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The Bucior household decided to go a little un-tradtional for our Easter gifts this year. Andy got a special cooling pillow (from me) and a bag of Starwars themed candy (from my mom). My mom got a giant bag of pistachios, Cheetos, Thin Mints and stationary. For me there was cd holder and a cd (from Andy), and from my Mom, a clean kitchen and some wonderful chocolates from French Broad Chocolates, a charming little shop in Asheville, NC.
My mom and my brother’s fiancé Dwight put this truffle box together when they had their pre-Easter lunch date last week. I haven’t tried them yet, there were a lot of holiday baked goods to be consumed this weekend, but I think think a truffle or two might be just right for dessert tonight. And I am thinking a chocolate stop might be in order when Andy and I go to Asheville in August.
It’s Easter egg time! I’ve loved decorating eggs forever. When my brother and I were very little my mom would set up the dye cups on our front porch and we’d don our art smocks (one of my dads old shirts) and go to town. Eventually we were allowed to dye eggs in the house, but the when I think back, the front porch dye sessions are the first memories that come to mind. The feel of the cool concrete under my bare feet and carefully carefully caring my egg in that little wire spoon from color to color. Pretty basic stuff, but if you feel like being a little fancier, here are some great DIY’s to get your Easter Party started.
Speckaled Pastel Easter Eggs – 100 Layer Cake-let
Silly Face Easter Eggs – The Paper Mama
Cascarone Easter Egg – The Paper Mama – my favorite!
Natural Dyed Easter Eggs – The Sweetest Occasion
Indigo Dyed Eggs – Henry Happened
Confetti Dipped Eggs – Studio DIY
Pineapple Eater Eggs – Studio DIY
I have been unofficially collecting bunny themed items my entire life. I suspect my “addiction” comes from reading Beatrix Potter stories about Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny and, of course, Alice in Wonderland, when I was little. Probably even a little from getting candy from the Easter Bunny every year (I do love a man who brings me candy). Either way this time of year is like 2nd Christmas for me. There are bunnies EVERYWHERE! It makes me hear the pokémon song in my head “gotta catch’em all, gotta catch’em all). Currently I am lusting over the Easter Collection from Pottery Barn.
I will own that cupcake stand, and maybe the cookie jar. So damn cute.
While our Easter Brunch wasn’t flawless, it was a lot of fun. Sorry there aren’t any pictures, I was running a little behind with the food and then everyone arrived and I didn’t give my camera a second thought. Next time i’ll try to place my camera in a slightly more conspicuous location so I don’t forget.
I tried out a few new recipes, specifically quiche (which didn’t turn out half bad) and a recipe that claimed to produce the best muffins ever. I made a couple test batches and with some careful tweaking I ended up with some really great muffins. For flavor variations I chose to go with Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Chocolate Chip. Are they the best muffins I’ve ever had….probably not, but the are probably the tastiest oatmeal based muffins that I’ve ever made. Here’s the revised recipe.
One-Bowl Oatmeal Muffins: Basic Recipe
Be sure to read the recipe all the way through before getting started. You will note that the oats soak in the milk 1 hour prior to assembling the rest of the ingredients, so take that into consideration before starting out.
Makes 12 medium muffins
- 1 cup buttermilk*
- 1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
- add-ins of your choosing (see above suggestions)
Combine buttermilk and oats in a large bowl and let stand one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a twelve-cup muffin tin and line with cupcake papers.
Crack the egg into the oat and milk mixture; add brown sugar and mix to combine. Stir in melted butter.
Sift remaining ingredients into the bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, & spices. Gently fold into batter, taking care not to over mix.
Sprinkle add-in and flavorings of your choice and combine muffin batter gently.
Use a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake until light brown and tops spring back when gently touched, about 10-12 minutes. Note: Muffins will take slightly longer to bake if you are adding fresh fruit such as blueberries or rhubarb, closer to 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool in tins. To remove, run a sharp knife around the edges and pop muffins out. Enjoy!
*You may also substitute 1 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon white vinegar for buttermilk in the recipe.
- 1 cup Raspberries, fresh or frozen & ½ cup Dark Chocolate, chunked or chips
- ¾ cup Diced Apple (Granny Smith or Russet) and ½ cup toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup Dried Cranberries & ½ cup toasted Pecans, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup White Chocolate, chopped or chips & 1 cup Blueberries, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup toasted unsweetened Coconut & ¾ cup Peanut-Butter Chips
- 1 cup diced Rhubarb, fresh or frozen & ½ teaspoon Green Cardamom, freshly ground
- ¾ cup Dates, pitted and chopped & ½ cup Pistachios
- ¾ cup Golden Raisins & ¾ cup grated Carrot
- ¾ cup milk Chocolate Chips and an additional 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
10 Tips to Making the Best Muffins Ever
- Start with ingredients at room temperature, eggs, milk, etc.
- Take care not to over mix the batter; use a flexible spatula to gently fold ingredients together.
- Batter should be stiff enough to hold a spoon upright; if it seems runny, gently fold in a few extra tablespoons of flour.
- Use the freshest spices as possible when they are required.
- Grease the entire muffin tin, not just the holes. More often than not, the muffins expand over the sides, and if those sides have not been properly greased, you’re going to run into trouble when you try to remove the muffins.
- Fill muffin tins three-quarters full; the tops are the best part, so don’t be shy with the batter.
- Slide a baking sheet under the muffin tin to help prevent the bottoms from getting too dark in the oven. This also helps with cleanup in case there is overflow.
- Take care not to over-bake the muffins.
- Allow muffins to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing them, especially if they contain soft fresh fruit.
- Enjoy them fresh. If you must, freeze them, although I prefer to freeze the batter (without add-ins), then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake the muffins fresh in the morning.
Tips, images and original recipe without revisions from here.
While I am guilty of using the $2 all-in-one egg dying kits from the supermarket (I found one that has glitter, wax sticks AND stickers), I also understand why many of my health conscious friends refrain from indulging in this festive holiday tradition. What’s the point of a healthy organic diet if your going to ingest a bunch of artificial dyes around the holidays? And lets face it, no matter how hard you try, some of the dye always leaks through to the eggs. To my delight, after a little research, I discovered that there are plenty of all natural dye options already in your kitchen.
Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water, bring to room temperature, and remove blueberries.
Cut 1/4 head of red cabbage into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.
Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
Peel the skin from 6 yellow apples. Simmer in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer 4 oz. chopped fennel tops in 1-1/2 cups of water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
Stir 2 Tbsp. paprika into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Rich yellow: Simmer 4 oz. chopped carrot tops in 1-1/2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Mustard-yellow: Stir 2 Tbsp. turmeric into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Various shades: Steep 4 bags of chamomile or green tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.
Pale yellow: Chop 4 oz. goldenrod and simmer in 2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Faint yellow: Simmer the peels of 6 oranges in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. vinegar.
Simmer 2 Tbsp. dill seed in 1 cup water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.
Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.
Faint pink: Chop 4 oz. amaranth flowers and simmer in 2 cups water; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer the skins from 6 avocados in 1-1/2 cup water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Mix 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Dark pink: Cut 1 medium beet into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets.
Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Not overly complicated, and this way everyone can have fun.