about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    Looking forward to chatting with you!


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    A Look Back.

A Fall Farmers’ Market Feast

When I first read the description for Project Food Blog’s Challenge #3 – a luxurious dinner party – ideas and concepts started swirling around my head.  Ultimately, they all ended up coming back to one place. 

Having spent my summer working as the culinary intern and chef on a USDA certified organic farm, taking ingredients quite literally “from the farm to the table” became somewhat second nature to me.  Having since left the farm and moved to Virginia (one month ago today!), I have entirely transformed the way I shop for food and think about groceries.  Grocery shopping is no longer just one more errand on my never-ending to-do list.  Instead, it is a Saturday morning walk to the farmer’s market that I look forward to all week long. 

So as I sat down to plan out a menu for my Project Food Blog challenge dinner party, I realized I needed to let the market’s seasonal availability choose the direction of our meal.  And so our Fall Farmers’ Market Feast was born…

We were out the door at 7am Saturday morning, hoping to get the freshest selection and best pick of vegetables.

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Signs of OCTOBER were everywhere…

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These pumpkins were so cute, and I couldn’t help myself but bring home four of them.  I had something specific in mind…

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It’s hard to say whether I get more excited about fall fruit or fall vegetables.  Squash, corn, and pumpkin versus apples, pears, and plums?  Please don’t make me choose.

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With our mini shopping cart filled to the top, we headed home with our loot to start getting ready for a fun evening with friends.

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Casey and I spent our whole afternoon cutting, prepping, processing, roasting, and simply enjoying each other’s company and the delicious smells coming from the oven and stovetop.  Just before the guests arrived, we prepped our patio for for our first dinner party at our new house.

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I don’t know if it’s because of my previous stints working at Pier One and Crate and Barrel or what, but nothing says “fall” to me quite like pumpkin spice candles. 

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All set up and ready to go!

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Here is a peek at our final menu selections…

Buick Menu

For appetizers, we decided to go with freshly sliced veggies (all from the market), and a delicious spread for dipping.

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Served on these cute autumn leaf plates!

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One of my favorite things about entertaining is using creative serving pieces.  Even the simplest foods – like sliced vegetables – can seem fancy and luxurious if they are displayed artistically.

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White bean and roasted garlic dip – there is no better smell in the world than two giant heads of garlic roasting in the oven.  Mmmmm.

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And speaking of using creative serving pieces, course number two took things to a whole new level…

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These delicious little sugar pumpkins doubled as bowls and part of the main course – you got a little spoonful of pumpkin with each bite!

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Cooked inside each pumpkin, my favorite homemade vegan black bean chili.

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Onions, butternut squash, black beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, lime juice, and vegetable broth.

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Clearly no chili is complete without a delicious cornbread companion.

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Jalapeno cornbread muffins that were one hundred percent out of this world.  Will you believe me when I tell you that they were both vegan and gluten-free?  It’s true.

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With giant hunks of jalapeno and corn on the fluffy inside.  So freaking delicious.  (Recipe coming tomorrow!)

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Ashley and Jorge were the very first friends we made here in Alexandria, so it only seemed fitting that they would be the guests for our very first dinner party.  Ashley reached out me through the blog way back when we were first thinking about moving here, and we bonded instantly over a shared love of Terri Walter’s Clean Food cookbook, perils of gluten-free cooking, and dreams of expensive, fancy cameras. 

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I ate every last bite out of my pumpkin, including most of the pumpkin itself!

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Even though we had all just eaten an entire pumpkin’s worth of food (literally), there was still one delicious course to go.  Continuing my mission to be as creative as possible through serving pieces, it seemed only natural to finish our meal with…fondue!

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Feast your eyes upon this vegan chocolate pumpkin perfection…

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Complete with farmers’ market fruits for dipping – Braeburn apples…

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And my personal favorites – Asian pears, mmmmm.

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And because you can’t have chocolate fondue without some sort of cake or cookie for dipping, we rounded out the selections with gluten-free ginger snaps. 

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A whole lotta chocolate with just a hint of delicious pumpkin.  The perfect ending to a delicious fall feast.

