Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Reprise with Chocolate

our dinner table the night before Easter Sunday

The foodie preparations for Easter began on Saturday with the setting of the table. We have been wonderfully blessed with a large dining room in our new house.

Easter morning dawned partly cloudy in Castle Rock with snow-covered mountains to the west. This past week our deck has been under construction. All that remains is for the steps to the ground and the railings to be added. We enjoyed getting to step out onto it this weekend and even pulled up a couple of chairs so we could just sit and drink in the views.

Dressed and ready for church -
 that's the Rocky Mountains beyond the houses behind us

We took turns posing for the camera in our Easter clothes, thrilled that this Easter was too warm for snow!  Beloved wore his new blue shirt sans a tie -- you know how casual church fashions have become. (I call it "snappy casual.")

My ensemble was fun to assemble, which included a stop at the thrift store to purchase the skirt a couple of weeks ago.  It's got a fancy J.Jill label sewn to the inside, but the price was only $6.99. The white sweater is a purchase from Christopher Banks, leftover from last spring, and the white camisole is a recent acquisition from Kohl's (also on sale). The shoes are Naturalizers that I wear only on Sundays and they are ancient but comfortable and have held up well.

Canyons Community Church 

After the brief photo session at home, we drove to church.  En route we saw the most amazing sight that we did not get to photograph. Pikes Peak, which is about 42 miles south as the crow flies from here, was covered with snow and the sun was reflecting off that snow in such a way that the mountain appeared to be iridescent -- incredibly beautiful! And so appropriate for Easter morn!

Beloved serves the Lord with pancake batter

We did not eat breakfast at home because pancakes were being served at church. However, we mistakenly arrived an hour early, which means we got to help make the food!  Beloved started out pouring the batter with his sport coat on, but quickly shed that and got very busy. My assignment was to pour the orange juice.

Collage from the Easter morning church service

The worship center was simply and appropriately decorated for the day. Our choir, Voices of the Canyons,  sang an arrangement by Tom Fettke that incorporated He is Lord, Our God Reigns, All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name, and Crown Him with Many Crowns. 

I have blotted out the faces of my fellow choir members since I've not asked their permission to post them on my blog.  There are several more of us that cannot be seen from the perspective of Beloved as he snapped this picture.

Easter Dinner place setting

Back at home after spending the morning at church, it was time to get Easter dinner onto the table. I love to use my late mother-in-law's dishes, Minuet by Bavarian China for Easter because of the color and pattern. The gold ring is fading from my younger married days when I didn't know such dishes should not be put into the dish washer.  Now I am much more careful to hand-wash these plates.

The dark rose napkins and silver napkin rings are Christmas gifts from my sister, and they sure went well with the color scheme!

Beloved, our son and his wife at Easter Dinner

Our son and his wife, who also live in Colorado, came for Easter dinner at our house. Such special times are made all the more enjoyable with family. While I provided the food, they brought the gorgeous arrangement of tulips!

my dinner plate

We are no longer heavy eaters around here, ever since weight loss has proved to be such a boost to our health and sense of well-being. On the menu was Honey Baked Ham, new red potatoes, green beans, a carrot slaw, and deviled eggs.  We also had dinner rolls, but since I eat gluten-free, there was no bread on my plate. Truth be told, I seldom eat bread products any more, even the gluten-free ones; and I don't miss it.

Carrot Slaw

This carrot-shaped dish (a gift from Mary) has come in handy a couple of times lately (see my recent post about Trail Mix).  It was perfect for the Carrot Slaw, made special for my son, who does not care for mayonnaise. I'll be posting the recipe for this dish at a later date.

"Heavenly Eggs"

We call these Deviled Eggs although I prefer what my friend Leah calls them, "Heavenly Eggs." What Easter dinner is complete without them, whatever they are called? I use the recipe I grew  up with from The Cook on Fifth Street (my mother): cooked egg yolk, French's yellow mustard, sugar to taste, and pickle juice added sparingly to keep the mixture from being too stiff. (this is a gluten-free recipe)

Fruit-infused water

My friend Diana introduced me to this way to serve water at a special dinner. It's a clear acrylic pitcher from Bed Bath and Beyond ($20) that has a slotted cylinder in the center. Fill that cylinder with cut-up fruit (lemon and mandarin orange this time), fill the pitcher with water, and then refrigerate. The fruit gently infuses the water with it's flavor.  

Alternately, you could put ice cubes into the cylinder which prevents the cubes from slipping into the water glasses.  At the very least, it looks very pretty on a special dinner table.

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Our dessert was small but a real delight. It's a take-off from Reese's Peanut Butter cups. The original recipe came from the Internet but I've changed it slightly to what you see here.

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (makes 8-10)

1 cup smooth almond butter
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 Tablespoon Coconut oil
1 Tablespoon raw, unfiltered honey
1 cup chocolate chips, melted (use gluten-free)
small paper candy cups (the miniature cupcake papers)

Place almond butter, coconut, coconut oil, and honey in a food processor and puree until smooth and well-combined.

Place 8-10 small paper candy cups into the wells of a small muffin tin. Add a spoonful of the almond butter mixture into each one, then pour the melted chocolate on top of each one.  

Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes (or longer), until set.

To serve, remove the cups from the freezer 5 minutes before eating  to help soften the chocolate.  Note: if you take them out too soon, the almond butter mixture gets really soft and you'll need a spoon to scrape it off the paper.

Peel back the paper and enjoy!

As I type this, Easter Sunday is nearly over. Our company has left for their house and we are sitting in the family room listening to very hard rain and some thunder outside.  

It has been a beautiful day in so many ways.  We are thankful that Jesus Christ rose from the dead so that we can be raised to New Life and spend all of eternity in the Presence of our Lord.  

Tulips from the Kids

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