Ten Bloggers Present – The Fall Harvest Dinner!

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Dinner parties were once one of the most common forms of entertainment in this country.  Homemakers would set their tables with their finest dinnerware, make their favorite recipes, and invite some of their closest friends over for an evening of cocktails, delicious food, and great company.   

Some of my most favorite pictures are of my grandparents hosting dinner parties back in the day.  The women in the photo’s wore pretty dresses and heels, and the men donned dress slacks, dress shirts, and ties.  And as you can imagine, the photo’s depict adults having a great time dining and socializing.

With entertaining on my mind, I have invited some of my closest blogger friends to help me host a virtual Fall Harvest Dinner Party.  Each dish, including the table décor, signifies our beautiful fall season.  If you’re looking for Thanksgiving dinner ideas, you’ll likely find something from our dinner that you can put to good use later.  I am sharing just a tease (here at The Joy of Caking) of our dinner and the bloggers who helped make this all possible.  For loads more pictures, recipes, and to get to know each of these great blogger friends of mine better, please visit each of their sites.  I promise not to disappoint you!. 

Our dinner party begins with a beautiful Festive Fall Table created by Sandra of Sweet Sensations. Sandra has a real knack for coordinating and designing some of the most beautifully decorated tablescapes I’ve ever seen.  She claims it is nearly impossible for her to separate herself from the world of sweets and parties and I believe it! Have you ever seen the beautiful cakes she makes?  Sandra blogs to us from Michigan, and she tells me that her regular job as a fitness professional allows her to indulge moderately in all things sugar – lucky girl!  She say’s “it’s a good thing that I’m as passionate about working out as I am passionate about sweets!”  I only wish I could say the same Sandra.

I ask you, what’s a dinner party without a cocktail or two?  This scrumptious looking Apple Pie Cocktail with a Twist is brought to you by Terra of Café Terra Blog.  This cocktail looks like it would wet just about any whistle.  I know it would mine!  In my opinion, Terra is the ultimate cocktail queen – at least she is in North Carolina where she happily resides.  If you can think it; she can mix it!  Terra has been blogging for over three years.  By day she is a food safety/quality assurance specialist that checks on restaurants and hotels.  As a recipe developer, Terra say’s “I have discovered I love baking/cooking with booze.  So to add to my list of fun, I started creating cocktails with all the extra booze in my bar!”  Keep um coming Terra!

When Dionne from Try Anything Once Culinary graciously offered to make us one of her yummy appetizers for our dinner I couldn’t wait to see what she would bring.   This French recipe for Eggplant Caviar sounds so unique and delectable.  I love the creativity that flows from Dionne’s kitchen, and I drool over all of the belly filling food she shares.  Dionne say’s “I love writing, cooking, eating and photography. Strengthening my culinary skills was something that I found myself doing after my daughter was born. It was something that we could do together, no matter what our financial situation, and we could have that in common.”  Dionne operates their family by day and squeezes in time for food blogging when she can.  She’s a very busy girl especially since her and her “other-half” co-founded No More Hungry Nights in the state of Washington,  an organization dedicated to ending hungry nights one house at a time. They provide food donations, job connections and even training for local families in their community.  KUDO’S to both of them for taking on such a huge problem! 

I know that a new mom like Monet, from Anecdotes & Applecores, is probably more focused on feeding her sweet little Lucy than helping host a fall dinner party – but Monet is an amazing girl.  She always bakes delicious treats and writes from her heart  –  two of the things that I enjoy immensely about her.  Today, she brings an enticing Goat Cheese with Herbs de Provence to our dinner table.  While this recipe sounds like a fancy and time consuming appetizer, I’m sure she will tell you otherwise.  Monet writes and bakes in colorful Colorado.  She just recently finished her MFA in Creative Writing and she is currently working on a memoir about food and family.  Monet invites you to visit  Anecdotes and Apple Cores where she say’s,  “I share simple recipes that are meant to be shared.”  And while your there, be sure to ogle (like I do) over sweet little Lucy!

Goat Cheese with Herbes de Provence v1 (Anecdotes & Applecores)

Amy, aka “Ms. Toody Goo Shoes, has created a sapid Roasted Pear Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette for us to feast upon.  After a lengthy career in the TV industry,  Amy reports that she has ”hung up her dress-for-success clothes and pulled her domestic ‘genes’ out of storage.”  Now that she isn’t rushing off to catch the 7:52 every morning, she spends her time writing from her home in New Jersey about the things she always wished she had time to do when she was working; like baking, traveling and interior design. Amy’s great sense of humor and her creative writing skills make me laugh and keep me coming back for more.  And I haven’t even mentioned all of the other attractions she shares on her blog; like recipes, home decorating ideas, and her road trips! 

