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.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finding Comfort

God’s Embroidery

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.
She would smile at me, look down and gently say, “My son, you go about your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.”
I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother’s voice say, “Son, come and sit on my knee.” This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, “My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.”
Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, “Father, what are doing?” He has answered, “I am embroidering your life.” I say, “But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can’t they all be bright?”
The Father seems to tell me, “‘My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side.”
Submitted by IM4JESUS!

     A friend of mine quoted this story in church and I was touched by it.  I think each one of us struggles with the day to day stuff of life and I found comfort in this little story.  Today's blog is all about finding comfort.

This was the view from my back yard to the east before sunset just after the latest snowstorm.  I find comfort in nature.  It reminds me that God is in charge and He knows what is best for me.  He has created so many beautiful things for each of us to enjoy.
 I find comfort from friends.  My friend, Pam, could tell that I have been under a lot of stress lately and she gave me this cute little snowman.  It's actually chocolate and caramel disguised as a snowman.  Such a kind gesture!  It's those little things that mean so much.

I find great comfort in quilts, quilting and visiting quilt shops.  My friend, Linda, notified me on facebook that a new quilt shop opened up in Bountiful.  It's called Quilter's Attic. I had to go and check it out.  I loved the new, bright colored fabric.  I loved the artistic displays.  I loved the antiques throughout the store.  I loved the friendly ladies working there.  I find comfort through creativity.

  You can see what a cute shop this is.  Quilter's Attic will be having their Grand Opening this Saturday, March 1st.  There will be lots of sales and demonstrations and classes and special guests!


So many of us find comfort in food and I'm no different.  One of the most comforting foods is Chicken Noodle Soup.  Homemade Noodles are so good and so easy to make.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Eight cups chicken broth                                 1 tsp. parsley
4-6 carrots, diced                                            2-3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1 onion, diced                                                 homemade noodles
2 potatoes, diced                                            salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. poultry seasoning                                 1 cup frozen peas

Add first six ingredients to a large pot.  Simmer on low until vegetables are almost soft.  Add chicken and noodles and continue to simmer for 20- 30 minutes.  Add peas and cook for 5 more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Homemade Noodles

1 beaten egg                                         ½ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. milk                                         about 1 cup flour

            Combine egg, milk and salt.  Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.  Roll very thin on floured surface; let stand 20 minutes (if you have time) and slice into ¼ inch strips.  A pizza cutter works well.  Let dry at least 2 hours.  Drop into boiling soup or boiling salted water and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.  Make in the morning and let dry all day to add to soup that night.  Makes 3 cups cooked noodles.

I'm throwing in this recipe for Ranger Cookies just because.  My son made these a few days ago.  They're his favorite.  He added white chocolate chips this time and left out the raisins and coconut.

Ranger Cookies

1 ¼ C. flour                                          ½ C. brown sugar                                            

½ tsp. baking powder                           1 egg                                       

½ tsp. baking soda                               1 tsp. vanilla                                        

¼ tsp. salt                                             2 C. crisp rice cereal                                        

½ C. butter or margarine                       1 3 ½ oz. can flaked coconut   

½ C. sugar                                           1 C. pitted dates, snipped, or raisins

            Stir together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  In mixer bowl beat butter for 30 seconds.  Add sugars and beat till fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.   Add dry ingredients to beaten mixture, beating till well combined.  Stir in cereal, coconut, and dates or raisins.  Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375° oven for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool about 1 minute before removing to a wire rack.  Makes 48.

Finally, I find comfort in reading a good book.  I finished reading an Amish quilting novel last month.  It did not disappoint.  I wish I was more like the main character in this book.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

For the Love of Chocolate

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." ~Charles M. Schulz
     One of my favorite days of the month is when I get to go and help my friends prepare a lunch for all the ladies in our small community who are seventy and older.  There was lots of chocolate involved this time and lots of red and pink.  These gracious ladies are so appreciative of everything we do for them.  It makes service a joy when we see how happy they are.  Thanks to my beautiful daughter for showing me how to do the chocolate covered strawberries and helping me do them.


     We have had many days of rain lately, which is probably a good thing since we are in our third year of drought here in Utah.  Most people that I talk with are looking forward to Spring.  This quilt makes me dream of Spring although I love winter because I can hide away inside and quilt.


     This pattern comes from one of the Thimbleberries Books although I can't remember which one at the moment.
     I just finished reading this book by Sarah M. Eden.  It's a nice regency era romance.  I loved the character of Corbin.  He's a quiet and loving gentleman.  Everyone needs to read a good romance every now and then.

     Here are a couple of recipes that our family enjoys for Valentine's Day.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 boneless chicken breasts                  ¼ tsp. pepper

8 thin slices cooked ham                     ½ tsp. salt

4 thin slices Swiss cheese                    ¼- ½ tsp. thyme or rosemary             

¼ cup melted butter                            ½ cup cornflake crumbs

Place each chicken breast between sheets of plastic wrap, skinned side down and pound with meat mallet to about ¼” thickness.  On each chicken breast place 2 slices of ham and then a slice of cheese.  Roll up and secure with toothpicks.  Dip each roll in melted butter, then roll in cornflake crumbs, turning to thoroughly coat each roll.  Place rolls, toothpick side down, in a 9x13” baking dish.  Bake uncovered in a 400° oven for about 40 minutes or until chicken is golden brown.  Serve with Cordon Bleu sauce if desired.

Cordon Bleu Sauce:  Mix 1 can cream of chicken soup, ½ cup sour cream and juice of 1 lemon (about 1/3 cup) and heat to just warm.


Pink Salad

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 8 oz. carton cool whip

1 10.5 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

1 8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 can cherry pie filling

1 squirt lemon juice (optional)

chopped nuts (optional)

            Fold all ingredients together and chill until ready to serve.

Rolo Pretzel Turtles
Small pretzels
Unwrapped Rolo candies
M&Ms, cashews, pecans, peanut M&Ms or any other candy you prefer
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place pretzels on cookie sheet that has been lined with foil.  Center Rolo candies on top of each pretzel.  Place in oven for 5 minutes until chocolate is melted.  Remove cookie sheet from oven and place a candy or nut on top of each melted Rolo candy and slightly push down.  You can place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the chocolate has hardened.