Happy Easter to all our family and friends! He is risen - Alleluia! How blessed we are!
We enjoyed a wonderful day together as a family on Easter Sunday. We got up super early for the 7:30 AM Mass so we could dress in our Easter best. Matthew wore an adorable little sweater vest that had been my brother Bruce's at one time. The baggy khakis we paired with it made him look like a such a tiny little grownup. He was very well behaved at Mass and actually payed attention to the majority of it, even joining in with the congregation to loudly proclaim "AMEN!"
A few funny moments did occur that made the group of people sitting behind us chuckle...
1. When Father Jason was blessing the altar with the Thurible and sending large puffs of incense smoke into the air, Matthew started pointing and saying, with a very desperate and concerned tone: "Hot! HOT!"
2. Later, immediately before Communion, Matthew was watching very carefully while Father Jason held up the large Host, declaring: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are we who are called to this meal." After the congregation stated the response ("Lord, I am not worthy to receive you..."), Father Jason then bent down to consume the Host. Matthew then decided to loudly proclaim, on behalf of Father Jason: "MMMMMMMM...IT TASTES GOOD!! Yummy!"
Despite those outbursts, he was a very well behaved boy.
When we got home, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of Polish sausage, scrambled eggs, and blueberry buckle. I then took Matthew upstairs to distract him while Paul hid a bunch of little plastic eggs all around the first floor. Inside each egg, we had placed a couple M&Ms or marshmallows since we knew our little candy monster would probably gobble the contents of each egg down before continuing the search for the rest of them. When it was time to bring Matthew back downstairs, he was greeted with an Easter bucket filled with a single egg. Once he saw that the egg contained candy, he instantly was up and searching all over our living room for the any egg he could find. He was pretty good about finding them! Periodically, he would stop to stuff his face with some more goodies but then continue the search until his little bucket was filled to the brim with colorful eggs. At the end of the game, he discovered a hollow chocolate bunny sitting in his high chair. He grabbed the chocolate bunny, turned to me with a big smile and said: "Ohhhhh....he's sooooooo cute!!"
I thought the cuteness of the bunny might dissuade Matthew from consuming it. However, when I turned my back to him for a single minute to wash some dishes, he quickly tore open the packaging and bit the head right off that bunny. So much for that.
We enjoyed some time outside as a family before Paul and I buckled down to make our Easter feast. We were having guests over for a French-themed Easter dinner - complete with Coq au Vin, Pommes Anna, Roasted Asparagus, and a Pear Gorgonzola Salad with a Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette. Everything came together easily and Paul was a master chef when it came to helping prepare the Coq au Vin. We had a lot of fun teasing each other and joking around in the kitchen while getting everything ready. And it was all so delicious!
My favorite part of the whole meal was the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp. This particular recipe includes crystallized ginger in the crust that contributes a pleasant, underlying spiciness. It was a delicious and wonderful addition that really complemented the sweet strawberries and the tart rhubarb. The other unique thing about this crisp is that the fruit filling is sandwiched between two layers of crust. Served slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it was a perfectly refreshing and wonderful way to end our meal.
Matthew even helped me make it. In between gobbling down more candy, he helped pat the crust into the bottom of the pan and sprinkled the cut rhubarb over the top. It took him about 10 minutes to put all the rhubarb in the pan because he had to take frequent breaks to eat more candy, but it all made it in there eventually along with a few M&Ms that had to be picked out before the strawberry filling was added.
Matthew enjoyed a piece of the leftover crisp for breakfast. There are oats and fruit in it...that makes it a health food right?
Strawberry-Rhubarb Double Crisp
from Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the Crisp:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup old fashioned oats (NOT quick cooking)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
A pinch of salt
A small pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup very finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 stick of butter, melted
For the Filling:
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and peeled
3 cups sliced strawberries (about 12 ounces)
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crisp, combine the flour through ginger in a large bowl with your fingertips, making sure to break up any clumps. Add the melted butter and stir everything together with a fork until no dry patches remain. Press half the crisp mixture into the bottom of an 8x8 glass pyrex pan. Set the other half of the crisp aside.
Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch wide pieces and scatter then over the prepared crust in the pan. In a saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar and ginger. Mash the berries with a potato masher and then set the pan over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Mix the cold water and the cornstarch together and add to the strawberry mixture. Return mixture to a boil, continuing to cook and stir for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is no longer opaque and has become thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Immediately pour the strawberry filling over the rhubarb in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining crisp mixture over the top.
Place a baking sheet under the pan (it will bubble over a bit!) and slide it into the oven. Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is browned and the fruit is hot and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and serve once it has cooled a bit. Top with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!