Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolve & Refresh with New Year Sunday Brunch

Resolved! 2012 will be the year of "Responsible Luxury"--and let's start with New Year's Sunday Brunch. Whether it's just for you, a table for two or the whole block, there's no better way to kick off the new year than with a fresh, festive gathering. Need some inspiration? Here's some of our healthy favorites to wash down that hangover.

Photo: Real Simple
Fresh & White
Start the new year out with a true blank slate. Set your table with plain white dishes, crisp white linens and decorate with lots of white pottery and glass accents. Paperwhite bulbs do double duty as decor and gifts for your guests. Buy bunches of forced paperwhite narcissus and display as is. Or cut them to different heights, tie bunches at the base, and arrange in identical containers. Scatter loose bulbs about like au naturel and send them home in burlap bags for guests to plant before Spring.

Bloody Mary Bar
Nothing whispers Sunday Brunch like welcoming guests to your home with a Bloody Mary bar. If you've been reading the Chandelier blog, you know I'm the champion of themed bars. Not only do they free the host up from mixing drinks for each and every guest, they allow guests to customize themselves--and give the impression that you're as prepared as the Barefoot Contessa. Themed bars can also be an affordable option for someone who wants to stick with a case of a single type of liquor vs. stocking a entire bar. For a Mojito bar, a single bottle of rum can be customized with different flavors from coconut to mango. For a Margarita bar, stick with a good tequila like Patron, and mix it up with blackberry or strawberry.

Eggs Benedict Florentine
Leave the Hollandaise sauce in 2011 (or, serve it on the side). Nothing tastes more indulgent without the guilt than poached eggs over steamed spinach and an English muffin or a single slice of toasted stoneground sourdough. This is my go-to breakfast to satisfy the morning munchies--without packing on the carbs. Here's a great recipe for Eggs Benedict Florentine that punches up the flavor with a little EVOO, ground nutmeg, and lemon juice for a guilt-free 256 calories.

Golden Delicious Salad with Apple Vinaigrette
I stumbled upon Mrs. Talbot's Apple Vinaigrette salad dressing when dreaming up my contribution to Thanksgiving Dinner. It was the absolutely perfect complement to mixed greens (or, as pictured above, baby arugula & fennel), thinly sliced golden delicious apples, candied pecans, red onions, and sliced mushrooms. Want to add a bit more flavor? Crumbled gorgonzola would be an ideal match.

Donut Holes & Latte Art
Somehow a single donut hole can satisfy my sweettooth for the whole day. Whip up some donut holes at home and serve with super-frothy skim cappuccinos with a design (yes, there is such a thing as Latte Art and you can do it, too. YouTube has some awesome Latte Art tutorials) In writing this post, I have potentially found the holy grail of sweet treats in the form of Holey Donuts! These light, fluffy delectables come with little as 3-4 grams of fat and 150-250 calories in a huge assortment of flavors, from Cinnamon Strudel to Boston Cream Oreo Cookie, Chocolate Chip, Caramel Apple and Original Glazed. Wish it wasn't Sunday tomorrow-I'd have them overnighted!

Happy New Year!!!!


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