An Autumn Adventure After-Party

Hello friends!

Autumn is here and there is so much to be joyful about this season - cooler weather, blue skies, and the tapestry of colors displayed by the trees. Then there are the fun fall activities and adventures to enjoy in and around our fabulous Spa City - leaf “peeping,” apple picking, and hayrides…the list goes on and on! So take advantage of this special season and invite some friends to join you for a morning or afternoon of fall fun and top it off by serving them a scrumptious meal with your own Autumn Adventure After party!

I have created an Autumn Adventure After Party menu that is delicious and easy to put together. You can prepare most of the dishes in advance, leaving you with little to do on the day of your gathering. Add some time saving locally purchased items and you are ready to go!

Of course I always begin with a cocktail and this time it’s a seasonally delicious Pear and Prosecco Sparkler. A classic cheese board and crackers will provide your guests with something yummy to nibble on with the drinks and save you time as well. Then we move on to my zesty yet comforting Sriracha Spiked Pumpkin Soup served alongside a cool, crunchy Apple, Romaine and Walnut Salad with Cider Vinaigrette. Add some fresh bread like a loaf of deliciousness from the Bread Basket Bakery and your main course is complete. Dessert is even easier because you do not have to make it! Check out some of the mouthwatering selections in the bakery case at Sweet Mimi’s Café and Bakery or the Putnam Market. And do not forget your wine loving friends and visit Purdy’s Discount Wine and Liquor for an amazing selection and expert advice.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and ideas. Until next time, have fun in your kitchen cooking for the people you love and remember… it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to taste good!


Apple, Romaine and Walnut Salad
with Cider Vinaigrette


  • One 9 ounce bag of pre-washed romaine Salad blend
  • 2 Granny Smith apples cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts

Cider Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. I sometimes substitute plain yellow mustard – delicious in this dressing as well.
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste.


Prepare the apples in advance, sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration and store in your refrigerator in an airtight container. Just before serving combine the romaine, apples, and walnuts in a serving bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with the Cider Vinaigrette to coat the salad. 

Cider Vinaigrette:
Pour the ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until the dressing is emulsified. Store in your refrigerator and remove about 15 minutes before using and shake again.

Sriracha Spiked Pumpkin Soup


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon of sriracha sauce or more to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • One 28 ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of light cream or plant based milk




In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the thyme, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper, stir to combine and cook another minute. Add the sriracha sauce, vegetable stock and pumpkin puree and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the soup from the burner and carefully remove the bay leaves. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the light cream or plant based milk. Taste and add more sriracha sauce or salt and pepper if desired. Store in your refrigerator and gently reheat before serving. Will yield six to eight servings.

The Pear and Prosecco Sparkler


  • Chilled pear nectar
  • Chilled Prosecco 
  • Fresh lime juice


This drink is sooo simple to make but impressive nonetheless. Just fill a chilled champagne flute 1/3 full with pear nectar, pour in 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice and fill with prosecco.


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