We had a fantastic Easter weekend - thanks in no small part to the beautiful weather that seems to finally be here to stay. We had the pleasure of celebrating with my sister and her husband-to-be. Matthew was so darn excited during the days leading up to Aunt Catherine's arrival, that he kept putting himself to bed extra early. I certainly had no complaints.
Catherine and her Matthew (whom we dubbed "the big Matthew" in order to distinguish him from our Matthew) arrived bright and early on Saturday morning and brought the sun and some really warm weather. Catherine and I ducked out briefly for some sister time while Matthew entertained the big Matthew with Paul and Emma. Then, we proceeded to finalize our Easter preparations by doing the usual egg decorating session. Matthew loved decorating the eggs with Aunt Catherine and the big Matthew. He had been looking forward to that activity for weeks. He was much better at it than his Aunt - poor Catherine cracked (smashed is more like it) every egg she tried to dye. We fired her before she could crack all the eggs and put her in charge of making the egg stands. And I have to say she was excellent at that.
|Baby Emma is just in awe of the egg-dying activities.|
|Apparently it's a genetic thing.|
|Aunt Catherine! You were banished from touching the eggs, remember!?!?|
|Matthew takes over the dying. Notice Catherine is adjusting to her new job as egg-stand maker.|
|Oh yeah. These are so gorgeous - so unique, such beautiful designs, such original colors. We're a talented family.|
We attended the 7:30 AM Easter morning Mass at our parish. Of course this meant that we were all up by pretty much 5:30 AM to try to get everyone beautified in time for Mass - and we still arrived with barely a second to spare. Matthew was very well behaved at Mass. Threats of having his Easter candy privileges revoked should he misbehave might have had something to do with that. Emma was great right through the homily. This was so out of character for her, that I leaned over and whispered to Paul: "Wow...she's being so darn good. It feels great to sit together again!" She must have heard me because then she started doing her usual routine of grunting, groaning, and flailing until one of us took her to the back. It was great while it lasted.
|Paul with his pretty little girl.|
|Brushing her hair - so very young yet oh so vain!|
|And this is Matthew - completely upset that I took away Angry Birds from him because it was time to go to Mass. This was seconds before I threatened to cancel the egg hunt. He shaped up quickly.|
After arriving back home, we took some really quick family pictures on our back porch. Seriously, this photo session was probably about 2 minutes long. It was freezing outside. And the children were getting anxious for some Easter treats. And by "children" I pretty much just mean Matthew.
|Our little family of four!|
|I just love this guy.|
|Little Matthew's face just cracks me up so much in this picture. He loves his Aunt Catherine.|
|Love Birds. Catherine, you better start working on your Spanish since |
your last name is soon to be Ortiz.
|"Sisters, Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters!"|
Everyone dressed down and then we banished little Matthew to the office while big Matthew and Paul stuffed some plastic eggs with jellybeans and then scattered them around the house and yard. Then, the hunt began! Matthew was obnoxiously excited to finally go egg hunting.
We spent the rest of the morning stuffing ourselves with Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs, Blueberry Buckle, and fresh pineapple. Little Matthew and Emma ate probably about two pounds of chocolate (it was seriously disgusting how much sugar they inhaled between the two of them) as their breakfast. Since we all were feeling a little lethargic, Paul and I hustled everyone out of the house for a long hike while our pork rib roast slowly cooked. We meandered through the woods, skipped rocks, and chatted for a couple of hours - just enough time to not feel quite so stuffed from breakfast and ready ourselves for Easter dinner! It was so warm and beautiful outside - the first time in a long while that we had weather this beautiful for Easter Sunday!
Upon arriving home, we put the final touches on Easter dinner and then sat down to eat again. By the time our meal was over, our poor guests were complaining about how full they were and how they had to take off to start the long trek back home. Then Paul reminded them about the Carrot Cake Cheesecake sitting in the fridge and I think they about died. But they managed (somehow) to finish off a slice before packing up, saying goodbye, and heading out. Matthew was so sad to see Aunt Catherine go that he refused to say goodbye. He might have also been a bit exhausted - he passed out for the night immediately after they left (around 5:00 PM).
|So excited to start finding eggs!|
|"I can't reach it!"|
|And this mysterious hand is coming to the rescue!|
|I think the Easter bunny enjoyed hiding eggs out of Matthew's reach.|
|Ah-HA! I see CANDY!|
|Fighting over spilled candy. All in the spirit of Easter.|
|I think she choked on that jelly bean shortly after this picture was taken. |
Lesson learned - no more jelly beans for Emma!
|Loving the outdoors on this beautiful Easter morning!|
|The eggs have finally all been found! (At least I think that's why everyone but little Matthew looks so happy!)|
|Emma received a stuffed bunny in her Easter bucket. |
She kept hugging it while saying "Hiya" in a high-pitched voice. She likes animals.
Overall, it was a lovely day spent with family enjoying good food and conversation. Everyone enjoyed the food but I have to say that my favorite dish of the day was the Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs. While growing up, my family always served a coffeecake of sorts for Easter brunch along with the hard-boiled eggs we had dyed the day before. We normally cracked the eggs and ate them plainly with salt and pepper. Paul really hates straight up hard-boiled eggs, although he loves them in things like Egg Salad or Deviled Eggs. Since he is so darn picky, we decided to make deviled eggs to serve alongside the Blueberry Buckle. But we did not stop there - we decided to make them fancy by adding chopped smoked salmon, capers, and chives. Catherine was very skeptical when she saw me preparing the salmon for the eggs. She told me how she had tried smoked salmon for the first time at a cafe in Paris and had almost thrown up after taking a large bite. She had expected it to be warm and was very much disturbed by how "slimy" it was. I assured her that she would like it in the eggs just fine.
Sure enough, everyone adored these deviled eggs. They were so good. The salmon and capers add some briny, salty flavors to the eggs while the chives lend a freshness. They were pretty filling, yet none of us could stop eating them. Paul was especially wild about them - he loves smoked salmon. I can't wait to make them again!
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
10-12 large hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
6 ounces smoked salmon, minced
Pinch of Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Capers, drained, for garnish
Peel the eggs and then slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks carefully. Place the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and arrange the whites on a platter in a single layer with the cut sides up and sprinkle with salt.
To the egg yolks, add the sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, salmon, salt, and pepper. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. With a small spoon, fill the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
When ready to serve, garnish with the capers and some extra chopped chives.