A Festive Luncheon For Fall

When Alex and I walked in Mama and Daddy’s back door last Friday afternoon, I immediately knew that spiced tea was on the stove. The house smelled like Everything Fall, and it made me want to crawl under a blanket and watch college football and drink spiced tea for the next sweet forever. Mama was having a luncheon for five of her friends, and after wandering through the house a little bit, Alex and I found all of them gathered around the sofa in the living room, swapping copies of Mama’s recipes.

I believe this was the forty ninth or three hundred thirty second time this has happened in my life.

My mama enjoys a luncheon.

After we spoke to everybody, I left the small talk to Alex, walked back in the kitchen, and promptly fixed myself a bowl of Mama’s homemade Cream of Zucchini soup. It’s one of my favorite dishes, but I hardly ever make it since D doesn’t think it constitutes a meal. I remember making it at least once the first year we were married, and while D thought it was absolutely delicious, he finished his bowl and looked at me like he was waiting on the next course.

Little did he know that the next course was air.

So on Friday I devoured that bowl of Cream of Zucchini soup in mere minutes, and as I looked around at the other items on the menu, I knew that I’d have to share them with y’all. Everything was so simple, so colorful and oh-so-delicious.

And just look at Mama’s centerpiece on her dining room table:

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Isn’t it pretty?

I think it’s safe to say that there is not an artificial autumnal leaf left anywhere in the southeastern United States.

She also used these adorable bowls to serve her soup:

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You may have picked up on the fact that she enjoys a theme when she entertains.

And it works for her. Oh yes ma’am it does.


Mary John’s Apple Tea

1 qt. cider
1 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
8 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat until it boils, then reduce heat until ready to serve.

Cream of Zucchini Soup

2 medium zucchini, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 13 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
4 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Place grated zucchini in a colander; sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain well. Saute’ grated and chopped vegetables in butter, until slightly limp. Stir in flour and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add chicken broth and stir until smooth. Add grated cheese and stir until melted. Add milk, salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Cranberry Salad with Orange Salad Dressing

1 6-ounce package raspberry Jell-O
2 3/4 cups boiling water
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 16-ounce can whole cranberries
1 cup pecans, chopped

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Set aside to cool. Whip cream cheese with a small amount of the pineapple juice to soften. When well mixed, fold in the pineapple, cranberries and nuts. When the gelatin starts to congeal, fold in the mixture. Chill until firm.


1 4 1/2-ounce carton frozen whipped topping
1/3 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1/4 cup instant Tang

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate. Use desired amount on top of each serving of salad.

Fig Preserves Cake

2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup fig preserves, chopped

Sift together the dry ingredients; add oil and mix well. Add eggs; mix well. Add buttermilk; mix well. Add figs and pecans. Bake 40-45 minutes at 325 in 9 x 13 greased pan.


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 tablespoon baking soda

Mix all ingredients together; boil 3 minutes. Remove from burner. While hot, pour over cake. Punch small holes in cake as topping is poured on.


Good luck eating just one piece of that fig preserves cake, by the way.

In fact, the fig preserves cake and I were caught up in a bit of spiritual warfare over the weekend. I told Sister that I just wanted to grab a fork and the cake plate and sit down and GET IT OVER WITH, but in the strong name of Jesus I was able to stand firm in the midst of all the spicy sweet temptation.

We are more than conquerors, y’all.

It was a beautiful luncheon, and Mama’s friends seemed to enjoy themselves so much. Hopefully you’ll be able to use at least one of these recipes as you entertain during the upcoming holidays.

But if you make the soup for a meal where your husband will be present, I strongly urge you to also pick up a bucket of fried chicken or something. In the interest of marital harmony and all.

Enjoy, everybody!

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  1. MMMMMMM… That soup does sound delicious, mayhap I will have to try it soon! Sounds like our husbands were cut from the same cloth, although mine can be happy if I just serve a goodly stack of cheese and crackers with his soup. And FIGUSes! Oh my grandmother could preserve a figus in her day. I bet that cake is sticky gooey heaven on a plate indeed. NUM. Hee hee I loved your mother’s centerpiece. You should see what my Mom does for her Valentine Luncheon (which I believe generally features the cranberry salad above!). Looks like cupid exploded up all his loving little guts right there in the dining room!

  2. I’ve been away for two days so I just went to read the last few posts and while I am SO sorry about your lack-of-refrigeration, I am most astounded by the lack of DUST behind that fridge!! Seriously, that was the thing in that picture that most amazed me! It’s so clean! And no DOG HAIR!

    And I am SO going to make that soup. Ben doesn’t mind eating soup for dinner so long as we have some good biscuits. And now that I’ve learned to make them (come read my latest post), we should be safe.

  3. That soup looks amazing.

    I thought that my mother was the “queen of theme”, but yours…..your mama beats my mama hands down!

