We had Smith baptized at our church on Sunday. It was a beautiful service, and he entertained the entire congregation by laughing, kicking his feet, and playing with the pastor's face the whole time. Caroline was well-behaved too - she recognized her cousin sitting in the front row, she waved to her throughout the whole ceremony. So a good time was had by all. Since we have a lot of family that lives in the Atlanta area, we decided to host everyone at our house for a casual lunch following the service. We debated hosting it ourselves vs going to brunch at a restaurant, but as usual, my love for entertaining won out (as if I really considered the other option anyway). I wanted to host a special lunch that would show everyone how grateful and thankful we were to have them drive out of their way and be there for Smith's special day. I also wanted to keep things low-key and casual, so everyone could just relax and enjoy the time together.
I loved my friend Annie's Butterfly Garden Baby Shower that she recently hosted, so I decided to take inspiration from her and do a sort of rustic, spring garden theme. I wanted to stay away from the typical baby blue crosses, and instead do a springy party that would also work well for a casual Easter lunch, a baby or bridal shower, or really any spring party. I used a moss runner that I bought at Michael's for the food table, then decorated with daisies, daffodils, and tulips. Since I still wanted it to be somewhat "masculine" and boyish, I kept the color scheme to browns, greens, and yellows. I wanted everything to be bright, springy, and rustic.
I decided to serve a variety of sandwiches, along with a few salads. I wanted to be able to do the majority of the prep ahead of time, so that when everyone came over after church, I could just put on the finishing touches and then spend the rest of the time with my family. The menu was as follows:
Fruit Tray (not pictured)
Pimento Cheese + pretzel chips
Cheese Tray (Horseradish Cheddar, Blueberry-Vanilla Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Syrah-Soaked Toscano, and a variety of crackers and dried fruit)
Chicken Salad on Croissants
Roast Beef, Cheddar, and Horseradish Sauce (Joey's request)
Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Spring Vegetable Tortellini Salad
This was a great menu because everyone could graze and eat as they wanted to. As soon as I had everything set up, I had to run upstairs to nurse Smith and put him down for a (unsuccessful) nap. My sister has a 3 week old baby, so she was upstairs for much of the party as well. Joey was keeping an eye on Caroline and my niece while they played outside, and some of the family was too busy talking and visiting to make their plates when the food was ready. Everything was served chilled or at room temperature, so no worries about the food getting cold. We all ate at our leisure, then went back for seconds with no fear of the food being cold or stale.
The tomato sandwiches were my favorite sandwich, and I really loved the strawberry spinach salad and the pasta salad as well. And everyone loved the desserts - they were all small enough to where most everyone was able to try more than one and not feel too guilty. The strawberry-ricotta trifles seemed to be the hit of the dessert table, and I'm pretty sure I demolished at least 50% of the macaroons all by myself.
And there was still plenty of time for lots and lots of baby cuddles. The weather was perfect, the food was plentiful, and the family time was wonderful. All in all, I couldn't have asked for anything more from our day.
If you are still looking for ideas for Easter, this menu was low-maintenance, yet still elegant and delicious. If you need more food, add a few extra sides or appetizers: deviled eggs, a veggie tray, potato salad, etc.
*Let me know if you'd be interested in any of the recipes, and I'll post them in the coming weeks.