Tag Archives: Easter

Recipes for an Egg-cellent Easter

Spring has arrived but it seems that someone forgot to tell Mother Nature! It is so cold and grey here in Louisville that I find it hard to believe that Easter is this weekend. The weather has made me downright anti-social, so I’m tempted to follow See Jane Blog’s lead and host an Easter egg-decorating party to help me and my friends shake off the winter blues. I love her party favours and printable invitations!

Image: See Jane Blog

I haven’t dyed eggs since I was a kid, so I was really impressed to find that so many bloggers have moved beyond the basic dunk n’ dye method to create several stunning options. And because I hate to see good food go to waste, I have included some awesome recipes to use up those eggs!

Brights

Bright colours are just what I need right now to shake me out of my funk but traditional eggs can be a little gaudy. However, not these ones:

Image: Spoon Fork Bacon

This one is so simple that even the kids can do it but the results are remarkably refined.

Image: How About Orange

For those who are as obsessed by Pantone as I am, these are the Easter eggs for you!

Image: Studio DIY

I love the idea of using candy to give eggs a little pizzazz. And it matches one of this year’s biggest fashion trends, the caviar manicure.

Image: Brown Paper Packages

Just about anything can be used to decorate eggs; these cheery ones were made by with flower-patterned paper napkins and Mod Podge.

Image: Taste.com.au

To match the vibrant hues of these eggs, I suggest Chakchouka, eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. To do this with Easter eggs, you will need to blow out the insides. To learn how, check out this tutorial. The yolks will be a little scrambled, but will still work in this recipe.

Subtle

If you prefer a more subdued colour scheme for your holiday decoration, there are lots of pastel and neutral options out there:

Image: Rosalind Creasy

For those who are concerned with chemical dyes, Rosalind Creasy shows how to achieve a rainbow of subtle shades using fruits and vegetables.

Image: Joy Ever After

And regular brown eggs look anything but plain when patterns are added with a white-out pen.

Image: Better Homes and Gardens

A mix of plain and coloured eggs makes for a thoroughly modern and understated centerpiece.

Image: Martha Stewart

Another way to add texture to your eggs is to wrap them in lace (also a big fashion trend this year) before dropping them in the dye bath; the result is extremely elegant.

Image: Pickled Plum

The easiest way to make Easter eggs is to hard-boil them but, seriously, how many egg salad sandwiches can one eat? Instead, why not make Japanese Flavoured Tea Eggs, which are as sophisticated as the subdued colours shown above.

Graphic

Black and white is not a traditional Easter colour scheme but for those who want to match a more modern décor, here are some suggestions:

Image: Fraeulein Klein

The key to these are simple, bold graphics and awesome fonts.

Image: Alisa Burke

This style matches well with a visually simple dish, like tamago nigiri, Japanese omelet sushi. While it looks easy, it can be quite a challenge to get the technique just right. Smoky Wok offers a wonderful recipe and photo tutorial and you will have lots of eggs to practice with!

Image: PIRQ Blog

No matter what style or recipe you chose, I hope that you have a wonderful holiday weekend full of egg-cellent fun!


Posted in Culture, Design, Food | Tagged , , ,

Fertililty Symbols

Via Inhabitots

As somebody who hails from a place where it’s hot and humid for most of the time, I am quite fascinated by where the seasons are so radically distinct, and felt in the most in-your-face way. I don’t experience the bite of winter nor the accompanying longing for spring, nor the giddy high when this longing is finally fulfilled.

I find it intriguing how a lot of the customs that are practiced even in my corner of the world revolve around celebrating spring, the season of fertility and rebirth. For instance, a lot of weddings happen this time of year, and I’ve only recently realized how appropriate it is! Weddings are traditionally a prelude to child-bearing, and what better season to procreate than when the earth is sprouting seeds, shoots, and flowers?

So for today’s post, we’ll celebrate spring by celebrating fertility symbols!

