Friday, April 14, 2017

A STRESS FREE EASTER:: TIPS, RECIPES, PHOTOS & MEMORIES


Hi everyone!  I wanted to pop in before our busy weekend and Easter Sunday.  I am so low key this year that it doesn't even feel like me, much less the Jane you know.  I was doing a little blog visiting the other day, admiring some spring vignettes and then it hit me like a smack in the face...I didn't have one single piece anywhere celebrating spring or Easter.  I absolutely spaced out on bringing anything up from the hoarding room.  I have so many bunnies in all shapes and sizes; platters, dishes, banners...way overboard amounts of stuff, and I simply put off bringing anything out.  I was thinking that I'd bring up a few decorations...favorite rabbits or hares or lambs the next time I did laundry.  Nope.  I think the late Easter had a few us off kilter.  I really need to make some signs of spring all around tomorrow.  After all, I have little kiddos that I need to impress.  A year or two ago when I brought up way too many cartons and bins, many of my Easter guests were weirded out.  The Husband remarked, "It was something about all those beady eyes everywhere you looked."



I really am going simple this year and I'm already ahead of the game.  I'm feeling better physically, I think I finally beat the virus.  A big Yay here.  You may never hear me complain about my health EVER, but then again, I'm Calamity Jane.  

I believe we are going to have just the kids for dinner.  That's nice as we can all fit around the table.  Last year (and many years before), we had so many that we were all spread out with plates balanced on our laps.  I don't like that.  I would love to have a big dining room, but after thirty years at this house, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.  Still, it's all about family, friends, love and gratefulness.  Before I tallied this up, I had planned to have a buffet and not actually set the table.  Now I think I can and I'll have a real tablescape picture for you next week.  The first in a long time.  I've fallen out of the thrill of playing with my dishes, but sometimes I feel like, I have a ton...use them.  Be creative.  Push myself to try out new ideas.  Maybe even invite people over for dinner!  ;-D



My curtains arrived as well as the new coffee table I found at Hayneedle.  If you've never been to this website, hop on over.  Ahem.  Cool stuff and great prices.  The curtains were found at Overstock as I mentioned in my last post.  They are super heavy and lined.  Maybe I missed that in the description online.  I was so, so impressed with the quality.  The way they were folded over cardboard pieces and sealed in plastic bags, I didn't have to press them at all.  I love the colors and pattern and I'm shopping the house for more blue/green/aqua pieces.  

I can't always vouch for what you get online since you can't touch, feel, or really see what you are going to get, but I've been lucky.  I remain positive that the options online for any store is phenomenal.  I feel that the most important thing you can do is check the reviews.  Buyers opinions that range anywhere from the quality to color and more, is a deal maker or breaker.  

Sorry that this looks more like a picture of My Milo (it is) but it was also the best shot I had of the window on short notice.  Man, he needs to shed a few pounds before lake season.  My last post has a better shot of the curtains.


And this is the coffee table.  It's planked style, reclaimed wood.  It has a dark stain and oddly, it matches my side tables bought a few years ago from another place.  I love that it has that lower shelf to store books, magazines, and the everyday clutter you hide away when you're too lazy to toss it out or find a better spot.  Again, it's from Hayneedle, my new love.   And they have no idea who I am in case you're wondering.  :)

I hope all of you are ready, or at least calm if you are hosting a big get together or have plans for Easter Sunday.  And if you've followed me for awhile, you know I am a scatterbrained, over~achiever, who spends more time fretting over details than enjoying herself.  I think after being so terribly sick and worn out over the past few months, I'm so grateful to have some energy and drive back and I just want to pace it.  

My menu is much the same:

Ham
Baked Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Macaroni and Cheese
Corn
Dinner Rolls

I've left out two dishes that will be new this year.  I always have two veggies, my boys will only eat corn and many love to pile that up on top of their potatoes.  This grosses me out but I personally don't like any of my food to touch.  Usually I have asparagus as a second vegetable since it's so 'spring~like'.  This year I decided to do the carrots that I wrote about recently.  I couldn't find a picture but they are a hit.  Simple sliced carrots, cooked up in a skillet with a little water, then boiled down with a sprinkle of sugar to caramelize them to a slight char.  Such a hit and I can do these ahead of time and reheat in the oven.

