How to Host a Pretty Brunch + One Essential Brunch Recipe

I’m all for pretty things. My life would be so dull without pretty dresses, desserts, and dinnerware. Wouldn’t you agree? It doesn’t have to be expensive, just pretty. Well, I like to have that mentality to many aspects of my life, hosting is one of them. I love the idea of hosting. It’s a perfect occasion to take out the seldom-used teapot, dinnerware, and go all out with serving napkins. I mean, there are no objections to doing that on the regular, but then you’re stuck with extra dishes and more laundry -not fun!
So with my obsession with hosting and the holidays coming up, I thought I’d share a little insight and tips. Today ill be sharing how to easily host a brunch party. Why brunch? Because it’s the most important meal of the day, forget breakfast. And brunch is a perfect excuse to have desserts so early in the day!
One of my favorite things to make for breakfast/brunch is a baked omelet. It’s easy, extremely savory, and totally appropriate. So if you’re planning to host an upcoming brunch, or just need a reason to wake up, how about you try this baked omelet recipe? (Scroll down for recipe)
I’m excited to introduce a sweet friend of mine on the blog today! Meet Ema, she’s the photographer behind many of my photos, someone who knows a bunch of random facts, and who has a great eye for detail and presentation…talk about a resourceful friend, huh?! Well, this brunch get-together wouldn’t have happened without her. Today she’s sharing a few tips on table presentation.

Like Ina mentioned, I enjoy setting an attractive table and having those special touches. Setting a beautiful table is not about putting one’s self on display, rather making guests feel special, welcome, and honored. With that being said, here are a few rules I follow to set a gracious table:

1. Include fresh flowers. Buy one type of flower. I usually choose hydrangeas or roses. When you get home, choose a clear vase and fill it with cold tap water. Trim the flower stems at a 45 degree angle to the size of your vase and remove all leaves below the waterline. Sometimes, instead of using one large vase, I break up the flowers into smaller arrangements using either small vases or drinking glasses. If using hydrangeas, know that they sometimes will get a little limp the following day. If that happens, simply trim the stems about an inch and put them in new, fresh water. The hydrangeas will usually perk right back up in a couple hours. If the flowers still look limp, repeat the process.

Avoid pre-made arrangements. Grocery store arrangements often include flowers that are dyed or dipped in glitter or feature too many garish color combinations. Stick to a single kind of flower and you’ll take the guesswork out of how to arrange them.

2. Include unscented candles. Candles always add a flattering, sparkling light. Small white votives are perfect for daytime or evening get-togethers.

Avoid scented candles. You don’t want to mix food aromas with a strong, overpowering candle scent. Leave the pumpkin scented candle for when you are reading or watching TV.

3. Include a finishing touch. The type of finishing touch will vary by occasion, but include something that will unite your table aesthetic. For our girls brunch, I tucked bougainvillea stems into the napkins to bring the colors of the table together. For your own table, you can use any greenery, herbs, or even a pretty ribbon.

Avoid clutter. The point is to keep things simple yet elegant. Take anything off the table that doesn’t add to it and use only what you need.

 

There you have it. A beautiful table setting and tips you can use to host any upcoming party! Now lets get back to this baked omelette recipe, shall we?

Baked Omelette

I like to make mine in a cast iron, but a non stick pan will do as well. I also like to use ground sausage, but you can definitely change it up to add chicken, bacon or add hash browns. You really can’t go wrong with this savoury omelette.

Baked Omelette

Ingredients

  • 1lb of ground sausage, cooked
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of salsa
  • 1 cup pf cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven at 400 F. And grease cast iron (I used 12in).
  2. Fry the sausage, set aside to cool off.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together, adding the sausage last. sprinkle with some more cheese, sliced tomatoes, and bacon (optional).
  4. Place mixture in cast iron, and place in oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until ready.
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Apple Pear Pecan Pie + Homemade Pie Dough

Christmas is six weekends away and I’m sharing a pie recipe! Yup! Cause although this whole pumpkin spice and Fall vibe is coming to an end, my obsession with pies has not. Paaa-leezzz just serve me some pie on a platter and I’ll have it all year round, thank you very much!

But in all seriousness, pie really does have that cozy Fall, harvest feel. So, if I have one more week until Thanksgiving to share my all-time favorite pie recipe, then here it goes!

So you’ve heard of apple pie, but have you heard of apple pear pecan pie? Ok, maybe you have but I really wanted to feel special! If you know anything about me by now, you know how much I love adding nuts to pretty much every dessert I make (check out this Salted Pecan Chocolate Cake). It’s kinda become an essential item I think of when making up new recipes. And if it’s not pecans, it’s walnuts… or almonds! Call me nuts, I know. 😉 But growing up in a European culture, there was no shortage of nutty desserts (try this Nutty Wafer cake). I mean, thank God for Costco for selling bulk packages of assorted nuts because they can get pretty pricey otherwise.