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From start to finish, our entire meal was vegan and gluten-free, but I guarantee you would have never thought there was a single thing missing.  What we did have was so much more important…

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Our dinner party was simple – a farm to table feast eaten outside in the sunshine on a perfect fall day.  To me, there is no greater “luxury” than good weather, great friends, and of course – fabulous food.

You can vote for my entry here!

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113 Comments so far
Leave a comment

mal     at 8:31 pm

WOW! everything looks amazing (as always!).
Is your Stone Harbor sweatshirt from Stone Harbor, NJ by any chance?


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

YES! Grew up there every summer on 95th street!


Shannon, Tropical Eats     at 8:32 pm

the cornbread and chili look AMAZING!!!! love all of the fresh and local ingredients :) great job!


Anna @ Doing Good & Living Well     at 8:34 pm

Hubs and I are drooling over that chili in pumpkins — looks amazing!

Pumpkin spice candles are soooo evocative of fall. I carried four around with me at Target this afternoon before I MADE myself put them back. Maybe next week…


Brittany (Eating Bird Food)     at 8:36 pm

I love that you let the market decide what was going to be on the menu and the pumpkin bowls are way too cute!

Great job Emily!


Lee     at 8:43 pm

Looks delicious. The pumpkins are such a cute touch. What did you do with the pumpkin innerds? (How do you spell that?)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 8:46 pm

Looooved that chili in the pumpkin! That is genius! Did you just roast the pumpkins first?


Heather     at 8:48 pm

the pumpkins as bowls is such a cute idea! You did an excellent job!


Allie (Live Laugh Eat)     at 8:51 pm

LOVE the farm to table theme considering your time at the farm this summer! I am dying for a bite of that sugar pumpkin.


Babs     at 8:51 pm

the pumpkins are beyond adorable. i am looking forward to the cornbread recipe tomorrow ;)


Liz @ LBBakes     at 8:55 pm

Those pumpkins look amazing!


Sarah @ EatRunGarden     at 8:57 pm

The whole meal looks so yummy. I really like the idea of the pumpkin bowls it’s like a healthier version of bread bowls.


christina cadden     at 8:58 pm

Good job! It all looked so good and I love the pumpkin bowl!


tina     at 9:03 pm

yum! are you going to share your chili recipe??? looks delish!!!

ps, i found ball jars at our target yesterday! score! :)


Emily     at 9:05 pm

Incredible job! A feast for the eyes and for the tummy as well :) Now I really want to serve something in a pumpkin “”bowl.” Good luck!!


Elizabeth     at 9:15 pm

Wow I love everything, but especially the pumpkin bowls! I never would have thought do that. And thanks to you I’ve given gluten-free foods a try. My boyfriend even tried some gluten-free snickerdoodle cookies I bought and he couldn’t tell the different. Thanks!


Lori H     at 9:18 pm

Gorgeous food! Love your menu and the presentation just says Fall. I may or may not have drooled on the keyboard…


Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul     at 9:20 pm

What a phenomenal spread! I totally agree about the power of serving pieces. It’s amazing how a special piece or a unique arrangement can make a meal so much more exciting.


Allison     at 9:34 pm

Wow, this all looks so delicious! The farmer’s market theme was such a good idea. I can’t wait to try out those muffins. Great job!


Krista (kristastes)     at 9:40 pm

Beautiful meal! You did a wonderful job — I was just thinking about whether butternut squash would be good in chili and you have answered my question for me with this post :)


Jean@RoastedRootsandPumpkinSpice     at 9:41 pm

What a cute idea to serve the chili in pumpkin! I also love that you had fondue. It’s so fun at a group dinner like this.


Stephanie     at 9:43 pm

Everything looks so delicious! One of my favorite restaurants serves a vegetarian grain “risotto” in a mini pumpkin and I love it!

Any chance you’ll share the fondue recipe too?


Meghan     at 9:45 pm

I can not believe how perfect that meal sounds! Wow!


Krystina     at 9:48 pm

I would have gobbled that up with no problem! Love the pumpkin idea.


Brynne     at 9:57 pm

I will drive down to DC just for you to make me black bean chili in a pumpkin. For real. Please open a restaurant!


