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Three Easy Breakfasts for Guests

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

If you’re hosting overnight guests this winter, here’s a simple tip: do it up at breakfast. You can always order in or go out for a nice dinner, but a morning meal at home starts the day out so nicely (and it’s easy to put out a great spread, with no cooking required). Here are a few ideas, presented with handmade tableware from The Citizenry, if you’d like to see…

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

Terracotta vase, Halston pitcher, Caribe wood platters, mud cloth napkins. (Top photo: Mercado tote.)

1. The Pastry Platter. Fresh flowers and pastries already equal a lovely breakfast. Here are a few more things we’d add to the mix: place out a newspaper; offer jam and butter in individual ramekins; and serve freshly squeezed orange juice in a big pitcher.

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

Fresh juice sounds like a lot of effort, but it’s easier than you might think and tastes so much better. If you’re really going for it, squeeze a couple of grapefruits into your O.J. to cut the sweetness. Or offer mimosas!

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

Halston vase, Puebla marble planter, Vega marble platters, Halston mugs, Halston bowls, Hauri candleholders, Wicklow wood knife.

2. A Toast Party. To satisfy both sweet- and savory-oriented palates, serve a toast bar with a variety of fixings: swiss cheese, cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, smoked salmon, bananas, peanut butter and honey. We used eight-grain toast and poured steaming mugs of Earl Grey tea.

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

To take things up a notch, put out a small bowl of Everything But the Bagel seasoning — so good on avocados and tomatoes.

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

Halston bowls, Puebla marble serving boards, Dara indigo napkins.

3. Granola Bowls. Yogurt is another quick, satisfying and pretty offering. We added granola, berries and mint. Since these ingredients keep for many days, you can stock your fridge for guests in advance and have a zero-stress morning.

But what really brings everything together is the beautiful serving pieces. We love The Citizenry’s collection of candle holders, platters, utensils, pitchers and cloth napkins — plus, everything else for the home — with their beautiful mix of modern design and time-tested craftsmanship. The Citizenry’s whole collection is handmade by artisans from around the world, but nothing is precious; you can use your pieces every day and they’ll look great for years to come.

Three Easy Breakfast Settings With The Citizenry

Today, The Citizenry is offering complimentary gift wrapping to Cup of Jo readers (for items of wrappable sizes — not furniture and rugs!). Enter COJGIFT with your order, before midnight this Sunday, and select the gift wrapping option to take advantage of this offer.

Thank you to The Citizenry! Your collection makes for great gifts.

(Photography by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo and styling by Veronica Olsen. This post is sponsored by The Citizenry, a woman-owned business and one of our go-tos for home goods. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)

  1. Lisa says...

    We did a version of the toast party today – it was great! We have a newborn and a toddler, so entertaining has to involve as little effort as possible. We had some friends around to meet the baby. They brought bread from a really good bakery (Kayser on Baker Street in London), we put out avocado, smoked salmon, tomatoes, butter and drinks. It was such an easy but tasty meal

  2. Maureen says...

    Once a year I splurge on a large bag of frozen croissants for when I have guests – you can bake morning of. then I put out toppings – nutella or really good raspberry jam. Scrambled eggs on the side for protein. OR fried plantains in butter with cinnamon and brown sugar with a side of good sausages and orange slices. Love the toast party idea though, reminds me of mornings in turkey…

  3. The New York Times Cooking section has an excellent recipe for cream scones – super easy, and FAST! I like to whip these up while my guests are still asleep or showering. Serve with fruit and butter and jam, beverages of their choosing.
    I love the toast party idea, though! I would so go for that.

  4. I’m an American living in France. We get a lot of visitors and I used to make huge breakfasts whenever we had guests. I told a friend (a native Frenchwoman) about this practice and she looked shocked, “you must have time for nothing other than cooking in the mornings!” I thought about it, and realized that a visitor has never left our apartment in time to see the cathedral before it closes for the afternoon (11:30am) and decided to simplify. Now, it’s just soft-boiled eggs and getting out of the apartment to go sightseeing. Hunger is the best appetizer, so by the time lunch rolls around, everyone’s ready for an already prepared meal (soup, salad, bread, and cheese).

  5. june2 says...

    Visiting my mother who puts out a fabulous breakfast spread this morning! Flowers, sliced fruit (persimmons!), sliced stollen, freshly made apple/celery/ginger juice! Really amazing…

  6. KC says...

    Incidentally, grapefruit interacts with some medications, so definitely warn guests if there’s grapefruit juice in the orange juice. But it sounds delicious!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good to know, KC! thank you!

