Posts tagged Easter

Fun kid-friendly brunch ideas

This Easter my kids are going to be taking care of breakfast. And yours can too with these easy ideas and recipes:

 

Child mixing up eggsYeasted waffles: Let your kiddos mix up the batter and use the waffle iron.

 

Mini quiches: Encourage your kids to make their own mixins’ like broccoli, cheese, tomatoes, and more.

Mini quiches

Mini bread: Yeah, I’m on a mini-streak, but kids love to make things that are their size.

 

Break out the cookie cutters: Deck out your brunch with cheese, thinly sliced veggies, bread, and other little goodies your kids create.

Appoint a fruit salad crew: My youngest loves to make fruit salads. It doesn’t need to be exotic fruits–apples, bananas, and oranges do just fine.

Child making fruit salad

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Basket cookies & bunny bread

Anybody want a cookie?

For Easter I wanted to pass along a couple ideas I came up with while roaming through our neighborhood Italian shop, Alesci’s. Over the holidays, the bakery puts out their version of pupa cu l’ova, or basket cookies, a traditional Italian Easter treat. The idea behind the cookies is to bake an egg tucked into a cookie dough “basket.” Roaming online recipes, I found various ways to do this–sometimes the egg was hard-boiled, other times it wasn’t. Sometimes the egg was already dyed, others went sans color.

The sizable basket cookies at Alesci’s are made with a stiff biscotti dough that’s thickly glazed with powdered sugar and then tossed with multi-colored sprinkles. From what I could tell (and I’d have to happily research this by eating more), the cookies are baked, glazed, and then while still warm the hard-boiled egg is pressed into the cookie. Some recipes call for baking the cookies with the egg inside. My thought is if you want to try this at home, you could make a regular sugar cookie dough spiked with a little bit of anise. I’m going to have to try that for next year.

Don't eat the egg in the middle--it's just for decoration!

But what I did make with my kiddos is some bunny bread. We used pizza dough to create our edible bunnies. I rolled out the dough and then had the kids use a biscuit cutter for the bunny heads and simply cut the ears out with a kitchen knife. For the eyes we used black beans, but olives would work well too. We experimented with the nose and teeth. An overturned mushroom stood in for teeth on a couple of our bunnies. My daughter made a pepperoni smile for another. We did make one big bunny by stretching the dough out into a circle but in the end my teen noted it looked more like a pig than a bunny. Ah well, I wanted some sort of Easter treat for my kids that didn’t involve sugar and this one turned out tasty–and fun. Happy holidays everyone!

The floppy eared bunny

This one looks more like a pig, huh?

Bye bye bunny!

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Guest post: Brette Sember, The Muffin Tin Cookbook

Just in time for Easter, Brette Sember, shares some recipe ideas for making much more than sweets and sides in your muffin tins–you can make your whole meal! Thanks Brette, and make sure to check out her newly released The Muffin Tin Cookbook for more recipes.

Easter in a Muffin Tin

After the baskets have been found, eggs have been hunted, and chocolate has been consumed (or at least the ears bitten off), it’s time for Easter brunch. By the time I get through the festivities of the morning, I want something simple and delicious, and I’m thrilled if it’s a dish my kids want to help make. This Easter, I’m going to be cooking brunch in muffin tins. Muffin tins are my new go-to kitchen cooking item. Your muffin tins can do much more than just cupcakes and muffins! This versatile pan can be used to make entrees, appetizers, breakfasts, sides, breads, desserts, and much more.

One at a Time

Muffin tins are a handy way to cook a variety of dishes easily, but are also a great way to manage portion control. You can’t fool yourself by saying you’ll just have a little more—one “muffin” cup is one portion.  Muffin tin cooking is easy to serve too. You can bring the whole tin to the table (cute if you have a blue stoneware muffin tin), or arrange the cups on a plate. Perfect for Easter brunch are the pretty cupcake “trees” you can buy; display your brunch delectables this way.

