Happy Spring to YOU!
No design or decorating today — just appreciation of springtime and sunsets!
These lovely little miracles finally popped up in our own back yard and started dancing in the breeze — they stood still long enough for me to take an almost non-blurry picture!
It is my sincerest hope that nothing I ever post on this blog ever comes across as bragging in any way. It is my wish that that the only thing this blog does is spread joy and serve as a reminder to celebrate every moment.
I can clearly recall past Easters where life had not been so kind and we could not fit an Easter Feast into the budget or I had simply lost the ability to celebrate or appreciate much of anything — we just skipped the holidays. Those were very dark days.
The things that I write about in this blog are like a Spring celebration — coming back after a long winter hibernation.
Back to the celebrating! Spring is here again.
This year our dining table converted to spring on the first day of spring.
Overnight on Easter eve, the Easter Bunny did his own special magic and left us Easter treats at each of our place settings.
This year the Easter Bunny left us each our very own Chocolate bunny in a bed of Easter grass.
We also received adorable little foil wrapped chocolate chicks, pink bunnies, and solid chocolate eggs!
There were jelly beans set in silver dishes and lets not forget the Peeps!
He also left us a little silver dish of After Dinner Mints. They are so pretty and pastel and I think I have only ever eaten them at Easter time!
Peggo says it was the best ham she ever made. It was not at all fatty, no bone, no waste, easy to cut, perfect size, easy to cook and easy clean-up. It even came in a festive foil wrapper that had spirals on it. I mention the wrapper because I appreciate the detail.
Our Easter Feast was the above mentioned spiral ham, delicious steamed carrots and red potatoes seasoned with rosemary and thyme.
For dessert we had scrumptious mini eclairs and cream puffs. So so so yummy!
This Easter and every Easter, we always seem to be just a little bit behind schedule and the coloring of the eggs seems to happen on Easter Eve.
We bought 4 dozen for coloring. Is that excessive? I always wonder how many eggs other families color for Easter.
It seems wasteful to use the color for less than 2 dozen, and anything more than 4 dozen and I don’t think we could ever possibly eat them all before they spoil.
We’ll be up to our ears in egg salad as it is!
For our ‘egg party’ we ate warm soft pretzels and jelly beans while we brought out our great storehouse of Easter egg coloring kits.
I have been saving the dippers from Easter egg coloring kits for MANY years now.
We have an egg dipper for every color now (and then some) and it makes the coloring so much easier!
Though many aspect of Easter tuned out picture perfect, there were a few poorly hatched plans that did not quite turn out as expected, and some downright silly substitutions were made.
I had hoped to create one of those lovely pineapple covered hams — the pretty ones with the pineapple rings and maraschino cherry centers.
We kind of forgot about that step, so I had a bunch of pineapple rings with no place to go.
Honestly, the rings turned out way too big for the ham anyway, so it was no real loss, plus now we’ll have fresh pineapple with breakfast for a week!
Our silly substitution this year comes in the form of an onion!
I was hoping to have some fresh flowering bulbs for Easter, but I never got around to buying any.
At the same time, one of our onions decided to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight as our Easter plant.
I swear, just seeing the greens coming out of the bulb makes me feel happy!
We plan to plant it in the garden along with the potatoes that grew eyes and now have mini leaves growing out of them!!
It may still be cold outside, but spring sure is sprouting in our kitchen!
That sums up our Easter celebration! I’m going to go relax on the couch, watch The Ten Commandments and eat my yellow Easter Peep!
I am always up for a cupcake party, and the First Day of Spring is a perfect excuse for one!
We had intended to make these cupcakes as a St Patrick’s Day treat — sort of an end-of -the-rainbow pot-of-gold Leprechaun thing — but the time got away from us and we didn’t make that deadline.
Instead these cupcakes are in celebration of the first day of Spring (even if it does look like Springtime on the North Pole right now outside).
They are Key Lime cake with a cloud of Vanilla frosting swirled high and a candy rainbow on top.
The taste is light and fresh and everything one could hope for in a springtime treat!
We used a Pillsbury box cake mix! *gasp* We didn’t even change anything — we just followed the directions on the box.
I can’t remember where we got this cake mix, but I think it was Walmart or Target — it seems to be a seasonal item that comes and goes throughout the year.
It is delicious. I wish I could claim it as my own recipe!
It’s light and fresh and the key lime flavor is divine.
The rainbows are made from Air Heads Extremes: Sweetly Sour Candy Rainbow Berry.
We picked them up at Walmart — $1.38 for a pack of 20 (just 4 short of the 24 needed for all my cupcakes!).
They taste sour and then sweet.
When combined with the fresh Key lime flavor of the cake and creamy vanilla in the frosting, they add an extra dimension to the flavor — unexpected and simply scrumptious!
The dry cake mix is oddly white, and we thought we were going to have to add food coloring, but as soon as we mixed in the eggs, oil and water, the green color came out — I guess it’s powdered color suspended in the mix.
Warning, this batter is thick and nearly killed our electric hand mixer. The box says to beat the batter for 2 minutes. We were not able to do that so we just used the whisk and a lot of arm power.
It was so thick that it felt like scooping heavy pudding into the cupcake cups!
At that point we thought it was not going to turn out well at all, but thank goodness we were wrong!
When they were cooled we loaded up our pastry bag (more of a pastry tube — like a calking gun for cooking) with Vanilla frosting and swirled on the vanilla ‘cloud’ with a decorative tip.
The Airhead Extremes are a little bit too long straight from the package, so we cut about an inch off of each strip with kitchen sheers.
When the strips are too long, the rainbows tend to warp and topple, so this simple snip solves that problem (and also leaves you with ‘extra’ candy bits for snacking).
We just tucked each end into the creamy cloud to create the rainbow and they held in place beautifully.
The tangy sour taste of the candy complimented the cupcake and frosting very nicely!
And that was that! A perfect light and yummy Key Lime Cuppycake to celebrate the very first day of Spring!
After such a long hard winter, we all deserve a nice springtime treat!
Hip hip Hooray!! It’s finally here!!
If you’ve been following the Countdown to Spring the moment you’ve been anticipating has finally arrived!!
Now if you would so kindly join me in telling Jack Frost to hit the road!!
♫Hit the road Jack, and don’t ya come back no more!♫
It’s not April Fools Day yet, but this certainly seems like a not-very-funny April Fools prank!
Come on…this cannot be real…
With my goal of living in the moment and appreciating, celebrating and being thankful every day, a countdown seems a bit out of place.
It’s like rushing through today to get to tomorrow, and not a very “Enjoy the journey, not the destination” mindset.
However, this cold harsh Winter has me wistfully longing for that sweet, sweet chirping of tree frogs and the sight of the first clusters of Daffodils smiling up at the sun.
I long for a weather forecast that does not include a warning about exactly how many minutes I can be outdoors before my fingers and toes freeze solid and shatter.
So, I’m starting a Countdown to Spring!
With my goal of celebrating and appreciating EVERY day, not just the ones that land on holidays or warm months, I’ll have to find something amazing about each remaining day of Winter.
Today should be easy, because it is Chinese New Year! Pictures and a fresh blog about that are on their way as we speak!
Happy Chinese New Year!