Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Monday - a reason to celebrate

Easter, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, means tradition. These are the days when we pull out the favorite family recipes - gussied up a little, maybe, or tweaked with new methods or ingredients - but still the favorites.

Easter Sunday when I was growing up was always a busy, busy, busy day. My Dad was a pastor, so not only did we have the usual round of Easter pictures, brunch at church, making sure Mom and I both had our matching pairs of white gloves, and praying that April showers would pass by this day, all the usual Sunday things had to happen, too. Dad polishing his sermon in the early morning hours, Mom making sure she had practiced the prelude, offertory and postlude (yes, she was our organist all the way through my growing up years), and my brother and I arguing...all the usual stuff!

But somehow, I remember having big Easter Sunday dinners after we got home from church. Once I was grown and married with my own children, I found myself wondering how Mom did it. I know she got a lot of help from Dad, and I'm sure my brother and I were drafted for table-setting duties, but how did she put Easter dinner on the table?

It's still a mystery.

I know we had ham for dinner most years, or maybe turkey, chicken, or a beef roast. Potatoes, of course. Bread, a green vegetable, pickles (sweet, dill, olives, sometimes pickled beets), and...wait for it...Asparagus Casserole!!!!

I haven't eaten this casserole in years. My dear husband (aka the asparagus hater) won't even let me talk about it.

I forgot to mention, it also had hard-boiled eggs in it, and those are on his list, too. Right up there with asparagus.

Since I haven't made it, and don't have the recipe, I have to guess what's in it. Now keep in mind, this list of ingredients has been plucked from my memory, and the recipe has to be at least sixty-five years old (I'm not that old - only the recipe)! I'm not even sure you can still buy some of these ingredients...

Asparagus Casserole


2 cans cut asparagus
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 cup toasted bread cubes (croutons)
1 can cream of asparagus soup

Mix everything together, reserving a few hard-boiled egg slices and croutons, and put in a casserole dish (use the teal colored pyrex - the round one with the clear lid). Decorate the top with the reserved egg slices and croutons.

Bake uncovered in a medium oven (about 350°) for an hour or so. It should fit in the oven on the rack next to the ham.

Sorry, no pictures. I'm not allowed to make it, remember? If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

But Easter is about so much more than food.

A year ago yesterday, we celebrated my mom's life at her funeral.

If you remember, losing her was a decade-long goodbye as Alzheimer's disease stole her from us a little bit at a time. And the funeral was a bittersweet end to that farewell.

But Easter, Resurrection Sunday, is a reminder for all of us that death is not the end. It's another beginning. It isn't a time to look back - it's a time to look forward into the misty reaches of eternity.

So while I remembered my mom this Easter, and the miracle Easter dinners she somehow fixed for us, I know she is singing the song of the ages in the presence of her Savior.


  1. Easter is a beautiful time of remembrance. I'm so glad you brought that up, Jan. What better time to heal... and be healed!.... than when we celebrate an empty tomb?

    We made lamb this year for the first time. I decided we needed an old/new tradition and when I was little my Grandpa Jack Logan would drop off food... and at Easter time there was often a leg of lamb or a fresh ham. Dave had never had lamb and wasn't keen on it and it was expensive... so I let that slide, but yesterday we did lamb chops I found at Sam's for a crazy reasonable price, and a memory was restored. Of grandpa and his generosity and kind heart.

    Now the eggs in this soup are a strange addition. I don't like hard cooked eggs, so that's out, but I love asparagus soup, and what an easy way to make it, using the cans and combining! We've tried freezing asparagus and it's awfully stringy, so we usually just enjoy it in season, but this sounds good... minus the eggs! Happy Easter Jan and everyone!

    1. Yesterday morning as I was planning our Easter dinner (yes, I know that's WAY too late! but there I was....), the thought going through my head was, "I should have gotten some of that lamb when I saw it on sale at Sams!"

      I love lamb, but you're right, it's usually crazy expensive. And why? We have a LOT of sheep ranchers around here, but the lamb in the stores is usually imported from New Zealand. And yes, the ranchers are working to change that.

      No eggs in the asparagus casserole? Watch out, Ruthy. You're messin' with tradition! :)

  2. I realized too late there was no asparagus on the table yesterday. Whaa. Well, I can make up for it.

    I love Easter more than any other Christian service. It's why we are Christians. If they got rid of Christmas, I'm good but I loved reading every devotional, looking at every meme I could this Holy Week.

    My mom was the head of the altar guide at church so I have always connected flowers with worship. She would be setting up displays and arrangements Saturday and Sunday...and yes cooking too.

    Bless you this Easter Monday and thanks for the memories.

    1. The resurrection is the heart of the gospel, isn't it? You're right - if we never celebrated Christmas, our faith would still be intact. But without Easter... well, Paul said it all in 1 Corinthians 13. :)

      It sounds like your mom was as busy as mine was at Easter! After our own busy weekends, I hope we gave our children a little bit of that wonder of how we "did it all" too.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Jan. And also a perfect Easter message.

    I love this casserole! It's one my dad used to make for Thanksgiving. He preferred it over broccoli or green bean casserole. So our family had this often! :)

    1. I also meant to add that I'm pretty sure my dad uses cream of mushroom soup. Or cream of chicken. I'll have to go see if I have that recipe written down anywhere.

    2. Also meant to say that I was telling my daughter on Saturday about going out each Easter with my mom and sister to shop for our white gloves, patent leather shoes and purses!

    3. And hats! Don't forget your Easter hat!

      I'm glad you've heard of this casserole, Missy! That proves I didn't make it up! I might just be dreaming about the cream of asparagus soup...but I think I remember my mom having to substitute cream of celery one year because they stopped making the asparagus version.

    4. Oh, yes! The white straw hat with a ribbon! :)

  4. Lovely bit of Easter nostalgia going on at the café today. You're so right, Jan, about Easter being a comforting time to remember our loved ones who have passed. I know it the rest of the year, but somehow it brings so much more hope at Easter and I can really connect it with the people I have loved.

    1. That's exactly it, Kav. We have a reason for our hope :)