Lakeside Spring Picnic and Recipe for Chicken and Cucumber Salad

Yesterday it was such beautiful day here in Texas, I started day dreaming of picnic’s! Picnics with ruffly edged napkins, table linens, quaint dishes, and (usually my last consideration when “dreaming up” picnics) what picnic food to fix. With my daydream in mind, I went inside and opened our linen cabinet that’s filled with all kinds of vintage “lovely’s.”

My dear followers, I can never thank you enough for all your prayers, “get well” wishes, and notes you’ve written to me during these last 2 1/2 months. Knowing you cared meant so much to me. We have certainly felt the Lord’s Presence and seen His Intervention again and again since I first went into the hospital. Thank you so much for brightening my days.

❤ Trenda

I am slowly getting better though, frustratingly, it doesn’t take very much effort to exhaust me. I’m supposed to spend as much time as possible outside, and yesterday it was such beautiful day here in Texas, I started day dreaming of picnic’s! Picnics with ruffly edged napkins, table linens, quaint dishes, and (usually my last consideration when “dreaming up” picnics) what picnic food to fix. With my daydream in mind, I went inside to see what I could find in our linen cabinet that’s filled with all kinds of vintage “lovely’s.”

… and chose these White Battenberg napkins edged with scallops of lace and a bright green and white gingham runner trimmed with cheery orange stitches.

After picking out the napkins and table runner I wanted to use, I went to our corner hutch in the kitchen downstairs and started picking out dishes and deciding what picnic food to serve on each.

I pulled out 2 soda fountain glasses from the bottom cabinets and thought how cute they would look filled with something other than the usual ice cream! With my mind whirling with that bit of whimsy, the rest of the menu came easy and I selected my dishes … a darling egg plate, some green and white salad plates to match the table runner, a dark green bowl with lines etched into the glass to look like lettuce leaves, a banana split tray (helping to carry out the soda fountain theme!) and a quart-sized Mason jar my mother gave to me.

I quickly chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and chicken and tossed in some other yummy ingredients for an easy “main course” salad (recipe below) then dipped the rims of the soda glasses in lemon juice and dusted the edges with paprika. I added “scoops” of chicken salad to the soda fountain glasses and topped it all off with a final touch … celery “straws.”(;

Since there were only 2 of us, I put the extra chicken salad into the green bowl with etched leaves.

Then I deviled some eggs to place in this sweet hen “egg tray.”

Crystal tumblers filled with ice … and Lemonade Tea, made in my mother’s Mason jar beckoned us to “come sit” and Toasted Parmesan and Cheddar Toasted Crostini (click on highlighted link to see how to make) are stacked appealingly in an antique, scalloped edged, banana split tray.

Green and White “Old Curiosity Shop” salad plates by Royal (USA)

Chicken & Cucumber Salad

~ recipe by Trenda at Cottage Green on the Lake

  1. 1 – 12.5 oz can Chicken Breast (drained)
  2. 1 English cucumber (English cucumbers are the extra long cucumbers; they are milder in taste and have fewer seeds than their American cousin’s! (:
  3. Cherry tomatoes (I used 14 tomatoes)
  4. 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing (I use Ken’s Steak House Ranch)
  5. 1/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels
  6. black pepper – to taste
  7. 1/2 cup French’s Crispy Fried Onions (added, right before serving to remain crispy)

Instructions:

Wash, peel, and slice cucumber lengthwise to form “half round” slices. Place all sliced cucumber into a medium sized bowl. Halve cherry tomatoes (add tomatoes according to your own taste and preference; I prefer fewer tomatoes than cucumbers in my salad and I used 14 cherry tomatoes) Add drained chicken to the cucumber and tomato mixture and using a fork, separate the chicken into bite sized pieces. To the mixture, add 1/2 cup Ranch dressing, 1/3 cup sunflower kernels, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, add 1/2 cup of French’s Crispy Fried Onions, stir into salad and serve.

