OMG. I just found my new favorite restaurant. Angelina’s Pizzeria recently opened in Irvine (in the new Whole Foods center over by the Irvine Spectrum) and I am welcoming it with open arms. I was invited to come try their new brunch menu and from the moment I walked in, I knew that this would be a game changer for Irvine and the surrounding area. Everything about it was fresh and cool which isn’t usually what you’d expect from a restaurant found in Irvine. While we have lots of decent dining options, this one is a stand out and I think everyone needs to run down and check it out.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE cinnamon toast. It reminds me of my childhood and I love to make it for my own kids. A cinnamon toast buffet, with different types of sugar mixes, would be a great brunch or breakfast idea. And I can’t think of a better time than New Year’s Day to try it out!
*This post is sponsored by Foodie, one of my fave places to search for recipes!
Are you aware that Mother’s Day is fast approaching? I don’t know how it works in your family but the men generally try to take the reigns on our family get together, with gentle prodding from the females, of course. There is no telling how this year’s holiday will turn out. So I can always fantasize about the perfect Mother’s Day spread. In my opinion, it needs to be pretty and delicious. Girly but not too frilly, spring-inspired without being too flowery, and yummy without being over the top indulgent. And I’m just realizing it is posts like this that probably have my husband paralyzed trying to figure out what each of those things means. :) Brunch on a gorgeous sunny day sounds amazing right? But if brunch doesn’t work out, I know it will still be a really special day. I’ve collected 16 perfect recipes for your Mother’s Day brunch, including some beverages. A good beverage is sometimes key to the overall success of a meal, says this iced tea connoisseur.
Here is a sample brunch menu for you in case you are salivating over all the photos too much to plan out the perfect meal: Apricot Glazed Ham served with Strawberry, Quinoa and Spinach Salad, and Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Cake. How about some Watermelon Lemonade and a rose cocktail to go with it?
Or I’d start off with an appetizer of Honey Toffee Marscapone on toasts. Then I’d move on to a Mushroom, Bacon, Swiss Strata, some Strawberry Pico de Gallo with tortilla chips, and end it with a Berry, Lime and Cardamom Spring Cake for dessert. A Lemon Tea Cocktail or a Blood Orange Gin Float would round out that meal quite nicely.
And Goat Cheese Bacon Balls?! YES! Head on over to the collection to check out all the brunch recipes.
What does your Mother’s Day usually look like? What does your fantasy Mother’s Day look like?
*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian. All opinions are mine!
So I have a thing with Monte Cristo sandwiches. My mom and I used to head to a restaurant in South Coast Plaza (anyone remember Magic Pan?!) for their Monte Cristo’s, salads with raspberry vinaigrette and delicious rosemary bread. It is where I fell in love with the salty and sweet sandwiches. And now when I see them on any menu, I HAVE to have it. Because you don’t find them that often. And I have a thing about brunch. I “go pupule” over a good brunch. When I was thinking about the perfect recipe for Easter brunch, I thought a Monte Cristo would be perfect. Easter is all about ham, everything is better with cheese and raspberry jam just about screams brunch, am I right? What the heck is “go pupule?” It means go crazy in Hawaiian. Add this phrase to your lexicon. It is super fun to say.
While a traditional Monte Cristo is pretty much a sandwich made on french toast, I decided that sweetness of the King’s Hawaiian bread would work perfectly for this. And I also decided that sandwiches are too boring. I wanted to do this dish a little bit differently. So I decided that Monte Cristo Roll Ups just made sense. It takes only a few ingredients, and not a lot of time, so I think it is a great dish to add in to your Easter brunch entertaining. The key is SEEDLESS raspberry jam. Ain’t nobody got time for all those seeds. And you need a good gruyere – one that is salty and smells a little bit like feet. Trust me, it makes this taste the best. I “go pupule” over a feet-y gruyere.
So I’m trying out a new idea. I’ve been wanting to do a series of entertaining ideas shot at night. I love to do things that are more conceptual and non-traditional and have always been afraid to do it because I didn’t know how you all would respond. Also, I am an amateur photographer at best and I didn’t know if I’d be able to pull it off. I think it turned out ok, but more importantly it was super fun and challenging to do. I’d like to keep doing these and hopefully will get a better grip on how to produce these kinds of shoots. I wanted it to come off more magazine like but I’m not sure that it did. I did this the other night when my husband was not home so not only was I trying to shoot and style in the dark, I had one ear open trying to listen for the kids in the living room (or telling them to go back to the living room because they kept trying to steal the Peeps). So here is what I think the perfect Easter brunch looks like. I’m not suggesting you do it as a picnic I just thought grass was the perfect spring backdrop. And I’m not suggesting you lay it out this way. I am simply suggesting a few ideas in one place.
So tulips are awesome. And I was pleasantly surprised by the mini white carnations I found at the grocery. For years I never used fresh flowers in any of my parties. I felt like they were expensive and a cop-out. Do you all see how I over think everything? But I now realize that fresh flowers really do add something special to a table. It has been really fun learning about and paying attention to flowers more lately. Tulips in spring colors are the perfect accompaniment to your Easter brunch table. And while usually the kids are sent home with Easter baskets, why not break the centerpiece up in to smaller bunches and send them home with all the ladies.
