Disclosure: in exchange for this post, I was given free product to try. However, all opinions are my own. It’s important to me to only partner with companies that I actually buy/use, and to be clear that my opinion can never be bought!
I think that brunch is the new dinner. At least for people with kids. Anyone else notice that? The dinner invites have stopped and we do a lot of morning gatherings with friends. But I’m not sad about it. After all, brunch is more casual (read: kid-friendly, no paying for a baby-sitter, and I can stay awake the whole time) and who doesn’t love breakfast food all day every day?!
But brunch can also be tricky because of the timing of the different dishes, and you have to plan ahead a little more (because no one is getting up at 5am to cook for friends).
To help keep brunch fun, casual and 100% delicious, here are some great tips, brought to you by Simple Mills.
1. Prep the Night Before
The number one tip for simplifying your brunch is to start the night before (see previous comment about not getting up at 5am!). Take a few minutes to set your table with plates, napkins, silverware and glassware. If you’re getting fancy, consider some fresh flowers. Map out where you’ll put the coffee, mimosa, or juice station, and think through if you will be doing a buffet or have everyone sit down and enjoy family-style.
2. Keep Dishes Warm
Turn your oven on low to keep dishes warm. You don’t want to be cooking up until the last minute or require guests to eat right when they walk in, so plan to wrap dishes in foil and keep them warm. Your guests may be bringing something that need to be heated up or kept warm, so a warm oven will always be welcomed.
3. Provide Allergen-Friendly Options
This might seem like an [eye-roll] dietitian thing, but the odds are one or more of your guests will have a special dietary need. You can always ask ahead of time, or just plan to have gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options. I love this simple scone recipe because it uses simple, nourishing ingredients (including Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix!). It is also gluten- and dairy-free, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a favorite of the whole crowd.
Chocolate Cherry Almond Scones
1 box Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips [use dairy-free chips to keep the recipe dairy-free]
Coconut sugar, optional as topping
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk eggs, water, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup in a large bowl.
Add baking mix to a bowl, make a well, and pour wet ingredients in. Fold and stir until just combined. Let sit for 5 minutes for dough to thicken.
Fold in almonds, cherries and chocolate chips.
Press dough into a circle on a marble or plastic cutting board [or use a Silpat] - using additional flour as needed to prevent sticking [don’t forget to use gluten-free flour like tapioca or almond flour to keep the recipe gluten-free]. The dough will be soft and sticky. Using floured hands, pat down into a circle about 1/2" thick.
Using a wet knife, cut circle into 8 equal parts, beginning with a cut down the center. Carefully remove scones with a spatula and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coconut sugar, if desired.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until scones are slightly browned and spring back when touched. Cool on wire rack.
NOTE: These scones are not overly sweet (that’s a win in my book!). If you add more maple syrup, cut back on water so the dough is still thick enough to spread. You could also bake these in muffin topper tins and skip the segmenting step!
4. Make a Casserole
Whether it’s an egg bake, quiche, baked oatmeal, or baked French Toast, a casserole is a simple way to serve a crowd. Consider preparing the recipe in a baking dish the night before to simply reheat it in the morning. You can check out my traditional Baked Oatmeal or Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal recipes for inspo!
5. Incorporate Fruits and Veggies
Fresh fruit and veggies will add the perfect pop of color to round out the meal and make it Instagram-worthy. Many people focus on eggs, bacon, and baked goods at brunch, but consider adding fruits and veggies to add variety and good nutrition to help your guests leave feeling their best. Add veggies to your quiche, grated veggies to your oatmeal, a fruit salad, dried fruit in your scones (see above!), or blueberries or zucchini in your muffins. What are you favorite ways to add fruits and veggies to breakfast? My Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal has both fruit and veggies, and I always love a good feta, spinach and egg casserole.
6. Include a DIY Bar
A DIY breakfast bar is a fun way to for guests to make the meal their own and accommodate their own dietary needs and preferences. This could be an oatmeal bar, waffle bar, or DIY bagel bar. Check out the recipe below for simple, homemade bagels (also seen recently on my Instagram account!). They take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish and use simple, whole food ingredients, including Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix. Use code LIVINGPLATE20 for 20% off your order at SimpleMills.com to try this recipe or create your own.
DIY Bagel Bar with Simple Homemade Bagels
2 boxes Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil Bagel Seasoning - dried garlic and onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Sweet and savory bagel toppings (see suggestions below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 4 donut pans.
Whisk together eggs, water, olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl. Add in Simple Mills Artisan Bread mix to the bowl and combine.
Fill each donut mold 3/4 full with the dough.
Top with your choice of bagel seasoning.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Prepare your bagel bar by beautifully arranging your bagel toppings on a table.
Remove bagels from the oven, let cool completely and serve with your prepared toppings.
A few suggestions for toppings:
Yogurt + banana + honey + walnuts
Nut butter + jam and/or fresh berries
Cream cheese + smoked salmon + fresh dill
Sliced avocado + heirloom tomato + fresh basil
Nut butter + yogurt + fresh figs
Cream cheese + cucumber slices + Bagel Seasoning
Let me know if you try any of the recipes - tag me on Instagram @katiegoldbergrd or comment below.
Are you team dinner party or brunch party?