Easter Weekend

Happy Easter everyone! I always get really excited about holidays because it means my whole family gets together. Back when we were little, it seemed like we saw my cousins, aunt & uncle and grandparents every weekend. Whether it was a birthday party, weekly golf lessons, or just dinner at Grandma’s, we were together all the time. Now with my cousins all living in different cities, we usually only get everyone together on holiday weekends, so the holidays are now extra special.

We kicked the weekend off by celebrating Meghan’s Birthday. We went out to dinner and then headed back to my aunt and uncle’s for cake and a little March Madness viewing party. And even though half of the family are Michigan Fans and the other half are Michigan State Fans (GO GREEN!), we cheered on each other’s teams and remained civil.

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When it came time to give Meg her birthday presents, Eric was exposed to yet another one of my family’s weird traditions. For some reason, if you give someone a gift but forget to give them a card, you are forced to sing your birthday greeting. I may have forgotten to tell Eric this on purpose, so as tradition goes, Eric had to sing. And I must say, he crooned a fantastic version of Happy Birthday. Unfortunately, Sean and I forgot cards as well, so we too had to sing/rap/do something stupid in the name of birthdays. 

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On Saturday we were greeted with a beautiful, sunny day, perfect for the 5 mile run I had planned. My cousin Kristen and I are both training for races right now, and both had to run 5 miles on Saturday. Seeing as we live exactly 5 miles from each other, we joked that we would run into each other at our halfway point, high five, and then turn back home, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

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But we did see each other later that afternoon when we planned the music for our wedding ceremony. Kristen is a fantastic singer, and has sung at a number of friends’ weddings so Eric and I were excited when she said she would sing (and help us pick the music) for ours. I absolutely love all the music we picked for the ceremony, and having Kristen sing it will be so special.

For Easter Sunday, we went out to my Aunt Norma’s house for Easter lunch. There was tons of food and time for cousin pictures.

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I hope you all are having a wonderful Easter Sunday!

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Mushroom & Sweet Pea Risotto

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I may have mentioned this before, but I am a total Food Network junkie. I can spend hours watching cooking show after cooking show and never get bored. But my favorite Food Network chef by far is Giada DiLaurentiis. I love her. And whenever someone tells me they don’t like her, I get personally offended. How can you not love Giada? She’s so perky and fun and makes the most delicious food. And I think she loves chocolate as much as I do. I may or may not be her biggest fan. Well this recipe is one of Giada’s. And I think it would be a perfect side dish for your Easter dinner. The recipe does take a lot of time and attention but the result is an incredibly creamy and cheesy risotto that pairs with a number of different main courses. I recently made it for a family dinner and served it with Pinterest Greek Yogurt Chicken. My brother asked for the leftovers. And that, my friends, is always the indication of a great recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 8-10 servings, Adapted slightly from Food Network

  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan and set aside
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat
  3. Add olive oil to melted butter
  4. Add onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes
  5. Add the white mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes
  6. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes
  7. Add wine and stir occasionally until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 2 minutes
  8. Reduce heat to medium low and add chicken broth one cup at a time, stirring often
  9. Repeat until all broth has been added into the pot and rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 30 minutes
  10. Stir in the thawed peas and freshly grated parmesan
  11. Season with salt & pepper to taste
  12. Serve immediately

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Chocolate Chip Macaroons

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There are billions of food blogs on the internet and hundreds of cookbooks on the shelves of the bookstore, but sometimes I’ll find a favorite recipe in the simplest of places. Like the newspaper. And I don’t mean the online version of the local paper. I mean the good old fashion black and white paper that is delivered to your doorstep a few times a week. When I was little I went straight for the comics. (Did you really expect a 10 year old to go for the finance section?) Later on I starting skimming through the Life & Home section to read the restaurant reviews and recipes. I still love relaxing on Sunday mornings and leisurely going through all the different sections of the paper. There is something wholesome and comforting about reading the actual newspaper rather than scanning the headlines online. It makes me sad to think the newspaper may soon disappear completely. But while the paper is still being delivered to my doorstep, I plan on taking advantage of the delicious recipes you can often find in it. Like these Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroon Cookies. My mom saw these in the paper and we immediately decided to whip them up. And with only 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of baking time, they came together in a flash. The cookies are very sweet and chewy with a delicate crunch. And if you are a fan of the chocolate + coconut combination you will love these cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen, from Detroit Free Press

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites,chocolate chips, vanill and salt
  2. Dampen hands with cold water
  3. Roll the batter into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown

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