Katie @ Healthy Heddleston     at 10:22 pm

Looks amazing Emily! Great job!! And yes I was tweeting you while reading this :)


Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)     at 10:27 pm

It looks wonderful Emily!


CookTeen     at 10:31 pm

looks AMAZING!!! Congratulations!


Stacey     at 10:39 pm

I love the pumpkin as a bowl idea! That is so GREAT and creative! Looks like you had a nice dinner party with lots of yummy local produce :) Congrats on your first dinner party (btw). I love reading your blog, keep up the great work Emily! :)


Charlie     at 10:41 pm

Chili in a pumpkin and pumpkin chocolate fondue! Looks delicious!


Carrie     at 10:49 pm

I made your spelt cornbread muffins tonight. I added cranberries at my husband’s request and they were wonderful. That is my second round making the vegan cornbread muffins and I like them even better than old fashioned recipes. Great job.


Chicago Cuisine Critique     at 10:56 pm

Everything does look great. Awesome job!


Brandy     at 10:59 pm

I’m putting my request in for the dip recipe!!


Amber K     at 11:15 pm

The pumpkin bowls are such a neat idea!

I love that everything is vegan. It’s always a great reminder that vegetarian/vegan food doesn’t mean lacking in flavor!

The fondue looks absolutely amazing…I’m drooling just thinking about vegan fondue!


Monica     at 11:20 pm

Not going to lie, my mind is seriously blown over the chili in pumpkin idea!

Your menu and dinner looked amazing, congrats on making it into the next round of the challenge! :)


Ashley     at 11:21 pm

Blow away by your post, especially because you had SO much going on this w/e and so little time to plan + prep. Everything looks perfect and your photos are fabulous. The outdoor patio set is gorgeous and I love the candle lantern + placemats. We just ate some delicious vegan stew out of acorn squashes baked w/the lids on today and they were soooo delicious. Reminded me of your pumpkins. Dessert sounds insane!!!!!!! xo You rock!!!!!


Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run]     at 12:53 am

Your patio looks A-dorable! & I love the orange top :)


suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic]     at 2:50 am

vegan and gluten-free? you wouldn’t have guessed with the menu. looks fantastic, and can’t wait to hear about the recipes… you know, in case i want to recreate anything ;)


Laura@keepingslimandgettingstylish     at 4:34 am

Wow thats the tastiest looking food buzz dinner party I’ve seen so far, everything looks amazing!


Heidi - Apples Under My Bed     at 5:46 am

I just LOVE your entire dinner party menu. Cannot wait to copy it all. So creative, fun, healthy and delicious! Thanks, Emily :)
Heidi xo


JL goes Vegan     at 6:55 am

Gorgeous meal! That’s exactly the type of dinner party I would love. Fresh, beautiful foods. The pumpkin serving dish was inspired! You’ve got my vote! (can’t wait for the corn muffin recipe!)


Kristy     at 7:49 am

I am enjoying foodbuzz season way tooooo much! :-) Great job!


Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble)     at 7:53 am

As someone who recently graduated from Culinary School myself, I LOVE the idea of eating fresh & local, so I absolutely loved this! I would have done my dinner party in a very similar manner. Excellent job, it looks fantastic!



marie @quarterlifequandary.com     at 8:10 am

Your presentation is beautiful! I LOVE the idea of the pumpkins as bowls, so creative and Martha Stewart-esque! :)


Hope     at 8:20 am

You dinner party looks amazing!! I LOVE the pumpkin bowls! That is such a creative idea! I love pumpkin candles also! :)


Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 9:08 am

Awesome menu!


Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef     at 9:25 am

wow, everything looks amazing! good job- great idea on the pumpkin bowls, btw!


Tina     at 9:27 am

Great job!!! You must make your FIL those corn muffins when we come out. He would love those!!! (Me too, but it sounds more humble if I ask for him, LOL). U are so darn creative!!! I would never think of those things!


RhodeyGirl     at 9:31 am

Love love love!

Just voted for you… this has been one of my favorite menus so far. I love the FRESHNESS of it all!


kATH     at 9:57 am

I love the pumpkin bowls!!!!!!!!!!!

Wish we could have been your guests too :)


Christy     at 10:30 am

It all sounds delicious!!! Are you going to post your recipe for the chili? I would love to recreate it!!


