Ladies Night, a Chili Bar, and a Fall Bar Cart

blog-disclosureThis past weekend, after all the fall home tour craziness had ended, I invited some of my best girlfriends over for a relaxing evening of chili, cocktails, and pajama time. Perfect start to fall, right? Sometimes, you just have to put “all the things” on hold to make the time. While we don’t all get together as much as we like, because well… LIFE, when we do, we typically opt for pajamas and something ultra low-key. And, that goes for hosting these special get-togethers, too; I keep it as simple as possible. Read on for my summary of last weekends ladies night, a chili bar, and a fall bar cart.

The night before our relaxing evening in, my new bar cart was delivered. If you remember, I have had a bar cart on my wish list for quite some time and had debated on which one to go with (HERE). While I knew I would use it all over the house, I planned for its permanent home to be in the corner of the dining room. I wanted something with a rectangular surface but thought with its placement, something round may fit better. When I saw the Asher Bar Cart in-store, in person, I fell in love. It seemed to be the best of both worlds- rectangular for maximum surface space with a circular body detail to make it look natural in the corner.

styled-gold-and-green-bar-cart-with-pumpkins

My husband was out of town when it showed up at my door, and even though I was trying to conquer the world that night (ok, at least it felt like it), I put everything on pause to get this golden girl assembled. I wheeled her around and stared for a while before loading her up with some seasonal touches and goodies for the following night.

gold-asher-bar-cart-from-world-market-styled-for-fall-with-pumpkins

Ok, so I will share a slightly tacky moment of truth. I actually set up a separate beverage station in the kitchen because “she” was less than a day old and I wanted to preserve her “new-ness” just a little while longer. Kind of like a new car- you want all your friends to see it, check out all the features and tell you how much they love it… but, no way are you letting them take her for a test drive. (Sorry girlfriends *insert sheepish face emoji*)

gold-bar-cart-styling

SHOP THE BAR CART

bowl-of-limes-on-gold-bar-cart

world-market-asher-bar-cart-for-fall-with-pumpkins

Even though I didn’t roll out the cart for actual use (next time, girls! 😉 ), I didn’t totally deprive my guests haha. What’s an easier appetizer than a small cheese board? It doesn’t matter how simple something is if you display it thoughtfully. We tend to congregate in the kitchen in our home so I typically use the island for pre-dinner apps/welcome snacks.

cheese-board-appetizer-idea-for-girls-night

We had a few too many (people, not drinks haha) to play Cards Against Humanity, or my personal fav, Balderdash, but we spent most of the evening lounging on the back porch, catching up and sharing theories on who “got it” from Negan during last season’s finale of The Walking Dead. (Anyone else dying for the series premiere next month?!) Speaking of back porches, my friend Haneen of Haneen’s Haven just shared her fall porch and it is to die for! You can catch a peek of that HERE.

cheese-board-with-strawberry-jam-appetizer

SHOP THE ISLAND

It has become tradition for me to whip up a big ‘ol pot of chili for our girls night and I’m certainly not complaining – literally the easiest meal to feed to the masses (if nine 30-something-ish ladies equal “masses” 😉 ). I think maybe because it was one of the first meals my mom taught me how to cook. So, years ago, it was my go-to and since has become tradition. Throw everything together in the pot in the morning and just let it sit all day. More than the chili this year though, my friends were texting me the next day, asking for the recipe I used to make the side of beer bread. I know most of you probably have family go-to chili recipes, but just in case you don’t, I’m sharing mine below along with how you can whip up a batch of yummy beer bread with what you likely have on hand. One note about the chili- my husband is from Texas and has his own chili recipe. His version involves three meats and zero beans; neither of us “get” the other’s chili 😉 SO, if you are from Texas, you may hate this chili; go ahead and skip to the beer bread haha

I actually doubled the recipe below. My mom always taught me it was better to have too much than not enough 😉 To give you an idea, it fed nine that night (plus some who went back for seconds), fed me for three dinners after the fact, plus a taco salad for lunch, and I was still able to freeze about a third of it for a later date.
chile-bear-bread-recipe

beer-bread-for-girls-night

CHILI

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs. ground beef (I prefer 93% lean)
  • 2 onions- chopped
  • 1 large can petite chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small can petite chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cans chili beans- drained
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. garlic salt
Instructions

Brown ground beef and onions in large pot until ground beet is no longer pink. Drain grease in discard-able container. Add tomatoes (do not drain), beans, (drained), and spices. Simmer approximately 1 hour on very low heat. Serve with *toppings as desired.

