The recipes this month are geared towards everyone who is young at heart!
Chocolate bunnies, Easter eggs, pussy willows and tulips are some of my favorite spring things. Personally, I miss the days of Easter Sunday, when the little boys wore their best suits and ties while the little girls wore frilly pastel dresses with hats and white gloves, and patent leather shoes.
It was the movie called “Easter Parade” from 1948 that really sparked a deeper enjoyment of Easter for me. It starred Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Peter Lawford, and it introduced me to the actual “Easter Parade” in New York City. This parade has been going on for nearly 150 years where people walk down 5th Avenue showing off their fancy original hats and attire.
I would love it if the Lakes Area would start an Easter Parade tradition of our own. I would definitely create a parade worthy hat with a matching frock!
Carrot Veggie Pizza
Prep Time: 15min
Serves: 24 Appetizers (1 each) or 12 sides (2 each)
8oz Refrigerated Crescent Rolls, Tube
2C Fresh Broccoli Heads, Chopped*
2C Shredded Carrots*
8oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2C Ranch Dressing
1T Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix
- Gently unroll crescent dough, keeping it in one piece. Pat into a 9x14 rectangle on a large baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Cool.
- Mix cheese, mayonnaise, Ranch seasoning and salad dressing till well blended. Spread evenly on the crust covering the entire rectangle.
- Finely chop broccoli florets and shredded carrots.
- Cut crust into 24 even triangles. Sprinkle broccoli on the top of the short side of the triangle (approximately 1 inch). Sprinkle carrots on the rest of the carrot. Chill till ready to serve.
*I used Hy-Vee washed and ready to eat broccoli florets and their ‘ready-to-use’ shredded carrots. If you can’t find them, just ask for John Hass, the produce manager. He is the best! He is always helpful and of course, greats you with smile. He met his wife Laurie in the produce aisle at the Spirit Lake Hy-Vee and they have been married for a few of years now. Confirms that you can find a lot of things to love at the grocery store!
Kids will want to eat their veggies after helping make these springtime appetizers. They are even great when served as a side dish. They are easy and their presentation as “carrots” make them quite appealing!
Prep Time: 5min
Graham Crackers (broken into 4 rectangles)*
White Chocolate Chips
Nonpareils, Pastel Blooms
Spring Sprinkles, Mini Egg Mix
- Microwave chips in a small bowl in for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Dip or spread chocolate on 1/2 graham rectangle. Sprinkle nonpareils or candy eggs on chocolate. Place on parchment lined baking sheet to harden. Can be stored in airtight container for a week.
- Serve on platter or in a basket of Easter grass.
*Use a pizza cutter and score the lines of the cracker several times. It ensures that the cracker snaps evenly and does not break into pieces.
Everyone will enjoy being creative with these dippers. There are a variety of other types of sprinkles that can be used and chocolate chips can be substituted for white chocolate.
Orange Cream Puffs
Prep Time: 10min
1/2C Powdered Sugar
1T Orange Zest
1/4C Orange Juice
11oz Mandarin Orange Segments, Drained (Pat dry with a paper towel)
- In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, water, salt and bring to a boil. Add flour and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Drop 2 tablespoons of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet for each puff. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool on a wire rack.
- Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange juice and zest till fluffy.
- Just before serving cut off top half of cream puffs and scoop out the soft dough. Fill with orange cream and mandarin oranges. Garnish with powdered sugar.
Make this a family activity and allow your children to assist with all the steps of the recipe with adult supervision.
While doing some spring cleaning early this year, I came across a recipe for the cream puffs in my child-like printing. I have fond memories of these grand puffs which I would fill with velvety fudge. My sister-in-law Pamela found a variation of this orange flavored filling and thought it would be great for this issue and I agree.
Prep Time: 3 min
2 Hollow Chocolate Bunnies (That are able to stand up on their own)
- Very gently score around the bunny’s ears with a razor blade. Slowly make another round on the scored area approximately 1/2 inch at a time, cutting in deeper till the blade is through to the hollow area.
- Fill with a cold beverage such as milk or another tasty libation.
- Add a straw and enjoy!