I'd like to start out by apologizing for the photography you're about to see. I took my own photos with my iPhone and I'm ashamed but I wanted to show you some things I did for a casual hangout at my house this past weekend.
We had some friends over for dinner and a bonfire last Friday and I think it's important for me to call out that we survived Tim's giant, 7 foot tall, bonfire that was fueled by my anxiety and gasoline. He had a rather large woodpile in our backyard (aka the tree he chopped down from the front yard) and I think I was in denial that he'd ever burn it. But he did. And I had to apologize to all of my friends after the fire died out because I may have overreacted a bit (or just reacted normally) but the jury is still out on that. All I know is I shouted things like "make it stop!" and "get the hose!" and I had my kitchen fire extinguisher in hand - as if it would be able to battle the fire. But in true Tim fashion, he knew it would be fine and it was. And now I have the trauma of the whole scenario to discuss with my counselor next week. Anyway, I digress.
What we served for dinner:
We made two different types of chili - white chicken chili and also a vegan option where Tim basically replaced the beef in his normal recipe with things like zucchini and carrots. It was delish. I would give you guys the recipe but I have no idea what it is. Tim just throws things in a pot when he makes chili and it's amazing. I will however share my go-to white chicken chili because there's an actual recipe for that. Y'all, it is so. good. You must try it.
We also had a little baked potato bar and it was my favorite part. It's a super cheap and easy way to feed your friends. And who doesn't love cheese and bacon on a potato?
I found those cute little gold buckets and the letter stickers at target and I lined them with parchment paper before I filled them with the good stuff. Except onions. I hate onions. But I know people who like them so I had to make them a bucket full of chives.
I scrubbed the potatoes, poked some holes in them with a fork, rubbed olive oil all over them and salted them. Then I wrapped them in tin foil and baked them on a sheet pan for a little over an hour on 400 degrees.
The Smores situation:
Because I knew that my nerves wouldn't allow me to get within 30 feet of the mega-fire, we also lit a proper fire in the fire pit. So while the men were shouting and pouring gasoline on the monster bonfire, my gals and I sat around the lovely lady fire. There were smores so the men joined us eventually.
Have you tried a smore with a Reese cup? A friend of mine told me about this magic so I had to try it out. It was definitely next level. Also, pro-tip, whenever serving smores, be sure to have some wet naps on hand. Your guests will love you for it.
What are your favorite tips for a fall gathering?