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Roasted Stuffed Peppers with Feta Cheese

Whatcha making for dinner tonight? How about you try this delicious stuffed pepper recipe?! Easy to make, no mess, healthy option with a gourmet outcome.

First off, let me say I’m sorry for not posting a recipe for months… or completing my “frozen meal series”. With baby Ev who came sooner than expected and my first months of mommyhood, I really haven’t had the time or desire to make/share my favorites recipes. Sleep deprivation will do that to you people. But since hubby and I are on a mission to eat healthier dinners, I have been trying to spice up the menu..cause eating healthy can get a little bland time after time. Another healthy alternative is stuffing the peppers with quinoa- which turned out great! But I have to admit the rice is a classic, at least for me.

I grew up loving stuffed peppers. It was always a treat when my mom had them baking in the

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One Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope it’s been a happy one so far. I know it’s a little late in the day for posting this recipe, but I’ve had a list of things to get done on my to-do list. I always set so many goals for Mondays only to realize I only get about half way through the list. Can anyone else relate? Ugh…

Well as you know, I am continuing the freezer-friendly meals series, and today I am starting this week off with another favorite for us, Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta. And not to forget to mention the bonus, “one pot” preparation that makes this meal an easy and less messy situation (yay!). Honestly, I was never a fan of spicy foods, but this Cajun kick is perfect for me, along with the hot Italian sausage. Although I have to mention, I think I’m over exaggerating on the word “spicy”, I have a pretty low tolerance, so for many people, it really wouldn’t be considered “spicy”. 😛 It may be an overwhelming mouthful, but it’s so savory, it’ll have you go back for seconds. My husband and I sure did.

Pasta is sooo easy to freeze and freezes quite nicely if you ask me. So that’s why I thought it would be perfect to add to the list. This portion will make about 10 servings, so it can easily be divided into two meals. So freeze up, and enjoy making this easy, quick (under 30 minutes), one-pot goodness.

See freezer instructions in the recipe below.

Note:

If you just came across this recipe and realized your taste buds are watering for this meal, but you seem to be out of Cajun season, don’t fret! I’ve got you covered. I once had the same dilemma, I realized I was totally out of Cajun seasoning and didn’t want to settle for anything else for dinner, so I made my own Cajun mix! Easy-breezy.

For this portion, you’ll need the following amount each seasoning to make your own…

Homemade Cajun Mix:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

 

One Pot Cajun Chicken and Sausage Alfredo Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 raw hot or mild Italian sausage links, cut up
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of milk (any %)
  • 1 pound of dried penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning* (see note)
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Begin by frying the onion, and garlic in olive oil until translucent with a large cooking pot.
  2. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper and brown in butter over medium high heat.
  3. Add sausage and continue to cook until browned.
  4. Add chicken broth, heavy cream, milk, lemon juice, dried pasta and cajun seasoning to pot.
  5. Stir together and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
  6. Reduce heat to low and let cook covered for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  7. Remove pot from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
  8. Stir in chopped parsley and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese to taste.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. *Freezer-friendly: divide portions into desired freezer safe trays, and place in freezer. Once ready to use, thaw for 1 hour, sprinkle with parmesan and place in oven at 375 F for about 30-40 minutes.
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Beef Pork Sausage Shepherds Pie

Hey everyone!

I’m excited to share that I am starting a new series on the blog today! With only 2 1/2 weeks to go in my pregnancy, I thought I’d share some of my favourite frozen meal recipes!

Since we moved away from home for my husband, Sebastian’s masters program, we are away from all of our dear family and friends. Although I have a great community of friends at my church that are willing to help, I thought it would be best to be prepared for the first few weeks…at least. Since I am a first time mom, I have noooo idea what to expect (even though I’ve heard so many stories and suggestions). I think motherhood- especially for the first time around, is just something you have to go through yourself in order to really understand and explerience.

So I thought if I could make some frozen meals, it would be very helpful, especially since my husband is not to handy in the kitchen, he he. I mean, we could have eggs and peanut better toast for days… but I rather not, haha! AND not to say he isn’t helpful- he could always go out and grab something, but I know we would both appreciate a good home cooked meal. I mean, who wouldn’t?!

Whether you’re expecting your first baby, or second, or third… or not expecting at all, I am sure you’ll find these recipes handy! I know some people like to make/prepare all their frozen meals at a time, but that sounds like wayyyy to many dishes for me in one day. I like to spread it out throughout my week. I made double the portions, had some for dinner with night, and the other portion I froze. I found it easier and more enjoyable this way. Plus, there is no way my feet would be able to take all the pressure of standing up for hours on end in the kitchen! I would have probably gone into labour… lol!