Kid Friendly

Muffin tin cooking is a great way to get your kids interested in cooking and eating healthy foods. They love choosing the liners, arranging food in the cups, and seeing the transformation when it comes out of the oven. There’s something about food that is round, small, and perfectly shaped that appeals to kids. They’ve been conditioned to believe that anything served in a cupcake liner is fun and delicious, so they’ll be willing to try many new foods this way. Since Easter is already a day filled with surprises and the unexpected, build on this excitement by serving up brunch gorgeous muffin tin cups.

Variety Makes Muffin Tin Cooking Fun

There are so many types of muffin tins available now. Not only can you buy cast iron, nonstick, and silicone tins, but they come in so many sizes: regular, jumbo, mini, and even in squares now. Everyone grew up with paper muffin cup liners, but today there are many choices in that realm as well. You can buy colored or patterned paper liners, foil-lined paper liners, and reusable silicone liners. The reusables are my favorite because not only are they nonstick, colorful, and green, but you can even use them by themselves on a baking sheet without a muffin tin pan. You can even use things like slices of ham, tortillas, and pie crust as your cup liners, for tasty results.

Recipes

Ham and Egg Cups

Makes 1 (make 1-2 cups per person at your table)

Ingredients

1 slice round or oval deli ham

1 egg

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ tablespoon shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare 1 regular muffin cup by spraying it or using a muffin cup liner.
  3. Place the center of the ham into the middle of the cup, and arrange the edges along the inside of the cup. If it sticks up a bit above the cup, that’s fine.
  4. Crack the egg, and place it inside the ham.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and add the cheese.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, until the white of the egg is set.

Buckwheat Pear Muffins with Glaze

Makes 12

Ingredients

1 egg

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons skim milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup buckwheat flour

½ cup flour

1 pear, peeled, cored and chopped (about 1 cup)

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F, and prepare 12 regular muffin cups by spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Mix egg, milk, oil and sugar, then add dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in pear and spices.
  4. Divide among muffin cups and bake for about 16 minutes. Drizzle with glaze if desired.

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk

  1. Completely combine in a bowl, then drizzle over the tops of the muffins. Serve.

Along with The Muffin Tin Cookbook, Brette is also the author of The Parchment Paper Cookbook and The Organized Kitchen. Her web site is BretteSember.com and she blogs at MarthaAndMe.net and NoPotCooking.com.

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In the kitchen with mom

My favorite picture of me with my mom

Twice a year. That’s how often my mom would make her almond twists. Christmas and Easter. Using her refrigerated roll recipe, she’d douse the dough with a bit of melted butter and then almond paste, twist, then bake. Sometimes, she’d drizzle them with a powdered sugar icing spiked with maple syrup or just a dab of almond extract. But I was always content just eating them plain.

Around the Christmas holiday I asked my mom for the recipe. “Oh, it’s simple, Kris,” she explained. And then she went through the steps. I made the twists following her directions. They didn’t taste right at all. They were okay. My husband said they were good. But they weren’t mom’s.

You’ll notice I’m not linking to any recipe–or including any. There are just some recipes that only mom can

That's me with the Easter bunny. And yes, I was scared.

make. And some foods that taste best tucked in with faded memories. So many of my childhood memories revolve around being with my mom in the kitchen. I’ve gotta say it: My mom is a fabulous cook. No internet, no blogs, no Food Network, just a few well-worn cookbooks led to crisp lemon chicken baked in a clay pot. Mounds of chocolate cookies that she would make in big batches so she could freeze some for a rainy day. Strawberry-spinach salad. Golden challah bread. Honey butter. Almond twists.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom, who I don’t get to see often enough. And motherhood. I enjoyed reading through other moms’ thoughts on the real joys of motherhood pulled from comments on Motherboard. My favorite has to be finding purpose in my life.


Your turn: What are some of your favorite baking memories with your mom? Or maybe you want to share your thoughts on the real joys of motherhood?

