Easter Memories

I can’t believe that we are at the end of March and preparing for Easter weekend again! Last year 3 of my 4 kiddos were able to be with us for Easter. It was a special time with all three of the grands together for the first time! This year I will have only 2 of them plus a sweet daughter-in-law and 2 of the grands.

Recently I found a few pictures taken during my college days…senior year to be exact. I was a Home Economics major, and at the time, we had to spend 6 weeks in the Home Economics Residence. I happened to be assigned during the spring…including Easter. This picture was taken on Easter Sunday 36 years ago! I have been able to reconnect with 2 of my housemates through social media! We all got along very well and have lots of happy memories of those 6 weeks!

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If you’ve been ready this blog for any length of time, you will know that I got my love of baking from my dear mother. I also was the recipient of many of her small kitchen gadgets when she decided she needed to give up her own kitchen. I know that kitchen gadgets are not meant to last very long. They are items we often receive as gifts for bridal showers and are often replaced before too many years of marriage have passed. However, I do still happen to have a few items that belonged to my mother years ago. They were very well made way back then (early 1970s) and have withstood the test of time. Mom bought these two particular items from a very dear friend of hers who was a school teacher during the year, but needed work during the summer. At least one summer she sold kitchen items…Pampered Chef, perhaps?  I have no idea what company made these amazing tools, but they have lasted and lasted and lasted…like the Energizer Bunny, maybe? It is time for me to replace them, though, because they are finally wearing out. You can see the crack in the spatula to the left and the broken handle on the one on the right.

IMG_2831 For several years, our Easter dessert has been pavlova. This year will be no different! I have all the ingredients written on my grocery list! You can find the recipe here. Be sure to give it a try! Your family will love it!

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Resurrection Cookies

Easter is finally here!  After such a long and hard winter for most of the country, and spring teasing us for several weeks, it is nice to be able to enjoy the season, remembering what was done on the cross for us.

If you have young children in your home, you might enjoy making these cookies with them as you teach them about the Resurrection.  One of my favorite verses about the Easter season is “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen.”  (Luke 24:5-6)   This recipe is a great way to help them understand the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

 

Leighann over at Four Hobbits and a Giant shared this recipe. You can find it here.

Strawberry Pretzel Dessert

This past weekend was a busy time for my sweet sister and her family.  Her 3rd child  (1st son) got married!!

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I was very excited to be able to be a part of all the festivities since the wedding was here and not out west where Anna is from!  My sister asked me to make a strawberry pretzel dessert for the bridal luncheon held on Friday.  Years ago I used to make this dessert, but somehow over time, I lost the recipe and then just forgot about it.  I am so glad to have the recipe again!  My family loves this three-layer dessert. It is a great recipe to let children help with. Any child will love getting to crush pretzels with a rolling pin!  It makes a wonderful dessert to serve with your Easter dinner!

Bottom Layer:

2 cups crushed pretzels

1 stick butter

3/4 c. powdered sugar

Middle Layer:

12 oz whipped topping, softened (not frozen)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature

3/4 c. powdered sugar

Top Layer:

6 oz strawberry gelatin

1 lb. container of fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced

I put the pretzels in a zip-close plastic bag and used my marble rolling pin to coarsly crush them, continuing until I had 2 cups.  Melt butter and powdered sugar in the microwave. Mix with the pretzels and spread in a  sprayed 13×9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.  Cool.

In a large bowl, mix gelatin with 2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add sliced strawberries and chill.  Do not let it congeal completely!!  It just needs to be cooled.

While gelatin is cooling, blend cream cheese, whipped topping and powdered sugar until completely blended. When pretzel layer is cooled (room temp) spread the cream cheese layer over it making sure to seal the sides so that the gelatin doesn’t get underneath.

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Gently pour gelatin over the top of the cream cheese mixture, using a spoon to arrange the strawberry slices.  Refrigerate until completely set. Cut into squares to serve.   If desired, add blackberries or blueberries to the strawberries!

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Chinese Carrots and Easter Memories

It is hard for me to believe that Easter weekend is here again.  So much has happened in my family that the year has just flown by.  In just a few weeks we will be celebrating our 2nd birthday here on the blog!!

One of my special memories of Easter includes my mom.  Each Easter morning she would greet us with the sentence, “He is risen!”  We would reply, “He is risen indeed!”  Sometimes, as we got older, we would try to say “He is risen” before she did, but she was pretty quick…it was hard to beat her to it!  I am so thankful for my godly mom and for her teaching me of Christ, the risen Savior.