The other dish I'm adding is risotto, or Italian arborio rice.  It's rich and creamy, more like pasta than your ordinary rice.  You can add any additions; veggies, meat, cheese, herbs or spices, for example, that you wish.  The downside is that it's normally cooked on your stove top and involves gradual additions of broth as the rice soaks it up.  Many times it has taken me a good 20 minutes standing there to make it.  Who has the time?  I found a recipe for oven baked risotto and I was thrilled because it really is worthy of a holiday dish or even having guests over.  I actually test drove it tonight and it was a hit with The Husband and I.  Here is the recipe...I forgot to take a picture tonight.  This is also something you can make ahead and pop in the oven to reheat for dinner.  

I have a few selections of cheese, meats and crackers for an appetizer along with my new found love, peach Bellinis.  I found a mix near the champagne in a huge liquor store nearby.  It's called Just Peachy, and you simply serve it with a splash of orange juice. 


Homemade Almond Bark Candy, 2015


We have a crowd coming for dessert and everyone brings something.  I'm rounding it out with my favorite springtime almond bark, angel food cupcakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and pound cake with lemon curd and berries.  I read an article about Ina Garten and her way of taking shortcuts.  She says that she often buys a plain cake from her bakery and adds a topping of her own.  So I was able to get a pound cake from the bakery section of my store, frozen, and I can keep it that way until Sunday.  Just before serving I'll pour over some lemon curd, also store bought, and top it with raspberries.  I have never been this savvy!!!!!

The almond bark is simple.  Heat it up in your microwave, spread it out on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, refrigerate for 15 minutes, and then sprinkle on your toppings.  Store it in an airtight container and it lasts for days.  Mmmmmm...

I hope you find some of these ideas helpful.  If you have any questions about the recipes, send me an email.  

 I wish all of you a wonderful and blessed Easter.  See you next week!

Jane x

41 comments:

Stacey said...

Have a very Happy Easter! Your menu sounds wonderful. We are having hamburgers with my husband's big family. It's easy and fun. :)

Debbie Freitag said...

Your Easter plans sounds simple and stress free. We have the house on the market so no Easter entertaining here. I'll be making my Easter sides at my daughter's house to take to our family get together. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Even though I am having many for dinner, I am doing low key planning also. Mother Nature is providing a beautiful backdrop and because the temps will be summer-like, we can enjoy the outside with little work on my part.

I am glad you are feeling better and hope the Easter weekend will be fun for you.

Rita C. said...

Sounds like a perfect weekend, Jane. So glad you're feeling better. Enjoy.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Have a great Easter Jane!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

So glad you are feeling better. Have a very Special and Happy Easter.

Susie said...

Blondie, Love the new curtains. I love short cuts. Some times we try too hard...when it comes down to it...our family and loved ones like to enjoy our company and eat some decent foods. I have never had all the room I have ever wanted and I have fed my entire family many, many times. Now I have passed the baton onto my girls. They do all the entertaining and I just pitch in and help. Works for me. LOL. I am wishing you and yours a blessed Easter weekend, xoxo, Susie

Mary said...

Love everything you've added to the room Jane and am SO HAPPY you are feeling a lot better.
Enjoy the blessings of Easter with your lovely family - I'll be thinking of you as we spend a quiet one here. Luckily great weather so we are able to spend time outdoors, and have lots blooming in the garden to make Easter extra special.
Love and hugs - M&B

Kathleen Grace said...

Happy Easter! We are having ham, potatoes, broccoli salad, green beans and a lemon blueberry cake. Celebrating with family is the best, and it won't be long before your grandbabies will be old enough for Easter egg hunts!

I have just begun to hear about Hay Needle, still need to check them out. Love the curtains and table you found. I need curtains for the bedroom but I'm stalled until I have some idea what direction I want to go with the rest of the room.

Kathleen George said...

Happy Easter! I like your menu, lots of comfort food! Guess you need to add a green veggie, green beans here. The beautiful insulated drapes will hopefully keep the winter cold out too. Never a problem with doggie pictures:).
I'm happy you're feeling better and your wonderful readers will be there for you, Kathleen in Az

Kathy Moreland said...

I'm so happy to hear you are feeling better. I haven't thought about Easter Sunday lunch, but I think my daughter and granddaughter will be out of town, as will my grandson and his new friend. So if it's just the 2 of us, it will probably be Cracker Barrel.

Hope you have a wonderful time.

Brenda Pruitt said...

That sweet bark looks so good! And your Easter meal sounds scrumptious.
Brenda

CJ said...

