Hosting New Years Day brunch (aka Pancakes n’ PJs) is now an official annual tradition for me and am still savoring 2014’s several days later. I’m amazed my guests trekked in the snow in their PJs for this year’s AM shindig. It’s a no-brainer way to guarantee I’ll receive ‘yes’ RSVPs– unless friends and family are traveling, football and recovering from New Year’s Eve festivities are really the only plans on tap on Day 1 of a new year. It’s also a chance to try new recipes, celebrate new friends I’ve met over the past year, hear about New Year’s Eve adventures, and kick off the new year on a sweet, comfy, and cheery note. I kept the menu similar to 2013’s brunch gathering but kicked it up a notch with a few new winner recipes. I kicked it off with a change to avoid a champagne overdose and served Ginger Orange AM cocktails with just equal parts OJ and Domaine de Canton ginger liquor, using the bottle I was generously gifted at the recent Domaine de Canton tasting dinner I attended. I garnished the rims of my new Homegoods champagne flutes with orange slice quarters to add color and freshness.
While the star of brunch is a pancake bar with add-your-own toppings, eggs are a universal staple on most breakfast tables and protein is pretty much a necessity after a night out of indulgence. So, I turned to my online research skills to find an easy dish that would feed a crowd and be easy to pull together the morning after the Eve. I found the winner on Two Peas and Their Pod in a blog post about not being a casserole-lover, to which I could immediately relate. My co-chef, Monica, and I, used red and yellow peppers, spinach, and mini heirloom tomatoes, and light Italian mix shredded cheese. It was cooked to perfection, golden brown on top, and gone in about 30 minutes.
Thanks to sister Julie for the detox smoothie shooter idea. I stopped by Party City on New Year’s Eve day (which is a crazy experience as customers eagerly grab hats and celebratory props just before the year-end) for plastic shooter glasses. Then, I used a combination of a food processor (turns out my blender isn’t strong enough to blend apples) and a blender, combining spinach, a green apple cut into pieces, fresh grated ginger, the juice of one lime, a cup and a half of spinach leaves, and a cup of orange juice without pulp. I poured the mixture into the shooter glasses for a fresh, flavorful few sips for rejuvenation, renewal, and an herbal spicy warm heat from the fresh ginger.
And, the main attraction of the morning was the pancake bar served with whole wheat pancakes and a topping assortment of mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, coconut flakes, powdered sugar, chopped walnuts, fresh berries, and real Canadian maple syrup.
There’s nothing like creating your own pancake flavor combination to start the year with some flavor and creativity. Cheers to new friends, future friends, and happy experiences in 2014!
Happy New Year!