Posts Tagged With: Easter

All Things Easter

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I always commit to do too many things on Easter.  Why Easter and no other holidays I’m not entirely sure, but I think it’s because of that extra day when I know I’ll be off.  I keep thinking that I will be able to churn out food in epic proportions. I inevitably fall short.  Except that this year, I didn’t.  Much thanks to Brian, who was willing to chop strawberries, cover cookie sheets in tinfoil, and do all of my dishes multiple times so I never ran out of clean measuring cups.

I made 1 tried and true recipe and 2 new kinds of pie.

The Lemon Meringue is a recipe of Brian’s Grandma Tess, and the filling is divine, tart, and lemony.  I am still working out the meringue on top.  It wants either to sweat, or have a weird layer of candy-flavored water in between the eggs and the filling.  I’m told that Grandma Tess was also never completely happy with the meringue, so I know the struggle is real.  But it’s never not tasty, and taste is all that matters when you’re feeding people who have to love you because you’re related.

Which is why I also experimented with a couple of new pies.  I’ve been looking for a good berry pie recipe for a VERY long time now.  The family could not believe I made this one with frozen berries, and insisted that everyone try it despite whether they wanted pie or not.  Definitely a keeper and worth perfecting.  The third pie I made (I know…) was a fresh strawberry.  That one also turned out to be a hit, though I’m not sure how much I can claim credit for that.  Mother Nature made me some REALLY good strawberries.

As if that wasn’t enough, I also made molasses ginger cookies for Brian’s Grandpa (who requested them), and deviled eggs.

We never got to eat the Lemon Meringue.  I usually hold it in my lap for any drives, to keep the pretty caramelized top from getting mussed.  A slow driver pulled out in front of Brian.  He slammed on the breaks.  The slippery glass pie pan slid out of my hands, hit the dashboard, then the floor, and the filling flew out of its pan and onto the dirty carpet.  When we scooped as much of it as we could back into the dish, it was not only a travesty of a jumble of crumb crust and gelled filling, it was also speckled with little bits of black dirt all through.  Ugh.

I have found, though, that there is nothing like determination in making sure you have a good day.  My dad donated us the ½ of his Mud Pie that his side the family didn’t eat, which I took to my mom’s as a (super-yummy) substitute. I made copious fun of my busted pie, and then I felt alright about it all.  Besides, it wasn’t for nothing.  I learned that cold pie + room temperature egg whites = weird candy water layer between. That will be useful next year, despite not having tasted any of it.  I also learned that I had cooked the mixture right – it all set up to the perfect consistency.  Another tidbit for next time.

In other totally non-related news, I have been going on with the Steering The Craft exercises, and have written an Easter one, which I’m going to post below.  This one was supposed to be a story where the 1st part repeated the 2nd part, and it’s not actually historically accurate at all, so please forgive me.

Easter:

Aradegi took the reed basket down from the niche in the corner of her mud-walled home.  She laid some leaves in the bottom of it, and on top of that she put the eggs she had climbed the trees to get.  One of the birds had swooped down and pecked, but she had managed to put them in her pockets and shimmy back down the rough branches with all of them still intact.  There were six, speckled and green, in her hands when she took them out.  One for each month Eostre would spend in their world.  Perfect.

She kissed the eggs and laid them on the wide green leaves.  She filled the gaps of the basket with flowers. She laid the fresh offering near her door.  Tomorrow, Aradegi would take her basket to the standing stones and watch the dawn rise over the foothills to greet them.  She would offer her basket and Eostre would come and melt the snow.

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Jane took the baskets down from the top shelf of the hall closet, trying not to trip on the haphazard pile of shoes beneath.  In the back, behind the coats, were the plastic shopping bags of pipe cleaner chickens, paper grass, and plastic eggs.  One by one, she cracked the eggs open and filled them with green speckled candies made of malt.

She arranged the things in the bright baskets so that the children would see the toys first thing.  She laid the offering on the coffee table downstairs.  Tomorrow the children would be up at dawn, waking Jane with a jump into her bed, squealing.  They would all go into the living room to see what the Easter Bunny had brought them, and then they would drive to Grandma’s in the snow.

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Holidays

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day here, which is mostly a holiday to drink beer and/or pinch people depending on your age.  I don’t really like beer, nor will I be pinching any of my new workmates, so I think I’ll just celebrate by eating some corned beef and cabbage.  I have been kissed this morning, but not specifically because I’m Irish.  Brian probably needs to do it again until he gets it right.  I am wearing the requisite green, and maybe you could argue that my brown belt is orange-ish for Northern Ireland, where my family is from (yeah, it’s a stretch).

I feel like I’ve been living in holiday world lately.  First it was Pi day, 3/14.  Which, if you really want a reason to binge on pie, is a lot like 3.14, which is the first three digits of the mathematical symbol Pi.  I was listening to the cashier at the grocery store try to explain this to another woman in line, and she was totally unaware.

“Geometry or Algebra?” she said.

“Geometry,” I piped in.  “It’s for calculating circle stuff.”

“Oh.  I’m not good at math,” she said.

“It’s mostly just a great excuse to eat large quantities of pie,” I said.  I didn’t mention that I’m also pretty terrible at math.  I can tell you what Pi is, just don’t ask me to use it for anything.

