Dying Easter Eggs
This year the girls wanted to try some new ways of dying Easter eggs. They found an idea on YouTube about taking white rice and putting it in a paper bag.
Add some food dye and mix it up.
Select a hard-boiled egg that is completely dry.
Drop the egg into the bag and shake it.
The dye and rice will color the egg.
The pattern is random and different than dye that completely covers an egg.
The girls also dyed eggs the traditional way. We put 1 cup of boiling water in a mug with 1 teaspoon of vinegar and food dye.
For a couple of the eggs, Sophia used rubber bands to cover the egg so that the egg would stay white where the band were placed.
Eenie, the cat, wanted to watch the egg dying process.
The girls checked on the eggs to see how dark they were getting.
They waited patiently until the eggs were the color they wanted.
Sophia and Olivia also used a white crayon to make designs on some of the eggs.
After they drew on the designs, the eggs were put in the dye.
It was nice to see them still want to dye eggs...a tradition we've done since the girls were very young.
By the time the girls were done, they had a variety of eggs that were decorated in different ways.
They had a fun time decorating eggs this year.
Make and Frost Sugar Cookies
We saw the cookie cutters when we were unpacking the Easter bin. The girls said, "We used to make cookies all the time." And we did. Not sure why we stopped making cut-out cookies around the holidays.
At any rate, Sophia found a good sugar cookie recipe on All Recipes. She mixed the dough together while Cooper looked on. He brought "Blue" (the sock monkey) with the hopes of getting a cookie-dough treat.
Sophia rolled out the dough and cut out the cookies using a variety of Easter-theme cutters. Didn't realize how many cookie cutters we had.
Olivia helped with the frosting and decorating of the cookies. Needless to say, the dogs were interested in this process and hoping for food to fall to the ground.
Olivia enjoyed the decorating part of cookie-making.
We had cookies in several colors.
We used sprinkles and decorations we had on hand.
Towards the end, we had a lot of blue cookies. For some reason, the girls made a lot of blue frosting.
The cookies were delicious. Between the cookie recipe and almond-flavored powdered sugar frosting, they were a flavorful dessert.
Here's something we didn't expect for Easter: lots of snow. Last year, we were enjoying warm weather at Easter. No coats and Spring-like clothing could we worn comfortably.
This year, we had almost six inches of snow on Saturday...the day before Easter. The roads also were covered with ice since we had rain and sleet that fell before the snow.
Olivia did some shoveling in the morning so that the little dogs could go outside to go the bathroom and wouldn't be struggling with the snow.
She also shoveled around the car so that we could get in the car and I could take her and Sophia to the salon. Olivia had a massage to help the sore muscles she has due to gymnastics. Sophia had her eyebrows waxed.
We did some other errands while we were out which was fun. Sometimes just doing everyday things together - the simple things - is enough. Spending time together as a family is important...and when we enjoy doing errands - like picking up the vacuum cleaner from the repair shop, going to Target, or going to the post office - it makes them all the more pleasant to do.
One of the recipes I tried this year was Egg, Ham, and Spinach Hash Brown Casserole that I saw on a pin on Pinterest which led to The Joyful Kitchen. It is a dense casserole that's very tasty. I didn't add the ham and it turned out fine.
Egg, Ham, and Spinach Hash Brown Casserole
3 large russet potatoes (or frozen hash browns which I used)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 – 2 cloves minced garlic
1 c. diced ham
1/2 bag (6 – 7 oz.) fresh spinach
1 c. shredded colby jack cheese (or the shredded cheese of your choice)
4 – 5 large eggs
1 c. milk or cream
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 360° F. If using frozen hash browns, cook according to package instructions. If using fresh potatoes, peel, wash, and grate potatoes. Add olive oil to a large skillet over med-high heat. Place grated potatoes in an even layer in skillet. Cook until browned on one side, then flip and cook on the remaining side until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
Place hash browns in a sprayed 3 quart, rectangle baking dish. Return skillet to heat.
