Easter Brunch Breakdown

It’s time for my Easter Brunch Breakdown.

These posts help me plan and adjust our brunch each year. I find it tremendously helpful to have records of what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully, if you find yourself hosting a brunch, these posts might help you as well.

I stumbled across this favorite quote: Chance favors the prepared mind (Louis Pasteur) a few times over the weekend.  Should have applied the wisdom of it a bit more.

However, in fairness to myself, the health of my husband’s grandpa left lots of questions about whether we’d be hosting as the holiday approached. It meant I held off doing things. Thankfully, his health improved and we carried on with Easter.

Dare I say that I might be slowing down a bit? I found it harder than previous years to stay up late getting things ready. And then, were it not for my husband, I’d have overslept more than I already did.  Must start earlier next year!

Excuse the blurry photos, lack of sleep surely gets the blame for these poor photos (and lack of photos in general).

The Menu:

A mismatched throw together of trying to capture all the favorites plus adding in a few new dishes. Not everything worked or turned out well. 

Muffin choices: blueberry, chocolate chip, triple berry white chocolate, pumpkin, pumpkin chocolate chip, cappuccino muffins*

Cinnamon rolls (from a local restaurant)

Fruit: cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries

Fruit dip (my quick recipe: 1 package cream cheese plus one jar marshmallow fluff)

Caramelized bacon twists, regular bacon

Sausage pinwheels, regular sausage

Ham and cheese Quiche

Sausage puff

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Regular hash browns

Brisket

Rolls

Dessert choices: chocolate covered strawberries, banana bread, carrot cakes, lemon curd in pastry shells, strawberry mousse in pastry shells, peeps swimming in jello, various candies, cherry/apple/blueberry pie bars

*the cappuccino muffins and the cherry/apple/blueberry pie bars did not turn out so weren’t on our table

Menu Items I Wanted To Make But Ran Out Of Time:

peanut butter and jelly cookies

a veggie Quiche of some sort

vegetable side dish (thinking maybe a big salad for next year?)

truffle type dessert or other table decoration dessert

Menu Hits:

Caramelized bacon twists, fresh fruit, Guatemalan banana bread (my g. nieces loved this!), the brisket, and the sausage puff.

Menu Misses:

lots of muffins left (may need to shake up the offerings for next year), fruit dip (don’t think people knew it was fruit dip), and the ham/cheese Quiche (another one to scale back perhaps)

Menu Maybes:

Cinnamon rolls (I bought these from a local restaurant and bought too many, they freeze well at least), sausage pinwheels (tradition but I always have so many leftover and they don’t keep!), oven roasted potatoes (I liked the ones I didn’t burn but rosemary is a hate it or love it thing)

Items To Remove From Menu:

cappuccino muffins, cherry pie bars (I love the idea of these but they did not turn out “pretty” enough to serve on a brunch table…maybe adapt them into a muffin?), hash browns (unless I return to my basic hash brown bake recipe)

Thoughts about Easter Brunch 2018: 

We had a smaller crowd and the weather was cold. I’ve noticed people don’t go back for seconds as often when they can’t mill about as much (our house is well-suited to indoor/outdoor events, not so much for indoor only events).  Everyone who was there did seem to enjoy the food and themselves. And of course, like my mother, I have to cook enough “to feed an army”

Oversleeping made for a bit of a rough start, usually I have things set up as our guests are arriving and they don’t have to wait.  Also, my timing seemed off this year with getting things prepared early enough/kept hot. Burnt more than I should have (ugh!).  Sleep is important, next year I need to do more in advance and have better plans.

Should also perhaps put a bit more effort into the setup/decorations next year (and hope for better weather!). Do you host any big family events like Easter brunch? What are your helpful hints?

Happy Homemaker Monday, One Last Day Of Spring Break

Hope everyone had a nice Easter!  My Easter brunch came together even though I was running a bit late. Easter brunch breakdown post coming soon.

It’s our last day of Spring(?) break around here. The boys’ cousin spent the night last night and I’m not sure they went to bed until the super early morning hours. Certainly a quiet morning today.

Since tomorrow is back to work and school for all of us, I definitely need a plan. Joining in for the weekly link up of Happy Homemaker Monday hosted by Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom.

Breakfast Time…What Is On The Plate This Morning

Brunch leftovers, cinnamon roll and coffee.

