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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie “Skillet Dessert” ~ by Trenda

I love making “Skillet Desserts” because they are quick to make and clean-up is easy!  I mix all my ingredients … add them to my cast iron skillet … then slide the skillet into the oven to bake.  After that, all that is left to do is to turn on the coffee pot and voilà! … dessert and coffee are ready to serve, as soon as we finish eating!  This Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert is yummy and it is the easiest dessert I make!  Just use “pre-made” chocolate cookie dough (found in the refrigerated “baked goods” section in the grocery store) or … if you’re not in a hurry, you can make this dessert using your own favorite cookie recipe.

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I was thrilled when my mother lovingly gave me her cast iron skillet, several years ago!  I cherish the memories I recall of Mom using it and remember watching her make Goulash … “Gravel Gravy” … fried chicken … fried okra … and all kinds of delicious gravies in it.  I can still see her dear hands, on the same handle I now hold, while I make Italian frittatas, golden cornbread, a yummy cobbler, or a Skillet Dessert!   Fun Fact: I recently read that cast iron skillets are being “willed” like other valuables to family members and are being passed down through the generations!

Now, back to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert  … Our daughter and grand daughter surprised us and came to visit, for a few days.  Before they had even unloaded the car, our little grand daughter asked, “What special dessert did you make for us, Grandma?”  Well, I hadn’t made a “special dessert” and you can imagine, after that sweet query Grandma was immediately on task to create some “special dessert!”  I went into the kitchen and took out my Pillsbury tub of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (I keep a large tub of this in the freezer or in the refrigerator when “company’s coming” … or for a dessert crisis like this!) (;

Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cast iron skillet with cooking oil.
  3. Press cookie dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, about 1″ thick.
  4. Slide skillet into the oven and baked for approximately 19 minutes (or until done.)  Note: Directions on the side of the tub of cookie dough say bake cookies for 10-14 minutes. I checked my “cookie” after 14 minutes and could tell the dough was still “shiny” and “runny” so I continued baking it for 5 more minutes.  The thickness of the cookie will determine how long it needs to be baked.  I took our cookie out when the edges were golden and the center no longer “jiggled” and looked “set.”
  5. Let cookie cool, 5-10 minutes before loading scoops of vanilla ice cream in the center of the cookie.
  6. Drizzle Hershey’s chocolate syrup in a grid pattern across the cookie and ice cream.
  7. Then add Hershey’s caramel syrup, turning your pan, to make a crisscross pattern across the dessert.

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While the cookie was baking, I placed colored bandana napkins and spoons on the table … ready for our dessert centerpiece! (:  In less than 25 minutes, before their suitcase had been unpacked and our “grand dog’s” water bowl had been filled … our warm, decadent dessert was ready for everyone to “dig in!”

bandanas.png I felt like I’d gotten a ” gold star” when I saw the astonishment and delight on our grand daughter’s face and she asked, Grandma, how did you make that sooo fast?” (: ❤

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Hope your weekend is “scrumptious” and is filled with “sweet delights!”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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 I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.