  4. Bailey's Leaf says:

    You know, I have a Christmas Tea that I host a table for. I do believe that the tea will be served at my table!

    And, you didn’t call it congealed salad! Well, it’s probably not, but when I think of you, jello and something called salad, CONGEALED comes to mind! Aren’t you glad?! :)

  5. My aunt Helen, who hardly ever cooks, makes amazing zucchini soup. My mouth watered as soon as you said the words.

  6. “The next course was air”

    Cracks me up.

  7. Do ALL people in Alabama eat as well as you guys do? I’m thinking it should be my next vacation destination if that is the case. We have stuff like canned green beans here.

    So what I’ve learned or been reminded of this week at boomama.net: you are an amazingly gifted writer; even behind your fridge is spotless; your family is made up of incredible cooks; your son is nearly edible, he is so cute; you have an eye for fashion like nobody’s business; people everywhere adores you; and you are a fabulous mommy teaching Howard to love the Lord.

    Christy Nockels is probably calling you HER pretend BFF.

  8. Love it! Love the centerpeice- My momma has one too- with lots of leaves- Must be a leaf thing!
    Thanks for the recipes now that I started Weight Watchers on Monday- cause I can’t fit into any of my clothes! But I’m liking the cranberry jello- I think I can at least make it for Thanksgiving and have a bite or ten!

  9. work it G-BooMama!

    I am definitely making some of that tea!


  10. Yum!!! Can’t wait to try these out. And I do love me some soup in the fall!

  11. Oh YUM! All of it sounds just so yummy!!! I’ll be trying the Apple Tea VERY soon, and the rest soon after that! I would also like to say that when I grow up, I’d really like to be like your Mama. I’d like to serve a themed lunch to my friends, complete with Pumpkin bowls and all. Oh, and make a festive centerpiece too! How great is that! For now I’ll settle with serving lunch to my kids with “colored on” pumpkins (no knives around here!) as the centerpiece, and chicken nuggets on “festive” plates!

  12. It all sounds so yummy!
    Funny thing about soup. I made Yellow Split Pea Soup last night & my hubby was looking for more! I did have leftover spaghetti on the side (mainly for J), but nonetheless hubby was looking for more soup.

  13. i am so very relieved to know that my husband is not the only one in the entire world who feels like this about soup.

    i fixed a HEARTY soup of chicken, potatoes, and corn, and honey, he was like, well, that sounds good and all, but what else are you planning on serving?

    i like the idea about air.

    and, further points added for the fact that i don’t have to fix it!

  14. “The next course was air!” How true is this when it comes to men and some fine soup?!! This is just “delightful.” I shall try the tea and soup for sure. I am trying to not be intimidated! :)

    Blessings Boo!

  15. Your momma must be the perfect Southern hostess! The recipes look great. If I ever cook again, I just might try a few. I cannot wait to hear about the meeting of the 3 bloggy friends! Keep us posted. Blessings.

  16. Wow,what a luncheon just for the fun of a luncheon-love it.Can’t wait to try the tea,soup,cake.Unfortunately that genetic food/taste bud defect kicks in when it comes to salads with jello in them-I know how very unTexan and unsouthern of me, my family is so embarrassed.Man those soup bowls are cute.Your mom rocks!She must be the most popular hostess in town.

  17. My mouth is watering. The fig preserve cake made me miss my grandmother. Cakes made with buttermilk have a certain moistness that other cakes cannot rival. I cannot wait to try the zuccinni soup. Lands, that sounds tasty!

    I had to hit the print button today, I am going to make everyone of those recipes. Thanks Boomama!

  18. Yum! Thanks for sharing the recipes. Do tell Cindy most southerners eat like this, that’s why I’m a member of First Place (like WW, but Christ centered). I can have a wonderful pot of soup and when I tell my husband we’re having soup, his next statement is, “what else are we having?” I think it’s a man thing.

  19. Oh yum! My grandmommy used to make fig preserves every year from all the trees in her back yard. Makes me miss her all the more! (sniff)
    Pretty stuff, and great recipes!

  20. Thanks, Boomama! That post really uplifted me. It’s a cool 60-something morning here in N. Texas, unfortunately heading for a high of 80. But the thought of holiday entertaining always makes me happy! :0)

  21. First it was the catfish now this! Is it lunchtime yet?

  22. Maybe plopping a hunk of steak in the middle of the Cream of Zucchini soup would make it man worthy.

    (Says the woman who is married to the man who doesn’t believe a meatless meal constitutes a real meal. I tried to serve air with some delicate soups early in our marriage and was soundly rebuffed. Now I serve them with hearty sandwiches and a side of witty remarks.)

  23. Northern gal is feeling a little bland. You girls down south really know how to “kick it up”. Recipes look delicious, maybe I’ll start a blog and open you up to the world of dutch cooking.

  24. I think I’d like to come to one of your Mama’s luncheons! Wowwww! Just lovely, and the food sounds so yummy :) Thanks for sharing the recipes.

