Simple and Splendid Sunday Brunch Ideas: Fashion and Food Inspiration 

I have always been a huge fan of dressing up for any and all occasions. I’m guilty of restyling fancy cocktail dresses I love again and again to make them appropriate to wear to my job as a kindergarten teacher.

However I do believe I found the most perfect piece to nail a polished daytime look ( for brunch or any daytime occasion) that is still feminine and fun. 

I searched the https://www.stylewe.com/ website and was delighted to find the Dark Blue Polka Dots Girly A-Line Mini Dress. https://www.stylewe.com/product/dark-blue-polka-dots-pockets-girly-a-line-mini-dress-82983.html





It is so comfortable and warm. The lining is crystal velvet and so unbelievably cozy. I love the Peter Pan collar on this StyleWe dress and added my favorite necklace from Kate Spade. It is the Magnolia Bakery Mini Cupcake Pendant. 


You can find it here: https://m.katespade.com/products/magnolia-bakery-mini-cupcake-pendant/WBRUA960.html 

I am wearing Steve Madden red patent leather heels I found at thredUP.com but I found a similar pair here: https://www.google.com/shopping/product/14973588181154799451?q=steve+madden

My lipstick is a brand called lipsense and the shade is called Fly Girl. It is the most vibrant, gorgeous shade of red and I wear it often. The best part about it is that I never have to reapply it. It is smudgeproof, waterproof, and kissproof for up to 18 hours. You will get a substantial discount if you mention this post to Amanda at https://m.facebook.com/groups/designerlips or at http://instagram.com/designer_lips. 

My hat and tights are from target.com which is my go-to place for basics and an occasional fun accessory. 

I think this would be the perfect outfit to go out to brunch in, however when Sunday morning finally rolls around, you can take advantage of every glorious minute of it by planning a simple, splendid brunch. 

One option is a leisurely breakfast that can be savoured with a thick copy of the Sunday paper. Start with glasses of a tomato juice cocktail or a spicy Bloody Mary. Next try thick luscious slices of French Toast spiced with bourbon. Serve it with regular or Canadian Bacon- it only takes a  few minutes to sauté. ( The microwave makes cooking bacon a breeze.) To end the meal, enjoy bowlfuls of juicy and succulent fresh fruit. Make it with the market’s freshest selections. It’s perfect to top the bowls with pomegranate seeds. The jewel-like fruit is a real exotic treat and adds not only brilliant color but an interesting crunch too. Then, get cozy and enjoy more coffee, more of the paper and more of Sunday. These first few recipes are appropriate if you are in the mood to plan a breakfast for two. 

Bourbon French Toast


You will need:

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk 

1 T bourbon 

Grated rind from 1 orange 

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Dash grated nutmeg 

4 slices (1 inch) thick, challah or French bread 

Butter

Syrup:

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 T. bourbon 

1 T. butter 

In a shallow bowl or pie plate with wire whisk, combine eggs, milk, bourbon, orange rind, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until well mixed. Dip bread slices into egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. In a large skillet or griddle over medium heat, melt enough butter to coat the surface lightly. Add bread and cook until well golden on both sides, adding more butter or margarine as needed. In small saucepan over medium high heat, combine syrup, bourbon and butter. Heat until butter is melted. Serve syrup over toast with bacon.

Fresh Fruit Cup 


You will need:

1 medium apple, cored and cut into chunks

1 medium pear, cored and cut into chunks

1/2 cup red seedless grapes 

3T honey

1 T.fresh lemon or lime juice

1/4 c. pomegranate seeds 

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except pomegranate seeds. Toss until well coated. Just before serving, sprinkle some pomegranate seeds over each serving. 


Get the most from a pomegranate by starting from the stem end of the fruit and, using a small knife, score the skin into quarters. Then, simply pull the sections apart to expose the succulent seeds. Pluck them out leaving the bitter white membrane behind. The entire seed is edible.

Tomato Juice Cocktail 


You will need:

3/4 pound tomatoes, sliced 

1/3 cup chopped onion 

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons sliced celery

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/8 teaspoon pepper 

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Cool. 

Transfer tomato mixture to a blender; cover and process until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled. 

