Brunch is a Beautiful Thing

Does everyone love brunch as much as me or am I truly one of a kind?   I just love it!! I think it is decadent and delicious and just about the most indulgent thing you can do for yourself…treat yourself to brunch, particularly on Sundays.  But the truth is, brunch is a really great way to celebrate a special event or just celebrate those that are special in your life.  You can give them that feeling of indulgence and it can be one of THE simplest ways to entertain.

Brunch is that great meal where anything goes.  You can serve whatever your little heart desires, breakfast items, dinner items, desserts…it all works.  That being said let me give you some suggestions.  I think some fresh cut up fruit, pastries, cheese platters, toast or croissants are basics that are super easy.  Quiches (I happen to be loving a zucchini Quiche right now), sausage, bacon, pancakes, french toast (I have many of my own sweet and savory variations of this hearty breakfast delight), tarts, pies,cookies, creme brulee, all also very welcome on a brunch buffet.  For those of you cooking challenged-you can buy these things and plate them yourself.  A lot of people like some dinner items on the menu.  Keeping with the theme of easy… add baked ziti, steamed shrimp, raw oysters, ham, baked macaroni n’ cheese, asparagus, green beans almondine, roast beef.  Again, these things are all easy to prepare, can be purchased already made, and also do really well made a day, or two, or three ahead of time.   Put your brunch over the top with an omlete station, if you have the gift of making great omelets.  Let everyone choose their own ingredients. (Just part of a full brunch spread)

And for those that wish to take it a step further, many would agree it’s not brunch without mimosas or bloody mary’s…or both.  You can do a bar where they can mix their own.  Mimosas can be non-alcoholic with one of those great sparkling apple or grape juices that come in a champagne-like bottle.  Get orange, pomegranate, grapefruit juices to offer as mixers.  (Though feel free to experiment or get what you know you like best.)  There are a ton of bloody mary recipes out there.  I think putting out the ingredients and letting each person make them to their own taste is perfect (again, these have a virgin option).  Try getting tomato juice, clamato juice and any of the varieties of V8.  Put out ingredient options like old bay, horseradish, worschestshire sauce, salt, pepper, various hot sauces, celery seed, olive juice, lemon & lime juice to name just a few.  Then to really complete the beverage bar…the garnish for your drink.  Orange, lemon and/or lime slices.  Olives, celery and pearl onions.  These too are just suggestions. Go wild!

Now make this, like any other thing you do, your own!!  Think buying in season. Take standard recipes and/or premade items and get creative!  Pick a theme for the table setting and maybe even the menu.  Cut fresh flowers from your yard or get them at your favorite market and put them in household containers all over the rooms your guests will be in.  Create fun place cards or placemats.  Possibly make a little favor or gift for guests to take home.  Really enjoy your brunch!  There is so much fun in entertaining others and brunch is such a great way to indulge them and yourself.

Here’s one of my French Toast recipes you can try.  I actually do my french toast on baking sheets.  No flipping required and you can get a lot more done at one time.

PAMA and Raspberry French Toast

8 slices of whole wheat bread

3 egg whites and 1 whole egg

1 ½-2 cps red raspberries, may use seedless ones if available

1 cp  PAMA

1 ½ tsp. Vanilla extract

Maple syrup and Cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put eggs and raspberries into a mixing bowl.  Using a fork, smash raspberries and beat into eggs.  Add PAMA and vanilla extract to egg/raspberry mixture and beat again until consistently mixed in.  Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray. Dredge both sides of bread through the egg/raspberry mixture and lay into the glass dish.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until egg is cooked.  Serve toast drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with cocoa powder.

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