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, May 31, 2015

Amish Paradise

"Do each day what you can live with for the rest of your life." ~Amish Proverb

  To celebrate my son's college graduation we flew back east and among other places, we visited Pennsylvania.  We were able to see many amazing things but the day I liked the best was when we visited two Amish communities and saw some of the farms and the people and ate some of the food and saw some very nice quilts.

Birch Beer (non-alcoholic)

I wish I could have afforded a full sized Amish quilt but I was able to pick up a table runner for a decent price.  I also found a cool Amish cookbook.  In fact, I've been able to try out a few of the recipes since we've been home.

Here are a few pictures of some of the Amish recipes I've tried from the book.

Oatmeal Bread

German Potato Salad

Bacon 'n' Cheese Muffins

Chicken Chowder

Sausage and Rice Casserole

German-Style Green Beans
Applesauce Spice Puffs

Most of the Amish foods are pretty simple, nothing very fancy. 

Oatmeal Bread
(The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection)

4 cups boiling water                                       2 Tbsp. salt
2 cups quick oats                                            2 Tbsp. yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour                                 1 cup warm water
½ cup brown sugar or honey                           ¼ cup vinegar
4 Tbsp. butter                                                  12 to 14 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour boiling water over oats, whole wheat flour, sugar, butter and salt; mix well.  Cool until lukewarm.  Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water.  Mix into batter along with vinegar and flour.  Set in warm place and let rise until doubled.  Punch down and shape into four loaves.  Bake for 30 minutes or until done.


German Potato Salad
(The Best of Amish Friends Cookbook Collection)

1 tsp. sugar                                         1 cup sour cream
½ tsp. salt                                           ½ cup thinly sliced onions
¼ tsp. dry mustard                              2-3 slices bacon, fried and cut into small pieces
Dash pepper                                        4 boiled potatoes, cut in chunks
2 Tbsp. vinegar                                   paprika

Combine sugar, salt, dry mustard, pepper, vinegar, sour cream, onion and bacon pieces.  Pour over warm potatoes and toss lightly until coated with dressing.  Serve warm with a dash of paprika.
I read this book quite awhile ago and it started my curiosity about the Amish people.  They are an amazing people that we should all admire and try just a little to imitate their simple way of life.  This book is written by Sue Bender.  She decided one day that she wanted to go and live with an Amish family for a time and then she wrote about the things she learned.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bigger and Better Things

"The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy."~Kalu Ndukwe Kalu


     I have been honored to attend three graduation ceremonies this Spring.  One son graduated at LDS Business College, another son graduated USU in Civil Engineering and finally another son graduated high school.  It has been a busy and wonderful year.  For the son who graduated from the university I made a necktie quilt.  I gathered ties from his friends, his brothers, his grandfathers, his dad, some uncles and from some close neighbors.  Needless to say this necktie quilt means a lot to him. 

     I finally received an email that included some of the recipes that we enjoyed at our quilt retreat.  I am passing on just a few here.

Green Chile Enchiladas

1 lb. chicken, cooked and cubed
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
12 fajita size flour tortillas
2 small cans old El Paso green chili sauce or 1 larger can of Hatch enchilada sauce

Combine chicken, cream cheese and chilies.  Heat through on stove top.  Roll into flour tortillas.  Top
with sauce.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.  Top with cheese.
These can also be made with corn tortillas.

Spaghetti Salad

12 oz. thin spaghetti - cooked and cooled
chopped 1/2 red pepper
chopped green pepper
chopped red onion
chopped cucumbers
grated carrots
Mix the vegetables with 1/2 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing and let marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Just before serving add:
chopped tomatoes
small can of sliced olives
chopped avocado
Add remainder of the dressing and toss.  Serve.

     I am apologizing for the name of these brownies but as a quilter we do spend a lot of time sitting.  Just saying.
Chocolate-Mint Brownies

(otherwise known as “Big Butt Brownies”)

DeAnn Thomas

4 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
4 tsp. vanilla
8 eggs
2 cups melted butter
4 cups flour

Blend sugar and eggs.  Add cocoa that is blended with melted butter.  Add vanilla and flour.  Pour into greased large cookie sheet.  Bake 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Mint Frosting

1 stick butter (softened)
4 cups powdered sugar
5-6 Tbsp. milk
1-1/4 tsp. peppermint oil
Green food coloring

Spread on cooled brownies.  Place in freezer while making the chocolate frosting to set.

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter
1/2 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 Tbsp. milk

Melt butter, add cocoa.  Mix in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.  Frosting will be thin but will set up as it cools.  Spread over mint frosting.

     I have included this book because it was one of my favorites to read to my boys. This one is in honor of students and their new ideas and their teachers who are always doing their best to help and inspire.  This is one of my favorites by Andrew Clements.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Quilt Retreat

everything I still believe that people are really
 good at heart."~Anne Frank
     A friend of mine invited me to attend a quilt retreat with her at Bear Lake.  I was so excited because it's the very first quilt retreat that I've gone to and it did not disappoint.  I had the time of my life.  Each day we sewed and sewed only stopping to eat and sleep.  We had fantastic meals that we took turns fixing and each night little gifts were left for us either on the table or on our pillows.  Such a fun week spent in a beautiful house with beautiful women that I was so thrilled to get to know better.

As the quilters finished a quilt top they would display it over the edge of the balcony railing.  As you can see there were some beautiful quilts created last week.

     Thanks so much to my family for letting me go and play with fabric for a week.  It was the best Mother's Day gift ever.  Here are just a couple of recipes that would be wonderful at a Mother's Day luncheon.  My friend, Sharon, made this pasta salad for a luncheon and it was so good.  I begged her for the recipe.  The pie recipe comes from another friend, Lisa, who submitted the recipe for a neighborhood cookbook.


Chicken Pesto Salad
1 cup Italian salad dressing
1 cup pesto
1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 chicken, cooked and deboned
1 package pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups purple grapes, cut in half
Small package fresh spinach
     Stir first 3 ingredients together; pour over pasta and stir well.  Stir in chicken and grapes.  Add spinach just before serving.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

1 ½ cups mini marshmallows                                     1(8oz.) Cool Whip
½ cup milk                                                                   1 Oreo cookie crust
1 cup chocolate chips                                                 1 chocolate bar

Melt first three ingredients together until smooth, stirring constantly.  Let cool until lukewarm.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spoon into Oreo cookie crust.

             Crust: Row and a half of Oreos, crushed mixed with 3 Tbsp. softened butter.

             Grate 1 chocolate bar over top.  Refrigerate until set.  Can be frozen.

     I bought this book with my own money from a scholastic book order when I was in sixth grade.  It was a memorable and poignant book and it's message has stuck with me.