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 30, 2016

Happy Halloween!

"Opportunities to find deeper powers within

ourselves come when life seems most

challenging." ~ Joseph Campbell

     October 5-8 was the Beehive Shop Hop here in Utah.  I was able to make it to all 14 shops that participated.  Here are some of the cute quilts I saw along the way.


     My friend and neighbor went to Idaho with her husband and brought us back some potatoes.  They do this every fall and I'm so lucky to be the recipient of such goodness.  Anyway, I just had to include a couple of potato recipes this time. 


Garlic Oven Fries

2- 2 ½ lbs. russet potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a large baking sheet by putting parchment paper on it.  Scrub the potatoes well to remove all dirt particles.  Cut the potatoes in thin wedges or strips.  In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic powder, and paprika.  Add the potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat.  Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet.  Now you can sprinkle them with the salt and pepper and/or the parmesan cheese or whatever other seasoning you prefer.  Bake for about 45 minutes turning every 15 minutes or so.  (You can also prebake the potatoes in the microwave before slicing them for about 5 minutes to speed up the baking process.)  Serve with ketchup.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
(adapted from Budget Bytes)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  1. Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (3-5 minutes).
  2. While the onions and garlic are cooking, peel and dice the carrots, dice the celery, and slice the mushrooms. Once the onions are soft, add the carrots and celery to the skillet and continue to sauté until the celery begins to soften slightly (5 minutes).
  3. Finally, add the mushrooms, salt, thyme, smoked paprika, and freshly cracked pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms have fully softened (3-5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and flour to the skillet. Stir and cook the vegetables with the flour and tomato sauce until the vegetables are coated and the pasty mixture begins to coat the bottom of the skillet (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the vegetable broth to the skillet, stirring to dissolve the flour and tomato sauce from the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will become slightly thicker. Stir in the frozen peas, and allow the mixture to heat through.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pour the vegetable mixture into a casserole dish, or use your skillet if it is oven safe. Spread the mashed potatoes out over the surface of the vegetables and gravy. Use your spoon to make a decorative pattern in the mashed potatoes, if desired.
  6. Bake the shepherd's pie in the fully preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through. To achieve a browned surface on the mashed potatoes (optional), turn on the oven's broiler (and place the pie under it, if not already), and watch closely until the top has browned to your liking.

     Here are a couple of books that  are fun to read in October.  Both have quilting themes to them.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Less is More

"I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse."~ Florence Nightingale

          My husband took me to the Springville Museum of Art to see the quilt show held there through August and September.  There were so many beautiful quilts displayed and I'm including pictures of many of them here.






Lately, I have been trying to eat healthier meals, meals that have more fruits and vegetables and whole grains; meals that have less meat and dairy products. Here are a couple of recipes that I've enjoyed.

Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli Soup
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
5 cups vegetable stock
2 (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 ½ cups small pasta (shells or elbows)

In a large soup pot, saute onion, carrot and celery for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are soft.Add thyme, red pepper and oregano. Cook for 2 more minutes.  Add tomato sauce, bay leaf, beans, vegetable stock, water and crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer covered and on low heat for about 20 minutes.  Add pasta and cook for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

Applesauce Oat Muffins
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup milk (or almond milk)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter and sugar.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Add cranberries or raisins to the flour mixture.  Add oat mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon muffin mixture into prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.

     I read these two books during the summer and was impressed with the message of each.  Basically, they teach that we can get by with spending less money and eating less food.  That way we can enjoy what we have more and appreciate our own efforts and blessings.  Less really is more!