If you had to choose any two meals to eat for the rest of your life, what would they be?
For me, it’s brunch and happy hour.
Several years ago, I began intermittent fasting. It was suggested by my doctor and it seemed manageable to try. After a bit of an adjustment period, I was hooked. I felt better, slept better, and even lost some weight. And for the first time in my life, I would eat until I was full, and then no more.
The other beauty of intermittent fasting is that you can choose a time frame of eight to ten hours of eating that works for you. While my doctor said she typically ate from noon to 8 pm, I am much more of an early bird and settled on about 9 am to 6 pm daily (another friend chose much earlier hours – from 7 am to 3 pm; it is truly flexible).
The best part of the hours that work for me, is that they include two of my favorite ways to eat – and to celebrate most any occasion: brunch and happy hour.
Flexibility – Any time
Both brunch and happy hour have a lot of flexibility as far as time. Brunch can begin as early as 9 and end as late as 2 (though that’s a bit late for me to have my first bite!). Happy hour in educator-friendly locations begins at 3 – or even 2, and can go as late as 7pm.
Food – Anything goes
There is also flexibility with the food. Brunch staples can veer toward the sweet – waffles, pancakes, Duch babies – or the savory – omelettes, Benedicts, or old-school carving stations.
Happy hour can mean tapas-style bites, or shared platters of nachos or tater-tots. Precious canapes or peel-and-eat shrimp. And sweets layered in shot glasses, or shared (in non-pandemic times) with several spoons scooping at a giant brownie or bread pudding.
Festive – Any theme
Brunch can be a hands-on, build-your-own waffle bar. It can be a champagne-filled bridal shower or engagement party, or a mocktail-filled baby shower or gender reveal party. It can mark a milestone birthday, Mother’s Day, Easter or a just random Saturday.
Happy hour can also be a kick-off to a weekend, a farewell to an officemate, or an in-between time to catch up with folks with different schedules. Happy hours can also mark retirements, promotions, engagement announcements, or Taco Tuesday.
Friends and family – Any one
Brunch can be a family affair- with kid-friendly French toast sticks or dollar-sized pancakes. It can also be a leisurely chance to catch up with out-of-town visitors or older relatives. It can be mimosa-focused, or mocktails-only – or anything in between.
Likewise happy hour is a low-stakes setting to introduce folks to each other, or to catch up with old friends. Substantial charcuterie platters or grazing boards can make it into a kid-friendly meal.
Fun- Any celebration
In short, there is almost no occasion in life that you can’t celebrate with one- or both – of these flexible, festive meals. So grab a mimosa – or margarita – and get started!
Need a festive treat to serve at your next brunch or happy hour? Try these POG cupcakes – which work equally well for brunch and happy hour.
You start with a tasty orange cupcake base. Then use a Bismark tip to fill the cooled cupcakes with a tweak to my favorite lemon curd. And top with the fluffy guava cake frosting from the New York Times,
POG cupcake (Passionfruit-Orange-Guava)
- Stand Mixer
- Muffin tin/liners
- Bismark tip/pastry bag
- offset spatula
For the Passionfruit Curd:
- 1 recipe lemon curd, subbing orange zest for lemon zest and passionfruit juice for lemon juice https://larasandora.com/easy-lemon-curd/
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup superfine sugar
- ¼ cup whole milk room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tablespoons orange juice from about 1-2 oranges depending on size
- Zest of 1/2 medium orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 3 drops of red food coloring optional
- ½ cup guava concentrate or reduced guava juice
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Place the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to mix well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugar just to combine.
- Add the milk, eggs, orange juice, zest and vanilla and whisk really well to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir through gently with a spatula until just combined.
- Fill each cupcake cavity to about ⅔ full. Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a couple of crumbs on it. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool thoroughly.
For the Frosting:
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until it’s light and fluffy with stiff peaks, another 2 to 3 minutes. (Don’t overwhip!) Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl.
- Replace the bowl on the stand mixer and fit the machine with the paddle attachment (there’s no need to clean the bowl). Place the cream cheese in the bowl and mix on medium until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar and kosher salt and increase the speed to high. Beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Lower the speed to medium and add the food coloring (if using). Add the guava concentrate in four additions, mixing well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after the second and the final additions. Increase the speed to high and beat until smooth and well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from stand and, using the spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream in three additions, incorporating completely after each addition.
- To assemble, place the passionfruit curd in a pastry bag fitted with a Bismark tip (such as Wilton 230). Fill cooled cupcakes with passionfruit curd. Using an offset spatula, frost with guava frosting. Serve immediately, or keep chilled.