Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alfresco Autumn Brunch

My favorite kind of autumn day is the one where you can just throw on a light jacket and maybe a scarf, and leisurely stoll through the streets admiring the pretty leaves and all of the festive fall colors. As much as I relish throwing on my leopard print Snuggie and curling up in front of the fireplace, I really love a crisp fall day where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the great outdoors.

Add good friends, prosecco, and a pile of gourds to this equation, and you basically have my recipe for the perfect October Sunday. Luckily for me, this is exactly the kind of ideal fall day that I enjoyed when I recently hosted an alfresco autumn brunch on my patio.

I've mentioned before that I always try to take full advantage of hosting on my private patio since that kind of space is such a rarity in NYC apartment living, and also that my friends and I gather together each month for a Brunch Club outing. October was my turn to host, so I invited everyone over to my patio for a potluck barbecue. Since everyone was bringing a dish to share, I was able to focus less on the menu and turn my attention to the decor.

Ever since I came upon these mini pumpkins on sticks at my local Trader Joe's, I knew that they were my new favorite fall decoration. I used full sticks as table decor, and then cut pumpkins off the sticks and placed one as a paperweight on each napkin. The napkins were a lucky clearance find at my local Marshall's, and they perfectly suited the theme!

When I'm casually hosting a few friends at home, I usually opt for disposable tableware (sorry, but I don't have a dishwasher!) so I tried to jazz up things up a bit by using raffia to tie the utensils.

For a rustic place setting, I cut rectangles out of some cardstock scraps, hand-printed each name with a red marker, and cut springs of oregano from my patio garden which I attached with clothespins that I had painted with orange glitter.

I usually keep my patio table somewhat bare, but this time I wanted to add a kraft paper runner to tie in the rustic theme. I measured my kraft paper, cut it to size, and then used orange glitter paint to hand-stamp a polka dot pattern. I finished the table arrangement with the pumpkin sticks, white pumpkins, and a tall fall flower arrangement.

Of course, the best part of any potluck gathering is the wide variety of food, and we definitely had quite the bounty.

Our grilled entrees were accompanied by a huge range of side dishes, salads, and accouterments - definitely the perfect lazy Sunday feast!

We kept the drinks relatively simple with pumpkin pie cream welcome shots and mimosas, but some Hipster Ale snuck onto the table (probably from Brooklyn!).

Our desserts pretty much stuck to classic fall flavors, as you can see from these gingersnap pumpkin ice cream sandwiches.

Oh, and clearly our famous pumpkin dip had to be included as well.

Overall, it was a pretty casual Sunday gathering that took full advantage of the beautiful weather and seasonal flavors. Thanks to everyone bringing a dish to share, I was able to focus more on the fun crafts (which I love) instead of spending way too much time in the kitchen - I highly recommend divvying up these tasks when getting together with a large group of friends so you can remove some of the planning stress and just enjoy each other's company!

How do you feel about an outdoor brunch in October? Are you happy to extend your outdoors time as long as possible, or would you prefer to curl up under a cozy blanket instead?


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  1. What a fun, yummy time! :) I'm always game for a good brunch!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  2. Those gingersnap pumpkin ice cream cookies look to die for!

  3. You host the loveliest parties and no detail is spared!! The gingersnap pumpkin ice cream sandwiches are making my mouth water!!

  4. Everything looks so pretty and yummy!! As a suburban gal, I love extending backyard time as long as possible. The winter is just toooo long...plenty of fireside time ahead!

  5. Really love the décor and everything.

  6. I would love to attend one of your parties :)

  7. This is adorable! I love those glittered clothespins and I definitely would not turn down an ice cream cookie sandwich. Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my mouth!

  8. this is so fabulous! you are such a good host. to be honest, i can't sit outside if its under 80, too cold for me!

  9. What a fun get together!!! I LOVE fall!

  10. What a fun brunch! Love the table set up!


  11. So pretty and so festive!!!! And the gingersnap pumpkin ice cream sandwiches?!?!?! Ummmm yes please!!!!!!! Send some this way, thanks!

  12. i love how it turned out! so cute :)

  13. Beautiful brunch!!
    I love the decor, great ideas for Thanksgiving in this. :)


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