Yellow Colored Easter Eggs Dyed with Turmeric: Eggs Colored Using Natural Orange Annatto and Yellow Turmeric Spice

Instead of using harsh food colorings or commercial egg dyes that can stain fingers, clothing and counter-tops, savvy parents will be turning to the spice cupboard this spring to make use of natural ingredients already found within the kitchen. Eggs colored yellow with turmeric spice are just as bright those dyed with artificial food coloring while annatto powder creates pastel, earth toned eggs.

How to Color Eggs Yellow Using Turmeric

Turmeric powder, a bright yellow Indian spice commonly used in curries, can be used to color Easter eggs a bright, golden yellow in minutes. The main coloring pigment of turmeric will fade quickly in sunlight, however, so turmeric dyed Easter eggs should be stored in the refrigerator even if they aren’t intended for consumption.

Necessary Equipment:

  • deep pot
  • 5-8 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • white eggs
  • ice bath
  • rubber bands (optional)

Directions:

  1. Fill a deep pot with enough water to completely submerge Easter eggs. Stir in turmeric and bring water to a boil.
  2. Wrap eggs with rubber bands to create decorative patterns (optional). Add eggs and vinegar to the colored water. Bring heat up to gentle boil for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Immediately remove eggs and dip briefly into ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Dyeing Easter Eggs Orange and Peach Using Annatto Seed

Annatto, also known as achiote, can be found at certain Latin groceries or specialty food stores and is often used to color rice dishes and adobo. Because annatto does not completely dissolve in boiling water, eggs colored with achiote appear naturally speckled.

Necessary Equipment:

  • deep pot
  • 5-8 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp ground annatto or achiote seeds
  • white eggs
  • ice bath

Directions:

  1. Fill a deep pot with enough water to completely submerge Easter eggs. Stir in annatto powder or achiote seeds and bring water to a boil.
  2. Add eggs and vinegar to the colored water. Bring heat up to gentle boil for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally to distribute annatto and create a speckled apperance on the Easter eggs.
  3. Immediately remove eggs and dip briefly into ice bath to stop the cooking process. If deeper color is desired, remove dye liquid from heat and let cool to room temperature. Soak eggs in the refrigerator until darker color is achieved.

What Other Natural Ingredients Can be Used to Dye Easter Eggs?

In addition to dying Easter eggs yellow with turmeric and annatto, celery seed, cumin and paprika can also be used to create surprising shades of yellow, orange and brown. Vegetable dyed red eggs can also be achieved with beets and onion. Because coloring eggs with spices uses natural ingredients without food coloring, experimentation is inexpensive and clean up is simple and easy.

Will Vinton Studios A Claymation Easter Review: TV Easter Special Review for Parents

While older children, teens, and adults who enjoy good Claymation may appreciate the 1992 Will Vinton Studios Easter television special A Claymation Easter, the grotesque character designs, bad behavior of the main character, and scary plot events make it unsuitable for younger viewers.

A Claymation Easter – Plot

The antihero Wilshire Pig from Will Vinton Studios’ earlier Halloween television special Claymation Comedy of Horrors returns, this time with a money-making scheme to kidnap and replace the Easter Bunny. Within the first few minutes of the show, his assistant is eaten by a scary shark in a tank. The assistant later turns up unharmed in the shark’s belly, but younger viewers will have no way of knowing that this will happen and may be frightened.

During the course of his quest to become the new Easter Bunny (or, rather, Easter Pig), Wilshire Pig performs such dastardly acts as trapping the real Easter Bunny in a vacuum cleaner and cheating at a series of contests. Before he can claim the title of Easter Bunny, however, the real Easter Bunny appears at the last minute to thwart his plan.

A Claymation Easter – TV Easter Special Review for Parents

The Claymation, full of uniformly smooth movements and incredible detail, is up to the usual high standards of a Will Vinton production. In fact, this holiday Easter special won two primetime Emmys, one for Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or less). Unfortunately, the details are often gross or scary, and overall the style and content of this Easter television show makes it appropriate only for older viewers.

Although the Easter Bunny is a good role model who refuses to benefit financially from his position (claiming that Easter is not about money but about springtime and picnics and so on), his good influence may be outweighed in young children’s minds by Wilshire Pig’s bad and antisocial behavior. Aside from having his evil plans ruined at the end by the reappearance of the real Easter Bunny, Wilshire Pig never receives any punishment or comeuppance, and he certainly shows no remorse or personal growth as a character.