On My To-Do List

  1. Take books back to library, they’re due tomorrow!
  2. Write and publish this post
  3. Write and schedule Easter brunch breakdown post
  4. Make sure everyone has clean clothes, what they need for school/work tomorrow
  5. Catch up on all the neglected items
  6. Delete e-mails! So many e-mails…
  7. Vote on Tuesday!

Currently Reading

Just a few pages left in The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence by Amir Husain. Took a break last week and read The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story Of The Origins of the Ebola Virus by Richard Preston.  Plan to read another one of his very soon (already on my kindle!)  Plus I have two books from my “18 I want to read in 2018 list” waiting on hold for me at the library.

On The TV This Week

Thinking I might need to reign in my TV viewing a bit:  The Voice, Good Girls (I found this show to be surprisingly good), The Flash (if new), The Goldbergs, Speechless,  Seal Team, and I’ve been re-watching Heroes (on Crackle TV, some free streaming service we get through our Blue-Ray DVD player).

The Weather Outside Is

Frightful! 25 degrees! Feels like 16 degrees! And snow on the ground! Mother Nature’s April Fools Prank did not amuse me.  Good chance of (hopefully) rain tomorrow but still cold in the morning. I do see two days of sun and maybe a 60 degree day for later in the week at least.

On The Menu This Week

Another planning struggle for this week as we try to get back to our routines. Let’s see how well we followed the plan last week when our routine didn’t happen…so much that I’m not even sure what we did eat a few days.

MONDAY: Mongolian BBQ Beef  I made chili for dinner

TUESDAY: Soft Tacos Mongolian BBQ Beef (not a make again success)

WEDNESDAY: Hotdogs and Hamburgers on the grill J had friends over and we ordered pizza

THURSDAY: Pork chops, sweet potatoes Tacos

FRIDAY: Maybe fish The boys and I ate dinner at Winsteads

(Lunches: we had leftovers, mozzarella sticks, and hamburgers/hotdogs on the grill)

And now for this week…trying to use what we have on hand again (read: I’m sick of going to grocery stores!)

MONDAY: brunch leftovers, salad

TUESDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs *I work 8-4*

WEDNESDAY: Pork Chops

THURSDAY: Left-Overs, Clear Out The Fridge/Pantry *I work 8:15-4:45*

FRIDAY: Chicken of some sort, maybe chicken strips..or possibly BLT’s

If I Have A Few Minutes To Myself, I Will

Read!

What I’m Knitting, Sewing, Or Creating

Nothing right now

New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try This Week

New ones at Easter Brunch

Success: The Fluffiest Strawberry Mousse (served it in pastry shells)

Fun Table Decoration (not sure it counts as a recipe although my nephew did eat one later in the day): Swimming Peeps in Jello Cups

Mixed Reviews: Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes (Admittedly, I burned them a bit and discovered rosemary is a bit like cilantro, people either love it or hate it, no middle)

Favorite Photo From The Camera

A quick snap of the view from Winsteads parking lot looking toward the Plaza. Tulips and daffodils outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum I’m sure these scenes would look quite different today, covered in a dusting of snow!

Quote For The Week

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (Ferris Bueller)

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Many thanks to all of you who said a prayer and sent good thoughts for my husband’s grandfather. They released him from the hospital last Thursday. The doctors did reduce/change some of his medications though.

Hope everyone has a warm, wonderful, and sunny week ahead!

Five On Friday: Spring Break, Dreary Weather, And Easter Panic

I should be doing lots of other things. So of course, I’m doing the one thing I don’t “have” to do.

Taking a minute from my Easter panic to join in with Five On Friday. And it’s still Friday. Go me!

Going to be a super random post tonight.

ONE: EASTER PANIC 

Fourteen guests plus the maybe count coming over for Easter brunch on Sunday morning. Am I ready? Not at all.  Is the house clean? Not at all.  What have I done? Well, I do have 2 ham and cheese Quiche in the freezer plus one pound of caramelized bacon twists. And a strawberry mousse I made ahead and am now having second thoughts on using. A jar of lemon curd (store-bought) hanging out in the cupboard.

Do I have a menu planned? Not really, going to be one of those years where I just throw it all together and hope for the best. Oops, I forgot, we also have a brisket and some buns. And plates (note: next year, do NOT put husband in charge of buying cute Easter plates) and a (plastic) tablecloth.

After I finish this post, I’ll start making a few things. Tomorrow, I’ve a full day in the kitchen. Better set my alarm and actually get out of bed when I hear it.