Jeanne is the author/blogger behind Inside NanaBread’s Head.  For our fall dinner she has prepared Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple with Almond & Honey Streusel – yummy!!  Jeanne compares her blog to her junk drawers – filled with tidbits, trash & treasures – so open with caution; you never know what might fall out.  I can completely relate to that!  She writes from the big state of Texas about the things that make her world brighter.  Jeanne’s blog is much like mine in that she offers a little of everything – food, family, travel, an occasional craft or sewing project.  On occasion you may even get an update on the mildly exotic fruit that they grow; including pineapples, bananas and a new papaya tree.  Jeanne say’s she’s “prone to bouts of sarcasm, and believes that a good sense of humor is one of life’s greatest gifts.”  She’s always made me feel very welcomed at her blog, and she once told me if she ever wins the lottery she’s inviting me to a “girl’s getaway” she’s planning.  Hey, you never know!  Drop by her blog for a visit, poke around for a while, and say hello. Her door is always open.  

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple - Ready to Eat - Inside NanaBread's Head

My contribution to our dinner is a Crusted Garlic Parmesan Roasted Chicken.  Since I’m the baker in our house, and my hubby is the cook, I asked him if he would mind helping with the entrée for our dinner. Since he loves to cook, he was more than willing to roll up his sleeves and help out.  I’m so fortunate because the two of us can work side by side in the kitchen and produce some pretty tasty meals together.   Since this is a super long post I am going to be sharing his recipe in a new post tomorrow – so be sure to stop back for it!

Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake brings a beautiful and flavorful Pumpkin Challah to our table all the way from Indiana.  Liz credits her mom as being an amazing cook, but not much of a baker. She say’s, “when my sisters and I yearned for a sweet treat, I turned to our trusty BH&G cookbook and zeroed in on the dessert tabs. My love of baking began in my childhood kitchen.”  She married a chocoholic and together they had 3 children with plenty of sweet teeth.  Liz began blogging in 2010 (the same year I did) to chronicle her baking journey. She amazes me because I don’t think there is a day that goes by that she doesn’t post something delicious on her blog.  I love reading all the great stories she shares with her great recipes.  Drop over and say hi, and ask her how many times she’s had a fire truck at her house.

Pumpkin_Challah (4) harvest dinner

Sharon and Denise are the makers of these tender and buttery Onion Rolls. Did I mention I love Onion Rolls?  Both are sisters born a scant 17 months apart, best friends, and the brains behind BeBetsy.   BeBetsy is a place to find fabulous food, flirty fashion, beauty trends, creative artists and a lot of inspiration!  Both gal’s tell me that they “like the idea that a modern woman can have a career, then carry her baby or grandchild on her hip wearing a fabulous dress and heels (or flats if her feet are killing her) and all the while admitting that she loves to cook, sew and garden, and finds the greatest joy in friends and family.”  I enjoy dropping by and linking up to their linky party every Tuesday.  It’s called Brag About It.  Please feel free too do the same! Lucky for me, these two ladies from the Wild West (Utah and Nevada) have become great long distance friends of mine.

Anne, a baker and blogger From My Sweet Heart, resides in a suburb of Washington, D.C.  Her dish to pass is my favorite part of any meal – dessert!  I can almost smell Anne’s Cinnamon Applesauce Tart, can’t you?  Anne admits, “I grew up in a generation where you always had dessert; even if it was after a weeknight supper; and even if it was only Jell-o. And to this day, when I dine at a restaurant, I always glance at the dessert menu first! I began baking later in my life.”  I can completely relate to what Anne says about always having dessert – that’s the way I remember it too!  She and I both appreciate vintage kitchen items and you will likely see many of them in the beautiful photographs that she takes for her posts.  Ann amazes me because she has a job that keeps her very busy by day, and yet she still manages to produce some of the most perfect looking desserts that I’ve ever seen. Grab yourselves a cup of coffee and head over to From My Sweet Heart for a slice of this delicious tart.

Thank you for coming to our Fall Harvest Dinner.  We all hope you have enjoyed yourselves, but remember it’s not over yet!  Hop on over to each of my friends blogs and pick up their scrumptious recipes for this meal, along with Sandra’s tips on setting a winning table.  And if you forgot to bring a hostess gift don’t fret; just pin, tweet, or Facebook our party and we’ll forgive you!  

