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, October 31, 2012

Spooky Halloween Dream

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of things which escape those who dream only at night."--Edgar Allan Poe

     I'm wishing each of you at the last minute a very happy, spooky Halloween!    Monday night the kids and grandkids came and carved pumpkins.  This is the spooky group that ended up on our front porch.

A few weeks ago I had a group of friends over for a craft night.  We painted wooden 4x4 pumpkins.  We also mod podged scrapbook paper on the opposite side so the pumpkins could extend their usefulness into the month of November.  Everyone's turned out a little different and all were so cute.  We used black vinyl for the faces and some jute or rafia for the vine.

October 17-20 was the Beehive Shop Hop.  For one of the days I went with my niece, my neighbor and my daughter.  We had a great day and we all went home tired.  My daughter ended up winning one of the prizes which was a jelly roll of fabric and a $50 gift certificate.  Thank you, Sandy Cotton Shop.
Here are some quilts that we liked from the Shop Hop.
Here's a recipe that is inexpensive to make and pretty darn tasty.

Kielbasa Beans and Rice

1 Tbspn. olive oil                                                                     2 cups INSTANT brown rice
1 onion, diced                                                                         2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced                                                           2 tsp. beef bouillon
2-3  ribs celery, diced                                                               ½ tsp. salt
1-14 oz. turkey kielbasa, sliced                                              ¼ tsp. pepper
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce                                                        ½ tsp. chili powder
1-15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed            ¼ tsp. each of thyme, rosemary and basil  
                                                                                                          dash of cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in large frying pan.  Add onion, garlic and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add kielbasa and sauté for 3 more minutes.   Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to low and cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until rice is done.

 Serves 6-8

 Optional: This is really good with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of avocado on each serving.


   This recipe is dedicated to my Dad whose birthday is tomorrow.  I used to make this recipe A LOT as a teenager because it was one of my Dad's favorites.

Carrot Pineapple Cake

Cream together well:

1 ½ C. oil

1 C. sugar

Add 3 eggs one at a time and beat well.

Sift 2 ½ C. flour with 1 tsp. soda, ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. cinnamon.  Add to creamed mixture.  Add 2 grated carrots and 1 C. crushed pineapple that has been drained.  Mix well and add 1 C. chopped nuts.  Bake at 45 minutes at 350°.



4 cups powdered sugar                          1  3 oz. pkg. cream cheese

1 cube margarine                                  1 tsp. vanilla


     I picked up a free pattern during the Shop Hop for this Spiderweb Table topper.  It was so fun to make and super easy.  Just sew two sets of 6- 3" strips together.  Then cut 3 triangles from each set using your 60 degree ruler.  Most all of the spider web fabric was on sale during the shop hop.

     Along with a lot of people, one of my favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird.  I never had the opportunity to read it in High School so I read it for the first time about 17 years ago.  I've loved it ever since.

Here in the country the houses are too far apart to trick or treat so we do the trunk or treat thing.  First we meet together as a neighborhood and have a sloppy joe dinner.  Then the trunk or treating begins.  Prizes are given for the best decorated trunks.  Here are some of the highlights of the night.

The End

Monday, October 22, 2012

Island Paradise

"Families are God's design of love on earth. Each person uniquely created, pieced and stitched together with different qualities and gifts, most of all with love."--author unknown

     We had a great family day on Friday.  We went to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.  Sometimes I think it should be called Buffalo Island because you see many more buffalo there than antelope.  October is the perfect month to visit because the bugs are gone by then.  First, we stopped in at the Visitor's Center and that's when the grandkids got to pet a buffalo (the only kind they should).  The gift shop had beautiful salt crystal Christmas tree ornaments for sale there.  We drove up to the Buffalo Point Overlook.  What a grand view!  We could almost see all the way south to our house.  We then went to the Bridger Bay area and had a lunch of buffalo burgers and fries at the Island Buffalo Grill.  Kind of pricey at 9 dollars each but everyone enjoyed the treat.  After lunch we went down to the beach and played in the sand, skipped a few rocks and tried to fly the kites without the help of any wind.  My youngest grandson took his first steps on a sandy beach. We then took a drive to the other side of the island and observed many buffalo and continued on to the Fielding Garr Ranch area.  We tried roping the metal steers, feeding the horses and touring the old buildings.  We checked in on the geocache hidden in the sheepherder's wagon.  After a day of beautiful scenery and lots of family fun we headed home. 


I love soup and it makes me very happy that the weather is starting to cool off.  Soup time is here!  This is a recipe that is fast and easy and good.  This recipe comes from my mother-in-law.

Minestrone Main Dish Soup

3 slices finely chopped bacon                                1 ½ cans water       
1 cup chopped onion                                             1-16 oz. can undrained tomatoes  
½ cup celery, diced                                                 ½ cup uncooked macaroni             
2 lg. cloves crushed garlic                                         ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil                                                             1 cup shredded cabbage                
1 can beef broth                                                            1 cup cubed zucchini
1 can Bean with Bacon soup

In a large saucepan, brown bacon and cook onion and celery with garlic and basil until tender.  Stir in soups and water, tomatoes, macaroni and salt.  Bring to a boil and cover.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add cabbage and zucchini; cook 10 minutes more or until done.  Stir occasionally.  You may wish to season with a little Italian seasoning before serving.  You may also want to sprinkle with parmesan cheese when serving.  Makes eight cups.
My family loves this bread.  They fight over the last piece.

Cranapple Braid

dough for 1 loaf of bread                               ½ tsp. cinnamon

2 T. softened butter                                        2 T. sugar

1 cup sliced tart apple                                     ½ cup whole cranberry sauce

                                                                        1 egg white, beaten with fork


Roll dough out on greased jelly roll pan.  Spread butter on dough.  Place apples down center third of dough.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Spoon on cranberry sauce.  Make cuts from filling to dough edges at about 2 inch intervals.  Alternating sides, fold strips at an angle across filling.  Fold bottom edge toward filling and finish by stretching last strip and tucking under bottom end.  Brush with egg white.  Bake in preheated 350° oven for 25-30 minutes.  Glaze if desired and cool before slicing.