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 22, 2016

Time for a Picnic!

"Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you; it is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life. ~ Harold B. Lee

     These last few weeks have been somewhat difficult ones but I'm determined to have better times ahead.  I'm planning on some wonderful family time together and a busy but fun summer.  I finally finished our picnic quilt that is made from jeans worn by my children and husband and me.  It truly is a "family" quilt.  And we will enjoy many picnics and fun days together with this quilt.


     Is everyone as excited as I am for the upcoming holiday weekend of Memorial Day?  It will be so nice to meet with extended family for a little picnic and time together.  We usually stop and get some fried chicken and coleslaw.  Everyone usually brings one pot luck item to share.  I thought it would be fun to include a couple of picnic recipes this time.

Copycat KFC Coleslaw
(from Top Secret Recipes)
½ cup mayo
¼ cup milk
¼ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 ½ Tbsp. white vinegar
2 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
Slaw Mix
4 cups shredded then diced cabbage
1 medium carrot
¼ cup minced onion
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.  Shred the cabbage and carrot and dice finely. (I used a food processor.) (I also used a little purple cabbage with the green cabbage.)  Put veggies in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the veggies and stir well with a spoon.  Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least two hours.  Stir again before serving.  Makes about 6 servings.

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups rice crispy cereal
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips
Place corn syrup and sugar in 3 quart saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter.  Mix well.  Add rice crispy cereal.  Stir until well-coated.  Press mixture into a 13x9x2” pan that has been coated with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
Melt butterscotch and chocolate chips together in 1 quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Spread evenly over cereal mixture.  Let stand until firm.  Cut into 2x1” bars when cool.  Makes about 48 bars.

This was a cute story about a woman who is a park ranger at a state park that included a battlefield from the Civil War days.  It was interesting to learn about the life of a park ranger and fun to see where her love life would lead.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Love At Home

"One certain way we can demonstrate genuine love for mother is to live the truths mother so patiently taught." ~Thomas S. Monson

     Happy Mother's Day to one and all.  Every year during the week before Mother's Day is held the HMQS (Home Machine Quilting Show) at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy, Utah.  I have attended for three years in a row now.  The quilts on display are amazing.  I will show just a few here that I loved.

     Since this is Mother's Day, I'm including two recipes that any mother would love to have served on her special day.

Orange Sesame Asian Chicken Salad
From Our Best Bites
Zest from one medium orange
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
6 T. rice vinegar
4 T. honey
1 T. chopped green onions, use the white part
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T. sesame oil
1 T. soy sauce
¾ cup canola oil
1 T. toasted sesame seeds
Salad Ingredients
Romaine lettuce
Purple cabbage
Cooked chicken, shredded or diced
Cilantro leaves
Chopped green onions, the green part
Julienned carrots
Sliced cucumbers
Chilled mandarin oranges
Crunchy Chinese noodles

Prepare dressing. Wash and zest orange, and set aside.  Place orange juice, vinegar, honey, onions, garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce in blender and blend until smooth.  With blender running on low, slowly drizzle in canola oil in a small, steady stream, to emulsify.  Add orange zest and pulse to combine.  Place dressing in a lidded jar and add sesame seeds, shake to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix salad greens and vegetables.  Right before serving, add orange slices, nuts and crunch noodles.  Toss with dressing and serve.


Banana Pudding Poke Cake
From The Country Cook
1 box yellow cake mix
Ingredients to make cake (eggs, oil, and water)
2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant banana pudding
4 cups milk
1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
20 vanilla wafers, crushed
Banana slices
Caramel syrup

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for a 9x13 cake.
Once cake comes out of oven, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.  Then, with a wooden spoon handle or a spatula handle begin poking holes in the cake.  You want the holes to be big so that the pudding has plenty of room to get down there.  Be sure to poke right down to the bottom of the cake. 
In a bowl, whisk together instant pudding with 4 cups milk.  Stir until all the lumps are gone.  Pour pudding over cake; taking care to pour it right into the holes as much as possible.  Spread it all out and using the back of the spoon, gently push down into the holes.
Put the cake in the fridge to set and cool (about 2 hours).  Once your cake has completely cooled, spread on whipped topping.
Use a rolling pin, crush the vanilla wafers in a Ziploc bag.  Leave some pieces big.  Sprinkle wafers on cake when ready to serve so they stay crunchy.  Serve with slices of fresh banana and drizzle some caramel sauce over the top, if desired.
I finished reading this book this week.  I love almost all the books by this author.  This one was just as good as all the rest!  It's a nice romantic mystery.