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Chocolate Cookies

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For my last post, Pass the Plate, I made Chocolate Cookies that I sent to Sandra at Sweet Sensations.

These cookies are both semi-soft cookie and slightly chewy.  And oh so chocolaty.  A recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Cookies from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen  inspired me to make this adapted version.

Can I just say that there are so many talented people blogging today – it still amazes me. Everyone has something to offer, and in their own unique way. I don’t know what we did without them!

Chocolate Cookies

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1 egg

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

5/8 c. cocoa powder

1 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugars, and egg; mix thoroughly with electric mixer.  Mix in salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  Add cocoa and flour.  Mix all ingredients until completely blended.

Chill dough in freezer for 1/2 hour.  Once dough is chilled, scoop dough from bowl using by dining sized teaspoon and roll into balls.  Place on prepared cookie sheet.  Spray the bottom of a small glass with non-stick cooking spray.  Press the glass down onto each ball – spraying after each pressing. Sprinkle with colored sugar, or sprinkles if desired prior to baking.

Bake for about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from cookie sheet.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

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If you want to  see if Sandra eats these cookies, or feeds them to the neighbors dog, go check out her site.  She is going to be making some cookies of her own to pass along.  And please go to Share the Love Pass The Plate at BeBetsy.com to follow the plate from one blogger to the next, as this great fundraiser continues to raise monies to help in the fight against breast cancer.

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Pass the Plate

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When Sharon and Denise at BeBetsy.com asked me if I would help them Pass the Plate I eagerly accepted.

If you aren’t familiar with Pass the Plate, then please let me fill you in.  Pass the Plate is a fundraiser to support the Susan G. Komen for the cure 2012, and is an offspring of  Cook for the Cure.

The concept behind Pass the Plate is simple. 

1.) Anyone can purchase the beautifully designed and specially marked plate. The plate was created by Chef Jacques Pepin; a celebrity cooking show host, and was manufactured by the Villeroy & Boch; the makers of extremely gorgeous porcelain dinnerware.

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2.) The purchaser of the plate then makes food to put on the plate.  We are passing homemade cookies. 

3.) Once the food is plated, it is then passed onto a friend, neighbor, or in our case, another food blogger.  Each time the plate changes hands it gets properly documented, and Kitchen Aid, the makers of some of the most awesome kitchen products in the world, makes a  $5.00 donation to help the fight against breast cancer.

4.) The more the plate continues to change hands, the more money it raises.

Pretty awesome…

So now,  let me bring you up to speed on what’s happened with the plate so far.  The plate was loaded with homemade Snickerscotti cookies by Sharon and Denise.  It left Nevada last week and arrived at my house here in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State on Saturday, October 6th.  A toot of the horn on the rural mail carriers truck announced the plate’s arrival. 

As luck would have it, I had just made a fresh cup of coffee.  Perfect timing Sharon and Denise.  Of course I had to have a (couple) Snickerscotti’s.  These cookies are the most delicious biscotti type cookie that I have ever had – seriously.  I cannot stay out of them.  In fact, my husband warned me that I had better take pictures of them before I ate them all – can you imagine?  I’m sure the recipe will be available on BeBetsy in the very near future.

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The first thing I thought of when Sharon and Denise contacted me about this fund-raising campaign were the people I’ve know that have been affected by breast cancer. 

The second thing I thought about was the person I wanted to send my plateful of cookies to –  Sandra of Sweet Sensations.  Sandra has been a true foodie friend.  She is the queen of table decorating and party throwing,  makes the most sinful looking cakes ever, and sounds like one of the best grandmas in the world.  If you’re not familiar with Sandra then it’s time you go over to her blog and acquaint yourself with her.

Since she eagerly accepted my invitation to participate in Pass the Plate she will now receive a plateful of cookies that I made especially for her and her family.

I decided send Sandra a plate of  Chocolate Cookies decorated with pink sprinkles.  These cookies should travel well from to New York to Michigan. Unless of course, some hungry postal employee realizes what’s in the box.  Do you suppose that ever happens?

I will share the recipe for these cookies  in a future post.  In the meantime, here’s sneak peak. 

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Please follow the plate as it makes it’s way from one foodie to the next throughout the country.

Sandra, keep your eye out.  They are enroute!