Autumn Picnic and “Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash”

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”  ~  Joe L. Wheeler

autumn canopy

Also incredibly nostalgic … picnics with charming, wicker picnic baskets with little clasp fasteners, bright, cheer-y interiors, picnic-ware fastened to the lid, and a most delicious meal served “al fresco” tucked within it’s confines. 

green hound's tooth

The setting for our autumn picnic was serene among “the annual cascade of leaves” that lazily drifted down from the canopy above … 

lake view

Floated atop the lake …

floating leaves

Drifted by like golden paper boats …

5 leaves

Nestled in the azalea bushes …

Encore azaleas

Rested on the green lawn and Mondo Grass …

Mondo grass

Lay cushioned on a bed of mushrooms …

mushrooms

And formed a golden frame around our picnic area.

leaf frame.jpg

Look how the green and white “hound’s tooth” on the interior of the picnic basket became the perfect background for these bright sunflowers and bittersweet I was getting ready to use in a centerpiece.  I just propped “the whole bunch” in the corner of the picnic basket … and instantly loved the color and casual centerpiece it became for our picnic!

green hound's tooth .jpg

Our picnic meal was equally casual with left-over “Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash” (recipe below) that we kept warm in a cheer-y red plaid thermos … an easy dessert of 2 crisp, autumn apples … and cups of hot spiced tea.

front basket.jpgThrough the years, I’ve created some easy meals for our family that I call … “Skillet Express Meals.”  Cooking criteria that “must” be met in each of these recipes: it “must” take less than 30 minutes to fix, it “must” be delicious, and it “must” use only 1 skillet to make the recipe, from start to finish.  The first “Skillet Express” recipe I shared on this blog was Autumn Dinner … Smoked Sausage, Spinach and Orzo topped with grated parmesan cheese and today I’m going to share with you …

“Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash.”  


Hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you’re able to schedule in some nostalgia and enjoyment of “the annual cascade of autumn leaves” … perhaps with a picnic and delicious bowls of Smoked Sausage and Squash! (:

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

leaves scripture

 

final xoxo

Thank you for reading my blog.  This week I’ll be joining …

Carol from The Red Painted Wagon

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

 

Autumn Picnic and “Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash”

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”  ~  Joe L. Wheeler

autumn canopy

Also incredibly nostalgic … picnics with charming, wicker picnic baskets with little clasp fasteners, bright, cheer-y interiors, picnic-ware fastened to the lid, and a most delicious meal served “al fresco” tucked within it’s confines. 

green hound's tooth

The setting for our autumn picnic was serene among “the annual cascade of leaves” that lazily drifted down from the canopy above … 

lake view

Floated atop the lake …

floating leaves

Drifted by like golden paper boats …

5 leaves

Nestled in the azalea bushes …

Encore azaleas

Rested on the green lawn and Mondo Grass …

Mondo grass

Lay cushioned on a bed of mushrooms …

mushrooms

And formed a golden frame around our picnic area.

leaf frame.jpg

Look how the green and white “hound’s tooth” on the interior of the picnic basket became the perfect background for these bright sunflowers and bittersweet I was getting ready to use in a centerpiece.  I just propped “the whole bunch” in the corner of the picnic basket … and instantly loved the color and casual centerpiece it became for our picnic!

green hound's tooth .jpg

Our picnic meal was equally casual with left-over “Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash” (recipe below) that we kept warm in a cheer-y red plaid thermos … an easy dessert of 2 crisp, autumn apples … and cups of hot spiced tea.

front basket.jpgThrough the years, I’ve created some easy meals for our family that I call … “Skillet Express Meals.”  Cooking criteria that “must” be met in each of these recipes: it “must” take less than 30 minutes to fix, it “must” be delicious, and it “must” use only 1 skillet to make the recipe, from start to finish.  The first “Skillet Express” recipe I shared on this blog was Autumn Dinner … Smoked Sausage, Spinach and Orzo topped with grated parmesan cheese and today I’m going to share with you …

“Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash.”  


Hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you’re able to schedule in some nostalgia and enjoyment of “the annual cascade of autumn leaves” … perhaps with a picnic and delicious bowls of Smoked Sausage and Squash! (:

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

leaves scripture

 

final xoxo

Thank you for reading my blog.  This week I’ll be joining …

Carol from The Red Painted Wagon

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

 

Autumn Tablescape … with a “side” of Provincial France

With beautiful, tangible evidence of autumn in the air and a birthday to celebrate with “la famille” last weekend, I polished the brass candlesticks and started decorating the table.  I always have a general idea of how I want to set my table … if I’ll be using a table runner, a tablecloth, or place mats … which plates, napkins, and cutlery I want to use … and what I’ll be using as a centerpiece, but setting a table and creating a tablescape are two different things.  Sprinkles and touches of  “this and that” are what magically transform a set table into a tablescape.

tablescape 1 The definition of tablescape according to the English Oxford dictionary is … “A decorative arrangement of ornaments or other objects on a tabletop.”  Embellishing Oxford’s definition of tablescape a little further … a tablescape for me  is created by arranging a tabletop in an artful way by using decorative objects … decor … centerpieces … lighting … and color in combination with the items needed in the table setting to create a certain mood or theme. 

overhead closeup

To begin “building” my tablescape, I chose what colors I wanted.  I envisioned the autumn shades of squatty, Cinderella pumpkins, golden wheat fields, and the colors of the leaves that were beginning to turn different shades outside.   With those colors in mind, I chose a beautiful soft yellow tablecloth with borders edged with harvest bounty, autumn leaves and acorns.  My choice of dinnerware was an elegant, ivory colored Wedgwood china that was rimmed with rich, harvest colors and had a deep cornflower blue border.  A cluster of silk autumn leaves in dusty orange, burgundy, and golden yellow became my centerpiece mixed with faux clusters of deep purple grapes, and fresh sprigs of burgundy Loropetalum (Chinese Fringe Flower) that I tucked in among the leaves from bushes Richard had just trimmed outside. (click here to see pictures and instructions)

Pierre and Belle

When creating a tablescape, it’s important to imagine what idea, mood, or theme you are trying to convey.  In my mind I pictured a French villa on a warm autumn afternoon that overlooked a valley of the French countryside.  As I visualized what I wanted my table to look like, I knew the French provincial figurines in my kitchen hutch. (click here to see) would look perfect on the table and voilá! … with the placement of Pierre and Belle, my table was suddenly transformed into the beginnings of a tablescape!

closeup Pierre and Belle

Then, the fun really began as I begin to sprinkle in a little “magic” … “this and that” … “the jewelry” to make our table gleam: brass and crystal candlesticks were placed, tall against my autumn foliage and copper and gold votive cups were tucked among the foliage and grape clusters for sparkle.

burgundy and gold

Goldware glistens atop sage green napkins and next to gold chargers …

goldware

Antique berry bowls and grape clustered German stemware with golden rims and pedestals,

antique berry bowls grape clustered stemware

Blush and gold colored stemware …

blush colored stemware and grape stemware.jpg

A copper colored votive and a twinkling Cinderella pumpkin are placed among burgundy leaves and purple clusters of grapes …

pumpkins, grapes, candlelight

“Salagadoola mechicka boola

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

Put them together and what have you got

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo …”     

~ Walt Disney’s “Cinderella”

Cinderella song.jpg

The autumn afternoon is ready and waiting for the family …

view of lake.jpg

Chandelier draped in autumn finery … rose hips, colored leaves, grape clusters and strings of gilded acorns.

chandelier

“Salagadoola mechicka boola

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo 

It’ll do magic, believe it or not

  Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo …”

~ Walt Disney’s “Cinderella”

“It’ll do magic, believe it or not” creating your own tablescapes, when you use these tips … bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!  (: 

down the head of the table 

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

scripture

I was reminded of this scripture when we were out on our boat last Saturday and saw this spectacular view of the eastern sky at sunset … “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”   Matthew 24:27

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The Cottage Porch in Autumn and … Recipe for Easy, Cheesy Jalepeno & Pimento Dip

by Trenda

bistro table

Welcome to the first day of autumn!  In conjunction with the calendar, our temperatures in East Texas were cooler today with alternate periods of pouring rain … sunlight … or light rain pattering down on the still green leaves overhead.  Our cooler weather inspired me to get our screened porch “dressed and ready” for the anticipated autumn days and evenings we’ll be spending out there.