I can’t think of an easier way to make everyone at brunch happy than by serving Peeps. They are nostalgic, fun and pumped full of sugar. I can think of nothing better. This season in particular I have been noticing an abundance of new Easter themed goodies like these swirly, fruit, egg-shaped marshmallows. How darling would these large marshmallows look in a cup of hot chocolate for the kiddos? I like to lay out some sweets so there are some fun nibbles while waiting for the full meal to get to the table. I guarantee you will not just see kid’s hands reaching for those things.
I’ve got to say, I am NOT over tassels just yet. But I wanted them to be a little different so I made these extra-large ones. I will share the tutorial next week but I think they would be perfect for a really simple wall decor. Add a little hand-cut Happy Easter sign and your ready for brunch.
The basis for my overall color scheme was this rad scarf I found at Forever 21. I am in love with scarves for entertaining. They are super versatile and usually much less expensive than tablecloths. I added some coordinating napkins and think it is the perfect color for a spring brunch.
For the drink I would serve a Blood Orange Gin and Tonic float. What I love about this is that it provides a few options for drinks so your guests can fix a drink they truly like. The blood orange sorbet adds a wonderful sweetness that women typically love. But if you skip it, you’ve got your basic gin and tonic. I’ll be sharing that recipe next week also. And because the float tastes better as the sorbet melts, you don’t have to worry about keeping the container out of the freezer to long, it will only help the drinks. Yeah!
My extended family likes to stick with their tried and true recipes. I always try to do that but sometimes I want to find a a twist that I know they will still like. You know your family best so think about the flavors they enjoy and see if you can introduce new dishes with those flavors. For the frittata I would choose this one. Doesn’t this french toast sound amazing?! And of course bacon. But I would also throw in some of this for a special treat.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new series or tips to shoot it better! And while it is still a few weeks away, I’ll wish you a Happy Easter now in case I forget. :)
The holidays are a magical time of year. There are tons of opportunities to host your friends and family and create special moments together. But by New Year’s Day we are all pretty tapped out in the energy department. A casual brunch is all you need for starting off the new year on the right foot.
Bubbles are a must at brunch. Not only do they pair really well with most breakfast foods, but a glass of sparkling wine generally makes any occasion feel a bit more special. Freixenet (pronounced Fresh-eh-net) is a great option for your brunch beverage needs. Not only is it easy to find (available in most grocery stores including Trader Joe’s), but has a great price point, although they don’t sacrifice the quality just to be more cost effective. Total win for us.
The Cordon Negro is crisp and clean with notes of citrus and a hint of ginger (yes please). Not to mention the black bottle is totally chic and dare I say a bit sexy…It is a versatile Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and goes really well with foods with spice like a flavorful breakfast sausage or charcuterie tray. And for the first time in 20 years, Freixenet has launched a new variety, the Cordon Negro Brut Sweet Cuvee (notes of peach and tropical flavors). This blend is a bit sweeter making it the perfect morning wine. Yes, I said that. This goes perfectly with something like a raspberry Danish (my fave brunch treat that happens to be store bought, can’t be any easier) or to sip on its own. Don’t get me wrong, it is still quite dry and not overly sweet. You will never find me drinking a sweet wine.
Being that it is brunch, make sure to still offer the traditional morning beverages like tea and coffee. And if the morning is chilly think of offering an optional “hot toddy” like the hot whiskey and honey that is my husband’s family’s tradition. While you are aiming to keep it easy, you still want to make sure that your guests needs are met (within reason).
No need to go crazy on the decorations. Simply use what you have to set a pretty table. Use sparkly leftovers from your festive New Year’s Eve celebrating to give the table some drama. I added a string of crystal shaped lights to the table to make it look like it was glowing. Lights are a fun way to decorate and I wish that people used them more throughout the year instead of just at holiday time. Using leftover wrapping paper creates the world’s easiest table runner and if you can’t leave well enough alone (that is my personal motto) add some coordinating fabric to give the table more texture. And of course fresh flowers never hurt.
Since New Year’s Day is a lazy day for us where we lounge in pajamas and just relax after late night festivities, the food must be kept simple. Quick, pre-made bacon quiche bites are perfect and are delicious when paired with the Cordon Negro Brut. Set out the food, a self-serve drink station and your work is done. Have you heard of using marmalades in your cocktails? Kind of the perfect accompaniment for brunch, am I right?
Freixenet has a really fun promotion happening right now. They’ve been touring the country in a pair of MINI Coopers. With stops at retailers and restaurants, they’ve been sharing samples of the sparkling wines and playing games for a chance to win a 2 year lease on a brand new MINI Cooper! You can play too. Look for “hidden bubbles” with reward codes throughout their site, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, as well as at the tour stops. Once you find the bubble, visit www.findthebubbles.com to enter the codes. Good luck!
Who says the holidays are the only time for bubbles? Make it your resolution to sparkle 365 days of the year with Freixenet cavas. Our sparkling wines come in a variety of different styles to suit any moment or mood. Cordon Negro Brut, our classic Black Bottle Bubbly, is great as an aperitif before a night out on the town or at home with takeout pizza. Our brand new Cordon Negro Sweet Cuvee is the perfect match for brunch favorites like pancakes and eggs benedict. Visit FreixenetUSA.com for more information about where to buy Freixenet sparkling wines and learn how you could win a 2-year lease on a new 2013 MINI Cooper.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Freixenet. The opinions and text are all mine.