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, April 27, 2014

Signs of Spring

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

     You can tell when the school year is winding down when Junior Prom comes and goes and Grandma is invited to go to her grandson's kindergarten program.  Both were amazing events.
Dancing, jump roping, hula hoops, ribbon dancing, a parachute and the chicken dance.  It doesn't get better than that!

     This is such a yummy dessert.  This is what I made for the kids to eat after Junior Prom.  Pretty decadent!  Thanks Tammy for the recipe!

Chocolate Trifle

1 package chocolate cake mix                              1 large container frozen
2 small packages instant chocolate pudding mix                    whipped topping

4 cups milk                                                                  1 large 1 lb. symphony bar,

            In a 9x13 pan, bake cake according to package directions.  Cool and cut into 1 inch cubes.

Make pudding according to directions on packages mixing with the milk.  In a large glass bowl place half of the cake cubes in bottom of bowl.  Spread half of the pudding over the cake.  Spread half of the whipped topping over the pudding.  Repeat the layers.  Sprinkle crushed candy bar on the top as a garnish.  Refrigerate until serving.  Makes 12 servings.


This recipe was adapted from one in the Savoring the Seasons Cookbook from Our Best Bites.  It is a perfect choice for a grandkid slumber party at Grandma's house.
Chunky Monkey Pancakes
1 ½ cups flour                                                1 T. canola oil
3 T. sugar                                                        1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder                                    2 ripe bananas
1 ½ tsp. baking soda                                     6 T. mini chocolate chips
1 ½ cups buttermilk                                                    tossed with 2 tsp. flour
1 egg
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  Mix buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk well.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened and combined.  Mash bananas on a plate with a fork.  Fold bananas into batter.  Add chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.
Heat a nonstick griddle to medium heat.  Coat griddle with a little cooking spray.  Pour on ¼ cup pancake batter for each medium-sized pancake.  Wait until bubbles form and edges are done and then flip.  Serve warm with Maple Peanut Butter Syrup.
Maple Peanut Butter Syrup
Heat ¼ cup peanut butter for 30 seconds in microwave.  Add ½ cup maple syrup and gently whisk to combine.  Heat in microwave for another 30 seconds and whisk again.

     I read another great murder mystery this month.  It also has a little bit of a romance interest in it to spice things up a smidge. 

I finally did finish my little robin quilt. I chose to do a little hand quilting on it. The pattern is called Summer's Song designed by Cheryl Haynes from Prairie Grove Peddler.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring's Promise

"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time."  ~Martin Luther

This is yet another quilt that I've made to help use up scraps from my sewing room.  I keep thinking I should be making a good size dent but I wonder.  Maybe the fabric multiplies during the night as we sleep.  This pattern is from Fig Tree and is called Painted Lady.  I think it is the epitome of Springtime.
     I read this book about a week ago.  It has a beautiful message and helped bring me closer to my savior.  It is geared toward people of all faiths and quotes many scriptures from the New Testament.  Connie has thrown in some experiences from her own life and family that have helped her grow.
              Here are a couple of Easter recipes that your family might enjoy like mine does.

Sausage Strata

8 pieces day old bread, cubed                                    2 cups grated cheese
1 lb. country sausage                                                  12 eggs
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped                                 2 ½ cups milk
½ tsp. garlic powder                                                   2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. onion powder                                                   ½ tsp. salt
2 green onions, diced                                                 ¼ tsp. pepper

Spray a 9x13” baking dish with cooking spray.  Put bread crumbs in bottom of dish.  Brown sausage in medium frying pan.  Add spinach, garlic powder and onion powder.  Saute’ until spinach is wilted.  Sprinkle green onions on top of bread crumbs.  Spread sausage mixture on top of that. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of sausage mixture.   Mix eggs, milk, dry mustard, salt and pepper in mixing bowl.  Beat eggs until well beaten.  Bake for 60-70 minutes in a 350 degree oven until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  Note: other vegetables may be used such as mushrooms, zucchini, onions, etc.


Mandarin Orange Cake
1 pkg. lemon cake mix                       

3 eggs

½ cup oil

2- 11 oz. can mandarin orange segments

1 8 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice

1 3.5 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix

            Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.  In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and juice from mandarin oranges.  Beat until smooth.  Add mandarin oranges and mix.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool.  To make the topping:  In a large bowl, mix together pineapple with juice and dry pudding until blended.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spread on cake and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.