I will try to post about 2-3 recipes for the next couple weeks (unless I deliver early!). All of which have been tested and true. If you want to follow along, make sure you subscribe, and stock up on a few supplies; mainly aluminum trays or tupperwear and labels for storing in the freezer. I like using aluminum trays because after being thawed, they can easily be thrown in the oven, and thrown out into the garbage. No mess, no clean up, no effort. Now that’s my kinda thing. 😉

The first recipe I wanted to share is one of our favorites… Shepherd’s pie! Mmmm mmm mm. I feel like shepherd’s pie doesn’t get enough recognition, a lot of people think this dish is boring, but it’s really not! Especially when it’s done right.

Follow along to see what makes shepherds pie so special for us.

*Remember this is for a double portion, meaning there will be enough for 2- 9 inch pie dishes. Don’t feel like making twice the amount? Simply cut the ingredients in half!

Freezing instructions: this will apply for most of my upcoming freezer meals (unless suggested otherwise)- after placing divided portion into a freezer safe tray/container, make sure to seal with cover or aluminum foil. Label with date, name and instructions. I have listed the freezer instructions on the recipe. Scroll down to access recipe. 

Beef Pork Sausage Shepherds Pie

   

 

Beef Pork Sausage Shepherds Pie

Ingredients

    Meat mixture:
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 garlic gloves
  • 1 cup frozen vegtable mixture (peas, corn, carrots)
  • 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 pieces Italian sausage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic seasoning
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp parsley seasoning
  • 1 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Potatoes:
  • 8-10 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 5 cloves of roasted garlic (see instructions below)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese for topping

Instructions

    Potatoes:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash, add listed ingredients and set aside.
  2. Roasted Garlic:
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) While oven is preheating, prepare roasted garlic by placing 5 cloves of garlic onto a piece of aluminum foil with 1 tsp olive oil. Wrap up the foil, and place in oven for about 15-20 minutes. Add into potatoe mixture.
  4. Meat Mixture:
  5. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until clear. Add ground beef and sausage, cook until well browned.
  6. Then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add spices. Next, add tomato paste, sour cream, lemon juice and beef broth. Finally add in the frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Spread the meat mixture in an even layer on the bottom of 2 pie dishes.
  8. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Freezing instructions: divide portions into freezer safe Pie tray. Place lid/cover and label with title, instructions and date. Once ready for use, let meal thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.
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Zesty Cilantro Pesto Pasta

Finally my appetite is back! I can’t say how good that feels since I have been living off cheese and crackers for the past 2 months! I can finally eat almost everything off my plate before feeling the pregnancy all-day nausea kicking in. For the past few months I couldn’t stand looking at food, smelling it, or cooking (even though I regularly love cooking!). One week I craved Thai food, another week it was B.L.T. sandwiches, and another week it was spaghetti. Nothing was consistent and everything left me uneasy. So I can merely explain the joy I feel now that I am able to bare sight of food, and finally enjoy cooking again. After being deprived for these last few months, I started thinking of all my favourite dishes, and here is one that I’m sure you’ll love too!

Zesty Cilantro-Pesto Pasta

Sounds interesting… right?! Well that’s what I thought when I read it off the menu when my husband took me out for my birthday dinner at Cafe Santorini (Downtown Pasadena, CA). After hearing the server explain the popular dish, and mentioning that they have frequent visitors because of this particular dish- I thought it was well worth a try. And the server couldn’t be more accurate. It was ahh-mazz-ing! I never tasted the unique combination of cilantro and pesto, and I didn’t know how well they would go together, but this dish was exquisite! So the next day, I decided to make my own attempt at this recipe. And I dare say it was a fair comparison. 😉

Instructions: (See full recipe below)

Start off by boiling a large pot of water for the bow tie/ Farfalle pasta.

In the mean time, prepare your sauce by combining all the ingredients until an even consistency. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water.

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After the pasta is complete, drain, and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.

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Mix the pasta and sauce together thoroughly, and ta-da!

It’s that simple.

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Don’t forget to sprinkle some additional parmesan cheese on top!

Enjoy 🙂

 

Zesty Cilantro-Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 box/pkg (16 oz) of bow tie/Farfalle pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 1 cup of fresh basil or 1/4 cup of pesto
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic- or your preferred taste
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp of parmesan cheese
  • salt and paper to taste
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta according to package instructions until complete.
  2. In the mean time, prepare your pasta by combining the all the sauce ingredients into a food processor until well combined. The consistency should appear to look paste-like, although if you prefer a thicker or thinner consistency, you can adjust your water measurement.
  3. After the pasta is complete, drain, add olive oil to the pasta, and add the sauce until combined. At this time you can add more spices according your taste, and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top for serving.
  4. Enjoy!
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