Trying to figure out how to have an Easter that doesn’t involve jelly beans and other processed junk? There are so many ways to enjoy the holidays that don’t revolve around candy (even if advertising tries to tell you that it does).
Look at the beautiful eggs you can create. Paas has nothing on these.
BLUE: We filled a small pot with blueberries and put in enough water to cover them. We let them simmer for a while and mashed the blueberries until the water turned blue. Then we strained the blue water into a bowl and added a splash of white vinegar. We put our hard-boiled eggs in to sit for a few minutes and they came out a beautiful shade of blue!
YELLOW: We boiled a small bowl of water in the microwave and then dumped in about half of a bottle of turmeric. We stirred until it dissolved and added a splash of vinegar. Let the eggs set and they turned a vivid shade of yellow. (You could take them out earlier if you want a pastel yellow.)
GREEN: We tried in vain to dye the eggs with spinach until my son pointed out that we had yellow and blue that we could just mix together. So, we dipped the eggs in blue and then in yellow. It produced a pretty mottled green.
PINK: Those pale orange ones were supposed to be pink. I tried boiling beet stalks, but they didn’t produce enough color. I think you need to use the actual beet, but we had already eaten those. :) So, the orange is from the light pink beet water mixed with a little paprika. (We’ll have to experiment more next year to find the right way to get that color.) ** We plan to use the whole beet this year to get a more vivid color. **
One of my favorite things to make for holidays is a cheeseball. For Easter, we make it into a bunny.
I could eat that whole bunny in one sitting. This cheese ball recipe is super simple and it is so much fun to decorate. Be creative with what you have on hand! (It has also been made into a turkey for thanksgiving.)
1 pkg cream cheese
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
about 1/4 of an onion, chopped (red works best)
splash or two of soy sauce (this is my secret ingredient to give it that nice smokey flavor)
Combine all in a food processor and blend until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator (or 30 minutes in the freezer) and then decorate and serve. I used red bell pepper for the nose, almonds for the teeth and eyes and dates for the ears.
My son added the little “peep” signs so that people would know that they were supposed to be chicks. (Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.)
And no Easter would be complete without some carrot cake. (The colored frosting on there is not 100% unprocessed. I’m going to experiment with more natural decorations this year. I was using up my food coloring. :) )
Carrot Cake (don’t save this recipe just for Easter!)
** This recipe made two cakes – I frosted one and we had another unfrosted one that was a perfect treat to add to the lunchboxes. **
adapted slightly from a recipe found here
2 cups evaporated cane juice (or sugar/sweetener of choice)**
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 packed cups grated carrot
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice (drained as well as possible)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 pkg cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 cups confectioner’s sugar (add until desired consistency – I like a thick, less sweet frosting, so I use less)
Combine first 5 ingredients in mixer bowl. Stir in the pineapple, carrots and coconut. Whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then combine with the wet ingredients. Pour into two greased 9 inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 40 minutes).
To make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a mixer with the wire whisk attachment. Whip until fluffy.
The original recipe said that this makes about 15 servings, but we got about 15 slices out of just one of the 2 cakes it made. You really only need a small slice of this cake to feel satisfied.
** I’m not sure how liquid sweeteners would work out here. If you want to try honey or maple syrup, you might want to only use that for part of the sugar (and decrease the amount of buttermilk you use). If anyone experiments with this, please let me know how it turns out!