Fall is a wonderful time to have a dinner party. Greeting your guests with a fall display of mums, kale and pumpkins at the front door makes a welcoming impression. Fall flowers of hydrangeas, roses, bittersweet, thistles and berries were the center of the buffet table and made for me by Twigs, our incredible florist located in Lake Bluff. I love the old rusted egg filled with fresh flowers for the coffee table. A simple display of artisan cheeses with baguettes slices, figs and prosciutto, Mexican corn dips and shrimp with salsa and tortilla chips was prepared for the appetizer course. To keep the preparation of the meal simple, we roasted a platter of fresh vegetables the night before, and served them at room temperature with a cherry balsamic drizzle. Little ramekins of macaroni and cheese with prosciutto were made the evening before and cooked on the day of the party and kept in the warming drawer. Leaving only the beef tenderloin to prepare the day of the party kept the stress to a minimum! A dessert buffet of miniature banana puddings, peach cobbler, and chocolates was prepared the evening before. My friend Marlene had told me about a fantastic peach cobbler recipe that she had found on a blog http:// dreamywhites.blogspot.com and she was right - it was delicious! The topping on this peach cobbler is home made cinnamon swirls. A large silver bowl held miniature Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream cups to serve with the cobbler. I purchased the pretzels, chocolate pumpkin and chocolate cornucopia from Grahams Chocolates in Geneva, Illinois. The cornucopia was filled with fresh raspberries, drizzled with raspberry liqueur and rolled in sugar and left to dry on wax paper. The banana puddings were served in square votive holders. Planning a menu that can be made the day ahead, in addition to purchasing some of the desserts and appetizers, makes it less stressful to entertain. Our upcoming book, Romancing the Home ENTERTAINS, shares many other stress free dinner parties with you. Call the store to order your copy.