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 29, 2015

A Precious Gift!

"The most precious jewels you'll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children."~ Author unknown
I feel so blessed this week to have a brand new baby grandson.  He is here and beautiful and his mom is doing well also.  So appropriate to have him come just before Easter, a time of new beginnings and when the greatest gift of love ever was given to mankind.
I was able to finish the baby quilt just in time.  The sailboat blocks were fun to make and I was able to use up some more scraps.

New moms and new grandmas need easy and fast recipes to fall back on.  Here are two that meet the needs.  This chicken recipe is not only very easy but it's tasty too.
 Coconut is one of those ingredients that always reminds me of Easter.  So I threw in a recipe for Coconut Oat Cookies.  A little secret . . . . if you add a cup of slivered almonds and two cups of milk chocolate chips you'll have the flavors of Almond Joys which just happen to be one of my very favorite candy bars.  YUM!!!!!!

Baked Chicken Breast

6 thin-sliced chicken breast halves                ½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ cup olive oil                                                    ¼ tsp. dried rosemary
½ tsp. salt                                                           ¼ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place chicken in greased baking dish.  Brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and basil.  Bake chicken in preheated oven until no longer pink and juices run clear or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees (30-45 minutes). 


Coconut Oat Cookies

1 cup butter, softened                                     1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup packed brown sugar                              1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs                                                                  2 cups flaked coconut
2 tsp. vanilla                                                       1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups flour                                                                 or old-fashioned oats
½  tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixed.  Stir together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.  Gradually beat flour mixture into creamed mixture.  Stir in coconut and oats.
Drop by tablespoon or small scoop onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Makes about 3 dozen.


We are reading The Giver Series by Lois Lowry this month in Book Club.  I love these books and the movie is as thought provoking as the books.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irish Greetings!

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."~ Thomas S. Monson

     Here are a variety of pictures taken to help get us in the mood for St. Patrick's Day.  First, is a pillow I made a few years back that has a place on my entry way bench in March.  Next comes my leprechaun candy dish that is filled with treats for the grandkids to enjoy.

     I got to spend a fun day with my daughter, her husband and my two grandsons on Saturday.  We went to the Winter Farmer's Market in Salt Lake City and then went to the Lego Americana Roadshow Display at the Fashion Place Mall.  We saw the White House, the U. S. Capital Building, the Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and more. . . . all made out of Legos.  The boys loved it.


      We are always searching for creative ways to get the family to eat more veggies.  My daughter came up with a unique way to display the Irish Flag----build it out of vegetables!

     Here is a perfect dessert to make for St. Patrick's Day.  It's green and it's easy to make!


Pistachio Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1( 3.4 oz.) package instant pistachio pudding mix
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups water
 ¼ cup oil
½ tsp. almond extract
3 drops green food coloring (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and the pudding mix.  Add the eggs, water, oil,  almond extract and food coloring.  Blend ingredients then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

This was a sweet book to read about a little Irish girl named Nory Ryan.  It takes place during the potato famine and shows the resilience of the Irish people during that difficult time.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Marching in Like a Lion

"A day without laughter is a day wasted." ~Charlie Chaplin

"In all of living, have much fun and laughter.  Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." ~Gordon B. Hinckley

     The month of February has been unseasonably warm and dry. In fact my daffodils have started to bloom before they normally do.  March has snuck in with colder temperatures and cloudy weather.  I have been working on a quilt that I call Daffodilly.  I got to experiment with the Kanzashi flower maker and make some dimensional daffodils to add to this quilt.

     Our family, including the grandkids, took a little field trip to the Hill Aerospace Museum in Layton, Utah.  Everyone loved seeing all the jets and other items related to flying.  The best part for me was that it was free admission.


     Here's a nice recipe for a chilly March day-White Bean Chicken Chili.  It's pretty tasty, too.  This recipe comes from Our Best Bytes.

White Chicken Chili
Recipe by Our Best Bites
I call this a chili, but it’s really a soup consistency.
If you want it thicker, just reduce the amount of broth.
1 T Extra virgin Olive Oil
1 lb boneless chicken, cubed (about 3-4 boneless, skinless breasts)
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Great Northern Beans
1 3.5 oz can green chilies
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t dried oregano leaves
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 lime
1/2 C chopped cilantro
1 32oz box chicken broth
Condiments: (in addition to measurements above)
Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Pepperjack or Jack cheese, shredded
Tortilla Chips
In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add chopped onion and cook for about 2 minutes- just until it starts to become translucent. While onions are cooking, drain beans and rinse with cold water and set aside. Sprinkle chopped chicken with a little salt and pepper and add to pot. Add garlic as well. Cook until there’s no more visible pink on the chicken, probably 3-4 minutes. Then add green chills- along with all of the juices in the can. Add beans, cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, and a few turns of fresh cracked pepper. Stir to combine and then add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the juice from one lime and the 1/2 C chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream. Serve with condiments. If you don’t have all those condiments- at least have sour cream! But honestly, it’s best with everything.
Makes about 8 cups of soup.

     I loved reading this book this past month.  It's a great murder mystery.  The main character, Molly Murphy, is full of spunk and determination.