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, March 30, 2014

Girl's Weekend!

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.  ~Author Unknown

     I had a fun weekend shared with my sister, my daughter and my niece.  We traveled over 4 hours to Moab, Utah to visit Arches National Park.  We had such a great time together and loved seeing the beautiful creations of nature.  Of course my first stop was the quilt shop there in Moab--called It's Sew Moab.


The Gossips


Balancing Rock

Delicate Arch


Sand Dune Arch

Broken Arch
North and South Windows
Turret Arch
Skyline Arch


                                                                  Skyline Arch from opposite side

Here are some more comfort food  recipes that are so easy to make.

Cowboy Special
(Or Cheesy Beef and Mac)

1 lb. lean ground beef                                     1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, diced                                   ½ tsp. seasoning salt
2 cloves garlic, minced                                   pepper to taste
2 cups beef broth                                            1 ½ cups macaroni
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce                             1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in large pot until onions are soft.  Add beef broth, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and seasonings.  Bring to a boil and add macaroni.  Reduce heat and pot a lid on the pot.  Simmer for about 15 minutes or until pasta is done.  Stir every few minutes to prevent mixture from sticking to the pan.  Turn heat off and sprinkle cheese on top.  Serve hot.  Serves 5-6.

Applesauce Bars
¼ cup butter, softened                                    1 cup flour

½ cup brown sugar                                          1 tsp. baking soda
1egg                                                               ½ tsp. salt
1 cup applesauce                                            1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together butter, brown sugar and egg in medium bowl until smooth.  Stir in the applesauce.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; stir into the applesauce mixture until well-blended.  Spread mixture into a greased 9x13 “ baking pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.  Makes 20.


I love this book.  It reminds me so much of my childhood.  I had four sisters and one brother.  Many of the characters in this book resemble my sisters at some point or another.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Life...A Stitch at a Time

 "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that stitch at a time, taken patiently."~ Oliver Wendell Holms
I was hoping to have this quilt long finished by now then I realized that I need to be happy in the process and not wish for everything to be done but enjoy the journey of life (and quilting) as it happens.  I have enjoyed working on this happy robin quilt.  It's a pattern by Prairie Grove Peddler.  I don't always hand quilt a quilt but I decided to give it a go on this one since it's a bit smaller.

     Life is green.  It is a living, growing thing.  If we are not happy today, tomorrow will be a new day and it can be happy. 

How can one get mad at this cute thing for picking one of Grandma's daffodils.
My daughter wanted to have a green party with a few friends for St. Patrick's Day.  We found a pair of cute green socks for each girl and they had so much fun playing Just Dance in their green socks on the xbox. Then they ate a lot of green food, along with potato soup and they made their own panini sandwiches.  The girls enjoyed a refreshing green lime smoothie. Last of all they had a treasure hunt through the house and the yard where they found a green treasure that was hidden by leprechauns just for them.  I think they had a good time!



Ham and Potato Soup
           5 cups peeled and diced potatoes                        dash of cayenne pepper
           1 cup diced celery                                                   1 ½ cups cubed cooked ham
           1 cup diced onions                                                  6 Tbsp. butter
          4 cups chicken broth                                               6 Tbsp. flour
          ½ tsp. garlic powder                                               3 cups milk
          ¼ tsp. white pepper                                           chives, dry or diced fresh                   
          ½ tsp. salt                                                                              
     Combine potatoes, celery and onions and chicken broth in a large pot.  Bring to a boil and cover and simmer on low until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add seasonings. Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook stirring constantly, until thick, about 1 minute.  Slowly stir in milk and continue to whisk until mixture thickens.  Add flour mixture to soup.  Add ham and stir until warmed through.  Garnish with chives.

Lime Sherbet Slush

                        2 cups lime sherbet                            ½ cup limeade concentrate
                        12 ice cubes                                        2 cups chilled Sprite or 7-Up
     Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve immediately.  Makes about 4 servings.

     Here's another recipe appropriate for March that I'm just throwing in for the fun of it.  I was surprised at how good this was.  But then again everyone loves bacon!
Fried Cabbage
6 strips bacon                                                 ¼ cup chicken broth
½ head cabbage, shredded                             1 tsp. vinegar
½ medium onion                                             ½ tsp. salt
                                                                                    ¼ tsp. pepper
Fry bacon in a large skillet.  Remove bacon from pan and allow to drain on a paper towel.  Add cabbage and onion to skillet and cook until cabbage begins to wilt.  Add chicken broth, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add crumbled bacon and stir.  Serve hot.

     Another thing I wasn't able to finish this week was the book I am reading.  Unraveled, by Julie Daines is a fairy tale about a crippled girl who has a chance to walk and live her life with the help of a pair of enchanted shoes.  I am enjoying the book and hope to finish it soon.