Andie's Autumn Party: Chili & Cocktails

These are dark days in Seattle--quite literally. The sun goes down around 4pm and it's difficult to function as if the day doesn't end at that moment. In order to keep it festive, we decided to host a "Little Autumn Chili Party," for no other reason but to get together with friends, eating great food and having warming cocktails by candlelight. Take a look!

We started off with the invitation. As much as I love paper invitations, this was a quickly-planned get-together, and we needed to let people know fast. Paperless Post is my favorite stop for online invitations that are design-worthy and unique, plus they have a new printing feature and a lot of the "cards" are by independent designers. (And you get more RSVPs when it's as easy as a quick click.)

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Next, was the menu. A rich, venison chili (check out the recipe here) that we slow-cooked all day in preparation for the evening was in the spotlight, with sweet cornbread, apple cider and a homemade amuse-bouche of garlicky beef and goat cheese dip. Cocktails included an array of warming whiskeys (delightful in cider!) or St. Germain-Champagne cocktails, and of course, red wine.

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The intimate number of guests arrived around 6:30pm, where we toasted next to an open fire, ate around a colorful fall table, including painted pumpkins, and outdoor foliage from Fall itself. The party didn't take itself too seriously, obviously, with multi-colored, felted acorns scattered about, yummy peanut butter M&Ms and our little chihuahua who wore a very specific sign on her sweater for guests to heed (see photo). Combined with a cozy, autumnal playlist on the iPod, the evening was charming, warm and left everyone fed & happy.

Photos: Andie Powers