Lakeside picnic on a beautiful spring day at Cottage Green.

After Richard and I were “done” with our picnic I was “done in” (: and just sat outside the rest of the afternoon until the sun went down.

Now, I want to share one more thing with you that I hope and pray will help you during these troubling times. A dear friend sent me this little tin sign after I got out of the hospital and I kept it right where I could see it during those first scary weeks after I got home. I would look at the scripture inscribed on this sign and read over and over … “She confidently trusts the Lord to take care of her.” Psalms 112:7 Hmmm … “She confidently trusts!” So instead of worrying each day I decided I needed to confidently trust and be secure in the knowledge that the Lord WOULD take care of me. Daily I prayed, “Lord, help me to truly embody that verse and be confident that YOU will take care of me. Thank you for Your Word that promises that security and blessed assurance. Thank you Jesus, for loving me and thank you for being my Savior and my Friend.” The “New International Version” of the Bible and translation of that same verse is an anchor we can hold on to in “these days” we are living through and to remember in the coming weeks … “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalms 112:7 I am praying this verse for each of you during this time. “Have no fear of bad news … be steadfast … trust the Lord to take care of you. ❤ If you long for that security and relationship with the Lord where you can trust that He will take care of you, no matter what the circumstances, please go to the top of my blog on the right side titled ABOUT ME … and click on My Faith in Jesus Christ. It’s as easy as saying A-B-C and it will change your life and your eternal life forever! The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 If you have any questions or you would like me to pray with you, please don’t hesitate to write me and ask. I’ve already prayed for everyone that reads this blog and the Lord already knows your name. ❤

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Winter Woodland Tablescape with Birches, Bottlebrush, Birdies, and Burlap

After filling up our bird feeders with suet and seed, I was “inspired” to set up a Winter Woodland Tablescape that looked perfectly suited for my feathered friends.

I had fun gathering a little of “this” … little birdhouses, nests, bottle brush trees, and … “that” a collection of metal bird baths, interesting little urns, cloches, and gold sprinkled votives for my woodland tablescape.

Sparkly bottle brush trees and twiggy nests covered in glitter added depth and gleam in their bronzed hues of nature.

A delicate blown glass cloche with a bird finial sets atop a bed of moss and adds another layer to my woodland table.

A little bejeweled acorn fits snugly inside a moss lined nest and rests in an ornate silver bowl.

While a chunky little bird rests beneath a twiggy winter nest trimmed with winter berries and holly leaves.

A burlap runner runs down the length of the table with another gauzy, runner on top of it which softens the rough burlap and blends the rustic and elegant elements together. “The Friendly Village” dinnerware by Johnson Brothers seemed the the perfect choice for this wintry, woodland tablescape with it’s snowy village scene and earth tone colors.

Moss green napkins are tucked into mini-grapevine wreaths and make charming napkin rings with tags tied on with bows of green satin ribbon. Click on both of these links to see these napkin rings I made in a “Rustic Tablescape” and the woodland tags I used in a “Winter Tablescape for the Birds.”

This pedestal-ed cloche is a favorite of mine and holds a ceramic owl next to a teeny tiny nest with a soft little feather from a Downy Woodpecker I stuck into the top of it.

A little bird tea light and a golden votive completes this birdie vignette.

You know I love to use items in unexpected ways and these little bird baths and urns I collect look darling used as salt cellars for this Woodland Tablescape.

Birch candles on rustic candle holders complete the tablescape and add a winter glow to the scene.

Twilight on the lake highlights the winter tablescape.

There was a beautiful full moon shining on the lake tonight and we saw some white pelicans floating, like large bars of Ivory soap, lustrously highlighted by the moon. Hope you’re taking some time each day to enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of this glorious season.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

Summer Re-Cap …

“Another summer set into a glorious sunset and in the morning … September arose.”