clock

A latticed topped table holds a mix of autumn colors and textures.  The unframed canvas looks simple and charming painted in the “colors of the season.”  Rustic textures are repeated in the bronze of the wire canoe candle holder … the bronze pine cone clock … and the bronze fish lamp – all against the rugged backdrop of the brick wall and the wooden shutters.

canvas

 Daisy watches the falling rain against an array of pillows in autumn colors … soft plum, golden yellow, sage green, and crimson colored pillows are the background for a smaller fish pillow which continues the fishing theme of the cottage porch set by the Largemouth Bass on the lamp.

Daisy

A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.”

a bad day fishing

Pillows and throws are an invitation to “sit a spell.”

trio of pillows.png

A miniature screen door hangs on the brick wall with a tiny sign posted … “Home Sweet Home.”

screen door

 After I got through cozy-ing up the screened porch, I pre-heated my oven and mixed up a delicious recipe of  “Easy-Cheesy Jalelpeño & Pimento Dip” (recipe below) and slid it into the oven.  While the dip was warming, I cut clusters of midnight black grapes and placed them in an antique berry bowl.  Then, I washed and julienned my celery and stacked them on another sweet vintage dish.  By then, the dip was ready and all golden, bubbly, cheesy-nes. (:  I removed it from the oven and tucked Creamy Tomato & Basil Crackers and Sociables’ crackers into the dip, along the edges of the baking dish … then I placed “all” on a metal fish tray to carry out to the porch.

MENU

[SIDENOTE:  I’m always on the lookout, when antiqu-ing, for unusual little dishes that are charming and make even the simplest meals seem special.  Antique dishes, especially singles without a “mate” are surprisingly inexpensive.  The little berry bowl with it’s pedestal legs and angular cut bowl was only 50 cents and the green serving dish with 2 glass handles and etchings on the bottom of the bowl that looks “perfectly, perfect” heaped with celery … olives … or pickled okra was less than a dollar!]  tray

Bon appétit! (:

snack

“Tête-à-tête on the screened porch.

afternoon tea

A “Wecome to the Lake” DIY Fishing Wreath (instructions here)  hangs on the French door and a gift from our dear son and DDIL … a fishing net with bobbers and carved wooden fish is “cast” over the door frame.

Fr door w wreath

Afternoon raindrops and shadows …

shadows.jpg

Easy, Cheesy Jalepeño & Pimento Dip

Ingredients:

  • Price’s Pimento Cheese spread (I ONLY use Price’s)
  • Diced, Mild Jalepeño’s 

(This is the simplest recipe and is really just a matter of stirring ingredients together … but it is so delicious!  Heating the pimiento cheese makes it creamier and slightly sweeter.)  I always try to keep the ingredients on hand for quick snacks and/or unexpected guests! (:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or use microwave
  2. Stir together pimento cheese and desired amount of drained jalepeño’s (I used approximately 2 teaspoons of diced jalepeño’s for this small dish, but adjust the amount of peppers you use according to the “degree” of spiciness that you prefer and the amount of pimento cheese used!)
  3. spread pimento mixture into an ovenproof, shallow dish, good for dipping
  4. Microwave or cook until edges are bubbly
  5. Tuck assorted crackers  into the dip, around the edge of the serving dish and serve warm with crackers, veggies, or bread  

Have fun decorating the nooks and crannies of your cottage and getting ready for “the cozy season” ahead because the crickets have been warning us … “summer is changing into autumn.”

autumn quote

 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” Ecclesiastes 3:1

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

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Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@ cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining:

 Courtney at French Country Cottage

Carol from The Red Painted Cottage

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

 

Between the Months of June and August … at the Lake

 It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August and our golden, lazy, summer days are waning.  Another summer filled with happy laughter, cannonball splashes. bobbing rafts, sunset boat rides, locust droning and warm breezes blowing against cooled bodies in wet bathing suits. 

~ Trenda

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”   —Jenny Han

 It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August and our golden, lazy, summer days are waning.  Another summer filled with happy laughter, cannonball splashes. bobbing rafts, sunset boat rides, locust droning and warm breezes blowing against cooled bodies in wet bathing suits.  Here are some of the good and magical moments of our summer.

