On a brisk autumn morning, I can’t think of anything more desirable or comforting than a beautiful brunch with close friends. I think we can all agree that brunch is the best. When else do you have the excuse to drink in the middle of the day, rehash the weekend’s festivities with your friends, or have your pick of the best breakfast and lunch has to offer? It’s pretty much the trifecta. This double meal hybrid is the perfect gathering for my culinary enticement, with both breakfast and lunch dishes being fair game, the options are endless and my creativity can run wild.
As one who celebrates eating seasonally, I don’t mind bidding farewell to the light and bright foods that I spent the summer with. It is now time for a welcomed transition to the deeply comforting and rich jewel toned gems of autumn. Pink watermelon is replaced with deep red pomegranate seeds, the yellows of summer squash are taken over by the warm oranges of butternut squash and pumpkin. Change is hard and the beloved summer is fleeting, but the bottom line is: it’s time to embrace the changing seasons and get inspired by the new fall lineup. Get in the kitchen and use these beautifully rich foods to warm your soul as the weather gets colder.
I am, and always have been, food’s biggest fan. Food quite literally gives us life but it also helps us celebrate life. I used to eat anything and everything, never thinking twice about the impact food had on my overall health. A few years ago after setting out on a personal quest to holistically cure long suffered skin ailments, I discovered just how good it feels to eat whole foods, free of preservatives and unnecessary ingredients. After eliminating wheat and dairy from my life, I vowed to make sure I never had to feel deprived. The component of this journey with food that I love, and find most inspiring, is to see a meal one would typically think they cannot have with dietary restrictions and find a way to make it work. Creating, discovering, and executing these whole food recipes combined with my love of creative self-expression lead to my website, Vibrant & Pure Wellness. My motto is, “vibrantly beautiful meals with ingredients nothing less than pure.” I think people hear “healthy food” and think of a lifeless salad or a drab plate of flavorless chicken breast and that’s what I want to put an end to. I’d like to shift the narrative and show that one can still enjoy anything from chocolate glazed donuts to shrimp rolls to pizza.
My goal is to show that a meal can be healthy and decadent, but it also doesn’t have to break the bank. My boyfriend, a medical student, and I, a holistic nutrition student and food blogger, live in a small apartment in south Florida. A student’s budget doesn’t allow for the most extravagant lifestyle, but small spaces still allow for big flavors and an affordably beautiful meal with friends.
For this meal I am bringing the comforting and velvety flavors of fall to life with an autumnal brunch. As our guests step out onto the patio, they are welcomed with glasses of crisp and bubbly Prosecco, scented with the spices of warm cardamom, adorned with tart pomegranate seeds. Warm and slightly crispy flatbreads adorn the table, each topped with a plethora of colors and textures, something for every palate. Then, chicken and waffles, the main event. These are not your average chicken and waffles, these have been given an autumn-appropriate twist. With fluffy and decadent pumpkin spiced waffles, rosemary roasted chicken, roasted acorn squash, and a sweet but tart apple compote, guests will be wondering if they’re at brunch or Thanksgiving dinner. The meal is topped off with on a sweet note: a mason jar filled with light and fluffy dark chocolate rosewater mousse sprinkled with crushed pistachios. Hand your guests a spoon and the rest is history.