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

 

“Fall” … in love & Harvest Moon Pies by Trenda from Cottage Green on the Lake

“Fall” … in love with the autumn season, colored leaves, cooler days and all things cozy.  Here in Texas, September is just the prelude of the overture to come, but change is in the air; hayfields are filled with freshly baled hay, the little winter coots have returned and last night a gorgeous “harvest moon” rose slowly over the lake. <!–more–>

Now, I think you are going to “Fall” … in love with these darling treats … Harvest Moon Pies.   This idea is from a past addition of Southern Living Magazine and I was delighted to find that these desserts were easy to assemble and  almost too cute to eat!  I know we’re going to need more Moon Pies for Halloween  … to decorate with all things spooky!

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These decorated Moon Pies are a fun addition to any holiday and are a wonderful project for you and your children to enjoy doing together.  Have fun decorating each Moon Pie differently and you’ll finally have a use (if you’re like me!) for all those adorable holiday sprinkles, that seem to amass in your cabinets! (:piccollage1085342.png

I used a wire Maple leaf basket I had tucked away in my “4 the seasons” closet – my sweet hubby built for me!  I put a block of florist foam in the bottom of the basket to anchor and display my Harvest Moon Pies and covered the foam with some shredded black and orange paper I had.  Then, I wrapped each of my decorated Harvest Moon Pies in a cellophane favor bag. (I bought my cellophane bags from Hobby Lobby, they were located on the candy-making aisle along with the Wilton Candy Melts and “lollipop” sticks) and added autumn-colored ribbons around each handle.

I love the novelty of this charming and creative centerpiece, but I also love that they can be given as party favors, since I individually wrapped each of my Harvest Moon Pies!

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HARVEST MOON PIES/ LEVEL: EASY/  YIELD: 1 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS AND ITEMS NEEDED:

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INGREDIENTS & ITEMS NEEDED:

  • 12 lollipop sticks
  • 2 packages Chocolate Flavor Moon Pies (6 to each small package)
  • 1 package vanilla candy melts – orange colored (I used Wilton’s Candy Melts)
  • 1 zip-type plastic bag or cake decorator bag  
  • scissors
  • wax paper
  • assorted sugar cake decorations (I used Wilton’s leaf shaped decorations)
  • assorted seasonal sprinkles
  • ribbon in autumn colors
  • Decorator Icing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Insert 1 lollipop stick, 2 to 3 inches into marshmallow center of Moon Pie
  2. Microwave candy melts in a glass bowl at Medium (50 percent power) 1 minute or until melted, stirring once. (read detailed instructions on the back of candy bag) Spoon into your plastic bag or cake decorator bag, push air out and seal.
  3.  Snip a small hole in 1 corner of the bag; pipe melted candy around where the lollipop stick meets the Moon Pie to hold it securely in place.  Lay flat on wax paper and let stand until firm.  *SEE NOTE BELOW
  4. Pipe a fun border of melted candy around the edges of the Moon Pie or pipe squiggles across the top; then add sprinkles, cake sugar or attach candy decorations (ie: candy corn, pumpkins, etc.) using melted candies or frosting

*Be sure and help your little ones insert the candy stick into their Harvest Moon Pie and pipe melted candy around lollipop stick for them. 

I hope you “Fall” … in love with these Harvest Moon Pies  and enjoy making and eating them, as much as we did! (:

There are so many thing to love about Fall!

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“Fall … in love with all things pumpkin!

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“Fall … in love with harvest moons and breezy nights

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“Fall” … in love with hay bales gleaming.

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 “Fall” … in love with yellow leaves, lying on the grass.

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“Fall” … in love with children playing … laughing, giggling.

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“Fall” … in love with FALL!

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda