Wow. We’ve had a whirlwind for the last couple of days what with visiting family, trying new recipes, and preparing for Easter. We’ve had a wonderful time (as we always do when Big Sis is in town) and once again, we’ve learned a few things…
LESSON ONE: BLUEBERRIES WORK
Big Sis and I (and our respective spouses and offspring) descended on our parents yesterday, having previously hatched up (har, har) a plan to dye Easter eggs as a group. Having discovered that Paas (and everybody else) includes food colorings that we find objectionable for contact with food, we decided to try some natural dyes. We also decided(some wisdom here) to bring crayons and stickers in the event that things didn’t go according to plan… We tried several recommended options, including beets, turmeric, paprika, spinach, green tea, something else I can’t remember (“brown”), and blueberry. Remember how I said I don’t always follow ALL of the directions? Well, apparently if I’d read ALL of them (or more than one post about them), I’d have discovered that MOST natural dyes perform best when you boil the eggs WITH the food. Oh… Blueberry, apparently, is an exception to this rule. So we had a wonderful time coloring, stickering, and dying fabulously purple eggs.
LESSON TWO: A SOLID FOUNDATION RULES THE DAY
I’ve been dreading this day a bit, because of the whole sugar extravaganza. We had a lovely dinner with my parents last night that included delicious deserts that all four of us consumed with great vigor. It’s possible that I overdid it… And so when I woke up this morning, the last thing I wanted was to eat candy, to see candy, to provide my children with candy, or to argue about candy. I did give them a little in their Easter baskets, but none of the consequences that I feared came to pass. It was absolutely no surprise to them that they would have to wait until after breakfast to have any. It was no surprise after breakfast that they would be limited to one small item. They have asked a couple of more times and we’ve let them work through a few Jordan almonds, but there has been no drama, no whining or complaining, and the sugar amounts have been small enough that there’s not even been an obvious sugar freakout. I am so delighted that I can provide them with a “treat” and have it incorporated into our family’s rules about food so seamlessly. I guess all of the earlier conversations are paying off. Hallelujah indeed.
LESSON THREE: A KALE SMOOTHIE HELPS JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING
So I mentioned that I overindulged a bit yesterday and as happens during holiday weekends, I felt a bit done with the food celebration before we got to the actual event. So this morning after the children found all of their bits, I went out to the kale patch and harvested the last of what last season’s still living plants had to offer. Stuffed it into a blender with a whole bunch of other bits and served it with the hard boiled eggs that tradition commanded and some toast. I had a small amount of the egg salad (because my husband makes KILLER egg salad), but drank down a huge glass of that kale smoothie, and my oh my but I felt better after that. The “recipe” below is fairly approximate as in my haste to complete the task before the wheels came off the children’s respective carts, I got a little loosy-goosey with the measuring. Adjust to your and your own crew’s preferences.
FOOD HANGOVER KALE SMOOTHIE
- 2 Tbs chia seeds*
- 1.5c water
- 2-3c fresh kale
- 2 frozen and 1 fresh banana
- most of a can of pineapple and some of the juice
- handful of frozen cherries
- 2 handfuls of fresh blueberries
- 1c cold water
- handful of ice cubes
Place the chia seeds in a bowl or glass with 1.5c water and set aside. Place all other indredients in blender. You may have more luck adding the items as you blend, depending on your blender. When you’ve finished assembling other ingredients, check chia seeds. They should seem a little jelly-like; if it’s not, give it a few more minutes. Blend like mad and adjust ingredients to your preferences. My crew LOVED this one. I’m pretty sure we were close to the 3 cups of kale and the cherries added enough sweet and color to keep that reality from my children altogether. This made EXTREMELY generous portions for four very willing consumers. Delish.
There you have it folks, Easter traditions done (our way), important lessons learned, and glorious weather enjoyed with family members who are also great friends. Perfect.
* A Note About Chia Seeds. Yes, these are THE chia seeds. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you may well have been born sometime after the 1980’s; the rest of us are busy hearing a jingle in our heads. “Ch,ch,ch chia pet.” Yes. Same chia. The seeds are highly nutritious and can add body to other foods if mixed with liquid and allowed to sit. I’ve used them here to increase the nutritional punch and to give the smoothie more, well, smoothie feeling, thickness, without resorting to either adding protein powder or using so much frozen fruit that my Vitamix gets ticked off at me. I get mine in bulk at my local food co-op and I have also seen them in my local Wegman’s.