I love having friends who to cook and craft with. When I asked my friend Vanessa to come over and help me decorate glitter pumpkins for my wedding, the next logical question was, “What are we going to cook?” You see, there always has to be some fun girl time in the kitchen. Just like shopping or manicures, it’s truly a fun bonding activity. Especially when it’s with someone who shares similar tastes, but can also teach you a thing or two. We had already decided upon making something yummy involving pumpkin and my brand new KA mixer, and when we realized the Patriots were playing and decided to invite more friends over, we weren’t going to change our menu! We had an idea and wanted to stick with it, including a huge pot of Vanessa’s harvest minestrone even though the temperature was well into the 70’s. Chock full of sweet and regular potatoes, parsnip, celery, carrots, white beans, pancetta, fresh herbs, and garnished with pesto and pecorino romano, it was truly a treat – even if the boys had to contain their football excitement a bit to avoid spilling soup all over my couch.
We also prepared a huge dish of Squash-Stuffed Cannelloni with Roasted Shallots and Hazelnuts
. This is a recipe I tried out once last fall and was dying for an occasion to make again. Maybe a football game isn’t the best occasion, but it still got raves among everyone as we are all eager to welcome in the fall. This dish, enhanced by fresh sage, hazelnuts, and fontina is a nice, sophisticated twist on a butternut squash lasagna. I used a combination of roasted butternut squash and fresh sugar pumpkins to create the filling. We finished off with what else? More pumpkin. Oatmeal chocolate chip pumpkin cookies and homemade pumpkin ice cream straight from Vanessa’s kitchen. You see? I’m not the only pumpkin-head around here!
Now, I suppose you might be just dying to see my glitter pumpkins – the original reason for this get together. I’m really happy with how these came out and I can’t wait to see these at my wedding reception! We will be using some to hold up the table numbers and other just for decoration. Overall, it was just a fun, relaxing, and productive day with good friends – oh, and to top it off, the Pats won!