For the ladies brunch on Saturday, I had a variety of guests and a variety of foods! We had 20 women, ages ranging from early 20s to 50s/60s! It was a nice time of fellowship, and I think each woman walked away encouraged in the way they needed. I had folding tables set up outside, and the dining room table inside. This allowed us to break out into 2 groups of 10, to have a more manageable discussion time. My friend, Ashley, facilitated one group discussion, and I facilitated the other!
Here’s just the menu, and further below I will have commentary on why I chose each item:
- Baguette bread
- Avocado toast
- Smoked salmon toast
- Avocado and smoked salmon on cucumbers
- BLT bites
- Caprese salad tower
- Spinach salad bar
- Chicken salad
- Veggie tray
- Hashbrown casserole
- Bacon, tomato, spinach, green onion quiche
- Sausage and egg stuffed peppers
- Polish egg bread
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Ginger molasses cookies
- Chocolate strawberries
- Fruit salad with dip
- Iced tea
- Canned green tea
- “Green” Naked juice
Here is what I served, and the thought-process behind why I served it:
- Baguette bread. I made 6 baguette loaves on Friday, knowing that they would be used in several ways. My family ate 2 of the loaves with supper that evening, and I used the remaining bread for the brunch. This is my favorite baguette recipe: Classic Baguettes | King Arthur Baking
- Avocado toast. I gently toasted slices of my baguette bread, with a little bit of olive oil. Then, I topped with some smashed avocado with salt, garlic powder, and tajin. I’ve served this before, and it’s always a popular item. Plus, I had avocados that were ripe. And one more bonus, my kids love avocado toast, so it was an easy thing I could feed them while I prepped for brunch and before they left the house with my husband.
- Smoked salmon toast. Again using toasted baguette slices, I spread cream cheese and topped with pieces of smoked salmon. I had picked up the smoked salmon using a coupon a little while ago and had been saving it for a brunch. I knew even if not all of my guests liked that sort of thing, myself, my husband, and my in-laws would have no problem enjoying the leftovers!
- Avocado and smoked salmon on cucumbers. I knew that I had at least of couple of gluten-free people coming to brunch, and some women try to limit/avoid carbs, so I did a small serving of avocado toast and smoked salmon toast using cucumber slices instead of bread. I tried it, and I liked the refreshing crunch of the cucumber!
- BLT bites. I love BLT’s. I was already going to be making bacon, so I made a bit extra for this dish. I sliced a cherry tomato, put the first half onto a toothpick, followed by a piece of crunchy romaine lettuce, a piece of bacon, and then the other half of the tomato. I made a herby mayo dip to serve with it. They were yummy! Also, I knew this was a low carb/gluten free option for people.
- Caprese salad tower. Something I serve that is usually popular is caprese salad. I serve it in various forms, depending on my mood or what other foods I’m serving. This time, I used one of my serving towers (it’s actually a cupcake display thing I got on Amazon a few years ago). I put baguette slices on the bottom, fresh mozzarella slices and some Italian meats on the next tier, then a tier of tomato slices, and a final tier of fresh basil leaves. I placed a small jar of balsamic reduction (that I made Friday), on the bottom tier to be drizzled as desired. People tend to love balsamic reduction. Also, serving everything separately like this allows for people to build their own, based on what they like.
- Spinach salad bar. I hadn’t made spinach salad in quite a while, and it sounded good to me. But because some of the ingredients that I like are a bit “controversial”, I allowed people to build their own. I had sliced tomato, cucumber, bacon, blue cheese, and pickled onions. And a warm bacon vinaigrette. I don’t think too many people were interested in the spinach salad, so I’m not sure if I’d serve it again to this group. It could just be that other foods sounded better, or maybe people around here don’t like spinach. But I liked it! And the leftovers won’t go to waste, especially because everything is separate.
- Chicken salad. My husband found a great sale on chicken thighs earlier in the week. So I roasted them for supper, and used all of the leftover meat to make chicken salad. I knew any leftovers of chicken salad would happily get eaten by my husband and in-laws.