Lovely coffee table, I'm a big fan of that shelf underneath as well. And I love reclaimed wood, always a brilliant thing. Your Easter food sounds utterly delicious, I like the idea of a simple cake with a good topping on it. I shall add lemon curd to my shopping list, it's one of my favourite things. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. CJ xx

Melanie said...

Glad you are feeling better! I hope you don't wear yourself out with too much Easter prep. Very small gathering here...just the three of us! My mom might come, if she's able. I'm making a spiral sliced ham (found an uncured one at Fresh Thyme), cheesy potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, asparagus with Dijon vinaigrette, and for dessert, those little citrus cakes I posted. I like your new curtains - they remind me of the ones I had in my living room. I would love to put them back up, but they no longer fit because of the new fireplace mantel which butts up against the window now. Happy Easter to you and your family!

Doreen@foxdenrd said...

Soooooo glad you're better Jane!

It's always dangerous to read your blog. I gained a few lbs while away and this just made me hungry ;)

Now don't fuss too much on Sunday. Your family just wants to spend time together and believe me, if everything isn't perdext they won't notice.

XXX

Anonymous said...

Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Happy Easter.
Joan,Marion and Marilyn

Lynne said...

Everything sounds tasty, yummy for your Easter dinner . . .
A gathering with just your children . . .
good idea since you have not been feeling the best!
I am thrilled though that you have made a turn to feeling better, great news.
Happy Easter Jane . . .

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

I am so glad that you are feeling better Jane. Your menu sounds really good.

I didn't decorate much either, I like putting it up, but taking it down wears me out LOL.

Have a wonderful Easter with your family and those beautiful grands.....

So glad that your better.

Lots of hugs,
Mary

Scribbler said...

Have a wonderful Easter weekend with your family! Sounds like there will be no shortage of good food for everyone.

Nice curtains! We just got the MBR carpet in and the room is painted as well as the little hall leading into it. Now I need some new curtains. Oddly, I never thought of Overstock. I will look!

Theresa said...

Stress free here too:) I don't have my menu planned yet, I may just use yours:) Enjoy your day dear friend, BIG HUGS! Happy Easter!

Art and Sand said...

Have a lovely Easter with your family.

Deborah Montgomery said...

I'm glad you're feeling better and good for you for not overdoing it. Although it still sounds like you're doing a lot. I always think I'm keeping things simple and then I'm always running around like a mad woman. Couldn't sleep last night thinking about it. Duh, I hate that!! I love the idea about frozen pound cake with the lemon curd and raspberries. And I will need to check out Hayneedle. Sounds fun. Have a Happy Easter with your family Jane! xo Deborah

Lorrie said...

Happy Easter, Jane! I'm so glad that you are feeling better. Keeping it simple is a challenge sometimes. I hope you enjoy your dinner with family. Ours is tonight so that they can be with the in-laws tomorrow.

It's me said...

Enjoy easter.....hope with good food and friends...love happy weekend Ria x ❤️

Dewena said...

Your Easter Dinner plans sound delicious and I'm very happy to hear that you feel much better!

Happy Easter to you Jane, and to your My Milo, which is exactly what I call my Milo,
Dewena

A Joyful Cottage said...

Your Easter plans sound lovely, Jane. So glad you're feeling better. Your new decor looks great. xo

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Jane,
Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter. I am going to try your carrot recipe with baby rainbows. Enjoyed seeing your new additions to your home, looks very inviting and warm - plus Milo approved!
xoxo,
Vera

Maggie said...

Hi Jane, so happy to hear that you have tamed that virus and kicked it out! Your simple (?) Easter menu sounds just wonderful and I applaud your savviness in channelling Ina G, love her!
Table and curtains both great choices, I really like the way your style is evolving this season.
Joyeux Paques from Normandy.
Maggie.

Sarah said...

Jane, here it is post Easter, and I'm just now getting to visit. I trust it was a joyous holiday with your children and those precious grands. Your menu sounds wonderful to me. Our day was extremely simple and quiet. We didn't even have a special meal. Just the two of us this year. We spent the day taking care of a few things around the house. It was a quiet and happy day. '-)

La Table De Nana said...

I tried commenting last night..in bed..from my mini Ipad..I needed my password....I needed to prove I wasn't a robot..lol I gave up..much simpler here..a breeze..
I am glad you had fun and it's great to read you are turning a corner and getting over this virus..your dishes and treasures will be there next year and seem even more special..when you get your dish love back..
I have been there..it's still not what it was and never will be.
I have enough:)
At one point I wanted to part with everything..the feeling of using them comes back..

but never the same way I find.