Spicy Bloody Mary


You will need:

16 oz tomato juice

3 oz vodka 

2 dashes hot red pepper sauce 

1 dash Worcestershire sauce 

2 jalapeño peppers 

Pinch celery salt 

Pinch black pepper 

1 lemon, juiced 

Celery spears, for garnish 

Combine all ingredients, except celery spears, in a small pitcher. Pour into large glasses filled with ice and garnish with celery spears.

Note: You can omit the alcohol in this recipe for a Virgin Mary.


Another idea is to make someone feel special with this leisurely, heartwarming spread. This savory omelette, mouth- watering potato medley served with the refreshing tomatoes juice cocktail above will definitely warm up a wintry day!

Fresh Vegtable Omelette 


You will need:

4 egg whites

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 

2 eggs 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon butter 

1 medium tomato 

1 small zucchini 

1 small onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

1/3 cup shredded cheese

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites, water and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and salt until thick and lemon- colored, about 5 minutes. Fold in the whites. 

Melt butter in a 10-in. nonstick ovenproof skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Add egg mixture. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until puffed. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté the tomato, zucchini, onion, green pepper, and Italian seasoning until tender. Carefully run a knife around edge of omelet to loosen. With a sharp knife, score center of omelet. Place vegetables on one side and sprinkle with cheese; fold other side over filling. Slide into a serving plate; cut in half. 

Skillet Potatoes 


You will need: 

1 large baking potato 

1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/4 cup chopped celery 

1 garlic clove, minced 

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil 

1/2 cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms 

1/2 teaspoon paprika 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place potato in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a nonstick skillet coated with nonstick spray, cook the other vegetables in oil for 2-4 minutes. Stir in the potato, paprika, salt and pepper; cook until lightly browned. 


One last way to be hospitable and treat your family and friends ( or just yourself ) to a special brunch is to prepare an assortment of oven- fresh scones. Serve with hot tea or coffee and lots blankets for snuggling up. 


In addition to being time-honored delights in Britain, scones have garnered a following on this side of the Atlantic too. The charming bites are not only versatile and easy to prepare, but their wholesome goodness perfectly compliments the lifestyles of health-minded bakers.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Scones


You will need:

2 cups all purpose flour 

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour 

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup butter

1 3/4 cups 1% buttermilk 

1 1/2 cups blueberries 

1 tablespoon sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking power and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in blueberries. Turn into a floured surface; gently knead 10 times.

Transfer dough to a baking sheet covered with cooking spray. Pat into a 9 inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges, but do not separate. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 39-35 minutes or until golden brown. 

Coconut-Glazed Orange Scones


You will need:

3 3/4 cups self-rising flour 

1/4 cup sugar 

2 teaspoons baking powder 

1/2 cup cold butter 

2 eggs 

1 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided 

1 teaspoon grated orange peel 

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, 1 cup milk and orange peel; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Roll into a 14 x 8 inch rectangle. Using a floured pizza cutter, cut widthwise into 2 inch strips, then diagonally into into 2 inch strips, forming diamond shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. For glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, coconut extract, and enough remaining milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over scones. Serve warm. 

Parmesan Sage Scones


You will need: 

2 1/4 cups biscuit / baking mix

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1 3/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage 

1/4 teaspoon pepper 

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon half and half cream, divided 

8 fresh sage leaves 

In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, cheese, sage, and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup cream. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 5 times. Transfer dough to a baking sheet coated with spray. Pat into a 6 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate. Brush the remaining cream over dough. Press a sage leaf onto the top of each wedge. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm. 


A Few More Tips:

When hosting a brunch at your home, make your space as comfortable as possible. There’s not much you can do about the layout of your house. That much is true. But you can bring in extra chairs or big cushions into a room you think most people will hang out and mingle in. 

Music adds so much to the atmosphere  (well, to the world)so definitely do not forget to put together a playlist you think your guest ( or guests) will enjoy. I love this blog http://www.turntablekitchen.com/ for excellent food/ music pairings and compilations. 


It’s also a good idea to have games on hand. These are a few of our favorite family games.


