Tis the season where some of us need some hair of the dog the morning after work holiday parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations. While it may not be an ideal time to have a brunch, the truth is it may be the only time we get to catch up with friends since our days are so consumed by family and work. I’ve outlined the perfect tips to organizing a holiday brunch that will allow you to sleep in while still throwing a fabulous get-together.
You have to think about the food first! Brunch is about combining breakfast with lunch and as a rule of thumb, I always try to have the holy grail of brunch foods – sweet, savory, and healthy. Every hyped brunch spot will have a solid selection of these three categories.
SAVORY – Breakfast Sausage Casserole
I’m from northern Pennsylvania so casseroles are basically like air and water – necessary for survival. This recipe is almost exact to the one that has been passed around in my family forever. A major plus is that you can make it the night before, swap the sausage for bacon or leave the meat out altogether. Word to the wise though, if you want to add veggies they will produce more water so make sure to either add a bit more bread or a little less egg.
SWEET – Overnight French Toast Casserole
So you see a theme here. You can make it the day before – check. It’s a casserole – check. They both bake at 350 – check. My friend actually made a very similar recipe for me last New Years day when I woke up from celebrations the night before at her house. It was really good and really needed! I would replace the margarine in this recipe for butter (because why margarine?!) and make up a whipped mascarpone and berry compote for the top… but that’s just me.
HEALTHY – Waldorf Goat Cheese Salad
I like to call this the rip and dump option as almost all of these ingredients you could just open and toss in a giant salad bowl. I love fruit in salad, especially when it’s paired with cheese. If you wanted to get real Waldorf-y you could add apples or take out the grapes and use dried cranberries or switch out the pecans for candied pecans… well you see where I’m going here. And don’t freak out if you can’t find a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. You can either buy a straight raspberry vinaigrette (Newman’s Own has a good one) or make your own by using raspberry syrup or raspberry balsamic vinegar, some walnut oil, and a bit of olive oil. Toss it all together and serve.
Also, lay out some of those Christmas cookies you baked ahead of time on my advisement just in case one of your friends has a serious sweet tooth.
If food is the first thing you think about, drinks are a close second, specifically alcoholic drinks. After you pop the champagne and take a little nip for yourself, go ahead and set everything out and let the guests make up their mind. I would do a Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar, because I’m fancy (but really mimosas give me heartburn… damn you thirties). What you should have on it:
For the Mimosas
- Orange Juice
- Fruit – cut strawberries and pomegranate seeds
- Champagne/Sparking Wine
- Champagne glasses (or small juice glasses)
For the Bloody Marys
- Bloody Mary Mix
- Hot Sauce
- Garnish – celery, olives, dilly beans, crispy bacon if your fancy
- Bucket of Ice
- Ice Tea glasses (or coffee mugs)
That’s it. This is a good spread and while both of these could have more options, again, all of this is make ahead and set out 15 minutes before the guests arrive. Then set the champagne and vodka in a galvanized metal tub with ice…haha I don’t have one of those so if you’re like me, take your mop bucket and a white sheet or tablecloth and wrap it around the bucket. Nobody needs to know and the tablecloth will suck up the condensation. I would set up the drinks wherever you need to be when guests arrive (i.e. the kitchen) because they will end up congregating there anyway. Also, brew (or buy) some coffee, have some instant hot chocolate, and if anybody wants a different drink, tell them it’s water or that juice in the back of the fridge that doesn’t really look like cranberry anymore. Trust me, they will make a mimosa. Encourage guests to make their own, refill themselves, and be merry.
Could you take the time to make a lovely tablescape a la Sandra Lee circa 2002? Sure. But let’s be real, this entire post is how to save time and throw together a quick brunch, not figure out how to do a 16-point folded napkin. Save it for Christmas dinner. Instead, go with metallics. People love shiny things and this time of year they are super easy to find because of New Years. So raid the Dollar Spot at Target, go to the Dollar Store, or stop at the local party store’s dollar bins and find a few little things to set on the table, including paper metallic napkins. If you want to make the table look super fancy take some wrapping paper like Wills Casa did below and spread it across the table. This shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes but it will look really put together. Use stuff you already have if you have a metallic addiction like me and challenge yourself to spend less than $20 because you CAN do it and it will look great.
Most of all, enjoy the time with your friends, fancy decor be damned!
If this was too sappy for your worried holiday heart, ask me a question and I’ll sugar-coat some great advice for you!
If you want more snark, follow me on my Bloglovin’ to find other smart donkeys like me!