Easter Eggs!


(photo courtesy of Pixabay)

We love our holidays and none is more important to us than Easter. Firstly, it marks the resurrection of Jesus, but it also taps into our creative nature. One is never too old to decorate and hunt for Easter eggs.

Easter eggs have a history that predates Christianity. In pagan times, eggs were considered symbolic of new life, fertility and rebirth. Christians, however, see the Easter egg as "symbolic of the resurrection of Christ."

In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, painting Easter eggs is tradition. Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood Christ shed on the cross. The eggs are blessed by the priest at the end of the Paschal vigil and distributed to the congregants who crack the eggs. The egg's hard shell egg is symbolic of the sealed Tomb of Christ, and cracking the shell represents Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  (via HuffPost, Barooah, Jahnabi, 4/11/2017) 

While there are many commercial dyes that can be purchased to decorate eggs, you can create your own beautiful colors from natural ingredients. These five ingredients can produce a wide range of lovely colors for your decorating: beets, onion skins, tumeric, coffee, and red cabbage.  

To make your dyes you'll need the following:

Red-cabbage dye:  4 cups chopped cabbage
Turmeric dye:         3 tablespoons turmeric
Onion-skin dye:     4 cups onion skins (skins of about 12 onions)
Beet dye:                  4 cups chopped beets
Coffee dye:               1 quart strong black coffee (instead of water)

To make your dyes - with the exception of the coffee -  boil your ingredients in one quart of water with 2 Tbs of vinegar for 30 minutes, then strain.  The depth of your color depends on how long you let your eggs soak in the dye.

For a deep gold, boil egg in tumeric solution for 30 minutes. Pale yellow is achieved with room temperature tumeric. Light blue eggs result from soaking in room temperature cabbage dye for 30 minutes. For a cobalt blue soak over night in room temperature cabbage dye. Lavender is achieved by soaking eggs in room temperature beet solution for 30 minutes followed by 30 seconds of the room temperature cabbage mixture.  

For chartreuse, soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 5 seconds. If you want brown eggs, you can achieve a deep, rich brown by boiling the egg in the coffee solution for 30 minutes. For a paler brown, soak 30 minutes in room temperature coffee. Soak eggs in room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes for orange eggs.

Light pink eggs can be achieved by soaking in room temperature beet solution for 30 minutes. For salmon eggs soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes. (via

Experiment to see what beautiful shades you can create for your Easter egg creations!


(photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Vegetarian Thanksgiving happy day for the turkey

Move over big bird and make room for the sides.

Vegetarian dishes are stealing the spotlight for more than a few families who are choosing to eat meatless on Thanksgiving - just as they do every other day of the year. 

The NY Times' Tara Parker-Pope writes today about the health benefits of a birdless holiday meal in her Well column while reminding us too that creativity is limitless with a cornucopia of beautiful fresh vegetables.

Eat your veggies!

Holiday dessert classic La Tarte Tatin from Julia Child

Watch the full episode. See more Julia Child.


God bless PBS. 

The educational TV channel has uploaded 28 Julia Child videos. 

And just in time for the holidays, you too can watch and learn to  make a classic ,  LaTarte Tatin, made with juicy, tart and tangy apples.

Bon appetit, now you may eat!

Here's the dish: 9 steps to a smoother, easier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving spread I like my holidays to be both elaborate spectacles and simple to manifest.  How's that for being at odds with one's self?

Can a table groaning with elaborate dishes and dides ever be an easy task to accomplish?  Sure, why not?

Give your Thanksgiving Day and dinner the  Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. 

Susan Westmoreland, Food Director at the arbiter of American housekeeping,  gives the skinny on 9 best ways to streamline and enjoy your holiday.  (via

photo courtesy of

Thanksgiving 2010 Holiday recipe round-up

Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Shrimp Cocktail We're moving the week before Thanksgiving, so I anticipate the first meals in our new home to be served on paper plates atop cardboard boxes.

I could care less!

We're moving into a great little house with a spacious backyard, an adorable side porch, and a fireplace! As long as the fireplace is crackling, I'm good. 

But, I realize the rest of the world is scrambling for menu ideas. 

Me too, even if I'm not going to go crazy trying to have everything in place day of.

Still, a woman can dream about the next big meal, the one where she's made that fab recycled wood table from ReadyMade, and everyone is gathered together to count their blessings.   And on the table a beautiful glistening browned bird. 

Oh, the sumptuous sides. Oh, the delicious desserts. Oh the stories we'll tell. 

Heres'a holiday recipe round-up for making your own nostalgic moments.

Photo courtesy of The Food Network

A Crystal Springs Resort Christmas & New Year's

Crystal Springs Resort's winter wonderland

Light the Yule log and drink up the nog with Christmas at Crystal Springs Resort.

The Grand Cascades Lodge, 3 Wild Turkey Way , Hardyston, has three options for Christmas Eve and Day. Dine at Restaurant Latour, which will serve its regular menu as well as holiday additions. The Crystal Tavern will have its regular and a special prix-fixe menus And the Springs Bistro will feature its regular menu plus holiday additions.

Kites Restaurant, located at Minerals Resort & Spa, 2 Chamonix Dr, Vernon, will be open both Christmas Eve & Day and serving a special Christmas menu on Christmas Day.

For more information and reservations call 973-827-1587 ext 3 or visit  their website.

Out with the old and in with the new - year that is.

Crystal Springs Resort offers 9 different options for New Year’s Eve ranging from romantic dinners to family buffets to a one-of-a-kind tropical party in the Biosphere Pool Complex.

Celebrate with dinner at Restaurant Latour, Crystal Tavern, Springs Bistro or party all night at the amazing tropical Biosphere Party and/or an overnight stay at the Grand Cascades Lodge.  For a family focus, with a little for Mom & Dad in the mix, try Minerals Resort & Spa. The family-focused resort offers a family party, dinner at Kites restaurant, late night parties and tons of children’s events.

