Spring is finally here! The sun is making a presence, flowers are popping up and Nats games are part of the evening routine—as well as regular sneezing. Another springtime favorite, Mother’s Day, is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning your own homemade brunch to surprise her.
Growing up, we used to make reservations at a nearby restaurant that offered a Mother’s Day brunch special, but we were always underwhelmed by the stale pastries, cold meats and dry eggs. Plus, making a reservation was a nightmare, and the place was always crowded with large families, noisy children and unhappy mothers. So once I found my comfort in the kitchen, we gave up the restaurant brunches in favor of a new Mother’s Day tradition: a homemade meal followed by a trip to the nursery to pick up some plants for Mom’s garden.
The best thing about brunch is that it is one of the easiest meals to make. A lot of the prep can be done in advance, allowing you the opportunity to sleep in and enjoy Mother’s Day yourself (just make sure to get that coffee going right away). To satisfy everyone’s brunch requests, I like to throw in a mix of sweet and savory dishes so nobody has to settle for just one taste. One last tip to ensure an easygoing meal: let people serve themselves. Putting everything out on display not only showcases your great work, but also means you don’t have to be wearing the chef’s hat, waiter’s apron and hostess’ greeting smile. Grab a plate and dive in—but let Mom go first!
As a rule of thumb, anything that needs to be made individually is not your friend. Pancakes, waffles and omelets are all delicious, but require you to stand over the stove and cook while everyone else eats your creations. Instead, make something in a sheet pan or baking dish that can serve a crowd. Eggs are a staple for brunch and can be made into the star of a dish, rather than fried up and served on the side. Try your hand at quiche (nobody will care if you use a store-bought crust) or go crust-less with a dish like shakshuka or a spring veggie bake. You can prep everything the night before, and the next morning, crack in some eggs and pop it in the oven while the coffee’s brewing.
To satisfy those with a sweet tooth, go for muffins or cakes. These can be made a day or two in advance and add a nice sweet component to your menu. I love these muffins that are packed with berries and wholesome ingredients like wheat bran and yogurt. You can also make this towering apple cake, which has six whole apples inside! And if you’re feeling up for the challenge, treat everyone to homemade cinnamon rolls. Make the rolls the night before, let them rise in the fridge overnight and then bake them the next morning.
Finally, since it’s spring, why not celebrate all the fresh produce popping up at the market? Make a quick refreshing salad, like this fennel and celery salad, or chop some fresh fruit and call it a day. The variety of your spread, as well as the love you put into making it, will make your mom feel nourished in every way. So cancel those reservations, do some kitchen prep and have a nice, relaxing brunch at home this Mother’s Day.