Easter Memories

As this day draws to a close, my mind wanders back through the years…

Easter when I was young meant a new dress, hair curled (with bristly rollers and a hot hair dryer on Saturday), gloves, hat, purse and maybe new shoes. We’d go to church with Aunt Helen.

1-Easter with Aunt Helen
Fancy hats, purses, shoes and gloves.

We’d have an Easter egg hunt in the house. My sister and I each had a woven basket with a nest of green paper grass and filled with eggs we had colored the day before. We usually had some plastic eggs filled with candy, too.

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I also remember having delicate large decorated sugar eggs that were hollow inside with a peep-hole on one end to look at a spring-themed diorama inside.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2014-02-12 21:22:55Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com
Sugar Easter Egg

Most years, we’d drive the hour or so to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where we’d have a big meal with cousins and Aunts and Uncles and look for Easter eggs out in the yard. I don’t have many specific food memories associated with Easter. Jelly beans, marshmallow peeps and chocolate rabbits were the main treats we had.

In later years, Easter day usually meant a long morning at church. As church organist/pianist, I often played for 3 or even 4 services on Easter morning. When my husband and I had small children of our own, we made special arrangements with the Easter Bunny to visit while we were away at church (since we didn’t have time before church usually).

B hunting Easter Eggs, 1998
Easter egg hunting in the yard, Easter Sunday, 1998

We colored eggs every year often experimenting with new ways to decorate the shells — natural dyes, crayon batiks, rubber bands, ombre effects, etc.

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Easter Eggs

Holy Week holds very special memories of having our daughter. I wrote about this in another blog post, The Miracle of Grace. I am still in AWE of the miracle of her birth. Hallelujah! She was baptized on Easter Sunday.

Holy Week services have been an important part of my faith journey. I remember being moved to tears singing Ah, Holy Jesus in an 1800’s sanctuary on Good Friday. I remember singing in and directing Easter/Holy Week cantatas. Lent and Tenebrae services made more sense after we became Lutherans. I’ve attended a few Seder meals in the home of a Jewish friend and cherish those memories. There have been healing services and prayer vigils.

One year when our children were very young we visited my mom and dad for Easter weekend. After we came home from church, we found a tree in their yard decorated with plastic Easter eggs. There were other eggs hidden around their yard. It was quite a mystery because none of us had made arrangements for the Easter Bunny to visit us there. (We solved this mystery many years later when a neighbor admitted being the accomplice.)

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Easter Egg Tree

Our children are much older now (18 and 21). This year we didn’t even color eggs at all. We did indulge in some candy, though. I deeply enjoyed attending church together, all four of us since it such a rare event now that our oldest is away at college. The church we attend now has a tradition of singing the Hallelujah Chorus (from Messiah) at the end of the Easter morning services. Anyone in the congregation who would like to sing with the choir is invited to do so. My son and I both went up to sing. It was joyous.

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Hallelujah

Whatever your faith tradition, I hope we can agree that LOVE and CARING for each other are essential for living our lives together now and forever.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Birthday Cake!
For the 17th year old — yet again — Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Birthday Cake!

This recipe has 5 stars written across the top of the page in my little handwritten recipe notebook.  My son has asked for it to be his birthday cake for at least the last three years.

It is creamy, decadent and absolutely delicious.

photo by quirkyjazz aka Jill
The 18th birthday Chocochip Cheesecake 1/2 gone!

For the crust:
1 c. (5 oz) chocolate cookie crumbs (such as Oreo)
2 T. salted butter, softened

Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese, softened (2 blocks)
1 c. white sugar
2 c. sour cream (16 oz. container)
3 large eggs
1 T. vanilla (I use Penzey’s)
1 1/2 to 2 c. semi-sweet or special dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees.  Grab a 9 inch springform pan, a food processor (or blender) and a hand mixer.  Also grab measuring cups, spoons and a spatula.

English: Vector representation of embossed Ore...
English: Vector representation of embossed Oreo face. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To prepare crust:
Crumb the cookies finely, using a blender or food processor.  I used about 1 1/2 rows of Oreos this time.  You can also sometimes find Oreo cookie crumbs in a box near the pre-made crusts.  I scrape the white part out of the Oreo before I make the crumbs.  Add the soft butter and blend until it is evenly mixed in.  Press this mixture into the bottom of the 9 inch springform pan (with the sides attached).  Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.

To prepare the filling:
Beat the softened cream cheese smooth in a pretty large bowl with the hand mixer.  Blend in the white sugar and sour cream.  Don’t overbeat it, just get it blended together.  (You will get a lot of cracks if you get too much air in the mix).  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Yes, it says one tablespoon of vanilla.  Use it.  Mix smooth.  Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 c. of chocolate chips.  Pour the filling into the crust.  Sprinkle the rest of the chips on top.  Bake 30 to 40 minutes and then turn the oven OFF and leave the cheesecake in the oven for one hour more.  Set a timer so you don’t forget to get it out of the oven.  Don’t ask me how I know this.  Chill for at least 4 hours.  Overnight chill is better.

Oh my gosh.  It is SO good.

photo by quirkyjazz aka Jill
Sweet Sixteen CC Cheesecake

ENJOY!