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Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts

Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter Holiday Highlights

Nearly a week after the fact, and I've finally uploaded the Easter photos, collected the Easter baskets, and finished off the last of the Easter dinner.  Except for the colored eggs; there are still lots of those.  And the decorations are still up.  And I still have half a bag of Easter candy stashed away to use as bribes or rewards as needed.  Anyway, this is what Easter looked like at our preppy mountain farmhouse this year.  We didn't invite the hen above into our family picture with us sitting in our clean Church clothes; she photobombed it, and our son caught her.

We took dinner to our grown son's house the afternoon before Easter.  Our boys actually got to hold their nephew for once; usually they can't get him out of their sister's arms.

And his uncles adore him.  It is so much easier to keep a baby entertained when he has so many aunties and uncles around to make a fuss over him.


Our youngest daughter and I made dozens of deviled eggs over the weekend.  Our hens are laying around twelve eggs every day, and we have eggs coming out the wazoo.  I've been scrambling them and making custard and boiling them and even freezing them.  But we still have six full cartons in the refrigerator with another dozen or so that were dyed last Saturday.

These were just a select few that the children and their dad colored last weekend.  All of our hens lay brown eggs of various shades, and everyone wanted to make metallic ones, so we weren't sure how they would turn out.  Some looked golden, and others not shown here were a rather putrid brownish-greenish color.

I actually bought myself a new Easter dress this year from TJ Maxx.  Two of my adolescent photographers were trying to get me to pose in more interesting ways, but this was the only one I'd feel comfortable sharing.  No Kardashian wannabes here.

But we did have some kind of Spiderman-Samurai character running around our property searching for eggs.  I'm not sure what look she was going for; she's her own unique blend of some kind of wonderful.

And her ten year-old brother is his own blend of awesomeness too.

This guy showed up for the egg hunt as well, but all he was really interested in was eating the fresh green buds on the bush above him.

All of my kiddos still participate in our annual egg hunt, and their dad doesn't make it easy for them.

Every year as they get older and older, at least one of them says that maybe next year they'll just help hide the eggs, and not be a part of the hunt anymore.  But the next year comes, and whether they like to admit it or not, they still get excited about finding their color-coded stuffed eggs.

And I'm holding on to that for as long as I can.

I hope your weekend is your own blend of wonderful awesomeness.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On Break for Easter

We are officially on Easter break.  Over the next five days we'll be engaging in our Easter traditions and rituals.  We'll be watching the same Jesus of Nazareth TV series that I watched during Holy Week as a girl.  We'll be coloring and decorating our hens' brown eggs with Paas egg dye and vinegar, just as I did when I was young.  We'll be bringing in bouquets of daffodils from our yard, and we'll be ironing our semi-formal spring clothing for Church on Sunday.  We'll be whipping up deviled eggs and grating carrots for homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  The empty Easter baskets will be brought down from the attic and placed on the kitchen table Saturday night.  And they'll be full of spring gifts and candy when the children awake on Easter morning.  We'll get together with extended family, and we'll eat ham, roasted carrots and green beans, and rice pilaf for an early Easter dinner.  Finally, there will be the annual egg hunt in our yard with stuffed plastic eggs color coded for each child so that everyone gets the same number and everything is fair.  We might even squeeze in a game of tennis and a hike up the mountain before our usual routines begin again next week.

Most of all, we'll be celebrating our faith during this most sacred holiday, and we'll be grateful for warm spring weather since there have been some Easters we've had to wear our snow boots and winter coats to Church.  I'll be back on Blogger next week, but until then, I'm wishing you all days filled with sunshine, blooming bulbs and dogwood trees, and spring celebrations with friends and family.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Those Easter Dinner Recipes and More

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 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

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.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Quick Easter Wrap Up

I hope you all had an Easter weekend as lovely as we had.  Although it was a bit gray and chilly today, the rest of the weekend was warm, sunny, and brought blooming daffodils and plenty of time outdoors.  Our company just left half an hour ago, and the younger children have gone to bed and will hopefully not be awake from too much sugar for too long.  I just wanted to post a few photos before Hubby and I also go to sleep.  I am busier than usual this week with additional days of substitute teaching, so I need a good night's rest.  I'll just touch briefly on a few highlights of our Easter weekend, and I'll write a more detailed post with recipes later this week.  The above fruit kabobs with bunny peeps were inspired by Pinterest.  I used strawberries, kiwi, grapes, and pineapple.

I experimented with two new dishes adapted from recipes found on Pinterest: lamb chops and these roasted carrots.  Both turned out marvelously and required very little prep time.  Recipes to come later.  Notice the gentleman at the end of the table who picked out a jacket and bowtie to wear to Church today.  He thought he looked so dapper that he insisted on keeping that on until he went to bed.  He is always the first one at the table eager for a big meal. 

