Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't worry - I'm here - Easter took over!

Saturday and Sunday were just PACKED morning till night with prepping for Easter or doing yard work (and a bit of play in the nice weather.)

I was 100% on plan on Saturday, as planned. I cooked on and off all day on Friday and Saturday. No problems with eating as the things I was cooking aren't things you can nibble on while prepping (love that kind of cooking!)

Sunday was a planned "off" day. I could eat some chocolate, Easter bread, full breakfast and dinner. And I did and thoroughly enjoyed. This year Orthodox Easter and Western Easter were the same week (Yay!). I'm not the biggest fan of having to prep for 2 Christmases and 2 Easters every year.

My tradition of Easter growing up was to dye eggs the night before Easter (a dozen per kid  - later an dozen for mom too) And then Sunday morning to find the hidden eggs and then eat our chocolate in our baskets. Breakfast and lunch were basically eggs and chocolate. There were a few years we had a bigger/fancier meal for Easter dinner, but it wasn't tradition or a "must" do.  Just like Christmas for my family was about the stockings, Santa's visit, and opening presents. Not much centered around food - like big dinners or specialty anything. Mom would often make divinity, but it wasn't a HUGE to-do with "must dos".

My mother-in-law is from Croatia, but her mom and dad were Serbian, thus Serbian Orthodox. My husband's dad was Croatian, from Croatia. His parents split up before he was born, so most of the traditions he grew up with were for Serbian holidays with a bit "for show" Croatian holidays.  They have lists a mile long of "must do" for holidays.

I grew up LOVING holidays. He grew up hating holidays. Now I get it. His mom is always sad or angry or something on the day of and there is so much ritual and so little "joy". They do because they HAVE to do.

So... for Easter. My mother-in-law's tradition is to clean the house for Easter. And, all curtains have to be taken down to be washed. Now, she just cleans her rooms and pesters me about, "is it tradition to clean everything for Easter?"


This year she decided to empty out her sweater and shirt drawers, dust the drawers and then refold them. Took her all day on Saturday and she was exhausted.

Meanwhile, on Friday I made the natural dyes for the Easter eggs. This year I made beet dye, yellow onion skin dye, tumeric dye, and blueberry dye.

I also made pereci (pear-et-see)- translated - pretzel. That's an Easter tradition to make a round pretzel for Easter. It's not even really a pretzel, but it's similar to one. It's like a pretzel meets a bagel, kind of.

On Saturday, we actually did the egg dye, which takes time as each egg has to be wrapped/tied in cheese cloth to hold the leaf in place. My son wanted leaf/flower imprints on them this year, so I went to the yard to find a variety of small leaves and flowers for that. Then you stick them in the dyes and let them sit (in the fridge) for 4-5 hours.

Meanwhile, I made us lunch and then started on the Pinca (peentsa). That's an eggy, brioche type, sort of, kind of bread that is traditional for Easter. That takes about 10 hours to make, but most of it is just sitting and waiting for it to rise. Thank goodness for modern equipment so that I don't have to do it by hand.

I had 8 egg whites left over from the pinca. I couldn't just throw them away (and I already have a dozen in the freezer), so I made a simple white cake with the egg whites for a sweet cake for the day.

I bake the ham, then slice it and then roll it up into little cigars for display. Then, of course, I need to fill all the eggs with chocolate for hiding in the yard (30). And then filling the Easter baskets. And then FINALLY, cleaning up the kitchen so that we have a nice clean space to enjoy our Easter breakfast.

Easter comes and we have breakfast first. (Well, after checking out our Easter baskets). We have the prezels, Easter bread, ham and eggs. First we do an egg fight. Like this: We do both ends to see who the winner is. This year it was a tie - my younger son and I both had only one side break.  We learned one thing though. Beet dye is VERY strong. We had pink eggs for breakfast! While my younger son got dressed, I went and hid the eggs and then we all went out for the egg hunt. That's always fun.

Back in the house for a couple hours of rest and relaxation. It was enough time to do the NYTimes crossword puzzle (something my husband and I do together every day) and then it was time to get to work again.  My husband and older son went back out to work on trimming down the overgrown forsythia and trimming a few low hanging branches on trees. They did one side of the yard on Saturday. They went out to do the other side on Sunday.

I went violet harvesting as I noticed the violets are in full bloom. They will not wait for me to be ready. I have to be ready for them! They are great for cupcakes or specialty cakes with a spring theme (and 100% natural). So, after harvesting 100, I went in to candy them. Later I went out to get some wild garlic from the yard to saute for dinner.

Ah yes, dinner. We must have an Easter dinner too. It's become our tradition to have a leg of lamb for dinner. So, I got that ready to go to slowly grill for 1.5 hours. Prepped the baby potatoes, wild garlic and baby broccoli. We ate, cleaned up and finally, finally, all Easter was DONE by 7:30 Sunday evening.

We mellowed out by watching last week's episode of Cosmos. Phew.
I wish I had more time to relax, but I want to do more violets today and then tomorrow in my younger son's 9th birhday. He kind of wants a birthday cake. WAH!  Like I want to bake???? Or decorate at this point! Ugh... but... I have to. I'm Mom!


  1. Your Easter sounded lovely and the foods looked delicious! I'm sure your family appreciates all the hard work that must go into doing all that. Well, maybe not your MIL; she sounds like a pip!

    If you don't mind sharing, how do you candy the violets? They are so pretty.

    Hope your little guy has a wonderful birthday and loves his cake. Look forward to seeing a pic of it!

  2. Edible violets?! Your family is so lucky! Please do share how you candy them :)

  3. This is a pretty good explanation of it. I use a flat paintbrush (only used for foods) to paint each of the petals. I hold the flower at the top of the stem to not touch the petals. Instead of dipping it in super fine sugar, I sprinkle it on top and bottom. When I go to set it down on the wax paper, I snip off the stem with my thumb fingernail and let it dry. Should last for a year.

    When I pick them, I pick 50 at a time and get to work IMMEDIATELY on them. They wilt fast which make it near impossible to paint the petals as they start to get limp and fold in on themselves. If you do it quickly, you don't run into that. I go out, pick more if I need more. So... here's this tutorial and I linked a second one as well:

    I use a brush like in this second tutorial.

  4. I am curious what I could do to finagle an invite to your house for a holiday dinner some time? ;))))))