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, October 25, 2015

Life: The Great Mystery

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up ’cause they’re looking for ideas.”~ Paula Poundstone

     I finally finished the Mystery Quilt that we started at Quilt Guild.  This is the first time I have ever done a mystery quilt and I enjoyed it; even though I'm kind of one of those control freaks who like to make all my own decisions and know exactly what's going to happen.  I usually don't enjoy surprises so I had to let go with this one a little and just enjoy the process.  I even had fun using the leftover fabric to make a pieced backing.

     One of my grandsons had his 4th birthday this month and we helped him celebrate by taking our children and the grandkids to This Is The Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.  We had fun touring old pioneer homes, doing crafts, riding on the train, playing with toys, petting animals and panning for gold.  The nice thing about this place is people of all ages can have fun!


       I love baking in the fall when the days finally cool down a little.  These muffins are all about fall flavor.  They are so tasty.

Apple Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup flour                                                   2 eggs
3/4 cup whole wheat flour                     ½ cup applesauce
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice                          ¼ cup canola oil
½ tsp. baking soda                                     3/4 cup brown sugar                   
1 tsp. baking powder                                1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt                                                    1 cup canned pumpkin
                                                                      2 cups finely diced apples

Streusel Topping

2 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, cut in small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a medium bowl mix dry ingredients together.  In a large bowl mix eggs, applesauce, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin.  Add dry ingredients to this mixture and stir until combined.  Fold in apples.  Spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.  Combine streusel ingredients and sprinkle over muffin batter. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.


     Here's another Fall recipe that tastes just right in the Autumn months.  I used Jennie-O turkey sausage to make it a little lighter.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet
(adapted from a recipe from Taste of Home)
1 pound red potatoes, cubed
3 Tbsp. water
¾ pound kielbasa sausage, cut into ¼ inch slices
½ cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. pepper
4 cups fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
Place potatoes and water in microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until tender; drain. 
In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender.  Add potatoes and saute 3-5 minutes longer or until potatoes and sausage are lightly browned. 
Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme and pepper; stir into the skillet.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Add spinach and bacon; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.  Serves 4.

     In the month of October we read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for Book Club.  It was very entertaining and something most different from what I normally read.

     Just a couple of extras here.  These are the donuts that I served to my cub scouts after our field trip last week.  And this is the table runner I made from a Halloween panel and some charm squares.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

October Awesomeness

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.  It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?" ~Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

     One of the nice things about October is that the Beehive Shop Hop occurs.  The theme this year was  "A Day at . . . . . "         There were free patterns and treats and prizes at each of the stores.  



     I made it to just a few stores but the ones I went to were fun.  I have always loved going to Bennion Crafts in Kaysville.  I wish they had one closer to home.

     I was able to finish my Block of the Month quilt from a class that I took at Quilts, etc. with my friend, Patti.  The theme this year was "Get your Stitch on Route 66".  We learned all about Route 66 and the stops along the way.  Each quilter was able to put their blocks together in their own way.  Each quilt turned out very unique.  This is how my quilt turned out.....

     This is how a few of the others turned out........

     I know I posted this recipe previously but it's such a good recipe for this time of year so I am posting it again.  We had it at the luncheon for the ladies 70 and older.


Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 medium sized pumpkin                                ¼ tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef                                             ½ tsp. garlic powder
½ cup chopped onion                                      ¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup diced celery                                          1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ cup diced green pepper                               1- 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
½ tsp. salt                                                       1-7 oz. can sliced mushrooms
                                                                        3 cups cooked rice

Wash the outside of the pumpkin.  Cut off the top to make a lid.  Clean out the seeds and stringy pulp.  If you wish you can draw a face on the pumpkin with a marker.  Put pumpkin on baking sheet lined with tin foil.
In a large pan, brown the ground beef.  Add onion, celery and green peppers and cook until vegetables are tender.  Add salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add soy sauce and soup.  Cook until warmed through and add water chestnuts, mushrooms and cooked rice.  Spoon mixture into pumpkin.  Put the lid on and bake at 350 degrees for 1-1 ½ hours.  Serves 6-8 people  Enjoy eating the cooked pumpkin with the casserole.

     Here's our witch's brew (aka homemade root beer).  The ladies loved the special effects from the dry ice.

Root Beer

1 bottle root beer extract

4 lbs. (8 Cups) sugar

4 ½ gallons water

5lbs. dry ice

Mix sugar and extract, then add water.  Stir well to dissolve sugar.  Add dry ice and allow about 45 minutes before drinking.


     My daughter, my son and my husband have all been nagging me to read this book.  I have been dragging my feet in doing so because Science Fiction is not my favorite.  I finally got around to reading the first book this past week and I have to admit it was really good.  I guess I'll have to start on the others.