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.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"God has a purpose for me.  He also has a purpose for you.  Let God speak to your life.  The key is--not believing the lies: fixing our eyes on Jesus and walking in the truth." ~ Joanna Gaines




     I spent the weekend with my husband and he was nice enough to take me to a quilt shop.  This time we went to Thimbles and Threads in Draper, Utah.  It's such a beautiful store in a beautiful building.  I loved the stained glass windows that followed quilt blocks through time.























     There is nothing else like a slice of homemade bread.  My good friend, Jayme, gave me this recipe for whole wheat bread and it is amazing!





 
 
Wonderful Whole Wheat Bread
(Makes two loaves)

(This recipe came from Education Week at BYU)

3 c. Whole wheat flour (5 – 6 cups total)

1/3 c. gluten flour

1 ¼ tablespoon instant yeast (I like SAF Instant)

2 ½ c. steaming hot tap water

1 tablespoon salt

1/3 c. oil

1/3 c. honey or ½ c. sugar

1 ¼ tablespoons lemon juice (can use lime juice if you don't have lemon)

2 – 2 ½ c. whole wheat flour

(Note: ¼ tablespoon = ¾ teaspoon)

Mix together first three ingredients in mixer with a dough hook (this recipe

can easily be done by hand, and can also be done with a regular beater

attachment, and then switched to a dough hook when adding the additional

flour at the end). Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let

rest for 10 minutes. Add salt, oil, honey or sugar and lemon juice and beat

for one minute. Change to a dough hook at this point. Add the last of the

flour ½ cup at a time, mixing well each time. Each batch can be different;

only add flour until you have a soft dough consistency. Over adding will

make it dry. Mix for about 5 minutes until dough pulls away from sides of

bowl. Turn dough onto oiled (or non-stick spray) counter top, and shape

into 2 loaves. Place in greased pans. Place pans in oven and preheat oven

on 350 degrees for 1 minute. Let rise until desired height. This can take

anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes depending on how warm it is. With bread in

oven, turn on at 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (in my oven it is

20 minutes, so check). Remove and cool on racks or parchment paper,

turning from side to side periodically until fully cooled. This bread freezes

well by double bagging.
 
 




     This past month I read the story of Chip and Joanna Gaines from The Fixer Upper Show.  They have such a complimentary relationship.  I was surprised at how brave they were in moving forward with their dreams.  Very inspiring!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!


"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." ~ Dale Carnegie



     Happy New Year!  Have you made all of your resolutions yet?  Me neither.  I'll work on that later.  Meanwhile here is the quilt that I made for our Quilt Guild block of the month.  We had a snow storm last week just in time for Christmas so I thought it would be fun to shoot a few pictures in the snow.  This pattern is by Amy McClellan from Under the Garden Moon.



 







       I love stuffed mushrooms!  I made them twice in the last week.  There are many recipes out there and some are healthier than others.  You can use breadcrumbs, sausage, shrimp or crabmeat, cream cheese, brown or wild rice, onions and the list goes on and on.  Use whatever you like.  This recipe is one that I adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

 


Stuffed Mushrooms

(adapted from recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

§  24 ounces, Button Mushrooms
§  1/3 pound Hot Pork Sausage
§  1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
§  4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
§  8 ounces, Cream Cheese
§  3/4 cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
§  Salt And Pepper, to taste
 
 
Wipe off or wash mushrooms in cold water. Pop out stems, reserving both parts.

Chop mushroom stems finely and set aside.

Brown and crumble sausage. Set aside on a plate to cool.

Add onions and garlic to the same skillet; cook for 2 minutes over medium low heat.

Add in chopped mushroom stems, stir to cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside on a plate to cool.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.

Add cooled sausage and cooled mushroom stems. Stir mixture together.

Smear mixture into the cavity of each mushroom, creating a sizable mound over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow to cool at least ten minutes before serving; the stuffed mushrooms taste better when not piping hot.
 




     Each January I try to read one self-help book.  This is the one that I decided to read now.  I am a woman so therefore I worry.  I would like to learn how to worry less.  I don't know if I am learning anything about how to worry less but I have enjoyed the stories that Dale Carnegie collected to write this book.




Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gifts of Christmas

"You can give a great and wonderful Christmas if you remember the gifts God has given you and, as best you can, offer them to others as He would have."~Henry B. Eyring



     I found a cute little panel with a simple doll to make for my grand daughter.  I just know she'll love it.  I even used the instruction part of the panel to make a drawstring bag so she can keep all the parts together when she's not playing with it.



 


     

     This is the gift that I made for my friend.  I hope she'll find it helpful when we go to quilt classes.  The pattern is called Classmate by Atkinson Designs.  I love all the little compartments to put sewing notions.







     December 6th brought our annual Quilt Guild Christmas Party.  The theme this year was "Preserving Memories".  We had Emily as our guest speaker to tell us all about her company called Pattern Jam.








     A nice Christmas cookie to take to neighbors for the holidays would be this one called Mint Chocolate Delights from verybestbaking.com.






 
Mint Chocolate Delights
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
 2 eggs
1 2/3 cups mint chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, sugars and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy.  Add eggs and beat well.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in mint chocolate chips.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and then put on cooling racks to cool completely.  Makes about 48 cookies.




     The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans was a nice relaxing holiday romance novel.











Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas In My Heart


"For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself." ~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol






    
 
 
 
 


 
      This is my red and white quilt that was a block of the month.  I finished several of the blocks and then made them into a quilt pattern of my own.  I was happy with how it turned out.


     Here's a fun recipe to use for that special Christmas Brunch or a way to use up the rest of the eggnog in the carton (if there is any).




 
  
Eggnog Pancakes
(From Crème De La Crumb)
1 ½ cups flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups eggnog
½ tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. oil
Maple syrup and powdered sugar
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  In another bowl beat eggs.  Whisk in the milk, vanilla and butter.
Lightly grease a large nonstick skillet or griddle.  Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the skillet.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until bubbles form in the batter and edges start to look “dry”.  Flip and allow to cook 1-2 more minutes until golden.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve pancakes warm with maple syrup and powdered sugar.  Makes 4 servings.



 
 
Instead of reading a book, this time I listened to one on cd.  I sure enjoyed listening to Jim Dale perform all the voices in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".  And thanks to my friend, Linda, for loaning me her cd for a few days.











Sunday, November 13, 2016

Autumn Blessings


"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ~William Arthur Ward
 
 
 



     This is the wonderful quilt ladder that my son in law made for me!  I am thrilled that I can display 5 quilts at the same time.  I am so appreciative of someone who has skill as a wood worker.




 
We just had family pictures taken.  These are the people I love with all my heart.  They are the people who will be gathered around our Thanksgiving table.  Family is one of my best blessings!
 
 
 
 
 
Here are a couple of vegetable recipes that came from the Costco Connection Magazine that I want to try out for Thanksgiving.
 
 
 
 
Parmesan Roasted Baby Carrots

4-5 cups baby carrots
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1-2 Tbsp. panko bread crumbs, optional
¾ tsp. salt, more to taste
¼ tsp. black pepper
Chopped parsley, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Place the olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a large zip top bag.  Add the carrots and shake until they are well coated.  Spread carrots onto baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until tender, shaking pan halfway through baking.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.  Top with fresh parsley and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.  Makes 8 servings.

 
 
 

 This is the book I just finished.....Autumn Masquerade.  It's actually three different stories by three different authors.  It was a nice relaxing love story times three.




 
I found these cute little edible turkeys on pinterest.  I just know my grandkids will love them as an appetizer for Thanksgiving!