tell that I have been under a lot of stress lately and she gave me this cute little snowman.  It's actually chocolate and caramel disguised as a snowman.  Such a kind gesture!  It's those little things that mean so much.

I find great comfort in quilts, quilting and visiting quilt shops.  My friend, Linda, notified me on facebook that a new quilt shop opened up in Bountiful.  It's called Quilter's Attic. I had to go and check it out.  I loved the new, bright colored fabric.  I loved the artistic displays.  I loved the antiques throughout the store.  I loved the friendly ladies working there.  I find comfort through creativity.

  You can see what a cute shop this is.  Quilter's Attic will be having their Grand Opening this Saturday, March 1st.  There will be lots of sales and demonstrations and classes and special guests!


So many of us find comfort in food and I'm no different.  One of the most comforting foods is Chicken Noodle Soup.  Homemade Noodles are so good and so easy to make.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Eight cups chicken broth                                 1 tsp. parsley
4-6 carrots, diced                                            2-3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1 onion, diced                                                 homemade noodles
2 potatoes, diced                                            salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. poultry seasoning                                 1 cup frozen peas

Add first six ingredients to a large pot.  Simmer on low until vegetables are almost soft.  Add chicken and noodles and continue to simmer for 20- 30 minutes.  Add peas and cook for 5 more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Homemade Noodles

1 beaten egg                                         ½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. milk                                         about 1 cup flour

            Combine egg, milk and salt.  Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.  Roll very thin on floured surface; let stand 20 minutes (if you have time) and slice into ¼ inch strips.  A pizza cutter works well.  Let dry at least 2 hours.  Drop into boiling soup or boiling salted water and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.  Make in the morning and let dry all day to add to soup that night.  Makes 3 cups cooked noodles.

I'm throwing in this recipe for Ranger Cookies just because.  My son made these a few days ago.  They're his favorite.  He added white chocolate chips this time and left out the raisins and coconut.

Ranger Cookies

1 ¼ C. flour                                          ½ C. brown sugar                                            

½ tsp. baking powder                           1 egg                                       

½ tsp. baking soda                               1 tsp. vanilla                                        

¼ tsp. salt                                             2 C. crisp rice cereal                                        

½ C. butter or margarine                       1 3 ½ oz. can flaked coconut   

½ C. sugar                                           1 C. pitted dates, snipped, or raisins

            Stir together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  In mixer bowl beat butter for 30 seconds.  Add sugars and beat till fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.   Add dry ingredients to beaten mixture, beating till well combined.  Stir in cereal, coconut, and dates or raisins.  Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375° oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool about 1 minute before removing to a wire rack.  Makes 48.

Finally, I find comfort in reading a good book.  I finished reading an Amish quilting novel last month.  It did not disappoint.  I wish I was more like the main character in this book.