Fall on the Patio Series: Sunday Brunch

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Brunches are a great way to get together with friends and family and to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space well into the fall months.

It's well known that the word "brunch" is a combination of the words, breakfast and lunch; so named because we eat this meal between breakfast and lunch. But did you know that the term originated in England in the late 1800's?

In 1895 Guy Beringer penned an essay for the now defunct, Hunter's Weekly. In it, Beringer pleads for readers to forgo the early morning breakfast meal in favor of a late morning/early afternoon meal. "Brunch," as Beringer describes it, "eliminates the need to wake up early, leaving everyone in a much better mood". It is widely accepted that his motivation included one too many hangovers. This appears evident in his recommendation of serving beer and whiskey, instead of coffee and tea.

Outdoor living patios are the perfect backdrop for a brunch gathering. Typically served buffet style and comprised of both sweet and savory items, guests can pick and choose their favorites. Unless you are planning a sit-down brunch, think about choosing foods that are easy to eat standing up, or from a plate on the lap.

Since this meal is before noon, "Do-Ahead" menu selections are the way to go. Made or prepped the night before, the food items can be taken out that morning and warmed up or unwrapped shortly before your guests arrive.

Need Ideas? Here are 5 Fun and Easy Brunch Ideas to Get You Started:

Quiche or Frittata: fall patio brunch A staple at any backyard brunch gathering, these are easy to prepare ahead and serve. Both contain eggs as a primary ingredient, the noted difference is that a quiche has a pie crust, and a frittata does not. There are virtually endless meat, vegetable, and cheese variations you can use in these; so plan on making several different varieties. (be sure to include at least one vegetarian version in your menu).  This Butternut Squash and Bacon Quiche is a great way to make use of the fall harvest vegetables.  

Avocado and Asparagus Roll Ups: (shown in main photo) For a modern take on the classic tea sandwich, these light and tasty roll ups with vegetables and fresh herbs are perfect for a Sunday patio brunch. Cut on the diagonal into bite size pieces.

Crockpot Corned Beef Hash: fall patio brunchCrockpot recipes are great for fall backyard gatherings, as they keep food items hot in the cooler temperatures. This is one of those recipes that tastes better the second day. Easily put together the day before and heated in the morning, your guests will love this southern style comfort food item.  

fall patio brunchMaple-Apple-Glazed Toothpick Meatballs: Mini-toothpick meatballs have been a party appetizer favorite since the 70's. Surprise your guests with these sweet and salty mini breakfast meatballs. The maple syrup and apple jelly glaze make these an unexpected backyard brunch choice.

Donut Hole Fondue Station: fall patio brunchBe sure to include some sweets, and it doesn't get any easier than this. On your stove top, combine and melt 1 can (14 oz) of sweetened condensed milk with 1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips. Transfer to a fondue pot and serve along with pre-purchased donut holes (the day before is fine). Insert candy sticks so guests can enjoy these treats standing or sitting. This can also be used with strawberries or chunks of pineapple.

Along with your coffee and tea selections (and in the spirit of Guy Beringer), why not put together a Bloody Mary bar?  Turn it up a notch by including  shrimp, Old Bay seasoning , assorted vegetables, lemons, limes and fresh herbs as optional  garnishes.  Don't forget the hot sauce!

Please share your great backyard patio party ideas and recipes. We always love to hear the creative ways folks are still enjoying their outdoor living spaces.