Brunch Potluck — Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up

Brunch Potluck — Portland Bloggers’ Meet-Up

The Portland Bloggers, a local bloggers meet-up group and resource, hosted a Valentine’s Day brunch potluck this past month. We were happy to have decoration supplied by Minted.Com and tasty mimosas with Santa Margherita Wines. All thoughts and opinions are my own. To see my sponsored posting guidelines please visit my policies page. Thank you to Jennifer Landers for helping us find a swanky venue and Suzannah Stanley for these fab photos! 

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

 

What kind of potluck should I host? …. BRUNCH!

 

When you live in Portland you tend to come around to the amazing-ness that is B-R-U-N-C-H. You see, it may have to do something with the rain and the grey skies or perhaps it is the laid back nature of this town… but, getting up early in the morning and heading out to breakfast really is just not our thing. Yes, it happens. Yes, there are people that seem to make it out of the house before 10 AM. Those are the people who get to walk right in and sit down for a tasty meal with no wait.

The rest of us, well, we do brunch and we do it hard. We have some of the most amazing restaurants out there creating brunch menus just for us. Heck, even the amazing Gregory Gourdet of  Departure (you may know him from Top Chef) is getting into some brunch mischief with a pop-up brunch feature this Easter. Personally, I love brunch. There is something about the perfect mix of sweet and savory breakfast food paried with a breakfast cocktail all while fully rested. My love of brunch is one of the many reasons why we decided our recent Portland Bloggers meet-up was going to be a brunch potluck. One of the other reasons is that brunch is perfect for a potluck.

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

 

Brunch Potluck Food

 

There was such a great variety of foods and treats. I love brunch foods for potlucks because they can be savory or sweet. Great brunch potluck foods include mini bagels with cream cheese, quiches, muffins, waffle bites, deviled eggs… the list goes on and on! And for this particular brunch, because we hosted the party near Valentine’s Day, there were a lot of sweet treats on top of the great brunch foods.

 

Brunch Potluck Beverages

 

One of my favorite parts of any party is the beverage choices. Because we were having a brunch, we felt mimosas were a must! Santa Margherita wines sent us some of their Prosecco to try out. The crisp Santa Margherita Prosecco was stationed in a ice bucket ready to pair with either orange juice, peach puree, or strawberry puree. My favorite pairing was with the peach puree because the lightly tart taste of the Prosecco brought out the bright and juicy flavors of the peach. We also had plenty of sparkling water to pair with the juices to round out our beverage selection.

 

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

 

Beautiful and EASY Party Decor

 

We decorated the meeting space using Minted’s Party Suites. Seriously, such an easy and beautiful solution to party decor. You simply pick your suite, customize and purchase and then a neat little party package comes to your door complete with custom items, paper straws, plates, and napkins! We chose the Valentine’s Ombre Love Party Decor in the Perfect Party package. The mini note cards made for perfect labels for the food for the potluck. The banner is such great quality of paper that I’ll be keeping it to use over and over again at upcoming Portland Blogger meet-ups.

 

Simple and beautiful party decor compliments of Minted

Simple and beautiful party decor compliments of Minted

Simple and beautiful party decor compliments of Minted

 

What makes potlucks so great?

 

I go on and on about potlucks like they are the butter to my bread… but, heres the thing, hosting parties can be quite expensive. Going out to eat and be expensive. Heck, even a drink or two at a bar can break the bank at times. Hosting events potluck style gives everyone the opportunity to gather together to enjoy a meal while not sticking one person with the check. I love the laid back feel of potlucks. I enjoy getting to try the items that other people bring. To be perfectly honest, in the end, I love not paying for everything. Cheers to whoever invented the very first potluck—those cavemen and women who all came to the table with something to share. Cheers also to the awesome guests that came to this potluck. They brought their A-game in the food and networking departments!

 

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Portland Bloggers Valentine's meet-up with sponsored decor by Minted and beverages from Santa Margherita

Easy Fondue Dessert with Pourable Fruit

Easy Fondue Dessert with Pourable Fruit

I’m not gonna lie… sweet, romantic meals  and moments with my husband are a lot harder to come by now that we have both a toddler and an infant. We try to steal moments of romance where we can, including the small time after bedtime where we are still awake and the baby is still sleeping. Whipping up this sweet, utterly romantic and easy fondue is made super simple by pourable fruit.

Yes, you can make your own pourable fruit by macerating fruit and smashing it up… but, that takes TIME people! Time is absolutely of the essence right now. I’m taking advantage of this no fuss and super yummy product to steal back moments in the day that would have been spent in the kitchen working and now I’m able to spend them dipping things in deliciousness. It is a good trade off, especially since I still get to enjoy the Oregon berries that I love so much.

This dessert can be made for a crowd (as I have in the pictures above) or for two by just changing up the quantities of dippers and pouring just a tad less of the dips. I can’t even call this a recipe as you are simply assembling the platter!

Simple Fondue Dessert for Two or a Crowd

Ingredients/Supplies for this easy fondue dessert:

Please note that this dessert is entirely flexible and can change according to your tastes.

