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One of the things I look forward to the most on the weekends is the moment that the hubby and I are walking into one of our favorite restaurants for brunch. Depending on the weekend and what our mood/taste buds crave, you'll find us either trying a new brunch spot or hanging out at one of our tried and true places that always leave us satisfyingly happy. While I do enjoy eating out, I find it even more exciting when I host brunch at our home. In fact, I hosted one at our place several Sundays ago and am looking to do so again, hopefully soon. There are many reasons that I love doing it. For one, I love to entertain (that's why I chose one of my careers in the PR world as an event host). I enjoy the process of creating a menu from libations to deserts. One of my dreams would be to own a bed and breakfast, a restaurant and I could create and help others experience that ultimate luxury that is unforgettable...worthy to be remembered for a lifetime. Another reason is that it also gives me the opportunity to create a beautiful special setting for friends to come and forget about life's annoying hiccups for those several hours while they're in our home. Just the act of making fresh homemade food and serving it on pretty dishes and platters for others, wells up in me this joy that is indescribable. However, experiencing that sort of joy requires good planning and keeping things simple. Over the years of entertaining, I've learned that you don't have to break the bank or spend hours slaving/sweating in the kitchen amidst a mess of pots and pans to put together a beautiful event. 

So today, I'd like to share with you my 5 basic keys to hosting the most amazing stress-free brunch.

1. The Menu - keep it simple with foods that can either be made in advance or be cooked in less than an hour. Here's what I had on my recent brunch menu:
  • Quiche Lorraine (or either one of these) which is quite fast and easy to whip up and cook in less than an hour.
  •  French Toast Cups (I want to try this recipe next time) that can be prepared the night before and just bake in the oven for less than 30 minutes the day of your brunch.
  • Bacon and link sausages can be baked crisp in the oven to prevent the mess of splattering oil and you still get that amazing smell of breakfast bacon in the house.
  • Green pear salad and glazed walnuts with a homemade champagne balsamic dressing.
  • Fresh blueberries washed the day before.
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice that was squeezed the day before for the mimosas.
  • Homemade peach puree for Bellinis, homemade raspberry sauce for mini chocolate cups that I made the night before. I will share some of those recipes in another post. 
  • Cranberry scones and banana muffins baked the day before. I made the scones dough two days prior and froze them, and just baked them a few minutes before the brunch.
  • Mimosas and Bellinis. And of course, don't forget to chill your champagne days before.
2. Set The Table - the night before, including your fresh flower arrangements. So make sure to get your flowers the day before and put them in their respective vases and spaces.

3. Create a Playlist - well in advance based on your guests' personalities/tastes. I have an iPod full of tunes broken down by every genre of music imaginable. For my particular crowd that day, I went with my lounge playlist and everyone commented on how they enjoyed the music in the background. But if you don't have an iPod, there's Pandora or Spotify that you can create a playlist made up of your guests' favorite tunes with enough songs to last at least two hours. Remember to keep the volume low enough so that your guests will not be straining their voices as they converse.

4. Encourage Conversation - if your crowd isn't a talkative one, think in advance of games that might get the ball rolling. I didn't have that problem since I often mix my guests in order to make sure that we have stimulating conversations. Table topics is an excellent one.

5. Plush Socks - now that I'm back living in the city, I've gone back to the 'no shoes' inside the apartment policy. And to keep my guests' feet warm and cozy, I keep a stash of fluffy socks on hand to lounge in for those who need it. Keep in mind that...

 "It is not the quantity of the meat but the 
cheerfulness of the guests which makes the feast." 
~ Edward Hyde 

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