Easter Dinner

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I barely had enough time to cook it, so I certainly wasn’t going to take the time photograph it… but, since my Easter dinner plans called for 39 {yes, 39} eggs, I figured I would use some two-year-old photos I posted on my old blog {again} of some farm-fresh eggs that a friend gave me from her mother’s chicken farm two years ago. Clearly, I haven’t picked up my camera much lately. I seem to be posting all old photos here, which I’m okay with right now. These are some of my favorite photos. For some reason, I find eggs so photogenic, and I really enjoy taking pictures of them. That sounds weird when I read it back. But it’s true. And when they come in three perfectly already-colored-by-nature Eastery hues like these, it’s even more fun.

Well, anyway, today was my first-ever attempt to host a holiday dinner. Before moving here, we never lived in a space quite large enough to host a holiday, so we always kept quiet {not offering to host, assuming no-one would want to be cramped in our tiny spaces} when holidays came along and readily accepted the invitation of those in our families who had more space in their homes. While we’ve been here two-and-a-quarter years, we haven’t been set up properly enough to host a holiday meal until now. We’re still not quite “ready”, but hopefully family are the ones with whom we can feel most comfortable about not having everything all perfectly done. There are still areas on our new floors where the blue plastic that acts as a moisture barrier is showing… even one section where the plywood underlayment is still exposed. Only half of the artwork is hung. And quirky little piles of clutter still exist in some places, although that’s one thing that has diminished quite a bit compared to the first couple of years we lived here.

Anyway, as I said, I needed 39 eggs to make everything I set out to make today… for the five guests and three of us permies. Did I use every recipe and make every dish? Nope.

Either today was about me planning beyond my capabilities, or I’m just rusty when it comes to this stuff. If I hadn’t had all the help I was given from each and every one present {especially my husband who went on two shopping excursions for me and did so much to help me get ready, as well as help with the cooking}, I never would have pulled it off.

It wasn’t perfect. And I was dog tired by the time everyone left. But it was good. I don’t know if there is a better holiday in terms of reasons for celebrating. So, I’m honored to have hosted this one for my first.

Of all the things I did make, everything turned out {mostly} well. I learned what I’ll do differently the next time around… little tweaks… yes, each dish was, to me, tasty enough to make again. As for what didn’t get made that was supposed to, I’ll be whipping those dishes up this week… so, yay!!… more good eating for us three in the days to come. I had every intention to make this easy Arugula Salad with Strawberries, but I plum forgot.

What I didn’t make, intentionally {because I knew there simply wouldn’t be time}, was the Raspberry White Cake. No worries, because my sister made and brought a tasty lemon cake {which is probably why I so easily gave up on the idea of making mine}. If I was going to take one picture today, it should have been of that cake. It was covered in colorful sprinkled half marshmallows to look like a beautiful Spring flower…. hard to explain… you’d just have to see it, which you could if I’d thought to take a photo.

Here’s what I did make…

This lovely Egg, Potato and Veggie Bake. Next time, I will tweak the recipe to give it some more oomph… maybe more salt and seasoning. It was really delicious, but I felt it could use a tad more to make it more savory. Of course, for all I know, I might have missed an ingredient. I was trying to do too many things at once, and without a smart phone, tablet or printer, I couldn’t rely on the recipe while in the kitchen. I had to keep either running into the office to look at the steps of the recipe on my desktop computer, or send Mr. B. in to do the same.

I {and by “I”, I mean “we”} also made this salmon dish. YUM! If you’re ever interested in making this, here’s a little tip… double up on the relish portion. It’s what made the salmon. So fresh and different… a very unexpected, but delicious pairing for salmon. We didn’t buy our salmon skinned. I suggest not ignoring this step. I think the salmon would have been much better if we could have cooked it sans-skin… it would have cooked in and absorbed more in the olive oil, thus enhancing the flavor and texture, which I believe would have better complemented the relish. Next time! I can’t wait to make more of this relish!! It was that good!

Okay, so for me, the hit of the meal was this Carrot-Lemon Risotto. Izzy informed me {more than once} that it was too lemony. But I begged to differ. I followed the recipe precisely, only doubling it… and it was a good thing I did, because there would not have been enough if I hadn’t. There was a strong presence of the lemon flavor {my sister told me that’s what you can expect when you use lemon zest}, but I think that was the point… to taste the lemon. It’s the lemon and carrot juice that make it fresh and springy. Next time, I might try to add some pureed carrots to make it even more carroty. Or, maybe just swap out one cup of the broth for an extra cup of the carrot juice the recipe calls for. I did add extra parmesan {so I guess I can’t really claim that I followed the recipe precisely, can I?}, because I’m just a fool for cheese. I also changed the recipe slightly by using salted butter instead of unsalted {haha… and again, precisely is out}, because it doesn’t call for a lot of butter, and I figured it would be okay since I was using low-sodium chicken broth. Anyway, we have a little bit of this rice left over. Can’t wait to have it for lunch tomorrow!

Last, but not least, I made these deviled eggs. Bacon on Easter? This was probably a first for me, but the bacon was very much in moderation… just enough to give the eggs a bit of flavor, and not so much that the flavor steals the show. I have to say… they were pretty good! Use paprika if you don’t like spicy. That is what I used, but I think next time I’ll do cayenne for more of a kick. The recipe calls for whichever is preferred.

So, 18 eggs for those little devils, 12 for the veggie bake, and 9 more {whites only} that would have been used if I had made the cake. I’d say we hit the mark if we were going for an Easter-themed meal {in the commercial sense, that is}.

My feet were so swollen by the time we sat down to eat… so much so, my mom insisted that I go have my blood pressure checked tomorrow, which I think I’ll do. I’m fairly certain that my blood pressure needs some working on, which I’m hoping my new fitness and eating plan will take care of. But it can’t hurt to monitor it anyway. Good thing I don’t eat every day like we did today.

I’ve got a kitchen full of dishes, but putting my feet up was the first priority for my weary, not-used-to-standing-so-much feet. The dishes can wait.

Izzy had fun. He was a joy to watch as he played with his cousins and enjoyed some Easter basket treats. Mr. B. had the whole crew cracking up throughout the meal prep, feasting and some after-dinner game time. Full of so many one-liners tonight, he was totally on his witty game tonight.

These are moments I’ll hold with me forever. I must admit, though, there was a twinge of pain and sadness in my day when I’d stop and think about what tomorrow is… the 6th of April… the day Anysia was conceived two years ago. With the joy of the day came the pain of that reminder. I recently read an awesome quote about how both joy and pain exist together in our lives. Now would be a good time to include it. But I’ll probably want to write a bit more about it, and bed is where I need to be right now, so the quote and my thoughts will have to come some other time.

With sore feet and a smile on my face, I’ll hit my pillow this Easter night.

{p.s. I can’t forget to mention the perfect-as-always guacamole my mom made for an appetizer, as well as the impromptu delicious punch she made. Easter dinner would not have been complete without it.}

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