Sunday, March 27, 2016

Celebrating Easter - 2016

This year for Easter we are celebrating it at our farm. Throughout the years, we have had Easter dinner at my parents' home, my sister's home, and mine. 

Olivia and Sophia decorating Easter eggs before Easter.

We've done a variety of activities on Easter: breakfast at church, watching the girls sing and/or play the piano as part of the children's choir, done Easter egg hunts, had visits from the Easter Bunny complete with leaving out carrots the night before for him, and hosted meals for family.

Healthy Easter baskets.

This year marks the first year that both my parents are no longer alive. Easter (and Christmas) were very important holidays to them and there was a lot of spiritual and cultural activities that we did. It feels different this year...less celebratory. Less joyful. Just a feeling of sadness and missing both of them.

The girls are ready for breakfast.
The Easter eggs are ones they decorated.

However, grief takes a backstage - when it comes to holidays. The expectation is that life goes on. And it does. Just in a different way. 

So, I continue to try to make meals special on holidays because that's what my mom would have done. 

We had Flaky Egg Bake for breakfast as well as bacon and fresh pineapple. The recipe for the egg bake is one that I clipped from a Taste of Home magazine in 2011 and have wanted to make for many years. This year I made it for Easter. I found the recipe online and pinned it on Pinterest. It was good. However, I wouldn't make it again. I like other egg bakes that I've made better.

A blurry picture of the Flaky Egg Bake.


3/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
6 large eggs, divided
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Havarti cheese (I used mild cheddar cheese)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 cup butter, melted
30 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)


Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook sausage, mushrooms, onion and peppers over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Return sausage mixture to skillet. Whisk five eggs; add to skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until set; stir in Havarti cheese. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, basil and remaining egg. Brush a 13"x9" baking pan with butter. Unroll phyllo dough; trim to fit into pan.

Layer 10 sheets in prepared pan, brushing each sheet with butter. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Top with half of the sausage mixture.

Layer with 10 additional phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter; spread with ricotta mixture. Layer with five phyllo sheets, brushing again with butter; top with remaining sausage mixture. Layer with remaining phyllo and butter. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 rectangles. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked casserole for up to 3 months. To use, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.

Yield: 12 servings.

DINNER (2:00 P.M.)

This year for Easter dinner, I made:
- Ham with Cloves
- Cheesy Potatoes
- Carrots
- Asparagus
- Buttermilk Biscuits
- Banana Bread
- Coleslaw
- Frozen Lime Butter Mint Salad
- Easter Lamb Cake
- Easter Surprise Cupcakes

I tried several new recipes this year which I enjoyed doing.

Cheesy Potatoes


Buttermilk Biscuits




Easter Surprise Cupcakes

Another dessert we made this year were surprise cupcakes. I saw the pin on Pinterest, and wanted to try them. They led to Tablespoon.

We made cupcakes using a yellow cake mix, and followed the directions on the box for baking temperature and time.

Once the cupcakes were cool, we used a melon baller to scoop out the center of each cupcake (about one inch deep). We filled each one with one heaping teaspoonful of candies and Easter-theme sprinkles.

Rather than topping the cupcakes with green frosting from the store and a yellow Peep, we made homemade frosting and candy bunny feet. For the tail, we used an extra ball of frosting and topped it with shaved sugar.

Sharlee opening the cupcakes.

These cupcakes were a huge hit. Because no one knew what was on the inside, it was a fun surprise to open them. Everyone wanted to know how they were made. We'll definitely make these again.


A few recipes were ones that I made before that most everyone enjoys.

Grandma Olive's Banana Bread


1/2 cup butter, softened (I used dairy-free butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional...I didn't use them)


Cream butter and sugar in bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs; mix well. Sift in flour and soda. Stir in bananas and pecans. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack.


The Frozen Lime Butter Mint Salad is one that I've made before that my dad thoroughly liked and requested several times. I found a similar recipe online and pinned it. The pin leads to

Frozen Lime Butter Mint Salad


2 (13 ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 (3 ounce) package lime Jell-O gelatin
1 (10 1/2 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
7 ounces butter mints, shaved
1 pint whipping cream (or 2 envelopes Dream Whip )


Mix undrained pineapple with dry Jell-O. Fold in mini-marshmallows. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.

Next day, add shaved butter mints and whipping cream/Dream Whip. Pour into a 9"x13" pan and freeze.

Note: I mixed everything together at one time and froze it overnight.


Easter Lamb Cake

For many years, we have been making a lamb cake. This year, I saw a cute pin on Pinterest of a lamb cake that was decorated with flowers. So, we made the cake as usual using one box of cake mix. The two sections of the cake are "glued" together with frosting.

The eyes and nose are jellybeans, and the lamb normally has a ribbon around her neck.

She sits on a bed of green coconut grass with jellybeans (to represent flowers).

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to finish decorating the lamb cake since the other recipes collectively took longer than anticipated. It still tasted great...just didn't look like a lamb or much of anything except a blob of white-frosted cake.

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