My all – time favorite:


 If there are younger children involved, we let them be part of the adult teams and it works out. Most of the time the children want to be with us even if they are just helping, rather than be on their own with a game for younger children. When opening your home to others, do your best to make everyone feel special. 

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I hope you found it worthwhile and that it inspires you to try something new this year. 

I’m glad I found this dress at https://www.stylewe.com/ and I’m planning to get lots of use out of it while making the most out of cozy Sunday brunches in the new year. 

What are your plans for this weekend and the New Year ? I’d love to hear what you are planning ! 

Yours truly,

Jennifer 

Xoxo 

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That’s Amore : Holiday Fashion & Gift Inspiration for the Pizza Lovers in Your Life 

That’s Amore 

“In Napoli where love is king

 When boy meets girl here’s what they say

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie

That’s amore

When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine

That’s amore 

Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling

And you’ll sing “Vita Bella”…”

Dean Martin 

This may not be a holiday song, but to me a true family classic, and isn’t that what holidays are all about? Remembering special traditions and most importantly, special people, who add meaning to my life each and every day is what inspires me to want to savor each moment and put a little creativity into my wardrobe, meal planning and also into my gift giving. 

This is one of my favorite dresses. It is Laundry by Shelli Segal from http://www.thredup.com. I love the cheerfulness of the bright red color and it’s so easy to dress up or down. I’ve worn it with sandals in the summer, a tweed blazer in the fall, and my new favorite way to wear it ( now that it is so cold) is with a blanket scarf from http://www.target.com. 



My hat is from Target and I recently found the boots at http://www.burlingtonstyle.com. 

Now back to the song… and that pizza pie! You must have a pizza lover in your life, right?  What’s a better way to show them you care than to take the time to put together these fabulous and also extremely useful ( and stylish) items for them to create their own pizza ? 

 If the pizza lover you know is a child you can even prepare this gift and spend a few hours teaching him or her how to make their own pizza! 

I was inspired by this gift basket found at http://www.gourmetgiftbaskets.com to try to put together my own pizza lover’s gift, so I could design and cater it to the needs of the person or family I would present it to. 


I do think it is a fabulous basket and a bargain at under $100.00 for so many great quality items. 

If you want to make your own, start with a reasonably priced basket set such as this one from http://www.worldmarket.com.

Look for special kitchen towels to match the style of the recipient for lining the basket such as this one from http://www.crateandbarrel.com.


You can have a personalized mixing bowl made at http://porch.com/gigglesgalore/personalized-mixing-bowls-gift-idea-bakers/


Find a special pizza cutter for just about any personality type-



I know my son would love the Darth Vader Light Saber version from thinkgeek.com. 

Add a pizza peel , which can also be personalized at lillianvernon.com and current.com.


Include a bottle of your favorite extra virgin olive oil. 


And of course , pizza spices, which can be easily found at your grocery store or you can order specialty versions. 

There are lots to choose from online and also some organic versions on etsy.


Add your own homemade pizza sauce and dry dough mix . They are really easy to make and you will feel so good being able to present these homemade products! 

Homemade Pizza Sauce 


You will need: 

1/4 cup olive oil 

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced 

2 tablespoons minced garlic 

3 cans chopped tomatoes 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper 

1 teaspoon sugar 

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme 

1. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes; summer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

2. Season sauce with salt, pepper and sugar, if desired. Continue cooking. Stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 45 minutes.

3. Spoon off any clear liquid and discard; stir in thyme and cook about 10 minutes longer. Let sauce cool.

4. Using a funnel, pour cooled sauce into a decorative jar;refrigerate until ready to place in the basket. 

Dry Dough Mix for No-Knead Deep Dish Pizza 


Mix together in small bag or small container:

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour 

2 teaspoons yeast 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

Write down on an index card the following instructions:

Add 1 1/4 cup warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the mix. Combine all ingredients until they form a slightly sticky soft dough. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes, then place in greased pizza pan and let it rest for 20 minutes. Pat it and stretch it to cover the bottom of the pan. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, add sauce and desired toppings. Bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy ! Wait… the song says something about wine, right ? 

Here are some great choices that are perfect for pairing with homemade Italian pizza : 


Barbera d’Asti


Ceresuoio di Vittoria DOCG


Chianti DOCG 

There you have it. Fashion, Food, Wine. I couldn’t have said it better than the one and only Dean Martin. “That’s Amore.” 

