Mamma Mia!



Although this day is a happy one for many, it’s important to remember that Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for those who have lost their mom. It can be a time to reflect and honor those women who have gone before us and whose memories we cherish. The woman who is credited with advocating for Mother’s Day did so to honor her own mother who had passed away.1 


Local Rochester woman Tracy Will, who lost her mother two and a half years ago, says that it’s a “pretty hard holiday.” She appreciates when others around her understand her feelings and loves it when they share stories about her mom. She makes a point to “let others in my life who serve in a mom-type role know how much I appreciate them. I also try to make my mother-in-law’s Mother’s Day special. Reaching out eases the pain and affirms the good relationships that I do have.” 


As you honor all the emotions of the day, create a celebration that fits you and your family the best. One common way to celebrate is with brunch. 

We’ll provide some Mother’s Day brunch ideas for you (or you can conveniently leave this magazine open to this page around someone else whom you’d like to encourage to celebrate with you). If you decide to head to a restaurant to celebrate, you will find many options for brunch at one of Rochester’s fabulous restaurants. 

Forager Brewery is giving a free mimosa to all moms during its Mother’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy made-from-scratch eggs, French toast, biscuits and gravy, Gouda hash browns, a meat carving station and a dessert bar. Whistle Binkies Old World Pub serves an expanded brunch featuring crab legs and prime rib, and like every Sunday, they have their famous bloody mary bar. Five West Kitchen & Bar will also have a special Mother’s Day brunch with some of the best eggs Benedict in town. 


A do-it-yourself brunch is also a great option. There’s nothing quite so beautiful as a spring brunch table. There are many great make-ahead recipes for egg bakes, French toast bakes, fruit salads and even drinks to minimize day-of work.

Rochester Downtown Farmers Market moves outside beginning May 5. On May 12, the day before Mother’s Day, you’ll be able to shop for the freshest local ingredients for your brunch. The strata recipe we include here was inspired by Jessica Joyce, manager of the farmers market, who says that asparagus will be in season and readily available, along with local ham and cheeses, eggs and probably even chives. Grab some bread from one of the vendors to use in your recipe as well.


We are sharing a recipe from Duluth-based Vikre Distillery. Rhubarb bellinis feature a locally-grown springtime fruit (available at the farmers market) in a syrup that can be made ahead and simply mixed with a sparkling wine.

You can find other meats and baked goods, as well as jams and honey at the farmers market. In addition to food, decorate your table with tulips, which you’ll find in abundance at this time of year at the market. Buy pre-cut flowers to decorate your table or to give, or buy potted tulips for yourself or others, and when they finish blooming inside, plant them outside to enjoy them year after year.


Flowers are always a great gift option. Sandy Stock, floral manager at Sargent’s on 2nd, says that indoor blooming plants like orchids are very popular gift items. They have a European garden, which combines blooming plants with greens in a container. Each plant is individually set into the container and then can be separated. Stock says that gift cards are always popular, and they carry lots of other gift ideas in their shops. She encourages moms to “drop hints” about what they want.

Jim Whiting sells container gardens with a variety of (three to seven) different annuals each, professionally arranged with new hot plants that can handle all conditions. Whiting says that they carry unique flowers with “eye-busting color combinations,” and their hanging baskets are their biggest seller.

Head to St. Charles and see all that Thymeless Flowers has for your decorations, as well as for gift giving. Owner Shar Allen loves that houseplants are making a decorating comeback, and they have many unique options. She carries ever-popular succulents for a variety of greens as well as colorful hanging baskets. She also features jewelry, soaps, lotions and artwork by local artists.

People’s Food Co-op carries a variety of plants from blooming to terrarium and foliage plants as well as air plants. They carry hanging baskets, potted blooming bulbs and have a few pre-arranged bouquet options available, mostly from Lenbush Roses in Plymouth, Minnesota. 

However you celebrate, wherever you eat and whatever gifts you give or receive, spread love to those around you. Love is the superpower of moms everywhere.

Ham, Asparagus and Cheese Strata

Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb. asparagus (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 12 slices bread
  • 2 cups smoked ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups grated cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place 6 slices of bread on the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, cutting the bread if necessary to fit the dish.
  3. Sprinkle half of the ham, asparagus, chives, rosemary and cheese over bread. Repeat with second layer ending with cheese.
  4. Beat eggs, milk, mustard and pepper in a large bowl. Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for approximately 60 minutes or until egg mixture is set in center. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Rhubarb Bellini


Makes 1 1/2 cups of syrup and 10 to 12 drinks

  • 8 ounces fresh rhubarb (chopped into ½ inch pieces)
  • 1 cup sugar (This makes for a relatively non-tart syrup. If you like it tart, use ¾ cup.)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Prosecco (or another dry sparkling wine), chilled

To make the syrup, in a blender, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Pour in the boiling water, cover and blend until completely pureed. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and store syrup in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Reserve the pulp for another use, like spreading on buttered toast or scones or stirring into some sautéed garlic and ginger to make a topping for pork tenderloin.


To make the cocktail, put 3/4 ounce of the chilled syrup in a cocktail coupe or Champagne flute, then top with the prosecco. Adjust the amount of rhubarb syrup to taste.


Emily Watkins is a local personal trainer and writer.