Friday, April 5, 2024

Friday Food: The Easter Lamb


Short version: Shrimp tacos or burritos, refried beans

Long version: Last meatless Friday in Lent! We had been the lucky recipients of wild, USA-caught tiny "salad" shrimp from the excess commodities this week, which is what I used to make dinner. All I did was saute them with taco spices. My sister, who was visiting, encouraged me to add butter and parsley, too, which I did.

To make the refried beans, I used one quart jar of my home-canned pintos in a pan with oil and sauteed garlic, mashed and simmered until thick. So good.

We had lots of avocados to make guacamole, too, which always elevates this sort of thing.

Some had flour tortillas (burritos) and some had corn tortillas (tacos), and all enjoyed their meal. I know I did.


Short version: Pork, cornbread, green salad with vinaigrette, rice pudding

Long version: Pork butt is so useful. I make this meal a lot when we have guests. It can be made mostly ahead, with minimal work at dinnertime, which is nice when there's a lot going on. It is also good for people who have dietary restrictions, as there is no gluten, alliums, or dairy if you avoid the cornbread and rice pudding. And it makes a LOT of food.


Short version: Easter lamb, pita bread, potatoes and onions, tzatziki sauce, hummus, chiffon cake with strawberries and whipped cream, sugar cookies

Long version: Would we have anything but lamb for Easter dinner? Of course not. We had kept one of the back leg roasts bone-in just for Easter dinner when we were butchering a couple of week ago.

I used this recipe for it, except--there is always an except with me and recipes--I was preparing the garlic by hand, rather than in a food processor because the pieces of mine were in the dishwasher at the time. So I only did six cloves of garlic instead of 15. Also, I used the juice of only half a lemon, I didn't use the mint or nutmeg, and I didn't measure the other things. 

That's a lot of excepts.

I did put garlic in slits all in the meat, though, which is always a good idea.

I had room in the Pyrex with the lamb, so I cut up a few potatoes and an onion to go in there, too. Rather than doing a separate spice mixture for that, I just used some of the lamb spice mixture. Very good.

I use this recipe for pita bread, this one for tzatziki, this one for hummus, and this one for chiffon cake.

My garden-nerd goal is to use something from the garden for every major holiday meal. Easter was early this year, but I did have parsley and green garlic to use. I put those in the tzatziki.

A modest first harvest.

The sugar cookies were extra undecorated ones from St. Patrick's Day that I had in the freezer. I let Poppy decorate them with colored sugar, and they were very colorful.

All together, a very nice meal.


Short version: Fried pork 'n' cornbread, leftover shrimp, green salad with ranch/tzatziki dressing, chiffon cake tower

Long version: We had quite a bit of cornbread left, which gets pretty dry if it's not fresh. I solved that problem by frying cubes of it in a bunch of bacon grease and butter in a skillet, to which I also added the leftover pork with a bit more salt and maple syrup. This was quite popular.

I turned the tzatziki sauce into something like ranch dressing by adding some mayonnaise to it. One child had the last of the shrimp in a tortilla with this dressing in the wrap.

I also had some chiffon cake left over. A. had thought it would be good sliced into layers with whipped cream and strawberry jam between the layers. It was very good that way, but also pretty much impossible to cut neatly.

A towering pile of sugar and deliciousness.

Luckily, our family doesn't care what it looks like if it tastes good. And this definitely did.


Short version: Lamb curry, rice, crackers

Long version: All the lamb left from the leg, plus the curry powder left from dying eggs, plus lamb stock I had made with the bone, onion, carrots, potatoes, green peas, and cream.

It's so handy that I have both lamb and curry powder left over after Easter. Dinner in the following days is foreordained.

I also spent my entire morning rescuing failed sourdough (it got overheated when I put it on the woodstove to warm up) by making hundreds of crackers. I hate making crackers because it is very tedious, but the children enjoyed them.

So many crackers. Luckily, they freeze well.


Short version: Leftover curry and rice, bread and butter

Long version: Nah.


Short version: Pizzas, green salad with ranch dressing

Long version: There were only five of us at home, so I thought I could just make one half-sheet-pan pizza. But then I was afraid that wouldn't be quite enough, so made a pizza in a 14-inch cast iron skillet. 

The big one had bacon; the one in the skillet was just cheese.

Refrigerator check!


Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Bonus Snapshots

Sunday's snapshots this week were all about the church flowers, but I had lots more photos from last week. So here they are.

It snowed last week, which temporarily subdued the daffodils outside, but didn't kill them.

Bent, but not broken.

I had already cut some to bring inside, so when we woke up to a cold, overcast morning on Monday, I was able to light some candles on the breakfast table to illuminate our reminders that yes, it really is spring despite the weather.

Spring flowers, winter candles.

I had a lot of driving to do Thursday, so it was very unfortunate that only about 15 miles into the hundreds I had to do, I hit a large raptor of some kind. Thankfully, it hit my antenna and passenger side mirror instead of the windshield. Not thankfully, the mirror snapped clean off.

It was still hanging by the turn-signal wiring, so I managed to pull that out enough that I could put the mirror safely inside the window and raise the window about halfway. 


It was a bit chilly driving the remaining 80 miles to Walmart, but once I got there, I was able to purchase some Gorilla tape and fix the mirror to the outside of the door so I could roll the window up all the way again.

My super classy ride.

Then I went to a track meet.

With, of course, a button-up collared shirt and my dorky Mom Hat to shield me from the sun.

Saturday we finally got a day where we weren't running all over creation and the wind wasn't too bad, plus A. and I were both home, so we finally put in some of the garden. As always, A. did the digging and I did the planting.

Also as always, the transplants got milk jug greenhouses to protect them. I ran out of jugs, though, so some just had rock walls. And some were left with nothing. We'll see what survives.

I transplanted around a dozen kohlrabi plants and I think sixteen cabbage plants, plus planted seeds for carrots, beets, parsnips, and turnips.

That night, I put together the Easter baskets.

My sister brought things to fill a communal adult Easter basket, so there was plenty of chocolate.

I have a brooch I bought to use in my hair when I got married decades ago, and I used it in Poppy's hair on Easter.

She was delighted, of course.

Easter featured the worst winds of the whole week. For this reason, we did our egg hunt inside the place my sister and her friend were staying in the village. This was very convenient, as it is literally right next door to our church. So we just went over after our 8 a.m. Mass for breakfast provided by my sister and our egg hunt.

Easter girl looking for eggs.

Can you spot the cleverly hidden egg in this photo?

The eldest child hid the eggs, so all I had to do was watch the fun while drinking the mimosa provided by my sister.

It was nice.

There you have it! My (bonus) life, snapshotted.

P.S. The first couple of comments reminded me that probably many of you might want to know what books were in the kids' Easter baskets: The complete set of the Samantha American Girl books (bought on eBay because anything American Girl is extortionate new), The Everything Kids' Football Book, Murtagh by Christopher Paolini, and Northern Borders by Howard Frank Mosher.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Snapshots: Alleluia

I'm Church Lady this month, which means the Easter decorations have been my responsibility. There haven't been real flowers on the altar since we moved here almost six years ago. I decided that this year, we would have fresh flowers for Easter.

I did order one custom arrangement from a florist for the center of the altar. Then I made a special trip to a Walmart to get lot of cut flowers, plus potted Easter lilies. I used the cut flowers to make three smaller arrangements. 

It was a lot of work, but I'm so happy with how they look (and smell!).

Happiest of Easters to all of you. I hope it's a beautiful one.