  • Pourable fruit of choice OR purred fruit of choice — We used both Strawberry and Raspberry Oregon Fruit Pourable Fruit Topping
  • 12 oz Chocolate of choice for melting— I chose dark chocolate chunks to melt, but a milk, white, or semi-sweet would be fine as well
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Heavy Cream— This will be used with the chocolate to make it nice and dippable
  • Dipping items— This is the fun part! Choose what you’d like to dip! I chose cream puffs, pears, and bananas. Other good options would be shortbreads, pound cakes, marshmallows, donuts, apple slices or other fruits.
  • Microwave, Double Broiler or heat proof bowl over pot of simmering water

Easy Fondue Dessert

Directions:

There really couldn’t be anything more simple than this dessert. The only thing you have to prepare at all is the chocolate dip and it is as simple as slowly heating your cream and adding your chocolate to melt.

1. Assemble everything but the chocolate

Assembling this desert is super simple. You only need to cut and put dippers on a platter and fill small bowls with the pourable fruit.

Fruit puree takes a fondue dessert from ordinary to awesome. Fruit Puree takes a fondue dessert from ordinary to awesome.

2. Melt chocolate

Microwave: Heat your cream in the microwave careful not to boil the liquid. I heat it in 15 second bursts for about 1 minute. Every fifteen seconds I give it a little stir. After the cream is heated add in your chocolate and let it sit for a bit. Stir to incorporate. If the chocolate didn’t all melt go ahead and put back in the microwave for short bursts of 15 seconds until melted. Chocolate burns easily, so the short bursts of heat is needed to not burn the chocolate.

Double Broiler or Heat Proof Bowl Over Simmering Pot of Water: Heat your cream in the top bowl, stirring occasionally. Once cream is at a slow simmer (do not boil!) take off the heat and add in the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a moment. Once you see the chocolate starting to melt. Stir until incorporated. If chocolate doesn’t completely melt, put on heat for just a moment more, stirring the whole time.

 3. Pour chocolate in bowl and serve!

Finally, pour your fondue chocolate mixture into a bowl and serve. The fondue mixture will harden without heat. You can always put the chocolate into a fondue pot, (this tealight warmer (aff link) is a great little fondue pot for a simple chocolate fondue) or extend the time for the dippers by pre-heating your bowl before adding the chocolate.

Simple fondue dessert

Dipping items into the fruit puree breaks up this fondue dessert and makes it feel a lot less heavy than a traditional fondue. It is an absolute pleasure to the tastebuds!

Pourable Fruit

Pick up pourable fruit with actual Oregon grown berries in your freezer section at the grocery store. Visit the Oregon Fruit website to use the product search feature to see where you can pick some up locally. I found mine at the local Fred Meyer, but Portland area has several different grocery stores carrying the Pourable Fruit product.  Or, you can also order pourable fruit in cases  (aff link) from Amazon and pop into your own freezer to be used when you need it! Find out more about Oregon Fruit Products and their pourable fruit by visiting their website OregonFruit.Com.

Thank you to Oregon Fruit Products for sending me a complimentary sample of the pourable fruit — I’ve bought several more since!

Easy Dinner Side: Classic Wedge Salad

Easy Dinner Side: Classic Wedge Salad

These days you rarely see me in the kitchen anymore. My husband has been taking up most of the kitchen duties due to the combination of a killer work commute and the pregnancy. The few days a week that I decide to venture in to make something I either way over do it and create a 9 course meal based on pregnancy cravings, or I choose to go with super quick and simple dinners that I can throw together in less than half an hour. This recipe is the second of the two. I paired this super quick and easy classic wedge salad with a simple (and delicious) stuffed ravioli dish. However, the wedge salad can be a meal in its own right if you are just wanting to put together a delicious and quick Summer meal.

Wedge Salad Recipe

Classic Wedge Salad

Classic Wedge Salad

This recipe makes an easy dinner side for four people or a simple dinner for two!

Ingredients

  • 1 head ice berg lettuce
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • fresh ground pepper
  • blue cheese crumbles for garnish
  • 1 cup homemade blue cheese dressing
  • OPTIONAL: Cherry tomatoes quartered
  • For Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and whisk together. Refrigerate for up to a week if not using right away.
  2. Cut butt end off of the ice berg lettuce and then quarter the wedge, trying to keep the leaves together as much as possible.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the iceberg lettuce wedges.
  4. Top with crumbled bacon and optional tomatoes.
  5. Garnish with more crumbled blue cheese and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.
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Variations on the Wedge Salad

Fun variations on a wedge salad:

  • — Change out the bacon for some lovely crisp chorizo for a flavorful variation on the classic. Try using a smoked bacon or cured Italian meat for another twist.
  • — Add a little Worcestershire sauce to your blue cheese dressing.
  • — Substitute butter milk for the milk and leave out the white vinegar for a tangier dressing.
  • — Change out the lettuce for a more nutritious variation… though, I am a traditionalist when it comes to the lettuce for a wedge salad. I rarely ever eat iceberg lettuce, but when I do it is usually covered in blue cheese and bacon!
  • — Serve miniature versions of this as a side at a party or perhaps a build your own wedge salad bar with a variety of fun toppings.

You can also use a store bought blue cheese dressing for this recipe to make it even simpler. I just happen to like the flavor a freshly made blue cheese dressing!


 

This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog.Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.Visit the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you and sign up for notifications when their new ad comes out! 

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