Throughout, this animated Easter special is full of content that is inappropriate for young children, from aforementioned scary situations like the Easter bunny being attacked and imprisoned by the vacuum cleaner and characters being devoured by the shark, to grotesque scenes like Wilshire Pig being run over and over again (each time with more disgusting results, such as his skeleton being spun out of his body) while trying to learn how to hop across the street like a bunny. There are also print references to lobotomies and shock treatment.

Parents may get a kick out of the fact that the music for this Easter television show is by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo.

Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Plus Halloween & Easter Celebrations DVD

A Claymation Easter is included on a DVD with two other Will Vinton Claymation holiday specials – Claymation Comedy of Horrors and Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration. The latter is a beautiful and hilarious Christmas holiday classic and by itself worth the price of the set.

A nice DVD extra is a Production Stills Gallery full of production photographs that illustrate how a Claymation special is made, including shots of filmmakers at work on the sets.

Families looking for Easter specials for teenagers will be pleased by this special. Parents of younger children should rent this DVD or check it out from the library instead of paying to purchase it and should watch it once first to decide for themselves if their children can handle it.

Will A Warm Easter Increase Sales? No Hat Buying Likely But Chocolate Easter Egg Wars Wage In England

Despite the bad economic news, there’s a glimmer of hope for retailers this Easter. It falls in April, which means, if the Old Farmer’s Almanac is right, that the weather, at least in the United States and Canada, will be unseasonably warm and people may be spurred to buy flowers, chocolate eggs and bunnies, cards, clothes for the kids and gifts of all kinds. A cold Easter stops buyers – well – cold and makes retailers wring their hands. Since it’s one of the biggest buying events of the year, says the National Retail Foundation (nrf.com), even small signs that business may pick up will buoy retailers’ flagging spirits. They have, half jokingly, suggested they need a bailout.

Nowhere Near St Patrick’s Day

It’s also good news that it falls nowhere near St Patrick’s Day. Last year there were worries that the latter was on the Monday before Easter which meant that retailers selling seasonal items had to figure out how to make room on their shelves for Easter bunnies at the same time they were selling things decorated with shamrocks. It was a huge problem because each special day draws a completely different demographic.

Sales Are Down

Despite the warm weather, mothers may forgo buying new outfits for themselves but will probably buy nice clothes for the kids. Unfortunately, all this abstinence on the part of women shoppers is taking its toll on many stores. The Gap’s sales are down by 23 percent, Old Navy 34, J C Penney 16.4, Talbots 24, Nordstrom 11.4 and Kohl’s 13.4.

A Damper On Hat Buying

Sadly, the recession is going to put a damper on hat buying. While most people still see the Queen as the world’s most dedicated hat wearer, head coverings have been making a comeback everywhere over the past few years and extravagant Easter bonnets, somehow, herald spring. However, in these recessionary times parades will most likely feature made over versions of last year’s models. The Knoxville Sentinel has been busily teaching the ins and outs of doing it. The idea of women sitting assiduously trimming their Easter bonnets, evokes Jane Austin’s heroines working on theirs with ribbons.

Hats Were Big Business

Looking at a piece in the March 30 1890 issue of the New York Times, it’s striking to see what a difference 178 years makes in the story of hats. Back then, hundreds of milliners and trimmings suppliers fed a huge market of women who set immense store by what they wore on their heads. Mind you, the writer wasn’t impressed by the year’s crop. “Black flowers are one of the season’s fads,” she sniffed, “spring millinery is a pathless, trackless desert barren of new ideas. Millinery has become effete – the eye is satiated to weariness.” She also didn’t like the fact that everyone was wearing ‘opera bonnets’. Hats were big business for the makers and suppliers of Milan straw, artificial flowers and ostrich feathers.

Chocolate Easter Egg Battle

The United Kingdom is gearing up for a chocolate Easter egg battle between two major food chains says the Guardian’s Julia Finch. Tesco has bought up millions of chocolate eggs intended for the now defunct Woolworths chain and plans to sell them at half the price of last year’s offerings. Meanwhile in the other corner, Asda snarls it won’t be beaten. Shoppers buy some 80 million boxed chocolate eggs every Easter, leading to a total bill of more than 200 million pounds or $400 million although prices have been falling since 2000 because supermarkets use them as loss leaders. Last year, one former supermarket executive huffed that that they were “putting ego ahead of business sense”.

Two Oceans Marathon In Cape Town

After all this talk of chocolate, it’s time to turn to the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town (twooceansmarathon.org.za), an Easter tradition. Billed as the “most beautiful in the world, it draws participants from everywhere. They spend millions on hotels, meals, shopping and visits to the accompanying expo, making it a large money earner for the city and surrounding area. Retailers there will be pleased.

Palestinian And Israel Businesses Together

The economic meltdown, coupled with the need for Easter visits from Christian pilgrims who bring in $8 to $10 million, has brought Palestinian and Israeli businesses together in an effort to allay fears and stop Easter tourism dwindling further.

A Major Income Earner

In many places, Easter is looked upon as a major income earner and various conditions are combining to make it better than expected during this miserable economic downturn. Guarded optimism is possible.

Unique Easter Eggs for Easter Egg Hunts: How to Plan Fun Easter Activities for Children

Often the organizers of Easter egg hunts fill plastic Easter eggs with small trinkets, toss them randomly around on the grass (or an indoor gym floor), and let children scoop the eggs up by the armful while the organizers call it a day. Meanwhile, back at home, a family might replicate the same process, with parents tossing armfuls of dyed hard-boiled eggs outside for children to “find.”

Adults wanting to plan Easter hunts that are more challenging and creative can check out the following ideas for unique Easter eggs to use in fun Easter activities for children.

Camouflage Easter Eggs

To make an Easter egg hunt harder for older children, use camouflage Easter eggs. Dye hollow or hard-boiled eggs in shades of green, yellow, and brown to make them blend into the grass and ground. Paint them brown, gray, or black so they can pass as rocks. Creative painters can even paint eggs to look like earth-toned and blotchy camouflage print.

Easter hunt organizers searching for already-camouflaged eggs can get WONKA® Egg Hunt eggs, which are prefilled plastic Easter eggs that come in shades of brown, green, and gray, and are textured to look like dirt, grass, or rocks.

Unique Ways to Hide Novelty Easter Eggs

Children are used to searching for eggs on the ground, but how many think to look up? Eggs that do not weigh much can be hung from tree branches with strings or taped onto ceilings or walls. Use eggs that have been blown hollow, empty plastic eggs, or 3-D foam eggs.

Parents who want to create a challenging Easter egg hunt can also get a set of WONKA® Egg Hunt Zero Gravity eggs. Each set of prefilled plastic Easter eggs comes with one egg with a string, one with a suction cup, and one with a sticky adhesive patch.

Toy Easter Eggs

For younger children hunting Easter eggs, hide cute eggs that will be fun to play with once they are found. A Silly Putty egg will be played with all year round, as will the bouncy, glow-in-the-dark, rubber Unbreakable Eggs offered at the HearthSong Web site. Similar Glow-In-The-Dark Swirl Egg-Shaped Balls are sold at the Oriental Trading Web site.

Young kids will also enjoy the plastic Candy-Filled Bug Eggs sold at the Oriental Trading Web site. Four foam and plastic egg-shaped bugs are available – a green beetle, a ladybug, a bee, and a butterfly.

Fun Egg-Related Easter Activities for Children

Sometimes the fun does not stop after an Easter egg has been found. Parents can hide eggs with which children can later perform an enjoyable or educational activity.

For example, a Grow a Chick egg from the HearthSong Web site looks identical to a real egg. Once it is placed in water, however, it cracks open within a day and a chick toy “hatches” out and “grows.”

Egglings also look just like normal eggs. Then, a child cracks an Eggling open and waters the dirt inside. Soon the child has grown an herb or a flower!

Parents and other adults can use the above ideas to plan an Easter egg hunt that children will remember for years to come. Kids will enjoy the challenge of tracking down uniquely hid eggs and then playing with the toy Easter eggs or other kinds of eggs they find.

Hanna-Barbera – Yogi the Easter Bear: Yogi Bear TV Easter Cartoon Special Review

With so many animated Easter holiday television specials commercially available, parents can be overwhelmed deciding which are suitable for their children to watch and which are worth paying the money for a copy.

The 1994 Hanna-Barbera Easter special Yogi the Easter Bear will entertain families who enjoy other Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and it contains some good messages about celebrating springtime and new life, as well as reinforcing the importance of helping others and treasuring real things over plastic ones. However, parents who are sheltering their children from cartoon violence and who do not want kids to watch a show with a hero who can be greedy and sneaky (and whose main goal in life is often to steal things that do not belong to him) may want to skip this one.

