Welcome, and Happy Easter!
When I think of Easter, it conjures up lovely memories of my childhood. I grew up in the 60’s, in the south, and Easter to me was always about wearing a lovely frock to church and wearing my white gloves and sometimes a nice pretty Easter bonnet.
Me, at the bottom, and my friend Lynn at the top, 1966, Rome, Georgia.
My mother, Mary Keith, and me.
I can remember looking for hidden eggs in my yard, or at an Easter egg hunt in a big field. Running with my Easter basket desperate to find The Golden Egg. That was the grand prize. I don’t think I ever found it. I seem to remember that there was always someone else that would.
I remember excellent Easter dinners with the best food and the wonderful company of family and friends.
To me Easter is also a time that I think of my loved ones that have passed away. I will not ever forget any of you! You loved me and you made me happy. You made me feel as if I was the most special person in the world. I will always miss all of you!
Whenever I think of Easter I always think of eggs. Here I made some lovely egg salad for sandwiches with our leftover hard boiled eggs from Easter. I added some turmeric, it is a cancer cell killer, but it also turned the egg salad a wonderful golden color.
Egg Salad on Pumpernickel
Beet humus on a whole wheat bagel, egg whites with loads of colorful peppers.
Great way to start our day!
Easter in the Backyard
I’ve always had a thing for statuary, spring flowers in pots and pretty Easter baskets.
It was my idea to make this table out of a part from a fountain and a round stone top glued on. I couldn’t find what I wanted in a round top so I bought a square one and had Outdoor Impressions to round it off for me.
Outdoor Impressions is a business here in the Tampa Bay area that is featured on the DIY Network quite a bit.
Key Limes and Clementines
I could care less about candy but I do love fruit so clementines and key limes are what I prefer in my backyard Easter basket. Incidentally, this is the first year that our key lime tree has been ever producing. Usually it just has a season or two but our little tree has been going strong now for the past year giving us wonderful key limes.
Every morning the sunlight comes streaming into our yard now that our neighbors have removed those two trees that bordered our yard. We are so loving all this bright white light. Also this side of our yard is starting to thrive now.
Happy Easter to everyone! Whether you spend the day in church or at the beach (hint, hint) I wish all of you a wonderful day!
Happy Easter egg hunting and may the Easter Bunny be good to you!
Gerber Daisy’s Just say Spring
Little Orzo Pasta Baskets filled with Stir Fry
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
Colorful Hard Boiled Eggs
Potted plants and lots and lots of chocolate bugs.
Our Spring Table
Although hard to spot in this sea of parsley, the orzo pasta bowls are filled with the stir fry. I ended up eating most of the parsley on this platter myself. It’s very good for you and aids in digestion. Why do you think restaurants would put it on your plate?
The boiled eggs that my daughter and I colored. They look very pretty on the table. I’m saving them for deviled eggs for Easter.
Like the chocolate bugs crawling all over the table?
Gordon Made the Orzo Pasta Baskets
You first want to cook the orzo pasta a little longer than you would otherwise as the package directions states. Normally, you would cook the pasta until al dente, but we wanted the orzo to be a bit sticky, so Gordon cooked it just a minute or two longer than it called for.
Orzo pasta is about the size of rice grains before cooking.
This kind of pasta is usually found in soups.
Once you have spooned the cooked pasta into the greased muffin tins you want to form a little cup, so there will be room for the filling. Bake at 350* for about 12 minutes or so. Just eyeball it. You just want it to turn a little darker in color. (See the photos above).
Do NOT remove from the muffin tin until fully cooled or they may fall apart.
Now, you want to start your stir-fry.
Baby corn, snow peas, shredded carrots, topped with roasted sesame seeds and some of our fresh chives.
Making Stir Fry Veggies… easy and quick!
It really isn’t as hard as you might think. First, prep all of your ingredients. I used the ones listed above. Now, using a good oil of which I used olive heat you Wok up as high as you can. Making stir fry depends on very high heat and fast cooking. Add about 3 Tbsp’s of oil and it will quickly smoke, than add the ingredient which will take longest time to cook like the baby corn and carrots. Flip/toss them as shown above a few times to coat your vegetables with oil and to get even cooking for about 3 min. Doing this will also cool down the Wok if needed. Now, add your other ingredients and toss more. You can add 5 Tbsp soy sauce with a little bit of honey and about a tsp of sesame oil to give your vegetables some nice flavor. Cook in the sauce for a few min. and the dish is done. Plate your vegetables and garnish with roasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onion.
The entire cooking process should only take about 7 min.
Pasta Basket Nests with Stir Fry
Once your baskets are cool, carefully remove them from the muffin tin. You can now spoon some of your stir fry veggies into your baskets and serve!
p.s. The Brussels sprouts are my favorite!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
To make the Brussels sprouts, the night before wash and cut them in half. Place them in a large zip locking bag and add some olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, sage, thyme, and any other herbs or seasonings you like. I also like some curry seasonings at times which really make them nice. The oil as in any marinade helps to spread the seasoning throughout the vegetables. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. Marinate the sprouts overnight then drain the liquid using a colander. Now, place the sprouts on a cookie sheet or aluminum foil lined cookie sheet cut side down and place in a 400’F oven for about 25 min. until the cut side is caramelized. Roasting the Brussels Sprouts as with any vegetable really gives them a nice taste.
