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.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Heat is On!

"You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You're on your own, and you know what you know.  And you are the guy who'll decide where to go." --Dr. Seuss

     I went to the 12th annual Wasatch Front Shop Hop on June 13th and 15th.  13 Quilt Shops along the Wasatch Front participated in this event.  I went to the southernmost stores on Wednesday with my friend, Patti and I went to the northern stores on Friday with my sister, my daughter, my mom and 4 of my nieces.  Each store gave away a free quilt block pattern and had games to play and sales and their version of a quilt they made for shop hop on display.  The theme this year was "Those Were the Days".  Each store decorated their shop around a classic tv show.  I loved "Gunsmoke" in Lehi, "I Love Lucy" in Springville, "Brady Bunch" in Logan and "Let's Make a Deal' in Brigham City.  The other stores were fun but these were my favorites.  You also receive a passport at the first store you attend and you get it stamped at each store.  If you hit every store you put your name on it and turn it in to be eligible to win really nice prizes.  Here are some of my favorite quilts from the shop hop.

Stitching Corner's Quilt
Mormon Handicraft's Quilt
My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe's Quilt

Broadbent's Quilt
Corn Wagon's Quilt

Village Dry Good's Quilt

     While we were in Logan we had to go get some Aggie Ice Cream at the Dairy Science's the best ice cream ever!!!!
     We also went to Maddox's for lunch near Brigham City in Perry.  They have the best light and fluffy rolls and raspberry butter.  Everything there is homemade and very yummy!  It's at the top of my list of favorite places to eat.

     Here's a great recipe that's simple to make and you don't need to turn your oven on in the middle of the hot summer.

Soft Chicken Tacos

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed             Optional Toppings:

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained           lettuce, shredded cheese,

1 cup salsa                                                                   sliced radishes, diced

1 T. taco seasoning                                                      tomatoes, sliced green onions

6 flour tortillas, warmed                                             and lowfat sour cream or

In a skillet that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook chicken until juices run clear.  Add beans, salsa and taco seasoning; heat through.  Spoon the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Garnish with toppings of your choice.  Makes 6 servings.

My mom loaned this book to me to read.  I thought it was really good.  It moves through four generations of strong women who each worked for a cause they felt was worthy.  Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin is a historically based inspirational fiction novel.  I believe I will have to read more written by this same author.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."--Henry Ward Beecher

     This post will be a tribute to fathers and good men everywhere.  Last weekend, my sister and I took off to southern Utah to the little city of Panguitch for some much needed sister time together.  Each year on the second weekend in June they hold a festival in that town called the Panguitch Quilt Walk.  There is a very inspiring story that goes along with the festival.  It goes as follows....

     "The Quilt Walk story revolves around the initial attempt to settle Panguitch, Utah in 1864.  The first winter was brutal, food was scarce and the settlers were starving to death.  A group of seven men, with a wagon pulled by two oxen, set out to get food from Parowan, 40 miles away.
     In their weakened state the men struggled with every footstep, sinking up to their hips in the deep snow.  Eventually they abandoned the wagon and oxen and continued on foot.  As they held a prayer circle kneeling on a quilt, they discovered they did not sink in the snow.  The men completed their journey by laying quilts over the deep snow and walking across them, retrieving their quilts and repeating the process over and over again.  The story came to be known as the Quilt Walk and is treasured in the annals of Panguitch history."

     There is a park in Panguitch called the Quilt Walk Park.  There is a beautiful monument showing a man throwing out a quilt and there are also seven stone benches, honoring each man that participated in the quilt walk.  The town also adorns their buildings and benches with quilts during the festival.

A quilt show is held in the high school gym.  Here are a few of my favorites.

During our roadtrip adventure we traveled through a lot of little towns, some of which we didn't even know existed.  We thought Aurora, Utah was nice.  We also saw some very beautiful scenery.  We visited Fish Lake, which is surrounded by beautiful aspen trees.  Panguitch Lake was very scenic and Cedar Breaks is breathtaking (literally, my fear of heights kicked in then).
Fish Lake
Panguitch Lake

Cedar Breaks

Have you heard of the famous outlaw Butch Cassidy?  Do you know where he grew up?  We stumbled upon his boyhood home in Circleville.  There was also a big mural with his picture on it on the side of a store in Panguitch.   The group of outlaws he hung out with was known as "The Wild Bunch".

     Last, but definitely not least, is a recipe for Crescent Chicken Rolls in honor of my wonderful husband on Father's Day.  We served these for dinner today because it's one of his favorites.  I also included a recipe for Spicy Oatmeal Cookies in honor of my Father-in Law who came to dinner today as well, and loves Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

Crescent Chicken Rolls
1 pkg. 3 oz. cream cheese, softened                                    2 to 3 T. milk
2 T. butter or margarine, melted                                         1 T. chopped chives or green onion
2 C. cooked, cubed chicken                                                1 T. chopped pimento (optional)
¼ tsp. salt                                                                            1 can, 8 oz. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/8 tsp. pepper                                                                     1 T. melted butter or margarine
                                                                                             ¾ C. seasoned croutons, crushed, or
                                                                                                                dressing mix 
                Blend cream cheese, and 2 T. melted butter.  Add chicken, salt, pepper, milk, chives and pimento.  Mix well.
                Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles, as marked.  Spoon 1/4 C. of meat mixture near base of triangle and roll up, crescent style.  Brush each roll with melted butter; then dip in crouton crumbs or dry dressing mix.  Place on baking sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.  Serve hot with hot cream of chicken soup diluted with ½ can of milk.  Makes 8 servings.