Yogi the Easter Bear – Easter Cartoon Special Plot

Yogi Bear ruins Mister Ranger’s plans for the big Easter Jamboree by thinking only of himself and eating all the Easter treats, accidentally destroying the park Easter Bunny suit in the process. Wanting to help Mister Ranger (whose career depends on holding a successful event and impressing his boss) and also wanting to save himself from being shipped off to the Siberian Circus, Yogi Bear sets off to bring the real Easter Bunny to the celebration.

Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny has been kidnapped by evil villains who run a factory and want to get rid of all the real chicken eggs so they can sell their plastic ones to everyone. Of course, Yogi and Boo Boo Bear rescue the Easter Bunny, save the Easter Jamboree, and even convince Mister Ranger to believe in the Easter Bunny.

Yogi the Easter Bear – TV Easter Cartoon Special Review for Parents

The plot is simple enough for younger children to follow, yet has enough twists to keep tweens interested as well. And this Easter holiday special does make some good points in passing about appreciating nature and not valuing artificial things over real ones. Furthermore, while Yogi is a thieving glutton (albeit a charming one), his bad actions are balanced by Boo Boo Bear’s good counsel and attempts to rein Yogi in and (as usual) act as his conscience.

That said, families that closely monitor children’s media intake may have issues with some of the characters’ language and actions. Mister Ranger’s decision to send Yogi to a Siberian Circus as a punishment may strike some kids as harsh and scary, and there are several instances of comic violence, where characters fight and hit each other. Also, some parents may not want to expose kids to words such as “shut up” and “stupid,” or want them to hear Boo Boo’s name being misheard as “poo poo.”

Choosing Family-Friendly Animated Easter Television Specials

Ultimately, unless parents are big fans of Hanna-Barbera characters or of Yogi Bear specifically, this Easter holiday special is not really anything special. Families will most likely be best off renting or checking this Yogi Bear DVD out of the library, if they do decide it is something their children will be able to watch without being unduly influenced to go out and start stealing picnic baskets and trucks full of Easter goodies.

Parents interested in other animated Easter television specials starring classic cartoon characters can check out a review of the Baby Looney Tunes Easter special and a review of The Easter Chipmunk starring Alvin and the Chipmunks.

TV Easter Special Review – The Easter Chipmunk: Alvin and the Chipmunks Easter Holiday Special for Children

Parents searching for quality holiday entertainment for children may be overwhelmed by the number of Easter holiday specials available and not know which are appropriate to show to children and which are worth buying.

The 1995 Chipmunks’ Easter cartoon special The Easter Chipmunk is good fun for parents who like the Chipmunks’ brand of mischief. Other parents may not want to expose children to Alvin’s schemes, even though he does have to make amends at the end. Unless families already enjoy watching Alvin and the Chipmunks, parents should check this animated Easter television special out first by renting it before buying it.

The Easter Chipmunk – Easter Cartoon Special Plot

When Alvin comes to suspect that his grandfather may have been the original Easter Bunny (or Easter Chipmunk, as it were), he will stop at nothing to confirm the news and reclaim the position from Mr. Hoppity, the Easter Bunny. Although they caution Alvin not to jump to conclusions, Simon and Theodore come along for the ride and help to solve the mystery of the Easter Chipmunk.

The Easter Chipmunk – TV Easter Special Review for Parents

Some parents may not find Alvin a very good role model for children. He shows some disrespect for elders (at first he doubts that his grandfather was the Easter Chipmunk and implies that the old chipmunk is nuts) and then, once he really gets going, he shows little consideration for others or the actual truth in his quest to prove that he is right.

Alvin’s personality flaws (which are inherent in his character and certainly on display in many other episodes from the Alvin & the Chipmunks tv show!) are at least balanced by the positive qualities demonstrated by the other two chipmunks, such as Simon’s intelligence. Other content that parents may find inappropriate, however, includes the use of the phrase “sucking up” and the way the three chipmunks make a big mess in Dave’s kitchen and push and shove each other while dyeing Easter eggs.

The animation of this Easter television special is smooth, though of the quality a viewer would expect to find in a typical Saturday morning cartoon. Made in 1995, the show does contain some dated references that will stick out to an adult viewer, such as a spoof of The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, a security guard who talks like Jack Nicholson to set up an A Few Good Men parody in the third act courtroom scene (“You can’t handle the truth!”), and the appearance of a cassette tape player.

