So as many of you know already from reading posts on Facebook and what I’ve told you, this past summer wasn’t the greatest summer for Christopher and I. I’m not going to get into details, but Christopher was very sick over the summer, pretty much since Memorial Day when he was admitted to the ICU with a raging infection to when he was discharged from rehab at Kessler in August. The first few weeks were pretty touch and go with him. The doctors weren’t quite sure if he was going to make it, but with a ton of prayers from people all over the country, he made it and now almost completely healed. PTL 🙏🏻
As many of you also know, we have an almost 3 year old puppy, Zoey, who is our pride and joy. Here is our sweet girl on the first anniversary of her adoption 🐶
The first 3 weeks of Christopher’s illness, I was on a leave of absence from work, but once I went back to work, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with Zoey. I work 3 12-hour shifts overnight a week and I didn’t know who was going to watch or if I’d have to put her in a kennel. During her visit to see Christopher in the hospital, my friend Shannon approached me with an offer that I couldn’t refuse. She and her husband, Kyle, were willing to take Zoey overnight when I was working, so I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for a kennel, another added expense and stressor I didn’t need. What a blessing! The best part was they live 10 minutes down the road from us and I pass their house on the way to work anyways! So over the course of the summer, for 2-3 nights a week, I would drop Zoey off on the way to work and pick her up in the morning after my shift. The two of them really have no idea how much that helped me, I can’t thank them enough!
Once Christopher was home and became stronger over the course of several weeks, I knew we had to have them over for dinner and we did. It was October so I thought a nice, fall dinner party was just the trick! I already had the house decorated for fall, I just had to come up with a menu. Plus, they have the sweetest Beagle puppy named Sadie, that is just the cutest! The puppies needed a reunion as well!
I decided that we would have a few appetizers, a nice homemade dinner and a fall-inspired dessert to end the night. Everything came out perfect! The best part was dessert, of course!
I set the table for four beforehand and readied the appetizers on the kitchen island.
Three appetizers was plenty for just the four us. We munched on French onion tartlets, a cheese board and crock pot bourbon-glazed kielbasa bites. I used a few of my new fall-inspired platters and the pumpkin appetizer plates from last year.
The french onion tartlets weren’t exactly what I was hoping for. They were good, but I’m not sure if they completely tasted like French onion soup. The mixture consisted of finely chopped onions, cheese, bread crumbs, seasonings and an egg. So make sure you fully cook these if you decide to make them! What I did love about them is they were bite-size and savory. Who doesn’t like an appetizer that you can just pop right into your mouth and that’s also savory. I love savory anything!
The kielbasa bites were defnitely good, but they would be even better served at a luau in the summer. The recipe called for bourbon, but you could also substitute apple juice, so I did that. Apricot preserves were also used and that’s the ingredient that really gave that summery vibe. Nonetheless, they were delicious and I would make these again, just not for a fall dinner party.
I put together a simple cheese board consisting of salami and pepperoni slices, assorted cheeses and crackers. This is also one of my go-to appetizers. So easy!
That cranberry and cinnamon goat cheese is to die-for and one of my favorites during this time of year!
Now onto the main dish. I made roasted sweet potatoes and Gouda and apple stuffed chicken breast. I felt this was the perfect fall main course. The recipes can be found here.
The roasted sweet potatoes were delicious, probably the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever made. They were pretty simple to make as well – tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. So easy and that’s what I love!
I loved the idea of the chicken, but it dried out while cooking in the oven. Gouda is one of my favorite cheeses and paired with the apple it gave a savory tarty flavor to the chicken.
And lastly, the dessert. I really love apple crisp and I feel it’s a great dessert for the fall. The warm gooey apple mixture over a bowl of ice cream is absolute heaven. I saw this recipe on Pinterest for caramel apple crisp mini cheesecakes and thought they would be perfect for dessert. And they were. I brought the leftovers to work and everyone loved them. The creaminess of the cheesecake topped with an apple crumb and drizzled with caramel sauce were to die for.
This season is a special time of the year for us to express our thankfulness for one another, however, our thankfulness towards others hospitality should be expressed any time of the year! Not just once a year.