“Another summer set into a glorious sunset and in the morning … September arose.”

Trenda

It seemed like a very busy and short summer, and before I can go on with
“all things autumn” … here’s a re-cap of our summer. I am so sorry I haven’t written any posts this summer, but now I’ve written about some of our summer highlights all in one “verbose” blog. Pour yourself another cup of coffee and enjoy the “this and that’s” of our summer. The smallest and most adorable “this” of our summer … our brand new grand baby! Our son and daughter-in-law had their 2nd child, and their first little girl! She is “sugar and spice and everything nice” and I can’t keep from smiling just looking at her precious face! ❤

Grand baby #3 … “our quiver is full.” ❤

June … The very first day of June we headed off to Branson, Missouri and spent a week there with our daughter and sweet grand daughter.

“Just a swingin'” …. Momma and daughter at Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri
Dear Grand daughter at White Water Water Park in Branson.

As soon as we got back, we began decorating for Vacation Bible School.

Sweet husband hanging beaded curtain for Pharaoh’s palace.

Our grandson was thrilled that he got to go to his first year of Vacation Bible School in a pre-school class provided for the teacher’s kids. He went every day with PaPa and Grandma and loved it!

VBS – “ROAR! When Life is Wild God is Good!” Little grandson playing “Pac Man” in the kid’s arcade at church while PaPa and Grandma were preparing for the next day’s lesson. (:

Then it was July … Happy 243rd birthday America!

Hubby, grand daughter, daughter, and Daisy all dressed up in red, white, and blue for the neighborhood parade at the lake for the 4th of July.
Favors for the 4th of July

July afternoon’s on the lake …

Floating Texas style!

… summer afternoon’s at the arcade.

3 Generations … PaPa, Son, and Grandson ❤

… and Spin Zone!

Family bumper cars!

… around Cottage Green!

Nesting under the fronds of nearby liriope (monkey grass) a terra cotta duck is filled with clover.
Wax leaf Begonia and Creeping Fig
Sunny Coleus and Marguerite vine next to a teeny tiny birdbath that is just the right size for little hummers.

July stretched into August … with happy days spent making chocolate chip cookies with Grandma.

Grandma’s happy boy!

… and homemade soap!

5 year old grandson opening flower petals to add to our soap
Didn’t he do good? ❤

Days of ‘tiquing and ticking …

Decorative tables are some of my favorite things to find whenever we go on our “treasure hunts.” Look what I found snuggled together in a cluttered corner of a favorite shop.

This charming duo from Italy will look perfect in our “almost finished” upstairs bathroom. (Reveal coming!) A pair of crocheted hand towels ribbon-ed together, a luxuriant bar of Gardenia scented soap, and a medley of dried rose petals, lavender, chamomile buds, lemon grass, orange peel, and hibiscus petals fill a crystal biscuit barrel and sit atop the ornate tables.

Florentine Nesting Tables from Italy

Then, on the next to last day of summer, I found this darling glass topped table with twiggy legs, and a little birdie perched on the edge of a branch.

Then, we ended our summer the same way we began … by heading back up to Branson with our daughter and grand daughter the last week before summer vacation was over.

Less than a week after our return, Richard and I drove up to La Crosse, Kansas for the Memorial of WO James Eisenhower, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.

After TAPS, a salute by military liaison, another military member, and 4 members of the 240th Helicopter Assault Company. Richard is the 3rd person from the left. Standing next to him is, Morris, Steve, and Ridge. The brother of the deceased is Mark Eishenhower, the last person on the right.

After the Memorial, Richard and I took the scenic route back through Colorado and we drove through Wolf Creek Pass … “way up on the Great Divide” (: passing ski slopes we used to ski on, not really so many winter’s ago.

Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado

That evening we stopped at Pagosa Springs, Colorado and checked into the cutest log cabin that Richard spotted alongside the San Juan River. We had a lovely dinner at a Mexican restaurant and sat outside on the patio where it was Colorado cool, even in August! (: Our table overlooked the San Juan river and natural hot springs that Pagosa Springs is named for.