The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk DVD

This holiday special is available on a Paramount Home Video DVD, The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk, along with four classic episodes from the old Alvin and the Chipmunks ’80s Saturday morning cartoon. Since the holiday special is not quite 22 minutes long and the rest of the cartoon episodes included are not Easter-themed, families interested only in Easter specials will be better off renting this DVD or checking it out from the library.

Alvin & the Chipmunks Easter Activities for Kids

Instead of just watching this Easter cartoon special, use it as an inspiration for some fun Easter kids’ activities:

  • Simon constructs a quirky machine for painting Easter eggs, and Bunny Central is also full of mechanized assembly lines to organize robot egg-laying chickens. Challenge children to design and use craft materials to build their own models of machines that can perform some Easter-related activity, like decorating Easter eggs or making Easter candy.
  • Part of the mystery of the Easter Chipmunk hinges on the identity of an animal in an old photo in which the tail and ears of the animal cannot be seen. Look at pictures of real rabbits and chipmunks with children and discuss the difference between the tails and ears of the two kinds of animals. Then have kids draw pictures of what they imagine Easter Bunnies, Easter Chipmunks, and other Easter animals to look like.
  • Young children will enjoy dressing up like bunnies and hopping around, pretending to deliver Easter eggs like Alvin and Mr. Hoppity.

For the most part, The Easter Chipmunk is good, clean fun. Parents will want to make sure afterward that younger, more impressionable viewers do not copy Alvin’s bad behavior and that children understand why the way he acted was wrong at times.

Parents interested specifically in other animated Easter television specials starring classic cartoon characters can check out a review of Yogi the Easter Bear and a review of the Baby Looney Tunes Easter holiday special.

The Great Easter Egg Hunt Easter Cartoon Special: TV Easter Special Review for Parents – Family-Friendly Entertainment

With retailers offering so many choices for family Easter television specials to purchase, parents may find it difficult to know which are worth sharing with children or spending money to buy.

The animated Easter special The Great Easter Egg Hunt is not going to become a new children’s classic. Its plot is a rushed mishmash hybrid of the movie Toy Story and the classic children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit, and the animation and dubbing are substandard at times.

However, this Easter holiday program does ultimately fulfill its goal of providing wholesome, family-friendly entertainment. And it is definitely worth renting or checking out from the library. Since the 2005 DVD version is generally offered for $6 or less (sometimes much less!), some families might even invest in a copy as an inexpensive Easter basket stuffer.

The Great Easter Egg Hunt – Easter Cartoon Special Plot

Produced by Golden Films, a company founded for the purpose of providing children with entertainment products that promote positive messages without containing violent content, this well-meaning Easter holiday special tells the story of Whiskers, a stuffed toy bunny. Over the course of the two days before Easter, Whiskers meets and makes friends with a nursery full of toys, gets dragged into the woods and lost, encounters a group of live bunnies who act superior about being real, is rescued, goes on a quest around the town to find a magical Easter egg, finds the egg, meets the Easter Bunny, makes a wish that saves his owner’s life, and gets tapped to become the new Easter Bunny and live life as a real bunny each year for a week before Easter.

Clearly, many events are crammed into this Easter television special’s 47-minute run time.

The Great Easter Egg Hunt – Characters

The characters populating the bedroom of Peter, the little boy who is the main human character in this holiday program, are an oddly junky mix:

  • VCR, a girl space alien/toy figure who might be dismissed by the viewer as a delusional Buzz Lightyear clone except that she does have real alien powers.
  • Angel, a girl angel Christmas ornament “from the mall.”
  • Sabre, a sabertooth tiger figure from the Natural History Museum who speaks in cultured tones and prides himself on his “superior education” and several degrees.
  • Pee Wee, a goofy and somewhat slow gorilla figure from the Zoo.
  • Trog, a Cro-Magnon figure that calls to mind a Troll doll.
  • Officer Harley, a motorcycle cop figure on a bike who is forever threatening to write the other toys up for rule violations and who brings a dash of real humor to the movie with his deadpan obsession with rules and rule-breakers. (He assures Whiskers that the neighbors at whose yard sale he was bought had a permit for the sale.)

Rounding out the cast is Carmen, a Latina parrot who begins this holiday special believing she is better than the others because she is real, but who changes her mind by the conclusion, naturally, and comes to recognize the value of all of the toys.