TWO: SPRING BREAK

Getting out of bed when I hear the alarm over spring break is a bit tougher than I expected. My spring break plan: Get up at the normal time every day and enjoy the quiet mornings. My spring break reality: Turn it off, kick the meowing “furry” alarm out of the bedroom, and go back to sleep until almost 9 every morning. Going back to reality’s going to be tough on us all next week.

THREE: DREARY WEATHER 

It feels more like a Christmas break than a spring break around here. Complete with a forecast for snow on Easter!

Oh, how I hope they have that one wrong. However, the dreary weather does make for excellent staying at home in pajamas, reading books, and just sleeping weather. We just about have laziness down to an art form in these parts.

FOUR: HOPEFUL SIGNS OF SPRING

The cutest Robin couple moved into our neighborhood and picked out a residence in the neighbor’s backyard.

House hunting:  Sold! A New Home: 

FIVE: TIME WITH THE TEENAGERS

“Remember when we used to wonder if they’d ever sleep in?” me to my husband just before noon today. I finally managed to get the creatures of the night into the car for a spring break outing in the ONE day of sun we’ve had this week.

We went to the art gallery (“The Nelson” aka The Nelson Atkins Museum) to see two special exhibits and then, over to Winsteads (a local hamburger restaurant) for dinner. 

While the Through the Eyes of Picasso exhibit was perhaps not ideal to visit with teenage sons (let’s just say parts of it focused heavily on male fertility, ahem), it was nice spending time with them. I think they both preferred the other exhibit, Dreams of the Kings: A Jade Suit For Eternity (a 2000 year-old jade burial suit starred in it).

We’ll just pretend the 13-year-old didn’t describe the outing to the museum as “excruciatingly boring.” The 16-year-old was a much better sport though he couldn’t resist a few “I told you so” remarks about my making his brother come with us.

I did have a good laugh and a brief moment of comradery with another couple at the museum. Their boy who appeared close in age to J had a similar “I’m so miserable” expression on his face.  We crossed paths a couple of times during the afternoon.

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Time to check my butter and start baking and perhaps, panicking less. Hope everyone has a very Happy Easter!

*Linking up with Five on Friday hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog and The Bird D’Pot hosted by I’d Rather B Birdin’.  Don’t forget to check them out!

 

Happy Homemaker Monday, First Official Day of Spring Break

We woke up to another rainy Monday for our first official day of spring break.  Rain is great sleeping music so not too many complaints about it today.

Still need a weekly plan even for a slower paced week (maybe even more). Linking up with Sandra, our host, over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom. Be sure and check out her site, lots of good stuff over there.

On to the categories…

Breakfast Time…What Is On The Plate This Morning

Coffee. Wait, did I say coffee? I meant COFFEE! And a bowl of low-sugar apples and cinnamon instant oatmeal made with almond milk.

On Today’s To Do List

Not very much! I’m on spring break as well and plan to do just that: take a break!

  1. Pay the straggler bills (just 2 that of course, arrive after the others)
  2. Prepare a few Easter brunch dishes: caramelized bacon twists and ham and cheese Quiche
  3. Plan the actual Easter brunch menu
  4. Clean bathrooms
  5. Read and finish my library book (If I get ambitious, return the books and get new ones)

Currently Reading

Still struggling my way through The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence by Amir Husain. And the March magazines. Also, went ahead and borrowed an e-book copy of The Magicians by Lev Grossman from the library.

On The TV This Week

Not sure. The Voice tonight. The Flash if it is new but I think it’s on a mid-season hiatus.

Maybe some movies with the boys (there are few both in the theater and on video, we need to see).

The Weather Outside Is

Rainy and a chilly 46 degrees. At least not as cold as yesterday. A good sleepy start to spring break but I do hope the sun breaks out for the rest of the week. Looks like I might get my wish on Wednesday.

On The Menu This Week

This is always a tricky one to plan, the week before a holiday and spring break.  I’ll probably throw lunches in there as well. Who knows what we’ll actually eat though.

First, let’s see how the menu worked (or didn’t) last week…

MONDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs I picked up a Rotisserie chicken at the store

TUESDAY: Roast in Crock Pot We had spaghetti and meatballs

WEDNESDAY: Bacon wrapped chicken, rice, salad

THURSDAY:  Ham Steaks On Their Own (J had chicken noodle soup, sore throat), (G and my husband had frozen pizza), I can’t remember what I found….everyone had watermelon *I worked 7:15-1:00*

FRIDAY: G went out with friends, The rest of us had take-out tacos from a local restaurant (G ate at I-Hop and then, later, Chili’s. Teenage Boys!)