Bath Houses and Hot Spring Spas in Pagosa Springs along the San Juan River.

The next day we crossed the border into New Mexico and drove past other familiar mountains we used to ski on: Red River, Angel Fire, and Taos, New Mexico. We stopped in Angel Fire to see a Vietnam Memorial and Garden located in a perfect spot for reflection on a peak overlooking Angel Fire and the mountains, beyond.

Vietnam War Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Huey helicopter with Richard and the American flag in the background. ❤
Vietnam Memorial Garden in Angel Fire, New Mexico

We stayed that night, high in the beautiful, secluded mountain mesa that is the town of Los Alamos. “Los Alamos is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States that is recognized as the development and creation of the atomic bomb – the primary objective of the Manhattan Project by Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II.” The next day we went to the Visitor Center and saw a film on Los Alamos during WWII. Afterwards, we were given a map and we took a driving tour of the homes and work areas from that time period.

Our guide at the Visitor Center urged us,” if we had the time” to drive on to Valles Caldera National Preserve.

We did and driving through that preserve gave us a glimpse of a “land before time” with majestic Ponderosa Pines, Loblolly Pines, White Pines and natural grasses.

Valles Caldera

Hillsides were covered with groves of Blue Spruce and Junipers and “were home” to over 144,00 elk, the second largest elk population in New Mexico. Our brochure also told us that other residents of Valles Caldera included black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, golden eagles, wild turkeys, and prairie dogs. **ALSO … If you’ve ever watched the A&E Network series titled “LONGMIRE” … Valles Caldera is the location for a lot of the filming that takes place. We drove right up to “Sheriff Longmire’s cabin” that was originally built on this property back in 1917 – 1918.

Sheriff Walt Longmire’s cabin from the TV series – “Longmire”

The next day we crossed over the border into Texas and stopped at Palo Duro Canyon, the “little Grand Canyon.” Oh my, it was spectacular and neither Richard and I had ever seen it before! One of the many things we loved about this grand sight was that we could drive our car all the way down to the base of the canyon to see all the landmarks, caves, and rock formations.

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
Cave at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

From Palo Duro Canyon we were only 6 1/2 hours from home. Every mountain, mesa, canyon, tumbleweed, yucca, cactus and rock formation we saw on our trip was just a reminder of God’s artistry, and as I looked at each of these sight’s my soul sang … “My God how great Thou art!”

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Memorial Day … “In Honored Memory”

On this Memorial Day while enjoying the freedom to gather with our family and friends, have a backyard barbecue, go to the lake, or just enjoy having an extended weekend our thoughts and prayers are for those whom “Memorial Day” is just one more day of heartbreak and loss they live with every day of the year.

“Lest we forget … freedom isn’t free.”

On this Memorial Day I wanted to write about a trip we took in April of 2018 to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.. Finally, 43 years after the Vietnam War was over, also known as “The Helicopter War” there was going to be a dedication held at Arlington National Cemetery for all the helicopter pilots and crew members (approximately 5,000) who were killed in Vietnam.

Loading up the troops for another combat assault

I originally planned to have this blog done in time for Memorial Day 2018, but writing it so soon after our trip, the memories and emotions of our special time together were too poignant and I had to wait until this Memorial Day.

Richard and I began our Memorial trip (over 4,600 miles in all) from Texas and drove to St. Louis, Missouri to pick up Sherry. Our dear friend, Sherry … who before a war in Vietnam changed her future hopes and dreams forever, was engaged to Bill Seaborn. Sherry … who’s own precious helicopter pilot had given “the full measure of devotion” and was killed 48 years ago when the helicopter he and my husband were flying was shot down over the jungles of Vietnam.

