Perfect Recipes for Mother’s Day Brunch

*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?

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Monte Cristo Roll Ups for Easter Brunch with King’s Hawaiian

*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian.  All opinions are mine!

Monte Cristo Roll Ups Recipe.  \\   www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo 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.

Easy to make Monte Cristo roll ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile 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. [Read more...]

Outdoor Entertaining : Easter Brunch

Easter brunch ideas.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.

tulips and mini carnationsSo 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.

It isn't Easter without peeps. 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.

large tassels for Easter Brunch decorI’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.

pastels for Easter brunch decor.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.

Blood orange gin and tonic floats for Easter brunch.  Or anyime.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!

Choose a basic idea for brunch and then look for a twist on the classic.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. :)

 

Casual Holiday Brunch with #Freixenet

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.

Styling up a Geometric Back to School Brunch

iced coffee and mimosasI was super flattered when Abigail of Paper and Cake asked me to collaborate (along with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop) with her on a styled post she wanted to do.  Abigail is a very talented graphic designer and party stylist who I had the pleasure of rooming with in New York several years ago for a Martha Stewart Event.  I’ve used her printable party decor before and when she said she wanted to do a geometric themed set for a back to school brunch, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  But I have never styled a party for someone else before!  It was very challenging for me.  I am used to being in control over every aspect from start to finish.  But this time I had to focus on only certain parts.  I learned a lot about myself.  I am a quiet control freak.  But many of you who know me, already know that.  Now can we please talk for a minute about these wall decorations.  Yup, totally a printable that you can make to go along with your party set.  Abigail is a genius.

geometric back to school Brunch consisted of a buffet area with some of the most delicious dishes.  Ever.  You guys know I am a huge Kristin fan.  I love her to death.  She’s amazing at baked treats and sweets but she is just as good with savory foods.

eggs pesto goat cheeseShe made a breakfast bruschetta that was insanely good.  It was the perfect brunch DIY station.  She set out goat cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes so you could dress your toast and eggs however you wanted.  Which is a good thing because I would have thrown up all over Abigail’s house had someone made me have sun-dried tomatoes.

breakfast-cereal-panna-cottaI die over Kristin’s panna cotta.  This particular one was breakfast cereal flavored!  SO YUMMY!  She basically infused milk with frosted flakes and rice krispies and then used that milk to make the custardy treat.  I wish you guys could taste it!

meringue bake shopOH NO SHE DI’INT.  There was a DONUT trifle!!

donut-trifle-for-back-to-school-brunchAMAZING!  Sure you can just plop donuts out on a plate for brunch.  But they are even better with creamy goodness and fresh berries.  Seriously.  Do this.  Perfect for holidays…just saying.

egg-bruschetta-wiht-goat-cheese-and-sundried-tomatoSince it was my first time styling, I brought along a ton of dishes and fabrics and random doodads that we might need for the shoot.  When you use Paper and Cake printable party decor you really don’t need much extra in the way of decor.  Abigail puts together a nice little set for you to use.

back-to-school-breakfast-brunchI love collaborating on styled shoots.  It is such a fun and creative way to hang out with people you admire.  And you get to eat the food.

geometric-flowers-for-brunchHow kick ass are these flowers?!  I thought they went perfectly with the geometric feel of the party.

signature-drink-menuFor the beverage station, there were two options.  A make your own mimosa area and an iced coffee area.  Kristin made some creamers to go along with the coffee.  I’ll be sharing a recipe for one of them tomorrow!!  Get ready for it.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been using it in my coffee every day since we did this shoot two weeks ago.

pitcher-of-iced-coffeeI’ve always loved iced coffee but trying to figure out how to get it double strength in order to dilute has always been too much for my pea brain to handle.  Luckily Trader Joe’s came out with an iced coffee concentrate for me.  Yup just for me.

creme-brulee-coffee-creamerFor serious, these creamers blew my mind.  What I loved most is that they were so flavorful but not sweet.

homemade-creamer-by-Meringue-Bake-ShopDo you guys love this brunch and printables as much as I do?  You can find them right here.

geometric-brunch-mimosaCheers to Abigail and Kristin for a wonderful collaboration.  And for letting me finally be in a picture. :)

Printables : Paper and Cake

Food and Beverage : Meringue Bake Shop

Styling : Me (and everyone else too because it really takes a village)

Photography : Me and Abigail (we pooled our photos and I have no idea who took what.  Well I certainly know that I didn’t take the picture of me holding the mimosa…)