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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Adios August!

"Whether you think you can or think you can't; you're right."--Henry Ford

     Check out this bird apartment house that my son-in-law made for me!  I love it!  It's made from an old fence post and someone's old, red fence.

     My husband took a day off work this month and went with me to the 39th Annual Quilt Show at the Springville Museum of Art.  Today is the last day of the show.  There were some beautiful quilts on display.  My husband thought the metal water sculpture was pretty cool. 

Springville Museum of Art
Loved the beads and other adornments
I love the colors in this country quilt
This iris quilt was stunning
Beautiful tree skirt

Look at the color in this one!
metal water sculpture

Since we were in Springville, we had to go check out The Corn Wagon Quilt Shop there.

The Corn Wagon Quilt Shop

One of the highlights of the day was lunch at the Art City Trolley Cafe.  The owners found a trolley back east and brought it to Utah and it is used as the front of the cafe.  I loved the retro look with all the tin signs inside.  The rear of the cafe is just as cute as the front.  The food wasn't bad either.

 We can't leave August without first printing a couple of zucchini recipes.  Here they are.

Zucchini Muffins

¾ cup whole wheat flour                                            ¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup all-purpose flour                                               2 eggs
¾ cup sugar                                                  ¼ cup canola oil
½ tsp. baking powder                                    ¼ cup applesauce
½ tsp. baking soda                                       2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
½ tsp. salt                                                                   ½ cup sunflower seeds
½ tsp. cinnamon                                      ½ cup dried cranberries (craisins)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix  eggs, applesauce and oil in a small bowl; stir into dry ingredients until moistened.  Fold in zucchini, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries (craisins).             

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper liners.  Fill with batter all the way to the rim.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for five minutes before removing from pan.  Makes 1 dozen medium-sized muffins.

Zucchini Sunshine Casserole

5 cups zucchini, sliced                                  1 cup sour cream
                     ¼ cup onion, chopped                                 1 can cream of chicken soup
                   2 cups carrots, sliced                                    1-8 oz. package stuffing mix
                                                                              ½ cup melted butter
                                                                          Cook squash, carrots and onion in boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Combine soup and sour cream.    Mix stuffing mix with melted butter and spread half on the bottom of a casserole dish.  Layer vegetable mixture next and top with remaining stuffing.  Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.





Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to the Classroom

"Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing."--Albert Einstein

     My three youngest children are back in school now.  The days seem very quiet.   At least once each summer, we try to take the family to the Motor-Vu Drive-In Movie Theater here in Erda.  The featured movies this time were Brave and The Avengers.  We enjoyed both.  I have been going to the Motor-Vu since I was a small child.  In fact,  I worked there as a teenager.  The snack bar hasn't changed a bit since then.  The menu, however, has expanded slightly.


     This quilt is called "Summer Romance".  The pattern comes from a book called The Sweet Life by Heather Mulder Peterson.  She is one of my favorite quilt designers.  She also designs her own lines of fabric--very talented lady!  I just need to mention that I love the cropped corners and I love purple quilts!


      Here are three recipes that mark the end of summer.  They are some that we use frequently in the summer months.


Sizzlin’ Good Chicken and Pasta

3 T. vegetable oil                                              1 medium carrot, cut into strips

1 tsp. season salt                                              1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks

½ tsp. minced garlic                                          1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper                                    8 oz. spaghetti, uncooked

1 lb. boneless chicken,                                      1 C. sliced fresh mushrooms

        skinned and cut into chunks                       1 tsp. season salt


     In medium bowl. Blend first four ingredients.  Add chicken, carrot and peppers; toss to coat.  Cover, marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  Prepare spaghetti according to package directions; drain.  In large heated skillet, combine chicken and vegetable mixture; stir-fry until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender crisp. Add mushrooms, stir-fry 1 minute.  Add spaghetti and season salt; toss to mix.  Heat through.  Arrange on warm serving platter.  Garnish as desired.  Serve immediately.  4-6 servings.


Tossed Greek Salad

Salad ingredients:                                              Dressing ingredients:

2 pita breads                                                    1 T. dried parsley

8 leaves romaine lettuce                                    1 tsp. garlic powder

2 green onions, chopped                                   ¼ cup lemon juice

1 cucumber, chopped                                       ¼ cup olive oil

3 tomatoes, cut into wedges                              1 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper
1 can black olives, drained

Preheat oven to 350° and toast pitas for 5 to 10 minutes until crisp. Remove from oven and break into bite size pieces.  Tear romaine lettuce into bite size pieces and toss in large bowl with pita pieces, green onions, cucumber, tomatoes and olives.

