Harvest Celebration On A Budget - Sweet & Savory Blog at Allrecipes.com - 286919

Sweet & Savory

Harvest Celebration on a Budget 
Oct. 22, 2012 2:53 pm 
Updated: Nov. 1, 2012 12:51 pm
My children are grown now, and my only granddaughter lives in another state, so my Halloween celebrations have dwindled down to nothing!  However, the urge to entertain rises in my soul this time of year, and yesterday, I chose not to ignore it!  We usually have a group of church friends in about twice a month.  I host, but usually the guests bring munchies.  This time however, I had a little extra time, and I decided to provide the refreshments.  Since Halloween has actually fallen out of fashion with a few of my church buddies, I decided to have a harvest theme. 

It's appropriate to celebrate the harvest and all its bounty.  Pumpkins in the centerpiece immediately set the tone, and the wonderful, rich, warm tones of fall make an attractive color palette.  My old dishes are beige, with grapes and fruit around the border, so I thought they would be perfect.  We are very informal in our gatherings, so I knew no one would be offended by some attractive paper napkins, in a harvest theme, too!  I have lots of glassware serving pieces, and with a few leaf-shaped place mats, I knew the buffet would look pretty nice, without spending a lot of money.

Next, I thought of the food.  One of the AR's suggestions for the month was to make this:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-corn-treat-bags/detail.aspx< .  This was kind of fun.  It was pretty easy, but you have to have a container large enough to stir without having the caramel corn escape!  Popcorn is inexpensive, and I keep raw almonds and raisins on hand, so I threw some in.  I purchased a small bag of candy corn, because most of my friends remember these from "olden times"!  I knew I also wanted to try a new lemon pie recipe, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/traditional-lemon-meringue-pie/detail.aspx<    Again, most of the ingredients are standard pantry and refrigerator items, so no real expense here, either!  I placed the finished pie on a cake stand to give it more height.  Now I didn't have much time between the end of worship services and the time guests would arrive, so I was hoping for something quick, but good.  (I try not to be proud of my cooking, but I do have a reputation to keep!)  I looked at a recipe for a soup, Chicken and Corn Chowder.  It seemed pretty interesting, it was quick, and it had some decent reviews, so I took a chance.  Here's the link:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/Chicken-and-Corn-Chowder/Detail.aspx< .  I have to tell you, that soup smelled pretty good while it was simmering!  Now, here was another opportunity to save some money.   So many times at these gatherings, there are some folks who are hungry, and some folks who only want to nibble.  I have these small dessert glasses, and I thought, why not serve soup "shooters"?  That way, everyone who wished could have a taste of the soup, I wouldn't be throwing away a lot, and ****bonus****, I would have some leftovers for DH and me for another time!  Besides, I thought the shooters were very attractive, and I will do that again.  I wanted another warm tidbit, so I cut some hotdogs in half and used them in this:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Crescent-Dogs/Detail.aspx?prop31=1< , again, very economical.  I prepared a fresh veggie tray to add vibrant color and crunch.

Everyone loved the soup, but the hit of the evening was the Caramel Corn!  At first, I thought I would take the advice of the recipe and let everyone create their own mix, but then I would have had to buy more things for them to mix in.  That's when I decided to mix my own way in advance.  I had picked up some small orange paper bags, but then decided to leave the mix in a large bowl.  "Addictive!" and  "I can't stop eating this."  These were the comments that adults were making over this simple children's snack, so when the evening was over, I sent a bag of the Caramel Corn home with each guest.  ****bonus**** I didn't have a gallon and a half of the Caramel Corn to tempt me! 

The food was casual, easy and tasty, and everyone enjoyed it.  But the real harvest celebration was the warmth of friendship and shared experience, and that, dear ones, is priceless!