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Ideas for Easter morning breakfast

Sweet. Savory. Or both? I’ve been flipping through cookbooks and clicking through some of my favorite blogs to figure out what I want to do for Easter morning breakfast.

Here are a few ideas I’ve been thinking about from MKES and some of my favorite blogs.

Savory

Mini-quiches. I let my kids decide what they want to put inside. Best part? They can be made ahead.

Baked apple french toast. There’s a light version of this one! From Words to Eat By

Yeasted waffles from MKES

Sweet

Baked donuts from Martha and Me

New York style coffee cake from Fake Ginger

Banana sour cream muffins from Cafe Johnsonia

Nutella cinnamon rolls from MKES

Yeah, notice my sweet list is a little longer than my savory:) I’ve also been toying with an idea my husband keeps talking about–breakfast pizza. Follow me–pizza crust, fresh salsa instead of red sauce, breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese on top? (Maybe even a few roasted potatoes)

I still haven’t decided, anyone else making something tasty for Easter?

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Easter fun with your entrees

I know that ham is the traditional Easter dish, but the trouble around my house is I’m the only one who likes it. And honestly, I’m not a huge chunk ‘o ham kinda meal person. Slice it, dice it, and put it in an omelet or on a sandwich, in pasta, I’m good, but on its own…eh. Anyone else looking to add a little zing to their Easter meal (or hey, even the week leading up the the holiday)?

Here’s a little inspiration. Color. Easter color–not in dessert, but in your entrees. You’re curious now, right? Keep reading. Warning: vanity shots of steamed purple cauliflower ahead.

Bunny salad time!

Salad

What to call this–fresh Easter-Mex? I’m not sure. But I tweaked our taco salad into a bunny one. For salad, I do the expected shredded romaine lettuce. Then, I like to add pinto beans (right from the can, or homecooked, if you have ‘em). And a mixture of green chiles, corn and tomatoes. My younger kids go without dressing, I like to make one using my favorite salsa and either a shot of sour cream or Caesar dressing. Then the real draw is the crispy taco strips. Using my wok, I fry thin (about 1/4″ strips of corn tortillas). And as long as the oil is warm, I use a cookie cutter to make bunnies to top the salad. I threw some leftover grilled chicken and shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese into the salad too. I had clean plates all around on this meal (and a request for more bunnies next time).

Stir-fries

Now for that purple cauliflower. I spied it at the grocery store and I couldn’t resist. I added it in

The light from the window hit just right when I was cutting.

along with other veggies into our stir-fry this week. My kids will polish off bowls of broccoli, but so far none of them have taken to cauliflower. Well, I got them to munch a bit more for the sake of eating something purple. My middle daughter ate all of hers and asked for more, but my younger and older daughters scooted it to the side of their plates after trying a couple, with a half-hearted, “Yeah, I like it, I’m just getting full” bluff. Ah well. Little do they know I have orange cauliflower at the ready for a coming meal…

Colorful chicken Philly

Sandwiches, fajitas & more

Yellow. Green. Red. Orange. I’m talking peppers here, not Easter egg colors. I like to buy them fresh when I find them on sale and then slice them in my Cuisinart and save them in individual meal portions in the freezer. We made chicken Philly-cheese steak sandwiches and threw in a medley of colorful peppers. Again, we have some pepper and non-pepper fans around here. I have hope that eventually all my kids will be begging for peppers but right now my two youngest pick out their peppers and give them to my oldest, who happily accepts them. But even if you’re not into sandwiches, add an extra helping to fajitas, pasta salad, scrambled eggs.

But there’s so much more you can do to add a little color to you meals–or even to your house whether you’re celebrating Easter or just looking to add a bit of Spring inside. Flipping through some ideas on Simple Spring Makeovers on Motherboard, I liked the idea of adding carrots to your flower vase along with blossoms. (I think I’d have to add in some yellow and purple ones too!)

Your turn: Are you planning on making anything special for the Easter holiday this year? Or have you been decorating with Spring colors to spruce up your home?

One more shot: Steamed purple cauliflower

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