Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Planning Girlfriend Time

A Girl's Brunch




I've been restyling my screened porch and one of the additions was these fabulous preserved floral from Floral Treasure.  They inspired me to have a few girlfriends together for a brunch and pool party. I feel it’s very important for women to nurture themselves with girlfriend time. I’ve read many studies that share a belief that women need other supportive women in their life’s. It is believed that women who have girlfriends that they socialize regularly with are healthier both mentally and physically. 

In fact the Mayo Clinic has a list of friendship benefits which include
* Reduced Stress
*Improved self confidence
*Increased happiness, sense of belonging and purpose
*Help you cope with traumas, such as serious illness, death, job loss and divorce.

So with all these facts in mind, I felt it was time to get my girlfriends together!  You don't have to do anything special to spend time with your friends and it certainly doesn't have to cost a lot of money.  I love to entertain so the process of planning and putting together a brunch is actually fun for me.

So let's get started planning the party!!!

THE INVITATION


First, finding a date that most of your friends can participate and sending the invitations!  
In the past I’ve bought nice invitations and mailed them from the post office. This time I decided to send text messages. I designed my invitation using Canva free templates. I loved how simple it was to design and once I had my invitation saved,  I was able to send it as a text message. 



The Menu 


You know I love to entertain but really don’t like to cook. I always have at least one thing on my menu that I prepare myself. The rest I leave to the professionals! I also want to stress that you don’t have to break the bank to have your girls together. If you love to cook, then go to it. If you’re like me just do what feels good to you. It’s important that you enjoy this time together as well as your guest. 

 I recently found a new recipe in Southern Lady Magazine that was easy and delicious so I decided to start with making this tasty recipe!  The other great thing is I was able to make them in advance and freeze them. On the day of the brunch, I just pop them into the oven for 20 minutes and they are done.  I'll share this recipe at the end of this post.
 I also like cucumber sandwiches for a brunch!  I can mix up the spread ahead of time and make the sandwiches easily on the day of the brunch. The rest of the menu consists of things I can order or pick up easily from grocery deli or bakeries.  

Menu


Mixed Cheese Plate (appetizer)
Mini-Chicken Salad Croissants
Mini Cucumber Sandwiches
Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Phyllo Bites
Fruit Salad
Banana Pudding Cake 

Mimosas 
Lemonade 


Serving Dishes


I love an excuse to use some of my vintage dishes and unique serving pieces. So I start to gather the pieces I want to use. Since this is a small brunch, I can use my collection of Ever Yours Boutonnières Dishes. The whimsical flower is perfect for this girlie, girl brunch.





In addition to my vintage pieces, I have a beautiful set of 4 Organic Shaped Farmhouse Style Wood Plates from Pepper and Vetiver.  They add so much to the table and are the perfect compliment to my vintage dishes.


These are available from their website which I've linked here and you can receive a 30% discount through 10/31/19 when you use the code RAH30







Before the Event


Once I have everything planned, I start preparing.  I place orders for the items that I don't plan to prepare myself.  I shop for all the ingredients and supplies I need for the the event.  Anything that can be prepared in advance, I go ahead and cook.  So I prepare and freeze the Phyllo Bites the weekend before the event.  The day before, I prepare the fruit dip, the cucumber spread and wash and cut all the fruit.  I pick up all the items I've ordered from the bakery and deli.  

I place cherries and blue berries on wax paper in the freezer.  These will be added to the mimosa's. 

I wash all the dishes and serving pieces and they are ready to fill.

I get the house and porches cleaned and everything in order!








Day of the Event

I fill the Croissants with the chicken salad from the grocery deli.
I cut the bread and add my cucumber spread.
I cut and prepare all the cheeses. 
I bake the phyllo bites and transfer them to a plate.  
I place the champagne and juice on ice and place frozen fruit in glasses.
I cut lemons and fill glasses & pitcher with water.


Now place everything on the table!  





I try to be ready for my guest 15 minutes before they arrive.  



Styling the Table


One rule of thumb I use is keeping all the dishes similar.  I have a few serving pieces in my Ever Yours pattern so I used them first and then added some additional white pieces. 

I also like to add different textures.  In addition to my white dishes, I added some pewter pieces and wood trays.  

 It's important to vary the heights of your food platters.  I used a plate rack with two levels and a couple of cake stands as risers for this brunch.  I didn't use a table cloth for this casual display so I needed props that would vary each plates height.  

If you are planning a tablescape with a tablecloth, you can actually use boxes under the cloth to add varying heights.  I like to have two cloths, one for the base of the table and one to drape over the boxes that I use.  You can also wrap boxes in wrapping paper to use as risers.  This is a fun idea especially for kids parties, showers, etc.  

Look for interesting items around the house such as wooden boxes, stacks of plates, small stools, old books, etc.  All of these can be used as risers for making your table more appealing.  










Now it's time to relax and have some girlfriend time.  






CHEERS!!!  
To great friends.  






I hope this will inspire you to plan a get together with your friends.  
If you don't like to entertain,  plan to meet for lunch, a glass of wine or a coffee.  
Making time for your friends so important!

Recipes



Artichoke Sun-dried Tomato Phyllo Bites
(makes 45) 

2 (14oz.) cans Artichoke Hearts (drained/chopped finely)
1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
3 (1.9 oz.) packages frozen mini phyllo cups, thawed
Garnish - chopped Chives

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Line baking pan with parchment paper

Mix all ingredients & spoon into phyllo cups
Place on prepared pan

Bake 15 minutes or until filling is hot. Garnish with chives

(Freezing Option)
same as above but spoon mixture into frozen phyllo cups and place in air tight container to freeze.  When ready to serve, remove frozen cups and place on baking pan (same as above)  Bake for 20 minutes at 350.




Cucumber Sandwiches

Creme Cheese (8 oz.) softened
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons finely chopped cucumbers
sliced Bread
Cucumber Slices
Fresh Dill 


Mix first 4 items until smooth and spreadable
Cut bread into desired shape
Spread creme cheese mixture thickly on bread
Top with a cucumber slice and sprinkle with fresh dill
serve cold