- Croissants. I like chicken salad on a croissant, and my kids love croissants in general. So I bought a large package of mini croissants from BJ’s (wholesale store where I do most of our shopping). Croissants are always a popular thing to serve!
- Veggie tray. Having fresh food out is important to me. Some people don’t care about eating healthy, but I at least want it to be an option for those who care. Plus, a positive about a veggie tray is that it serves almost any “specialty” diet someone might be on. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, whole 30, low carb, sugar free, nut free, etc. I always want to make sure that there is something to eat for everyone. Having simple, one ingredient foods is very inclusive! Plus, leftover veggies can always be chopped smaller for a salad, cooked in a soup, etc. Oh, and an important thing to note—a friend brought this! She asked what she could bring, and this was something easy to delegate. Also, I already knew that she likes to eat healthy and keeps veggies on hand at home. So I hoped it wouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience for her.
- Hashbrown casserole. My children don’t eat hashbrown casserole. They don’t like anything where the potatoes are soft. But I love potatoes! Of all textures. So a hashbrown casserole is never something I make for my family, but only for other crowds. I really am just making it for myself and sharing. 😊 And I know from experience that other people like my hashbrown casserole too.
- Bacon, green onion, spinach, tomato quiche. Calling my egg casserole a quiche is a stretch, but it was quiche-ish. Basically a non-fancy version, that was super easy and still tasty. I used crescent roll dough (the Pillsbury stuff that comes in a can) to line my baking dish. Then I put some chopped bacon, spinach, green onion, and tomato onto the crust. After whipping 10 eggs with some milk (I didn’t have any cream on hand), I poured the eggs over the other ingredients. Topped with cheese, and baked!
- Sausage and egg stuffed peppers. The last time I experimented with eggs and peppers, it got rave reviews. So I decided to do an improved version, and there were none leftover! I didn’t even get to try any, but that’s okay. Two whole casserole dishes of these stuffed peppers got devoured before the end of brunch! I’ll have to type out a recipe and post it, but they were very easy. Also, bonus for being gluten free! 😉
- Polish egg bread. This was a last-minute addition to my menu. I had gone back and forth about whether I should make it, but got up early Saturday morning and decided to make the dough. Brunch started at 10 am, but I found myself running behind in preparations. So I ended up shaping the loaves and baking them after people began arriving! No one seemed to mind, however, because around 11 when they were done, people swarmed around the hot bread!
The Sweet Stuff:
- Chocolate chip cookies. My 12 year old was begging me for the opportunity to bake something because he was bored, so he made cookies! We use the classic nestle recipe and everyone always loves them!
- Ginger molasses cookies. Also from my 12 year old. He used our family recipe that I grew up with.
- Biscotti. Individually wrapped biscotti that I got on sale at the store!
- Chocolate strawberries. The ugliest chocolate covered strawberries you would ever see, but people loved them! I was running out of time Saturday morning, so I just lay the strawberries out on a platter and drizzled melted dark chocolate chips onto them! Don’t be intimidated to try things, just because you don’t think you can make it look fancy. If it tastes good, people will eat it!
- Fruit salad with dip. A friend of mine brought this at my request. She makes this really good fruit dip that my kids like, so I figured that the brunch ladies would like it too! The fruit salad was served separately from the dip, so that you could take as much/little as desired.
- Brigadeiros. These are a Brazilian chocolate dessert that a Brazilian young woman made for us. They always get gobbled up!
- Coffee. In my house we have a Keurig and a normal coffee pot. Unfortunately, the morning of the brunch, my coffee maker refused to work. I had it all set with water and coffee grounds, but for some reason I couldn’t get it to brew! Sometimes things like this just happen, but fortunately we had the Keurig and people could brew individual cups of coffee.
- Iced tea.
- Canned green tea. I had a coupon for these drinks and wanted to give them a try!
- “Green” Naked juice. I also had a coupon for this, and I knew that at least one of my friends would be interested in trying it.
Now it’s time for me to start planning the next Ladies Brunch!