I have a quiet reprieve today and I'm home for the morning with time to do what I love best: blog, read, reflect, and hike. Maybe I'll even get a few photographs taken when I'm on my walk, if our beagle will let me. Then it's back to the usual chauffeuring, helping with homework, laundry and cooking, and subbing. As promised, I'm including the recipes I used for our Easter dinner. These will be dishes I'll make again throughout the spring and summer---not just for Easter.
Brown Sugar Balsamic Roasted Carrots
modified from letsdishrecipes.com and found on Pinterest
Clean 1 1/2 pounds of carrots and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I slit the carrots down the middle and sliced the larger ones in half. Mix up 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pour over the carrots and "roll" them in the liquid to coat evenly. Roast in 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. Sprinkle salt and parsley over the top.
Fruit Kabobs with Peeps
found on Pinterest & linked to ameessavorydish.com/
I included these in my last post, but I think they're so cute that I'm featuring them again. You could certainly use any fruit on bamboo skewers, and use marshmallow chicks instead of rabbits of any color. I put the peeps on the end so they could be removed first and given away to the peep lovers in our house. I have a couple of children who would eat raw marshmallows by the handfuls if I allowed it (which I don't, but a certain 6 year old has been known to sneak.) I used whole strawberries, sliced kiwi fruit, canned pineapple chunks, and grapes. These were placed at the children's end of our big kitchen table.
The children's end of the table held the fruit kabobs, a Beatrix Potter planter with plastic eggs, and the carrot cupcakes. I think, subconsciously, I arranged it this way to entice them to eat all their dinner so they could have the desserts. Of course, this was at the end of a day filled with sugar and chocolate from their Easter baskets, so it may not have been as effective as it would be on normal days.
Balsamic Vinegar Grilled Lamb Chops
Pinterest-inspired from Food Network (heavily modified)
I used a lot of vinegar this weekend! This was really supposed to be a sauce recipe, but I marinated our own pasture-raised lamb in this instead, and then Hubby poured the remainder over the chops while they grilled. This was my first attempt at making lamb chops, and we were so pleased. They were tender, juicy, and had no strong gamey taste to them. We grilled about 24 small lamb chops since we were feeding 9 people, so the recipe below is doubled.
Mix 2 cloves of garlic, 4 tablespoons honey, & 2/3 cup Balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon of rosemary. Pour over seasoned (salt & pepper) lamb chops in a baking dish so all are covered. Cover and store in refrigerator overnight to marinade. As you are grilling, brush remaining marinade over pork chops.
Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (I use this cookbook all the time)
Our 13-year old daughter is our resident cake maker, and she gets all the credit for these. All I did was lick the beaters and suggest sprinkling nutmeg over the top.
for the Cupcakes:
Combine 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Then add 3 cups finely shredded carrot, 1 cup vegetable oil, and 4 eggs. Beat with electric mixer till combined. Then beat on medium speed for at least 2 minutes. Pour into lined muffin tins and bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Cool.
for the Frosting:
Beat together 3 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread over cupcakes, and sprinkle with nutmeg if you like. *Note: This is enough frosting if you are simply spreading it with a knife. To make enough to put in a pastry bag and make something more fancy, like our daughter did, you need to double the recipe. In addition to our cupcakes, our son and his fiancee brought a chocolate fudge/whipped cream/ Oreo dessert that was to die for. I gained back about 3 pounds over Easter, unfortunately. The good news is that my new paisley tablecloth made it through Easter without being stained. That is a miracle itself.
Along with the foods already mentioned, I also added to the table a big bowl of tossed salad with a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing, pickled beets and sweet gherkins (store-bought), and the children's colored eggs. All of our eggs this year were laid by our one remaining geriatric hen who free-ranges all over and then lays an egg almost daily in an empty rabbit cage in our barn.
I'll include just a few pictures of the afternoon egg hunt. Notice the Amish buggy going down the lane. There was quite a bit of Amish traffic up here Easter Sunday.
It's too bad it was so cloudy and gray. The rest of the Easter weekend was beautiful.
Our cat Arwin "helped" look for eggs. She's especially interested in the multitude of green toad eggs that are clustered in our pool cover right now.
These wildflowers and a variety of shades of daffodils came into bloom over the Easter holiday and are now covering parts of our bank.
I'll close with one last picture of a carrot cupcake and this spring bouquet. Both are on their last day here at our preppy mountain farmhouse. The seven remaining cupcakes will be gone before the day is through, I'm sure. And these flowers have lasted nearly two weeks, but they're being replaced today with fresh daffodils next to one of our pastures. Everything around us is revealing that spring is definitely here...except for that annoying weather forecast that is predicting snow showers for our area this Sunday. I'm definitely not happy about that.