So I am a planner. I have an expensive paper calendar and planner, that I use all day long. Every inch of paper is covered in pencil and various colored pens. I have events scheduled out for months. And before I can plan anything, I have to consult my planner!
Since I am such a planner, I sometimes struggle if things don’t go exactly according to plan. It is something I am working on and have definitely come a long way with! One thing that has helped me is realizing that everything doesn’t have to go exactly according to plan. That every dinner party doesn’t have to look like a magazine spread or a Pinterest board!
I love to entertain and have learned that instead of fretting over every little crease in a tablecloth or trying to kill myself with a big impressive meal or buffet spread, sometimes simple is best!
With that in mind, I recently hosted brunch for some friends, in preparation for Easter. Well kind of like a practice for Easter, but more because some of our good friends (friends we hadn’t seen in over a year) were visiting and I wanted a special brunch to welcome them!
While I did want everything to be cute and taste good, I also wanted to be able to enjoy time with my friends and not stress out. I went to work planning and had some pretty big plans in my head and jotted down in my trusty notebook. But life got the best of me. Some of the decorations I had in mind to use I couldn’t find and other things on the menu I just didn’t have time to make.
But guess what?!? Everything turned out awesome! My friends had a good time, the food was delicious and my friends couldn’t get over how cute everything was (little did they know the decorations came together in less than 30 minutes!).
For the brunch food I whipped up a Sausage and Pepper Quiche and a vegetarian Sweet Potato and Leek Quiche. In addition to that I had fruit salad, a vegetable platter, hard boiled eggs (who doesn’t have plenty of those on Easter) and Coconut Blueberry Banana Bread.
The décor was simple as well. Since candy is another popular thing around Easter, I used M&M’s® in all of my décor. From simple candy buckets or Easter baskets, filled with the M&M’s® Plain and Peanut in pastel Easter colors to a candy filled vase with bright golden yellow flowers! For the remaining table center pieces, I simply used plain white and brown eggs in cardboard egg cartons (a pantry staple!) This is simple and classy, yet you could also use dyed Easter eggs if you have them on hand. I then wrapped our “silverware” to look like carrots, using orange napkins.
Since I was on a budget and wanted to keep things simple, I loved that I could get everything for my early Easter brunch, from the decorations to the food, conveniently at my local Walmart. While I was shopping the Easter aisle, I also happened upon the seasonal M&M’s® Carrot Cake, which helped inspire my brunch décor and party favors.
Oh, yes, the party favors! Quite possibly my favorite part! These M&M’s® Carrot Cake Cookies In a Jar were fun to make, gift and then later bake! I loved carefully layering each ingredient into the jars and creating decorative gift tags to attach. For my party (pictured) I hand wrote the name of the cookies and the final baking directions on paper tags, however, for you all I created tags that you can download by clicking here!
I hope that my simple Easter brunch ideas inspire you to have your own special Easter brunch and shows you that it doesn’t have to cause a lot of stress or take much time!
M&M’s® Carrot Cake Cookies In a Jar
by Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes Bake Time: 12-15 minutes Yields; 1 quart jar cookie mix and about 2 dozen cookies when baked
For cookies in a jar:
1 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup M&M’s® Carrot Cake
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup shredded coconut
1 quart sized jar with a lid
Twine or Ribbon
Gift tags (print my free M&M’s® Carrot Cake Cookie Gift Tags Here)
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted slightly
½-2/3 cup freshly grated carrot (about 2 medium-large carrots)
1 teaspoon vanilla
To make cookies in a jar:
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture into the bottom of a large quart jar. Layer remaining ingredients in jar as desired, making sure to press ingredients tightly down into the jar.
Once last ingredient is added, seal jar tightly with lid.
Decorate jar as desired and attach final baking instructions.
To decorate jar:
Cut fabric into 7 by 7-inch squares. Drape fabric over the lid of the jar (use a rubber band to hold fabric secure while wrapping twine around lid, if needed). Tie ribbon around the fabric to secure. Attach gift tag and decorations using twine and tie into a bow.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together egg, butter, carrot and vanilla. Stir in contents of jar, stirring until well combined.
Using a large cookie scoop, drop dough on prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and the center is set.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an air tight container for up to one week.