Whew….it’s 10:25 p.m. as I begin this post and I am tired. It’s been a busy, but good day. Tomorrow is Easter and Jeff and I are hosting my mom and dad, my sister and her husband, their two girls, and possibly one boyfriend. If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know this makes me happy! Cooking for and entertaining people I love fuels my soul. It gives me energy and just makes my heart sing.
My day began early because the dough for my Italian Easter Bread was ready for some attention! I started the dough yesterday afternoon and took it through its various steps and stages. And this morning it was ready to be shaped and put into pans for the final rise. Normally I make one large braided ring with colored eggs baked into it; but this year I decided to bake three braided loaves with no eggs. You see, although the eggs look pretty, no one in my family ever eats them.
After I took the dough out of the refrigerator, I let it warm up for about 30 minutes. Then I began to work with it. I only make the bread once a year so my amazement at how wonderful the dough is is renewed each year. It’s very buttery and smooth and it smells amazing because it has vanilla paste in it. In fact, it smells like Easter to me.
After I got the dough shaped and into the pans, I was off and running! You know me, I had a list of things that had to get done today (and I have a list of things that have to get done tomorrow before and after church) in order to be ready to eat at approximately 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.
Last week I had lunch with my sister and my niece and together we decided on the plan for Easter. A cookout. Hotdogs and hamburgers. I know, it’s not very traditional; but everyone was in the mood for casual food and a casual day so that’s what we’re going to do. Of course, there will be a twist on it!
The menu, odd as it is, will be:
- Fried Cici Appetizer
- Salad (not sure what kind – my mom is bringing it)
- Hot dogs
- Beef Sliders
- Spicy Orange Chicken Sliders
- Assorted Cheeses and Other Yummy Burger & Dog Toppings
- Sweet Potato Oven Fries
- Roasted Broccoli
- Easter Bread
- Torta al Vino Rosso (Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Macerated Raspberries and Whipped Cream)
- Malibu Italian Surfer Cocktails (Laura is bringing these)
- ???Easter Jello Shots??? (not a tradition, but I think Ashley is making them)
On my list for today’s preparations were:
- Clean stove grates (per Pinterest, I put them in a garbage bag with amonia over night – they got cleaner than they were, but I don’t think it was the miracle cure it claimed to be)
- Clean/Vacuum (did some last night – finished today)
- Bake bread
- Dye eggs (using eggs instead of place cards)
- Grind chicken
- Grind beef
- Caramelize onions (some with balsamic vinegar and some without)
- Make sauce for chicken sliders
- Wash sweet potatoes
- Make cake
- Cut and arrange cheese on platter(s)
- Put leaf in table
- Set table
- Buy last-minute groceries
Believe it or not, with Jeff’s help, everything on the list (with the exception of the last-minute groceries) was accomplished by 2:00 p.m. So we headed outside into the beautiful weather (it made it to 60 degrees F today) and did some planting in the garden. We put in onions, spinach, garlic, radishes, kale, lettuce, beets, and arugula. I can’t wait to see the fruits (or should I say vegetables) of our labor!
Here’s a look at today’s preparations:
While we were lying on the grass soaking in the sunshine after our planting was complete, we talked about going for a walk in the woods and then out for pizza. We put a loose plan in place and texted some friends to invite them to join us. They opted out of the walk but in for the pizza. We set a time to meet them and then slightly revised our “walk in the woods” plan. We changed it to a “walk around our neighborhood and the neighborhood next to ours” plan. We hooked Macy and Kissy up to their leashes and set out on our adventure. We walked for about an hour and made in home in just enough time for a shower and clean clothes.
On the way to JoJo’s Pizza in Mechanicsburg we picked up our friend Leslie – unfortunately Ron couldn’t join us after all. But we had a nice dinner with Leslie and caught up on what’s been going on in her life. We also ran into our friend Nino and were able to visit with him for a few minutes. Nino is one of those people who even though you haven’t known them long, they feel like an old friend. It was so nice to see him and to hear about what he’s been up to! We left with a promise to have Nino over to our house for dinner soon – you know I can’t resist a reason to entertain!
By the time we dropped Leslie off at her house, Ron was home so we went in to say a quick hello. We chatted for a few minutes and then hit the road because we had to get our last-minute groceries….After a quick trip into Wegman’s we stopped at Sweet Frog for some froyo to go. No toppings for me, but I was happy for a taste of my favorite flavor – Original Tart. Mmm mmm mmm!!!
All in all, it was a great day. It’s 11:59 as I finish this post. I am tired and my muscles are a little sore, but it will all be worth it when I look around the table tomorrow and see the faces of people I love enjoying good conversation, great food and even better company!!!
What are you doing for Easter?