Once you get your mojo back..everything will be brighter..you'll see!

Buy new sunglasses:)

Best..Monique

Helen said...

Hi there! First, a big thank you for reading my poem and leaving a thoughtful comment! I prepared dinner for nine, including me. I still love playing hostess, preparing dishes from scratch, engaging in great conversation around our dining room table! Your menu sounds lovely and like your sons ~~ I love scooping corn onto my mashed potatoes!!!

Marigene said...

Hope you had a very nice Easter...and that you have a wonderful week.

Jill said...

I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better! hurrah! I hope your Easter week is blessed.

Debra Oliver said...

so glad you're feeling better, Jane. Your menu sounds wonderful, I love hearing about the time saving recipes. Have to laugh about the boys and their corn. my sis makes a creamed corn dish in the crock pot with cream cheese and her boys hoard it by the bowl full. LOVE the comment about the beady eyes staring at everyone, so funny. Rest up from your weekend! xo

Beatrice Euphemie said...

Hi Jane, glad you are feeling better! Love the 'beady-eyes' crack from the hubs....they just don't get the whole 'decorating for the holidays' thing. Sometimes less is more, though. Love your new curtains behind your cute pup and the new table. I'll have to check out the web-sites. I love your recipe ideas, and of course, Ina Garten is the queen of common sense cooking. I love simple that looks fancy. The Easter bark is so pretty and thanks for the risotto recipe. I hope that you had a nice Easter with the family! xx Karen

Bluebird49 said...

Hey "Tulip"!
Your things that--- maybe are little things to you---are so charming to me! The thing is-having had Fibromyalgia for so many years, I KNOW what you mean about being exhausted and how uninspired you can get from being exhausted, and kind of unappreciated when you do fight to get things done. It takes so long to get a diagnosis for inexplicable things. Life gets much harder--loading the dishwasher, washing a load of clothes and putting them away, etc seems un-doable!)

We had both been sick for about two weeks before Easter--it didn't get to be a special day for me, anyway. Ed made it to Sunrise service, but I wasn't up to going. My grandkids and son came down Saturday evening to go with Ed, Sr. to a fish fry and listen to "Pop" play music with a few others. They ran in to see me, but I was afraid of them getting too close to catch something.
I am so thankful to be giving up a couple of things so I can have an iPhone--David Facetimes with me and his Pop almost every day. Lots of times he is fishing at the neighborhood pond (like today when it was pouring rain!), and calling us to be there to watch him or listen to stories about the ones that got away---and some that didn't! He takes photos of the big ones. We treasure those times, and he will be 13 this August, and I don't know how long he'll be this way. Toting us around in his coat pocket while he waits to catch one while we're "there with him"! It's charming and you have so much to look forward to with your grands!

My kids loved to put corn on top of mashed potatoes, and then, gravy along with them. Your menu for Easter sounded so good-and not too overwhelming for you. (Sounded overwhelming to me!) I hope you were able to chill out and let you enjoy it in real time!
Love you kiddo,
Trudy

Bluebird49 said...

Oh--my! I forgot to say THANK YOU for the risotto recipe! We all love it but are afraid to cooking it! I want to try this before I place it on my children's table!

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I love your coffee table! I'm definitely checking out that Hayneedle site too. Thanks for the tip! Hope you had a wonderful Easter! By the way, I loved the video you put on IG today! Laughing babies always make me smile. :)

Decor To Adore said...

This sounds like the perfect Easter to me. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you enjoy a glorious springtime and a wonderful week!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Hi Jane, so happy to hear you are feeling much better! Hope your Easter was a good one. Your menu sounded scrumptious and I will have to remember the almond bark next holiday comes around. Yum! I haven't heard of eating corn on mashed potatoes, but to each his own! My dad used to eat weird combinations of things...that made me gag. ha!
Take care and have a nice Friday and weekend, too!
xx Cheryl

Vee said...

That post was a tour de force! I remember reading it, too, because I looked up a recipe for carrots based on what you shared. They were not a hit, but then folks here like mush for vegetables and the carrots were not mush. They were also pretty!

So glad that you are feeling better. It has to be a joy to have energy and feel like doing things. What a relief.

Hayneedle you say...well, I think my sister would be interested...off to check it out.

Thank you for commiserating with me today. It's been rough, but things'll get better.