Y’all my good friend Tamara is back (see her other fab posts here and here). Yeah!! Today, she’s helping us bring our A-game when we invite friends over for dinner. And y’all are inviting folks over, right? Hopefully, that’s not crickets I hear. But, if it is and you’ve been channeling your inner hermit like me, Tamara’s recent dinner party should inspire you to pick up the phone and schedule a shin-dig or two. It’s all yours, Tam…
I love table linens- napkins, placemats, tablecloths, runners. I love napkin rings and serving platters, and pretty servers. Okay, I admit it, I’m in love with pretty things. Whether they belong on the table or any other place. My collection of placemats and coordinating napkins is something I’m quite proud of. So when we invited our marriage mentors over for brunch, I knew I wanted to set a pretty table.
I knew I wanted to use the lime green zebra print placemats and napkins my mother scored for me for $2 each. The placemats led to my use of lime, orange, and white as my color scheme. I have white dishes that I’ve had from my first college apartment in 1996. Over the years, I’ve also collected white serving dishes, spoons, and pitchers. I like incorporating fresh flowers on my table. The orange tulips came from Sam’s! The bunch was large and the remaining made a great thank you gift for our mentors.
I decided not to use a tablecloth and just added the white dinner plate and bowl on top of the placement. I layered an orange napkin with the matching zebra napkin and topped it with a multicolored napkin ring.
I went to my Pinterest boards for food inspiration and decided the menu should include:
- Tomato-Basil Bisque (recipe on Pinterest)
- Garlic Parmesan Pull-a-part Bread (recipe on Pinterest)
- Spinach and Salmon Quiche (see my recipe below)
- Veggie Quiche (see my recipe below)
- Strawberry Lemonade (see my recipe below)
- Fruit Parfaits for dessert (see my recipe below)
Everything was pretty easy to make and y’all know me…budget friendly! It not only pleased the eye, but it all tasted great if I must say so myself!
Even though this wasn’t my first brunch party, there are still several new things I learned:
- I decided, then reconsidered, decided again, then reconsidered dishes while putting together the menu. But guess what, I went with my original plan. Don’t second guess yourself! I erred on the light side for our food instead of something like chicken and rice or another one of my other default dishes. This was a good thing. Our guests were more than happy with the menu and I didn’t have to spend hours in a hot kitchen preparing food.
- Set the table the night before. OMG! This is my new favorite thing. If you’re anything like me, the day of you will get distracted and off track, or even try to sneak in a new project. Setting the table the previous night before, or even before you start cooking saves so much time. That way when your guests arrive, even if you’re still cooking, it won’t seem as if you were totally not ready for them.
- Use what you have, don’t buy anything new. OK, I admit it…I like new things. But, I was determined that I not buy anything other than food (and flowers) for this brunch. I’m proud to say I didn’t. Mixing and matching and trying new color pairings will help you rethink items you have in your home.
- Speaking of rethinking items…the tulips found their home in a white pitcher. This was a flea market find that costs $3 because it has a chipped mouth. We don’t drink from it, but I use it for flowers instead. I bet you didn’t even see the chip, huh?
- Choose a color scheme and try to find items within that scheme. You can always add more colors, but your chosen one will serve as your base. It took time (and money…but not a lot) to accumulate all of the dishes and table accessories I have. I’ve been collecting since that first apartment. I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive new additions.
- Your décor, menu, or itinerary doesn’t have to be fancy. As long as you have good people, good food, you will have a good time!
O.K., let’s play what’s your favorite part? Aside from the fact that Tamara and her hubbie have marriage mentors (how awesome is that?), I love that she went old school with table settings. I usually go with a family-style buffets myself, but I’m really digging the extra pizzazz the pretty napkins and placemats add. I also like how classy the white dishes and table accessories look. I don’t know about you, but she’s given me some really good ideas.
This is the hard part, trying to remember how I actually do these because it’s not from a real recipe.
Quiche (makes one pie)
- 3-4 Eggs (beaten)
- Splash of Milk/Cream
- Salt & Pepper or other Seasoning to taste
- 4-6 Ounces of Mozzarella (or your favorite) Cheese (shredded)
- ¼ cup Chopped White Onion
- ¼ cup Chopped Bell Pepper
- 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 package of two Frozen pie shells
- Your choice: 1/2 package Frozen Chopped Spinach (from large bag, not frozen box) or about 3 cups fresh spinach
- Baked/Grilled Salmon
- ½ Red, Yellow, Orange Peppers were used for the veggie quiche (sliced into long strips)
- Crack and beat eggs, add milk/cream and seasoning. Set aside.
- Heat pan with olive oil and sauté onion, bell peppers and garlic until soft.
- Add spinach and sauté with cooked veggies. Cook until lightly wilted. If you used frozen spinach, you will produce a bit of water. This should not affect your overall dish.
- Remove pan from heat and add cheese and eggs. Stir completely until each ingredient is incorporated.
- Add cooked salmon (chopped or flaked into smaller pieces)
- Now, pour egg mixture into pie shells.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the quiche has set how you like it. The longer you bake, the more firm a setting. Once the top has reached the desired brownness, remove from the oven and let sit 3-5 minutes before serving.
- 1-2 cups of strawberries pureed
- 4 lemons (squeezed and seeds removed)
- 4-5 cups Water
- 1-2 cups Sugar (or to your taste)
- Mix all ingredients, taste, and feel free to add any of the ingredients to achieve the taste you prefer.
- Chill (or add ice), and serve
Homemade Whipped Cream
- 2 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
- ¼ or ½ cup of confectioner’s sugar (depends on your desired sweetness)
- 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- Whip all ingredients until slightly thick and smooth about 3-4 minutes. If you begin to see the cream start to clot, stop because too much whipping will produce lumpy, clotted cream.
- You can serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 4 days.