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Crescent Dogs
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Lemon Meringue Pie
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Caramel Corn Treat Bags
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Chicken and Corn Chowder Shooters
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Harvest Celebration
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Oct. 22, 2012 3:10 pm
OK, with food like we need a Texas sized round-up. As always you photos look great.
Oct. 22, 2012 3:12 pm
You've done a marvelous job. It shows your thoughtfulness. I'm sure your guests appreciates what a good friend you are. DH and I hosted a Fall festival for the grand kiddos this year. Everyone had a ball. Lots of work huh?
Oct. 22, 2012 3:19 pm
your food looks delicious, lemon pie shouts fall to me as does pumpkin. I like the shooter soup, great idea for people like me who want to taste everything but not really eat everything
Oct. 22, 2012 3:35 pm
Lovely photos and the shooter soup is a great idea. I have been dodging that darned Caramel Corn - it might just catch me yet!
Oct. 22, 2012 3:37 pm
Bd, anytime you want to visit, just let me know! Thanks for the compliment!
Oct. 22, 2012 3:38 pm
Skeery, your words are so kind! Yes, it was a lot of work, but it's fun to do. Just wouldn't want to do that everyday!
Oct. 22, 2012 3:39 pm
RNG, the shooters worked really well. I think I will do that as an appy for my next sit-down party.
Oct. 22, 2012 3:41 pm
B'nana, make the caramel corn for your "locusts"--that way, you can sample some and not be in danger of over-indulging! I used the light syrup, and I believe the dark would have a better flavor. Thanks for stopping by!
Oct. 22, 2012 4:42 pm
Wonderful,pictures are lovely,your very thoughtful.
Oct. 22, 2012 4:53 pm
Beautiful pics. I'm doing my party on a budget too, so it's nice to hear other people's ideas of how to do it right. Great writing style too.
Oct. 22, 2012 5:15 pm
I love your soup shooters! I'm fixing the soup for the adults at my party too. The kids will be making their own pizzas :)
Oct. 22, 2012 5:19 pm
Thanks for sharing with me, manella!
Oct. 22, 2012 5:21 pm
mommasangelbaby, the main thing is the people, right? Even simple cheese sandwiches, served with love, are memorable. Thanks for your comment!
Oct. 22, 2012 5:21 pm
Thanks, Paula! Sometimes it pays off to think outside the box. Hope your party is a rousing success!
Oct. 22, 2012 5:41 pm
Funny I was looking at the calendar today and thinking about what I used to do for Halloween. My carmel popcorn never turned out right always sticky and not crunchy but the costumes were so fun to make for the child.
Oct. 22, 2012 5:44 pm
Beautiful pictures!! And sounded like such a fun time.
Oct. 22, 2012 6:13 pm
I know, Cat Hill! One year I made a "robot" costume for my little guy out of a cardboard box, some tinfoil, and a flashlight inside his hat. I used dryer vent material for his arms and legs. He loved the costume, but he was MISERABLE inside it!
Oct. 22, 2012 6:14 pm
misty, it was fun, indeed! I believe if it had been on Saturday night, they would have stayed longer! Thanks for coming by!
Oct. 22, 2012 6:35 pm
What a lovely set up you offered. I love the soup in dessert cups idea and will absolutely steal it! Everything looks so festive, I'm sure your guests were thrilled.
Oct. 22, 2012 7:07 pm
Bib, great blog and beautiful photos. Lemon meringue pie is DH's favorite pie of all time. I struggle with it being watery, but he loves it anyway. And, your idea about the soup shooters.... Brilliant!!! I must do that. Thank you for sharing your harvest party on a budget.
Oct. 22, 2012 7:29 pm
BigShotsMom, it only takes a little planning to have something look nice. I believe there is a lot of truth in the saying that people eat with their eyes. Thanks for taking a look!
Oct. 22, 2012 7:32 pm
Candice, if the soup is not too hot, 4 oz. juice glasses would also work, especially with something like a bisque, or a tomato soup. Glad you stopped by!
Oct. 23, 2012 6:40 am
Very Nice Pictures...
Oct. 23, 2012 7:03 am
Bibi-Wondeful food spread. I love the way you served the soup. The caramel corn-would be so hard to resist. One of my favorite treats that I only make once a year. (I would just devour the whole bowl.)
J. Dub 
Oct. 23, 2012 11:33 am
Your food looks so delicious! I like the simple, unfussy, informal vibe you took. Those usually make the best parties.
Oct. 23, 2012 11:54 am
King Sparta, your comment is appreciated!
Oct. 23, 2012 11:55 am
Lela, you are right. The caramel corn was hard to resist, so I was happy for it to find a new home with the the guests! Thanks for popping in!
Oct. 23, 2012 11:58 am
J. Dub, simple is best for a buffet, IMHO. I want people to enjoy the food, but each other more! Thanks for saying hello!
Oct. 23, 2012 4:31 pm
Sounds like a great time! Everything looked beautiful!!!! Thanks for sharing on here
Oct. 23, 2012 5:43 pm
Thank you, lovinghappyhome! Glad you stopped by!
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About Me
My cooking experiences began in the 4th grade Conservation Club. Cooking and Sewing were classes for girls, and my mom agreed to teach them for me and a couple of friends. We began with a blond brownie sort of dessert. After I made it a few times, I began to experiment with the recipe. Mom was a no-recipe cook, and I do that, too, but I usually follow a new recipe the first time. Most of the time, I can tell by looking if we will like it. I have a husband, 2 sons, 1 granddaughter, and one ex-daughter-in-law. I was chosen to be an AllRecipes Allstar Ambassador in 2012, and I am so excited! I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertisers are only used for experienced-based reviews on my blog, "Sweet & Savory". The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of me, Bibi.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite thing to cook is dressing (I'm a Southern Gal) for holiday turkey. I never work from a recipe, but I just start sauteing and mixing, sampling as I go. By the time I think it's right for the oven, I've eaten a full serving of the raw mix!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I have some heirloom recipes from both my grandmothers, my mother, and other family members. When I prepare them, I am remembering time in their kitchens.
My cooking triumphs
One year, we hosted my husband's office Christmas party in our home. I did the whole dinner for 24, and it was a huge success.
My cooking tragedies
My first try at making croissants was kind of embarrassing. The croissants were a success, but the house was a disaster, and of course, the guests were already there! The recipe said to bake them in a jelly roll pan, but I used a cookie sheet. As the butter in the croissants melted, it ran off the sheet and into the hot oven, smoking up the whole house! Was my face red ...
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