Turn heat down to medium. Add onion and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes. Add spinach and ham, and continue cooking until spinach wilts. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the hash browns. On top of that, spread the onion spinach mixture in an even layer, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk (or cream) together. Season with salt and pepper, then slowly pour the egg mixture over the casserole so that everything is evenly covered.
Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown, and the egg is completely cooked. Let cool 5 – 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Something that we have never seen before this year are groups of eagles that are flying together. We often see a single eagle flying or sitting on a tree limb. Never have we seen four eagles like we did on the Saturday before Easter.
It was breathtaking to watch them circle and fly together. There seemed to be two pairs - not four individual birds hanging out together.
I was looking for a recipe that was Whole30 compliant and came across one for Deviled Avocado Eggs. Found one on Pinterest that led to To Simply Inspire.
The avocado is a substitute for Miracle Whip or mayonnaise. The deviled eggs taste like they are filled with guacamole rather than the traditional filling. This is a tasty recipe. However, I prefer the traditional deviled eggs (as does Sophia).
Deviled Avocado Eggs
3 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
1 large avocado
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp cilantro
Pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper
Sprinkle with paprika, optional
Remove the cooked yolks from the hard boiled eggs into a bowl. Add the avocado to the bowl next.
Then add the remaining ingredients and mash together well with a fork.
Add the mixture to the egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.
One of the things that the girls wanted to try was a charcoal face mask. So, on Saturday afternoon, we all did a charcoal face mask.
It takes a while for the mask to dry. They aren't smiling because as the mask dries, it tightens and you can barely talk or move your mouth. It's like forced quiet time.
When it is dry, it pulls off. Now, if you have the skin of a 15 or 17 year old, the mask comes off a bit more easily. It is significantly less painful than pulling off the mask from a 51 year old's face. There's a video that I watched that I still laugh at because it captures the feeling of removing the mask from my face.
At the time I thought the woman was over-reacting. Having gone through the charcoal-mask-removal-process, I know that she's not. It is that painful. Your skin, though, is really soft afterwards. Probably because it pulled off at least the top two layers of skin.
Easter Baskets and Gifts from the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny brings some gifts for everyone each year. In addition to some candies, there are practical items: a new shirt, coffee, shampoo, and beef sticks.
Sophia got some treats like a new piece of jewelry, a gift card to Starbucks, nail polish, and lip gloss.
Olivia got a new shirt that glows in the dark, Goldfish crackers, a bracelet, and gift card to Starbucks.
I got a new type of conditioner, glue sticks (for making window stars), eye shadow, and face mask.
One of the hits this year in terms of desserts were Bunny Cupcakes with a BUTTERFINGER® Surprise Inside. The idea came from a pin on Pinterest that led to Suburban Simplicity.
24 vanilla cupcakes (homemade or semi-homemade - I used a vanilla cake mix)
24 ounces fluffy white frosting (I made a homemade vanilla frosting using a recipe from Wilton's)
24 candy eyeballs
24 small pink candies
1 10 ounce bag BUTTERFINGER® NestEggs
- 24 regular size marshmallows
- Pink sprinkles
Make cupcakes according to package instructions. Once the cupcakes are cooled, hollow out the center with a small spoon or melon baller for the surprise.
Place a BUTTERFINGER® NestEgg inside. Add a few sprinkles if desired.
Frost your cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting.
Place two marshmallow ears on top of the frosting. (Bunny ears are made by cutting a standard size marshmallow in half on the diagonal with a kitchen shears. Add pink sprinkles to the sticky side.)
Place a pink candy for a nose and two candy eyes above the nose to finish the bunny face.
Adults and kids liked the Bunny Cupcakes. My sister (below) was intrigued with how the cupcakes were made and liked the surprise in the inside of the cupcake.
I saw a pin on Pinterest for Rice Krispie Nests. The pin led to Crafty Morning. The recipe for the Rice Krispie bars results in a rather hard bar/nest. I'm used to bars that are more sticky and soft (by adding more butter and marshmallows).
The flip side is that the mixture forms into nests quite well. They would be, in my opinion, more of a decoration than something edible. Found out that no one in my family; and none of my nephews or nieces, brother, or sister are big fans of Rice Krispie bars. So, this isn't something I would make again.
