An Easter tradition: Decorated Eggs
Eggs have long been regarded as symbol of renewed life.
White-shelled hen’s eggs are best for this. When hardboiled with dark colored vegetables such as spinach or beetroot, the eggs take on some of their color. For a bigger range of colors add a few drops of a chosen food coloring to the water. Add variety with patterns by arranging narrow strips of masking tape onto the eggs before boiling in the colored water. Peel off the tapes after cooking to reveal the un-dyed white parts against a colored background. Polishing the boiled eggs with a little olive oil adds gloss. Another alternative is to boil the eggs in plain water and then decorate with wax crayons, vegetable dyes or even water colors, oil paints or felt tip pens. All it needs is a little imagination. Oh yes, and children to help with the fiddly parts.
I don’t have a green thumb, but I know spring is approaching when my husband moves all of his plants and trees to the front porch. I like to sit out there and read or write on warm spring days. There’s something inspiring about writing surrounded by greenery in the warm breeze.
This late-winter has been brutal in Chicago. So I thought I’d try something new—forcing blooms. I cut a couple branches off the forsythia tree in the front garden, put ‘em in some warm water and changed the water each day, just like the gardening site said to do. Voila! I have sunny yellow blossoms just beginning to peek out. It gives some much-needed hope while we shovel out from under our fifteenth straight snowstorm
This is great fun if you have kids - write a name in seeds. Prepare a flat container (15cm) with any soil. Soak wheat grass seeds overnight before planting. Sprinkle seeds closely together over the soil to spell out the name. Sprinkle a layer of soil over the seeds and water lightly. Cover with newspaper and place on the patio or windowsill. Mist lightly with water everyday until green sprouts are visible, then remove newspaper and wait for the grass to grow taller.
Spring-time gardening tip: Pour yourself a glass of your favourite red or white, turn the telly on to one of those classy gardening shows where everyone knows exactly when and how to prune and mulch and do whatever else you are supposed to do in gardens, and where everything always grows to neat and tidy perfection. Forget the wilderness awaiting you outside. Sip and watch. Dream. Escape. . .
Hyacinth Heaven – why spend money on artificial air fresheners for the home? Go to your nearest plant store and buy some beautiful ‘real’ flowering hyacinth bulbs. Place in a prominent position in a nice container with several small stakes to keep the plants upright as they get heavier – voila! Breathe in that amazing aroma as they flower. A beautiful fragrant natural focal point! Enjoy the arrival of Spring.
Sherry (Shara) Jones
Peanut Butter No-Cook “Easter Eggs”
No baking required. Delicious, quick and easy ball cookies.
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 pound white candy coating or almond bark
· Combine sugar, peanut butter and margarine in a mixing bowl.
· Shape into 1-inch balls and put in the refrigerator to chill about 30 minutes.
· While balls chill, melt candy coating in the microwave until smooth for about 2- 3 minutes.
· Dip the balls into the melted candy coating and cover completely.
· Place on waxed paper to harden.
These make a nice gift displayed in a pretty jar with a ribbon.
My “over-the-back-fence” neighbor told me how to make this one evening last spring—over the back fence, of course!
Shelley’s Ten-Minute Potato Salad
4-6 potatoes, cooked and cut in bite-sized chunks
3-4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
(I cheat and buy the little pouch of already cooked/crumbled bacon)
Cook the potatoes any way you like (peel or not; boil/steam/nuke.) I’m always in a hurry, so I just scrub ’em and nuke ’em like you would a “baked” potato with the skins on and then cut them up. Add bottled Ranch dressing to coat. Sprinkle with bacon. Toss. Serve warm/room temperature.
Ever since I was a child I’ve planted vegetables and flowers in the springtime. Back then it was in a small garden at the back of the house, where my parents let me and my brother each have a little area to plant our own veggies. I remember the fun and excitement we felt at the planting, and watering with our own little watering-can and watching the first few green leaves peek out from the soil.
We never could remember what we planted where, so it would always be an interesting surprise to see which little row was carrots, which one was lettuce and which one was parsley and so on.
As I got older I thought it would be better knowing which plants were where, so I started using Popsicle sticks and writing the plant name on it and placing it at the end of the row. Made it much easier to see that “oh, look, the deer ate all the budding lettuce.” Or “I see the neighbour’s cat used my parsley row as a potty area – again!”