Harvest Lunch: Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions about autumn leaves and good smells are mine alone. #GladeForFall #CollectiveBias
Sometimes I daydream what it would be like to live in a climate where perennial summer exists. That daydream reoccurs with regularity in late winter! But the truth is, I enjoy the different seasons. I think autumn might be my favorite. Where I live, the days remain pleasantly warm, evenings are comfortably cool, the grass is still green, and the quality of light in an autumn sky is unlike any other season. The air even seems to have its own perfume: a warm mix of fall mums, rich earthy hummus, and spicy potpourri. The topper? Trees put on all those amazing colors and scatter them on the ground for us to romp in—glorious!
One of my favorite autumn memories was made taking a stroll through the gorgeous walking trails near the lake by our house. The area is heavy in tree cover so there are lots of leaves to kick through. We love to walk there. On this particular day the sky was at its bluest, the air was crisp. The lake reflection doubled the leaf colors. I was totally in the moment as I walked and looked and crunched through the leaves. It was a simple experience, but it was so satisfying. I look forward to repeating it every year at this time.
Autumn is a perfect season for get-togethers with friends, whether you’re crunching through the leaves or not! Since this past weekend was the first time we’ve been able to enjoy the harvest vegetables, we decided to call a few of our close friends for an impromptu lunch. We’ve been scattered all summer with everyone trying to juggle work, having the kids at home and trying to squeeze in vacations. A last minute call on a long weekend meant we had an intimate gathering of eight—the perfect number to catch up with!
Sam and I hit the road for a tour of the local farmers’ roadside stands to see what they had to offer. Harvest season is wonderful in our agricultural area. Colorful squash is available. The peaches are lush and taste their absolute best. There are so many gorgeous root vegetables on display. The heirloom tomatoes were deliciously sweet—a total nature’s candy thing. I could have eaten the entire pint myself!
We also made a quick run to Kroger’s to pick up a list of things to combine with my farm-stand items. I needed to get a number of ingredients for my planned harvest lunch gathering. I also chose the new Glade® Limited Edition Fall Collection Jar Candles in Pumpkin Pit Stop™ and Hit the Road™. Both of those scents encapsulate the fragrance of fall to me and the colors are terrific with what I had in mind for my room décor.
I prepared a simple lunch and let the fresh fare play the starring roles. We started with an heirloom flatbread and a side salad. That was followed by a delicious pumpkin spice squash soup, served with artisan bread (perfect for dipping in the yummy soup). I served green tea and a pumpkin chocolate chip dessert bread to finish the meal. Our neighbor said how much he had missed having squash over the summer and I couldn’t agree more. I would love this time of year for the food alone!
The kitchen was transformed into a drink station. I added a couple of embellished faux pumpkins for that area. Almost every time we entertain, people seem to congregate in the kitchen around the island anyway! The Glade® Limited Edition Fall Collection jar candles give off such a wonderful scent—anytime you can engage the senses I think you add a layer of success to a gathering. They really added to the atmosphere I was trying to create with my party décor. Glade® also offers Plugins® Scented Oil Warmers and Wax Melts in a variety of scents so you might want to choose one of those products—and P.S.—you don’t have wait for a party. Treat yourself!
In the dining area I chose muted tones and symmetry to reflect autumn’s understated quiet and punctuated my table with fall’s signature colors. I used a neutral cream and grey textured table runner that has a pattern with golden mustard and burnt orange. The smoky blue napkins remind me of a fall sky.
My centerpiece was a slender vase of mini-cattails, pinecones and twigs, and an arrangement of squash, whose colors complement the table runner. Using a tall and narrow arrangement adds interest to the table, but guests can still see each other—something to keep in mind.
I like the way the burgundy wine, bread and the soup looked against the dark wood and white dishes. They add satisfying dashes of seasonal color.
The Heirloom Tomato Flatbread looked especially festive — it is delicious and easy to make!
Onto the menu recipes.
Easy Heirloom Tomato Flatbread
- 1 package of your favorite store bought dough (such as crescent roll or puff pastry)
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 pint heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- Fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano
Roll out dough, brush with olive oil. Spread garlic and heirloom tomatoes. Bake according to package instructions. When removed from oven, top with fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano.
Pumpkin Spice Squash Soup
- 2 small butternut squash
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large tetra pack of chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- olive oil
- sour cream
- Slice sweet potato and butternut squash in half. Remove seeds from squash.
- Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast approximately 40 minutes, or until it is soft and can pull away from the skin with a fork.
- Fry onions until soft.
- Using a fork, remove insides of squash and sweet potatoes and put in a medium saucepan.
- Add cooked onions, broth, sugar and pumpkin spice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook on medium heat until flavors are combined, approximately 15 minutes.
- Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream.
Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert Loaf
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 individual-sized containers of vanilla yogurt
- 4 eggs
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
- 2 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- 1.5 cups chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream butter until light and fluffy.
- On stir setting of mixer, add pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, sugar, oil and maple syrup until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice.
- Add to wet mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Fill loaf pans 1/2 to 3/4 full.
- Bake for 60-65 minutes.
- Makes 6 mini loafs.
I hope the fall season lasts a long while this year. At least using the Glade® Limited Edition Fall Collection jar candles will help stretch out the season. I can close my eyes, take a deep whiff and the Glade® Limited Edition Fall Collection will help bring it on!
Never Miss Out on the Best Recipes & Crafts
Subscribe and get them delivered right to your email each week