The Great Easter Hunt – TV Easter Cartoon Special Review for Parents

Despite priding itself on not containing any violence, this animated special does contain a few moments that can scare younger viewers. The school bullies who wrestle Whiskers away from Peter are mean, and the dog that drags Whiskers into the woods and later returns to menace him some more is drawn in a very frightening way with slavering jaws and lots of teeth.

There’s an odd undercurrent of sexuality as well. When Whiskers first meets Angel and mistakes her for a real angel, she tells him not to let the halo fool him and winks at Officer Harley (with whom she more innocently flirts at later moments in the film, also). In addition, the lady bunny who sings the opening and closing song is weirdly modeled, with a bunny body that is strangely curvaceous and a head that has very human-like features and a completely human hairdo.

That said, this Easter special has many positive aspects to recommend it:

  • It shows children the importance of banding together to solve problems and the value of being loyal to one’s friends.
  • It teaches kids to be tolerant of other people’s differences (like being “only” a toy).
  • The tour the toys take around town while searching for the magic Easter egg leads them through the Natural History Museum, the Zoo, and a pet store, and at each place they see a different kind of egg, the last of which hatches into a baby bird. Parents can use this part of the plot as a starting point for a discussion about different kinds of eggs and how new life comes in spring time. As Angel notes when the bird hatches, new life is the “biggest miracle there is.”
  • The jazzy main song “Jump In” (which will stick in parents’ heads for weeks after watching this movie) promotes an exceptionally positive message about being thankful for the life you’ve got and being motived to wake up and jump into life and do things.

At heart this is a sweet (if cheesy) Easter special that teaches good lessons about friendship and how to live one’s life. Parents of young children will find it worth seeking out to watch, if not necessarily to buy.

Families looking for other wholesome animated Easter television specials about the Easter Bunny may also like a review of Here Comes Peter Cottontail.

Spring & Easter Brunch Recipes: Exceptional Morning Menu Ideas

Organizing a fantastic Spring brunch for family or friends can be done quite easily by using recipes that can be prepared a day in advance. Assemble a casserole that can sit in the refrigerator overnight and be baked in the morning, and bake coffee cake the night before the brunch. Here is a collection of Spring brunch recipes that are not only fabulously delicious, but also great time savers.
Easter Brunch Recipes:
Asparagus, Ham & Egg Casserole
Ingredients:
• 2 cups asparagus, steamed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cups ham, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces
• 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
• 1 cup green onions, sliced
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 1/2 loaves Ciabatta or French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 3 1/2 cups whole milk
• 12 large eggs
• 2 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
• 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
• Salt and pepper
• Butter
Directions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat.
2. Add the mushrooms, onions and green onions to the pan and saute until vegetables are soft.
3. Add the asparagus and ham, cook the mixture stirring constantly for 10 minutes.
4. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Butter a large 4 1/2 quart baking dish.
6. Spread half of the bread cubes on the bottom of dish.
7. Place half the vegetable mixture over the bread cubes.
8. Sprinkle half of the grated Cheddar and half of the Parmesan over the vegetables.
9. Spread remaining cubes over the cheese.
10. Place the rest of the vegetables over the bread cubes.
11. Sprinkle with the remaining Cheddar and Parmesan cheese.
12. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, whole milk and salt and pepper to taste.
13. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the cheese, evenly.
14. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and chill overnight in refrigerator.
15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
16. Let casserole stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
17. Place casserole on middle rack of oven and bake for 1 hour.
Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake
Ingredients:
• 2 3/4 cup flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 1 cup melted butter
• 2 3/4 cups blueberries
• 3/4 cup powdered sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a large baking pan with butter and flour.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients.
4. In a large bowl, mix together next five ingredients.
5. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the large bowl until blended.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking pan.
7. Sprinkle the blueberries over the mixture.
8. Bake for 45 minutes or until done.
9. In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of water until a glaze is formed.
10. Drizzle the glaze over top of the blueberries.
Fresh Berries and Cream
Ingredients:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
• 4 cups berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
• honey
Directions:
1. Fill glass cups or small bowls with 1/2 cup berries.
2. In a medium bowl that has been chilled, whip the cream with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and whip for 1-2 minutes longer.
4. Top each fruit cup with a large dollop of whipped cream, and drizzle with honey.
Two other great brunch recipes to try are Sweet Cheese Blintzes and Cream Tea Scones with Currants. Accompany these recipes with a fresh pot of coffee and some freshly squeezed orange juice for an exceptional Spring brunch.