Days of boating …

Bentley

Feeding the geese and ducks …

5 geese

PaPa’s First Mate and Skipper …  This look on our little grandson’s face is priceless as he samples the duck food (pumpernickel bread) and tells me … “Grandma, this tastes yucky!” (: (: (:

grandkids w ducks.jpg

Days of floating …

ring float.jpg

Precious lullaby moments …

lullabye

These white herons flew in from their day wandering’s to roost and “bed down” in the boughs of this tree for the night.

white herons

Deer grazing on the green grasses beside the lake at twilight.

deer

Watching summer sunsets tinge the lake color to shades of pink and purple.

sunset.jpg

There were summer “Cousin Days” and playing hide ‘n seek …

Hide 'n Seek

Riding piggy-back …

Piggy-back 1.jpg

Riding skate boards … painting faces … climbing walls at the park … happy faces and happy hearts!  “Your cousin is your very first friend.”  

cousin collage

Enjoying fun family tradition’s … Sand Pail Ice Cream!

sand pail ice cream

“PaPa and Grandma’s House … where cousins become best friends.”  This is what king size beds were made for … sleepover’s with my grand babies snuggled next to me and sweet, little hands patting and holding mine in the night.  

bedtime at Grandma's

All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going …                 ~L. M. Montgomery

silhouette.jpg

Summer slips away in a lilac sky.
sunset scripture.jpg

It was indeed “a good and magical time.”  Goodbye summer, we’re going to miss you!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

 

“Hooked on the Lake” … a Red, White & Blue Tablescape

by Trenda

Hang up your bunting, unfurl your flags and pull out all your red, white and blue … it’s almost America’s 242nd birthday!  I love getting ready for the 4th of July and this tablescape seemed to come together effortlessly as I went around the house picking up an assortment of lake-y, picnic items and all things red, white and blue.

Hooked on the LakeThe focal point of this tablescape is vintage minnow bucket that Richard found for me on one of our antique-ing excursions.  Some time ago, I told him I was looking a for a minnow bucket though I had a certain “look” in mind for that bucket.  I wanted an antique bucket with good coloring and with graphics that were still readable, but I didn’t want it to look all “beat up” so I could use it for arrangements.  I was amazed when months after I mentioned it to him, he came to me smiling with this perfect gift in hand, complete with both the bucket and the minnow strainer and with the added bonus of a little rust to enhance the patina!  Now, that my friends is a gift more romantic to me than a bouquet of roses! ❤

 

minnow bucket

Falls City  The Angler’s Choice …

These woodland ferns are from our own backyard and are particularly gorgeous this year and so lush, they almost come up to my waist!   They add color and “mood” and look charming tucked inside the minnow bucket. 

ferns.jpg

 A blue and white buffalo check throw is bold and sassy and looks like the perfect tablecloth for a 4th of July picnic or BBQ.  Cobalt blue fish plates add to the lake theme and match perfectly with blue stemware, a special gift our son and daughter bought for me with their “pooled” allowances, many years ago. ❤

cobalt blue dishes

These cute clear glass bowls, shaped liked fish were another antique find and are stacked next to a chunky star filled with some red, white, and table glitz! (:

fish bowls.jpg

The metal rowboat is a great caddy for all accoutrements needed for a meal … star shaped dessert plates, straws, cutlery, plastic tumblers, and red, white and blue fans to stir up a little breeze in hot Texas weather.

caddy

A lake sign in vivid red ties the tablescape all together … HOOKED ON THE LAKE! 

final Hooked on the Lake

Thinking today of all our military men, women and their families.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made and given for our freedom and for our Country. ❤ 

scripture

Have a wonderful weekend from the “dawn’s early light” until the “twilight’s last gleaming.” 

