Holiday Brunch Tips and Recipes

My holiday brunch strategy goes like this: a decadent baked treat, a flavourful egg dish, a winter fruit salad and heaps of coffee. That’s it.

Every year there are slight variations to the plan, like crispy maple-glazed bacon or a pot of hot spiced mulled cider, but the trio of carb + protein + fruit is a solid one that I recommend you master first. If you plan it right, there are at least two dishes for everyone on the guest list, be they your vegan friends, the gluten-free gang and the paleo-ish folks.

I’ve already shared previously about my love of hosting brunch, and so today’s post is a closer look at how I make it work with minimal stress. You’ll find a simple breakdown of my holiday brunch strategy, with favourite recipes linked and totally acceptable shortcuts listed for when you need them. After all, the act of gathering is far more important than what is actually on the table.

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How to style a holiday cookie tray

T‘is the season for sweets of all shapes and varieties: frosted and glazed, rolled and stamped, sandwiched and sprinkled.

Today’s mail delivery brought a pretty box of assorted cookies and confections to our door, straight from the kitchen of my talented friend, Marie. Along with the goods from my recent cookie swap, our cousin cookie decorating party, and a few baking projects of my own, our stash of holiday sweets is quite substantial.

It’s a good thing we love to share. Most of our treats get boxed up and delivered to neighbours, teachers, and family; others are served up for tea time with friends around our table or brought to a gathering for all to enjoy.

A tray of assorted cookies is a sweet and simple way to end a holiday meal. Sure you can always just heap them on a plate and call it a day, but today’s post shows you how to have a bit more fun with presentation .

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Overnight Spiced Stollen Swirl Buns

This morning, as I sat down with a notebook and a pen to make a menu plan for the week, I was filled with such a tangible sense of gratitude; how fortunate I was to be able to outline our eats straight through to Boxing Day.

Noah and I donated some time to a local food bank last week, and I saw first-hand what many people in my community will have to eat over the holidays. Not much, I’m afraid. It is a huge privilege to be able to plan party nibbles, brunch baking, and pot-luck dishes. That is not something I take for granted.

We’re having a bit of a quiet, minimalist Christmas this year. No huge parties or multi-course meals are in the plans, and most of our gift shopping was from the World Vision gift catalogue (really the coolest thing). Here and there, we’ve taken small steps to make a positive impact on our global community – something that’s so desperately needed these days. This is the season for giving, after all.

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for overnight spice swirl buns with you for a while now. I’m not sure how it fits into my feelings of gratitude and gifting today, but perhaps it will inspire you to bake up a tray of buns and share them with someone this holiday season.

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Winter Crudité with Chili and Lime

This fresh and vibrant winter crudité is my go-to party appetizer this holiday season.

The following is a true story that I am not in the least bit proud of but have decided to share anyway.

You see, last year’s extravagant holiday eating and drinking caught up with me in a bad way and the ensuing consequences left me with a resolve to do things differently this winter.

How did this happen? Well the parties started early in December and carried on until well after January 1st, as they do every year. My Board Game Café party for New Year’s Eve included a pre-party, the main party, and an after party in the wee hours of the morning.

For four straight weeks I said yes to all the decadence that the holiday season had to offer – and then some.  An additional cookie or two. A second round of drinks. After all, it’s Christmas, right?

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Merry Christmas from our home to yours

From all of us here at Simple Bites, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The Christmas chaos has subsided for a few hours and the children have retired into various corners of the house with books, games and candy canes. I think Danny is sneaking in a nap and I’ve just brewed a cup of tea.

We are loving being home this year (remember last year we were in the Halifax NICU lending support to family) with heaps and heaps of snow to play in, and an enormous tree filling our living room. We have much to celebrate.

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