    • KC says...

      Yep, it’s one of those Weird Things – a small juice glass of grapefruit juice can cause a toxic drug overdose while taking the normal therapeutic doses of certain medications, because it changes how the body metabolizes them. (and there are some other drugs where grapefruit *inhibits* their effects, basically making the patient go cold-turkey off a potentially-important medication).

      There’s a cardiovascular research journal in which one of the doctors used to write a medical murder mystery every month, and one of the medical murders was accomplished via grapefruit beverages and licorice by a jealous pharmacologist well-educated in drug interactions, if I recall correctly. Dun dun dunnnn and all that.

      (that said, a grapefruit-orange blend sounds *amazing* and delicious and very much next-level, although my favorite will probably always be limeade with fresh ginger microplaned in. It’s just one of those things where if someone’s expecting a food to contain predictable ingredients, more serious consequences than normal might happen if the surprise ingredients are not disclosed; for food intolerance and allergy reasons, I’m very much in favor of mentioning all surprises when serving things to guests, but medication interactions are yet another category where it’s best to let people know. :-) )

  7. And my desire to be the greatest hostess of all time increases!

    xx

  8. Sasha says...

    Bagels are a fun sub for bread, with all the same toppings. We make melted chocolate + peanut butter (homemade nutella) & honey on a bagel :)

    I LOVE all the coziness and creativity and love in this post and the comments. This stuff is what makes the holidays warm and special. Really though, you had me at breakfast :)

  9. Jen says...

    We buy the TJ’s frozen croissants and cut them in half while still frozen so they bake up to be mini-size and then I usually premake a fruit salad and have it in the fridge to pull out.
    When it’s cold outside, I love making a casserole dish of baked oatmeal (Heidi Swanson’s recipe from 101Cookbooks) — bananas, butter, blueberries, oatmeal, warming spices, creamy milk, maple syrup. Always a crowd pleaser and super easy to make.

  10. Christy says...

    Loving the wood knives and the Everything But the Bagel seasoning has changed our mornings! I also love to do a lox, bagel, red onion and capers spread for those that appreciate something a little different. Thanks for sharing this very tasteful and fun post!

  11. liz says...

    Mimosas!

  12. Lydia says...

    We love hosting brunch for friends and family with young kids because it’s easier to work around naps/bedtime. My current favorite meal to cook is croque monsieurs because they can be assembled the night before. In the morning pop the baking tray in the oven and fry eggs for those who want a croque madame. I like to serve segmented grapefruit and fresh pomegranate on the side which can also be prepped and refrigerated the night before. My crowd of 1-65 year olds loved it!

  13. Marissa says...

    Some bakeries sell frozen pastries! I keep my freezer stocked with chocolate croissants from Whisk in Richmond, VA. They take an hour to bake from frozen, so I pop them in the oven first thing, and go back to bed for 20 minutes before I make coffee and prep a protein (eggs or bacon, usually), and fruit. It’s the best breakfast ever.

    • What a good idea. This sounds so deluxe.

    • LaurenB says...

      Yes! We will be gifting boxes of frozen croissants from Williams-Sonoma to friends this holiday season. They are so easy to make, and so decadent!

    • Bexter says...

      Trader Joe’s has amazing frozen croissants. All you have to do it take them out of the freezer the night before, put them on a baking sheet to proof overnight then bake when you get up – super delicious, and they smell oh so good when they are baking!

  14. Meghan says...

    A German Frühstück (breakfast) can’t be beat! Use whatever cheese you have in the fridge, something hard, soft and spreadable make a perfect trio! Sliced meats like salami or ham, soft boiled eggs, hearty, grainy bread, crusty buns, croissants (bonus points if you pick them up fresh!), sliced veggies, fresh cherry tomatoes, jam, butter — plus strong coffee! The most wonderful thing? You hardly have to cook, just gather up the bounty and mix n’ match the different options! Jo, you referenced this saying in a previous post, ‘ Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar. ‘ This is a well known German saying!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YUM!!!!

    • Jenny says...

      Oh, German breakfast…. I lived in Stuttgart for 5 years and it’s the thing I miss most.

