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, March 26, 2017

Irish Chain

"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~ Will Durant





 


     This is a little quilt that I was almost able to finish during our Quilt Retreat this month.  It's another one designed by Nancy Halverson of Art to Heart.  I'm still working on a larger quilt I started. 






     Since I haven't posted any St. Patrick's Day recipes yet.  I'll just have to throw in a recipe for a green smoothie!

    

Pineapple Green Smoothie

1/2 sliced cucumber
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup baby spinach
1 medium ripe banana
½ cup almond or coconut milk
1/2 cup apple, pineapple or white grape juice
1 (5.3 oz.) carton Greek yogurt (pineapple flavor if you can find it)
 
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for 2-4 minutes or until smooth.  Serves 2.







This was a fast read by Earlene Fowler.  It's one of the books in her Benni Harper series.  It was sort of a romance  mixed with a murder mystery.






Sunday, March 12, 2017

Chicken Soup for the Quilter's Soul

"A sorrow shared is but half a trouble, A joy shared is a joy doubled."~ Old Proverb



     This weekend was so much fun.  It was our Quilt Guild Quilt Retreat.  The theme was Quilt Fiesta.  Each attendee received a gift bag (hand bag) that was filled with lots of stuff to take care of our hands (lotion, hand sanitizer, stick on thimbles, quilter's band aids, nail polish, nail file and a nice little rice bag hand warmer).  The tag on the bag doubled as a name tag to be clipped on using a wonder clip. 


 
 

     There were two sombreros filled with prizes to be given away during the three days of the retreat.  We played Quilty Bingo for prizes.





     We went to lunch the first day at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Casa del Rey.  We had three of our members, who just happen to be cousins (the three amigos) do a fun trunk show for us at the restaurant. 





























     Anita, one of our members who works at a quilt shop came and showed us all the latest gadgets from her store, The Quilter's Attic, in Bountiful. The store provided each attendee with a free project bag.




 

     Each day we had a fun make and take.  The first day we made ear bud zipper pouches that we thought would be great for holding needles or tape measures.  The second day we made beaded stilettos for quilting.  The last day we made thimble necklaces that were mini pin cushions.









     On the last day we broke open a piƱata that was filled with Mexican candy, fat quarter suckers and thread disguised as candy.



     We loved spending time together and forming new friendships,  We loved seeing all the projects that were being worked on.


 









     On the second day we had soup with a Mexican Flair.  This is the recipe for just one of the four yummy soups that we had.




Seven Can Chicken Tortilla Soup
                      From Six Sisters Stuff
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
1 (12.5 oz.) can chicken breast, drained
1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (1.25 oz.) packet taco seasoning
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. black pepper

Add all ingredients into a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer on low for30 minutes.  You can also cook this in your slow cooker on low heat for 2-3 hours.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.
I doubled the recipe to fill my slow cooker and started by using 4 chicken breasts and cooking them in the slow cooker on high for four hours and then shredding them with two forks.  I then added all the rest of the ingredients.  This serves about 12 when doubled.
 
 
     Attending a Quilting Retreat feeds the soul, so I had to include this book which has always been a favorite.
 
 



Sunday, February 26, 2017

All in the Attitude

" Blessed are the children of the piecemakers, for they shall inherit the quilts."~Anonymous



     I started this quilt over six years ago and I finally decided I better finish it soon or it will never get done.  So here it is my Beattitudes quilt.  This pattern is from Art to Heart and designed by Nancy Halvorsen.  I have always loved her patterns.








 
 
 
Here's a recipe that's easy enough for kids to make and they will actually eat it! 
 



Tator Tot Casserole
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 stalks celery, diced
½ onion, diced
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. seasoning salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
½ to 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package (16 oz.) frozen Tator Tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain well.  Add celery, onion, salt, seasoning salt and pepper.  Cook until celery and onion are tender.  In a 1 ½ quart casserole dish combine meat mixture with cream of mushroom soup and milk.  Place tator tots end-side-up to fill the dish completely.  Top with cheese.  Bake in oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until tots are cooked.  Makes 4-6 servings.
 
 
 


I love this book and I love this author.  The Orphan Keeper is about a boy living in India who is kidnapped and sold to an orphanage and eventually ends up adopted by a family in the United States.  This is a story about how years later he is able to find and be reunited with his family in India.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Red and White

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."~ Mother Teresa



     A couple of weeks ago my husband was kind enough to take me, my friend and her husband on a little outing to Brigham City.  We went to the Museum of Art and History there and enjoyed the Ruby Jubilee Exhibition sponsored by the Utah Quilt Guild.  Every quilt displayed was red and white.  There were so many striking quilts to look at.










































 

 

Here's a perfect recipe for Valentine's Day.  I love cherries so I know this is a good one!
 
 
 
Cherry Pie Bars 
Servings: 20 bars
·         For the Bars:
·         1/2 cup butter, softened
·         3/4  cup sugar
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         2 eggs
·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1/4 teaspoon almond extract
·         1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·         1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
·         2 to 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
·         For the Glaze:
·         1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
·         1/4 teaspoon almond extract
·         1-1/2 tablespoons milk, or as needed
       Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13" x 9" baking dish or metal brownie pan with non-       stick cooking spray.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add salt, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and beat until creamy and well combined. Add flour and baking powder and mix on low speed just until dry ingredients have been incorporated. With greased hands, pat 1-1/2 cups of batter into the prepared baking dish. Spoon cherry pie filling evenly over the bottom crust. Drop very small pieces of the remaining batter over the pie filling. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.
Bake for 33-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once bars have cooled, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, and as much milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over the cooled bars. Cut into squares and serve.
Adapted from Taste of Home
 
 
 
 
 


     I just finished reading this book this past weekend.  It's a sweet love story of Sir Walter Scott and his wife Charlotte.  And with most all love stories there were hurdles that needed to be overcome.