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, September 18, 2016

September Sentiments

“Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing.” ~ Anne Sullivan



    This month, my husband and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.  I am very blessed to have a husband that supports me in all of my quilting craziness.  He accompanies me often when I want to go to a quilt show or a sale.  He also gives me helpful advice when I'm working on a quilt.  This year we celebrated by eating at the Cheesecake Factory and seeing the movie "Sully".   We both really enjoyed that movie.  I highly recommend it.  This is the quilt that I was able to finish this summer.  I love how it turned out.  These are my favorite colors!  The pattern is called Twilight Trellis.  I ordered the kit from McCall's Quilting.



Here are a couple of recipes that my husband and I enjoy.


Spanish Rice
6 slices bacon                                                  1 T. brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped                    1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 small green pepper, finely chopped             1 tsp. salt
1-28 oz. can tomatoes, cut up                         1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup water                                                     1/8 tsp. pepper
¾ cup long grain rice 
In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towel; crumble and set aside.  Drain fat from pan, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.  In the bacon drippings cook onion and green pepper until tender.  Stir in undrained tomatoes, water, rice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, chili powder and pepper.  Cover; simmer about 30 minutes or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Top with the crumbled bacon.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, if desired. 

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups finely grated carrots
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
Beat together butter and sugars until creamy, Blend in eggs and vanilla.  Add half of flour mixture with mixer on low speed.  Mix in the carrots and then mix in the rest of the flour.  Scoop dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper using a 1 1/2 Tbsp. scoop.  Bake in preheated oven about 11-12 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
 For the frosting, whip together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar and whip again until fluffy.  Frost each cookie.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
     I recently finished reading this beautifully written book by Josi Kilpack.  It is the story of the courtship of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Fanny Appleton.  It's a story of persistence, patience and true love.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

One Hot Summer

"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying." ~ Joan of Arc

August has been one long, hot month. August is also my birthday month.  I consider it a reward for getting through the summer.  This year my husband went with me on a Friday to the Brigham City Museum.  They have a quilt show there every summer with some amazingly beautiful quilts some of which are from international sources. Here are some.  Check out this first one that is three quilts in one depending on what direction you are looking at it.



Here are a few recipes that helped us get through the summer heat.

BLT Pasta Salad


Serves 6

  • 1 box bow-tie pasta
  • 1 lb. thick-cut bacon
  • 1/3 cup creamy ranch dressing
  • 1 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 10 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Bring salted water to boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  • Cook bacon until crispy, then crumble. Set aside.
  • Whisk ranch and Italian dressing together, and toss well with pasta until coated.
  • Mix in bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Add salt and pepper, and toss well.
  • Serve and enjoy!

blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream


·         3 eggs, lightly beaten

·         1 cup vegetable oil

·         3 teaspoons vanilla extract

·         2 1/4 cups white sugar

·         2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini

·         3 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         1/4 teaspoon baking soda

·         1 pint fresh blueberries (you can reserve a few for garnish if so desired)

Lemon Buttercream

·         1 cup butter, room temperature

·         3 1/2 cups confectioners\' sugar

·         1 lemon, juice and zest of (about 2 tablespoons)

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         1/8 teaspoon salt


1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.  (I used a bundt pan and doubled the baking time.)

2.    Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid comes out. You will want to have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.

3.    In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.

4.    Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.

5.    Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream

1.    Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.

2.    Add lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.

3.    Fold in zest (If you are piping this buttercream, I recommend leaving out the zest).

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream 
 5 cups (ten ½-cup servings)
Best made when strawberries are at their peak of freshness, this ice cream is light, sweet and fruity.                                                                                 

1½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled*
¾ cup whole milk
²∕³ cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Put the strawberries into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse strawberries until rough/finely chopped (depending on preference). Reserve in bowl. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Stir in reserved strawberries with all juices. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Turn on the Cuisinart® ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
*Frozen strawberries may be substituted if fresh strawberries are not available.

Image result for a tale of two cities book

This is the book that I spent the summer reading.  Actually I read it for the book club I'm in.  I had a hard time following everything at first.  The names and places were all blending together.  But after a few chapters I finally got into it and enjoyed the story immensely.  I'm really glad I read it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Family Circle

“Our family is a circle of love and strength. With every birth and every union, the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more love. Every obstacle faced together makes the circle stronger.” ~ Author Unknown

   This has been one busy July.  We've had a family reunion and a wedding.  Not to mention a couple of birthdays. Here are a few pictures from the family reunion and the festivities that went on there.



     This is the quilt that I made for my son and his new wife.  I let them choose the fabric for the double wedding ring quilt.  It's actually made using the quick curve ruler and I used the metro rings pattern.

Next comes two family recipes that were enjoyed by all at the reunion.

Mexican Delight
from Aunt Ruth

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
3 cups water
3 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
 1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 cup cooked rice

Brown ground beef with onions and cook until tender.  Add all other ingredients including cooked rice and simmer until thickened; about 20 minutes. 

To make taco salad, layer tortilla chips on bottom of shallow bowl or plate.  Cover with the Mexican delight meat sauce.  Top with chopped lettuce, grated cheese, diced tomatoes, diced avocado and ranch dressing.

Relief Society Punch
from Grandma
20 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade
2 Tbsp. vanilla or almond extract
2 quarts 7-Up

Heat 2 cups water to boiling.  Add sugar to dissolve.  Add remaining ingredients adding 7-Up just before serving.

Cankered Roots - New Edition (Alex & Briggie Mysteries Book 1)

This book is a different take on a mystery.  It's a genealogical mystery by G. G. Vandagriff.  This is the first book in the series.