Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Menu Planning

I have a confession to make, I love Easter. It's my favorite holiday for tons of reasons...two reasons that I may share later and two that I'll share today. First, I love the feel of Easter. It's spring and everything is new and bright and blooming. My parents usually host a seafood boil or BBQ at their house and the whole family comes over for quiet time in the backyard complete with swimming and plenty of food. The other reason I love Easter is that it's stress free. Christmas has months of buildup and all of the stress of holiday shopping, running from party to part etc. Not Easter...it's a holiday that starts with mass and ends with quiet quality family time...love.

Healthy eating is not something my family really excells at. Whenever we have family gatherings, I try to "round out" the meal by bringing a salad or some veggie based dish and of course...something sweet. The problem is I always face is striking a balance between a healthy dish and a dish that picky eaters will be open to.

After talking to my mom, our Easter menu will consist of BBQ chicken, Sausage (Bratsworth and Turkey), Burgers, and Hot Dogs and mac and cheese. I'm in charge of desert and a veggie based side.

The options:

Spinach Strawberry Salad- I make a variation of this salad often for family gatherings. I'm leaning towards skipping this one for Easter since we'll be outside and salad's tend to wilt in the heat.

Carrot Salad- this sounds so good to me...but I'm not sure how it will go over with the crowd. I love cilantro and I want to try this sometime soon, I'm just not sure if this is the best time. I'm also not too sure about making a carb heavy salad when there will already be a heavy mac and cheese being served.

Cranberry Apple Salad- same concerns...but I can't wait to try it

Grilled veggies- so this isn't really a "recipe" as much as it is a cooking method. When we grill I often take a mix of veggies, potatoes, asparagus, onion, red/orange/yellow pepers, zuchini, squash...whatever I have on hand and roast in a skillet made of the BBQ pit. I'm leaning towards this I'm just a little worried about getting it all cooked...maybe I'll roast them a little while at home in the oven so they only need to be finished off on the pit?

Now on to the best part...desert!

Blondies- I will probably make at least a 1/2 batch of blondies for the kids. It's a basic no fail recipe of mine that I make often for last minute company. I'll probably make them with white and milk chocolate chips for the kids but I've made them with toffee, buterscotch and pecans all before. I just go with whatever I have around and feel like eating!

Strawberry Cupcakes or maybe these Strawberry Cupcakes- Growing up my favorite cake was strawberry cake and strawberry icing...straight from the box. I'd love to try a "from scratch" recipe and I can't think of a better ocasion.

Red Velvet Strawberry Trifle - because it contains some of my favorite things. what's not to love?

So the verdict? Grill roasted veggies seem like a winner on the side. For deserts, we may have to make a few and taste test the options!!

The dreaded first post...

Ahh the dreaded first post. I've written, deleted and re-written this post several times. It's hard to know what this blog will be a year from now or even a month from now. With that acknowledged, here's what this blog is right now...a reflection of my life. So what's up? Here goes

1) Running- my last run was horrible. One of those runs where nothing seems to go right. The sweat won't stay out of your eyes and the miles drag on. 6.25 miles total in just over an hour and ten minutes. The up side to all of this is I ran the day after a crawfish boil (hydration level was somewhere around negative 6...tons of salt and almost no water. Not exactly good for a run on a hot day), during the hottest part of the day. This Saturday is the Crescent City Classic. I haven't trained a ton so I've set a goal to finish in under 1 hour 10 minutes. Since the run from hell took about that long, I'm feeling pretty confident!
2) Eating- I've been trying to get "back on track" after Mardi Gras and some time out of town. I was doing fairly well and came up with a yummy quick and healthy(er) desert for you to try.

Quick and Easy "Strawberry Shortcake"
Bisquick Heart Healthy Mix (1 cup)
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/3 cup of fat free milk and mixed into a batter.
Drop the batter by the tablespoon full onto a cookie sheet and baked for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees (this part is on the back of the box...I can't take credit for it!). Take plain greek yogurt, frozen strawberries and splenda to make a "filling". I just eyeballed this part (and probably made too much filling but the leftovers made a great snack this morning). You could also go more traditional with fresh berries and whipped topping but I'm not a fan of whipped cream and I didn't have any fresh berries on hand. The husband isn't a yogurt fan and put maple syrup and butter on his...he seemed less than trilled. Let me know if you try any variations!

So good! I really want to come up with a way to make the "shortcake" part of it a bit healthier or at least make it from scratch but for now it's a quick and easy fix for my sweetooth! For a version using more "real" ingredients...try Tina's...I know I will!