Need an excuse to throw a festive-yet-casual gathering this Christmas season? Look no further than the holiday brunch our contributor, Kara Stout, brought to life below!
‘Tis the season for gathering with close friends to have some holiday fun and enjoy a delicious meal! The way to a girl’s heart is undoubtedly food and gifts, so throwing a holiday brunch for your best girls is a sweet way to show how much you appreciate their friendship, and to spend some extra time together this busy season. I decided on a brunch for two reasons. One, you just can’t go wrong with brunch. Who doesn’t love brunch? Two, it’s much easier to put together than a dinner—yes, please!
How to throw a festive holiday brunch:
- Set the table with pretty dishes, napkins, gold silverware and festive drinking glasses
- Set each place setting with a small gift topped with a bow
- Place beautiful flowers and greenery along the middle of the table
- Add some candles and small bottlebrush trees on the table as well
- Create a food buffet table for easy self-serving
- String white lights along the food table and a holiday sign above for some extra holiday ambience
- Create a menu so that guests can see what’s being served
- Play Christmas music (no holiday party is complete without “Last Christmas” by Wham! playing in the background—just saying!)
- Make some delicious food—see below for recipe suggestions!
- Set up a Spiked Hot Cocoa bar (my favorite part)
- Have time at the end for gift exchanging
- Relax, laugh and enjoy this fun time with your girls
For our girls’ holiday brunch, I created Gluten-Free Gingerbread Waffles, Mini Cranberry & Rosemary Quiche, Red & Green Salad, Festive Fruit-Infused Water and a Spiked Hot Cocoa Bar.
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Waffles
*Makes two waffles.
- 1½ cups almond flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 large organic egg
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2½ tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- Mix together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
- Add in wet ingredients and using a whisk, mix together well.
- Pour batter into your waffle maker to make each waffle.
- Optional: Sprinkle powdered sugar on top or have pure maple syrup on hand.
Mini Cranberry & Rosemary Quiche
*Makes 4 mini gluten-free quiches.
- 3 large organic eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 4 chopped chives
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 Wholly Wholesome gluten-free 9-inch pie shells or your favorite crust recipe
- Defrost frozen pie shells on countertop until thawed.
- Remove dough from pans and roll out with rolling pin.
- Grease each mini quiche pan with coconut oil. I used the 10cm quiche tart pans.
- Divide dough into four pieces and press evenly into mini pans.
- Poke fork holes into crust and bake for 8 minutes at 375 F.
- Whisk eggs in large mixing bowl.
- Stir in the almond milk, feta cheese, dried cranberries, rosemary, chives, sea salt and pepper and mix.
- Pour egg mixture into each crust-filled mini quiche pan.
- Bake on 375 F for 25-28 minutes. Oven times may vary, so make sure to keep a close eye on your quiches and check periodically.
Red & Green Salad
*Makes one large salad.
- 1 bag organic arugula
- 10 asparagus tips
- 1 avocado
- 1 pear
- 1 pomegranate
- Add arugula to serving bowl.
- Add asparagus tips and cubed avocado and toss.
- Top with sliced pear and sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.
- Optional dressing: olive oil works great for this simple salad.
Festive Fruit-Infused Waters
- Red apple slices
- Cinnamon sticks
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pour pure water into each guest’s glass.
- Add one halved apple slice, a cinnamon stick, pomegranate seeds and sprig of rosemary to each glass.
- I would suggest doing this at least 30 minutes before the guests arrive to allow the flavors to infuse into the water.
Now for the Spiked Hot Cocoa Bar! You can make your own homemade hot cocoa using the recipe below or purchase your favorite store-bought cocoa mix.
Homemade Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa
*Makes 1 large mug.
- 1½ tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 can organic coconut milk or 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Blend milk, cacao powder, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon in Vitamix for 3-4 minutes on high, which makes the mixture hot. If you don’t have a Vitamix, no worries, just first blend ingredients together in blender and then heat the mixture on the stove over medium heat.
- For the cocoa bar, multiply recipe ingredients according to number of guests.
- Keep cocoa warm by using a coffee carafe.
Stock the bar:
- Use a coffee carafe to keep your hot cocoa warm
- Set out white or Christmas mugs
- Set out the whiskey, Kahlua, Bailey’s, whipped cream vodka or whatever you prefer for spiking the cocoa
- Organic candy canes (corn syrup free and made with natural colors and flavors)
- Mini chocolate chips
- Whipped cream (I made a homemade coconut whipped cream)
- Salted peanuts
- “Healthier” red candies
- Cinnamon sticks
- Cayenne pepper