It’s that time of year again. In most parts of the country, this is the time when the summer heat fades and the crisp winter temperatures start arriving. You may be lucky to get a few sunny days interspersed throughout crisp chilly days that encourage a comfy sweater and a hot steamy beverage. As the leaves change, the days become shorter and we are just starting to think about the busy holiday season ahead of us.
Perhaps one of the best things about this time of year is the aroma and taste of fall food. Sure I’ll miss summer’s juicy ripe tomatoes and sweet corn, and I’ll miss cooking out with family and friends, but fall brings new culinary delights to the table.
For starters, foods like apples, pears, pumpkins and other winter squash are abundant at end of the season farmer’s markets, and the aroma of cinnamon and pumpkin spice is starting to show up everywhere. Grilling out suddenly becomes warm nights by the fire while heartier comfort food simmers on the stove, the smell of soups, stews and roasts permeating kitchen everywhere.
One of the best ways to enjoy these crisp fall days before the frigid chill of winter hits is to throw a party with a fall theme, and that’s what we’re going to focus on in this issue. Even if you don’t throw a party specifically for the glorious time of year that is autumn, you can still use these tips for entertaining throughout the season.
Also in this issue:
If you love pumpkin pie but hate all the fat and calories that come with it, you’ll love our recipe for our ‘Pumpkin Pie in a Glass’.
How to Plan the Perfect Fall Party
Planning a fall party isn’t much different from planning any other party, you just have to stick with the theme. Things you should keep in mind are the things people think about when they think about fall:
Spicy aromas: Apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, and pine are among the smells people associate with fall.
Heartier foods: Gone are the days of light summer salads and chilled foods. To replace them, your menu should include hearty foods such as stews, roasts and other comfort foods. Anything made with pumpkin works out well, and it doesn’t just have to be for dessert. Apple
Chilly air: While you can’t control the weather, mid to late October is a good time between summer heat wave and chilly winter like temperatures.
Colors: Nothing says fall like deep reds, golds, oranges and brown. Think of apples, pumpkins and cinnamon sticks for inspiration, and of course jewel tones leaves.
Other associations with fall: Brittle just turned leaves, pumpkins and gourds, and piping hot-spiced drinks.
How Do You Incorporate These Things in Your Party?
Simple. Buy some fall-scented candles, plan a menu around fall food and then get some decorations in the form of leaves, pumpkins and gourds with a jewel toned table cloth. If the weather is right and it’s permissible in your area, a bonfire is a great fall activity to center your party around, or you could do pumpkin carving, jumping in leaves, or whatever else sounds like a plan.
Your Party Timeline
You don’t have to plan months or even weeks in advance to have yourself a fab fall shindig. In fact, you probably didn’t even think about it until the weather started getting a little chilly right?
No worries, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a pretty straightforward timeline to get you going. If you’ve got two weeks, you can have an autumn bash your guests will rave about.
Two weeks to go: Choose your guest list and your date, and your venue if you’re having it at your house. When picking your date, remember other fall activities people tend to schedule their days around: football, school open houses, community festivals, and other things that would keep people from attending your party. When choosing your guest list, you have to decide whether it will be a kid friendly gathering or an adults only affair. If kids are welcome, you should be prepared for at least one or two kid friendly activities, and limit alcohol if that bothers some guests.
This is also the time when you want to send out your invitations. While mailing invitations may be a little bit old fashioned in this age of digital technology, you have to let your friends know somehow. Email and Facebook are great ways to get the word out, just be sure to verbally let people who don’t use these services know about the bash if you want them to come. You’d hate to start the glorious season with hurt feelings. If you do decide to do mailed invites, you’ll find some beautiful fall themed invitations at your local craft store or card shop. Just be sure to get them out right away. You need to allow mailing time to give everyone the opportunity to plan. Of course you can do both things if you’d like as well.
One week to go: Time to plan the menu. You’ll need to come up with ideas for the following:
If it’s an adult’s only party, you may want to imbibe, but that can get costly. Instead of having a full bar, you can maybe buy some beer and have a signature drink. Something fall themed or maybe something hot would be great here.
Appetizers and Pre dinner snacks
Remember to keep the theme of fall in mind. Anything with apples, pumpkin or even roasted nuts are all good options.
Think stew, pot roast or chili. These are easy to do, and can be done in a crock-pot, so you can start early in the day for delicious meal your guests will love. Think warm and comforting, and anything you would want to eat on a chilly day.
Is there anything that says fall more than pumpkin pie? Okay, so you don’t have to have pumpkin pie, but anything with pumpkin will do nicely. Apples are also a nice choice, as are pears, nuts, and anything with cinnamon and other spices.
Three days before the party: Create a grocery list, and decide how you’re going to decorate. Then you can make one big trip two days before your party. Make sure you think about tablecloths, candles, and pumpkins. If you want to carve pumpkins for your decorations, you should do it today.
Two days before: Go to the grocery store early in the day so that you have the rest of the day to get the house ready. Waiting until the day of to clean will only stress you out. Do it today. Any food prep that can be done in advance should be done today as well. Bake pies, chop veggies, and anything else that can be done.
Day of: Finish up last minute cleaning, set up your decorations, and get the food started. Finally, when the time comes, relax and enjoy the party. You’ve earned it!
Now for a fall smoothie recipe that’s easy to make, healthy and will give you the flavor of fall anytime, in minutes:
Serves 1-2 Ingredients: 1 canned pumpkin puree Directions: Put all the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and and creamy. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg if desired. Thanks for reading, and I hope your fall season is everything it can be and more! What fun events do you have planned?
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup ice
1 canned pumpkin puree
Put all the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and and creamy. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg if desired.
Thanks for reading, and I hope your fall season is everything it can be and more!
What fun events do you have planned?