Having worked in the hotel industry for 20 years, there are a few things I’ve learned on how to plan a stress-free Mother’s Day Brunch.
Mother’s Day is one of my favorite holidays and a great excuse to host a brunch!
When I lived in Mexico all my relatives would get together to celebrate Mother’s Day. We are a little over 30 family members, so any celebration turns into a big party. With such a big crowd, quiet frankly, I can’t imagine booking a restaurant for the whole family. So we’ve always celebrated Mother’s Day or any holiday at home.
Back home, we’ve had Mother’s Day celebrations where we’ve had Paella, charcuterie, cheese, and a spread of desserts. Sometimes it would be a pot luck and each family would bring a “guisado” (a stew or dish) and we would build our own tacos. We would always try to plan a different menu every year.
Being Mexican and of Jewish heritage, food is always present in any reunion and you can never run out of food, so there is always an exorbitant amount of food, enough to feed several families, besides our family of 30+ members. Every celebration back home, usually starts as a brunch and I’m not joking when I say they usually last until 10pm or later, so we have to be ready for at least two meals. Yes, we love to talk, we love to party and we enjoy spending time together so brunch would end and the “sobremesa” would start. We would catch up, enjoy coffee or a drink. Sometimes we played dominoes or cards. At some point, we would bring out bowls of nuts, chocolate, candy and of course, the traditional spicy candy Mexico is known for. Then after a few hours, it was dinner time! So, we would reheat the leftovers and enjoy the next meal. Basically a never ending meal we all looked forward to.
The first time I met my husband, I told him to picture my family as the Mexican version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” My family is loud, and sometimes crazy, but we are caring and welcoming to anyone who comes. Guests will be hugged, kissed and fed over and over for the duration of the party. This is how we show our love! He probably thought I was exaggerating until he met them a few years later. They must have made an impression on him because after meeting them, he did not run away and in fact truly loves them like his own family.
Since I’ve lived in AZ, I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day with my husband’s family. My Mother in-law would host brunch but the last few years, after becoming a mom myself, I love the idea of hosting a brunch at home. Hosting Mother’s Day brunch started as a practical solution so we wouldn’t have to take our first born out and have to run back home for her nap and be able to breastfeed in the comfort of my home.
I know you are probably thinking, it’s Mother’s Day, why do you want to do all the cooking? I get it, most people want to go to a restaurant and have someone else cook and take a break on Mother’s Day. There are great restaurant options to choose from. The thing is, I absolutely enjoy planning parties and hosting. With two toddlers in tow, I believe it is less stressful for me to host brunch at home with offerings that I know my kids will like and with activities and outdoor space that will keep my children entertained so I can enjoy Mother’s Day.
Last year we invited a few close friends and we had an amazing Mother’s Day Celebration. The kids had fun, the grown ups were able to talk and relax and we decided to make this a tradition.
Here are a few tips to host a stress-free Mother’s Day Brunch, or any type of brunch.
Try to plan a menu that you can do ahead of time, place the food in chafing dishes, and you won’t have to stress about cooking during the brunch.
Set the table the night before, after kids have gone to bed it you have little ones.
Plan to make ahead as much as you can so you can the day before. Place all the ingredients in the platters that you want to serve them in and cover with plastic wrap. This will make it easier the next day, when all you need to do is unwrap and place on your table.
I love to cook, so I usually make a frittata or quiche (my kids love quiche) and everyone loves my version of Matt’s Big Breakfast potatoes, so I try to make them every time we host a brunch.
I dice the potatoes the day before, store them in a container filled with water and refrigerate them. I dice the onion, place them in a container and refrigerate them as well. The next day, I drain the potatoes, pat them as dry as possible, then toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary. I bake them at 375 for 45-60 min. After the potatoes have been baking for a half hour, I add the onion and keep baking. We like our potatoes to be extra crispy so I bake them closer to an hour.
Last year’s Mother’s Day menu:
–Mixed Berries Platter : prepare the platter the night before, cover in plastic wrap, so it’s ready to go the next day.
–Yogurt and granola: you can offer individual yogurts, or place the bulk yogurt and granola in bowls.
–Egg Frittata: prepare the day before but don’t bake until the day of. You can bake it an hour before guests arrive.
– Hard Boiled Eggs: you can buy ready-made, or cook the day before. I like to place the bowl I’ll be serving them in a the freezer for 15 minutes or so, so the bowl keeps the eggs cold. Then I remove from the freezer and place the hard boiled eggs there and add to the buffet table minutes before guests arrive. I do the same thing to the smoked salmon platter.
–Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Onions: have all the mise en place (all the ingredients prepared) ready, so you can bake the day of. Bake 1 hour before guests arrive.
– Pastries : I made the rugelach a few weeks before and I stored them in the freezer. The night before the brunch, I pulled them out the freezer and were perfect the next day. Our friends offered to bring pistachio coffee cake and it was delicious, so I told her she could bring this every year!
–Bagels /cream cheese: I prefer using mini bagels, since my kids usually don’t eat a whole bagel and with all the food offerings, it’s a great way option for guests to be able to try everything else. Sometimes I will offer smoked salmon along with the traditional garnishes.
– Coffee/drinks: I like to set up a bar so guests can serve themselves. We offered hot coffee, iced coffee, and wine. This year I will be adding champagne and orange juice for mimosas.
–Kids Buffet Table: We have a short table that works perfect to place their food. It is easy for them to reach and I try to have healthy offerings there: veggie platter, sliced fruit, cuties, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, turkey slices, etc.
Trader Joe’s, Costco and Whole Foods have great options like frozen quiche, hash browns, waffles, etc, if you want to avoid much of the cooking and just reheat breakfast items. We love the chocolate croissants Trader Joe’s offers. You have to defrost the night before and bake the day of. They taste amazing when they are fresh out of the oven.
Don’t forget add personal touches! My sweet husband got a bouquet of flowers for every mom, so we used them to decorate the buffet table. At the end of the meal, the kids handed the bouquets to the moms and grandmothers. We used the kids’ artwork as decoration by framing some of their most recent art and adding it to the table.