Eat, Drink and be Merry!

20150105_171616

Happy New Year!  I can’t believe just how quickly the holidays came and went this year! I may or may not still have an adorned tree standing in my living room….  

But as for you… let me guess, you’ve packed away your hideous Christmas sweaters, your pollyanna gift is stashed away somewhere in your closet and you’ve nearly finished that bottle of Bailey’s in your morning cup of joe.  No judgment here.

The flip side?  You now have 11 months to start planning your next holiday shindig!  We hosted a Christmas Brunch this past season and it was a cheerful afternoon filled with family and friends.

photo

Look, everyone is brunching!  My OCD Virgo complex cannot stand that my curtain is not asymmetrical with its counterpart in this photo.  Why God, why??!!!

photo-3

Cheers to Family!

Brunch is now pretty much my new favorite party.  Our menu was inspired by the Yuletide Season and the entertainment was top notch.  The best part?  It’s during the day which entirely frees up the rest of your night and this can be especially comforting during the busy holiday season. Hallelujah!

With 20 something guests our menu was extensive so here’s the low down…


Alcoholic Drinks:

image1

White Cranberry Sangria- there is a sangria for every season and this one was a hit.  Pinot Grigio, Cranberry Vodka, Sparkling white grape juice marinated in cranberries, rosemary and orange slices.

image10

Festive and Fun!

image7

Bloody Mary Bar- I was so excited for this.  Make sure you only use Zing Zang.  Which is available in ALL 50 states and even our neighbors in the North, O Canada.  So do yourself a favor and buy it.

Mimosas & Beer- A little something for everyone right?

Non-Alcoholic:

Your brunch regulars: Coffee, Orange Juice, and Water.

Appetizers:

image4 (2)

Baked Bri– (here’s a version of my go to recipe for entertaining whether it’s for 2 or 20 it’s easy and always a hit)

Main Dishes:

image4

Quiche- I was adventurous and made my first quiche(s) for the party and they were scrumptious! I stuck with PW’s Cowboy Quiche and then just subbed goat cheese and leeks for a vegetarian version.   I can assure you that I will be making quiches more often now.  They are very easy to assemble and oh so tasty.

image6

Other menu items that were camera shy…

Eggnog french toast-  I tweaked this recipe a tiny bit and it was a huge hit! Can I let you in on my french toast secret? Good, I’m glad you have an open mind.  I learned this from a chef in New Orleans, the key to the best french toast is to omit the egg whites. Quoi?! Sacre bleu?! It’s simple, omitting the egg whites takes away the sometimes eggy taste that french toast can tend to have and you are guaranteed a delectable dish every time.  True story.   I added a few more egg yolks to the recipe making it 8 plus one entire egg just because I figured one egg white wouldn’t hurt.  I also used challah bread instead of a baguette.  I think this might easily become a Christmas staple in our home.

Shrimp & Grits- Make sure you put plenty of cheese in your grits.  I just used quick-cook grits fancied up with smoked Gouda and Parmesan, milk and another secret of mine, a little bacon grease.  And I just sauteed the shrimp in some Cajun seasonings.  You should make shrimp & grits more often, right?!

Biscuits and Gravy- I’m a sucker for anything southern.  Once again, I used PW’s gravy recipe (I haven’t found a recipe of hers I didn’t like).  This is by far the easiest way to make sausage gravy.  I made it the night before and just reheated right before the party.  I went with Trader Joe’s canned biscuits which taste like the real deal without all the mess.

Harvest Breakfast Braid- I found this recipe on kevinandamanda and thought I would give it a whirl.  It was very easy to make.  However, I will say that when I began ‘braiding’ I almost thought it was going to be one of those epic pinterest fails.  To my advantage it did not.  The pizza dough stretches and will fit over your mound of breakfast goodies.

The Entertainment:

image8

To help burn off all the extra calories consumed, we set up an ornament decorating arts & crafts table.  We had an array of different ornaments to choose from and plenty of glitter to keep everyone entertained.

photo (16)

photo (17)

photo (18)

photo (19)


To finish the afternoon I gave a small salon concert to our family and friends.

photo-1

Some of my friends have been requesting a private concert so when in doubt give the people what the want! It was delightful.  I caroled and then I opera’d.

photo-2And the babes gave me a standing ovation!

photo-5

Afterwards, the men analyzed my performance. “I feel her high notes could have had more shimmer”  “I was looking for a more earthy tone from her”  Men….

photo-6

It was such a lovely afternoon well spent by all…

photo-7

and we couldn’t ask for a more loving group of people to surround ourselves around.

Hoping everyone enjoyed their holidays! Cheers to the New Year!

2015-01-19 21.00.22

~Ashley

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s