I don’t want to carry gratitude around in seasons.
I want to carry it in my bones,
I want to rest it in on my tongue
like it is a language
that I never stop speaking.
My favorite part of hospitality, hands down, is setting the table and warming up the home. Here’s our table ready for guests!
We hosted some of Tom’s coworkers for supper. In our home,”dinner” seems too formal, especially when soup is served. Soup is my absolute favorite to serve in cool weather. Along with bread, it’s truly a one dish meal. After the soup and cornbread, we passed a tray of chocolate chip pumpkin bread and almond joy cookies to finish off the simple meal.
My favorite things about hosting in autumn?
- The sun sets at 5:30! No one will notice the dust, spots and smudges, especially if you dim the lights and use your candles! Old candles are just fine; they don’t have to match. If you have a spicy scented candle, light it near the entrance to elicit that fall ambience.
- There’s a chill in the air and soup is a perfect choice to warm everyone up!
- You can add to the nostalgic autumnal feelings by hauling out your brown and earthy colored wooden bowls, plates and trays. Clip some magnolia branches with their beautiful velvety leaf backs, and add magnolia pods, pinecones and acorns that you find amongst the trees outside. Decorate the table with these items and set down in the middle a glass-enclosed candle among the natural elements. Glass enclosed for safety— I’ve been known to start a fire!
- Shop your house for an old tablecloth and napkins and have fun setting your table.
- Simmer water in the teakettle for spiced tea and hot chocolate.
- Collect your throws and small blankets and toss them around in an inviting way to cozy up.
Nothing says cozy like a fire. I almost turned the thermostat down and lit a fire in the fireplace since the temperature hadn’t dropped quite enough!
I’ve been thinking that the annual season of autumn feels a lot like the autumn season my husband and I are in. Time to slow down a bit, to look back, be grateful and to let go. A season of gratitude and anticipation.
Here’s to autumn; the food, the new and old friends, the family and especially the counting of gifts and blessings. Going forward with anticipation for what’s to come!
WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI (my version)
4 cans navy beans (2 cans drained & rinsed; 2 not drained)
2 quarts chicken broth; add more if needed
1 t parsley
1 t cumin
1 t oregano
1 t paprika
1/4 t red pepper
1/4 t black pepper
2 lbs (more or less) boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 small jalapeño, chopped (carefully remove membrane & seeds & don’t rub your eyes!)
handful of fresh cilantro
- Boil broth & beans & add seasonings
- Saute chicken in olive oil & add to pot
- Saute onion, garlic & jalapeno; add some of the cilantro
- Add all to pot and simmer as long as possible
- Before serving, mash some of beans to thicken soup & add rest of cilantro
JULIE’S PUMPKIN BREAD
3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 Cup water
2 Cups Pumpkin (one 15 oz. can)
3 1/3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Raisins (optional) OR my personal favorite: 1 Cup Chocolate Chips!
- Mix ingredients together in a large bowl and pour into 3 greased and floured loaf pans (8 inch or 9 inch). Bake 1 hour @ 350 degrees. Cool briefly before turning out.