Woman of Willendorf

She used to be called Venus of Willendorf (modern-day Aggsbach, Austria) and she’s estimated to be 20,000 years old. That’s a lot of zeroes, which means she’s way older than the Venus of Roman mythology, which is probably why the name didn’t stick. She has no feet, and she can’t stand on her own. Her face is covered by horizontal bands which many figure to be plaited hair. Archaeologists have unearthed many other figurines that look very much like her. Scholars think that her disproportionately large breasts and belly, and very detailed nether parts, point to her having been used as a fertility symbol in ancient times.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Eggs & Bunnies

These are nowadays are used as Easter symbols, but they are so because they represent fertility. Eggs are themselves evidence of fertility, and bunnies, well, they are known to reproduce really quickly and easily.

Via Inhabitots

Via Simply Living, Living Simply

Lingling-o

These are female fertility charms that are used in indigenous cultures in the Philippines and in certain parts of Southeast Asia. Its key characteristic is in its shape — rounded with a slit in the bottom. The negative space in the middle is said to resemble an embryo with an umbilical cord attached. The shape too makes it easy to be worn as ear ornaments, but they can also be used as pendants.

Via Baybayin Alive

Chopsticks

It’s strange, I know. But it just so happens that the Chinese term for chopsticks, zhu, also also translates as “many sons”, and because of this chopstick sets when given as wedding gifts are said to bring luck.

Image via Live Auctioneers


Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , , , ,

Egg Inspiration

image via Martha Stewart

You know what they say about finding inspiration in unlikely places? Well, this week’s post is inspired by decorated eggs. I challenged myself to find a room that was inspired by a decorated egg and I was surprised both by the sheer number of techniques there are for egg embellishing, and by how easily these decorated eggs translated to interior design. An egg is after all a blank slate of sorts and that is what many of us start with when we begin a new decorating project. Who’s ready to play ‘From Egg To Room’?

Pretty Doodle Eggsdoodle eggs via Alisa Burke

Black on White Eggs
Sometimes the simplest ideas really are the most effective. These striking eggs are the creation of Alisa Burke. She left them white and drew on them with a sharpie. bright coloured eggs are all fine and dandy but the stark black and white really plays up the simple shape and natural beauty of the egg.

Room by Josef Frank via skonahem

Black on White Room
This fantastically stylish room was designed by Josef Frank. Black and white are a classic decorating combo, but the mix of patterns and the casualness keeps this room looking modern and chic.

eggs dip-dyed in neonneon dip-dyed eggs via oh joy!

Pops of Neon Eggs
These neon dipped eggs look like they belong in a gallery instead of on the brunch table. This is another example of a simple technique having more pop than an elaborate one. Leaving some of the egg white accentuates the bright colours and exaggerates the lines.

Koskela's ShowroomKoskela Showroom via the design files

Pops of Neon Room
Neon is one of those trends that is inescapable in summer fashion this year, but I’ve also noticed it popping up in interior design. Paired with black and white it can bring life and vibrancy to any space.

use onion skins to dye eggsonion skin dyed egg via instructables

Warm and Nature Inspired Egg
There are dozens of ways to colour eggs with natural dyes derived from plants, fruits and vegetables. The European method of dyeing eggs with onion skins is one of my favourites, and with it you can create eggs in hues of brown, red, orange and yellow.

Ken Kelly designed living roomLiving Room by Ken Kelly via hgtv

Warm and Nature Inspired Room
This room utilizes some of the warm, nature-inspired tones from the onion dyed eggs to create an inviting and masculine space. Orange and green accents are the perfect pairing with muted earth tones, and the contrast of the blue painting above the sofa is a nice touch as well.

Pretty pink eggs with silhouettessilhouette eggs via le papier blog

Pink Silhouette Eggs
Using contact paper, le papier has created egg decals featuring sweet silhouettes. Love the pink, but you could do these in any colour I think. This would also be a fun idea for Easter brunch or dinner placeholders, if you made silhouettes of all your guests.

Tamara Robbins Griffith room with silhouettesRoom by Tamara Robbins Griffith via Apartment Therapy

Pink Silhouettes Room
I think you would be hard pressed to find a more girly room; from the pink walls, to the floral pillows and ladylike art. Without the black accents and furnishings this room could be too bubblegum, but instead it manages to be feminine and classy.

decorate your eggs with washi tapeWashi Tape Eggs via bhg

Striped Eggs
Lastly, here is a technique for when you run out of time for egg dying and company is coming in half an hour. Try using washi tape to jazz up a dozen eggs in no time. Stripes lend themselves beautifully to the rounded shape of the egg but you could try any kind of pattern you please.

yellow striped bathroomStriped bathroom via house beautiful

Striped Room
Anyone who has ever tried to paint stripes on a wall knows that it requires a ridiculous amount of time, planning and attention to detail, but the results are so worth it. This stripy bathroom has a bit of circus flair (and I mean that in the best possible sense.) Continuing the stripe up the slope of the wall makes this a much more interesting space and adds drama to a smallish bathroom.

