Al Fresco Dining in Autumn … Easy Caramel Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip by Trenda

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Autumn, sunshine and al fresco dining are, like the song says … “a few of my favorite things!”  Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day with a light breeze that “ruffled” the lake and teasingly tugged at the chimes taunting us for staying inside.  By noon, we happily “gave in” and I made lunch and served it “al fresco” on the deck.

img_6439118184And for lunch …

 

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Caramel & Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip is delicious and takes longer to say, than it does to fix!  You’ll love how easy it is to “assemble” and the autumn flavors are perfect for afternoons snacks or unexpected guests! (:

Caramel & Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (8oz) cream cheese
  • Caramel Ice Cream Topping
  • Toffee bits or chocolate covered toffee bits
  • Apples

Instructions:

  1. Unwrap and place entire block of cream cheese onto a plate.
  2. Spoon enough caramel ice cream topping over the cream cheese to cover and  “pool” around the base of the cream cheese.
  3. Sprinkle toffee bits liberally over the caramel topping.
  4. Slice apples, brush sides with lime or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  5. Arrange apples around dessert dip.

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Apples on embossed leaf plates and miniature pumpkins sit atop silver chargers and a reed woven basket.

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 Rugged, textured tabletop with autumn leafed runner and  DIY Autumn Napkin Rings

 

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Tuscan Tomato Soup … another easy and delicious recipe I’ll include in another blog. (:

“All things are ready” … Buon appetito! (:

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“Apples of gold, in pictures of silver … “

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Tablescape details:

Green leaf embossed plates – Pier 1 (several years ago)

Sage green napkins – Kirkland’s (available during the Christmas season)

Soup spoons – Oneida, Louisiana pattern

This week I’m joining Marie-Helene with Kingsbury Brook Farm

Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

 

 

 

 

“She put the lime in the coconut …” Coconut Key Lime Macaroons and Cool Key Lime Dessert Dip & Dippers ……………….. by Trenda

Summer Afternoon Tea on the deck:

“A table for 2, please.”

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Today’s Menu … 

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Haha … if you’re like me, after reading the menu above you’re already humming this catchy song!  “She put the lime in the coconut she drank ’em bot’up  She put the lime in the coconut she drank ’em bot’ up … “ (:  if you’d like to go a little further down “Memory Lane” I’ve included the song “Coconut.” Just click on the link below.  It’s a 4 minute and 31 second song (no wonder it got “stuck” in our heads!) and you can listen to it, while you read the rest of my blog. (click here to hear  “Coconut!”)

The Coconut & Key Lime Macaroons were so easy and I got this recipe from dessertnowdinnerlater.com

ingredients macaroons

Coconut Key Lime Macaroon Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest, divided (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

  1. Combine sweetened coconut flakes, flour, salt and 1 Tbsp lime zest (opt) in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well with a spatula.
  3. Using a small scoop (I used a melon ball scoop) scoop cookie dough balls onto a greased or lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle the tops of the raw macaroons with the remaining zest on top (if desired)
  4. Bake a t 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes or until the edges and bottom of the cookies are browned.  Allow to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Coconut & Key Lime Macaroons on Dessert Tray

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 Key Lime Dessert Dip & Dippers 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Key lime juice
  • 1 oz graham crackers, ground
  • dash green food coloring (opt)
  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 oz. block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Using a mixer, combine softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, sour cream, and key lime juice.
  2. Mix ingredients on lowest setting for 1 minute.
  3. Increase mixing speed to medium and continue blending dip for an additional minute, or until mixture is fluffy and creamy.
  4. Fold in green food coloring (opt)
  5. Transfer dip from mixing bowl to serving bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the dip with ground graham crackers, refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
  7. Serve with additional graham crackers, vanilla wafers, animal crackers or gingersnaps for *dipping.  (*For garnish on my graham crackers – I dipped the ends of my “dipping graham crackers” in melted (per instructions on package) vanilla almond bark; then sprinkled the almond bark with lime green nonpareils, before the candy hardened)

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Fitz & Floyd  dishes in lime green and lemon yellow put a smile on my face, with their cheer-y colors and images of “pucker- power” … a very unexpected and loved gift from our son and daughter-in-law. ❤

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A darling little sugar bowl with a lemon domed lid is topped with a lime wedge finial and holds sparkling colored sugar.  Under an antique cut-glass cloche is fresh cut lemons and limes for crystal glasses filled with tea.

