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, September 22, 2013

A Post for Kindred Spirits!

This is a nice quote by Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.

     My husband and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.  We went on a New England/Canada cruise.  It was just beautiful.  By the time we arrived in Quebec the fall colors were just starting to appear.  My favorite place was Prince Edward Island.  I think it would be wonderful to live there someday.  I love the Anne of Green Gables book series by L. M. Montgomery and believe that everyone should read them sometime during their life.

   I was thrilled to find a quilt shop in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island called "The Quilting B and More".  They had Anne of Green Gables fabric there and a quilt kit and patterns.  So of course I had to buy a few fat quarters and the kit with Anne hanging a quilt on the line.

Here are just a few of the pictures taken at Green Gables.


      We were able to see our share of lighthouses and eat our share of seafood in the duration of our trip.


The following is a couple of seafood recipes from my file.

Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta

16 oz. fusilli pasta (or your favorite pasta)                1-14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes

½  onion,  chopped                                                      1-8 oz. can tomato sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced                       1-8oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

2 tsp. basil, dried                                                        ½ cup olives, sliced

1 tsp. oregano, dried                                                   ½ to ¾ lb. medium shrimp, peeled

¼ tsp. crushed red pepper                                          ½ cup parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

     Cook pasta according to package directions.  ( I like to use fusilli or bow tie pasta because it holds the sauce really well.)  Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add the seasonings and cook for another minute.  Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Heat to a boil.   Stir in olives and artichokes.  Bring to a simmer and add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp is done, about 5 minutes.  Serve sauce over pasta and top with parmesan cheese.   Makes about 6 servings.


Salmon Chowder

3 Tbsp. butter                                                  1 lb. salmon fillet (I use left overs)

1 medium onion, finely diced                        1-12 oz. can evaporated milk

3 cloves garlic, minced                                    1 tsp. salt

2-3 Tbsp. flour                                                   1 tsp. dried parsley

1-14.5 oz. can chicken broth                           1 tsp. dill weed

1 cup red potatoes, diced                                ¼ tsp. paprika

1 cup carrots, diced                                       pepper to taste                                  

1 cup celery, diced                                            ½ tsp. dried thyme


Melt butter in large soup pan.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Add flour and stir until mixed.  Gradually add chicken broth and stir until slightly thickened.  Add potatoes, carrots and celery.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add salmon that has been broken in bite-size pieces.  Cook for about 5 minutes then add the evaporated milk and seasonings and cook until heated through.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just Peachy!

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

     We are up to our elbows in peaches around here!  Got the peach halves bottled and the peach jam finished.  Two more items to add to the storage shelves in the basement.

     Here's the quilt I helped my daughter make (which means I did most of it).  Last fall she won a jelly roll and a fifty dollar gift certificate when we did the shop hop.  She bought minky  for the backing with the gift certificate.  It took us a year but we finished it up.

Just a couple of recipes for the peaches here.  My kids enjoyed the muffins and my husband liked the French Toast.

Oatmeal Peach Muffins

¾ cup quick cooking oats                                1 cup flour

½ cup milk                                                       1 tsp. baking powder

½ cup brown sugar                                         ½ tsp. baking soda

¼ cup oil                                                          ½ tsp. salt

2 eggs                                                              1/2 tsp. cinnamon      

1 tsp. vanilla                                                    ½ tsp. ginger

                                                                                                1 cup finely diced peaches

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line muffin pan with paper liners.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, milk, brown sugar, oil and eggs.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.  Stir flour mixture into egg mixture until just moistened.  Fold in peaches.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.  Sprinkle tops with a few regular oatmeal flakes.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.



Peach French Toast Bake

½ cup brown sugar                                                     5 beaten eggs

¼ cup butter                                                                1 cup milk

1 Tbsp. water                                                              1 tsp. vanilla

5 cups sliced peaches                                                 1 loaf wheat French bread

1 Tbsp.  lemon juice                                                    ¼ tsp. cinnamon

Combine brown sugar, butter and water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then spread in a 9x13” baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with sliced peaches that have been mixed with the lemon juice.  Slice bread in ¾” slices and arrange on top of peaches.  Mix eggs, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour egg mixture over bread and peaches in baking dish.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.  Uncover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Spoon out each serving with peaches on top.   No need for syrup. 

     For Labor Day, we spent the day at Mirror Lake in the Uintah Mountains.  The guys got to do some fishing and I finally got to spend some time in the canoe.  The grand kids came and we all enjoyed a nice picnic near the shore.  We got rained on a little bit but not bad.  My son brought his unicycle and managed to find a place to ride it along the shore trail.  He also caught the tiniest toad I have ever seen in my life.



        It's about time for another quilting novel.  I read The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini a few years back and I just finished another of her books called  Round Robin.  I enjoyed them both.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quilter's Eye Candy

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”  -Ann Landers

     Since school started back up, I was able to attend two different quilt shows.  One was held in Brigham City at the Art Museum.  There were some exquisite quilts on display there.  They must have taken years to create in some cases.  I also attended the 40th annual Quilt Show at the Springville Museum of Art.  As always there were some remarkable quilts to be seen there. 



As you can see, lots of eye candy to be found in these two quilt shows.  There are so many talented quilters out there. 
I have been trying to eat healthier food lately.  I have been concentrating on whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean meat.  Of course tonight I had a major craving for sweets.  So I compromised and made chocolate zucchini brownies using whole wheat flour.  They actually turned out pretty darn good and satisfied my sweet tooth.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

                        2 eggs                                                                    2 cups whole wheat flour

                        ¼ cup canola oil                                                   ½ cup unsweetened cocoa

                        ½ cup applesauce                                                1 ½ tsp. baking soda

                        2 tsp. vanilla                                                         ½ tsp. salt

                        1 cup sugar                                                           2 cups grated zucchini

                                                                                                        ½ cup chocolate chips

Beat eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla and sugar together.  Add dry ingredients and mix again.  Stir in grated zucchini.  Spread batter evenly in a 9x13” baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This summer we have eaten fish tacos a few times.  When I first heard of fish tacos, I thought they sounded like something that I would never want to try but they are actually really good. 
 I start by baking some ultimate fish sticks, purchased at Costco. Prepare some dressing by using ranch dressing and adding a little lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Chop up some tomatoes, some purple onion and some cilantro. Shred some cheese and some cabbage. Then load everything up on a heated soft shell tortilla.  Very yummy.  You have to try it!
  One of the most interesting books I have read is Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan.  It's about a woman who ends up living with a tribe of Aborigines in Australia and does a walk about with them, eating the food they eat and learning about their way of life.