Hello! If you observe Easter or Passover, I hope that you had a lovely celebration with family or friends this past weekend. Twelve of us family members gathered at my mom's house on Sunday for Easter dinner around her beautifully set table.
We had so much food! The main dishes were ham (Mom got a nitrate-free one at Trader Joes) and pasta with a homemade marinara sauce. The buffet was set with those dishes plus all the sides that everyone brought ~ sweet potato souffle, corn casserole, tossed salad, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, and marinated asparagus. We have a few lactose-intolerant people in our family, so we try to make as many dairy-free recipes as possible. I'll post the recipes for my own creation of glazed carrots and the marinated asparagus at the end of this post. Both were gobbled up and raved about. Mom also made homemade rolls and had them warm in a basket on the table.
My sister made the prettiest spring jello salad!
For dessert, Mom made this gorgeous chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream frosting from the March 2015 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. You can find the recipe here.
Even better than the food was being with family. My teenage nieces never let me take their photo. Typical at this age, right? But yet they'll do selfies. I don't get it. I guess because when they do selfies, they're in control of the photo. OK, I do get that from a teenage point-of-view. I wish teenage girls could somehow realize how truly beautiful they are instead of being self-conscious and critical of themselves. I love my girls and hope they can spend a weekend at their Auntie Mimi's (that's me!) house soon. My oldest niece will be graduating high school this year. So hard to believe. How did they grow up so quickly?
My handsome cousin enjoyed his food out on the deck. He is so kind and warm-hearted and has always been there for me ~ yes, even through my own gawky, critical, self-conscious teenage years. He's six years older than me, so I always looked up to him. Of course, I thought he was so cool, too. He had the best disco records.
My mom - superwoman of the day! And her little fluff ball, LuLu, too.
Lastly, me and my "baby". The sun was so bright, so pardon my squinty eyes. Tim was smart and chose to keep his sunglasses on.
(Recipe by Melanie Riley)
1 lb organic carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
4 T organic cold-pressed coconut oil
3 T organic pure maple syrup
2 T whiskey or bourbon
Salt & pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the carrots, give them a stir, and then put a lid on the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and let simmer in the oil for about 10 minutes, or until carrots are tender. (Check them with a fork; if not tender enough, cook a couple of minutes longer.) Stir in the maple syrup and whiskey (or bourbon). Add salt and pepper to taste.
2 lbs fresh asparagus
3/4 c quality olive oil
1/2 c white wine vinegar OR white balsamic vinegar
1 T dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, chopped
Place asparagus in a large skillet. Add 1/2" of water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Rinse in cold water and drain. Refrigerate 2-3 hours. Arrange asparagus in a shallow dish. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over asparagus. Let stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.