Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dinner Party: Burlap & Bling

It was our turn to host dinner on Saturday evening for our infamous "Gourmet Group"...good friends who have been having dinner together at each other's homes for over 30 years. Needless to say, coming up with dinner party ideas that haven't been done before is getting harder and harder.

This time, my inspiration for the table d├ęcor came from...Walmart. I ran in to grab some sewing supplies and saw this chevron burlap. I knew instantly that I had "found" my tablecloth for Gourmet. Three yards of burlap at $3.97 a yard, some fraying along the edges, and done. My kind of project.

While I was searching online for burlap ideas, I came across this post from one of my favorite blogs,  Fabric Paper Thread.  I think I might try this with some of the solid colored burlap I had left over from the dinner party. Lorrie's blog is full of creative ideas like this...check it out!

Photo by Lorrie of  Fabric Paper Thread
Last year my turn to host came up in October and I set a more typical fall table...oranges and golds with fall leaves and little apple baskets for place cards.

This year...I wanted something a little unexpected. The burlap inspired the rest of the decor; I used black napkins and set the table with sterling and crystal for a little bling.

And the inspiration for the menu?  A magazine I picked up at the hairdresser's while getting the gray covered my hair highlighted. I knew immediately that the dish on the cover of the October issue of Bon Appetit would be perfect for Gourmet. Best of all, it was billed as a "make ahead feast" favorite kind.

At this point, I'm open to inspiration wherever I can find it!
We started the evening with hot mulled wine. It was delicious. Here is the recipe I used...from Food After heating the mulled wine, I used my crock pot to keep it warm for the evening so that guests could help themselves.

 The smell of cinnamon and fall spices filled the added plus.

The recipe called for "three star anise". I had to go to Whole Foods for these...but aren't they beautiful? And you can purchase exactly three.

Here are the roast and vegetables all ready to go in the oven. Brining the roast a day before cooking, in apple cider and spices, added lots of flavor and made the cooked pork very moist. Here is a link to the recipe we used from Bon Apetit online.

My DH did all the prep on the roast and veggies...he enjoys doing most of the cooking for Gourmet while I concentrate on the theme, table, favors, etc.. He still had "his" apron on when the first guests arrived and I couldn't resist grabbling this photo. Love the lace trim, Hank!
(The apron was actually hand made by Claudia, one of the "Gourmands".)
Dessert was a delicious pumpkin cheesecake, made by our friend, JoAnne. I loved how light it was and the crust was made with crushed pecans. When I get her to give up the recipe, I'll share it here.
For favors, I filled little amber glass acorns I found at Michael's for $1.99 each with my homemade  embellished acorns and put one at each of the "ladies'" places. Since I wasn't sure the guys would appreciated felted acorns, they each got a foil box filled with chocolates and penny candy...

including wax mustaches...
which the ladies promptly "borrowed".

A little burlap, a little bling, mulled wine, roast pork, acorns, laughter and old friends...what could be better? I'm blessed.


  1. Love it and it was a great time with great food. Thanks. Andi

  2. I think this is a wonderful idea of having these gourmet dinners over the years. And 30 years at that! I love the table cloth fabric and the roast and veggies look so delicious. I am wondering what your centre candelabra is. It looks like blocks of wood hinged together. It's really neat. Fun times. :)

  3. Your table looks great and that food...amazing. Looks like a good time was had by all!

  4. I hope everyone appreciated all the loving care you put into the evening. Love that burlap cloth and all your special touches!

  5. Hi, Linda at A La Carte told me about you, so glad she did. Looks like y'all have a blast at your Gourmet dinner parties. Had to laugh at Hank in his lacy apron (sorry Hank :) So I'll look forward to following along with your adventures there on the coast of Maine. P.S. We loved Maine when we drove through there on our way to Nova Scotia and PEI - we spent one night at Bar Harbor. It's so gorgeous in Maine, and we loved the "Moose Xing" signs :)



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