Last year, we had a last minute Easter brunch for a few friends and had so much fun that we decided to do a bigger (more official) one this year. As you know by now, I love brunch. But it is also the hardest meal to host because it requires a lot of last minute things being done in the morning. And after throwing a brunch at the holidays (and being in sweats when the first people showed up), I was determined to get things done on time for this one.
Our menu involved the following items (and was written out on a sign for our guests to see):
– Scrambled eggs wrapped in bacon (see recipe here
– Blueberry muffins with lemon streusel topping (see my recipe here
– Mustard potatoes (see recipe here
– Mini yogurt parfaits with homemade maple granola and strawberries (see granola recipe here
– Buttermilk donuts (see recipe on the blog next Sunday)
– Chocolate chip banana bread (see recipe here
– Spinach salad with caramelized onions, candied nuts, blue cheese and bacon (see recipe here
We also had a sign listing our drinks, which included:
– Amazing white sangria made by one of our lovely guests
– Fruit juices
And now if you’re not interested in throwing your own brunch, stop reading here. Because the list below will just stress you out. But if you’re like me, and you enjoy a little self inflicted stress for the reward of an awesome meal, then read on for a few tips that helped me be ready on time for this brunch (although I promise there were still be several stressful moments, no matter how much planning you do).
1. The first important thing is to make a plan for the morning of. For example, you need to know what’s going in the oven when so you don’t end up wanting to bake three things at once. I also recommend baking things that require the coolest temperature first. Otherwise you’ll be stuck waiting for your oven to cool off.
2. Set the table the day ahead. Seriously, I know it will seem silly, but it saves so much time. I also recommend getting out all of the serving plates and utensils that you plan to use.
3. Clean the entire apartment/house (except for the kitchen) the day ahead.
4. If you’re like me (and it takes you way too long to pick out an outfit) also do this the day ahead. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck doing it as your guests arrive. NOT FUN. I also recommend showering and getting ready (besides putting on your nice clothes) first thing before you start cooking. Otherwise you’ll be like a particular family member of mine who always seems to be showering as people show up to our house for parties.
5. Bake anything you can the day ahead. But only do things you’ve either read are ok made a day ahead, or that you’ve done before and know they’ll be just as good the next day. For this party, I made the granola and banana bread the day ahead.
6. Prep any food you can the day ahead. This doesn’t mean do the cooking, but do the chopping, washing, dicing. For this party, we cut up all the potatoes the day ahead and also got the onions ready to be caramelized.
7. Make sure you’re not doing all of this alone. A second set of hands is ESSENTIAL!
8. My last recommendation is to host your brunch as late as you can. 10-11am is really hard to pull off if you’re making and baking several things that morning (unless you’re lucky enough to have a double oven). I recommend the 12-1pm time frame.
And as important as the food is, a few other important things to remember that will really wow your guests:
1. Flowers and or a centerpiece for the table. For this party, I bought hyacinths and put them in a vase surrounded by sliced lemons. Very easy (and I’ll admit I found the idea on Pinterest), but it looks very professional!
2. Put flowers or a candle in the bathroom.
3. Make sure to have somewhere out of the way for people to leave purses and jackets.
4. If you’re doing a sit down event, it can be really nice to have place cards, especially if everyone doesn’t know each other.
5. Think through how to display all the food so that it is easy for people to access, but also looks nice.
6. Have some festive decorations if the party is around a holiday. I had Easter napkins, a set of bunny ears I made a few unlucky guests (and Dave, as seen below) wear, and eggs filled with candy.