Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Recipe BONANZA!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and this is a multi-purpose post. Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and EASTER SUNDAY! We've made it! HALLELUJAH!
                                                             But first... rewind....
 I hope everyone has had a wonderful Good Friday. We usually attend a Good Friday service at our church where we venerate the cross, meaning everyone comes up and usually bows or kneels at the foot of the cross. It's very solemn and serious. But this year we were invited by our friend Barbara to a retirement center. She wanted to have an Easter concert sing-a-long. Hey, we love to be invited anywhere, so we said "sure".
   Then we had to practice. Most of the songs she chose were hymns we'd never heard before. The youtube clips she sent for us to listen to (and practice with) included Tennessee Ernie Ford and Alan Jackson and Johnny Cash. My kids had NO IDEA who these people were. It was a great education in musical history and gospel hymns!
                                  (Is it just me, or is this a hilarious little statue to have in a nursing home?)

 Anyway, we learned a lot of new songs, sang a few from our tradition (like Lord of All Hopefulness). It was great fun and there was a big turn out. Of course, these older folks already knew the hymns, so we hardly needed to lead. Which was good because the little guys were busy looking at the fish tanks and rolling around on the ground. They were there for entertainment value, definitely. At the end we passed out Easter goodies, in tiny pastel boxes. My husband folded them, the girls and I filled them with confetti, and the boys added the candies. Hm, I wonder where there were hardly any leftover candies??

Something I love about the Easter season is finding new ways to share the Easter story with kids. The sacrifice of the cross is not a warm and fuzzy story, but it's powerful. But how to introduce small kids to it in a way that really helps them remember the sacrifice and God's love for them?

 Food, of course! We all love food, and we usually remember a good dish long after a puppet show has faded from our memory. My friend Christalee sent me this link to Resurrection Rolls.

 You take a package of refrigerated crescent dough, roll a marshmallow in melted butter, then in sugar and cinnamon. (The sugar and cinnamon are supposed to symbolize the spices the women were bringing to put on Jesus' body.) You roll up the dough, explaining how they rolled a big heavy stone in front and there were soldiers guarding it. And when the rolls are done, you crack them open, and show them... Ta-DAH! The tomb is empty!

I was wondering a little about the marshmallow melting all over (can you tell I have a very literal child who would wonder why Jesus melted??) and then I realized we could talk about how they only found his linen shroud.
 I also want to make them with PEEPS. (photo above)

The next thing I saw was this awesomely cool Easter egg made out of yarn and a balloon. "Heyyyy, I have yarn and a balloon," I thought. 
I was egged on (haha) by my facebook friends.
 (I am sure they only wanted to see the "nailed it" result but I decided to try it.)
Wellllll, here it is. One bottle of Mod Podge, a skein of pink yarn, and the ruin of one giant green balloon later. It wasn't strong enough to sit upright on a pretty cake platter, so it's resting in a plastic bowl. I already have the giant Easter bunny to go in it bu THE KIDS DO NOT KNOW THIS. They think it might appear there, on Easter Sunday. Or maybe some eggs. They're not quite sure what is going to be in there when they wake up on Sunday morning.
 We'll dye eggs tomorrow and the kids always have a great time... but then we have a bazillion boiled eggs that no one wants to eat. Here's another great recipe for colored deviled eggs. How cute are these?? I'm thinking I'd like a tray of just teal and pink. Or maybe just light green and teal.
 The site's directions are very simple. Basically, proceed as if you're making a normal batch of deviled eggs, but use the leftover dye. (What? you threw it out? Oh, wait... you didn't because you haven't dyed your eggs yet, like me.)

Now you're probably wondering where all the REAL food is, right? (Or not, since we're now the blog that is run completely by people trying NOT TO EAT.) Well, Pioneer Woman Cooks (REEEEEE!!!! I love you!!!!) put up a link to all her Easter recipes EVAH.

You need a ham recipe?
 Here's her glazed Easter ham.

How about the most delicious fruit salad on the planet? I've made this without the vanilla bean and it was just as good!
Or this strawberry sparkle cake! This is what i'm making for my post this next Tuesday. Don't expect it to look anything like this, so feel free to immediately forget this photo. Enjoy it now, but come Tuesday, no LAUGHING when my version is somewhat less beautiful. 

I'll leave you with this steampunk egg by Thierry Atlan, the great chocolatier. Forty pounds, five thousand dollars. Who wants to buy this for my Easter basket??

Have a wonderful Easter everyone! May the joy and blessing of the resurrection touch each and every one of you. As we say in our Easter service, "He is risen! Indeed, He is risen!"


  1. You have covered everything in one post!!!!!! A total win!

    This is just delightful, and how fun to go to the nursing home and hang out, sing, entertain with small children.... I love that idea, Virginia!

    We have a bunch of family in on Easter morning/brunch/lunch, our famous Easter egg hunt, and then the ones with family go off and celebrate with the other side and poor Beth and Jon get stuck with us. Jon's family is in Minnesota, but that means I get to have three funny little boys running amok on Easter afternoon! Three boys and a fountain! (Okay, I don't have a fountain, I do have a very scummy pond right now, desperately needing cleaning. Will that do?)

