Birthday Party Brunch

Things I love my family, cooking, and brunch. And I got to enjoy all these amazing things in one weekend when my son turned ONE. I'll spare you all the mushy details, but you can read some of my party tips here. It was bittersweet, it seemed to go by way faster than my daughter's first year. As I mentioned here, I did the most for my daughter's first birthday. And as much as I tried to do less for my son's birthday it still ended being a lot, but you only turn ONE once. So we went all out! Plus who doesn't love a good brunch?!

Menu:

Grits with optional fixings (baco-bits, scallions, cheese)

Waffles with optional fixings (chocolate, caramel, fresh berries, whipped cream, maple syrup)

Veggie fried chicken (for Chic'n and waffles)

Veggie Frittata

Fruit Tray (Semi-seasonal fruit: strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, mango)

Cake (Vanilla with cookie butter icing center and buttercream icing)

Cupcakes (Lemon blueberry cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting)

Grits

1 cup of water

1/4 cup of grits

1 tablespoon butter, optional but necessary

1/4 cup of milk or cream (Grits are not complete without milk or cream. No matter what anyone tells you.)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup of cheese, optional

Bring water to a boil. Add grits and stir until grits thicken. Using a whisk to stir is optimal. Stir continuously to prevent lumps.  Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to stir, so grits don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Add in butter and cream. Mix until fully incorporated then season to preference. 

(Overnight) Waffles

2 1/4 cup flour

1 packet of yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup of canola oil

1 3/4 cup of milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix everything and place in the refrigerator overnight. Cook on waffle iron in the morning. They freeze well also. Wrap in saran and foil. Warm up the oven or toaster.

Veggie fried Chicken

1/2 roll Meatless chicken (see picture), sliced into strips

2 tablespoons sea salt

1/2 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon basil

4 cups of buttermilk

1 cup of hot sauce (or buffalo sauce)

4 cups of flour

2 tablespoons seasoned salt

5 eggs, beaten

4 cups of vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Heat the oil to 350 to 380 degrees. Fry chicken around 300 to 350. Oil will cool down once chicken goes in. In a large freezer bag place chicken strips, add basil, salt, and pepper. Next pour in buttermilk and hot (buffalo) sauce until chicken is completely covered. Soak chicken overnight or for at least 2 hours. Remove chicken strips and toss in bag with flour and seasoned salt until chicken is lightly coated. Next, dip floured chicken into eggs and flour again. Let chicken sit and absorb coating for 15 to 30 mins before frying. You can place chicken back in the fridge for up to 2 hours before frying. But, let chicken warm up before frying. Fry until a light golden brown, about 3 - 5 mins depending on size of the strips. Place finished chicken on rack to cool. Sprinkle with salt right away. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Veggie Frittata

4 ounces of mushrooms, chopped

1/2 medium onion

1/2 red or yellow pepper

1 cup of hash browns, frozen or fresh

8 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cups of cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute mushrooms, onions and peppers in 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 pepper, or to taste preference. Set veggies off to the side. Par cook hashbrowns in 1 tablespoon of butter and season with 1/4 salt and 1/4 pepper or to preference. Beat 8 eggs in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste. Mix together veggies and has browns and pour eggs over mixture. Cook on the stove at medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, just slightly cooking the eggs a bit. Top with cheese and place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

Vanilla Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

1 box Vanilla Cake (I know I cheated)

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

3 eggs

Bake according to box instructions. Allow cakes to cool before icing at least 2 hours. While you wait make cookie butter and cookie butter frosting, but save some for the cake. 

Cookie butter

8 ounces of cookies (or in my case 8.8 ounces)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup of water

1/2 cup heavy cream

Ground cookies in a blender or food processor. Add ingredients one by one until fully incorporated. Blend until smooth.

Cookie butter Icing/Frosting

1 cup of cookie butter (recipe above)

1/2 cup of butter, softened

2 cups of powdered sugar

3 tablespoons of milk

Mix cookie butter and softened butter using a standing mixer or with a handheld mix. Next, add powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk.

Tip: Add milk one tablespoon at time to get desired consistency.

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

(this recipe was taken from Baker by Nature)

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

1 and 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided 

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup full-fat sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided 

3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, if using frozen do not thaw first 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, but really amps up the lemon flavor) 

1 large egg plus one egg yolk, at room temperature 

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft

(1) 8 ounce block full-fat cream cheese, very soft

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, but really amps up the lemon flavor)

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). *Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine 1 and 3/4 cups of the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl combine the sour cream, milk, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice; whisk well to combine and set aside. Place blueberries in a small bowl; add remaining lemon juice and toss to coat the berries; add remaining flour and toss to coat the berries in the flour; set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Add in the granulated sugar and lemon extract (if using) and beat until well combined. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix well. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add in 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the sour cream mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream mix, being sure to mix on low until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the floured blueberries (and any excess flour in the bowl) and lemon zest. 
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes are cool, frost and decorate. The cupcakes may also be frozen, unfrosted and stored in a freezer safe bag, for up to 2 months. 

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl using a handheld electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the powdered sugar and lemon juice, beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract, lemon extract (if using) and lemon zest; beat smooth. If the consistency appears too thick, add a teaspoon of milk or heavy cream, but only if necessary.

So there you have it. Now I have to deal with the fact that I have 2 toddlers under 3.