  15. Ana says...

    This is so beautiful and thoughtful! I am so grateful that we can always rely on Cup of Jo for a little more love in the world <3

  16. Love you table arrangement! The everything spice is a great idea and I also like the idea of serving jams and butter in individual ramekins. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. These options feel so French! Here when people stay over it is traditional to head to the local boulangerie before your guests wake to grab a large assortment of pastries and a couple baguettes to be eaten with salted butter and jam. Fresh squeezed orange juice is a must, as is a strong espresso! Beautiful dishes!

  18. Joana K says...

    When I moved to Berlin, Germany, I was surprised by how seriously they take breakfast here, most Caffees offer a wonderful breakfast menu, same style you present in this post, and it’s now my favourite date time to meet friends: a breakfast date! Keep in mind that in a lot of places breakfast is served till 12th or till 15h or even all day long! Guests from other countries love it when we take them out for a “berliner” breakfast!

  19. Ahh pastry for breakfast never fails; that pastry platter looks exquisite!! I like the granola idea too but I don’t think the people around me (including guests) actually would like the granola and yogurt thing as much as I do, haha.
    Have a lovely week. x

  20. Cate says...

    Thanks for the lovely ideas! Any chance we could get some info on that dining table? Thank you!

    • Carol Wayne says...

      Yes…I love that table!

  21. jeannie says...

    My husband and I always feel like short order cooks making french toast or pancakes when we have guests. I LOVE these simple, yet elegant ideas and the dishes and accessories are beautiful. Useful post, for sure!

  22. Amy says...

    Yum! These all sound delicious! On a somewhat related note, would you consider doing a holiday traditions post? I’m always so curious about the meals, activities, and thoughtfulness that create them. As a mom to a 3 yo (and one on the way!) I’m finding myself especially drawn to creating special, comforting rituals this year for my growing crew. You and your readers always have the best ideas; I’d love to glean some of your wisdom!

    • Sasha says...

      That’s such a fun idea Amy.
      Here’s a few from my family: St Lucia day, our youngest daughter got to make breakfast for everyone (I think we changed the Scandinavian tradition a bit).
      St Nicks day, the girls left out shoes and Nick left tangerines and chocolates.
      Bday cake for Jesus on Xmas eve, complete with bday song.
      A nativity where Mary and Joseph moved along a little each day, until they arrived in manger and baby appeared on Xmas morn.
      Old befana would bring a little gift on epiphany, and we’d bake a three kings cake.
      Candles for the solstice.
      Probably sounds like a lot, but most were a very small effort and it was fun to spread the celebrating (and treats) through the whole season. We’re not particularly religious either, we just love holidays and celebrations (and treats). Christmas itself was pretty low key, which made it a lot more fun for us.

    • Midge says...

      Instead of an advent calendar, we have The Christmas Box. It’s a red wooden box that appears on December 1, and each day there is either a small treat or a card with a Christmas activity (Eat gingerbread for dessert, do a Christmas puzzle, make paper snowflakes). The kids have to wait until the whole family is together and take turns opening it each day. We all love it and look forward to it every day.

      And those paper snowflakes? I keep all of them, and hang them each year, one in each windowpane. The kids love seeing their funny lopsided toddler-cut snowflakes. I might love them more than our Christmas tree.

  23. S says...

    Best easiest: french toast casserole
    Make it in advance but in the oven to bake while you cook fine bacon. Put out berries abs good maple syrup.

    Combo is heaven and pp
    Ask me to make it all
    The time.

    SOOO
    Easy.

    • Sasha says...

      We make French toast make every Xmas morning :)
      My husband gets it ready the night before, puts in fridge and then pops in oven as soon as we wake. Opening gifts to the smell of cinnamon and maple and bread is the best!
      The trick is really good dense bread that can stand the soaking.

  24. Denise says...

    Hot oatmeal with a (big) dollop of cold yogurt, topped with fresh fruit + toasted nuts + a drizzle of maple syrup is the best breakfast ever

  25. ECH says...

    Nice! Love these ideas. XO

  26. Maywyn says...

    Toast party! Love the navy shade of color of the bowls

  27. Tamara says...

    Could you also let us know where the plates are from as used in the photographs? thx!

  28. Natalie says...

    When my sister was visiting me in Maine last winter we had plans to go out for breakfast but a snowstorm had us caught inside. We had to make do with what we had so we decided to create “The Porridge Fest of 2017” lol! It ended up being so delicious; we cooked a pot of oatmeal, cut up all the fruit we had, laid out pecans, a bowl of brown sugar and maple syrup!

