Easter has already ended, I can't believe it! Another successful holiday marked down in my books. Last year, I co-hosted Easter brunch when I was living in Manhattan with my sister, and we had our closest friends come to our apartment to eat and mingle. This year, Melissa is living in Istanbul, and I'm living in Boston, which meant things were definitely going to be different. I had a blast hosting last year, so I decided to host another brunch this year, but by myself!
Roche Brothers was supposed to sponsor originally, but I decided to save Roche Brothers for a different opportunity, and collaborate with Stop & Shop for brunch. My friends Grace and Jessica headed out to Malden, MA with me on Saturday to get all of the ingredients. We had a grocery cart FILLED to the brim. Stop & Shop has everything and more that you could need to host a party, which is why I shop here when I'm in Boston or in Connecticut.
One tip I have for hosting a brunch is get help when it comes to picking ingredients and groceries. Even if you're not having help with the cooking, don't be ashamed to ask for assistance on recipes and groceries. I couldn't have managed 10 bags worth of groceries without my girls!
What recipes did I decide to make? As much as I wanted to make a gluten-free, paleo meal, I knew my friends likely weren't in the mood to eat gluten-free if they didn't have to. I made a combination of both healthy and "normal" foods. If you're putting on an Easter brunch, it's important to also be aware of what allergies/ restrictions your guests have with food. One of our friends is a vegetarian, so I always have an option for her. I'm the only other person in my friend group that is gluten-free/paleo, which is why I prefer to host brunches. That way, I get to make food that I can eat AND that my friends can eat!
I began with a cheese/meat/ bread plate, with grapes. I also made blueberry spelt muffins, and mimosas for my friends who are 21+. I love getting creative in the kitchen, so I put a strawberry on the rim of the cocktail glass, along with a peep on top. Of course, M&M's sent me an assortment of colorful goodies that I kept on the table throughout the afternoon!
For the meal: my favorite vegan/gluten-free kale salad (super easy to make!), blueberry mascarpone pancakes, homemade paleo quiche (I use this recipe, but make my own crust with almond flour + whole wheat flour), crispy maple bacon, gluten-free carrot cake (this was slightly disgusting but I needed a carrot cake on my table. i also used a different flour blend), homemade sweet potato mash using coconut sugar, and gluten-free blueberry baked oatmeal.
I prepared most of the food on Saturday evening, so I only had to heat or bake the food on Sunday. I even made the pancake mix on Saturday night so I could easily put the pancakes on the griddle and not have to worry about getting messy with all of the mixing. I didn't try the pancakes, though I heard they were delicious. They were super easy to make, and you can easily add in different toppings, like bananas or chocolate chips.
Remember: throw on your comfy cooking heels, a dash of red lipstick, and get ready to host the most impressive brunch ever with my tips above! And, don't get too frustrated if something goes wrong. My carrot cake was a disaster, BUT, at least I didn't totally succumb to buying pre-made dessert (besides cupcakes) and my friends saw the effort I put in to make a homemade cake. Nothing is perfect. You're simply perfect for taking on the task of hosting a brunch at your house!
Did I just call myself perfect?