BEER BREAD

Ingredients
  • 3 cups self-rising flour OR 3 cups plan flour with 4 ½ tsp. baking powder and 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 12oz. beer at room temperature
  • 3 heaping tsp. sugar
Instructions

Preheat over to 375°. Grease loaf pan. In a bowl, combine flour, beer, and sugar. Stir mixture until smooth and add a splash of water. Spoon batter into greased pan and bake for 1 hour.

chili-bar-accompaniments

More than the chili itself, what I love about serving chili to guests is the way you can serve it – bar-style with a mini buffet of accompaniments. My typical offerings include:

  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Tortilla chips
  • Black olives
  • Green onion
  • Jalapenos
  • Variety of hot sauces

I like my chili loaded 😉 Just as I previously shared in my ultimate bloody mary bar and MTO mimosas post, there is just something fun about offering little buffets of options.

chili-bar-with-accompaniments

Do you have your own traditions for ladies night? Have any fun plans to commence fall? I would love to hear about them! You can leave me a comment below. Next week, I will be sharing how I whirled through the house, preparing for ladies night, as I do whenever we are expecting company. Wishing you all a wonderful kick-off to fall this weekend- xo

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26 Comments

  1. 9.23.16
    Heldy said:

    Kelley!!! I love this idea for a girls night. Your bar cart is beautiful? Enjoy:) Thank you for the inspiration.

    • 9.23.16

      Heldy, thank you so much! We have such a great time when we get together and I love to keep it simple. Happy Friday!

  2. 9.23.16
    Mary said:

    I was just think of hosting a chili party (which I’ve never made!!) and my dad (who’s passed) loved beer bread but I couldn’t find his recipe so this post is perfect! I can’t wait to try them out. Thank you!!

    • 9.24.16

      Mary, a chili party is such a great way to welcome the season! I vote for “yes” and if you try these, you will have to report back!

  3. 9.23.16
    Jennifer said:

    I love it all Kelley, especially the fact that you like my favorite game, Balderdash! Your new bar cart is too cute! Looking forward to many upcoming stylings!

    • 9.24.16

      Jen! Get out! I try to tell so many people about Balderdash and they are like “what is that?” Umm.. only the greatest game EVER haha- and thank you! I am so in love 😉

  4. 9.23.16
    Bree said:

    Kelley! I have to have one so bad! Just have to find a place to put it…but I have to have it!!! Thanks for sharing it with us and your chili looks amazing! Now if I could just come over for a bowl of it, with PJ’s on of course;) Xoxo

    • 9.24.16

      Bree, you are so sweet! And yes, I wish you could come over too! Dang it.

  5. 9.23.16
    Vicki said:

    Thanks for the new recipes! Can’t wait to try them!

    • 9.24.16

      Awesome, Vicki! You will have to report back if you do try them!

  6. 9.23.16
    Janice said:

    Oh Kelly I love your new bar cart, so gorgeous! What a fun night for you! ❤️

    • 9.24.16

      Janice, thank you so much sweet friend! I can only imagine the incredible flowers this cart would see if you were its owner…

  7. 9.23.16
    Tamara said:

    I want to come for a girls night and chilli!!! I’m so jealous! And that cart is perfection! Jealous of that one too haha!

    • 9.24.16

      Please do! I will keep you posted for the next one! haha

  8. 9.23.16
    Eileen said:

    Girl’s night was so much fun, and I can attest that both the chili and bread were fantastic!! Can’t wait to hang out again!

    • 9.24.16

      Eileen, we MUST do it again soon! The cookie was FANTASTIC! 😉 xo

  9. 9.23.16
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    I can only imagine the fun time you had…so glad there was plenty! Your extras of the special “befores” and toppings were key, I know. LOVE that bar cart! As usual, our decanters match, ‘cept mine is the smaller version.

    • 9.24.16

      I got all this from my mama 😉 xoxo And, thanks for turning me on to that decanter!

  10. 9.24.16

    What a lovely spread!! And you have styled it all to perfection! So gorgeous! I will be saving these ideas! Gorgeous

    • 9.24.16

      Emily, thank you so much! It was such an easy but fun night.

  11. 9.24.16
    Edith Weldon said:

    So adore your gorgeous drink & bar cart!!!! We really like Balderdash game too! So much fun & creativity!!

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