Celebrate Easter! Great Food & Fun Activities for Kids
Easter is coming up this weekend, and families all over the country will get together to celebrate. Often, this holiday coincides with spring break for those of you with children still in school. Are you having your family over this Easter? Read on for delicious foods to serve, as well as crafts and a game to keep the kids entertained.
Honey Bourbon Easter Ham. What’s Easter dinner without ham? Gather together the following ingredients: one bone-in whole or spiral-cut ham (size depending on the number of guests), 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp each fennel and coriander seeds, 4 bay leaves, 4 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root (thinly sliced), one dried red chile chopped, 1 tsp orange zest, 2 cups of bourbon, and 2 Tbsp each soy sauce and honey. For the glaze, combine sugar with 2 Tbsp water and heat over medium-high heat, swirling often for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and add all the ingredients from the fennel through the orange zest, and let sit for 30 minutes. Add the bourbon, soy sauce, and honey; return to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. You can make the glaze ahead of time and store for up to two days; just rewarm it before using. For the ham, preheat the oven to 325°. Place ham in a roasting pan with 1 cup of water, cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours and 45 minutes or according to the directions on the wrapping, depending on size, basting with juices until the meat reaches 120°. Remove foil and brush with glaze. Roast for another 30 minutes glazing every 10 minutes until the top is caramelized. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices.
Mushroom and Asparagus Quiche. Serving brunch this year rather than dinner? A quiche is a perfect quick and easy but hearty main dish. You’ll need 1 tube of crescent-roll dough, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, 1½ pounds asparagus (sliced into half-inch pieces), 1 medium onion (chopped), ¼ cup butter, 2 eggs (beaten), 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, ¼ cup minced fresh parsley, ½ tsp each salt and pepper, ¼ tsp each garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, and rubbed sage, and 2 tsp prepared mustard. Preheat the oven to 375°. Separate the crescent dough and line a 9-inch cake pan to make a crust. Spread the mustard over the crust and set aside. Sauté the mushrooms, asparagus, and onion with butter until the asparagus is bright green and tender-crisp. Combine beaten eggs, salt and pepper and herbs, and cheese in a bowl, then add the asparagus mixture. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Carrot Cake. Take a page from Bunny Rabbit’s cookbook this Easter, and complete your meal with a delicious carrot cake. For the cake, you’ll need 1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1⅓ cups granulated sugar, ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes, ⅓ cup chopped pecans, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 2 cups grated carrots, and 1½ cups canned crushed pineapple, drained. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour with all ingredients from sugar through cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk together. Beat oil and eggs together, and then add oil and egg mixture, carrots, and pineapple to flour mixture, stirring well to combine. Spray a 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray, pour in batter, and bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. For the icing, you’ll need 2 Tbsp softened butter, one 8-ounce block softened low-fat cream cheese, 3 cups powdered sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Beat butter and cream cheese together with a mixer until smooth. Then beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cake and garnish with additional shredded carrot if you like.
Decorate Eggs. While dying eggs is fun, it can be messy, especially if there will be little ones around. There are many ways to decorate eggs. First, hard-boil enough white-shelled eggs so that each child gets a couple. Then try these less-messy ideas! Use Japanese washi tape and vellum paper from your local craft store and a couple of decorative hole punches. Lightly stick the tape to the vellum paper. Help kids punch holes in the tape, peel off the vellum paper, and then stick it on their eggs. Or they can just use strips of washi tape to decorate eggs without using a hole punch. For sparkly eggs, use Mod Podge from the craft store as well as different kinds of glitter. Set up the table with paintbrushes and little cups of Mod Podge. Kids will paint eggs with Mod Podge, and then sprinkle on glitter. When dry, have an adult paint over the glitter with Mod Podge to seal it in. Once it dries, it won’t “shed” everywhere the way glitter normally does! A word of caution: Remind egg eaters not to ingest any glitter.
Egg Relay Race. Will there be four or more kids, or “kids-at-heart” at your Easter celebration? If the weather is nice, set up an Easter egg relay race. Use hard-boiled eggs for less mess. Line runners up in teams with equal numbers and give each one a plastic spoon. If you’ve already dyed some eggs, you can use two different-colored ones and have team colors. Place the eggs on the spoons of the first runners in line. Have them run to a designated spot a few yards away and back again, then slip the egg onto the spoon of the next teammate without dropping it. If the egg drops, the team must start over with the first runner. The first team to complete the relay without dropping their egg wins!
What are your Easter celebration traditions?