Planning a perfect Slow + Simple Mother's Day Lunch

image via Once Wed

It's really about simplicity. It shouldn't be lavish or fussy or over the top. A perfect Mother's Day lunch should be easy and relaxed. You may prefer to eat out and not worry about food prep, setting the table and doing the dishes. My children like to prepare lunch - this may be the best reason to keep it simple. Stick to ideas that are easy to make, that require very little prep-work and don't take took much of a mess. After all, a lavish meal made by the kids is wonderful gesture, but when the kitchen looks as though it's been hit by a hurricane, tornado and earthquake and you know that the children's idea of "cleaning up" is vastly different from yours, and because you don't want to spend hours picking up after them, wiping up drips and spills - simplicity is best in this case. Though, in my opinion, I think it's always best. 

Last year the children gave me a wonderful lunch. We decided on a menu together a couple of days before-hand and I went shopping and did the prep work ahead of time with them so that on Mother's Day only minimal assembly was required. We love to graze. We love appetizers and tapas and that's basically what our Mother's Day Lunch was. We feasted out on the screened-in porch in a totally peaceful and relaxed manner. The weather was lovely, warm enough to be outdoors. Our table was set casually, as photographed above. It really was quite perfect, at least as I remember it now, a year later!

There's something about putting food on a large platter that I love. It's easy and it's accessible and it's easier to clean 1 large platter than lots of separate dishes. Remember, we want everything to look lovely, but we want to create as little mess as possible. 

image via Saveur

On our large platter, much like the one above from Saveur, we had olives, cornichons, a selection of salamis, several cheeses, some strawberries and raspberries. We had pesto that we could also dip our bread into, that was left over from a pasta we had had the night before. My children all love to make pesto, it's easy and fast and always tastes delicious. You can find my recipe here. Leftovers are great eaten with a good crusty baguette or added to any sandwich. 

imafge via Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

We had gazpacho with our lunch. There are so many ways to make this wonderfully refreshing and flavorful chilled soup. You really can't go wrong. You can follow this recipe for guidance. If you have a food processor, older children can chop up veggies in large pieces - don't worry about being precise, the food processor will do it's job! Gazpacho, bread and cheese... a perfect and complete meal in itself!

image via Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

You may want to have several small salads with your lunch as well - a tomato salad, green salad, pasta salad and chicken salad. All of these can be prepared a day in advanced. Have several or just one. Whatever's leftover can be gobbled up for lunch the next day!

A Salad Nicoise is also another great idea for a Mother's Day lunch. Again everything can be prepped ahead of time. Again my love for platters comes into play. Instead of a large salad in a large bowl, I find them so much prettier this way. Don't you? It's so much more festive - I love serving salads this way for company.

via Jessica Gordon Ryan/ The Entertaining House

Sun tea is refreshing and fun to make. Kids of all ages will have fun doing this. For recipe and tea ideas click here. I do have a bottle of bubbly chilling in the fridge already :)

via Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

For more ideas click here, Simple Summer Party Food and here, A Perfect Summer Lunch. And my Pinterest board here. And if you're looking for some very simple last minute tokens, read here for some ideas.

Don't these seem like wonderful ideas to start with. Amounts can easily be adjusted to suit any size crowd. Meals like these are our favorites!