Therese     at 10:34 am

Oh my gosh, I LOVE this! Although pumpkin is the ONLY squash I don’t like (I know, I don’t understand it either) ANY squash could be used as a bowl.

My boyfriend may propose to me if I try this on him with my chilli…

Once again, you’re awesome and definitely get my vote (AGAIN)!


Nic     at 10:54 am

1. I love your shopping cart.
2. I love that you use cut your carrots and don’t use baby carrots (the flavor just isn’t the same).
3. Your meal looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Totally agree with you on the baby carrots thing. Blech.


raynboestar     at 10:56 am

deliciousness!!!! Will you post recipes for your dips? The white bean garlic dip and your eggplant appetizer look especially yummy. With the pumpkins-for-bowels idea, do you bake the pumpkins then fill them or put the stew in and bake it all together?
Your dinner party looks like good times and good fun!


Beth @ DiningAndDishing     at 10:58 am

I would love for you to post the fondue recipe. We’re doing a dinner party at my house on Fri with fondue for dessert and yours looks incredible!


Tracey     at 11:15 am

Okay, I’ve been reading a lot of posts with these challenges. I have to say yours is the only one, I’ve seen so far, that I would like to eat every single thing served. Everything not only sounds fantastic but looks amazing as well.

Great Job!!!

p.s. I’m totally going to make that chili in the pumpkin for my husband!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Tracey! That means a lot. ;)


Ang     at 11:25 am

I voted for you! Everything looked great and it was gluten free so I could have actally enjoyed it! :)


afarmerinthedell.wordpress.com     at 12:11 pm

Love the Pumpkin bowls! The meal looked amazing and I can only imagine how tasty it was. Love how creative you are!


Lindsey @ Eat, Read, Run     at 12:14 pm

that just made me soo hungry!! I’m going to go vote. I can’t believe it’s all vegan and gluten free.


A Better Me     at 12:21 pm

Man, I wish we had a farmer’s market like that here! Ours are pretty small. The pumpkin bowls a terribly cute! Looks delicious! :)


Eva     at 12:59 pm


It all looks amazing! Just voted for yoU! Can’t wait for the recipes for the cornbread and chili!



Angela (Oh She Glows)     at 1:11 pm

This was spectacular!!!! Great job. I`m going to have to borrow your pumpkin chili in a bowl idea. Im DROOLING!!!


Tamicka     at 1:29 pm

I absolutely loved your dinner. I have to ask did you work from a specific recipe for that marvelous chili? I have to use pantry items for dinner this week and I know i have all the ingredients, I was just wondering about measurements.
That cornbread also looked to die for :-D


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

The recipe for the chili is posted, in case you missed it:


Laurab @ foodsnobstl     at 1:36 pm

Yum. Yum. Yum. Can’t wait for you to share the recipes!


Beverly     at 1:49 pm

Wow!!! That chili in those pumpkins looks outstanding! Can’t wait for the cornbread recipe.


Erin @ Shortcut to Bliss     at 1:51 pm

A) I love your pumpkin bowls.
B) I scour your site for Vegan friendly options to serve at all my dinner parties and our vegan friends are eternally grateful.
C) My favorite part of this post is your Saturday farmer’s market shopping. We do the same thing since we moved to California and I look forward to it every week.


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Very cool. I am sure your vegan friends feel lucky to have such considered people cooking for them!


Melissa @ HerGreenLife     at 2:35 pm

Did you save the extra pumpkin from the pumpkin bowls to make pumpkin bread or some other treat? I imagine with all that food, everyone would leave some pumpkin behind, but maybe it would be weird to use the leftovers from your guests’ bowls, though I’d have a hard time throwing away tasty pumpkin!


jen cheung     at 4:08 pm

VOTEDDDDDDD! Good luck! Wish you all the best!

jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca


Mom     at 5:17 pm

Pumpkin bowls with chili for Thanksgiving???


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

YES – yum!


emily (a nutritionist eats)     at 5:44 pm

Beautiful meal! You’ve got my vote!


