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, January 18, 2015

Family Time!

"Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out."~Art Linkletter

     Here's the table runner I made during the holidays.  I thought it turned out cute.

     On the third Sunday of the month we try to get together with all the kids and grandkids and have a dinner together.  Tonight we played some games together.  These just happen to be some of our favorites---Apples to Apples, Snake Oil and Rollick.

     This dish is one of our family favorites.  Perfect choice for one of those third Sunday dinners.

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken

              6 chicken breasts                                             1 can cream of chicken soup

              1 packet chicken gravy mix                            1 cup chicken broth

              1( 8 oz.) cream cheese

Place chicken in crock pot.  Mix together gravy mix, cream of chicken soup and chicken broth.  Pour soup mixture over chicken.  Cook in crock pot for 6-8 hours.  For the last 30 minutes, remove chicken and add cream cheese to the crock pot mixture.  Cook until blended and hot.  Serve over hot rice, cooked noodles or mashed potatoes.

     Here's a side dish to go along with the chicken.


 Green Beans with Bacon and Onion

               3 strips bacon                                                           1 cup chicken broth
               ½ onion, diced                                                          salt and pepper to taste
               1 lb. fresh green beans

Cook bacon in large frying pan until crisp.  Remove bacon to a plate and set aside.  Cook onion in bacon fat until transparent.  Add green beans and chicken broth to the pan.  Bring to a boil; cover with a lid, turn down heat and simmer for about 5-8 minutes.  Crumble bacon and add to the green beans.  Salt and pepper to taste.
     I just finished reading this book.  It was so good.  I even cried in a couple places.  It's about a 5th grade boy, August, who was born with facial differences and how he learns to deal with it.  I was so impressed with what fantastic parents he had.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy 2015!

"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good.  Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom." ~James Allen

"They who have conquered doubt and fear have conquered failure." ~James Allen




      We were finally blessed with a few inches of snow on Christmas morning.  The snow has stayed and allowed my son and grandsons a little bit of fun on sleds in the back yard.  This quilt with the black background is one that I stitched a few years ago as a block of the month.  I was finally able to finish it up with black binding.  Thanks to my friend, Marta who did the beautiful machine quilting on it.

     New Years Eve was pretty low key this year.  We put together a puzzle or two and had some good treats to eat.  One of the two grandsons stayed awake for the grand entry of the new year.  My daughter made some delicious olive cheese bread.  She found the recipe on Pinterest and found it was from The Pioneer Woman.

Olive Cheese Loaf
1 loaf French bread                                                    ½ cup butter, softened
6 ounces pimiento stuffed green olives                  ½ cup mayonnaise
6 ounces black olives                                                  ¾ pounds Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 green onions
Roughly chop both pimiento-stuffed green olives and black olives.  Slice green onions into thin slices.
Combine butter mayonnaise, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl.  Stir together until thoroughly combined.  Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise.  Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.  You may wish to put it under the broiler for a few seconds to brown it nicely.
     This next recipe was given to me by a neighbor girl.  But I do remember eating this dip when I was young.  I made a few changes to suit our family's taste.
New Year’s Eve Dip
                  1 16 oz. container cottage cheese                  ¼ tsp. seasoning salt
                  1 cup sour cream                                               ¼ tsp. celery salt
                  1 Tbsp. dried minced onions                            ½ tsp. lemon juice
                  ½ tsp. dill weed                                                   dash of cayenne pepper
                  ¼ tsp. garlic powder                                           3 grinds of freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.  Serve with raw vegetables, potato chips, tortilla chips or crackers.
     As part of the New Year's resolutions I try to read a self-help book in January.  This year's book was As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.  It's a short book filled with some very interesting things for me to think about.

     I love this little porch lantern that my daughter and son-in-law made for me for Christmas.  You can even put a tea light candle in it to light up the night.