I love Chip and Joanna Gaines and all things Magnolia. I wish my “fixer upper” house was as beautiful as theirs, but a little thing called my budget gets in the way far too often. That, and hockey playing children. Pooh. But, a girl can dream, can’t she?! Therefore, I was super excited when I found the Magnolia Table’s cookbook on sale! I snapped it up and longingly poured through the pages. Everything looked so yummy! Down home, southern-Texas-hospitality yummy! I needed an excuse to make some of these goodies! Thus, the fall brunch was born!
I decided to have it on a Friday morning so that the kids were all occupied at school and since clean up day was Thursday, all would be neat and tidy for my guests! I decided to go all out… handmade invitations, fancy china dishes, and little take home goodies. If we were going southern hospitality in Canadian fall, by golly, we were gonna go big! I got some tiny pumpkins and a matching orange Gerbera daisy. This was my easy centerpiece with some strategically placed candles and fall leaves. Easy and fall festive! I wanted to make some cool gabled boxes as favours for my guests that I had seen on Pinterest, but I had to hand cut the template with my scissors — and they just weren’t turning out the way I wanted. So, I scratched that idea, and went with these cute little boxes instead. (see the tutorial here). I decorated mine with some fall foliage and ribbon, filled them with either a teabag or a coffee pod, and we were good to go! (As an aside, I am putting that gable box die cut on my Christmas list for the next time honey… hint hint…)
My menu consisted of fresh fruits, yogurt, a coleslaw I made a few days before, bag o’kale salad, a warmed up squash soup I had made earlier and frozen, and a few delightful recipes from the new cookbook: a spinach and cheese quiche, roasted asparagus, baked brie and the star of the show: Joanna’s cinnamon squares! A bunch of these were things my kids won’t eat, so I was happy to share… but the cinnamon squares were a hit with the whole household! They are a labour of love… you have to let the dough rise and layer the filling by folding in layers of dough. The book made it look easy and Ms. Gaines’ squares are beautifully symmetrical… mine were not quite as aesthetically pleasing… but did they ever taste yummy! Coffee, juice and tea, and we were set for a delightful morning of meaningful conversation and fellowship!
I invited a variety of ladies… some neighbours, some from church, all of us at different stages of life, and we made introductions and chatted easily of education, our families, crafts, and how yummy the cinnamon squares were! I hoped it was as delightful for my friends as it was for me! I’m not always good at being social, (introvert that I am), so was stretched a bit to be the delightful hostess. Yet, as I looked around the table, I was struck by how strong the women who gathered there were. How each of them had significant influences on my life through their example, their mentor ship, their friendships, or a way they taught me personally through some action of theirs. Unique ladies, and yet, here we were, gathered to enjoy a bond of good food and good conversation. To celebrate nothing in particular, simply the joys of being invited to share at the table.
Oh, my friends, it encouraged my heart to plan, and knead the dough, and bake, and tidy. To laugh with friends and enjoy simple things like a warm cup of coffee. We crave that time as moms, don’t we? We were made for relationships. Even introvert me. Perhaps we have lost our old fashioned desire to connect the way women used to. Before texts and meetings and running here and there. Maybe the southern belles had it right. Be a hostess. Share a lemonade on the back porch. Enjoy the company of a good friend. Or get to know a new one. And if ya’ll live way up in Canada, host a fall brunch with some warm soup and great cinnamon squares! It will make your heart glad.