Host a simple brunch for friends- Ways to savor the season 10/16

JMJ  *The secret is not to do it all yourself, and don’t do all the preparation the same day.  Either delegate to your family, or host a potluck brunch.  The point of it all is to spend some quality time together with those you love.

Every day for 16 days, I have been sharing different ways to savor the season.  I hope that you have taken advantage of some of them.  Only 6 more to go!

Ways to Savor the Season 10/16- Simply simple Friends Holiday Brunch

Christmas is such a wonderful time to host parties and dinners for close friends.  But just the thought of beginning to plan for such an event, in the midst of all the other holiday to-dos, is daunting.

holiday table (2 of 1)

Simple and brunch don’t typically don’t really go together!  Brunches do get elaborate.  I love fancy, but I haven’t been able to squeeze in “fancy” into many things I do lately, actually since I started having children a couple of decades ago.  I see that time returning to me slowly, but it is a slow process.

So, host a brunch, but make it a simple and heartfelt one.

The secret is not to do it all yourself, and don’t do all the preparation the same day.  Either delegate to your family, or host a potluck brunch.  The point of it all is to spend some quality time together with those you love.

This weekend, my good friend Sheila, is coming over for a birthday brunch, and this is my plan:

I have come up with a list of duties.  I usually ask each person to choose an item or two. Here is where having a large family helps, although an older child may have to be assigned babysitting duty.  We have a medium size family, 3 children, so it works pretty well also.

This weekend, Sabrina is off to work most of the weekend, and John has a rather booked schedule, so I have relied on Melissa and Sarah for  help.   Melissa has agreed to set a lovely table, complete with holiday placemats and decorative candles.  She is also going to set up the waffle station.  Sarah is prepping the roasted potatoes and a double batch of dry waffle mix.  Everyone is tidying up the house.  As for me, I shopped for food, cooked up some sausage to warm up tomorrow, prepared fruit compote topping for the waffles, and I will be setting up the brunch buffet.

compote (2 of 1)

Yes, it will be a simple menu, but simple can be delicious when homemade!

Click here for printed copy of holiday brunch.

Simply simple Friends Holiday Brunch

Simply simple Friends Holiday Brunch


Sparkly apple juice

Peppermint Tea


Toppings- Syrup, Fruit compote, Whip Cream for the lucky who can have it (Anyone know of a nondairy, non-egg, non-nut version of this?  All of my attempts at this have flopped!)

Roasted Potatoes


Day ahead: Shop for ingredients.  Prepare roasted potatoes, dry waffle mix, and fruit compote to warm up next day.  Set up a fancy table with festive centerpieces.

potatoes (2 of 1)

Day of:  Fry sausage, while warming up roasted potatoes and compote.  prepare made-to-order waffles.  Warm up roasted potatoes and compote.  Set everything up buffet-style.  Serve drinks.  Enjoy everyone’s company!  For an even simpler brunch, use holiday paper plates and cups.

waffle (2 of 1)
Waffle Maker- A well-used appliance around here!


Roasted Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Clean 5 lbs of potatoes and cut up into 1 ½ inch chunks.  Throw into bowl and toss with oil bath (1/2 cup oil, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and other seasonings of your choice- I added 3 teaspoons of “herbes de provence”, which is an aromatic and flavorful blend of thyme, marjoram, savory, rosemary, basil, sage and lavender).  Bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 60-90 minutes. (6-8 servings)

Fruit Compote Topping

Stir 4 cups frozen berries such as raspberries into 2 cups of water.  As the berries warm up, mash them a bit with a wooden spoon.  Add ½ cup of sugar, and simmer for about 5 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons cold water with 3 tablespoons cornstarch, until there are no lumps.  Add corn starch mixture to the simmering fruit, and cook an additional 3 minutes or so until thickened.

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On the Home Front… Ring the School Bell 71/180 Days

Waking up on my own at 10am, after falling asleep last night after 5 am, I hurriedly turned on the computer to resume my uncompleted task from the night before.  Three more hours later I had made no progress. Melissa and Sarah, meanwhile, finished up the last of the party crackers and Sabrina completed her ornament for the upcoming exchange at the afternoon’s celebration of Christmas around the World.

Was it all going to work out as I had told Sabrina it would?  I had serious reservations that it would.  I desperately needed to get out of the house at that point and enjoy the afternoon at Katherine’s lovely home, and I did.  Upon arriving home at 5 pm, I uploaded an audio version of her music to the UCLA website and linked it to YouTube videos.  This was our best effort and this is what we ultimately did.  At 11pm, Sabrina and I hit the submit key on the computer keyboard for the entire music application, and called it a day, after a very long 24 hours.


In case you didn’t know, I am writing this in the future, 2 ½ years into the future, to be precise.  Believe me, you would not want to have read my first draft, an accumulation of scribbles!  I need to pause and pay a salute to my dear father who passed away 3 months ago.  I took a writing hiatus to be sad.  It’s hard to put into words how sad.  My father was a continuing source of inspiration to me.  Although he lived halfway across the country in the southern part of Indiana, along with my mother and the rest of my family, he never felt far away in my heart.  He came to visit several times a year, and we shared many a meal with him in the very dining room featured in the photo above.  He would look for projects to do around the house while he was here.  The last time he visited, about a year ago, he patched our leaky old roof.  Thank God he did, because this year, after 5 years of drought, we have had repeated spells of torrential rains.  How appropriate, as my heart has been deluged with tears as well.  He loved to watercolor paint in a makeshift studio, while listening to classical music.  He also loved to play 50s tunes on the piano, using Big Piano books as he played.  He  had a deep spiritual sense of life and read the bible, as well as other philosophical books.  He had a profound influence on my family, in what we love and believe.  A big part of me is because of him.  He will forever be in my heart.

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is part of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.  Every day’s blog entry coincides with a day from that special year.  It can be read from the beginning by selecting the “Ring the School Bell 180” category on the side bar.  Commence with the narrative, “The School Bell- What comes to mind when ‘you’ hear that bell?”

Start here to get the story from the very beginning:

Follow along with us day-by-day through the school year.  Hope you will join us!

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette





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