Thank you so much, for taking the time to read my little blog today. I hope you found it worthwhile and hope it made you smile. 

Whatever you do, put your imagination and heart into it, and you will never go wrong. You will create your own special moments, memories, and traditions. 

May this season bring you only the most delightful moments.

Yours truly, 

Jennifer 

Xoxo 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Warm&Cozy Ideas For You and Your Loved Ones 

“I really can’t stay

Baby it’s cold outside 

I’ve got to go away

Baby it’s cold outside”

Louis Armstrong | Baby, It’s Cold Outside 

This is such a classic song and what better way to stay cozy and also stylish this time of the year than with a classic cocktail dress and cozy accessories at very affordable prices. 





I found this WHBM ( White House Black Market) cocktail dress, the hat, and boots all at http://www.thredup.com. The jacket, scarf, and faux fur lined tights are from http://www.target.com.

At this time of the year, I like to give presents that really show people I love how much I care about them. I try to put time and effort into presents that are meaningful as well as useful. 

Here is an idea that you can make and give to someone or enjoy with your family after a fun day at a tree farm or while you are out sledding or ice-skating. 

Hot Cocoa Gift Box


I found these adorable mugs and provided a link- 


http://www.retroplanet.com/PROD/43818.html

The hot mugs can be great hand warmers. 

Enjoy creating this box and when giving or using don’t forget to include a thermos of milk and homemade cookies for dunking ! 
These marshmallows make a nice addition- 


http://www.williams-sonoma.com/m/products/9424545/?catalogId=27&sku=9424545&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Shopping&cm_pla=default&cm_ite=default&kwid=productads-adid%5E49385482183-device%5Em-plaid%5E94125425143-sku%5E9424545-adType%5EPLA&gclid=Cj0KEQiA4JnCBRDQ5be3nKCPhpwBEiQAjwN1brb84xPjpZIAWr3Acq0Ik1ZjkcUQywhSIOi1ElqA4-oaAt2B8P8HAQ

For more sophisticated drinkers, spice hot chocolate with a teaspoon of raspberry or preferred liqueur.



If you want a different option, include instant coffee to make Hot Mocha Cocoa.


Fresh cinnamon makes a nice festive touch as do trimmings from nature-


Make your own hot cocoa mix- 


You will need: 

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 vanilla bean

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 package ( 3.2 ounces) dry milk

1. Put 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla bean into a coffee grinder or blender. Process to a fine powder.

2. Combine remaining sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and dry milk in a plastic bag; add ground sugar mixture. Shake well. Transfer powdered mix to an airtight container. 

3. To make a cup of hot cocoa, stir 1/4 cup of the cinnamon -flavored dry cocoa mix into 8 ounces of hot water. 

You might want to gift it in a special container such as this one- 


Tala cocoa shaker and other retro inspired cookware can be found at amazon.com . 

Make your own Chocolate Orange Syrup

You will need:

1/2 cup heavy cream 

6 ounces semisweet chocolate 

1 cup light corn syrup

3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate 

1 tablespoon orange extract 

1. In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, bring cream to a boil. Add chocolate; whisk constantly until blended and smooth.

2. Add corn syrup, orange juice concentrate and orange extract to the sauce pan. 

3. Remove from heat. Cool completely. Pour syrup into jar with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator. To make a cup of cocoa stir 3 tablespoons of the syrup into 8 ounces of hot milk. 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 


You will need: 

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 

1/3 cup cocoa 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 cup butter 

3/4 cup sugar 

3/4 cup brown sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

2 eggs 

2 cups chocolate chips 

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Stir flour, cocoa, soda, and salt. Beat butter, sugar , brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. 

3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 

Makes 5 dozen cookies 

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I truly hope you found it worthwhile and inspiring. 

Wherever you are, whoever you are with, stay cozy and happy all year long. 

Yours truly,

Jennifer 

Let’s stay in touch 

https://www.instagram.com/mommyteacherfashionista/

https://mobile.twitter.com/jenquattrucci

Facebook: Jennifer Lee Quattrucci 

Xoxoxo