Fall in Love With Fall: Festive Entertaining Ideas
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
Fall is here!
Anne couldn’t have said it any better. Every time I think I couldn’t love a season more, a new one arrives. Fall is no different. I fall in love with it all over again. What is there not to love about this time of year?
Hayrides, corn mazes, bonfires on cool, crisp fall nights…
Decorating the inside and outside of the home with all things fall… mums and pumpkins for the front porch, a wreath of fall foliage for the door…
Falling leaves in an array of colors…the way they float through the air before they quietly land upon the ground…
The way they cover the earth in a layer of gold…
The way those leaves crunch underfoot as you walk…breathing in that crisp fall air…searching for treasures along the way…bright red leaves, pinecones, and acorns…
Cozy sweaters, soup weather, apple picking at the orchard…
Wandering the pumpkin patch searching for the perfect pumpkin..one that could be perfectly round or one that is oddly shaped, big or small depending on your taste…
Raking a huge pile of leaves and jumping into them, imprinting on your mind the joy on a child’s face and the sound of laughter as they are covered in leaves…
Everything pumpkin….carving them to life with a multitude of expressions, pumpkin spice lattes, baking with pumpkin…pies, muffins, bars…pumpkin spice everything…
Everything apple…pie, apple crisp, warm apple cider, caramel apples…the way that ooey gooey goodness gets all over your face…
All of these things remind me of the quintessential fall…
Once fall comes around, it always gets me in a festive mood. A time where I want to bake, do all of the fall things on my fall bucket list, and entertain. Anyone who knows me probably knows that entertaining and preparing food for people is my love language.
A few years ago, I started a simple tradition. My boys love it every year. It requires a small amount of prep time, but you will definitely earn some extra brownie points with the kids! The smiles are all worth it.
A caramel apple bar! So fun and so yummy!
You don’t really need much to make your caramel apple bar a hit. You can certainly get creative with it but I provided a list below of what I used to get you started.
All you need…
Apples (we like our Minnesota honeycrisp) - sliced
Sticks to hold the apples for dipping
Toppings - mini marshmallows, mini M&M’s, toffee bits, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed peanuts…the options are endless…
Attach the apple slice to the stick, dip away, and voila! You have yourself a fall treat!
The boys thoroughly enjoy attempting to see how many toppings they can pile onto one slice. Lots of ooey gooey fun! I’m hoping one day they’ll look back and remember the simple little pleasures of fall like the caramel apple bar.
Also, to add that extra special touch, I use the chalkboard serving tray from Sawdust Savvy for the caramel apple bar. It works perfectly to place and label all of the toppings. This tray also works quite well for a hot cocoa bar in the winter, a cheese tray, taco night, or ice cream sundae toppings. The uses for this tray are endless. Love my tray for its versatility!
Lastly, I definitely didn’t forget about adding some fall fun for the adults!
When the weather gets cold, I start to think about all things cozy. In my book, there is nothing better! One way I like to stay cozy is by sipping a hot beverage.
Whether you’re curled up with a blanket inside by a fire or outside breathing in that crisp fresh air standing next to a blazing bonfire…sipping a hot beverage is necessary!
A simple way to amp up your entertaining game, whether that be around a fire, at a Halloween party or at Thanksgiving, is to create an apple cider bar. The chalkboard serving tray works well for this also. To make it simple, just heat up some apple cider and let people add in their choice of alcohol.
Alcohol options that would work well would be whiskey, bourbon, rum (regular or spiced!), vodka, or brandy.
Garnish it with a cinnamon stick, orange slices, and/or a thin apple slice on the glass rim (like a lemon wedge) and you have yourself a cozy autumn drink!
When it comes to apple cider, I like to go a step further and make mulled apple cider. (come winter, I make mulled wine, too). Mulled apple cider is just hot, spicy goodness. Think cinnamon, cloves…maybe a little orange zest.
You can easily make mulled cider on the stovetop or in a crock pot. I typically purchase mulling spices at a local store. Then, all I do is tie the mulling spices up in a coffee filter, place them in the cider and simmer them for 20 minutes or more on the stovetop. The longer it simmers the spicier it becomes.
If you are unable to find mulling spices, you can still mull cider! Below is a simple recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and The Food Network.
Hot Mulled Cider
16 cups fresh apple cider
Four 2 inch cinnamon sticks
2 oranges, peels and juice
8 whole cloves
6 star anise
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. (even longer to add more spice flavor) Pour into mugs and serve.
Place those mugs on a cute tray, like the Round Wood Tray pictured here from Sawdust Savvy, and enjoy! Oh SO good!
Cheers to being cozy and cheers to all things fall!
~ Naomi Liester, Guest Blogger & Sawdust Savvy Instructor