Monday, April 6, 2015

easter aftermath

 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.


  1. Looks like a lovely family day full of good food and memories! Love the family photos!

  2. Oh wow, family, friends and good eats on Easter. You cannot ask for more. And those cakes. Beautiful.

  3. Mmmm, so many yummy things to eat!! Glad you had a good time! xx

  4. It looks like you had a wonderful Easter with your family. All the food sounds delicious! You are a family of good cooks. I think you and your cousin look a lot alike, do people ever say that? He has similar coloring and I think your eyes and mouths are similar too. Thanks for sharing your holiday! Hope you have a good week.

  5. Oh my, all that yummy looking food has my mouth watering! I think I'll have an early lunch. Glad you had such a nice Easter!

  6. There's a reason you don't see my daughter's picture on my blog LOL I don't get the no picture rule either since she does selfies, but I just let it go.

    Both your recipes sound great!

    That dog of your mom's is adorable :)

    I'm glad you had a great Easter, Melanie.


  7. I love family get togethers, our was canceled because my sister in law was feeling poorly and she planned it at her home. Our daughter is rarely home so we enjoy gathering with her family. Your sister's salad looked like a women's Easter bonnet. Almost too pretty to eat :)

  8. Melanie,
    The cake and jello salad-yummmm...I am so glad you had such a lovely family Easter and the Weather looked as though it cooperated too!

  9. Looks like you had a wonderful time with your lovely family, Melanie. xo Laura

  10. What a beautifully set table and an amazing buffet. I'm glad you had a wonderful day with your family... :)

  11. Just looking at that spread is making me hungry! As for pictures of the teen girls I find that using your phone with the sound off will do the trick!

  12. Glad to see you had a nice family Easter. No family here to celebrate with and all my friends who we used to get together with have all moved away, children have grown up. Everything changes. During the summer when I am with my boys, I have to threaten to get them to take at least a few photos together. One day they will realize it just doesn't matter. Smile for the camera, be happy, life's too short for worry. :) Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy

  13. My, but it looks as if you all had a great time at your Easter celebration! Her table was lovely and those desserts are beautiful. Everything looks delicious!


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