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, July 21, 2013

Hats Off to the Pioneers!

They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Stepping stones for generations
Were their deeds of every day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!
--Ida R. Alldredge
     This week, on Wednesday, we will be celebrating Pioneer
Day, or as we call it here in Utah, "Days of '47".  We usually get together and watch the parade in Salt Lake City, then have a barbeque or a picnic.  Sometimes there are fireworks.  We honor the pioneers who settled this valley in 1847. 
     This is a quilt that I was able to finish up recently.  It's called Square Dance.  It's designed by Heather Mulder Peterson.  Since the pioneers loved to dance, I thought it appropriate to include it today.

     Our book club also read the book "O, Pioneers" by Willa Cather this month.  It was a good book about people who settled in the Nebraska area.  It was never easy conquering a new land.  Pioneers of any area always faced lots of hardships. 

     I was trying to come up with some pioneer recipes but my mom's potato salad recipe kept coming to mind.  It's been our favorite for a very long time.  I'll also include a recipe for blueberry pancakes.  It's a family favorite that is on the healthy side.

Joyce’s Potato Salad

6-7 potatoes                                                    about ¾ cup miracle whip

3-4 green onions, sliced fine                           about ¼ cup sweet pickle relish

5-6 hard boiled eggs, diced                            1-2 Tbsp. vinegar or dill pickle                                                                                juice
 salt and pepper to taste

     Cut potatoes in fourths and boil until tender.  Let cool and cut into small cubes.  Mix miracle whip, sweet pickle relish and vinegar or dill pickle juice in medium bowl.  Put all ingredients in large bowl and stir until mixed together.  You may want to slice a hard boiled egg or two to garnish the top of the salad.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Refrigerate until serving time.  Refrigerate any leftovers.  (Amounts of all ingredients are estimates.  Choose the amount as desired for your taste.)


Yogurt Blueberry Pancakes

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour                            1 egg

1 Tbsp. sugar                                                   1 cup plain yogurt, room temperature

1 tsp. baking powder                                      ¼ cup oil

½ tsp. baking soda                                          1/2 cup ( or more) water or milk

½ tsp. salt                                                        1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

            Heat griddle while mixing batter.  Combine dry ingredients, set aside.  Beat egg and yogurt mixture well.  Add oil and dry mixture.  Beat well.  Fold in blueberries carefully.  Pour batter onto lightly greased griddle.  Brown on both sides.  Makes about 12 pancakes.
     I just learned how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave.  I know it's not how the pioneers did it, but it sure saves time.  Aren't we glad we live now instead of back then?  You take two ears of corn, with the husks and everything still on.  Put it on a microwaveable plate and put it in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes.  Turn the corn over and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Let sit in microwave for 1 minute and then, using a sharp knife, cut off the end of the corn at the large end where the stalk is.  Then hold the corn by the silk end and shake it until the cob comes out.  So easy and quick! ( You may have to adjust the time to suit your microwave oven.)  Then take some softened butter and add some garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, paprika, chives or any other seasoning that you prefer.  Mix it together and slather it on that cob of corn.  Yum!!!

                                   Happy Pioneer Day!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Family Fun!

"In the end, life teaches us what is important and that is family." -Steven Covey

"If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor
your own stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem very
important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us
 who we are. " -Madeleine L' Engle

     Besides the normal Fourth of July Celebration, in the past two weeks or so we have participated in many family events including a family reunion and my son's Eagle Court of Honor.  Here is my happy son and the quilt I made for him to honor his achievements in Scouting.  This quilt was made from a panel and fabric called Stonehenge.

     Family reunions are busy and fun occasions.  It was good to see some of my cousins again.  My dad's family is known for all the good cooks as you can see by the spread on the picnic table.  I brought a summer favorite, Frog-Eye Salad, to share with everyone.

Frog Eye Salad

1 cup sugar                                                                  1 cup acini di pepe pasta

2 T. flour                                                                     2 cans mandarin oranges

½ tsp. salt                                                                    1 can pineapple tidbits

1 ½ cups fruit juice (from canned fruits below)         1 can crushed pineapple

2 eggs, beaten                                                             1 carton (8oz.) whipped

1 T. lemon juice                                                                       topping
                                                                                    1 cup mini marshmallows
In a saucepan combine sugar, flour, ½ tsp. salt, pineapple juice and beaten eggs.  Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Remove from heat; add lemon juice and cool to room temperature.
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil.  Add 1 T. oil and 1 tsp. salt.  Add 1 cup Acini Di Pepe pasta and cook until al dente.  Rinse under cold water and drain.
Combine egg mixture and pasta.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Refrigerate fruit until chilled in covered container.  Add the fruit, the dairy topping and the miniature marshmallows ( I use the pastel-colored ones).  Stir lightly and chill until serving.  Makes 8-10 servings.


     The kids also enjoyed a Bocce (lawn bowling) game, water balloon toss, three-legged races and the always popular candy cannon.


     Along with all the outdoor activities we have had record-breaking hot temperatures with highs all week long in the 100s.  To help us stay cool here is a recipe for Tropical Smoothies.  This is another favorite from Our Best Bites.
Tropical Smoothies
1 ½ cups orange-mango-peach juice         
½ cup cream of coconut                               
1 cup cubed mangoes or peaches                             
1 cup raspberries or strawberries

1 1/2 cups (about 3 large scoops) pineapple sherbet

2 cups ice
     Add all ingredients to your blender in the order listed and process until smooth.  Drink immediately.

     It's been so hot lately that it's felt like we were walking across Egypt.  So the book I'm recommending for this month has that title-Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton.  Turn up the air-conditioner and have yourself a very good read.
     Here's a little table top quilt that was fun to make called Pop'n Firecrackers by Ashby's Attic.