Our 13 year old daughter finally got over the flu and spent Saturday afternoon grating 3 cups of carrots to make homemade carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from scratch.  We sprinkled a little nutmeg over the top.  These are so good that I just want to sit down and eat a plateful.  Recipe coming later.

It was cloudy and cool, but it wasn't snowing or raining, so the kiddos were excited to hunt for Easter eggs.  Even the teenagers still want to do this.  The older they get, the harder their Dad makes it for them to find the eggs though.  Our youngest still gets so excited about finding eggs and waking up to a full Easter basket at her spot at the kitchen table.  I just want to hold on to that as long as I can.

I didn't think our daffodils were going to bloom in time for Easter, so I forced buds into bloom earlier in the week by bringing them inside, and they did bloom overnight.  It turns out that by Good Friday, however, our bank was covered in blooming daffodils.  What a blessing.

I'll hold off and save the rest of the details of our Easter holiday for later this week.  It's time for me to get out of this dress and these pumps and put my feet up.  I'll be back here on Wednesday, folks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

We Welcome Spring With Paisley Prints, Corned Beef, and Easter Prep

Like most of you, we are happy to be celebrating the beginning of spring.  With the mild winter we had here in the Northeast, spring is here weeks before it arrived last year.  Although our daffodils aren't blooming quite yet, our forsythia is covered with blossoms, and the ground is greener than I can ever remember in March.  We are usually tromping through snow or mud at this time.  With all of the Christmas and winter decor put away for another year, I've been looking for some new spring items to brighten up our old farmhouse and myself.

There are buds beginning to appear on the trees, and just look at this green grass already.  It's so nice to peer out the windows and see a color other than brown or white.

I found this silky, textured, paisley top at Kohl's and couldn't resist purchasing it.  The 3/4 length sleeves are perfect for this time of year when it's still only in the forties in the morning, but the temps climb to the upper sixties by the afternoon.  I love the way this shirt feels and hangs on my body.  It doesn't cling to my middle aged midriff, but it doesn't pouf out to make me look twenty pounds heavier either.

I returned to Kohl's last weekend looking for more of those paisley tops, but I couldn't find any left in my size.  My husband spotted this short-sleeved black and white one on the clearance rack that is also Croft & Barrow.  It's not in spring colors, but at $2.80 how could I not buy it?

Along with some spring shirts for me, I've also been looking for a new kitchen tablecloth for these months leading up to summer.  Because there are so many of us, we have a nine foot table, and it is challenging to find tablecloths this long in our town.  I discovered that Home Goods had quite a selection, and I fell in love with this blue and green paisley cotton tablecloth.  Better yet, it was even on sale.  How many days do you think it will take for one of my children to spill something all over it?  I'm hoping we can make it through Easter dinner.

Not only did I find the paisley tablecloth, but I also came across these green paisley paper napkins in a clearance bin at Party City.  I thought they'd be great for St. Patrick's Day.

My youngest also talked me into buying fresh flowers at the supermarket since we had company last weekend.  I'm waiting for our daffodils to bloom.

Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, I made corned beef brisket for the first time ever.  I found a simple recipe on Pinterest where you just placed the brisket in the crockpot with some vegetables, beef broth, water, peppercorns and thyme.  It cooked all day and was so tender.  Some of my kiddos weren't fond of it, but others really liked it.

Since some of my children weren't crazy about the corned beef, we actually had leftovers, which means making my favorite sandwich ever: Reubens.  I made Reubens for lunch and dinner on Saturday, for dinner again on Sunday, and for my lunch one more time yesterday.  The last little bit went to our beagle last evening.  For those of you unfamiliar with Reubens, they're super easy to make and delicious.  
Spread Thousand Island salad dressing on 2 slices of rye bread.  Place sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut in the middle.  Toast like you're making grilled cheese sandwiches.

Aside from buying paisley prints and eating corned beef, we've also been getting ready for Easter.  Our older daughter has been sick with the flu, so our first grader was eager and willing to arrange our Easter decorations throughout the house.  I looked on Pinterest for some new ideas, and when I saw this one, I knew it was simple enough for me to try.  Easter grass, malted eggs, and a chocolate bunny placed in a Mason jar.  So simple.  But does anyone else think this chocolate rabbit looks a little deranged?  My kids think it's a bit creepy.

The St. Patrick's Day sign was wiped away, and I drew a new design on the chalkboard for the front porch.  I'll refrain from sharing any other Easter foods or decorations until Easter Sunday has actually arrived.

From our mountain farm to yours, I'm wishing you all a Happy Spring, and may the remainder of your Holy Week be blessed.