The three of us left St. Louis and drove to Edinburgh, Indiana to spend the night before driving the next day to West Virginia. The third morning we drove on into Washington, D.C. where we met and had lunch with some more precious friends, George and Patricia before heading to the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Richard and George … friends since high school! “Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends.”

After lunch we met Bill Seaborn’s sister, Beverly who had flown in from Florida to come to the dedication. We picked Beverly up at the hotel where she was staying and she, Sherry, Richard and I rode to Arlington National Cemetery together, parked, then rode on trams to the amphitheater at the Cemetery.

Richard, in somber contemplation looking from the tram at the grave sites of more than 400.000 that are buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

Before the ceremony began, we were delighted to meet up with Bob and his wife, Paula. Sherry met Bob when he graduated from the same Flight School Class as Bill did before they both left for Vietnam. She had remained friends with Bob since that day. Richard and I, only the previous year, had met Bob at Bill’s Memorial.

We all sat together as the dedication began, united in love for Bill and honoring all the pilots and crews members who were killed in Vietnam.

Beverly and Bob seated in the amphitheater at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Opening ceremony …

“The Star Spangled Banner”

At the end of the dedication the Memorial Wreath was carried out to be placed next to the Vietnam monument while the bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”

Bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace”

The Memorial Wreath next to the monument … “In honored memory of the helicopter pilots and crew members who gave the full measure of devotion to their nation in the Vietnam war.

Sherry (Bill Seaborn’s fiancee) Beverly (Bill’s sister) and Richard (Bill’s friend and co-pilot) standing by the monument. The Gold Star Members (any family member that lost a loved one in military service) were recognized and honored and Sherry and Beverly were each given a single long stem rose.

LEST WE FORGET WHAT MEMORIAL DAY IS ABOUT …

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Tartan’s and Tea … A Scottish Tablescape “Donning the Plaid”

The Scotch in me loves using tartans in our home year round, but the warmth and cheerful “feel” of these plaids is especially pleasing on dreary days. Last week we had several cold, gray, “drizzly” days just the sort of day that was perfect for “a spot of tea.” Suddenly, I was inspired and the low table in our family room beckoned and glowed and seemed the perfect spot for a cozy, afternoon tea. A bright red tartan tablecloth was my backdrop and the transformation and fun began.

I gathered a basket full of “accouterments” for my tablescape that reminded me of Scotland … a beautiful antique Saint Bernard to sit atop tartan napkins looked stately in front of a pair of Scottish books.

Purple Statice, placed in a little nest mimicked the purple heather and thistle that thrives in the Highlands and a clump of prickly cedar tucked beneath the candlestick represented the spiny gorse that covers the Scottish crags and glens.

“From Scots bluebells to bog myrtle, bell heather to the iconic thistle, the flowers of Scotland thrive …”

Flowers of Scotland

Since Scots are renowned for their love of dogs … another pair of sweet antique doggies for my tablescape; a ceramic Cocker Spaniel stands beside a glass Scottish Terrier that’s perched on a pedestal of tartan plates.

I love this whimsical “Scotty” dog cream pitcher! His perky tail is the handle of the creamer and the cream “spout” is his snout! (:

A pair of ornate candlesticks with scarlet tapers match the tartan cloth and a glazed pottery vase filled with pheasant feathers and faux antlers conjures up more Scottish flavor. Then, my favorite red thermoses add height, a perk of interest, and another layer of plaid, plus they’re perfect for keeping the tea hot … with two crystal mugs for “supping” close by!

I keep Scottish Shortbread cookies in the pantry, so I placed “just enough for two” under a domed dessert tray.

And another teatime treat, Almond Thins, circle a cheery plate rimmed in plaid.

Then the last adornment’s to my tablescape … a leaded glass lantern (a loved gift from our daughter) and an antique crystal cream and sugar service glisten like jewelry atop a little wooden chest.

The welcome glow and ambiance from the lantern, candlesticks and votives add sparkle to our cloudy afternoon.

