Easy, Elegant Brunches

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By Cindy Edwards

Brunch, a meal that combines breakfast and lunch, is an English tradition that originated in the late 1800s.  It took nearly fifty years for it to become popular in the United States.  Brunch is a lovely way to begin a lazy weekend because it starts later in the morning and can continue to around 3:00 in the afternoon.  It is the perfect excuse to linger around the table and enjoy traditional breakfast fare with a special twist.

I recently hosted a brunch to celebrate the engagement of a special young lady and gentleman.  Below are some suggestions for a carefree and simple spring brunch.

1. Share the tasks.

I had two friends (and our husbands) co-host the event. One friend handled the bar, invitations and favors; the other handled the flowers, photographer and errands.  I took care of planning the meal, setting the table and getting the house ready.

2. Plan a menu that is easy to serve.

We set up the bar outside so that the guests flowed through the house and out to the terrace. Guests sipped Bloody Marys in pretty silver beakers garnished with a variety of olives, celery and spices. We also filed carafes with several different juices and allowed everyone to create their own mimosas.

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The meal began with a fruit salad topped with a simple yogurt dressing.  I served it in individual compotes, which made each one look very pretty. 
The main course was a spinach quiche served with roasted tomatoes and asparagus.  A simple muffin and slice of turkey bacon completed each plate.

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For the dessert, I complicated things a bit.  I had been to a beautiful wedding where every guest received his own “little wedding cake.”  I couldn’t get it out of my head! After calling many bakeries to no avail, I finally persuaded my dear friend Donna Stafford, who was also the bride’s kindergarten teacher, to bake the little cakes for the brunch. WOW!!! They were the hit of the party: beautiful, delicious and so special. 

3. Prepare the night before.

I did as much as I could prior to the event.  I had to set up the outside tables the morning of the party, of course, but I organized the dishes, linens, flowers and silverware the night before, so placing everything on the tables in the morning was easy and quick.

4. Add a special element for your guests.

I bought a local cookbook that featured Savannah artwork and asked each guest to sign it with a special thought or memory for the honored couple.  We also had favors with personalized candies for each guest to take home. 

5. Linger with your guests.

One of the great things about a weekend brunch is that most people are not in a hurry to rush out the door to an appointment.  It is the perfect time to relax with your friends over coffee and dessert.

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I hope that this spring you will set aside time to celebrate with your family and friends.  Whether you are hosting a couple of friends or a large crowd, set the date—and the table—for a brunch.  It is an easy and special way to entertain.


As always, thanks for reading.

Properly yours,
Cindy


Photos provided by Izzy Hudgins.

Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
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Reader Comments:

54321

I am having a get together with family and friends. I would like to know how to substitute greens with something else. For some of my family can not eat Vitamin K that leaves out lettuce,broccoli, and as my mother says anything green. Do you have a suggestion for this problem as I do not want any leftovers. Plus I do not care for Broccoli myself and everything has it in it. Thank you bloggers.

By Carol Thompson on July 26, 2014

54321

Paula, So glad you're back! It always works to refer to the bible on any issue. Those that (and in this case) never did something wrong in their younger years - please, be the first to cast the first stone. I have not been on Food Network since their "holier than thou" disassociation. Let your true sweet spirit shine, baby. Look forward to seeing many of your episodes.

By Susan on June 28, 2014

54321

We do brunch all the time with friends. We rotate with all our friends but everyone is required to show up in their PJ's and bring food!! smile Love your site, blog and recipes too! I have been lingering for a long time, this is my first post. I am a woodworker but lot to cook, grill and bake. I sure would love to make you a nice cutting board for your kitchen!! If you are interested please contact me. I made a board for Ina Garten and she loved it! Michael

By Michael on June 22, 2014

54321

Very excited for your net work. Very excited to learn all these great new skills. Fabulous, fabulous and fabulous. Since leaving a high stressful job in April, it has been a pleasure learning all your great food. Divinity should be served all year around and is great with adding pastel colors and even more fun to watch all the ooooss from eating it.

By Patricia Arnquist on June 15, 2014

54321

Cindy, you inspire me to serve a lovely brunch soon--even if it's not for a large party and only for my family. Each of your posts is full of unique ideas, and I always look forward to what you have to offer us. Thanks once again.

By Viki Curtis on April 26, 2014

54321

This looks and sounds fabulous! Wish I could have been there to take part. Thanks for such great ideas and recipes.

By Sandra on April 25, 2014

54321

The brunch table setting is lovely. This is definitely an easy and elegant brunch. Beginning the event with a delicious fruit salad and ending with an individual wedding cake for dessert was wonderful. Recalling and writing special memories of the couple was a great idea. Thanks, Cindy, for another interesting post.

By Anne on April 23, 2014

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm