The Seamy Side of Easter!

I’ve participated or observed a lot of Easter Egg hunts in my life and can’t say that I’ve ever come away with a particularly good memory of any of them. The public or even church-sponsored Easter Egg hunts seem to turn into a survival of the fittest with many parents helping with the pushing and grabbing of eggs for their darlings.

When I was growing up, the first year our parish was completed and up and running, the pastor decided to have an Easter Egg hunt behind the church in the large grassy area of property. There was to be a hunt after each Mass with volunteers happily replenishing the eggs during the next Mass. Seems that even though we were quite rural, word got out and many neighbor children raided the grassy fields and the usual prejudice they usually had against us ‘encroaching Catholics’ didn’t mar the desire for ‘Catholic’ goodies set out for the parish children. Even with chasing off the interlopers, the onslaught of children from Mass disregarded blessings recently received there and laid siege to the field. There wasn’t another such event ever in the church after that.

Fast forward to when I had my own children: There was an Easter Egg hunt at our parish at the time, the first ever! My children were under five years old and very excited. The parish thought they had it figured out and set aside a lawn for the under five set with plenty of eggs in plain sight. Their flaw in the theory? When they sounded the beginning of the hunt, the older children ran across this area on their way to their hunting grounds . . . scooping up eggs as they went leaving the little ones standing in a harvested patch of grass, empty baskets in hand. I don’t think that parish ever hosted one again. And, yes, aggressive parents raced around with their children ‘helping’ them find the eggs. Something wrong with an event when children near shaving age have an overflowing bucket of eggs. It makes one wonder why people would fight so hard for hard-boiled eggs?

I recently read that a fire department in the US decided to cancel their plans for an annual Easter Egg hunt because the cost of possible lawsuits would be expensive. Again, the parents were the reason as they had had incidents of parents helping to push aside other children in order for their own ‘darlings’ to grab the most and best of any finds.

It must be something in the air once the world ‘Easter Egg Hunt’ is said out loud. I had a small family gathering, years ago, and thought that I could oversee a fun, safe, and Christian Easter Egg Hunt. I carefully schooled my children in being fair and charitable and not be greedy as they had already received generous baskets earlier in the morning from the Easter Bunny. Relatives arrived and the slightly older cousin whose mother bragged about being a near-saint in the making, pushed aside everyone ready to hunt, gathered up treats by the handful and had a great blocking mode to keep anyone else from getting anything. I guess you can say the kid won the event as he was the only one who got any treats. Guess who else never hosted an Easter Egg Hunt ever again?

Say to think that the ‘helpful’ parents at these events only provided them children with momentary treats while raising parents who would probably act the same way when they had their own children.

Caramel Apple Bar Cookies

I like easy on holidays but I also want to spoil family and guests. This is an easy make-ahead cookie bar that should get you good reviews and end your Easter feast sweetly.

Caramel Apple Bar Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 box brown sugar (the 16-ounce box)
2 beaten eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking power
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large green apple, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups roughly-chopped walnuts or pecans – Your choice!

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Place butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan and melt. Remove from heat, place in a mixing bowl, and let cool. Add eggs and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and spices and mix to blend. Stir in nuts and diced green apple.

Smooth batter into a vegetable-oiled sprayed 9×13-inch baking pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan and either dust with powdered sugar or frost with lemon icing. Icing is a good basis for adding some colorful Easter sprinkles.

Lemon Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
Finely grated lemon zest to taste
Fresh lemon juice

Add the lemon juice to the sugar/zest mixture, drop by drop, until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Before the icing sets, make sure to add some Easter sparkle! Cut into squares and
serve.

How I Spent My Lent in 2015!

P1000537 P1000539 P1000540 P1000541 P1000542 P1000543 P1000544 P1000545 P1000546 P1000547 P1000548 P1000549 P1000550Decided to take a different approach to Lent this year and get an afghan a week done for Comfort Covers Ministry. Actually ended up with thirteen of them completed by Easter Sunday! A side benefit of my effort was that I finally made a substantial dent in my hoard of yarn leftover from other projects. Unfortunately, in order to finish the above, I ended up having to purchase more yarn here and there and still maintain a leftover yarn ‘collection’!

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

A fun recipe that is easy on Mom, especially, after chasing down Easter eggs and children all last weekend. A few minutes at the stove and it is in the oven – all in one dish. Serve with a big salad or lots of carrot and celery sticks.

BACON CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE

Ingredients:
1-2 pounds ground beef
6 strips of bacon, crisply fried anad drained
1/4 cup onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and chopped
8 ounce can of tomato suace
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 ounce can refrigerated biscuits*
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Combine ground beef and flour in skillet. Add onions, garlic, and brown. Pour out most of the drippings. Add tomato sauce, catsup, barbecue sauce, salt and pepper. Mix until heated through. Spread into a large casserole dish. Crumble and top with the prepared slices of bacon. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Top with cheese and biscuits and bake for 10-15 minutes longer or, until the biscuits are golden.

*Substitute your own gluten-free biscuit recipe for equally good results.