Spice up Easter With Romantic Gift Baskets: Lingerie, Candles, Hot Flicks, and Whatever Else the Heart Desires

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the only time couples can celebrate in between birthdays and anniversaries. Easter can make for a great time as well.

When couples get into the Easter spirit with a sense of romance, things can heat up fast.

Celebrate This Easter With Victoria’s Secret

For those who love lingerie, Easter can be an extra special time. Throw some candles in the Easter basket, maybe some bath stuff, and an exciting evening only gets better.

The only question is, how much is too much, and for most couples on a special night, too much is usually just fine.

Provocative Films Can be the Ticket for the Movie Lover’s Easter Basket

Behind closed doors, anything goes between consenting adults, and Easter is no exception. One movie that is sure to rev up the night is The Secretary, a 2002 film starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader.

Based on a short story by Mary Gaitskill, this romantic dramedy is sure to bring good laughs and a general satisfaction to couples looking for a great movie and a good time.

But do not let one recommendation be the movie of choice alone. With so many films for such wide tastes, The Secretary might be the absolute worst choice for some couples just as 9 1/2 Weeks would not cut it for others.

When it comes to movies, couples should kick back, relax, and get into whatever helps them get in the mood.

For Those Who Need a Little More, Easter Will Not Fall Short

If lingerie and hot movies don’t do the trick, couples need not over think the evening. For extroverts, who derive stimulation from being around others, going out to a dance club with friends can be the perfect prefect to an Easter night’s conclusion.

For those who dig on adrenaline, hitting up a theme park, mountain bike trail, or skate park may do the trick as well.

Art lovers may feel an extra special night coming on when the day is spent at a museum, reading poetry, or taking a sketching class.

And for those who want to stay in, there are still more ideas. Specialty shoppes for adults have a wide variety of games that will prove to make Easter (and many other nights) very exciting.

There are no limits when it comes to making Easter special. And while lingerie in a candlelit bedroom complemented with fresh fruit and champagne will do it for some, a great movie with Easter candy will do it for others. And for those that need to get out to enjoy being in at the end of the night, the options truly are endless.

Scavenger Hunt Easter Ideas for Food Allergies: Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free Easter Candy Basket Alternatives

Easter egg hunts are a fun activity for families to engage in during this chocolate filled holiday. However, for children with dairy, egg and peanut allergies, the treasure hunt could easily turn into a trip to the emergency room if care is not taken to ensure they do not come into contact with food allergens. To ensure a happy treasure hunting outcome, consider these alternatives to the traditional Easter eggs.

Allergen Free Easter Candy

To stay as true as possible to the traditional egg hunt, purchase allergen free Easter eggs. There are many children’s dairy free Easter eggs and nut free candies and chocolates on the market today.

Plan to buy dairy free chocolates and egg free treats early enough before the Easter holiday as they may not be readily available in your local stores and may need to be shipped from somewhere else.

Food Allergy Easter Basket Toys

Plan a treasure hunt that involves finding small inexpensive toys and knick-knacks rather than candy and chocolates. Suggestions for items to hunt for include little cars, stickers, miniature dolls, trinkets, and stuffed Easter bunnies. These can be bought at discount stores and will make for an exciting treasure hunt.

Be creative and wrap them in paper mache Easter eggs. Place the toys inside the balloon when making the Easter eggs so that the toy is inside the finished paper mache egg. The excitement of breaking open an “egg” to see what toy it contains will make for an interesting food allergy egg hunt.

Easter Basket Food Ideas for Children with Food Allergies

Make a treasure hunt that is based on other kinds of sweet treats like vegan Easter cookies. Use bunny shaped or egg shaped cookie cutters to make cookies which can be baked and decorated with allergen free frosting. Pack them carefully in colorful cellophane paper and hide as if they were real Easter eggs.

Have a Raffle Easter Treasure Hunt Instead

Have an Easter treasure hunt that involves a raffle for various prizes determined by total points retrieved in the hunt. Buy plastic Easter eggs and place a ticket number in each egg that adds up or subtracts points to win a prize. These could be anything from a trip to a favorite park, toys, clothing or change for a piggy bank.

Families with children who have food allergies need not miss out on the thrill of an Easter treasure hunt. Be creative and plan a scavenger hunt for items that will please children whether or not they get to indulge in some candy and chocolate.