The Gentle Caress of Autumn Comes to the Cottage ………………… by Trenda

“… the gentle caress of autumn steals the sultry heat of summer …” author unknown

Autumn comes gently in the South with the days slowly becoming cooler and just the tips of burnished leaves can be seen shining in the golden sunlight.

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Our Beauty Berry Bush is laden with brightly colored berries in a gorgeous shade of purple … autumn delicacies for our “feathered friends.” 

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A little birdhouse tucked among the leaves and blooms of an Encore Azalea that is putting on it’s “final act” with brilliant autumn blooms.  A flying squirrel, while house-hunting, decided this little house was going to be his new home with it’s green roof, lichen covered walls, and view of the lake.  Without waiting for “a showing” he gained entry by nibbling his way into the opening and took up residency! (;

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The sunlight in autumn highlights the green of the grass and leaves against the azure blue lake and sky.

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Lantana with harvest gold and red blossoms, red periwinkles, and Marguerite (ornamental sweet potato vine) “glow” in the autumn light.

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“The gentle caress of autumn” can also be seen inside our cottage as I add some touches of the season.  

Copper glittered ACORNS rest on golden leaves …

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Are tucked into moss-lined nests …

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… dangle from a display stand and top a Fitz & Floyd “trinket box.” 

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An array of soaps in scents of pumpkin “and spice and everything nice.” 

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Glossy pumpkins perch on chunky urns …

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And contrast strikingly with blue and white Ginger jars …

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And in the kitchen … a Swarovski crystal squirrel “gathers” provisions! (:

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I love adding whimsical touches and reminders of the season to our home … and for all of us, this is just the beginning of all things pumpkin and harvest to come!  Have fun using your imagination and “putting some autumn jewelry” on your house!

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From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

 

Trenda

 

Thank you so much for reading my blog today!  This week I’m joining:

Lynn of the Vintage Nest

Courtney with Feathered Nest Friday

Creating Yummy Looking Party Tray’s …………………… by Trenda

Are you “insecure” about arranging party trays that look appetizing or do you cringe in apprehension when asked to bring a veggie tray to a Church potluck dinner … a neighborhood block party … or a weekend at your Mother-in-laws?  With these simple tips I am going to share, it’s easy to create a “pièce de résistance” and a yummy looking party tray!

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I love creating party “trays” of all sorts … trays filled with red and green slices of apples served with creamy, caramel dipping sauce … cookie trays stacked with cut-outs, pressed, rolled, and dropped cookies … sweet candy trays for Christmas … and appetizer trays filled with a mixture of fruits, vegetables, cheese, and crackers.   In the first party tray I’m showing you, I used a colorful Fitz & Floyd platter to “build” my arrangement on. I love using items on my trays that add novelty and color and I did this, on my first tray I’m showing you, by using a “bowl” carved from a purple cabbage, which holds my vegetable dip.  I peeled away the outer leaves of the cabbage until it was just the right size and wouldn’t “tower” over my platter.  You can see by the heap of leaves on my cutting board how much of the cabbage I peeled away.

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Then, using a sharp knife, I scored deep grooves into the center of my cabbage, forming a circle.  After making my “perforations” I switched to a table knife (you’ll need to use a knife with a duller blade so you won’t cut yourself, while carving!) to cut out the scored circle, making sure the “hole” was deep and wide enough to hold a substantial amount of dip.  Red, green, or yellow Bell Peppers also make charming dip holders, and hollowed out halves of melons make wonderful containers for my fruit trays.

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After placing the hollowed out cabbage in the center of my platter, I start placing my washed and cut vegetables and fruits around the platter, contrasting and coordinating the colors and placement of each.  Other tips which make my platter look more “attractive” … I tuck the stems of my broccoli where the florets face out … I place the woody stems of grapes underneath, so the grapes show, instead of the wood …  I peel cucumbers in strips and then cut the cucumber into attractive rounds.  For those vegetables that I have more of, like the tomatoes and broccoli, I divide the amount of each into 2 groups and place them on opposite sides of each other, on the platter.

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After the platter is filled, I added the dip for my vegetables to my cabbage “bowl” and tucked in these darling servers with handles covered in grape clusters and fruit.  Miniature silver tongs are just the right size for picking up “cherub” tomatoes.

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The second appetizer tray I am going to show you how to “build” today is arranged in a 13 x 9 casserole dish and placed in a wicker serving tray.  The sides of the casserole dish, make arranging this tray, EASY! (: The first thing I did was to place a sweet little bowl with etchings of berries on it, in my casserole dish.  This “anchors” my appetizer tray and makes a great place for the crackers I want to serve, on my tray. bowl.png

After filling the bowl with crackers (I used Wheat Thins) I took freshly washed “Looseleaf Lettuce” with it’s pretty, ruffled edges and tore off pieces to line the outer edges of the casserole dish.

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Then I  begin adding the vegetables I wanted to serve on my tray.  Since I have a lot of celery sticks, I divided the celery into two different bunches and stacked them at an angle, on either side of the cracker bowl.  Carrots are placed in 2 opposite corners and grapes fill up the other two corners.

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Then comes the fun part … piling cubes of cheese in the remaining spots; Colby Jack on one side, Pepper Jack on the other and filling in any remaining “vacancies” with cucumber rounds turned on their side, acting as partitions.  Where extra color is needed or “gaps” need filling, I “tuck in” more ruffly edged lettuce, between veggies.

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Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?! (:  And the woven basket with handles makes it easy to store in the refrigerator and transport to and from the table!  Hope these tips have helped and you’ll feel confident and enjoy creating your next party tray!  Before you know it, I’ll be making those autumn apple trays!

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Our last week in August and oh my, our hearts are heavy as we watch the catastrophic events in our dear Lone Star State, from Hurricane Harvey.  We love the charming seaside town of Rockport and I have been going there since I was “just a little girl” for summer vacations … and Richard and I have been going there since we married, for almost 40 years.  Seeing all the destruction of our beautiful, old, coastal towns, the flooding of Houston and the surrounding areas and the huge number of people suffering and loosing their homes is heartbreaking.  Houston, and it’s suburbs, is the 4th largest city in the United States with a population of over 6 million.   With astonishing realization … even if we were able to use every NFL football stadium in the United States for temporary shelter, there wouldn’t be enough room to “house” all the people that have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey!  I’m praying this scripture for all those affected and God’s watch care over them, as the rain continues and the flood waters rise … “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”  Psalms 31:9

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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 my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com  

This week I will be joining Marie-Helene of Kingsbury Brook Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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