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

cropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.png

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:

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

cropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.png

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

 

 

 

“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 

cropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.png

  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

 

 

May Day Gift Cones … DIY Project

by Trenda

“Dear old world … You are very lovely, And I am glad to be alive in you.”   ~ from Anne of Green Gables

white blossoms and steeple

It’s May!  The darling month when everything seems possible.  Look at this sweet description of May Day from The Old Farmer’s Almanac established in 1792.

“With winter’s retreat, colts and calves kick up their heels and frisk over fresh grass, seedlings seek the sun, and birds call for mates….And we humans join their revels for one day: during spring’s “May Day” festival, even serious-minded folk put work aside to enjoy Nature’s exuberance!”

May1.jpg

Still quoting The Farmer’s Almanac … “Here are some joyful May Day traditions marking the return of spring and the renewed gift of life.

  1. Neighbors may leave baskets of flowers on each other’s doorsteps or doorknobs.
  2. Kids can go barefoot on May Day for the first time.
  3. People will crown a “May Queen” for the day’s festivities.
  4. Beekeepers will move bees on May 1st.
  5. Fishermen expect to catch fish on May Day.
  6. On May Day morning, if a maiden gathers dew before sunup and sprinkles her face with it, she will enjoy luck and youthful beauty for the rest of the year.
  7. Farmers often plant corn, cucumbers, and turnips on this day.
  8. Villagers may hold theatrical battles between “summer” and “winter” that banish the winter.
  9. The Kentucky Derby starts off the month of May (the first Saturday of the month).
  10. On May 1st, people in Britain welcome spring by “Bringing in the May,” or gathering cuttings of flowering trees for their homes.
  11. May 1st in Hawaii is called “Lei Day,” and people will receive prizes this day for wearing the prettiest handmade leis.”

May2

Hanging May Day baskets is an enchanting custom that is fun to incorporate into your own family traditions.  Sweet paper cones made from stock card paper with scalloped edges and ribbons are easy to make and are a delightful surprise to find. 

brother sister

  Supplies Needed:

  • stock card paper (double sided paper if you want a pattern on the inside and outside of your May Day cone)
  • scissors
  • scalloped edged scissors
  • ribbon
  • shredded paper or tissue paper
  • craft glue 
  • florist vials, if using fresh flowers
  • candy, flowers, little gifts, etc.

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut stock card paper into a 7-inch square (I used double-sided stock paper to have prints on both the outside and inside of my May Day gift cones
  2. Use decorative scissors to cut scallops around the top edge of the square
  3. Place pencil tip at the bottom of the paper and begin rolling paper around pencil tip to form cone
  4. Secure outer flap of cone with glue 
  5. Punch holes along scalloped edge approximately 1″ apart, beginning at the top front center
  6. Thread a 22″ – 24″ length of 1/2″ ribbon through the holes
  7. Tie ribbon into bow in the front … leaving a 6″ loop at the back of the cone for hanging
  8. If using fresh flowers, use florist vials and fill with water and flower stems  to tuck into the cone, or fill with shredded paper or tissue paper and fill cone with silk flowers,candy, little gifts, etc.

instructions

What a lovely surprise to find hanging on your door … a May Day gift cone filled with silk flowers, a package of “Ferrero Rocher, fine hazlenut chocolates” and Unicorn Sparkle Nail Polish. (:

May Day Basket 2

 This sweet little May Day cone is filled with silk flowers, a tube of lipstick, and a small bottle of perfume.

May Day basket 1

Hope your May Day is filled with lots of sunshine and happy surprises!

From my cottage to yours May Day

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

dogwood scripture

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

cropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.png

This week I’m joining:

 Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

 

Bringing Spring Inside … with Spring Vignette’s

~by Trenda

Spring has arrived in Texas in a profusion of azalea blooms, perky bluebonnets and the unfurling of spring green leaves.  Sweet trills and twittering’s are heard throughout the day as birds flit about gathering building materials for their new homes.  Just like outside, it’s time to dress your home in Spring decor!  It’s easy to do with touches of romance, charm and whimsy tucked in unexpected places.  Little nests placed in crystal bowls … a gathering of eggs in decorative containers … fresh flowers “about the house” and the use of bright and pastel colors suggest all things Spring-y.

Spring wreath and birdbath filled with moss and speckled eggs.birdbath filled with eggs

An etched cache with blown glass finial is filled with Spring proffering’s … some spongy moss and sweet little eggs.  A crystal Frog Prince and favorite childhood books are reminiscent of fairy tales and magical possibilities.

acorn.jpg

A little pewter bunny on a chartreuse pedestal … a matching chartreuse bird … and a little bird’s nest woven with spring leaves and blossoms perched on a chunky urn herald Spring’s arrival.

mirror.jpg

All things bird- y! (:

3 birds

A desk corner in my music room is filled with “suggestions” of Spring and some “of my favorite things.”  A mottled watering can filled with a collection of paintbrushes … antique glass frogs for flower arrangements … miniature hinged birdhouses from a precious son … and a favorite miniature from a dear daughter that says, “A Mother’s love is what make a house a home.” ❤

watering can.jpg

A chippy mirrored frame holds a picture of a pair of White-breast Nuthatches atop a twig-y silver easel.

mirror bird frame.jpg

A miniature wooden easel holds a rough textured canvas of an egg-filled nest among leafy boughs … a collection of bird nests are perched, nearby.Spring buffet

Books, eggs, and birds … ❤

end table

A pair of lovebirds gaze into a mirror … a spring green bucket is filled with carved wooden pencils and a spool of twine is easily reached and handy.

r desk corner

What was just a resting spot for this sweet, what-not shelf (while I went to get a nail to hang it) became the new, permanent location and a favorite spot once I saw how all the “lovelies” on the shelves were reflected in the mirror.  Treasures from our children, my grandmother, two of my dearest friends … fill these compartments and are looked on each day with fond memories.

what not shelf.jpg

Reflection …

NESTGazing beyond the window at blue skies and spring blossoms, and inside … lace-y tree branches reflected on my grandmother’s glass-topped table … a dreamy place to work!music desk

Have fun finding special ways and little nooks to “bring” Spring into your home!

Lady Banks roses

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.png

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:

Lynn from The Vintage Nest

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

Courtney with Feathered Nest Fridays at French Country Cottage