All set and ready!

The calendar proclaims that it’s almost Spring and just the other day I saw a flock of Robins in our backyard … but today it feels like “winter” so we’ll stay inside where it’s warm, indulging in our Highlander Tea! Embrace the last of the “cozy season” put on something comfy and have some tea! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Author: cottagegreenonthelake

I hope you will be charmed and delighted when you read and look at the pictures of tablescapes, home decor, seasonal decorations, floral arrangements, landscaping ideas, “potting about the shed” and the unexpected ways I use everyday items to decorate my home; I hope all will be an inspiration for you as you make your own little haven and nest … 4 the seasons!From my cottage to yours ~ TrendaView all posts by cottagegreenonthelake

A Holly, Jolly Christmas …

“It’s the best time of the year!” 

This Christmas season we had an enchanting, never to be forgotten time when the “the fates allowed” … and our whole family spent a week together in Branson, Missouri. 

We went to Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” the first day of our vacation and we were “dazzled” with over 6.5 million lights, walk-through tunnels, a 5 story special-effect Christmas tree, and the most stunning Christmas lights and displays we’ve ever seen!

Christmas tunnel.jpgThe entire amusement park was “bejeweled”and the trees were wound and draped in lights.
Christmas village.jpg

We drank Christmas wassail and hot chocolate and wandered the pathways strewn with lights and Christmas decorations …

park SDC

Watched Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Parade.

ballerina music box.jpg

Saw Santa and Mrs. Claus in a Christmas sleigh loaded with toys.

Santa's sled.jpg

And PaPa and Grandma even rode some of the amusement rides and roller coaster’s with both our children and grandchildren! (:

riders SDC

 Each day of our week was filled with memories … Christmas movies, shopping, a visit and pictures with Santa Claus … bowling, go-carts, lazer tag, bumper cars, and wall climbing … and a magical evening aboard Branson’s Scenic Railroad on The Polar Express, complete with book reading, elves hopping on the train between stops, sugar cookies and cups of hot chocolate, and at last … a visit from Santa!  He surprised us when he suddenly appeared in our train car with a “Ho, ho, ho!  Our grandchildren were spell bound and he spent some time with each child, solemnly telling them when he handed each their shiny, silver, bell  … “that they would always here it ring, as long as they believed.”

Fun Mountain collage

“Christmas memories of happy years gone by/They come back to me and keep me warm inside/Oh they mean so much to me/Those Christmas memories make me cry.” ~ “Christmas Memories” by Alabama

family.jpg

 And now … a simple treat that looks like it came straight from the North Pole!  Chocolate covered marshmallow pop with a peppermint handle and lots of sprinkles … perfect for dunking and melting into mugs of hot cocoa while waiting for the New Year to arrive! 

closeup mmallows

So simple and fun to “assemble.”

Ingredients needed:

    • Large marshmallows (I used Campfire Giant Roasters)
    • Milk chocolate Almond Bark
    • Peppermint sticks and/or peppermint and chocolate peppermint sticks
    • Assorted sprinkles
    • Cellophane bags with ties
D

Directions:

  1. Cover kitchen counter or cookie sheet with wax paper or foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Melt chocolate according to directions on package
  3. Insert a peppermint stick into center of each marshmallow
  4. Dip marshmallow into melted chocolate and swirl to cover bottom half of marshmallow with melted chocolate
  5. Sprinkle nonpareils on the chocolate before it hardens
  6. After chocolate has hardened, place marshmallow pops into cellophane bags, or place unwrapped marshmallow pops on a tray or candy dish to serve with cocoa.

“Have a holly, jolly Christmas

And in case you didn’t hear

Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas”

This year”

Burl Ives

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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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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:

Barb Chapman of French Etherial

Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

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

FOLLOW ME on PINTEREST!

Trenda@ cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining:

 Courtney at French Country Cottage

Carol from The Red Painted Cottage

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate