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, January 22, 2012

2012-Getting a Good Start

"It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company."--George Washington

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances."--Martha Washington

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."--George Washington

     I have done something this month that I rarely do, I read a book that was recommended by my husband.  It's not that I don't want to read his selections, it's just that I like to read for entertainment and he prefers to read to actually learn something.  Anyway,  the book he gave me to read is called Being George Washington.  It's written by Glenn Beck and I've learned a lot about the wars Washington fought in and some history of the early patriots and traitors.  George Washington was an amazing man with an incredible amount of integrity and patience.  He so deserves to be called the "father of our country".  We would be much better people if we chose to take on some of his character traits.

Here's a quilt that I made last year for fun.  The snowman faces are made from fleece batting.

This is one of my family's most favorite recipes.  Even my picky eaters love it.  When I make porcupine meatballs I prefer to leave out the sugar.  I also use instant brown rice instead of white rice  to give it a little more fiber.

Porcupine Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef                                             2-3 C. tomato juice
½ C. uncooked rice                                         ½ tsp. cloves
2 T. chopped green pepper                              ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 T. chopped onion                                         1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt                                                         1 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. celery salt

Combine beef, rice, green pepper, onion, salt and celery salt.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Combine tomato juice, cloves, cinnamon, sugar and Worcestershire sauce in large pan.  Add meatballs.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes turning occasionally.  Yield 8-10 servings

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

"Did you ever notice. . . There are no recipes for leftover chocolate."  --unknown

    Since I'm really bad at keeping my New Year's Resolutions, this year I'll only have one and that is. . . I will eat chocolate.  I should do better with that one.  Here is a recipe that is the easiest fudge recipe ever.  In fact, the men in this family make it.  It turns out smooth and creamy and delicious every time.

Microwave Fudge
3 cups milk chocolate chocolate chips                       1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cube butter
Put all ingredients in a medium to large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 3 minutes.  Stir until smooth and pour into a buttered 9x9” glass dish.  Refrigerate until solid.  Optional:  You can add chopped nuts or mini marshmallows before stirring if desired.

    Here we are in January and it's cold outside so we're stuck inside.  Perfect weather for quilting.  I read a book last month about a group of women who quilt.  It was so good and it just goes to prove that quilters are the nicest people in the world.  This was a great story about friendship and when you help others it always comes back to enhance your own life.  The book is called Threading the Needle  and it's by Marie Bostwick.

Speaking of quilting, here's a quilt I made last year.  I got the pattern from a quilt shop in Payson.  I love the appliqued snowmen.  The quilt is basically strips sewn together with a center panel for the snowmen.  Then just put on a couple of borders and it's done.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Year's in Arizona.  We got to see some nice specimens of cactus.  We went hiking in the hills near the San Tan Mountains.  We went to dinner at a place called the San Tan Flat.  We ate outside on picnic tables around firepits.  In the center is a big stage and dance floor.  They had a live country western band and they were actually pretty good.

My sisters and I took a little trip over to a place called the Queen Creek Olive Mill.  It was a cool place that grows olive trees and produces their own olive oil.  They had a little store and restaurant there and sold all kinds of olive oil in different flavors.  We ordered some cupcakes from the bakery and tried their gelato.  Not bad!

     On the way to Arizona,  my family was good enough to stop in Boulder City, Nevada so I could peek in at a quilt shop.  It was called Fiddlesticks and it's one of the cutest quilt shops I've seen in a while.  The fabric was gorgeous and they had some unique containers to display their products.