My Russ left on Tuesday for BMT in San Antonio.  He has made it through the first 4 days, known as Week Zero.  Since we’ve not heard from him, we can assume that all is well.  Only 8 more weeks to go!  On Thursday,while I was bemoaning the fact that this will be my first Easter without all my kidlets around my dinner table, I received a call from my Knob.  As an award for a recent achievement at The Citadel, 3rd Battalion was given the weekend off!!!  This meant that Ben would be home for Easter!!  He and one of his buddies, Joshua, drove up yesterday!  So even though I won’t have my girl and my Airman here, I will have my Sam and my Knob…plus an extra Knob and Russ’s girlfriend.   Those not here will be greatly missed, but I am thankful for those who will be here.

Today I was very thankful for my Kitchen Aid mixer that Barbi gave me for my birthday last summer.  It was used a lot today!!  This morning I made waffles for the family for breakfast.  Then I used it to mix up my weekly batch of sour dough bread.  I decided to make Pavlova for our Easter dessert, so I used it to whip up the egg whites.  And finally, I used it tonight to grate the carrots I need for a favorite side dish, Chinese Carrots! My mixer certainly made my life easier today!

I have no idea why this dish is called Chinese.  I just know that my hubby absolutely loves it!  And other than the time it takes to peel and grate the carrots, it is a pretty easy recipe to make.

2 lb carrots

1 stick butter, cut up

black pepper to taste

Peel and grate the carrots.  In a large sauce pan,  put about 1/4 of the butter.  Place about 1/4 of the carrots on top of the butter; sprinkle with black pepper.  Repeat layers until all the butter and carrots are in the pot.  Place over medium heat.  Cook carrots, stirring frequently, until tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Pavlova–an Easter Dessert

I love the Easter season!  The time given to meditating on what was accomplished on my behalf is such a blessing!!  It seemed like it would never get here this year, since it was about as late in the year as it can ever be!!  Since a friend gave me some delicious strawberries the other day, I just knew that Sunday’s dessert had to be Pavlova.  My sister introduced me to Pavlova after she spent some time in Northern Ireland.  This particular recipe came from another friend from that part of the world.  It is a melt-in-your-mouth type of dessert that leaves you wanting more!

6 egg whites

1-1/2 c. sugar

3 heaping tsp. corn starch

1-1/2 tsp. white vinegar

Strawberries, halved

Chocolate sprinkles or shaved chocolate

Beat the egg whites until stiff and peaks form.  Add the sugar gradually and continue beating.  Add cornstarch and vinegar slowly and continue beating until all is mixed well.

Prepare pan:  use either a pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Measure a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  Spray oil on one side of the wax paper.  Dampen the cookie sheet and lay the wax paper, oiled side up, on the cookie sheet.  Spread the pavlova on the sheet in the middle and to within 1/2 of the edge.  Keep the top as smooth as possible.  The pavlova can be up to 2 inches thick depending on the size of your pan.  Bake for an hour and 15 minutes at 250 degrees.  Let cool completely.

Put a plate over the pavlova and gently turn it upside down. Peel off the wax paper.  Cover the pavlova with whipped cream.  Sprinkle with chocolate and place strawberries on top.  Serves 12.

Other fruits such as blueberries; kiwi; or mandarins can also be used.

Hope you have enjoyed the recipes that we’ve posted here.  Sunday, May 1, is our first anniversary!  We are pretty busy here in the Gardner household with 2 graduations coming up, but we’ll try to post something special for our one-year anniversary!

Potato Easter Egg Candy

Spring has finally arrived, and Easter is just around the corner.  We didn’t always have lots Easter candy when my children were small, but it is fun to have  a little. I was reminded the other day that Easter is the last candy holiday until Halloween!  This fun recipe helps to satisfy the sweet tooth of your favorite little (and maybe not-so-little) person in your life!  This is a modified version of one found in my 2007 Best of Country Cooking cookbook.

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 c. cold mashed potatoes, prepared without adding milk butter or salt

2 lb. confectioners’ sugar

1-1/2 c. flaked coconut

1 tsp. flavoring (vanilla; coconut; almond or whatever you like)

1 lb. chocolate candy coating

colored sprinkles of various types

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter.  Beat in mashed potatoes. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating smooth in between additions. Add coconut and flavoring; mix well.  Shape into 1-inch ovals (egg shapes); place on baking sheets and refrigerate 4-6 hours or over night.

Melt candy coating in microwave according to pkg. directions. Dip ovals into coating.  Place on waxed paper. Decorate with sprinkles.  Let stand until set. You may cool in the fridge for about 10 minutes.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Makes about 9 dozen.   I made mine a bit bigger, so I ended up with about 4-1/2 dozen.