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Caterer and event planner Mary Giuliani is stopping by TODAY to show you how to create a fun New Year's Day brunch to help you recover from your New Year's Eve festivities. To keep things casual and interactive, Giuliani likes to create "snacktivities" (snack-themed activities), or stations where people are able to build their own dishes and drinks. As for the brunch drinks, Giuliana shares what she calls the "three H's": hydration, healthy and hair of the dog.
If you're looking for even more holiday entertaining inspiration, join Mary Giuliani and Dylan Dreyer for their TODAY Cooking Class on Easy Entertaining with our partner Bluprint, an NBCU company. You'll learn even more of Mary's favorite hacks for festive entertaining — they're just perfect for your New Year's Day celebrations and beyond.
Easy Frittata Snacktivity
For this snacktivity, your favorite frittata recipe is baked ahead, then guests top off their own individual wedges with add-ons of their choice.
Toppings for the frittata station:
- Red pepper flakes
1. Choose your favorite easy frittata recipe and cook it before brunch begins in a large, non-stick frying pan, planning on a total of two eggs per person. (Mary’s favorite has spinach and fontina.) Set it aside in the refrigerator, keeping in mind that a frittata can be prepared the day before the party.
2. On the day of the party, set out bowls of ricotta, Parmesan, prosciutto and red pepper flakes on a table.
3. Reheat the frittata in a 350 degree oven. Slice it into even wedges and set them out on a table with the garnishes.
Baking this pull-apart french toast is so much easier to make than cooking individual slices.
Hash Bash Snacktivity
Serve hash browns in Mason jars and let guests add their own toppings for a brunch snacktivity that everyone loves. It's truly comfort food in a jar!
- Hash browns
- Caramelized onions
- Diced peppers
- Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce assortment, like Sriracha or Cholula
1. To assemble the hash bash, set out your toppings in advance in small bowls.
2. Just before serving, heat the hash browns in a skillet and add a serving into each of the Mason jars (or let your guests fill their own). Show guests the variety of toppings they can use and demonstrate how you can shake the jars to mix everything up.
Flavored Water Bar
Help guests recover from their New Year's Eve with this hydrating flavored water bar. For grapefruit-mint water, you'll need 4 sliced grapefruits and 1 handful of fresh mint. For lemon-basil water, you'll need 6 sliced lemons and 1 bunch fresh basil. Stir the ingredients into filtered water and set them out in pitchers or a dispenser with ice on the side so it doesn't dilute the waters.
Green Revival Juice
Here's the "healthy" in the three H lineup. Juices you buy at stores can be loaded with sugars which can actually lead to more bloating. This veggie-forward juice is incredible refreshing and the recipe makes enough for eight people to enjoy.
- 8 cups of fresh kale
- 8 cups of spinach leaves
- 8 whole cucumbers, chopped
- 4 lemons, juiced
- Pinch of cayenne pepper, if desired
Combine all ingredients in a juicer or blender and blend well until combined. Serve over ice.
Bloody Mary Bar
Jan. 1 is National Bloody Mary Day after all and what brunch bash would be complete without this classic morning cocktail? The beauty of this setup is that guests can assemble their own drink and spice it up as desired.
Start by making a batch of your favorite bloody mary recipe:
Add-on ingredients for the bloody mary bar:
- Bacon strips
- Celery stalks
- Scallions, chopped
- Radishes, halved
- Carrots, sliced
- Lemon wedges
- Pitted olives
- Salt and pepper
1. Fill a couple pitchers or a large drink dispenser with your favorite bloody mary base recipe.
2. Add all of the unique toppings (such as bacon, celery, scallions, horseradish, radishes, carrots, lemons and olives) into bowls and set them out on a table around the drink mixes.
3. Put highball glasses and small plates out on the serving table just in case your guests want some extra toppings with their cocktails. Demonstrate how to create a custom bloody mary and let your guests do the rest of the assembly work!
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