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Bright yellow Fiesta plates rest on cherished white doily’s edged in green that Richard’s mother crocheted for us.  Bright yellow and lime green napkins, from a dear sister are tucked in with a Battenberg lace napkin and both are inserted into a wooden napkin ring and topped with a gold dessert spoon.

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A Key West “breezy feel” is easily achieved with fresh cut ferns draping over the table and limes and lemons piled high into clear glass-footed vases, that our daughter gave me, and I love. ❤ A crystal biscuit barrel holds ice and is ready for refills.

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Hope you have some time to sip on a glass of iced tea and treat yourself to some “cool” desserts as you enjoy these last weeks of Summer!  “I said, “doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take?”  I said, “doctor, to relieve this belly ache.” (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time reading my blog, today.  To have all of my posts delivered directly to your email address, click on FOLLOW above … or click on my site: Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining:

 Carol from The Red Painted Cottage

Courtney from Feathered Nest Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Tablescape and DIY favors

~ Trenda

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my  angel mother.”  Abraham Lincoln

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 Happy Mother’s Day!  It has been a beautiful weekend packed with time spent with all of our dear children and grandchildren … and today was a perfect day for a Mother’s Day dinner served outside on the deck!  Adding a touch of sweetness and “gracing” our table, I used the DIY place cards and DIY napkin rings (click here for instructions!) that I taught you how to make earlier this week! (:

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Crocheted Battenberg lace place mats match the “grid work” of the antique wrought iron chairs.  This beautiful table belonged to my grandmother … a cherished gift to me from my mother. 

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A bright floral napkin ensconces each white napkin edged with Battenberg lace – both are slipped into DIY Spring napkin rings (click here for instructions!) and a matching DIY place card, “reserves” each seat!

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I was delighted when I found these charming green bowls on one of our “antique-ing excursions!”  The bowls look like little cabbages and for this tablescape, I used them to hold Sweeteners.  Carrying out the spring/garden theme and adding some whimsy,  I placed some miniature cabbage teapots under a domed pedestal plate.

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Crystal glasses are ready to be filled with Southern iced tea and water.  The rose blush stemware is a beloved gift from a dear little boy … many Mother’s Days ago ❤  fulldeck view.png

Both tables on the deck are set … the round table holds all the “overflow” serving dishes and is used as a buffet with plenty of chairs and built-in benches to seat everyone.   A favorite Villeroy and Boch “Country French” covered dish waits for Homemade Chicken Florentine and Noodle Soup. 

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Ready for dinner!  Look how darling the napkin rings and place cards are!

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Now, one more DIY project to show you … I made these sweet little favor boxes to send home with each of our “guests!”  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love making favors or treat bags for our “get-together’s.

favors.png I bought a package of these little boxes at Hobby Lobby on the party aisle where the crepe paper and favor bags are.  They are called Gable boxes and they come 12 to a package for only $3.99. (Download the Hobby Lobby App to get 40 percent off  on one regular priced, that can be used each time you shop at Hobby Lobby!) Using my Recollection tag die-cutter, I punched out tags from stock card in a variety of Spring colors and stamped them with bird nests, “For You” and a filigree frame (I wrote each guest’s name inside the frame) and used my hole puncher to punch a hole in each colored tag. Then, I filled each favor box with a fine sparkly shredded grass, nestled in some individually wrapped chocolates, tied a ribbon around each box and added a “set” of tags (1 of each … a bird nest tag, a “For You” tag and a filigree frame with the guest’s name on it) and tied them on to the ribbon of each favor.

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 “FOR YOU” … favor boxes are waiting by the front door to be given with goodbye’s and final hugs; a sweet remembrance of another special day together.