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda 

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  Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

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The Cottage Series – Part 3

~ by Trenda

Cottage Series Part 3

Cozy and cottage go together like peas and carrots and a way to add some “cozy” to your home is to display the things you love to collect.  In my  first chapter of  The Cottage Series and also in The Cottage Series Part 2  I’ve shown you some of the collections inside the crooks and crannies of Cottage Green and given you some decorating tips on how to add the “cottage look” to your home.  My kitchen cupboards display a lot more than just the usual dishes!  Nestled and peeking out among the plates and dishes of my kitchen hutch, you’ve seen an assortment of things I love to collect … salt cellars, silver spoons, Staffordshire creamers, thatched roofed sugar bowls, miniature tea sets, and Boyd’s Bear collectibles.

kitchen hutch.jpg

 

I have a collection of “farmyard fowl” that all began after my mother-in-law gave me the rooster and hen set I’d always admired that she kept on a little shelf in her kitchen.  My husband said “as long as he can remember” this rooster and hen were displayed in their kitchen.  I love that she gave them to me and I now have them in a little cubby Richard made in our kitchen, that I fondly call “the chicken coop.”

chicken coop

The coloring of the smaller rooster on the right, matched perfectly with the antique rooster and hen my mother-in-law gave me, so I grouped them all together.  I can never resist antique dishes in green and white and I loved this plaid plate when I saw it!  Though there was only one and I didn’t know yet, how I would use it … I bought it.  After Richard made my little “coop” I placed the plate in the back of the shelf and loved the bold background and the way it contrasted with the colors of the roosters and hen.

2 roosters and 1 hen

 

DT mingle

 

The middle shelf is anchored with a quaint coffee mill, another cherished gift from Richard’s mother.  A music box we bought in Switzerland  – is not something you would usually find in a kitchen (;  It plays the sweet tune of “Edelweiss” and is wood carving of a young boy in overalls, holding his pet rooster in one arm and a pail of feed in the other … with a trail of chickens behind him.  The music box looks perfectly quaint, centered on the coffee mill and right at home in the kitchen with some smaller hens, ducks, baby chicks and geese I’ve collected and “scattered” for company on the shelf.  Another plaid plate propped behind the farmyard scene is another orphaned plate I found!

middle shelf

DT whimsy

Make sure your shelves don’t appear top heavy or out of balance.  Decorations on your top shelf should appear visually “lighter” and simpler than the items placed on your lower  shelves.  A French inspired hen by Villeroy and Bach and a Colonial Homestead plate by Royal China is a simple and sophisticated “finial”  perched above the other shelves.

top shelf

DT top heavy On the other side of the kitchen, Richard removed the doors from these cabinets so I could display my collection of antique green and white dishes and other cherished pieces.  The dishes are a mixture of patterns … Currier and Ives “The Old Curiosity Shop” … Old Colonial Homestead … and Green and White transferware from England but they’re lovely “mixed together” all in the same shades of greens.

open shelves

DT unify

 

Stacking dishes in your cabinets not only creates visual interest, but also gives you more room … a double bonus! (:

Lside3

DT stacked dishes

More roosters, ducks, chicks, and even eggs are a punctuation point on each shelf and a re-occurring theme.  Each season, I replace these accent pieces with different decor.  Red, white, and blue Americana is getting ready to replace the hens and roosters … which will later be replaced by autumn decor … which will be replaced by antique Thanksgiving turkeys … which will be replaced by Christmas treasures.

seasonal

DT seasonal

A beautiful pierced aluminum antique ceramic casserole dish belonged to my mother and was a present, I was thrilled she gave to me.  The beautiful matching brass-handled casserole dishes on the top shelf  were a gift from Richard, 40 years ago. ❤ Sweet memories I get to look at every day that are easily reached and are practical and useful decor!

moss green shelf

 DT loved dishes

Visually uniting my cabinets to my counter tops, I placed a Fitz and Floyd platter on the counter top that matched both the French Country cabbage serving bowl and the storybook, goat-topped dish in my cabinets. The canisters match the sugar and creamer set and the ceramic colander on the shelves.

moss green cannisters

DT counters

By the way, open shelves are easy to “create” in your home by removing your cabinet doors, filling in the holes left from the hinges with wood filler, and then painting.    Though open shelves definitely add a “cottage feel” to any home, I also use these decorating tips “behind closed doors.” (;   It is delightful to open a cabinet door and see a vignette made up of sparkling dishes, artfully arranged.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

 

scripture house

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posted delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottaagegreenonthelake.com

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