Look at this beauty that flew over my head? Lucky I had my camera with me!
Easter Bunnies in the Backyard
Welcome to the bunny photo shoot. Above are just a portion of mine and my daughter, Veronica’s, bunnies. I decided to get them out and enjoy them for Easter. Many years ago when we were living in Hawaii, and Veronica was in pre-school, I sewed her a bunny as an Easter gift. Actually, I sewed the clothing on the bunnies. The bunny itself was a rag doll that I bought at a craft store. It was one of the first things that I sewed as an adult and I was very proud of myself. Seeing as how the only other time I had ever sewn anything was in Home Ec class in high school and I got a ‘D’ on my vest. It was that damn piping that blew it for me.
Rag Doll Bunnies
So pretty. Makes me want to go on a picnic.
It’s the accessories that make this so very cute. The little floral and silk choker around my bunny’s neck. The little flowers glued to the straw hat. I actually painted that purple ring around the hat.
The bunny above, I made for my grandmother many years ago. When she died I brought it home with me.
I wish she were still here.
The bunny at photo left, the “Easter Bunny” gave to Veronica when she was about 10 or so. She never liked it. I adore it and I’ve always gotten her out to enjoy every year. She even has her own watering can.
The little bench in the photo at right, above, I stenciled a long time ago during my crafting years. You know I really enjoy making things with my hands. That is when I am most at ease and at my happiest. In my opinion, working with your hands is far more rewarding.
All our Easter Bunnies
Easter Eggs in the Herb Garden
Getting Ready for Easter
I so love spring, gardens, bunnies and lots of pretty eggs to hide. Too bad my children are all grown. I was the fun mom that went that extra mile for my children and their friends when it came to most every occasion. They loved it then and I think they still love it now although they pretend that they don’t.
I think I need grandchildren.
Eggs and Chives
Nothing goes better with eggs than chives.
Remember our herb garden? Well now it has bunnies and eggs.
Coloring Easter Eggs
My daughter Veronica preparing the egg dyes for our hard boiled eggs.
How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
(The secret is to place the eggs into a large pot with plenty of water on the cool stove top. Once you’ve done this, turn the stove top up to high and bring to a boil. Let the eggs boil for anywhere between 10 and 18 minutes. Depending on how many you are boiling and how you prefer them to be. Never add the eggs to a boiling hot pot as the hot temp does shock them and they tend to crack).
This is something that my daughter and I would do every Easter, with Brodie joining in as well. Veronica the artist, would make the prettiest eggs by experimenting with the different colors. One year she even made plaid eggs. How cool is that? But now she’s so busy that I am lucky she had time to do this with me now. We just used the tride and true Paas kits that have been around forever.
I used a glass of red wine to color an egg as well.
Our finished eggs, aren’t the pretty? Not bad for a quick 20 minutes.
In need of a centerpiece for your table? Just pick up a hydrangea. They look so beautiful. Once Easter is over with then plant it in your garden.
Our Delicious Easter Dinner
Reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and
Through the Looking Glass
by Lewis Carroll
Fact: Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was born January 27, 1832 and died January 14, 1898 of pneumonia. His family was predominantly northern English, with Irish connections.
It is said that Queen Victoria loved the book so much that she asked that his next one be dedicated to her. According to Lewis Carroll that never happened. It’s amazing how gossip ends up in history notations as “facts”. Similarly to Marie Antoinette’s famous quote where she says to the starving peasants (Why do we have to call them peasants anyway?) of France when there was no more bread, ‘Let them eat cake’. There has never been any evidence that she said such a thing. That quote was alleged by the wife of her husband’s rival. History is filled with so many unsubstantiated quotes by rivals. Remember that.
The perfect cubby to house this lovely serving set in it’s vintage retro box discretely tucked away.
with Pineapple Glaze
Roasted Vegetables or
(Pearl Onions, Radishes, Turnips, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Carrots)
Squash and Zucchini Casserole
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Veronica helping herself.
Bake the ham as the package calls for being sure to have about and inch of water at the bottom of the pan to keep the ham moist. You can add some nutmeg and ginger in the water as well which will help flavor the ham as it cooks.
During the last 30 min. of the baking, spoon on your favorite blend of spices and sweeteners and place them around the ham. I used 4 tbsp crushed pineapple, 5 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp syrup, 1/2 tsp grated cloves, 3/4 tsp powdered ginger, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg. Mix all the ingredients and taste adding ingredients to your taste.
