I have always felt blessed that Brent, My Dear Husband, and I were able to build a home for our family. I have also felt that with our home comes a responsibility to show love through it, by opening its doors and welcoming our friends and family. I think it’s one of the love languages that I speak to people.
This weekend I hosted my daughter, Fiona’s, soccer team and their families. We decided on a Sunday brunch after the game at our home. The most important lesson in entertaining I learned from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa fame. If you know Ina, you know her impeccable taste, Hamptons home and simple, but elegant food. She insists on making things easy on the host so that he/she can actually enjoy her guests. One of the way she does this is by buying much of her food. She is deliberate in her shopping and always has a plan about how things go together. This is how I approach entertaining in my late 30s when time is limited to say the least:
Plan big, buy more, cook little and don’t forget to prepare your space.
I start with the time of day that I’m entertaining. In my case it was about 10:30 so brunch was perfect. I love brunch because it is a meal that does not have a lot of pressure. You can add sweet and savory to the entire meal, alcohol is welcome and casual works.
I went to two grocery stores, Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I purchased quiches to cut, fruit, cheese for a platter, mini bagels, mimosa ingredients and seasonal treats. The morning of the brunch I also had Brent stop off at Duck Donuts, our local and beloved donut shop. I think fresh bakery items are always appreciated!
Here are some of the specific products that I purchased. Even though I wasn’t going to cook, I still wanted to make sure that every item was fresh and the best quality.
After buying all the food, I set out the dish ware that I needed. Let me just take a second to say that if you have not purchased platters to entertain with you may want to do so. My only advice is buy all white because you will never have to coordinate and food always looks better on all white. You can go to Target and literally buy all kinds of serving platters and bowls out of one aisle!
I like using this little plate stand to stack my white plates and keep them all together.
Like Ina, I think arranging food on a large surface for guests to help themselves makes the atmostphere more casual and less work on the host. I like to set out my glassware at a little mimosa station so guests can pour their own beverage. I put out wineglasses, an ice bucket of champaign, orange juice pitcher and water decanters. I included La Croix for the adults that did not want alcohol and bottled water for the soccer players.
I love layering my counter with large cutting boards and baskets. If you are using baskets, I will suggest cleaning them thoroughly as they tend to collect dust easily. I use those computer condensed air sprayers to easily wipe mine down. Owen approves.
When I have all my platters, baskets, cutting boards and cloches laid out I can start plating the food. I like to cut up the quiches into small 2 bite squares, slice all sweet breads and organize my cheese board with grapes and olives.
Here are some images of the final result!
You’ll be happy to know that brunch was a success! I feel like I still have a few more tips on what worked for me so join me tomorrow for a few extra behind the scenes tid-bits. In the meantime, check out the fun this team had!