She laughed.

After Pi Day is the Ides of March.  Which is a holiday to post bad Caesar/stabbing puns.  And today the rivers of Boston are running green.   I’ll wish you a happy Palm Sunday and a happy Spring Solstice this weekend, and next we can all wish each other a happy Easter.

Who ever said there aren’t enough holidays in the world?  You just have to be willing to celebrate the weird ones, I guess.

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Of Cars and Easter

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Brian’s car died last week with a slow whimper.  It won’t go faster than 40 mph, and that’s no good for commuting on the California freeways, even if it wasn’t making that horrible sound between a rumbling and a wheeze.  We bought Brian his car specifically because it’s big enough for him.  He’s 6’5, and has to fold himself into my little compact car.  He gets knee and ankle problems when he has to drive it too much.  This means that I’m the designated chauffeur for both directions of commute.

It’s been nice and it’s been annoying, both.  I like leaving the house with him, trying and always failing to be ready at the same time, and driving along the roads in the quiet morning with my hand on his knee.  I like watching him lean over the railing of the pass that goes over the train in his dark trilby and tie, and seeing his face light up, his hand waving, when he finds my spot in the car in the lot.  Sometimes there are impromptu adventures like the when he suggested we go to the graveyard you can see from the train.  There is a marble serpent in that graveyard, swimming in green grass, and a few mausoleums.  I kept looking for Bod and Silas inside.  But I think their graveyard was a New England graveyard, not a California one.

The drawbacks are that it’s a whole hour earlier than I would need to get up if I were only responsible for getting myself to the office on time.  And although it’s only a few more minutes to zip down the 215 at the end of the day to the Riverside train station, it is just long enough that I get that twinge in my shoulder, that crease between my eyes, and that little bud of impatience in my chest.

I used to tease Brian when we commuted down to Orange County every day together that it was 3 hours of “forced alone time” with his wife.  But I forgot how great that time with no distractions can be.  I missed it, and I’m glad to have it back.  Even at the cost of some of my patience.

We had a lovely Easter this week.  By some miracle, I didn’t over-commit to bringing a thousand things.  I had a very nice Saturday trapped at home while Brian took the car to do some overtime at work.  I made pies with crust from scratch and generally loafed around with the cats.  Sunday morning, we left the house at 9:00 am, visited all the families, and got home about 9:00 pm when we fell into bed.  I had a great excuse to wear my vintage pin of a bouquet of pink flowers and my peter-pan collar shirt.

Highlights of Easter:  Brian attempted to force everyone to play Love Letter with him until my sister’s fellow finally trounced him at it for good (I’m kidding about the “forced,” they had quite a rivalry going).  At my grandfather’s house, twelve grown adults roamed the bushes and fought over bright plastic eggs to find the gold one (which was filled with an extra-fancy scratcher.  My dad found it).    At my mother’s house, she cut the heads off hollow chocolate bunnies to put port inside them… fortunately, she spilled the reddish port all over the place and it looked like some horrible bunny massacre.  A tasty, tasty massacre.

I expect this week to be rather sleepy.  Brian and I are still working our way through the edits on my novel.  I’ve started to draft out the sequel.  Tomatomania is coming to the Botanic Gardens next weekend, so I will have to put some attention into compost, watering strategies, and planting.  A large amount of my time is probably going to be spent keeping cats out of Easter candy, because Jennyanydots is way more devious and crafty than the other two ever have been.   With all of that, and with my duties driving Brian around, let’s hope it all continues as quiet as it’s started.

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Peter Cottontail

I know Easter is long past, but a friend of mine just posted this from our breakfast:

Casey and her Ukulele – Peter Cottontail

I learned to play it the night before, so be kind to me. 🙂

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Easter: 2013

Easter is tomorrow. I always take on too much and spend most of my day baking pies and spinach squares while simultaneously trying to put together a scavenger hunt for a pair of high-schoolers who are probably smarter than I am. I also try (usually unsuccessfully) not to panic. Brian calls it the Annual Easter Freak-Out. I am instructed not to have one ever year, and yet it never works out that way.

This year, I got a reprieve. My sister is bringing desert, Brian is providing an adult hunt that everyone can participate in, and I’m just on the hook for spinach squares and a vegetable. Amazing. Instead of baking all day, I spent most of it learning to play “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” on the ukulele. I bought supplies for spinach squares after 9:00pm, that’s how prepared I am. I made Brian come with me, and we realized in the parking lot that we didn’t have prizes for the hunt winners.

“We’re going to the grocery store. We can just pick up some chocolate bunnies or something, and we’ll be good to go,” I said.

“Or a gift certificate,” said Brian.

“We could do a gift certificate and a chocolate bunny,” I suggested.

“We could do a gift certificate IN a chocolate bunny!”

“What?!”

“See this is what we’ll do,” Brian said. “We’ll break the head off the bunny, shove the gift certificate inside, and then melt the head back on. It will be the best Easter prize ever!”

“Because nothing says Easter like Frankenstein bunnies,” I said.

“EXACTLY!!”

Somehow, I think this is going to be the best Easter ever…

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