#FRIDAYFOOD Easter Dinner

Barbara Todd had a better Easter Bunny experience than my husband, Pepper, did!

First of all, when Todd was little, she would go into her bedroom after Easter Sunday breakfast to find her pet bunny sitting on the bed. Easter eggs were all around him, so she automatically thought that rabbits laid Easter eggs!

When she was older, she dressed up as the Easter bunny and walked around the local shopping center, talking to children and giving out candy.

“The younger children really thought I was the real Easter bunny!” Todd said.

Pepper had a different experience.

While we were dating, I worked as the Main Street Director for the City of Grenada. I did that about one year. That Easter, we invited children to the square for an Easter party and to meet the Easter Bunny.

We rented a costume and Pepper dressed up as the Easter Bunny. It had a solid plastic head and was about a million degrees. He also could not see directly below him, so when children where right up under him, he was afraid of trampling them. I had him sitting in the gazebo in downtown Grenada so parents could take photos.

Other than it being extremely hot that day and Pepper’s willingness to go to great lengths to make me happy (something he would be doing the rest of his life!), there was one kid in particular that made a comment that we quote every Easter. “That’s not a rabbit! That’s a man in a suit! I got his watch!”

Pepper always says “if anyone sees a five foot eight-inch rabbit, they better run!”

We LOVE Easter! I love all the special traditions and foods and church services as much as Christmas!

After we were married and Pepper and I moved into our home with such a HUGE front yard, I was determined to have an Easter Egg Hunt and Church Picnic every year. There were several little kids in our church and for years we asked the church and others in the neighborhood to join the fun!

One year we had kites for all of the kids. Other years, bubbles. One year, our cats had kittens and when the little ones went out to hunt for eggs, they found four litters of baby kittens. THAT was an Easter surprise!! One year, after a lifetime of not being allergic to poison oak/ivy, I broke out and it spread all over – I was itchy for over a month! That was the last year we have had it at the house.

Unfortunately, two families with a LOT of kids moved others grew a little older. Our group of 20-30 littles dwindled to about two or three. That year, it rained all day the Saturday before Easter. It was still raining Easter Sunday morning. I was disappointed. We had never had to move the picnic to the church fellowship hall. For all the work we did in the yard, SOMEBODY needed to come look at it and play! I was taking extra precaution for poison oak and ivy. But we didn’t need to traipse all over the yard looking for eggs. It was just too wet.

We traipsed all over the church. It was wild and loud, but the handful of kids that were there had an AMAZING time! Now, I host an Easter Weekend Extravaganza at my parent’s house in Stewart. We hid eggs, eat great food and enjoy a few games. There’s always a surprise kid or two, so this year, I am prepared! We will still have our church indoor picnic (or potluck lunch) in the fellowship hall, and who knows if any children will be there to hunt eggs on the church grounds or inside the building. But I know there will be great food and everyone will have a wonderful time celebrating this special time of year.

At our house, I would always prepare a spiral cut Honeybaked Ham. Pepper’s mom would make yeast rolls and we would have ham sandwiches all week! YUM! I also would make stuffed eggs, Corn and Bean Casserole and would possibly buy a Jubilations Cheesecake or other special dessert for the occasion. Last year, I bought doughnuts shaped and decorated like Easter Eggs!

Corn and Bean Casserole

16 oz. can of French style Green Beans

1 16 oz. can of corn

1 can of cream of celery soup

½ cup of diced pepper

½ cup diced onion

½ cup sour cream

Mix all of these ingredients together. Then add:

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 stick of butter, cut into pats

1 stack of crumbled Ritz crackers to layer on the top of the casserole

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. YUM!

I asked Facebook and Twitter friends and followers about their favorite Easter foods and Easter memories. Thank you all for responding!

Jessie Frye said her family always had baked ham straight from their own smokehouse, new potatoes and peas.

“I also always got a large egg-shaped sugar shell that had scenes inside,” Frye said. “Haven’t seen those is quite a while. The thing would be almost as large as a football. Memories!!”

When I was working at The Meridian Star (many moons ago) there was a church who would make these “Peek-a-Boo Eggs” as an Easter fundraiser. It had something to do with the children and I did a story about it. I remember the whole building smelled AMAZING and I was astounded at how they created the little scenes inside the egg-shell. Now I know the sugar shell was in half and they decorated the scenes individually then placed them in the egg. I looked up a recipe, because now I may have to do some experimentation! While it looks easy, there are a lot of steps in making one and it helps if you have a little cake decorating experience. That’s going to take some practice!

Kimberlee Nichols and Becky Johnson love a Bunny Cake. Donna Stewart said her mom had a bunny and a lamb cake pan. “The lamb was so cute!!”

We have a Bunny cake every year,” said Johnson. “Loralee and Cliff Jernigan help make it. It is so much fun to make and decorate.”

Nichols grandmother always makes a Bunny cake for Easter, and a goody cake.

I guess the best way to describe it would be a yellow cake mix mixed with butter bottom, with a layer of chocolate chips and then cream cheese baked on top,” Nichols said. “Robin said it is like a gooey butter cake with chocolate chips.”

Granny’s Goody Cake

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine: 1 egg 1 stick of butter, softened

Add: 1 box of yellow cake mix

Spread in cake pan.

Cover cake mixture with:

3/4-1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine: 1 egg

1 8oz cream cheese, softened.

Add: 3 3/4 – 4 cups of confectioner sugar

Spread over chocolate sugar. Bake 30-35 minutes. ENJOY!

Susan Redd Vaughn said for Easter Sunday dinner, she loves potato salad. “It’s one of my most favorite foods!”

Lynn Hartshorn Chicarell said she loves to see Beth Izzarelli’s homemade macaroni salad at the Easter Sunday dinner table.

“It is the best I have ever had,” Chicarell said. “Just a subtle hint for this year. Hint, hint!”

Macaroni Salad

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 teaspoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped carrot

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 hard-cooked egg, sliced

Dash paprika

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Cool completely. For dressing, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, pickle relish, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, celery, carrot and onion. Add dressing and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate until serving. Garnish with egg and paprika.

And then there’s the candy! What sweet treat did/do you always look forward to having in your Easter basket?

Jay Reed said he liked almost anything (except coconut, “because that came from the devil therefore it shouldn’t be eaten at Easter, or ever”) inserted inside a chocolate egg. (I agree with Jay! I hate coconut! It is a texture thing!”)

Tammie McGarr, Kay Emmons, Julie Brown and both of my nieces love Cadbury Cream Eggs. Susan Vaughn and Connie Medders love Reeses Eggs!

Nora Tindall said she loves Carmel Cadbury mini eggs and sweet tart jelly beans!

Leanne McGarr and Nancy Latham love jelly beans. Rebecca Ellison loves Robin Eggs. Georgia Caffey loves Peeps of any color and Shirley Blakely loves Marshmallow bunnies.

Whatever you find on your Easter dinner table or in your Easter basket, I hope you will enjoy all the fun and reflect on the true reason for the season. Have a BLESSED Easter!




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