The Roasted Vegetables
(Pearl Onions, Turnips, Radishes, Baby Carrots, Cauliflower, and Brussel Sprouts)
The night before, boil the onions to loosen the outside skins for about 10 min. Let cool then cut off the top and peel off the hard outer layer. Wash the other vegetables and cut them so they are all about the same size. Doing this will ensure even cooking. Place all the vegetables in a large zip lock bag with two seasoning packets of Italian herb dressing and enough olive oil to just cover the vegetables. Seal the bag and mix to coat the vegetables evenly. Place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.
Just before cooking, pour the vegetables into a colander to drain off the marinade. Place the drained vegetables onto a single layer on an aluminum foil lined sheet pan. Be sure to place the cut side of the vegetables down, so they will caramelize nicely. Bake the vegetables at 400’F for about 20 minutes. You will find the roasting process will change the taste of some of the vegetables … especially the radishes.
Cooking Tip: Ensure you remove all the liquid marinade from the vegetables… otherwise you will be boiling them and you won’t get the caramelized effect.
Roasted Vegetable Perfection
Rabbit food never tasted so good!
Squash and Zucchini Casserole
Slice one med. onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices, 4 summer or yellow squash, and 4 zucchini squash. Boil until tender … about 15 min and drain in a colander. Once cooled, place in a mixing bowl and add 3/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, 2 cups of your favorite cheese, 2 large beaten eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Place all the ingredients into a casserole dish and bake at 350″ F for approx 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Then top with some seasoned bread crumbs or fried onions (Durkee Onions) until golden brown … about 8 min.
Sweet Potatoes and Hot Buttered Dinner Rolls
You know, the people of the south used to live a long time and it was due to their eating sweet potatoes on a regular basis. Sadly, the south also decided to incorporate a lot of unhealthy foods into their diets and the results are they no longer live as long as their ancestors did.
Ham, Biscuits and Gravy
with a healthy twist.
This is SOUTHERN Perfection!!
Fry the ham pieces in a skillet in olive oil until just brown and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Here is my NEW Double oven by LG … I love it. The top one is great for heating things up quickly. The bottom is a convection oven great for baking.
With the remaining oil in the pan add enough flour into the pan to soak up the oil. The flour and oil mixed should look like wet sand. Here you can add more oil, but not too much to have about a 3 tablespoons. Cook the flour on medium heat until lightly brown.
Here you can have a variety of tastes. The more you cook the flour the nuttier the taste. Here you can add some ground pepper. If you like white gravy simply don’t cook it much. Cooking Tip: The more you cook the flour the less liquid it can absorb and the less gravy you will have. The colors go from white, tan, slightly golden, slightly red, and dark brown. Once the flour is to the color you desire add about 2 cups of milk … and stand by with it.
Mix the milk into the flour and olive oil and watch it transform into a thick gravy. Basically the flour will bloom and absorb the milk. Add more milk if needed and turn down the heat. Add some salt and some more fresh ground black pepper to taste… stir and taste. You can also add a few shakes of Paprika to enhance the taste. Smoked Paprika will also give you great flavor.
These biscuits were not homemade but they are an excellent substitute. We buy them frozen and then just place in the oven to cook when we need them. So why knock yourself out when you don’t have to?
Country Ham Biscuits
Don’t Forget the Yellow Mustard!
Southern Perfection! I grew up eating fried ham on biscuits with gravy my entire life. I don’t eat as much of it now that I am older and am watching my health, but this is a treat every now and then.
Gordon has made the gravy healthier than the original southern version.
This was a very easy and delicious Easter dessert. Just top with some fresh mint and some jelly beans.
My Daughter’s Artwork
I love it when she paints birds, and Herself.
Pink and Green
I do have a thing for Gerber Daisey’s and Green Apples,
Fresh Mint and Spring
An Easter Gift from my Grandfather
My grandfather made this for me when I was about 11 or 12. It was a kit. He placed the pretty graphics onto it and decoupaged it and even added a little lady bug to the top.
It was my Easter Sunday purse.
He even lined it with green velvet and placed a mirror in it as well.
My grandfather died soon after he gave me this.
Then when my grandmother died right before I turned 40, and we were going through her things, I found the graphics that he used to make my purse. I still have them and I will do something with them eventually. I’m thinking of making a pretty tray for my tea.
I know that most people get rid of things but I come from a family that doesn’t.
Me, far left with Dave Longaberger and some other basket enthusiasts in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1994.
When I think of Easter I think of baskets and when I think of baskets I think of the Longaberger baskets. So as I was setting out some of my Longaberger baskets for the upcoming Easter holiday I discovered this photo of Dave Longaberger, the founder of Longaberger baskets, when he came to Hawaii in 1994.
Here are just a few of my many Longaberger baskets. I especially loved the Easter ones. The basket in the photo top right was signed by Dave Longaberger and Jerry Longaberger when I met them in Hawaii. Dave Longaberger is deceased now but his legacy lives on.
You know, if I had to do it over again I would not have gone so hog wild over these baskets. They are beautiful but very expensive. But still a lovely thing to collect.
Me, sitting on the other side of my window that I painted, or maybe through ‘the looking glass? ‘ Sort of? 🙂
Julie and Gordon