David was out of town this past weekend, and it seemed to me the perfect opportunity to have a few ladies over for a Girls' Night! I put the little ladies to bed early and went to Avonlea for the evening! This was the sight that greeted guests at the front door.
I was inspired by the ideas I found here to make these picnic boxes out of drive through drink containers (thank you, Sonic)! Each guest received her own box of goodies for the evening.
I took these plain boxes and covered them with scrapbook paper. I also tied a piece of twine around the base and attached the "picnic" label.
Our menu was:
Cheddar and Rosemary Scones
Sugar Cookie Cups with Chocolate Clotted Cream
Inside, I packed the chicken salad in a small canning jar with piece of the same paper used as a liner for the lid. I tied raffia around it and a tag that said, "chicken salad." The scone was wrapped in waxed paper and the apple chips in a clear cellophane bag. The dessert was placed in an old jello mold or small silver basket - both found inexpensively at thrift stores or yard sales. Our berry soda was re-wrapped with a label to make it into "Raspberry Cordial" and I promised my guests it would not make them tipsy! While we ate, we watched Anne of Green Gables!
I had placed this in the bathroom for ambiance ~ an old mini muffin tin filled with tea lights, dried lavender and perfume bottles with ivy in them. I propped this up on a wire basket that I usually use to collect dirty clothes.
In the room where we were watching the movie, I created this centerpiece from a hydrangea bloom that was lingering on the plant. I cut off just the individual flowers and floated them in water (idea from Country Home last year) and put a votive in a flower pot in the middle. I put all of this on a cake plate to give it height.
I had put a special sticker on the back of one "picnic" tag which was for the door prize - it was on a box that I delivered to someone who wasn't able to attend. So, I took her the prize too! She won a plate chalkboard that I had used in the welcome on the porch. I got the plate for 0.50 at a yard sale and painted it with chalkboard paint!
Now, as a way of extending this fun to all of you - I have another chalkboard plate to give away! If you'd like to be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment and I'll announce the winner in a couple of days!
Here are the recipes for all of the above goodies:
Lapsang Poached Chicken Salad (from the Tea Room), with my modifications
2 Tbsp. lapsang tea leaves
1/2 c. soy sauce
4 chicken breasts
1 apple, diced small
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
1 c. mayonnaise
Place chicken breasts in a 3 quart pot and cover with cold water. Add tea leaves and soy sauce. Poach chicken for 30 minutes. When chicken is cooled, chop and add to diced apple and spices. Add mayonnaise and refrigerate to blend flavors.
Cheddar and Chive Scones (from Real Simple)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
2/3 c. heavy cream, plus 1 T. for brushing
1 c. grated Cheddar cheese
1 T. finely chopped fresh chives (I used rosemary from my yard instead)
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2/3 c. cream. Add the Cheddar and chives and use your hands to combine. Knead dough until it comes together. Pat into a 1-inch thick disk. Transfer to a baking sheet. Slice into 8 wedges and brush with remaining cream. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
Apple Chips (from Country Living, September 2007)
2 T. lemon juice
1 sweet, crisp apple
2 tsp. powdered sugar
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Fill a bowl with ice water and lemon juice. Slice the apple very thin and let soak in water for five minutes. Place apple slices on parchment lined sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until crisp and dry - about 90 minutes. Cool and serve. (It took mine more than double this time to be dry!)
Sugar Cookie Cups with Strawberry Clotted Cream (from Southern Lady, July/August 2007)
1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough (I used homemade)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. strawberry extract (I substituted 2 Tbsp. cocoa and 1/2 T. sugar)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. powdered sugar
Roll cookie dough into balls and press into bottom and sides of two (12 cup) mini muffin tins. Bake for 12 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and mold cookies to form cups.
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and extracts. Beat with mixer on medium speed.
Beat cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream mixture into cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill.
Spoon or pipe cream into cookie cups. Garnish with fresh strawberries, pink sugar, and mint, if desired.