Hope you all have a spectacular weekend. Happy Friday!


Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , ,

Sweet Treats for Easter and Passover

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

The holidays are only a few weeks away, so now is the perfect time to start planning what sweets you will use to fill your Easter baskets or what decadent dessert will finish your Passover dinner.

Modjeska Egg by Dundee Candy Shop(Dundee Candy Shop Modjeska Egg, Photo: Tracey Eckersley)

I never gave much thought to Easter chocolate until I moved to Louisville but the holiday is widely celebrated here and the local chocolate shops go all out with exotically-flavoured cream eggs and chocolate molded into bunnies, chicks, and lambs. My favourite treat is a Modjeska egg, a variation of local confection made from gooey marshmallow and rich caramel with an added dark chocolate shell to form the egg shape.

Chocolate bunny by SOMA Chocolatemaker(Photo: SOMA Chocolatemaker via Facebook)

If I was in Toronto, I would be heading straight to SOMA for a few of their adorable bunnies made with luscious artisanal chocolate. But what can you do if your town doesn’t have such wonderful shops? Why not make your own?

Marbeled Egg featured on BBC Good Food(Photo: BBC Good Food)

The chocolate eggs featured on BBC Good Food look like they came from an expensive boutique but they really are simple to make; you only need good-quality chocolate and some egg-shaped molds, which you can purchase at craft or baking supply stores. These would also look great with white chocolate coloured with different pastel shades.

Bright Rainbow Jelly Egg(Photo: Choose to Thrive)

If you are looking to brighten up your Easter table, you might want to try these rainbow jelly eggs. Choose to Thrive provides a step-by-step tutorial to achieve this effect using a Jello Jigglers egg mold (available from the Kraft Corner Store).

Bunny cupcake toppers by Sweet Sugar Belle(Photo: Sweet Sugar Belle)

As if Easter doesn’t bring enough of a sugar-high, Sweet Sugar Belle has created a cute bunny treat that combines cupcakes AND cookies. Yum!

Candy Centerpiece by 24/7 Moms(Photo: 24/7 Moms)

If you can restrain yourself from eating it all, use extra candy to create a playful centerpiece for your holiday dinner table. But make sure to use two vases, as per the instructions on 24/7 Moms, or you will have a sticky mess on your hands as the candy dissolves in the flowers’ water.

Flourless Chocolate Cake perfect for Passover(Photo: The Cooking Channel)

Passover is a holiday that brings family and friends to the table for the Seder meal. Of course you want to serve a spectacular dessert but the Pesach restrictions on ingredients such as flour and yeast-based leavening agents can be a challenge for home cooks. Fortunately, the days of rock-hard sponge cakes and overly sweet macaroons are over and dozens of tasty recipes are available on the Internet.  The Cooking Channel’s take on the traditional flourless chocolate cake is as beautiful as it is delicious and is completely dairy-free for those who keep their meal strictly kosher.

Pates de Fruits by Serious Eats(Photo: Serious Eats)

For a lighter treat, Serious Eats has created a variation of the French pâte de fruits with Manischewitz wine and seedless jam. While you will need to find kosher gelatin, available in many grocery stores this time of year, this recipe does not require a lot of preparation and will allow you to concentrate on other parts of your meal. For more great ideas, check out Smitten Kitchen’s 20 Flourless Dessert Ideas but check with your guests about any ingredients they might be avoiding on Passover, as some of the recipes contain peanuts, which are legumes, and dairy.

One of Smitten Kitchen's  Flourless Desserts(Photo: Smitten Kitchen)

No matter which holiday you celebrate, I hope that you get to spend some quality time with your family and friends and are able to share some of these sweet treats with them!


Posted in Culture, Food | Tagged , , ,

How To Throw The Best Egg Hunt


image via tvlesson.com

I love treasure hunts, whether at Easter or just to spice up life some other time of the year.  Really, really love ‘em.  I’ve thrown elaborate ones, engaging the help of friendly local businesses, neighbours, even webmasters to help dole out clues and prizes; when I was a teenager I threw a big Easter hunt with 20+ kids aged 3-10 in my parents’ home (bless my dad for his enduring good nature.  Bless my mum for being out of town); and this year, with my son now 16 months old, I am planning a fun outdoor Easter brunch and treasure hunt.  We’re inviting 11 kids between the ages of 1 and 9.

Here are a few tips and tricks for a successful hunt:

Keep It Age Appropriate

Don't forget the adults - simple yet fun holiday sophistication for your brunch table care of Martha Stewart

If you’re organizing a hunt for a range of ages be sure to keep the hunt fair.  One idea is to colour code the eggs by age group or child, and/or include ability appropriate clues.  For instance pictures or pictograms for the preliterate crowd work well, while simple written clues for early readers are great, leaving you to get creative with elaborate riddles, word plays and puzzles for older kids.  (The toddlers will just toddle, picking up giant empty eggs – their non-chokable prizes come at the end).  Another keep-it-fair approach is to set up boundaries for each age group, allowing each group to hunt in a designated area.  Organizing kids in teams and having them problem-solve together can also work well.

Safety First

Image of a Neverland birthday invite from Sheri's Scraps Etsy's Shop

Set hunt location boundaries.  This tip is as important indoors as out.  While you absolutely don’t want kids wandering off in a park, nor do you want them in your medicine cabinet or your utility room.  For outdoor spaces, you’ll want to inspect them first, ensuring there are no dangers lurking (broken glass, tripping hazards, dog poo, that sort of thing).  Have extra adults on hand to help supervise, inside or out.

Think Beyond Candy

There is such thing as too much of a good thing, as cute as a peep can be. Image via Strange/Crazy/Beautiful

While a little bit of chocolate and candy is sort of a prerequisite for these things, consider including other small treats like stickers, temporary tattoos, bubbles, small toys and collectibles (hello Lego Mystery Pack Series 4) and little home-made coupons for treats with mom or dad (a special day out together, a family movie day, double allowance for a week).  Granted it’s messy, but having each egg burst open with a poof of confetti also goes over really well.

Have Extra On Hand

Sometimes an extra kid or two shows up – a sibling, the new kid on the block.  So be prepared, no one likes to feel left out.  Worst thing about having too much: treats for you as a reward for your wonderful hunt or little goodies to gift to kids who visit through the year (or for your next  round of birthday loot bags if you’re a parent).

The Back Up Plan

Sometimes the weather (among other factors) can throw a wrench in your plans, so be aware you may need a venue change.  If you’re hosting the hunt in the park, see of there’s a covered space like a gazebo you could employ with some ingenuity. Or maybe a light shower just adds to fun so long as the kids are splash-booted and rain-coated.

Plastic Fill-up Eggs Versus the Hand Dyed Real Deal

Not Martha's Easy Easter Surprise Eggs. Beautiful! Image via Not Martha

I love decorating eggs and am excited to do this with my son this year.  But for the hunt, with the number of kids we’re having and the span of ages, they’re just too fragile (and too much work).  We’ll certainly incorporate them into our table’s centre piece, but this year it’s plastic eggs.  If you don’t plan on copping out like me, here are three wonderful how-tos:

  • Not Martha’s Easter Surprise Eggs, the Easy Version.  These simple but pretty dyed eggs are stuffed with candies.  Her no-fail step-by-step guide is great and includes precise directions to get the most vibrant colours.
  • Not Martha’s Surprise Eggs, the Craft Genius Version.  Whoa, these are nothing short of spectacular!  A real eggshell version of the Kinder Egg stuffed with candy and trinkets.  Not for the faint of heart as the detailed how-to will describe.
  • For something a bit different, try Mexican Cascarones.  These fun eggshells are filled with confetti and are meant to be broken by very happy children!

Prudent Baby's homemade Cascarones (confetti eggs). See link for directions above!

Add-On Games to Keep the Fun Going

  • Decorate Easter baskets or bags before beginning the hunt
  • Egg and spoon races
  • Finish up with a piñata!

Posted in Culture | Tagged , , ,