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This is the second Mother’s Day my own dear mother has been in heaven; I miss her every day and continually think of her, particularly on this special day.  What a blessing it was to be her daughter!  Her love, inner strength, joy, contentment and faith in Christ continue to be an inspiration to me.  “I’ll love you forever, like you for always, Mom” ❤

” … her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done …”  Proverbs 31:28-31

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Sending you a bit of our lovely day!  Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

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Autumn from the back deck … by Trenda

cropped-piccollage177597.pngIt’s been a beautiful week and as I went out on the back deck today, there was a coolness in the air that suddenly made me wish I had my sweater … a few golden leaves were floating, drifting on the lake … and autumn tinges could be seen, peeking from the trees.  The bright, golden sunlight, particular to this time of year, made the blue of the sky and the blue of the lake an intense background against the last green’s of the season. <!–more–>

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Our Beauty Berry Bush (aptly named!) is almost glowing in autumn and can be seen from our upper deck and was given to us, by a dear neighbor.  Our son planted it for me (in just the right spot!) next to our bonfire pit and near the lake, so we all enjoy it’s autumn brilliance while having wiener roasts and toasting marshmallows. It’s looks like a beautiful banquet spread and splayed out for the birds, with berries in a gorgeous shade of purple!  PicCollage.png

Right beneath our upper deck is a bed of hydrangea bushes, which bloom in early summer.  Now, in autumn they are putting on their “second act” and the “mopheads” have dried and the papery blossoms have transformed from all shades of blue, to a muted green; the blossoms are now perfect for clipping and “will be appearing” in autumn arrangements or tucked among fir boughs for their “final act.”

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My husband played in a golf tournament today and as the day slipped by and the outside beckoned, I decided to surprise him with an Autumn Afternoon Tea, on the deck. For our “tea party” I whipped up some Apple Cider Muffins with a Walnut Streusel Topping and brewed some spiced tea. The muffins were as delicious as they sound and I simply opened a ready-mix package of Martha White’s Apple Cider Muffin Mix, added some milk, and made them … “according to directions.”

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However, before putting the muffins in the oven I made a batch of streusel topping … a mixture of butter, flour, brown sugar, and walnuts and generously topped each muffin, instantly transforming my “mix” muffins into gourmet muffins, with very little trouble.  I’ve included the directions to my Brown Sugar and Walnut Streusel below.

Brown Sugar and Walnut Streusel

Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup cup flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup butter (melted)

Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and melted butter in a mixing bowl.  Top each muffin with a generous spoonful of streusel, keeping the amount added, below the top rim of the muffin pan.

Tip: This recipe makes more streusel than needed for 1 batch of muffins and I always put the remainder in a labeled Ziploc bag and keep it in my freezer … ready to add to any muffins or coffee cakes I make!

Then I had the fun of “decorating” the table outside for our Autumn Tea and began by spreading a dark green tablecloth, covered with pictures of seed packets and produce, over the table.  For the centerpiece, I filled a Marcrest antique pitcher that my mother gave me, with yellow broom weed.  Nestled below the pitcher I placed a little iron urn filled with millet and a wee little bird, who’s having his fill of bird seed!  I put the Apple Cider muffins on an autumn-colored plate decorated with leaves and topped the plate with one of my cloche’s … I love to collect! and to ward off any unwanted guests.  Incidentally, have you ever noticed how everything looks more delectable under a glass dome? (:                         I used a wire basket to hold our napkins and an old log planter that is one of my favorite antique finds that I use here in our cottage lake house … to hold sweeteners.                                                                                                                                                      By the way, my husband loved our Autumn Afternoon Tea and the muffins! (:

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This is the “twilight view” off our deck … same angle as those early morning pictures I took which were “bathed” in golden sunlight and in a background of blue sky and blue lake.  This evening, the setting sun has beautifully tinged the sky in shades of pink … the water, shades of purple.

piccollage “Splendor of ended day, floating and filling me!”  ~ Walt Whitman

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave a comment, below.

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda