Last year, the man and I hosted Easter luncheon for the first time. I used left-over tissue paper to line the plates and separate the soup bowls. I had a crazy notion to make a chilled soup to start (I found an excellent recipe in Delia Smith’s cookbook for avocado gazpacho, and it was pretty successful, if I do say so myself!).
We sat outside with my parents for most of the afternoon, drank a lot of white wine and ate delicious snacks from Trader Joes. My mother and I filled our entire apartment with smoke from the leg of lamb, and the man managed to break not one, but three wine glasses.
It was a good Easter.
This year we were supposed to journey up to the man’s parents, but plans changed at the last minute, so we invited my folks up (and wrangled them into getting lamb from their butcher, who is vastly superior to anyone in our area) and committed to having our first joint family holiday.
I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I have a deep passion for event planning. I immediately whipped open my April issue of ‘Good Housekeeping’ (I remembered they had an Easter luncheon ‘make-ahead’ meal plan, and I was going to cherry pick that which I liked best). I also went about envisioning my table settings. (There is something supremely satisfying about beautifully setting a table to dine).
On Thursday, my first scheduled day of prep, I was sidelined fairly effectively with one of the worst migraine headaches I’ve had in a long time. Sidenote: apparently, the pollen count is twice as high as past years due to the incredibly mild winter. Store that knowledge away, because I think it’s pretty beneficial info. I plan on using it to sound really informed at least three or four times this summer.
So after work on Friday, I braved Michaels, Kohls and the grocery store, to get prepped for the man’s parent’s visit and Easter Sunday luncheon. I had such a strong sense of my flower arrangements, centerpiece and place settings (courtesy of Good Housekeeping) that I hemmed and hawed for awhile at Michaels, trying to find just the right supplies. I also ran into Minda’s hubby, who was there to get crafting supplies to make her a surprise Easter gift (how adorable!).
When John’s parents arrived late Friday evening, we were dying Easter eggs. I’d bought tiny galvanized bins and a little watering can, and I filled them with store-bought (aka fake) moss, and tulip buds. For Easter lunch, I added the dyed eggs (housed in the refrigerator until then).
On Saturday (and on very little sleep, thanks to Miss Lucy) I prepped this year’s chilled soup ~ an asparagus bisque. Having never bought (let alone cooked) with leeks, it was a long process – it’s length aided by my inability to focus due to extreme fatigue. Someone (and I won’t name names LUCY) was up all night crying at the incredible injustice that she was in our room in her comfy bed rather than in the living room with her grandma, grandpa and their pups, Sera and Jack. The recipe is here ~ and it’s delish. The man made a great observation, too ~ the soup benefits from time in the fridge cooling down.
For dinner, I made buttermilk roast chicken (from Smitten Kitchen – and a huge success on WeHangsDay earlier in the week), pull-apart bread and a spinach, pear and almond salad. (This was all at the request of the man ~ there’s nothing quite like getting a food request… it makes a girl feel very special!). I’d wanted to prep the rest of Easter dinner, but after a shower and a long nap, it was all I could do to get dinner on the table.
Today, Lucy and I took a three-mile jog and then set in for full-on Easter lunch prep. The man and I set up two tables, draped them in clothes (which I bought in two contrasting sizes and shapes, because really, why make it easy on myself?), and I began decorating.
Our final menu ~
To start … Deviled eggs a la the man, Chilled Asparagus Bisque
For lunch … Boneless leg of lamb (prepared by my gracious mother, with grainy mustard, rosemary and breadcrumbs), scalloped potatoes (prepared by John’s gracious mother, with cheddar cheese, sour cream, butter, French’s Fried Onions and Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup), Apricot & Pistachio Salad (courtesy of Good Housekeeping) and Pillsbury biscuits.
And, something sweet … Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries, Peanut Butter Eggs, and Coconut Eggs. The man has been waxing lyrical about his mama’s peanut butter eggs forever … and he was right. They were delish!
It was an amazing afternoon ~ such a nice and gentle introduction of our families to each other (after nearly four years, it was about time!). In my world, family is one of the most important things. Family helps to mold you, is your safety net when you take leaps of faith into the unknown, lifts you up when you are dragging, and genuinely expresses pleasure when you succeed. Family is priceless and should be treated as such. I felt lucky to have the majority of my family with me (we were minus my little brother, because he marches to his own beat, is turning 30 tomorrow and probably celebrated today, and isn’t one for overly religious celebrations). I feel lucky to be with a man who values the same things I value.
Life is good. Happy Easter peeps. 😉 (Get it? … peeps!!!)