    Thank you for this post. Fun and lovely!

    1. You know what I love about brining small kids to the nursing home? Older types (like me) feel odd just walking up and touching people, hugging, grabbing hands, etc. I feel like I should respect their personal space. But kids just... walk about and plant themselves right in their arms, against their legs, touching their cheeks, chattering and smiling. They don't give a thought to whether that old person can hear, whether they can speak well, why they're in a wheelchair. They just... act like those older folks are naturally beautiful and touchable.
      I love watching the magic that happens when kids and old people interact, especially older folks who have had strokes and can't speak well. The kids chatter, the older person tries to respond, the kids chatter... nobody really cares that they can't understand each other.
      All the information they need is shown with a loving touch and a smile.

    2. Lol. Not "brining" kids. No pickled kids here!

    3. Exactly. The rules of deportment disappear with pigtails and scraped knees!!!!

  2. If you need any help eating deviled eggs, I'll send DH out that way. He'll eat all of ours and then come out and eat yours, no problem, even if it's a bazillion. I loved that the kids got exposed to that different music. A great Easter post!

    1. We devour them as soon they're made, but it's the plain boiled part that no one loves!
      And I took years of church history when I was working on my religious studies but it was up through about 1190! I still get confused about which branch is from where, and it's so fun to hear about all the modern traditions that are unique to every offshoot. My friend Barbara is a Baptist from Alabama, so even her church hymns can be different from the Baptist church here in Oregon.
      So interesting!

  3. I am totally going to make those coloured devil eggs tomorrow. :-) And oh my -- trip down memory lane with the yarn eggs. I made a bazillion of them way back in the day...but with sugar water as the stiffener. I'd seen it in a magazine and thought it looked cool and my daughter and her friends were underfoot during March break so we gave it a whirl. We used crochet cotton though. I had a laundry line full of these drying Easter eggs. Talk of the street, I tell you. The fun part was popping the balloons once the string was dry. Then we decorated them with eyelet lace and fuzzy pipe cleaner bumble bees and butterflies. Oy, they were such a success that word spread and I had to do them for my daughter's class then her friend's class then Sunday School...all the classes. Then a bunch of us decided it would be a neat gift for all our elderly and shut-in type church members so we made more for them. I was heartily sick of making them by the end of April. LOL. Haven't seen them since -- but here they are resurrected on Easter weekend.

    1. I laughed so hard reading this! Yes, it took a lot of time and this was ONE EGG. And maybe sugar water would work better? A friend on facebook said that she remembered her little brother sucking on all the yarn and she couldn't figure out why hers wouldn't stick, haha!

    2. Kav, we used sugar water, too! I think they were not beautiful, we only did it once, but more over, I think I didn't give it enough time for the project. This was pre-Internet...... What a great idea resurrected, right??? It's going on next year's project list!

  4. What a glorious, dizzy, fun-filled but reverent weekend this is! And all because of the anticipation of celebrating the most glorious event in history :)

    One of my favorite pastors of all time was at a previous church (That's one of the hard parts of moving. We have a lot of "previous" churches.) This wonderful man was from Greece. He taught us that beautiful Easter greeting in Greek, and it's been a tradition in our home ever since:

    Christos Anesti! (Christ has risen!)
    Allethos Anesti! (He has risen, indeed!)

    1. Yes! I knew a Greek Orthodox man from Cyprus when I was in college and we attended services together. They would start their Easter vigil service at midnight and it would go until 4 or 5 AM! And then a big breakfast, with everyone receiving one brightly dyed red egg. I didn't understand much of the service, but the cantoring was beautiful.
      We only use a professional cantor once or twice a year. And one of those times is happening in just a few hours! Easter Vigil service is so beautiful... the birth of the Christian church and when we officially welcome all new members (they can join any time, but Easter Vigil is the big celebration). But this one starts at 7:30Pm and should be over by 10:30. *whew*
      The little kids will probably pass out in there somewhere, but they should be awake for the lighting of the Easter candle. The have a small bonfire in the front, then light the big candle, and then everyone gets their small candle light. We process into the church, in the dark, and hear the Easter readings, starting with "in the beginning". It's beautiful and so powerful!
      And I always worry someone will light their hair on fire.
      Wish us luck!

    2. We had our Vigil last evening, and so beautiful.... We have a brother/sister who cantored the new Exsultet, just gorgeous, with the choir humming in the background, coming in on certain sections. Amazing and prayerful. But here's the funny thing: Right before we began this ancient service, my friend Kay said, "Dave (her husband) was raised in the Byzantine church. And they say "Christ is risen!" and then you would reply, "He is risen indeed!" How funny after not hearing that in decades, to see it twice in one day.

      He is risen!!!!

      And Virginia, Beth brought Elijah, Xavier and Finn last evening. We were done by 9:30 and they made it through the two hours and looked adorable in their tiny Easter suits. :) I love children in church, it's how it always should be. God bless you for all the amazing things you do for your kids. You are an amazing and talented woman and I'm saying that in public!!!! :)

      God bless you all!

    3. LOL, Ruthy. I'm cutting and pasting this, then making it into a meme for my desktop. I'll see it every morning, on waking, and remember that someone thinks I'm "amazing and talented". :D