Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Forest Feast Gatherings with the Novel Bakers Part II

I'm so happy to join the Novel Bakers for part two of A Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson. If you missed part one, you can catch up by visiting Jain, Mary, Linda, and me.  I was enchanted by the Bakers' unique presentations of this extraordinary cookbook, and I know you will love them, too.

Won't you join me today as I serve dessert and hot cider on the porch?

It's my favorite spot to wait for sunset and the Blue Hour.

Now that leaves are falling, the view is starting to open.

For my little gathering, I arranged a table and chairs on one side of the porch. A hot cider/beverage station went in the middle, with more seating at the far end.

For dessert, I made a pear-thyme galette--the recipe called for 7 ingredients: puff pastry, fig jam, 3 pears, 3 T chopped walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, thyme, and a honey-butter (2 t melted butter + 2 t honey). I added pomegranate seeds.

The recipe makes two out of this world galettes.
 Photo Credit: Erin Gleeson via The Forest Feast (website and blog)

To accompany the galette, I made a rum-pear cider in the slow-cooker. The recipe calls for 5 ingredients: 64 oz pear juice, 8 oz dark rum, 1 pinch nutmeg, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1 apple + 2 t. whole cloves. Pour the juice and rum into a slow cooker. Add nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. Push cloves into an apple, then place the apple into the slow-cooker. Heat on high for 1 hour. Garnish with star anise. 

In the book, Erin suggested dressing up a slow-cooker with a tea towel or napkin. 

I used a rusty orange pail for a vase.

I couldn't resist adding cute squirrel plates. For the napkins, I used grapevine rings, which were embellished with acorns.

The table is space-challenged, so I used a vertical centerpiece: a tiered wire compote, piled with fruit, pumpkins, leaves, gourds, flowers, herbs, nuts, and vines.

I gathered a few hydrangeas and tucked them here and there.
Last summer, I bought a vintage bench from an old friend, and we finally brought it home last week (along with an arbor for the Memory/Butterfly Garden).

I usually hang art or a wreath on the shake wall, but I wanted to do something special today.

A creative project in the book caught my fancy: a whimsical, simple floral garland. I found a branch in the woods and used it as a base, tying flowers with twine.

You can find a sampling of Erin's DIY creative projects on her website.

Our little gathering began at dusk.


For more recipes and ideas, please visit the darling, talented Novel Bakers:

The Forest Feast (website and blog)
Abrams Books

Shared at:


  1. SWOON! Yes please, I'm happy to join you! I so love your porch for your gathering with your lights...they're magical with the lights in the distance from your hilltop! Your warm plaid accents and tiered centerpiece with your harvest of pumpkins and vines... your copper mugs for sipping your cider...your DELICIOUS galette with the addition of pomegranate seeds. I love the floral garland you created to hang on your shake and feather your nest....*sigh* What a beautiful glow and warm ambiance from the lights. I spy two gorgeous wreaths hung in welcome too. Thanks so much sharing the beauty of your porch and hilltop. It's always a pleasure to feast with you.♥

  2. Michael Lee, You perfectly captured the atmosphere in this book with your twinkle lights, simple, natural garland, and warming, comforting food on your porch. And that view! I was stuck on that first photo of the mountains for such a long time...are we looking at the Smoky Mountains? If I came for this feast I would be the guest who never left...rocking on the porch, gazing at the view, and sipping cider while munching on your pear galette so cleverly topped with a color burst of pomegranate seeds. So beautiful! Linda

  3. I feel like I've been on a vacation to a fabulous country inn! Your setting is so inviting and comfy cozy, so autumn welcoming, and just beautiful! I am definitely making that galette for the holidays, and tying a tea towel around my crock pot! Your floral branch garland is just brilliant, and all your special touches say welcome, welcome, please sit and stay...sigh...

