Thursday, April 14, 2011

5 Fun Ideas for Easter Brunch

I went to a great Tablescape class last night at my local nursery/gift shop, SummerWinds Nursery.  I’m now bursting with creative tablescaping ideas.  Since Easter is just around the corner, here are some ways to add a special touch to your brunch!
1.  Keep it Real -- With Real Grass!
It's not too late to create fun centerpieces/candleholders with real grass -- but you'd better plant the grass today!  We're using small peat pots (10 cents each) and some seeds called "oat grass."  They germinate quickly and in about a week you have a lush little pot of grass (that can be trimmed over and over again, so it will last quite some time).  These grass pots can be grouped together for some really neat effects.  One idea I loved:  use them as candleholders.  The nursery sells little candle "picks" that allow you to plant a candle in any kind of pot.  This has great potential for fun summer entertaining, too.  The fancy flowery picks were $3.50; plainer ones ran about $3. 

2.  An Egg-cellent Way to Chill Your Punch!
Take inexpensive plastic Easter eggs (the more flexible ones work better than the hard plastic).  Save your empty egg cartons.  Fill the larger part (the pointier part) of the plastic eggs with water and attached the other part to it.  Set pointy-side down in the egg carton.  After you’ve filled the carton with waterfilled eggs, place in your freezer.  When party time comes, simply drop the frozen eggs into your beverage and you’ll have a rainbow of floating chillers that won’t dilute it as they melt. 

3.  A Bunny on Every Plate!
An inexpensive way to carry your Easter theme is to learn how to fold napkins into bunnies.  I saw this napkin style at the tablescape class, and found the instructions online compliments of Good Housekeeping.  Too adorable, although I probably wouldn’t go so far as to add a nose and whiskers.  I think the fold alone is adorable.  My understanding is that thinner, lightly starched napkins work best for this folding technique.

4.  Create Your Own Seasonal Plate!
This was such a simple idea, it blew me away.  Purchase plain glass plates at your local dollar store.  Find fun springtime paper napkins and cut them out in circles for the bottom of the plate.  Spray the napkins with cheap pump hairspray and place on the plate bottoms.  Spray the back sides of the napkins again with the hairspray and smooth out any bubbles.  Let dry and you have a fabulous, original dinner plate!  The best part?  When you’re finished with the party, soak the plates overnight in some soapy water and you’ll be ready to start all over again with a different pattern for the next party occasion.   

5.  A Food Idea -- of course!
What’s brunch without a coffee cake?  Here’s one of Barb’s easy favorites:

Sour Cream Cherry Coffee Cake
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. fat-free sour cream
2 c. all-purpose flour (high altitude add 2 T.)
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. finely chopped lemon zest
½ c. cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter 2 8-inch square cake pans.  In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with sugar until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add sour cream and mix thoroughly.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Batter will be stiff.  Stir in the vanilla, zest and cherry preserves.  Spread batter in pans.  Bake 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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