Here in the Midwest, the days are quickly getting shorter and there’s a definite tinge of cold in the air. Somehow we’re already in September, all the kids are back in school and the lazy Summer days of BBQ’s and beaches seem far behind us. Just the thought of the looming Winter is enough to send me running for the hills…or Florida. Before I do that I’m going to savor Autumn and fully embrace it with a fabulous dinner party. Mind you, this party is only imaginary for the time being, therefore you’re all invited. So join me for this perfectly styled taste of Autumn.

Please arrive around 6:30 pm, no need to RSVP, as I’m going to assume you’re all coming. The sun will be warm, the leaves will be changing, the lights will be shining and the temperature will only require a light jacket. As the sun sets, share the blankets around the table and cozy up with a beverage. There’s plenty of warm apple cider and for those you had a rough day, try the Apple Cidercar, it will make you feel much, much better.

We’ve got quite the feast ahead, as the best part of any party is always the food. For starters, some hors d’oeuvres. Those are some Fall-friendly flavors in the form of Fig and Goat Cheese Pitas and Eggplant Salad Toasts . They’re rich, crunchy, smooth and sweet all at the same time. A great start to a great night.

But wait, don’t get too full, there’s much more coming. The main course will be Pressed Chicken with Porcini Mushrooms, Chestnuts and Cipollini Onions with a side of Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad. The colors on your plate are all about Fall; vibrant oranges, faded greens, deep browns and violet details.

Last, but definitely not least, we have a dessert spread that will make everyone drool. Starting with Pumpkin Swirl Brownies and ending with Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake. In between you’ll find caramel apples, brittle, apple donuts, and Pumpkin Cupcakes. That’s enough to satisfy even the sweetest sweet tooth.

The night seems to have flown by and the moon has risen high in the sky, but there’s no need to rush home. You probably couldn’t if you wanted to anyway, due to of all the food you’ve eaten. Besides, my theory on any good party or meal is that if you stay long enough, you’ll eventually be hungry again and you’ll have wonderful leftovers right in front of you. So please mingle and stay as long as you’d like. You’ve been a magnificent guest.

And the best part about this imaginary dinner party is that I’m not stuck doing the dishes. Maybe we should do this every season.

By: Elissa Braun

Images: Table 1 & 2, Appetizers 1 & 2, Dinner 1 & 2, Dessert 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5