A New Year’s Day brunch will be available at both hotels.

For information visit the website or call 973-827-5996 ext 3. 

Italian Notebook brings the best of Italy for holidays

We at Eat. Drink. Memory. love Italian Notebook, the daily scoop on all things fabulously Italian for the holidays and every day.

Get the Italian insider's information direct to your inbox with a subscription.

Meanwhile, check out what Italian Notebook has to say about the tradition of the Christkindlmarkt.

Bolzano/Bozen, Alto-Adige - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Bolzano/Bozen as tourists arrive from all over Italy for our traditional Christmas market, the Christkindlmarkt, a German-style Christmas market that isn’t typical elsewhere in Italy.

Towering above the market stalls is a giant Christmas tree with plenty of twinkling lights. There's a diverse selection of holiday ornaments to buy, including stars, gnomes and even some skiing reindeer as a little reminder that we’re in the Alps.

And then there are the sweets. There’s plenty to munch: cookies, lebkuchen (chocolate-covered gingerbread), Christmas stollen, and the local Bozner cake, dark and moist with nuts and candied fruit. Additional flavors of the local strudel make an appearance, too — try some tasty apricot along with the always-reliable apple.

To keep warm when the snow starts falling, sample the glühwein (mulled wine) or the Tyrolean hot orange punch (a personal favorite!), with or without added rum. The festivities run until December 23rd.

Buon Natale and Fröhliche Weihnachten from Bolzano/Bozen!

-- Contributed by Lee McIntyre (see bio), Freelance writer and photographer. Author of the book A Year of One a Days.

Host a holiday cookie exchange party

Find more cookie recipes at Allrecipes Secret Santa is so over-rated.

I'd much rather go to a party where cookies are the main event and everyone goes home with great goodies to enjoy.

Hosting a cookie exchange is as easy as whipping up a batch of your very best cookie bars. 

The rules are easy. Invite a dozen or more friends over. Provide some simple snacks - nuts, fruit and cheese, a crusty French bread with an olive tapenade and some wine. Or serve some egg nog (spiked if you like).

Ask each guest to bring 4 dozen homemade cookies to swap with other guests. Since most cookie recipes make 4 to 5 dozen cookies, this is easier than it sounds. If you like, you can allow busy guests to bring bakery bought cookies.

Some cookie exchanges factor in some sort of contest or ornament exchange as well. This adds to the fun and really isn't very complicated.

If participants are exchanging ornaments, every guest brings one special ornament to swap with another guest. (Note: The host might consider having a few extra ornaments on hand so no one gets left out if someone forgets to bring an ornament.)

Prizes can be given for Best Cookie Overall, based on taste, texture, presentation, Most Creative, Outstanding Presentation, or Most Original Recipe, etc. 

Be sure to have guests bring a container or plastic Ziploc bags to take home their cookies. The host may want to have extra takeaway bozes on hand in case someone forgets theirs.

Possibilities are endless

Not a big fan of cookies? Have a cupcake exchange instead. Instead of 4 dozen cookies, bring 2 dozen cupcakes to swap. Don't like cupcakes?  Have guests make two cakes to exchange. Cakes to heavy? Guests can bring homemade candies.

Magic Cookie Bars

(recipe from Eagle Brand)

Makes 3 dozen


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

Easy and delicious Fruit Cake Bars recipe for Christmas

For more yummy bar cookie recipesfrom Eagle Brand click here

I love Fruit Cake - not the hard as a brick stuff you could use for a door stop, but moist, rum-soaked, candied fruit and nut rich cake. 

My early experiences with fruit cake were less than stellar - waxy, indigestible stuff bought from the store.

I really appreciated my Mom's dense and rich cakes, chock full of candied fruits. I know it comes as a big surprise that I loved the cherries best.

Fruit cake ought to be made a few weeks out from Christmas to allow for a good dousing with rum, but I usually wait until the ninth hour.

Fortunately, I have this really good fruit cake bar recipe adapted from Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk which makes up for my procrastinating ways.  It makes a moist, rummy Fruit Cake Bar - perfect for parties or for shipping to your beloveds near and far.

Old Fashioned Fruit Cake Bars

makes about 4 dozen bars

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (27 oz.) jar Mincemeat
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk>
  • 2 cups (1 lb.) mixed candied fruit (1/2 cup coconut optional)
  • 1 cup pecans halves
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum

HEAT oven to 300ºF.

1. Stir together flour and baking soda. Combine eggs, mincement, sweetened condensed milk, candied fruit, nuts and spiced rum in large bowl. Blend in dry ingredients. 

2. Coat 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with no-stick cooking spray. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Cool. Glaze if desired with heated pureed apricot preserves.

Note: This recipe can be used to make a cake using a 10-cup fluted bundt-type pan and baking for 1 hour and 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You can also make cookies using the drop method (a rounded teaspoon full approximately 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets) or even cookies and baking for 15 to 18 minutes.

World's tallest Christmas tree in Idaho

Everyone knows Idaho is famous for fantastic winter sports  and gorgeous wilderness landscapes, and of course. the good-for-you potato, but who knew the Gem State was home to the world's tallest living Christmas tree, itself a sparkling jewel every holiday season.

The website, Digital City, reports on this glittering holiday record-breaker:

If you're really looking to cement your status as a holiday fanatic, start making your travel plans now to visit the world's tallest living Christmas tree in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

You can find it at the Coeur d'Alene Resort, which adds an extra special touch to the holiday tree by offering a spectacular Holiday Light Show, featuring 1.5 million lights and a guaranteed snow shower.