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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Improvisations

So, Easter somehow or another crept up on me this year. I managed to get some cute things for the kids' baskets while they were at a birthday party, but I didn't buy actual baskets until the Saturday before the big day. When I inquired at the grocery store where I was buying the fixings for our Easter feast if they had any egg dyeing kits I was met with an amused laugh and "No."

When we got home my husband and I used a cheesecake recipe from YumSugar to make a classic New York style cheesecake. I also had some strawberries that needed using up so I made a basic compote with them, the general idea for compotes is to combine berries, water, lemon juice, sugar and a wee bit of cornstarch in a pan and heat on medium until thickened. For bigger berries, cut them in half and then proceed. We poured the cheesecake mixture into the spring form pan and realized to our horror that it was WAAAAAAY too full, so we pulled some of the mixture out and put it into buttered ramekins which we then baked as miniature cheesecakes alongside our main cake. Winning!

Saturday night was our night to dye eggs, but I think I mentioned before that I had forgotten to get any of the dye kits? I hadn't panicked about it because I thought, "Oh, I have food coloring at home." Yeah, turns out I was down to red and green food coloring, which I made the usual way, 1 tsp of white vinegar in ceramic ramekins, 1/4 tsp dye and 1/2 C warm water. My daughter Sarah suggested we try using orange Gatorade to dye the eggs, so we added a heaping spoonful of the powdered drink mix to our water and vinegar mixture. Perhaps unsurprisingly this worked very well. I cannot say the same for yellow Jello mixture. It looked great in the cup, but didn't dye the egg at all. I crushed some blueberries in a small amount of water and that gave the eggs a sort of lavender/grey color that was very beautiful. I taught the kids that we could use a white crayon to mark the egg with their initials or to make designs, which gave me the opportunity to teach them the term "wax resistance". Raspberry tea makes a lovely color in the mug, but didn't give the eggs much color. Yellow or purple onion skins make a fantastic egg dye, but I was out of the right color onions. Egg kits usually come with little paper collars that you place the eggs on to dry. I improvised some by cutting a paper towel tube into rings. After the eggs were dry, the kids colored on them with food coloring markers and they looked great.

My husband and I had tickets to go see Jersey Boys on Saturday night, and bless that baby sitter, she did a fantastic job helping the kids clean up the egg dyeing mess. All we needed to do was get the kitchen in order and set and decorate the table for breakfast. We used stuff we had around the house and tried to make things look Spring-y and festive. The stuffed animals are pulled right out of the playroom and placed in a basket we already had.

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