fall dinner party

October 20, 2014

Last week we had friends over for dinner, friends who have been friends since our children were little, then to add another layer to the friendship, we found ourselves as co-workers for a few years.  But now that the kids are grown and the job is over, we don't see each other as often as we like and have to reach out a bit to get together.  Dinner party to the rescue!  You know I love dinner parties so much.  I troll Pinterest to find new ideas and have so much fun setting my table and planning the menu.  To me it's a way to spread my creative wings, with the bonus of having fun with friends.  We are such longtime good friends, so much history to share, and all that makes for an easy night.  I do love to go all out for a dinner party, but often don't have the time. I was planning on making a showstopper dessert, as I know both male guests love sweets. The day of the dinner party I was really feeling set: wine was in the fridge, table was set, onion soup was made the day before and just needed heating up.  I had even grated the cheese and sliced the bread to make last minute croutons.  So I felt comfortable meeting my girlfriend for morning coffee and some knitting then meeting my mom and a friend for lunch.  On my way home I stopped by the grocery store for the salad ingredients and came home and went on a little walk to pick up my neighbor's dog who was going to spend the rest of the afternoon with me.  On the walk home I ran into a neighbor and we started talking and talking.  And talking.  When I finally got home I was surprised to see that my son had stopped by and we visited for a while, and before I knew it, it was 4:30 and too late for me to mess up the kitchen with a fancy dessert.  Time...silly time...as much time as I have these days, it really seems to slip away from me.  The more time I have it's really like the less time I have. Why is that?  So since I felt squeezed I decided instead to relax for an hour with my knitting.  Doesn't that sound better anyway?  Luckily I had slice and bake cookies in the freezer, so I made those.  We had some chocolate candies and put them out too.  I had just bought a few varieties of local fresh picked apples, so I sliced them up after dinner and we had a little apple tasting.  I love to do that, everyone crunching away while we go around the table asking for opinions, it's funny. For me, Winesap totally won, crunchy, not too sweet, and mildly winey.  It's not an apple I normally find, but it's from a local ranch where we do our berry picking.  I think I see an apple picking road trip in our future!  The links are at the end of the post.

Lots of links!

As a young bride I learned how to cook using the Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  It was Julia who taught me how to make a quiche, a souffle, beef stew, chicken stock; just about everything I make now has roots within my 40 year old copy.  Julia trained entire generations of cooks to be courageous in the kitchen.  Bless her, that gift of fearlessness has given me great joy, I love to cook.  Her onion soup is by far the best, absolutely simple, and she has you do it the right way, and it will be the best you've ever had.  I doubled the recipe and the 6 of us consumed every last drop.  The Cowboy Cookies are crispy and chewy, love that combo.  I always make a double batch and put the slice and bake logs in the freezer where they don't seem to stay too long.  For the appetizer we made Maple Baked Bacon, man that stuff is good.  It was inhaled!

The gorgeous paper place mats are reusable and from Belle Banquet.  Here is the direct link for the  white and black root vegetables.  They've been used so many times and still look like new, it's hard to believe they are paper. I have a little collection of them but I think I'll add one of the animals to my Christmas wish list.    The plates are Cambria from Pottery Barn, also the canape plates, here's the link for them, scroll to the bottom.  Cambria is such a great line, we especially like that the dinner plate is large, plus they are inexpensive and still I've yet to find a chip.  The onion soup bowls are from Sur La Table.  It's important to use a bowl that can stand the heat when you brown and bubble the cheese under the broiler.  All the pewter and ceramic pieces in the buffet are from Arte Italica.

Fall entertaining is the best as there are so many pretty ways to decorate the house.  I love fall menus too and soup always seems to top my list.   I used to have a soup party every year but haven't done that party in ages.  I've really been wanting to bring it back but it just hasn't materialized.  I don't think I'll have time for it this year, maybe it will be a nice thing to do in January.  If I do it, I'll be sure to take pictures and share recipes!  I hope you are able to squeeze some fall entertaining into your schedule.  You won't be sorry if you serve onion soup, and try to do an apple tasting, it was really fun. And...make that cookie recipe!  Cookie monsters of any age love them.  xo


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  1. Thank you for a look into a really pretty evening. I went on all the links and love everything you shared.

  2. Another visual delight. I can almost taste the onion soup.


  3. Don't you just LOVE those days when you feel confident enough about your pre-party prep and planning that you can just sort of go about your day at your leisure? I think it shows when guests arrive that you are feeling relaxed and comfortable and confident they'll enjoy themselves. When the hostess is at ease, everyone relaxes and takes in the joy of the gathering. That's the way its' supposed to be!

    You set a gorgeous table with a fabulous natural centerpiece that works so well for fall. The root vegetable placemats were a perfect choice for this time of year! The food looks delicious...the onion soup in particular! I haven't made that in a long, long time. You've put it back on my radar!

    I'm glad you and your friends were able to spend a relaxed evening of sharing, reminiscing and catching up!

  4. Dear Kristen,
    What a special evening with friends! Your home is lovely, and what a beautiful table! Many thanks for sharing. I'll have one of those cowboy cookies :)

  5. I love your dinner parties! Invite me!!! ;) Libby


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