Last Friday, we had our monthly Cookbook Club meeting. For the past couple months, one of the girls has offered to host a dinner party in their home and the rest of us bring one recipe from the pre-selected cookbook or cooking magazine of their choice. So far, each hostess has also taken the opportunity to write about their cookbook selecting process, what they did to prepare for their guests, or whatever else was on their mind. We were overjoyed when November’s hostess, Mary, took on this task as we know it will continue to give our readers a fresh new look at hosting and what this club has to offer. So without further ado, we introduce our friend Mary (Teacher, Pilates Instructor, and Hostess with the Mostess) …


Written by: Mary

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I was very excited to host our October Cookbook Club dinner party! There is nothing better than staying in on a Friday night with girlfriends, sipping wine, and devouring delicious homemade food. The best part is, I only had to make one dish! I chose the October issue of the Food Network magazine; a magazine I had never actually purchased before that was filled with hundreds of recipes! The recipes were appropriately themed for Fall and they appeared relatively basic. As soon as I purchased the magazine I knew I wanted a fun Fall theme to kick off the holiday season!

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This month’s cookbook club was exactly one week before Halloween so I incorporated a lot of miniature pumpkins and candy corn into the decor. Since it was 90 degrees in Los Angeles that day I kept the flowers light by mixing pinks and yellows into the otherwise orange color scheme. I picked up unscented candles and votives from Michael’s the week prior to add some sparkle and set the tone for the evening.

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As guests arrived we opened a bottle of Rose’ to start which seemed appropriate as we transition into a still-warm Fall evening. I announced to the guests that I set up a little game to play to get into the holiday spirit. I had filled a jar with candy corn and placed it next to a chalk board with the question “How many Candy Corn?” Each guest wrote down their estimate on the chalk board. This was a great way to entertain guests while I had the chance to do last-minute food preparations, fill water glasses, and to spark conversation.

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Our dinner menu was delicious! The recipes chosen were the Butternut Squash Risotto (pg 133), Apple Cheese Toast (pg 75), Celery Salt Fries with Bloody Mary Ketchup (pg 97), Baked Goat Cheese Dip (pg 94), and Roasted Fall Vegetables (pg 123). We all filled our plates with second helpings and were unapologetic about the mostly carb-filled meal!

We all gossiped and caught up until the wee hours of the morning with full tummies. At the end of the evening the winner of the Candy Corn game was announced. Every guest had under-estimated (who knew so many pieces could fit in that jar?) but Paige had the highest guess, closest to the correct answer of 312. Paige took home the jar to enjoy with her family. Congrats, Paige!

I am very much looking forward to next month’s Cookbook Club at Tami’s new apartment with Martha Stewart magazine!


As Mary mentioned, our very own Tami will be hosting next month’s Cookbook Club dinner party. We are so excited! Tami is also especially excited to finally be able to show off her new place (look for posts to come showcasing the finished product as well in the near future). Next month, we will be creating dishes from the November issue of Martha Stewart Living. We have made it extremely easy for you and your crew to take part. Don’t get up! Just click on this link and you can purchase the magazine right from home! Also, as this is intended as an interactive post, we would love to hear from you. Have you tried any of the recipes from the October issue of Food Network magazine? What did you make and what did you think? If not, join us for our November challenge … gather your friends and get cooking!


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