    We also made homemade hot chocolate and it was so fun and delicious and cozy with the snow falling outside. Love having leisurely breakfasts with guests!

  29. Amy P says...

    Love the savoury toast options! When I started reading I assumed everything was going to be sweet (how do you do anything savoury without at least some cooking?) but as usual, you nailed it ;)

  30. H says...

    We do dutch babies to feed the overnight masses. Super quick and easy, and you can feed a bunch of people at once (unlike crepes or waffles). Then nutella, jams, maple syrup, fruit, whipped cream, etc for toppings to choose from.

    • Karen T. says...

      Love this and so timely! I have relatives coming this weekend. Dutch baby it is!

  31. Denise says...

    Toast bar! What a wonderful idea. I also love those beautiful ceramic bowls. Can anyone say if the foot of those bowls is unglazed or glazed in white? I can’t tell on the website. I’m a sucker for mint green and navy at the moment and I’m thinking those navy bowls are everything!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they’re unglazed at the foot (and so pretty in navy!). thank you, denise!

  32. Wow, these are great!! Cant wait to incorporate these during the stay of my over night guests! Thank you for the ideas!!

    Nichole

  33. Wonderful post :) I always struggle to put together breakfast during weekends ! This post helps me a lot!

  34. SKB says...

    Love these! Another idea for your younger guests- a cereal bar!! When my niece spends the night she gets this special treat. The sight of multiple cereals (usually ones that are not allowed on a daily basis) that she gets to choose from is SUCH a thrill! Bonus points if you get the tiny boxes or let them mix and match.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      LOVE that idea! (Also, you just sent team Cup of Jo on a nostalgia daydream about those small boxes of assorted cereals! The best.)

    • We buy the mini packs when our boys are on school break and when we go on vacation. We call it “vacation cereal.”

    • Sara says...

      My mind BLEW UP when I found out you can put the milk right in the bag. It changed my life.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes to the mini boxes! #frostedflakesforthewin

    • Olivia says...

      Milk in the bag?! Genius!!

    • Kate says...

      One of my favorite memories from visiting my grandma’s house is how she always had a cupboard full of tiny cereal boxes. SKB – you are so right, it was like heaven to me as a child!!

  35. lauren says...

    Big advocate for the frozen croissants from TJs. I’m fairly certain I first read about them here! Set them out the night before on some parchment paper to rise and in the morning pop them in the oven and – boom – awesome almond or chocolate croissants. Guests love them.

    • Kathy says...

      Agree! Trader Joes frozen croissants are perfect for guests (unless you forget to put them out the night before to rise).

    • Joanna says...

      It’s a splurge, but I usually buy the frozen ones from Williams-Sonoma once a year. (A box of plain and a box of chocolate… although I’m learning that everyone besides me vastly prefers chocolate, so maybe I should just stick to that…) Same deal as the TJs ones, only way better. (They also make them in either mini size or full size.)

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Those are incredibly good, I agree. All of their frozen pastries are excellent.

    • Michelle says...

      I third this. The frozen chocolate croissants are to.die.for.

    • Sandra says...

      Oh my goodness, how did I not know about these or the Williams Sonoma ones? I think I know what I’m making on Christmas morning…

    • Abesha1 says...

      We like the chocolate croissants from Whole Foods (at least, where we live) . Some people have written that they’re the same as Trader Joe’s, but we’ve made them side by side, and agreed that Trader Joe’s were much too sweet.
      Either way, agreed; they’re great to keep in the freezer.

    • Kristina says...

      Thank you for the Christmas morning croissant idea! Williams Sonoma is offering 20% off on all croissants right now so I stocked up for the holiday. Yay!

  36. Tracy says...

    Love, love how you tackle sponsored posts. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Anne says...

      Second this! I’m totally happy to look at sponsored content if there’s real content too

    • Amy P says...

      Agreed!

    • aga says...

      Absolutely! I usually have a strong radar for sponsored posts because they are often cringe-worth (cheesy, trying too hard, poorly written) and offensive (not consistent with the blog’s content and vibe), but yours are so well done. Your sponsored posts are as enjoyable as any other post, beautifully shot, well-written, and in keeping with Cup of Jo’s sensibility and point of view. I rarely notice that it’s sponsored until I reach the bottom at which point I’m usually intrigued by the brand. In fact, Cup of Jo has introduced me to many awesome brands and products.

    • Judy Strydom says...

      Yes to this. Cup of Jo is such a class act.