  4. its been ages since i stared at my computer with huge smiles... my computer has become a job, gone are the days of just looking at beauty, instead i watch numbers tumble and rise, but this morning my cheeks ache as i walk your gorgeous property and sit and sip a bit in the glory of fall. the fence shadows, gorgeous skies, wonderful decor, its all so inviting, peaceful and soothing...

    i am so glad we all made the pear galette, this way all our mouths are watering at the same time as we remember this heavenly concoction! it was the honey butter that did me in... i too almost added poms, but i tend to add them to everything and thought best to sit this one out, i sprinkle them liberally like salt on everything! try them to pasta, love that crunch!

    your shots are so special to my eyes, they resonate in my soul, the colors, the clarity, the shapes all speak to my heart. your punch is gorgeous, after splashing around in a thermos as we had to set my table up twice, i was pretty well toasted before we took a bite! your pics look brilliant like house and gardens, mine looks like a sloppy pirate sloshing about!

    i am behind the curve, where did you get those plates, I LOVE THEM!

    be still my heart with your flowers... i was so enchanted with this, i am thrilled to see your version! what a special visit, truly... i am humbled to play with your girls, i know we all get so much enjoyment doing it, but to see us all share books visually touches me deep in my soul, i feel everywhere i turn i am reading horrid stories in the news, its just a HUGE respite to sit back and enjoy so beautiful moments with friends...

    thanks for being a novel baker!

  5. Michael Lee, I am enthralled with your views and your charming porch! You have outdone yourself again!
    Every detail is so inviting and filled with warmth. You girls have made this book so intriguing. What a cute idea to wrap the crock pot with a tea towel.
    I also love the floral garden branch you created and am looking forward to your Memory/Butterfly garden. Thank you for your creative Novel Bakers posts.

  6. Oh Michael Lee, I'd love to join you on your porch, have some pear galette, hot cider and spend time with you, while sharing that lovely view from your porch! Seeing the hilltop view through the times of the day, just makes me sigh with delight. Thanks for sharing your pretty tiered tray, the dressed up crockpot, your darling branch creation on the shake wall, your flowers filled boots, and all your pretty touches. xo

  7. You would find me on that porch every evening and most of the day too. I wouldn't get much done, unless it could be accomplished in one of those rocking chairs, Michael Lee. You and the Dr. found a little piece of heaven.
    I'm wishing for a slice of the gallette with my morning coffee. I'll save the apple cider for this evening. I'm not going far! '-)
    Thanks to the Novel Bakers for sharing all this beauty this week. You girls are AMAZING!

  8. I am having a major case of swooning and drooling! Just too beautiful ♥

  9. It must be heaven to be able to drink in that view every single day. How blessed you are!
    Your table looks great, too.

  10. Michael Lee, I’m back to drink in more of your wonderful details and ambiance and grab an Adirondack chair to watch the sunset! Now that it’s after 5 pm I can indulge in some rum cider punch too :) Thanks for the beauty and fun this week. ♥

  11. Oh Michael Lee, everything is simply stunning. The view you have on your hill top is beautiful. I am afraid that I would be out there all night looking at all the lights.

    You table arrangement is beautiful and everything works so well together. Your dessert and hot cider drink sounds yummy.

    You and the Dr made a wonderful choice on that property. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful post.


  12. Gosh, just when I think it (your blog) can't get any better, it DOES! Breathtaking, honestly!

  13. What a beautiful presentation! So very pretty and the food lovely.

  14. Wonderful colours and such a peaceful ambiance! All put together with so much love and affection.

  15. What a gorgeous porch and what stunning views. It looks like the perfect place to spend an evening and such delicious food. I could sit in those Adirondacks just gazing out for hours.

  16. What? I missed the party? I need a drink of that rum & pear cider! That's going into my recipe arsenal. I think the floral branch garland is adorable as are the tucks of hydrangea here and there! Lovely and comforting and oh, so welcoming!

  17. Your porch and pics are absolutely stunning! what a fantastic spot to enjoy a fall evening!!!

  18. You had me at galette! That galette looks so delicious, I can almost taste it over here! I love that 3-tier stand decorated for Fall too! It is bee-you-tee-full!

  19. Everything is gorgeous!!! I want those squirrel plates!

  20. Gorgeous setup loving the bold pops of orange!

  21. Wow everything looks so inviting! The galette looks delicious and the sounds of the pear cider sounds wonderful. Your views are spectacular- love the evening shots.

  22. You Novel Bakers chose the perfect cookbook from which to work as the recipes are so easy to prepare and the book so beautifully presented. I would love to be sharing with you on the porch.