Rice Krispie Nests
3 T butter
1 10 oz bag of marshmallows
6 cups of crisp rice (or rice krispies)
Edible Grass or coconut dyed green (I did the dyed coconut)
Robins egg candies
Melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the marshmallows. Continue stirring until completely melted. Pour the mixture over the crisp rice cereal and stir until well combined.
Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and shape the nests. The girls used their hands or the back of a spoon.
Let the Rice Krispies cool in the pan, remove then, and decorate. Fill with colored coconut and the robins eggs candies.
I made a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Brunch Ring that I saw on a pin on Pinterest that led to Pillsbury. Sophia and I enjoyed this and would have it again. There are 8 crescent rolls used for the recipe - so there are about 8 servings.
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Brunch Ring
4 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper, if desired
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
1 cup Old El Paso™ Thick 'n Chunky salsa, if desired
Heat oven to 375°F. Line large cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat about 4 minutes or until cooked but not crisp, turning once. (It will continue to cook in oven.) Set bacon aside; drain all except 2 teaspoons bacon drippings from skillet.
In medium bowl, beat 1/3 cup of the milk, the eggs, salt and pepper with fork or whisk until well mixed. Stir in bell pepper. Pour egg mixture into skillet. As mixture heats, portions of eggs will begin to set. Gently push cooked portions with metal spatula to outside edge of skillet. Avoid stirring constantly. As more egg sets, push it to the edge and place it on top of the already set egg mixture. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist.
Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. On parchment-lined cookie sheet, arrange triangles with shortest sides toward center, overlapping in star shape and leaving 4-inch round circle open in center (see diagram). Crescent dough points may hang over edge of cookie sheet. Press overlapping dough to flatten.
Place bacon on each of the triangles. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese onto widest part of dough. Spoon eggs over cheese. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese. Pull points of triangles over eggs and cheese, and tuck under dough to form ring (filling will be visible). Carefully brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon milk; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup cheese.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 2 minutes. With broad spatula, carefully loosen ring from cookie sheet; slide onto serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and salsa.
In addition to the breakfast ring, I also made plain crescent rolls for those who didn't want eggs with their roll.
For fruit, I cut up fruit and arranged it in an egg shape. The idea came from a pin on Pinterest. The pin leads to a unsafe website. I just looked at the pin for how to make it. I modified some of the fruit that was used based on what the girls like. In the original recipe, the ingredients are:
Red grapes (I used green grapes since Olivia doesn't like red grapes)
Kiwi (I used green grapes since kiwi wasn't in stock at the grocery store)
Arrange the fruit in an egg shape on a platter.
It is a simple way to encourage everyone to eat some fruit along with their breakfast.
We went to the 8:00 a.m. service this year. It was rather ambitious getting up and out by 7:45 a.m. given that I made breakfast and we ate it before leaving.
It was a nice service and the altar had a beautiful display of flowers.
I enjoyed listening to the music - organ, violins, piano, and choral.
Easter Dinner at My Brother's Home
My brother had a nice meal prepared for us all: roast beef, carrots, potatoes, and cheesy potatoes.
He also made coleslaw and cucumbers.
There was a table of potato chips, dip, fresh vegetables, deviled eggs, and lemonade for before and during the meal.
The kids ate together at one table.
The adults ate together at another table.
After dinner, my brother brought out a couple of guns for Olivia to get practice on before taking her firearms safety test and doing the field day on April 28th.
We were grateful that he is loaning us a couple of guns since we don't have ones she will be tested on and needs to be comfortable with on the field day.
The grandfather to the girls' cousins was there and he is a hunter, so he provided some tips about stance and holding a gun.
The cousins - all of whom are comfortable with handling guns - showed Olivia how to load a rifle so that she can do some target practicing at home.
They suggested setting up some water-filled plastic bottles or putting up a couple of bales of straw and putting a target on it.
This was definitely not a typical way that we spend Easter, but it was good for Olivia to start getting prepared for her test. She's super eager to begin trap shooting this summer through 4-H. Who knows...this could become a new hobby and interest for her during her high school years.