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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Basket Full of Blessings!

"A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world.  It was a perfect act." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

     I was finally able to finish my pink and brown quilt that I designed a few years ago.  I love scrappy quilts.  This one is done in just two blocks that when combined makes a secondary pattern.  I call this quilt pattern "Piggy Tails and Ponytails".
     Here are two simple , yet delicious recipes; perfect to be served during the Easter holidays.
Simple Parmesan Chicken
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup dried bread crumbs
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and the Italian seasoning.  Dip chicken breasts in melted butter and then in the bread crumb mixture.  Pat the chicken to help the coating adhere.  Place in a 9x13” baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.  Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear.  Makes 6 servings.

Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake
(from Country Woman Magazine)
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg
2/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp. milk
¼ tsp. vanilla
Additional raspberries, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, toss raspberries with brown sugar.
 In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, whisk egg, sour cream, melted butter and vanilla until blended.  Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.
Transfer half of batter to a greased and floured 8” round baking pan.  Top with raspberry mixture.  Spoon remaining batter over raspberries; sprinkle almonds on top.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
In a bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth; drizzle over top.  Serve warm with additional raspberries if desired.  Makes 8 servings.  Can be doubled in a 9x13” pan.

     This book has a great Easter message.  It's another great book by Janette Oak, this time co-authored with Davis Bunn.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Get Your Green On!

     As far as quilts go all I have to show for this month is my little mini March quilt that was made a couple of years ago.  I do love these monthly mini quilts and the wire stand that they go on.  They come from the Art to Heart book called Count On It.

     My husband and I have had season tickets for a long time to Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City.  We love the plays and musicals there.  Just recently, we were able to see the musical "The Pirate Queen".  It's based on a true story of a woman named Grace O'Malley who lived in Ireland at the same time Queen Elizabeth I ruled in Great Britain.  She was a feisty and clever woman who was an actual pirate.  She had 200 men who worked with her and obeyed her every command.  If you ever have the chance to see it I would highly recommend it.



Here we go on our Irish and St. Patrick's Day recipes!  My friend, Dana, served the Corned Beef Braid at our monthly luncheon for the older women in our community and it was a big hit.

Corned Beef Braid
Dough for one loaf of bread
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard or Thousand Island dressing
8 oz. deli sliced corned beef
¾ cup sauerkraut, well drained
1 ½ cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 egg, beaten
caraway or sesame seeds
Spray a 10x15” baking sheet with cooking spray.  Roll dough out to cover baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-25 minutes.  Remove wrap and spread mustard lengthwise down center 4 inches of dough.  Top with corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.  Make cuts in dough every 1 ½” on long sides to within ½ inch of filling.  Braid dough strips by bringing towards filling alternating from the left and right sides and placing over previous strip.  Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid  Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and let rise for 30 minutes.  Remove wrap.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with caraway  or sesame seeds. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices to serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.


     Here's the perfect cookie to serve at your St. Patrick's Day party!  It's so pretty, easy to make and it's green!

Jello Cookies
¾ cup butter
½ cup sugar
1 (3 oz.) package Jello gelatin
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter, sugar and Jello powder in mixing bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well mixed.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the creamed mixture a little at a time.  Mix well.  Roll into 1” balls and dip into a bowl with ½ cup granulated sugar.  Cover each ball completely.  Place 2” apart on baking sheet covered with parchment.  Using a flat-bottomed glass press the dough to about 3/8 “ thickness.  Sprinkle the top of each cookie with colored, chunky sugar.  Lightly press the chunky sugar into the cookie using the flat-bottomed glass.  Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes.  Cool on pan for 2 minutes and move to rack to cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen.



      Of course after I saw the musical, I had to read the book and find out everything there was to know about Grace O'Malley.  What a story it was!  What an adventurous woman she was! 

My oldest daughter and I had a craft making night last night and made St. Patrick's Day decorations from wood.  It's always nice to spend some quality time with one of the kids.