How to Make a Perfect Brunch Fruit Platter

 

How to Make a Perfect Brunch Fruit Platter

If you’re new around here: Hello, my name is Melissa and I love brunch.

There’s nothing better than a lovely Saturday or Sunday morning brunch with good food and friends. While it’s nice to go out for brunch, it can be even better to make it at home because you get to serve whatever you want. If that means waffles and bagels and two types of eggs then bring it on.

However my friends, bunch is not complete without a beautiful fruit platter and today I’m going to show you how you can create your own.

Your brunches will never be the same.

Brunch Fruit Platter

1. Start with a flat surface. It’s best to use a large serving platter or a large wooden cutting board. The bigger the surface area, the more delicious fruit you can put on it.

2. Select your fruits. It’s important to think about colour and variety if you want to make a visually and taste appealing platter. Try not to pick all orange things – oranges, nectarines, peaches, or fruits that are similar – oranges, mandarins, grapefruit. A platter that has variety in both the taste and colour departments would look like this:

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries

3. Prepare your fruit. Different shapes and sizes make for a more interesting platter but be sure to keep the cut up fruits in 1 or 2 bite pieces.  You can also keep stems and peels on for more visual a-peel. (I’m sorry I had to) 

4. Play with textures. Adding bowls or ramekins to the platter add another dimension and are a great way to keep berries from rolling around.

5. Optional Ad-ons. Feel free to customize your platter with different dips and add ons. We’ve served it with yogurt, whipping cream, and you could also do a caramel sauce.

Let’s chatWhat’s your favourite brunch food? Can you cut fruit in fancy ways for a fruit platter? – I’ve always wanted to be able to do that!

February 2015 Recap

February always seems to fly by, but I’m ok with that because that means we’re one month closer to spring!

I was totally consumed with classes and my project this month but I still managed to publish some goodness on this space. In case you missed it, here are the top post of February on Mango About Town.

I was finally able to go to La Fiesta Cafecito with some friends, and it was fan-tastic.

I took a look at some Emerging Nutrition Research.

Emerging Nutrition Research

I was able to attend Winnipeg Mardi Gras and I reviewed both the foods and beverages.

I shared some ways to cope with dull winter produce.

Dull Winter Produce

I shared a story about my first experience with a ‘superfood.’

My sweet friend Liz came over to chat about Bananas and how to use them all the way from straight off the tree to brown and spotty.

I pondered some ways on how to get more people cooking.

How do we get more people cooking?

I figured out that life is too short to eat bad food.

Let’s chatHow did your February shape up? What are you looking most forward to in March?

Friday Favourites + Weekly Reads

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope your day is filled with lots of coffee, doughnuts, and wine. (Maybe not in that order?)

I’m excited for this weekend because it marks one year for Mr A and I in our apartment. I can’t believe it’s been a year, where has the time gone? Oh yeah, into studying and managing a human clinical trial…

Tis’ life.

My weekend is bound to be full of excitement, love, and cooking. Now it’s time for some quick favourites…

A night to myself. Mr A was out at a Jets game and I stayed in – made curry, caught up on my blogs, and cleaned the kitchen.

Lunch with the ladies. On Thursday the ladies who lunch – that’s absolutely our new name – headed out to Pastrami and Things, for a lot of things and not a lot of pastrami. I had the largest BLT known to (wo)man and I didn’t even take a picture of it. #foodbloggerprobs

Workin’ on my fitness. Last weekend I apparently joined a relay team for the Manitoba Marathon so I’ve been *trying* to train.

The sun is out at 7am when I leave for work!! I know it’s been like this for a week, but it brightens my day (literally).

Saturday night board game parties. We played a strange one last week that was really fun – Carcassonne.

5 Things I Ate

Challah. With butter, with cheese, with butter and jam. Give me all the challah.

Homemade Challah

Cauliflower Chickpea Curry

Coffee in my new Thermos mug. It keeps it so hot for so long!

Brunch. Complete with: waffles, fruit, frittata, bacon, potato hash, vanilla whipped cream, and bagels and cream cheese(s). We know how to do brunch.

Weird food combinations: Cheese + pickle + tomato on toast and yogurt + applesauce on oats.

Cheese and Pickle on Toast

Weekly Reads

Linking up with Clare and Heather!

Let’s chatDo you celebrate home anniversaries? What do you like to do when you have a night free from commitments?

Life is too short to…

Today I’m thinking out loud.

Life is too short to avoid carbs. Ever. Carbs are fuel.

