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, August 28, 2016

One Hot Summer

"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying." ~ Joan of Arc

August has been one long, hot month. August is also my birthday month.  I consider it a reward for getting through the summer.  This year my husband went with me on a Friday to the Brigham City Museum.  They have a quilt show there every summer with some amazingly beautiful quilts some of which are from international sources. Here are some.  Check out this first one that is three quilts in one depending on what direction you are looking at it.



Here are a few recipes that helped us get through the summer heat.

BLT Pasta Salad


Serves 6

  • 1 box bow-tie pasta
  • 1 lb. thick-cut bacon
  • 1/3 cup creamy ranch dressing
  • 1 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 10 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Bring salted water to boil, and cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  • Cook bacon until crispy, then crumble. Set aside.
  • Whisk ranch and Italian dressing together, and toss well with pasta until coated.
  • Mix in bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Add salt and pepper, and toss well.
  • Serve and enjoy!

blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream


·         3 eggs, lightly beaten

·         1 cup vegetable oil

·         3 teaspoons vanilla extract

·         2 1/4 cups white sugar

·         2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini

·         3 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         1/4 teaspoon baking soda

·         1 pint fresh blueberries (you can reserve a few for garnish if so desired)

Lemon Buttercream

·         1 cup butter, room temperature

·         3 1/2 cups confectioners\' sugar

·         1 lemon, juice and zest of (about 2 tablespoons)

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         1/8 teaspoon salt


1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.  (I used a bundt pan and doubled the baking time.)

2.    Grate a large zucchini (or two small zucchini) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid comes out. You will want to have 2 total cups of shredded zucchini after it has been drained. Set aside.

3.    In a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.

4.    Slowly add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans.

5.    Bake 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream

1.    Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined.

2.    Add lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy.

3.    Fold in zest (If you are piping this buttercream, I recommend leaving out the zest).

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream 
 5 cups (ten ½-cup servings)
Best made when strawberries are at their peak of freshness, this ice cream is light, sweet and fruity.                                                                                 

1½ cups fresh strawberries, hulled*
¾ cup whole milk
²∕³ cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Put the strawberries into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse strawberries until rough/finely chopped (depending on preference). Reserve in bowl. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Stir in reserved strawberries with all juices. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Turn on the Cuisinart® ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.
*Frozen strawberries may be substituted if fresh strawberries are not available.

Image result for a tale of two cities book

This is the book that I spent the summer reading.  Actually I read it for the book club I'm in.  I had a hard time following everything at first.  The names and places were all blending together.  But after a few chapters I finally got into it and enjoyed the story immensely.  I'm really glad I read it.