About a year ago, I joined a book group consisting of about 6-7 women, and we take turns hosting dinner and the book discussion in our homes. Last year, when I was on slate to host, we ended up in the ER at Children’s Hospital with my youngest child, who had a 105-degree fever. Luckily, he turned out to be fine after a round of testing and some antibiotics. So, finally, my turn has come around to host again. I made Hot Mulled Cider, Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, and Chicken Chili (all from Parties!), and Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits (from Barefoot Contessa at Home) for dessert. I threw together a modified version of the Cape Cod Chopped Salad (from Back to Basics) and some cornbread from a Trader Joe’s mix. I was able to put everything together ahead of time, so I could teach lessons that afternoon and still have time to enjoy my guests and the book discussion. This was a great fall menu for a casual dinner party at home.