Homemade Bread

Life is too short to eat frozen boxed pizza. Unless it’s the only thing available in a 5 mile radius.

Grilled PizzaLife is too short to make every meal at home. Sometimes you need to go out for burritos and beer.

Burrito del Rio

Life is too short to eat winter strawberries. They taste like water; I’d rather have frozen, thanks!

Life is too short to skip breakfast. All the best foods are breakfast foods.

Blueberry pancakesLife is too short to not wake up with a cup of coffee. Black and strong.

Life is too short to make the same foods day after day. Life is about variety.

Roasted Potatoes

Life is too short to eat “healthy” or “clean” all the time. Eat what makes you happy.

Life is too short to eat low-fat anything. I want all the fat, all the time.

IMG_2002

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Let’s chat!Life is too short to…? Fill in the blank.

 

Friday Favourites + Weekly Reads

It’s Friday (already)! I love 3 day weeks, I would love to have more of those in a year. Who’s with me?

I’m really looking forward to #alltheactivities this weekend including date night, brunch, and maybe Sim City? Yes you read that right.

I’m no-good at intros so lets get onto some favourites…

This weekend I’m partaking in an awesome event called Coldest Night of the Year. It’s a nation-wide walk that raises money for the hungry, homeless, and hurting in Canada. The Winnipeg walk is being put on by one of my beautiful starfish friends and the proceeds are going to Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) here in Winnipeg. Because I’m a true Winnipeger I will be completing the 5km walk at night in the predicted -22C/-33C. Wish me luck…

Seeing my puppies (and family members!). I took a few days off to head north with my sister to visit my dad and stepmom. It was such a nice relaxing time away from the city & it was awesome spending time with the fam.

Puppies

Mr A held down the fort while I was away and bought us all the bananas. I would be totally banana-less lost without him.

Fantastic lake sunsets.  I’m so happy I got a shot this time – how perfect is that? You know…minus the frozen solid lake.

Frozen Sunset

VALENTINES FLOWERS. I haven’t bragged about these beautiful gems anywhere yet, so I’m going to do it here. Mr A knows the way to my heart…with lilies.

Valentines Lilies

5 Things I Ate

Homemade pirogies filled with homemade sauerkraut. Hot damn. They were gone before I could even snap a pic.

Minimalist Baker inspired cinnamon buns.

Cinnamon Buns

Rodger’s Porridge Oats. I’ve never tried these before, but they’re so good! I like adding some almond milk, peanut butter + banana to them.

Homemade vegetarian pasta sauce a la my sister.

Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

Burrito del Rio + a Standard. The perfect meal for when you don’t want to cook.

Burrito del Rio

Weekly Reads

Today I’m linking up with Heather and Clare!

Let’s chat!How did you spend your (long) weekend? Do you think making Home Ec mandatory will get more people cooking? What are you looking forward to this weekend?

How do we Get More People Cooking?

Eating is mandatory. We’ve all gotta eat.

My thinking is: if we’ve all gotta eat, then we should all know how to make our own food – from scratch. This sounds like a simple enough idea but because of modern convenience food we’re leaving it to the big food companies to feed us from boxes and cans.

This way of living has started to catch up with us. Many of us are sick and tired and too busy to cook, it’s a vicious cycle. Despite all the obstacles, I see it as critical that we are all able to prepare wholesome nutritious food (from scratch) and to also pass these skills on to our children.

Here are a few ways I think we could encourage more participation in the kitchen. Maybe as a result we’ll see more people taking their health into their own hands.

How do we get more people cooking?

1. Start slow and make it fun. – Don’t think of cooking as a chore, cook things you like! Not interested in starting with making dinner every night? That’s ok – start with making some healthy muffins for snacks and work your way up. You’ll soon find that the food you make yourself tastes better than store bought every time.

2. Start young. – Get those kiddies in the kitchen! I know from experience that a kid is way more likely to a) try something new and b) eat something healthy, if they helped make it themselves. I kid you not, a SALAD BAR complete with homemade salad dressings was one of the favourites.

3. Keep it exciting. – Trying new recipes, challenging yourself, & bringing more variety into your kitchen will keep cooking exciting and will make you WANT to cook. I love challenging myself to make a dish or baked good with a random item in my cupboard that I kind of forgot about. Turns out you can make granola bars with brown rice, who knew?

