Monday, May 2, 2011
Easter 2011 - Lunch and Cookie Decorating!
I wasn't raised in a religious family. And as much as I am aware that this will offend people, celebrating Easter really isn't much more than a commercial holiday to me - and I love to have an excuse to buy brightly colored decorations and get my family together!
When I was growing up we would get together the day before Easter and stay up decorating cookies and coloring eggs, followed by a huge egg hunt on Easter Sunday in my Auntie Kris's backyard. The "grown ups" would all go out and hide eggs around their backyard while we waited in anticipation out of sight. As soon as they called down and told us they were ready, we'd rush outside, baskets in hand to see what we can find! One lucky kid would find the golden egg filled with cash!! If I remember correctly, I think my brother usually found it, I never found it - I was always happy picking up the pink eggs and the purple eggs, and the blue eggs. Ahh, I miss those days. Then, we all grew up and the annual Easter Egg Hunt dissolved.
Several years have passed, and now the kids are all grown adults - most of us don't have children, and we haven't gotten together for Easter in years. This year, at the suggestion of my cousin's wife, we decided to finally get together to decorate our favorite cookies! Some of us had plans on Easter Sunday so we had our lunch a week early. (Sorry it's taken so long for me to write this up, family!)
I decided to take an easy route for lunch - make your own sandwiches... So of course Costco was the place to go! Roast turkey, Roast Beef, Columbus Pastrami - Yum! I even found sliced Monterey Jack/Bleu Cheese and it was fabulous! Another hit was from the Costco "deli" section, the Cilantro Lime Shrimp - It's marinated shrimp in a garlicky cilantro sauce.
My Mom made an Asian Chicken Salad - I'll post the recipe soon - This was so good, it was gone before everyone arrived!
My Auntie Kris made her famous Mexican Layer Dip - Beefy, cheesy goodness. I give credit to her for showing me the way around a kitchen when I was young! Also, Costco artichoke spinach dip that was baked until the parmesan melted...
We always have a ton of food - sometimes because I don't know who may show up, and partly because that's how we've always done it. Everyone should be able to bring leftovers home to enjoy later! I bought three types of J.W. Macy's Cheese Crisps - If you haven't tried these, they are awesome and worth scouting out. They occasionally make an appearance at Costco, but I had to order these online. I haven't found them in "regular" stores yet.
This year, inspired by my friend Pam, the Cake Pop Queen, I decided to try to make cake pops! I did chicks, and carrots and eggs. I had a bunch of cake pop eggs ready for my family to decorate, but sadly, as I opened the refrigerator door, they all came crashing out. I was so upset, since they were time consuming!! Maybe next year... They weren't perfect, this was my very first attempt at a pretty difficult task. I didn't think they were going to be as much work as they were... I'll blog about them later!
After lunch was done, we cleared the table and got ready to start decorating cookies! This is my Auntie Kris's recipe, and it's the best recipe EVER! I'll have to ask her if I can post it... :) The cookies are thin, buttery and super crispy. My cousin Margaret loves the burnt ones, so we save those for her! They are super fragile and we break a lot of them in the process - The rule is, if you break it, you can eat it! :D I think some people might intentionally break the cookies! My Auntie Kris, Cousin Sophia and I all baked cookies in advance so that we'd have enough for the entire gang!
We mixed all kinds of frosting colors for variety, and set everything out...
Decorations, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, shapes, chocolate covered sunflower seeds - you can never have enough decorations! Personally, I like the cookies plain, with just a thin coat of frosting, nothing else, but where's the fun in that?!
Everyone started decorating - At first, we get really creative, but eventually we get a little lazy - when decorating tons of cookies, it gets time consuming! We don't get too fancy with decorating tips, and pro tools, we just use small spatulas and tubs of frosting!
We set the cookies out on trays so they can dry a little bit before getting packaged for everyone to take home... It's fun to see all of the colors, shapes and textures!
I had to take a pic of the little lamb I did - that one was time consuming. I covered "her" with white frosting then tiny white pearls. She was too cute to eat. I gave it to my Mom to give to her friend Jill. :)
I love the striped egg and the multi colored flower at the top of the pic - I don't know who did those? too cute!!
So, I got bored with decorating bunnies, flowers and butterflies and decided to make a set of monsters. That was actually kind of fun!
Thank you again family for so many hysterical laughs and good times! What's next?! Love you all!!