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Dinner party menu

It's a rain filled morning over here
and it's perfect for cozying up inside and decorating for Fall.
Perfect for wrapping up in a warm sweater and enjoying a cup of hot tea.

I will be doing a bit of that for sure. 
I also love to get out for a walk or jog in the rain. 
Something about being outdoors surrounded by that fresh air and the softly falling raindrops that is invigorating and inspiring to me.
Even though I do not enjoy being cold- I love to take advantage 
of the days when it rains but it's not too chilly and head out and get moving.

Last week, I promised to share a bit more about the menu and the recipes
 for the dinner party I just hosted for a few girlfriends. 
It was really a very simple menu
that was easy to make and it was a big hit with everyone~ including my kids.

My instagram photo of the party prep supplies from the grocery store

I don't usually share recipes on my blog- but so many of you asked about what the menu was that I 
said that I would share soon.

It was in the 90's on Saturday last weekend and so I wanted a Summer/early Fall menu 

So, I served a cold cheese ravioli dish
 strawberry spinich salad
 and french bread with fresh basil and tomato.

You can find the ravioli recipe here from the Food Network 
photo courtesy of the Food Network

The spinach salad is a favorite salad of mine. 
Basically, if a salad has spinach and fruit and nuts- I am there. :)
There are a lot of varieties of recipes
 I just pretty much use my own method when making this but this one is similar and looks delicious
  The Yummy Life

You can use a fresh organic poppyseed dressing to save on purchasing all the ingredients for the dressing
I love the candied pecans-but they were not available at our store when I shopped
 so I used slivered almonds
photo courtesy of The Yummy Life

Which brings us to the bread.
 This Tomato Basil bread recipe is so simple.
Since I am a girl who loves something fantastic for the table presentation
 something delicious
 and something that is super easy to make and serve
 this bread fits the bill perfectly.

Unfortunately- I didn't take photos while making this. Blah. I know. Bad me.
 But we make this bread quite often and I will get a few photos to share at some point. 
Hopefully - you can get an idea from the recipe.
(you can see the basil tomato bread on a platter waaaay in the back of this photo)

Here's what you need:

Fresh loaf of bread
Fresh Basil Leaves
Large tomato sliced
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar 
Fresh grated parmesan or Feta cheese

I start with a a loaf of fresh crusty bread from the bakery.
 Choose your favorite type
 I generally go with a whole grain,
dutch crust or a French bread but sourdough is delicious as well.

Slice the bread in half lengthwise so you have 2 long pieces
and then rub olive oil on the inside of each half.
I just sprinkle the olive oil on - not too much but enough.
(Yep, a technical chef over here)

Then take your basil leaves and slice or tear them into about half sized pieces. 
You don't want to bite into a piece of bread and have half of the leaf hanging off
all crazy and all over the place so slice accordingly.
 Place the basil on the bread on top of the olive oil.

Next up is to thinly slice the tomato. 
Again- you can slice and then cut them in half if you prefer.  
Layer the tomato on top of the basil
and then sprinkle with Feta or freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Fresh grated parmesan is amazing. 
 If you haven't tried it in your recipes- it really does make such a difference.
 Even over that 'freshly' grated parmesan that you can buy in the cheese section.
 Do yourself a favor and get an artisan wedge of parmesan and grate it fresh each time you use it. 
You will thank me. 

I like to top the bread off with a sprinkle with fresh ground pepper
(another huge difference in taste if you grind your own as you use it)
 as well as a splash of balsamic vinegar but that's optional according to your taste preferences.

Then simply broil the top of the bread
 not too brown- just to warm it up and make it a little crusty on top and melt the parmesan or feta
 Then slice into pieces 
and serve on a fancy schmancy pretty platter.
Yum, Yum, Yum.

We also enjoyed a delicious red wine 
as well as wedges of specialty cheese with slices of bread and crackers 
to nibble on while visiting before dinner.

 I am thinking about sharing inspired menu's and recipe's more often.
Like I said- I don't usually share 'food' all that often on my blog but it seems like maybe with all the table settings and inspirations that I share 
 it would be something that would help with planning your next dinner party or give that everyday 
dinner at home with your family a special touch?
Especially with the Holidays coming up. Let me know your thoughts

Well, now that we have talked about food... I am getting hungry.
 So it must be time to head out for a jog
 instead of heading into the kitchen to find a snack! 

Happy Saturday everyone!!


  1. beautiful Courtney, just got my new Romantic Country. loved all your wonderful Christmas decor!!

  2. Yum it looks and sounds delicious!

  3. Courtney, I am so happy you posted this. We have just turned the corner into Fall here in Houston and I've needed some "foodie" inspiration. This is absolutely perfect! Happy Fall, darling. So nice to visit you.

  4. Well Courtney, I am really starving now! These are some of my favorite dishes and you are so right...easy and delicious.

  5. Your tablescapes are always beautiful and the menu sounds divine! Thanks for sharing the bread recipe too.


  6. Love to read about the menu/recipes as well as looking at the lovely pictures. I'm always looking for inspiration and your post today certainly did that. Thank you.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing the details of your dinner party and the menu with us! I have to try that bread! And yes, you should post more recipes and ideas for parties as you definitely have your own style...the setting, the food, the flowers...that's your stamp and I think we'd all love to emulate it!


  8. That bread sounds soooo delicious, Courtney! Definitely going to try it this fall AND will top it with freshly grated Parm cheese. :) Hey, I also wanted to congratulate you on the beautiful spread in the latest issue of RC magazine!! Just beautiful!!!!!

    xoxo laurie

  9. How wonderful! Everything looks delicious and so beautifully presented! Thankyou for sharing your menu!

  10. I love this idea of you sharing the tableware and the recipes! I think this really showcases the lifestyle portion of your talents even better. Please keep these posts coming!

  11. The bread sounds wonderful. I like that it is made with oil, and not butter. So based on that, I vote yes for more recipes from you!

  12. Beautiful table setting for the party and the menu sounds yummy! Like you, I love spinach salad with nuts and strawberries! Your guests must have felt very special being treated to great food, a beautiful surrounding and of course, your company.

  13. How gorgeous and elegant. It all sounds delish. I am sure your guests will love the whole experience.

  14. WOW, I am hungry now at 2:15 a.m. The table of course looks terrific, but the menu sounds sooooooooooo good. Thanks for the recipes and information. I am going to make that salad and bread. Thanks s much for sharing.

  15. Beautiful table, beautiful food! Looking forward to seeing your article!

  16. Your tablescape is stunning, and the menu sounds delicious. Yes, I think you should share a few recipes here and there.

  17. This is SOO beautiful! I love the white pumpkins with the pink roses for fall..and unexpected and lovely combination. Oh...and I COMPLETELY agree that freshly grated Parmesan is AMAZING! Hugs to you, Kimberly

  18. The food and the beautiful table setting was divine Courtney!! It was fantastic seeing you!