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, February 11, 2018

Open Your Heart

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."~ Proverbs 3:5-6

     I was fortunate enough to attend a sewing retreat at My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe in Logan, Utah last week.  It was specifically for new owners of Baby Lock Crescendo sewing machines.  Yes, I recently bought a new sewing machine and I love it.  It threads the needle, cuts the thread and has a laser light that shows the seam line to sew on.  I have noticed that I can get projects finished up a little faster than previously.  This is the project that we made at the retreat.  We learned a lot of new things that our machines were capable of while sewing this table runner.  I was so glad I went.  It was a nice break from everyday grind and I met a lot of nice ladies.

      Nothing says love like a big bowl of homemade chicken soup.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest one day and had to try it out.

Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup
                  From A Spicy Perspective
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
½ red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large chicken breasts
8 cups chicken broth
8 oz. cheese tortellini
¼ -1/3 cup cream
½- 1 cup baby spinach
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Place a large pot over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and chopped onions.  Saute for 3 minutes to soften. Then add the red bell pepper, carrots and garlic.  Saute for another 3 minutes.
Add whole chicken breasts, chicken broth, thyme, crushed red pepper, 1 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. ground pepper.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover and lower the heat a little and simmer 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken and place on a cutting board.
Turn the heat back to medium.  Add the tortellini and stir often to keep from sticking together.  Chop or shred the chicken and add back to the soup.
When the tortellini is cooked through, about 12-14 minutes, turn off the heat.  Stir in the cream, the spinach and the parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 6 servings.

     Every February I like to read a nice love story.  This book by Jennifer Moore fit the bill nicely.  The story takes place in 19th Century Australia.  I loved learning about the people and the politics of that time.

Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart by [Moore, Jennifer]

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018, A Year of Fortune

"Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself." ~ P. T. Barnum

There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt." ~ P. T. Barnum

     Last Saturday, I was able to attend a "Brunch Bunch" at the Quilter's Attic quilt shop in Bountiful, Utah.  The pattern and fabric designer, Amy Ellis, was there to do a trunk show and tell us about her new patterns and fabrics.  She is such a nice lady and so creative!  She even had some drawings for prizes.  My friend won a pattern and I won a set of fat quarters of her new line of fabric.


      Here are two recipes that are not only healthy, but they are fast and easy to fix.  They are tasty as well.

Tarragon Chicken
From Lion House Lite Recipes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions
½ tsp. tarragon
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
½ cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken in a 9x13” glass baking dish; sprinkle with green onions, tarragon, salt and pepper.  Dot with butter.  Add broth to dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake an additional five minutes to brown lightly.  Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Makes 4 servings.

Rice With Herbs
From Lion House Lite Recipes
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup long grain rice
4 green onions, sliced or
 1 Tbsp. minced dried onion
½ tsp. tarragon
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. dried parsley flakes
½ tsp. pepper
2 cups chicken broth
Salt to taste
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add rice and onion; saute' over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add tarragon, thyme, basil, parsley flakes and pepper, cook one minute more.  Stir in broth and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

We saw the movie "The Greatest Showman" a couple of weeks ago.  I enjoyed the movie so much that it made me curious about the life of P.T. Barnum so I found this book about his life.  He was a very interesting man and his life was inspiring.  I recommend the movie and this book.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

I Believe

"Each of us is an Inn Keeper who decides if there is room enough for JESUS."~ Neal A. Maxwell

     Last Tuesday was our annual Christmas luncheon for Quilt Guild.  The theme this year was "BEE-lieve".  Our challenge was to make a small quilt, less than 100 inches in circumference, that either had a bee on it or showed something that we personally believe in.  The lunch was great and we had one of our members, Sam, do a trunk show for us that was outstanding.

     This past year I made a new friend, Mary Louise, and she shared with me some chocolate muffins.  I just have to say they are delicious.  So delicious there are no words to describe how delicious.  And she was so nice to share the recipe with me.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
Makes 18 muffins

1 ½ cups mashed bananas (3 medium to large)
1/3 cup oil, coconut or olive
1 egg or 2 Tbsp. flax

1 cup sugar or ½ cup honey
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Variations: add berries, nuts, and seeds

Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

     I finished reading this book not too long ago.  It actually has 3 Christmas stories by three amazing authors!