Spicy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
1 1/2  C. flour                                             ¼ C. butter or margarine
½ tsp. baking soda                                      ¼ C. shortening
½ tsp. salt                                                   ½ C. granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon                                         ¼ C. brown sugar
½ tsp. nutmeg                                            1 egg
1 C. quick-cooking rolled oats                  1 tsp. vanilla
                                                                   ½ C. raisins
                                                                    1 T. milk
            Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Beat butter and shortening for 30 seconds.  Add sugars and beat till fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla, and milk; beat well.  Add dry ingredients to beaten mixture.  Beat well.  Mix in raisins.  Drop from teaspoon 2 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.  Makes 30 to 36.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Wild Days of Summer

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."--John Wayne

     Thursday evening I took off to Tooele with my friend, Patti and we attended the 1st Annual Wild Horse and Heritage Days.  There was a lot going on there but we mostly went to see the quilts on display at the quilt show.  There are some very talented quilters in Tooele County.  This quilt was made by my friend, Marta, who has taught me so much about quilting.  Her specialty is dimensional quilting.

     My friend, Sam, taught a class called Affairs of the Heart.  This is a quilt made by one of her students.  It's such a colorful, beautiful quilt.

     These are a few of my favorites at the show.

     Our book Club read another good book.  To tell the truth I wasn't really thrilled to read the book because of the title.  I thought I was already pretty good at setting my own boundaries but I learned A LOT.  This is another self-help book that everyone should read.  It's written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

     Summer is a time for outdoor meals and good things cooked on the grill.  One of the best side dishes for grilled foods is Baked Beans.  Here are two great recipes; one was given to me from my sister in law, Ruth, and one is from my cousin, Becca.  I use both recipes.  Sometimes, I even combine some of the ingredients from both.

Baked Beans

1 onion                                                            1 small can tomato sauce

½ lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled                 1 tsp. dry mustard

2 small or 1 large can pork and beans

½ C. brown sugar

            Combine all ingredients and cook in crock pot for 6 hours or 1 hour at 350° in the oven.  Can cook on the stove for 1 hour stirring occasionally.  (I usually double this recipe to fill the crockpot.)

Becca’s Baked Beans

½ lb. browned ground beef                2 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 onion, chopped                                1 tsp. salt

½ cup ketchup                                     1 15 oz. can kidney beans (drained)

1/3 cup brown sugar                            1 15 oz. can white northern beans (drained)

1 Tbsp. mustard                                  1 15 oz. can Bushes vegetarian baked beans

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for about two hours or until served.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

School's Out for the Summer!

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864)

     The kids are all out of school now.  For Memorial Day, our family, along with some of our extended family, decided to take an adventure and drive out into the desert to see if we could find some geodes.  We took off in four different vehicles and drove for a long time on both paved roads and dirt roads. 
      There is a mystical kind of beauty in the desert.  There is a high level of appreciation when a tree or a body of water is finally spotted.  There is also an admiration for any kind of animal that can eek out an existance in the middle of nowhere.
     My brother was the only person that found any geodes but we all had fun digging in the dirt and pretending to hunt for treasure.  We enjoyed our picnic in the sun and the kids enjoyed chasing the horned toads and throwing rocks.
    After lunch we drove on to Fish Springs.  We couldn't believe there was a bird refuge there after seeing so much dry desolation.  Overall, we had a great time and singing to the radio together helped make the long drive fun. 

A very refreshing dessert for the summer months is Pink Fantasy Pie.  It is so good and so easy to fix.  It does need time in the freezer to harden though.

Pink Fantasy Pie

1- 2 quart carton vanilla ice cream
1 large can frozen pink lemonade
2 graham cracker crusts

Soften vanilla ice cream and pink lemonade.  Stir together until mixed. Spoon into graham cracker crusts.  Put in freezer and let harden for several hours.  When serving let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  You can add whipped cream and a sprig of mint for garnish if desired.  You can also add a drop of red food coloring to the ice cream mixture to give it a darker pink color if desired.


Another great recipe for summer is Pizza Pasta Salad.  It's great to make ahead and put in the cooler to take along on picnics or as a pot luck for family reunions.

Pizza Pasta Salad
12 oz. pkg. garden rotini pasta                                               1 cup Italian dressing
1 cup diced tomatoes                                                               1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 cup cheese, shredded or cubed                                           1 can olives, sliced                             
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese                                           2 minced garlic or
1 small pkg. sliced pepperoni, cut in half                              1 tsp. garlic powder
½ cup green pepper, diced (optional)                                   ¼ cup purple onion, diced
1 cucumber,  peeled and diced                                              salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse under cold water and drain.  Put pasta in large bowl and add all other ingredients.  Stir together.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  The ingredient amounts are general.  Add or reduce according to your family’s taste.

Summer Winds quilt is named after the quilt block of the same name that it is made from.  A little bit  of floral applique in the middle is a nice touch.

     Since summer has come, I thought it would be fun to list some of the books I have read to my kids in the past.  My youngest daughter enjoyed The Black Stallion, Freckles and Island of the Blue Dolphins this past year.  I enjoyed Jacob Have I Loved.