  25. I have a feeling that I know what I’ll be making soon… YUM! (But I’ll have a hearty follow-up to make my man a bit happier at the end.)

  26. The ‘next course was air’ was so funny!!!!
    I have a hubby like that too.

  27. That soup, oh my word! It all sounds heavenly. And if I could show you what my centerpiece looks like right now, well it would hang it’s head in shame compared to your mamas! (It’s a bowl with a few pumpkin/gourdy like things thrown in it.)

    And going back a few posts to the fishmarket: Your mom looks just exactly as I pictured her, I just know I would adore her. Sweetness personified. In fact she would probably try to make me feel better about my sad little centerpiece display. ;-) And you look fab as a blonde … LOVE it!

  28. Well, I just got on the boomama.net band wagon thanks to the LPM blog and I so enjoy reading your daily entries. Just had to congratulate you on the correct spelling of y’all in the last post. I live in Columbus, MS and see it misspelled quite often. In fact, my best friend and I discuss it every time we see it misspelled. Anyways, love your blog and I hope to meet you at the siesta fiesta next Aug. Are you coming?
    p.s. I LOVE your blonde hair!

  29. Those recipes look delicious — any relation to, you know … air? As in, calorie content?

  30. My mama has those same squash-ish bowls!! Also, cream of zucchini? I’ve never tried it, but that sounds fantastic!

  31. Luckily my man is just plum thrilled when I fix something edible you don’t have to pull out of a logo-ed wrapper!

    My Mom is going to have an absolute fit when she finds out there are precious pumpkin soup bowls out there and she doesn’t have them!

  32. Wow, she is a decorator, that mamma of yours. Really pretty table. And the menu – wow! I am just not that talented. You come from good STOCK. :)

  33. Your mama’s soup sounds wonderful. And it looks easy enough to make it as a first course, leading the way to a substantial hunk of meat or something. I never would have thought of making soup out of zuchinni.

  34. A beautiful table like that is truly an inspiration as I am a person who appreciates the benefits of aethestic ambience. More, please… Christmas???

    Also, make certain your mother reads all these wonderful comments and celebrates her giftedness! Blessings!

  35. i love soup too. especially in the fall- but alas, unless it has honkin chunks of beef slapped in there, my husband too sees soup as the foreplay to a delicious meal. sigh. i love me some pumpkin soup, but it’s too much work to have my hot man left blinkin up at me waiting on the rest of the meal that i didn’t have time to get to. :)

  36. Aw, I could just hug your mama! :-) I can’t wait to try the recipes.

  37. Well I’m 7 months pregnant and food finally sounds good again. Thanks for the recipes! I can’t find Boo’s green beans recipe that someone mentioned? Oh, and my favorite recipe site for “man favorites” is http://www.thepioneerwomancooks.com That Marboro Man sandwich was a HUGE hit around here!

  38. Your Mama sounds like quite a lady. I would love to sit and talk and eat in such a wonderfully prepared place.

    I see where you have your gift…it’s like everyday, you invite folks to come and partake with you. I just love it!

  39. Oh, my gosh!!! ALL of those recipes sound marvelous! I’ll have to try them all, too! Merciful heavens!

  40. Your mother is a gem! I love hearing about her decorating, etc. That table is gorgeous and the menu is divine! Surely she has been featured in Southern Living. If not, it’s a shame, just a shame!

  41. D has never been more right in his life. When a soup called Cream of (insert vegetable name here) is served, you’re obligated to furnish a protein.

    For future reference, acceptable soups would be Cream of Sausage, Cream of Salami, Cream of Bacon, Cream of Quarter Pounder, or Cream of Thanksgiving Dinner.

  42. i’ll be back for the recipes..and oh your Mum sets the table so nicely i’d bring apple pie just to sit there at your Mum’s…

  43. That centerpiece is gorgeous! And the recipes sound great! Your mama sure knows how to do a luncheon.

  44. LOL at the statment that you and the cake just needed to get the battle over with!
    That is how I feel – I might as well just eat it b/c it is driving me crazy already!
    Needless to say I am going on a Girls night tonight and plan to have the big piece of homemade chocolate cake they have at this wonderful restuarant and I am going to love every 1200 calorie bite – Oh yes I am!!
    Love ya,

  45. Oooh, that cream of zucchini soup sounds divine. I’ll be sure to make some and eat it with hands held high. :)

  46. My husband doesn’t believe that soup constitutes a meal either. “Bowl food” he calls it. What is it with Mississippi boys? If it doesn’t have to be cut with a knife of some sort, it’s not a meal, apparently.

  47. Silly me, I thought the carblessness of bacon was going to at least be MENTIONED in this post – – – or even maybe BACON was going to be mentioned. What was I thinkin’?

  48. I just made the zucchini soup (first one, according to the other posts) and it is pretty bowl lickin good.

    thanks for the recipe!