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.



Monday, October 28, 2013

Oktoberfest!

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." ~Emily Bronte


     October has been a party to us this year.  The fall colors have been amazing.  My son has returned after being away for two years serving a mission for our church.  My youngest grandson turned two.  And I went on a quilt shop hop with two of my friends and my niece.  Can't ask for a better month than that!


 
 
 
 



 
 
Here are a few of the beautiful quilts we saw during the Beehive Quilt Shop Hop!
 
 
 

 







 
We had so much fun on the shop hop and I made it to all 17 shops!
 
Since Oktoberfest originated in Germany and since some of my ancestors came from that fair land I have decided to post some recipes that our family enjoys and have ties to Germany.  First comes German Apple Puff Pancake.  The kids love to watch this puff up in the oven as it bakes.
 



German Puff Pancake


3 eggs                                                  ¼ tsp. salt

½ cup flour                                           2 T. butter

½ cup milk

            Preheat oven to 400°.  Set 9” clear glass pie dish into hot oven on lowest shelf until very hot.  Meanwhile, beat together eggs, flour, milk and salt in small mixer bowl, blender, or food processor until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Remove pie dish from oven; add butter and rotate pie dish until butter is melted.  Add batter immediately.  Bake on lowest oven shelf for 20 minutes or until golden.  Serve immediately with syrup, jam or applesauce.  Makes 4 servings.
 
Variations: For serving a large group triple the recipe and bake in a 9x13” baking dish. 

For apple puff pancake, stir 2 T. brown sugar and ¾ tsp. cinnamon into the melted butter in pan.  Add 1 large tart apple that has been peeled, cored and chopped; stir to coat apple and let cook about 4 minutes.  Mix batter and pour over apples.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.  



     Next comes Unstuffed Cabbage.  This is a healthy meal that is very filling.


 

 Savory German Meat and Cabbage

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey                       1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. olive oil                                                    1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped                                       1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced                                        1 cup beef or chicken broth

½ cup wild rice, uncooked                                  1 small head coarsely chopped cabbage

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ tsp. basil

½ tsp. Italian seasoning

½ tsp. celery salt

     In a large soup pot, brown ground beef or turkey in olive oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.  Add rice and seasonings and cook and stir for about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and broth.  Add cabbage.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low; cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until rice is cooked. 
 
 
 
     And finally, Soft Homemade Pretzels.  Did you  know that some think pretzels were first made in Germany? Monks made them and gave them to children as rewards for learning their scriptures.
 
 
 

Soft Pretzels

1 cup warm water                                           1 Tbsp. butter

3 cups flour                                                     1 Tbsp. yeast

½ tsp. salt                                                       1 egg

1 Tbsp. sugar                                                  1 Tbsp. water

                                                                                                coarse salt or cinnamon sugar


            Put first six ingredients in a bread machine.  Select dough setting and let process.  Divide dough into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into an 18 to 20 inch rope.  Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.  Shape each dough rope into a pretzel shape and place on baking sheet.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Beat egg with 1 Tablespoon water.  Brush egg mixture over each pretzel and sprinkle with coarse salt or cinnamon sugar.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake pretzels for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Brush each pretzel with butter and enjoy. 
 

 
     My friend, Patti, recommended books by Susan Page Davis for some easy reading.  I read Sheriff's Surrender.  It takes place in the fictitious town of Fergus,  Idaho in the late 1800's.  I loved the characters in this book. 

 

 
 





 

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Family Matters!

“Holding on to anything is like holding on to your breath. You will suffocate. The only way to get anything in the physical universe is by letting go of it. Let go & it will be yours forever.”  ― Deepak Chopra


     We've had a fun-filled weekend.  We celebrated my baby sister's 50th birthday by going to Antelope Island for a picnic and hiking.  On Sunday, we had a nice family dinner and cake and ice cream.  I presented my sister with a crab quilt since she lives in the Seattle area and loves to go crabbing with her husband. I was happy that she loved the quilt.




    Here are pictures depicting some of the fun we had on Antelope Island.  The island has a rugged, stark beauty that we appreciate. 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 


 
 


     Have you ever wondered what to do with all those old rusty canning jar rings that you accumulate?  Well, here's the perfect fall craft to take care of that little problem.  It's just so easy and cute.  Use 21 rings for the regular size and 24 rings for the wide-mouth size to make a rustic looking pumpkin as part of your fall d├ęcor.  Add a few cinnamon sticks for the stem and a leaf cut from burlap.





     I made a couple of quilted checkers sets to give to my married children for Halloween.




     It seems like Pumpkin Chili is a really popular recipe this fall.  Here's the version that we like.




Pumpkin Chili

1 lb. ground turkey                                                      1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

1 medium onion, diced                                               1 (15 oz.) can solid pack pumpkin

2 tsp. minced garlic                                                    2 tsp. chili powder

1 green bell pepper, chopped                                     1 tsp. ground cumin

1 cup chicken broth                                                     1 (15 oz.) can black beans

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce                                         1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans

2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes                                1 (15 oz.) can Great Northern beans

                                                                                         1 tsp. salt

     Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in large soup pot.  Brown ground turkey.  Add onion, garlic and green bell pepper.  Cook until tender.  Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and green chilies.  Stir in solid pack pumpkin.  Drain and rinse canned beans and add to the pot.  Add chili powder, cumin and salt.  Cook on low until chili is hot.  For an alternate method of cooking, place browned ground turkey and vegetables and all other ingredients in a crock pot to cook for 1-2 hours.



Here's an easy vegetable side-dish recipe that I like.
 


Stewed Cabbage and Carrots



2 C. shredded carrots                           2 T. butter or margarine

1 C. boiling water                                 1 tsp. salt

3 C. shredded cabbage

 

     Cook carrots in boiling water until partly tender, about 5 minutes.  Add cabbage and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.  Add butter and salt and cook five minutes.  Most of the liquid should be absorbed in the cooking and the vegetables served without draining.  Makes 6 servings.
 
 
 
 
 Have you ever wished that you could live forever?  This book is about a family that had that chance and a girl who had the choice.  Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt is one of my favorites.