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, February 27, 2013

Being Loved is a Picnic!

“Love is a choice you make everyday.”
Gary Chapman

“Love doesn't erase the past, but it makes the future different.”
Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages

     This quilt was made a couple of years ago.  I got creative and made up my own pattern.  I needed a smallish quilt to hang on my wall for February.  It was my first experience with scalloped edges. 

This is one of the books that is on the docket for our book club to read this year.  I was over anxious and read it already.  It is an amazing self-help book for those who want to enrich their relationship with their spouse or anyone for that matter.  I learned a lot about myself and my spouse at the same time. It helped me count my blessings that I have a wonderful, amazing husband that has my best interests at heart.   I do recommend this book for everyone.
The following recipes would work out well for a nice Valentine's dinner or any nice meal that you might feel inclined to prepare for your family.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
1 quart (4 cups) tomato juice                         2 T. butter
¼ cup sliced or diced onion                            2 T. flour
1 tsp. salt                                                        1 ½ cup milk
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. basil
1 bay leaf
            Combine first seven ingredients in a 2 quart sauce pan.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Make a white sauce with butter, flour and milk.  Slowly add to hot tomato mixture stirring constantly.  Serve at once.  Serves 6.  Excellent with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Fun served with popped popcorn or cheesy fish crackers.

     This recipe comes from my friend and neighbor, Tammy.

Tossed Craisin Salad

1 package romaine lettuce                                 Craisins to taste

1 package coleslaw mix                                    Breanna’s poppy seed dressing

salted peanuts to taste

            Combine first four ingredients in large bowl.  Toss with dressing when ready to serve.
     The following two recipes come from recipes adapted from

Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
1 ½ lbs. small potatoes, or potatoes cut to bite-size
2 ½ Tbspn. olive oil
2 ½ Tbspn. coarse-grain or Dijon mustard
2 ½ Tbspn. chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 ½ tsp. dried rosemary)
About 5 cloves garlic, minced
Ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, mustard and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Add potatoes to the boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain potatoes and return to the pan.  Toss with the mustard mixture.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spread potatoes out evenly on it.  Sprinkle with salt and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the skins are browning and sizzling.  Place potatoes on a platter and scrape seasoned bits off the foil onto the potatoes and serve.

Garlic-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
1 large or 2 small pork tenderloins
2 ½ Tbspn. olive oil
2 ½ Tbspn. chopped rosemary leaves ( I used 2 ½ tsp. dried rosemary)
2 ½ Tbspn. coarse mustard
5 cloves garlic
½ tsp. salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.  Rinse pork tenderloin and trim away excess fat.  Pat dry and place on prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary, mustard, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Rub this mixture all over the tenderloin, especially on top.  Place in heated oven and roast until meat reaches 160 degrees, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and wrap in foil and allow to sit for 5- 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Potatoes.


Cheesecake Dessert
Make crust using:
2 cups flour                             ½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cups butter                       1 cup chopped nuts
Press into 9x13 “pan and bake for 15 minutes in 350 degree oven.
Let cool and break up into small pieces and spread evenly over bottom of pan.  Reserve about ½ cup crumbs to garnish top of dessert. 

Make filling by mixing:
Two 8 oz. packages of whipped topping
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
Spread the filling evenly on the crust.
Make topping by using:

1 pkg. Danish dessert mix                              2 cups frozen strawberries or raspberries

Follow directions on Danish Dessert mix.  Remove from heat and add berries.  Let cool and then spread on top of the filling.  Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top.  Refrigerate for a few hours until served.

     The day the family took an outing to Hardware Ranch, we also made our way over to Honeyville in Box Elder County.  We braved the 22 degree temps and went swimming outdoors at Crystal Hot Springs.  I don't know if we're crazy or adventurous, but it was fun.  I only managed one trip down the water slide.  That was cold!   This place has been around for a long time.   I have fond memories of going there with a large group when my husband and I were dating.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Piece of My Heart

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
     I found the pattern for this cute table runner in the Jan./ Feb. 2013 issue of McCalls Quilting Magazine.

It's called "Heart of the Home".  The heart blocks remind me of the hearts we made in 3rd grade with red and pink construction paper.

     These little pillows found a place to rest this month on the bench in my entry way.  The pattern comes from "The Pillow Lady" Muriel Andersen.  It's called #219 Love X 2.  So cute with a little embroidery and a little patchwork.

     This is the first year in many that my kids have not made valentines for the kids in their classes.  My youngest is 12 and no longer in grade school.  To ease my sadness a little we had a friend party for my daughter.  I was delighted when 12 beautiful, giggly girls showed up.  The highlight of the afternoon, to my surprise, was when each girl wrote something nice about each of the other girls on a small piece of paper then rolled it up and gave it to that girl to insert in the opening of a balloon.  The balloon was then blown up and tied off and later sent home with her.  I told the girls they can pop their balloon and read the notes when they are having a bad day.  It should cheer them right up.  They also painted their nails.  The girls helped me make mini cheesecakes and they all enjoyed pizza with lots of fruits and veggies.  They got to choose out of three different kinds of toppings for the cheesecakes; cherry, blueberry or raspberry.  Each girl received a treat bag and some cute, warm gloves.

Mini Cheese Cakes

2-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened              1 Tbspn. lemon juice

2 eggs                                                              1 tsp. vanilla

¼ cup sugar

            Beat all ingredients until smooth.  Put vanilla wafer in each cupcake liner in muffin tin to form a crust.  Fill half full with cream cheese mixture.  Bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes.  Let cool and top with cherry pie filling just before serving.

  This recipe came from one of my college roommates. It's so easy.   I have used it quite a bit for parties or showers.
     If any one knows anything about love it would probably be Mother Teresa.  I am not Catholic but I do admire this woman and all the work she has done among the poor. Reading this book opened my eyes to see what a truly beautiful person she is.

     I bought this countdown board for Valentine's Day last year at a little store on Main Street and Vine in Tooele called Homebodies.  My kids had fun eating the kisses each day until Valentine's Day.