Dinner happens.

Autumn is a season of work, preparation, beauty and change. You may already be following my Autumn series, but for many, Autumn’s a fresh way of living, as we hunker down into our schedules, warm blankets, fires, and comfort foods.

To some it even brings a sense of loneliness (hand in the air! as I just sent my two sons off to college at University of Oregon). For sure, my cooking is changing now that it’s just my husband, myself and our daughter at home (and our food bill). Cooking for three is way simpler, and our fall meals are stretching nicely now.

But one thing that remains the same is that dinner happens.

Every night.

Whether it’s a quick meal after a late afternoon soccer game, or a leftover meal from the weekend, dinner happens.

As we sit down together, sometimes at the table, sometimes enjoying the back patio in the cool autumn air, we still try to be together.

As I’ve shared in my Autumn series, some nights at dinner time I might be reaching out to a neighbor or friend, in a gracious hospitable way, or the three of us may be in the kitchen “putting up” the harvest. But either way, dinner still happens.

As we transition gracefully in to what’s ahead, saying goodbye to summer and reigniting the traditions of Autumn, I love the options for dinner.

• Take homemade soup to a friend.

• Encourage your child to invite a friend home for dinner.

• Offer the gift of a main dish, with homemade rolls or muffins, to someone in need.

• Have a few people over for an {imperfect} bowl of chili and cornbread.

• Invite a family over for a meal that you haven’t made in years.

• Give away just-made warm applesauce, fresh meatloaf ready for the oven, or freshly baked oatmeal or snickerdoodle cookies.

These are only a few ideas.

We all have to eat. And every day should be a celebration of life.

The journey of Autumn and fall cooking brings great joy to my soul because much of it is centered on toasty, warm, comfort foods, which always taste better when enjoyed with others.

Fellowship in Autumn.

Dinner happens.

Do you get a warm feeling inside when you think about Autumn cooking and inviting others in to your home?


Sandy Coughlin is an author, blogger, wife, and mom to three children. She lives in Oregon and loves to develop recipes, cook, and host dinner parties. Read more at Reluctant Entertainer.

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  1. i do enjoy autumn cooking. i especially love making soups and homemade sour dough – enough for us and to sign up for bringing to someone who just had a baby, going through health problems, or a death in the family – such an easy meal to make more of to share. thanks for such great ideas and getting us all into the mood!

  2. Autumn cooking is the best! Thanks for the nudge in sharing food with others… beforehand it always seems like too much work but I have NEVER regretted it afterwards.

    • Good point. I think the thought of sharing is there, but the actual work of doing it does take effort. But then, like you said, you never regret an act of kindness! 🙂

  3. I LOVE this post, and I love your commitment to making sure “dinner happens.” Dinner was one of the bedrocks of my growing up years and I want to make sure it’s that for my family too. Great suggestions on sharing dinner with friends in easy informal ways. Can’t wait to see your links.

  4. I enjoy Autumn cooking—soups, chili, beef stew. It’s the kind of food that warms the soul and is easy to share with a group.

  5. Our home is small so Autumn gatherings tend to be more intimate. In Summer we will have perhaps as many as 20 to 30 people over to enjoy a BBQ and we will spread out between the spacious front porch, back yard and even a few inside enjoying the air conditioning. But in autumn it tends to be just one other family and us gathered around the dinning room table for homemade soup and bread, or chili and corn bread. The dinner is followed up by lots of conversation and of course and apple crisp with lots of heavy whipping creme.

    • You’re right, Victoria. Many of us have smaller entertaining areas indoors, so we work with what we have. You painted a pretty picture of a cozy, warm hospitable moment, and the dessert … awww! so yummy!

  6. “We all have to eat. And every day should be a celebration of life.” I love this. So true and a great reminder to celebrate daily.

  7. Great idea! And now I’m hungry….

  8. Thanks for these reminders. I have a new friend (like, JUST met her at soccer practice) that’s having a baby this week and I can’t wait to take them an autumn meal!

    I’ve had this thought lately that we should also take time to make our meals a celebration within our own families. One my more “seasoned parent” friends tries to do simple dinner themes with her own family to take the monotony out of the dinner hour.
    – When you’re making chili, call it “Cowboy Dinner” and everybody grabs a bandana or hat;
    – When your dinner is breaded chicken and sweet potatoes, add some orange slices and invite everyone to dress for “Orange Dinner” night;
    – When you’re making breakfast for dinner, have everyone change into their PJs before eating;
    This is not a daily or weekly event, but just an occasional way to add celebration to your day.

  9. Mary Ann Cauthen says:

    Thank you very much for the wonderful gift I received (very nice NIV Study Bible & a red Journal) as recepient of a give-away!! It is rare that I win anything, & this was a most generous gift!! Thank you very mcuh! Mary Ann Cauthen

  10. I am totally falling in love with fall this year! I’m not sure if I’m just in a happy place in my life after starting a new job or getting married, but everything about the changing seasons has me smiling! Plans to go pumpkin and apple picking, tasty recipes, family gatherings, celebrations 😀

  11. Cooking for three is way simpler, and our fall meals are stretching nicely now.

  12. Cooking for three is way simpler, and our fall meals are stretching nicely now.

  13. Cooking for three is way simpler, and our fall meals are stretching nicely now.

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