            In a small jar mix the dressing ingredients together.  Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss.  Makes 6 servings.
Homemade Hamburger Buns
2 cups water                                                     1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 egg white                                                       4 ½ cups flour
¼ cup powdered milk                                      1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter                                       1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar                                          1 egg yolk
                                                                            1 tablespoon water
     Add all but last two ingredients in the order listed to a bread machine.  Select the dough setting and let process.  Punch the dough down and divide into 12 balls.  Flatten each ball and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.   Let rise for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and brush on top of each roll.  If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake for about  15 to 20 minutes or until nicely browned.
I got such a kick out of this book, A Year Down Yonder and it's sequel, A Long Way From Chicago, written by Richard Peck.  The books are actually written for older children but I think adults can enjoy them just as much as the younger generation.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Pretty in Pink!

"It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from God love us."--Charles Dickens


     This adorable little baby girl finally came to earth to be with her daddy and mommy.  I am thrilled to have my first grand daughter! 

     A month or so ago, I had the fun of putting on a pink baby shower for the coming sweetheart.  Along with chicken salad on croissants, we had raspberry jello salad, raspberry lemonade, and a tossed green salad.  For dessert we had raspberry lemonade cupcakes and cool raspberry dessert.  I hope we had enough pink going on.

Cool Raspberry Dessert

                                ½ gallon raspberry sherbet                  2 to 3 bananas

                                ½ gallon pineapple sherbet                  1 C. walnuts (optional)

                                1 pkg. frozen raspberries

            In large bowl, mix sherbet and raspberries all together until softened.  Stir in sliced bananas and nuts.  Serve at once in cups.  Can be frozen.

     The recipe for the cupcakes came from Studio 5 KSL TV.  Very yummy!!

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes:


  • Cake:
  • · 1 package white cake mix
  • · 1 small package vanilla instant pudding
  • · 3 T. sweetened raspberry lemonade drink mix (like Country Time Lemonade- pink
  • lemonade mix works too)
  • · 1 c. sour cream
  • · 2 t. lemon zest
  • · 3/4 c. water
  • · 3/4 c. oil
  • · 4 whites eggs (save the yolks for tomorrows recipe)
  • · 3 drops of red food coloring
  • · 1 c. fresh raspberries
  • Frosting:
  • · 1 c. butter, softened
  • · 1 c. shortening
  • · 1/2 c. frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • · 2 t. milk
  • · 2 t. vanilla
  • · Zest from 1 lemon
  • · 2 pound package or 7 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • · 3 drops of red food coloring


1. In a large bowl, whisk cake mix, pudding mix, and drink mix together. Add sour cream, lemon zest, water, oil, and egg whites to the dry mix. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for about two minutes. Add drops of food coloring and mix in. Fold in raspberries and mix gently to incorporate.
2. Scoop batter into 24 lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.
3. Prepare the frosting by creaming butter, shortening, and lemon zest together. Then add lemonade concentrate, milk and vanilla with a mixer. Beat until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, mixing well until light and fluffy. Beat in the food coloring.
4. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Place a lemon fresh raspberry on top of each cupcake. Enjoy!

     This is the little pink quilt that was made for our little sweetie.  It's made from 24 charm squares with a fussy cut square in the center. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

S'more Summer

"You must be the change you want to see in the world."--Mahatma Gandhi

    I have many fond memories of time spent in South Willow Canyon as a child and teenager.  It is one of my favorite spots to go to for relaxation and appreciation of nature.  There is something about a campfire that brings people together and adds an element of sheer joy.  Last Saturday, the temperature was reaching close to 100 degrees and we decided it was time to head to the canyon to escape the heat. 

     Hobo dinners (or tin foil dinners)  are a fun part of your outdoor cooking that each family member can make himself to his own liking.  Since we roasted hot dogs and brats we used potatoes this time in our foil dinners. I threw in some onions, red pepper, bacon crumbles and some seasoning.  Use two layers of foil and put anything you like inside.  Then wrap it up and seal it well.  Write your name on it with permanent marker.  The smaller the meal the faster it cooks.  Take a pair of long handled tongs to make turning easier.

     S'mores are fun for every one.  Each member of our family likes them done his or her own way.  Perfection between two graham crackers!

Picnic quilts are fun to make.  Since I have lots of sons I always have a never ending supply of old jeans.  I cut them up in 7 inch squares and alternate them with flannel squares of the same size.  I made this one for my oldest son and daughter-in-law and gave it to them for their wedding. 

     I love to read books about strong women who work hard to make a lasting legacy for their children and grandchildren.  This is such a book- A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich .  The librarian in Grantsville recommended this book.