We almost always have a big family dinner on Sundays, often with a theme to keep it interesting: "Italian Night," "Irish Night," "German Night," "Steakhouse Night," "Cowboy Night"--well, you get the idea. This was the third or fourth year in a row we have had a "Woodland Walk" dinner, with a menu inspired by a walk in the woods. Just like the "Sugar Spring" dinner in March, the Woodland Walk has become a family tradition, with college students rearranging their schedules to come home and all the children brimming with excitement.
I started dinner, while Daddy brought the five youngest out for a walk in the woods, gathering items for a centerpiece on the way.
The day was made to order, sunny and crisp.
Meanwhile, back at home, stew was simmering--beef and mushroom with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.
I took some time to decorate:
The walkers returned and added decorations of their own:
They made a collage for the table with some of their woodland finds:
--and a salad of spring greens, chopped apples, walnuts and vinaigrette.
These metal mice seem to appreciate the children's haul of chestnuts:
They weren't the only ones looking pleased:
We had lingonberries, my favorite condiment. (I'm hoping they grow in the woods of Sweden):
Mixed berries and raspberry sherbet floated in the punch bowl:
Asparagus added a touch of green:
But the best was yet to come. Note the mysterious bag on the mantel:
It held an even more mysterious basket:
You see before you an optimist:
There is nothing like meeting new friends:
A cardinal, a bear, a mouse, an owl and, what is that, a racoon? A badger? I'm not even sure.
But I do know one thing--October is off to a good start!
Woodland Walk Menu
Mixed green salad with walnuts and apples
Mixed berry punch
"Woodland Walk" sundaes