For the past 3 years now, I’ve hosted Easter lunch for my family. My first year was a disaster, my second was uber stressful, but my third one was a total charm! I think the main difference is that this year I spent a week collecting inspiration from Pinterest and prepping & planning in advance. I cleaned on Friday, cooked a majority of the food on Saturday and then spent the 1 hour I have between church and family arriving, heating things up and cooking the mushy dishes (ya know those ones like green been cass that must cook the day of!). My secret ingredient this year was totally Pinterest. I made an “Easter” board and pinned all of my recipes and centerpiece ideas in advance. Have I told you recently how much I love Pinterest? Well, I’ll use this post to prove it. Here are my top 4 pins that made my family’s Easter lunch a big hit!
1. Easter Table Centerpiece
2. Lemon Raspberry Coffee Cake from BHG.com
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Powdered sugar for topping (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat 1 cup of sugar and the butter with a mixer on medium to high until combined. Then add 1 egg and the vanilla and beat on low to medium for 1 minute. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk (I used 2% milk instead!) to sugar mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
Tip: While you’re mixing the ingredients in Step 1 or during your prep phrase, grease a round cake pan AND line with parchment paper. Nothing bums me out more than when I can’t get a cake out of the pan and then when I do, I’ve lost half the bottom. I’ve wasted many a tears on this… so line the pan people, it really works. To be extra safe, I even spray some of my girl Pam on the parchment paper and sprinkle a little flour. Probably overkill, but hey… it works!
3. For the cheesecake filling (yes, this has a delish little surprise in the middle!) beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium to high until combined. Add lemon peel and the remaining egg and beat until all mixed up.
4. Then spoon half the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it to the pan edges. Pour the cheesecake filling over batter and then dollop the remaining batter on filling. This is a little hard but try to spread the batter across the top as much as possible.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and then remove from oven, gently press raspberries into cake and bake 25 to 30 minutes more. For some reason my raspberries were completely sucked down into the cake, so I added some to the top after it cooled a little. Once completely cooled, I sprinkled the top with a little powdered sugar.
TADA! Since this wasn’t the main desert for Easter (my mom makes an AMAZING coconut cake!), I went ahead and did a little taste test. It’s simply amazing! It’s light, fluffy, sweet and fresh.
3. Easter Thumbprint Cookies
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Chocolate Topping:
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Beat in the flour slowly until the dough has formed.
2. Roll a teaspoonful of dough into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Then remove from the oven and either press your thumb into the center of the balls or use a tool to do so – since the cookies are pretty hot.
3. Place the cookies back in the oven for 7-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cool completely before adding chocolate topping.
4. For the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then pour the chocolate into the cookie’s thumbprint. To make these Eastery, simply add a Easter M&M! I used peanut-butter M&M’s!
4. Worlds Best Dinner Rolls
2 c. whole milk
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.)
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs
1. Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Once melted, place saucepan in a large bowl of ice cubes. I’m so happy the gals over at Our Best Bites shared this ice cube tip, as it’s critical in ensuring the heat doesn’t kill the yeast in step two.
2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. This is the most important step in this recipe – if your yeast doesn’t bubble, then you’ll need to repeat this step. I let mine sit for a little while and as you can see it actually doubles!
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and the milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Then add beaten eggs.
4. Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be pretty soft… it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your fingers. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a towel, allowing to rise for 1 hour.
5. After 1 hour punch down dough. Divide dough in half and place on your lightly floured work surface.
6. Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. Another good tip from the gals at Our Best Bites, was to use a pizza cutter – worked like a charm! After cutting, shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. Once done, I then rubbed each roll with cold butta! Fresh from the oven, these are truly life-changing!
By far the best home made rolls I’ve ever made and ever had! That’s a big statement.
So after a full day of cooking, we had a ton to eat on Easter Sunday: Turkey, Ham, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Deviled Eggs, Rolls and last but certainly not least a delish Coconut cake that my mom made!
I also tried a new turkey recipe this year from Ina Garten. I will definitely be making this again next year!
So what did I do with all of the extra time I had? An Easter egg hunt with my niece, of course! Isn’t she precious!
So every year around Christmas my fam gets together to get our cookie bakin’ on. I absolutely love this tradition because everyone brings the ingredients for one type of cookie and then we all get to take home a fresh batch of each type of cookie. Yes, it’s a pile of cookies, and for someone who typically doesn’t keep cookies in the house because ummm… I would eat them all, this time of year also means breaking out the big girl jeans for a few weeks. Luckily, with my Bella Band in place this year, it ain’t no thing. So bring on the suga baby!
This year I decided to make sugar cookies and since I think the dough is easier to work with after being chilled for 24 hours, I made my dough a day in advance. I also decided to try a new recipe and was soooo hapy with the results!
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies – allrecipes.com
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
This year we also had a new cookie baker join us!
She’s a mover and a shaker though… honestly, every picture I took of her was like this She rocked at cookie cutting though… future Betty Crocker in the making y’all!
Tip: Never have high expectations for perfectly icing your cookies. If you do, you will be very disappointed… like I was! Thus why this is the last picture of the sugar cookies. They were a disaster! Heather, Kristen and mama can confirm this
Aside from sugar cookies, we also made Chocolate Chip, Christmas (“Fruit Cake”) Cookies and a new fav, White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies. Shout out to Heather for finding and baking this delicious recipe!
White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookie
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
10 ounces white chocolate (chips or bars cut in chunks)
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped into chunks
Heat oven to 375 F. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, beat well. Stir together flour, and the baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture,beating until well blended. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. (Edges are golden brown and center is set.) Cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.
So although this growing baby and I could of put a serious dent in these cookies, I decided to give most of them away to friends and family. After all, it’s so much better to give than eat receive.
Merry Christmas y’all!
Typically to me, the word “picking” means finding something fabulous in not so fabulous places (i.e. my Henredon coffee table from a junky farm sale). However, this weekend I did a completely different type of pickin’…. and boy did it produce some sweet results. At a farm nearby, we found bush after bush with the prettiest blackberries I’ve ever seen. The deer who frequent this bush with the afternoon munchies are definitely going to be pissed when they see how many we picked. Speaking of deer, if anyone knows how they can get the berries off the bush without bleeding and dropping the “f bomb” several times, please let me know… it’s boggling my mind!
Although it’s not the most attractive bush in the world, it definitely produces one of the sweetest fruits. I think if I could get over the seeds, it would by far be my most favorite!
The thorns surrounding this bush are very painful so we had to grab the top of the berry and pull. Thank you to my beautiful hand model.
So what to do with all of these Blackberries? Since I had about 2 quarts I narrowed it down to either jam or cobbler and of course I chose both! Since I also ambitiously decided to make a fabric covered headboard (post coming later this week, so excited to share!) and paint the guestroom on Sunday, I only had time to make the cobbler. Here’s my favorite cobbler recipe from an old cookbook JD’s grandma gave me. Thanks Effie! This recipe is as sweet as you
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup milk
- 1 qt. blackberries cooked with 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water
Cook the blackberries with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. (Important Tip: After the Blackberries are cooked, I typically use a strainer to separate the juice from the berries. If you don’t feel your cobbler has enough juice from just the berries, then add a little from the juice you strained.)
Welcome to My Sweetnest! I'm just one new mama organizing her way to a sweeter and happier home one naptime at a time.