4. Make it mandatory. – This may be the most controversial of my ideas, but I truly believe everyone should have to take some sort of class about cooking in Jr High/High School. What? There’s a class that already exists that teaches this kind of stuff? YES! It’s called Home Ec! Kids these days just aren’t learning these skills at home (how to use a knife, how to measure, what a tomato is…ect.) and they need to be taught somewhere in order for them to be productive adults in society when they grow up!

Let’s chat!How did you start cooking at home? What are your tips for someone just starting out? Do you think Home Ec should be manditory?

Bananas!

While I’m off in the wilderness for the next few days my wonderful friend Liz from In the Kitchen with Yolanda is filling in for me. I hope you enjoy!

One of my best friends, Melissa, fellow blogger and fellow lover of baking offered a guest spot on her blog and I jumped at the chance…thanks in advance for giving me the opportunity!  Here is my shout-out to BANANAS!  In something that I hope captures the spirit of her already fabulous blog.  Thanks to my bf, here are some uses for the ubiquitous banana, in every stage of their ripeness…apart from green.  Because I don’t know what you would do with a green banana.  I don’t know many people who like to eat them like that.  Except perhaps my brother. Ew.

I like da song it sings! As well as my daughter minion // despicable meI say we start with a slightly underripe banana: not green anymore.  Nice and yellow, but still a little firm.  How about some bananas foster? At this point, I regret to say that I have never actually had bananas foster, but my bf assures me that his family has enjoyed it many times, despite his own picky preconceptions when it came to food.  I am happy to share his dad’s recipe for it!
BANANAS FOSTER
(for 2-4)
Estimate about 1/2 a banana per person: cut in half lengthwise and quartered.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a non-stick pan.
Add 1/4-1/3 cup butter, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and stir until caramelized.
Add the bananas and stir to coat.
Add a healthy shot of dark rum.  If you care for some pyrotechnics, then you can tilt the pan to catch heat from the element, or if the pan itself is hot enough, then the alcohol will automatically catch fire.  When the flames burn out, remove the pan from the heat.
Plate the bananas over vanilla ice cream and then drizzle some of the sauce over the dish.
Enjoy! (May I suggest that if you’re going to attempt this, you have a fire extinguisher handy???)
As the banana ripens, there’s more and more uses for them, besides eating, that is.  You can slice them up and put them on toast with peanut butter, which is one of my faves.  You can throw them into smoothies with a multitude of other ingredients: yogurt, strawberries, milk, nutella, kale, spinach, blueberries…..The list is endless to make a tasty smoothie!!
Finally, my favourite part!  Dead bananas! I particularly like baking with dead bananas for a couple of reasons.  First, I am Mennonite and I can’t throw food out without feeling guilty and bananas are one of the few fruits that you can do something with no matter how far gone they are.  Have black bananas in the bowl?  No worries!  Just throw them in the freezer and take them out when you want to make something with them.  Also, bananas add a great amount of moisture to muffins and cookies, so they will last longer on the shelf and won’t dry out as quickly.
Here is my go-to, super simple banana chocolate chip muffin recipe.  It takes literally 5 minutes to mix together and makes an even dozen muffins.
BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
(makes 12)
 
1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 ripe/dead bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup+ chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl.  It helps if you take the egg (and the bananas if kept in the freezer) out ahead of time to come to room temperature.  That way nothing will curdle with the shock of a sudden temperature change.
Mix the dry ingredients in a smaller bowl and add to the larger bowl.  Stir together until just combined.  It’s okay if you still some streaks of flour in the batter.
Measure out the chocolate chips (I like to use a generous 3/4 cup, when I bother to measure that is) and add to the batter and continue to mix until fully combined.  Be careful that you don’t over mix!!
Throw them in the oven and bake for 28-30 minutes.  The tops will be nice and golden brown. Remove the muffins from the tin and place on a cooling rack.
2015-02-14 12.27.16
You can start eating them as soon as you like – I would wait until they don’t burn your mouth, but they are very nice when they are still warm and the chocolate a little bit melty. These babies don’t usually last very long in our house – they also make a good snack, just ask my bf!
And finally, I’d like to round off this post with a little nutritional information because what kind of nutrition blog would it be without it? The banana, like any fresh fruit, is going to be an excellent source of fibre.  It also offers a healthy dose of vitamin C and potassium.  The banana is also friendly for those of you (ie; students) eating on a budget.  These things combined make the banana a winner in my book, so if you didn’t know what to do with them before, I hope you do now!
Thanks for reading!  And thanks again to Melissa for letting me write a post for her!  I really enjoyed myself!
~e.