SATURDAY: The boys spent the night with their cousin. We had Backyard Burger. (We’re exciting like that)

SUNDAY: We had ham steaks, watermelon slices, and cornbread

AND (drum roll) now for this week’s plan:

MONDAY: Mongolian BBQ beef (I’m just going to use a sauce packet from the grocery store) and rice (LUNCH: I told J we’d have chili)

TUESDAY: Soft tacos (LUNCH: maybe mozzarella sticks and salad)

WEDNESDAY: Hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill (LUNCH: PBJ’s, Leftovers, Freezer Clean Out)

THURSDAY: Pork chops, maybe sweet potatoes (LUNCH: Chicken nuggets (the frozen kind), mac & cheese)

FRIDAY: Maybe Fish (Crappie from freezer) or frozen shrimp and baked potatoes (LUNCH: Order Pizza, might be dinner with lunch out as well…)

*All subject to change depending on our activities this week

If I Have A Few Minutes To Myself, I Will

Read, watch a movie, sleep, go shopping, blog, take photos, relax….

What I’m Knitting, Sewing, Or Creating

My Easter Brunch Menu for Sunday.

New Recipe I Tried Or Want To Try This Week

Nothing new last week but I want to try this one out for Easter Brunch:

The Fluffiest Strawberry Mousse

I’m thinking it would work great as a compliment to the lemon curd pastry shells I’ll be serving.

Favorite Photo From The Camera

I didn’t do a great job of taking photos this weekend. Most my favorites from last week are in my previous post . There’s one taken through the fence in that post, here’s my first photo where the fence is more visible but I still like it.

Prayer Request

My husband’s grandfather has been in the hospitalized since Friday with severe stomach pain. They still haven’t figured out the issue. If you have an extra prayer, we’d appreciate it.

Quote For The Week

Children are human beings to whom respect is due; superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities for their future.  (Maria Montessori)

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Five On Friday (Er…Saturday): Spring Favorites

I’m already on spring break time over here (too bad the little gray cat is not). Didn’t want to miss the Five On Friday fun for a second week in a row. Surely, it’s still Friday somewhere.

Of course, since it’s Saturday, I’m going to make this my bird-watching post as well. Birds are one of my spring time favorites after all.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons! I love the warm sunny days and how everything becomes green again after boring blah browns (and sometimes whites) of winter.

ONE: FLOWERS

Once these little purple flowers start randomly popping up around the yard, I know spring is really here.  At one time, I used to make myself crazy trying to dig them up and move them since they really are pretty much all over the place. Now, I welcome seeing them since I know what they mean. It’s springtime! 

TWO: BEES

I’m actually a bit scared of bees but I’ve learned to take my own advice to the preschool kids: They’re just doing their work so if we leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone.  They were busy doing their work with the little purple flowers last Thursday afternoon. I braved standing close to them (with a zoom lens, I’m not that brave) and trying to get a decent photo. Do you see the bee in flight, just to the right in the photo above?

And here’s one busy working a flower in the photo below.

THREE: THE ROBINS

I love how one day the snowbirds all around give way to robins and grackles instead. This robin watched me with a lot of interest as I stood trying to get a decent bee photo. So did this squirrel. Once I must have stood too close to “his” tree and he came down to chatter at me for a moment. Later, I enjoyed watching another robin or maybe the same one, search for worms on the front lawn. The ones with the darker heads are the male robins.

FOUR: THE WEATHER

There’s nothing wrong with a good spring thunderstorm or rainy day. However, I think the best spring days are the warm sunny ones. The days meant for taking afternoon walks or sitting on the porch soaking in the sunlight.

I loved how the sun came through these trees.

FIVE: EASTER BRUNCH PLANNING

This one is my holiday.  Well, not my holiday but the one I do traditionally host for our families. I’ve been hosting it since G was a baby. So, this makes either the 15th or 16th Easter brunch for me to plan. We’ve only canceled one time in those years when both boys suffered from the stomach flu the weekend of Easter.

a peek at the centerpiece from last year

I love getting out the “real” dishes, planning what favorites to make, what new things to try, and of course, seeing whatever family can come to it. Some years, we have a large crowd. Other years, the crowd is a bit smaller. Always a good time.

On my to-do list for later today is to hop over to my Pinterest board and plan the menu with probably too much ambition.

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What are some of your favorite things about spring?

(Don’t forget to check out the link ups for both Five on Friday hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog and The Bird D’Pot hosted by Anni over at I’d Rather B Birdin’)

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