Lynn     at 5:52 pm

Great job, Emily – what a clever idea to serve chili in pumpkins :)


Rosemary     at 7:54 pm

Looks like you had a wonderful dinner. Yum!Will vote right now!!!


Amykinz (Foodie4Healing)     at 9:57 pm

Would love to have your Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Fondue recipe!


Allison     at 12:33 am

Holy yum! My luxury dinner party was vegan too- great job!


Paige     at 8:23 am

This looks so lovely + tasty! I wouldn’t have even noticed it was vegan + gluten free until you mentioned it. That’s when you know it’s a good menu :)


Erin     at 9:41 am

Everything looked great! I have a butternut squash sitting on my counter and I don’t know the best way to cut it into chunks. Any tips?


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Cut the peel off first, and then lay it on it’s side and cut it into slices. Then cut the slices into cubes!


Dorry     at 12:41 pm

Just voted for you! This menu was autumn perfection and you are a beautiful hostess. :)


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awwwww thanks Dorry. :)


Karin     at 1:16 pm

Voted for you and love the pumpkins with bb chili!


MaryBe     at 1:20 pm

So cute! The whole meal looks amazing!


Dee     at 1:51 pm

OHMYGOSH! This has to be my favorite post out of all the contestants! :) You’ve got my vote for sure! :)


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awesome! Thanks so much :)


Whit@AmuseBouche     at 3:05 pm

uhhh YUM! congrats on an awesome dinner party!




Heena @ Tiffin Tales     at 3:18 pm

I love how you let the market be your inspiration – I did the exact same thing! (I was also going to do a roasted pumpkin stuffed with vegetable stew as a main but left it out at the last minute.) Everything looks so warm and cozy. My vote’s in. Good luck!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks so much!!


Melissa G     at 4:47 pm

I don’t usually leave comments but I was literally reading with my mouth open. You are beyond creative and amazing in the kitchen. Holy crap! I wish I was at your dinner party! I totally voted for you. That pumpkin chili is the coolest thing I have ever seen and I must create to impress all my friends. You are a culinary genius!!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Melissa! :) It’s actually really easy to do!


Tanya @ Vegan Faith     at 5:19 pm

Your feast looks great! I can’t wait for the recipes!


amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler     at 8:43 pm

This is so impressive! The food AND your setting are fabulous. I also LOVE that you put so much emphasis on local food. You have my vote!


Oui, Chef     at 9:04 pm

I love your take on this challenge, you’ve got my vote!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks so much!


Natty     at 10:35 pm

I’m a committed meat eater (reformed vegan) but would be totally happy to gobble down this vegan feast! Well done!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Awesome – thanks! :)


Jessica     at 11:17 pm

This all looks great! I love all the photos! Hope we both make it to the next round! :-) You have my vote!


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you!


janet     at 11:31 am

I love your edible bowls. I hope you share the recipe for the chili as well!


Sues     at 1:50 pm

The chili in pumpkin looks SO good!! So, does the cornbread :)


@lickmyspoon     at 5:19 pm

I’m a huge fan of gratuitous farmer’s market photos. Also, I love the way you display all your dishes, especially the pumpkin bowls. Good luck this week, you’ve got a vote of mine!

Lick My Spoon


Dana     at 10:54 am

I love all of the beautiful, vibrant food you chose from the farmer’s market! And serving the chili inside the pumpkin is such a cute idea! Good luck in this challenge!


Amanda (The Culinary Passport)     at 11:11 am

Looks like we had similar concepts! You got my vote :)


Ela     at 10:44 pm

great job! you deserved that award!
good luck on the remaining challenges


Charise     at 2:07 pm

My favorite types of meals! I’m like you – doing the majority of our grocery shopping at the farmers’ markets makes it so much more enjoyable, and you really start to learn what the local seasons are for foods.

P.S. Love your patio area and choice of decor for the night!


jen cheung     at 9:17 pm

Congrats Congrats going onto challenge #4!!! Must be exciting for you! Good luck and all the best. Happy Thanksgiving to you! You’ll be getting the next vote form me as well :) Your awesome!

Have a happy thanksgiving!
jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you thank you!


Damaris     at 12:10 pm

I can totally see why you got reader’s choice award. I wish I had been invited to your dinner.


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you so much! :)


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