Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter picnic in Grant Park

Our family is big on holiday traditions, but last year we (I) decided an Easter picnic would be more relaxing for the adults and more fun for the children (plus I didn't have to clean my house!)  Although much more casual than previous Easter celebrations, I did find pretty paper plates and napkins and brought my Pottery Barn Caterer's Wine glasses along with various lettuce leaf serving pieces I have collected.  And of course we set the table with the vintage plastic bunny silverware we have had since my children were small. 

We had so much fun last year, we decided on a repeat performance, but at a different park.  As there were no picnic tables near the playground at Grant Park we brought a small card table, a little crowded but still pretty.  Two years in a row, Target has fooled me with their paper table cloths.  I expected the pattern to be all over, but when you open the package, Surprise! only the borders are patterned.  Oh well, live and learn.  If they fool me next year, it is my own fault.  By the way, the selection of paper goods at Target the night before Easter is severely limited!  Crazy week but should have put this task higher on the to do list!
The menu was also a repeat performance as requested by several family members.It included both pimento and egg salad sandwiches, gingered carrot soup, deviled eggs, fruit salad, Mimosas and carrot cupcakes.  Being a transplant to the South, I was unfamiliar with pimento cheese until recently.  I am now an addict!  Not being a mayonnaise fan, I make it with cream cheese, good cheddar cheese and a jar of pimentos.  The egg salad is a recipe I have used for years from the Silver Palette cookbook for Mustard Dill Egg Salad - again choosing a good mustard makes all the difference.
The carrot soup with ginger and lemon recipe came from family friends, Jon Mayes and Nancy Butler (Nancy also taught me to make pimento cheese).  You can find the soup recipe here on Epicurious.  It is good both hot and cold.  These half pint canning jars are perfect for both serving and transporting.  I serve it with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a lemon wedge and shredded carrots for garnish.  So good!
Ray Ray (as Ken is called by the grand kids) made the beautiful fruit salad.  "No filler fruit" I overheard someone comment.  The grand kids devoured it.
Ashley found this recipe for guacamole deviled eggs on Pinterest Saturday night and decided to make them at the last minute.  She only had 9 eggs so was creative in spacing them in her egg tray.  I am not a huge fan of deviled eggs but these were wonderful. Watch for the recipe on her blog, An Inviting Abode.

For dessert, I made our family favorite carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Being from Fremont, Michigan - Baby Food Capital of the World - I make them using a recipe from the Gerber Baby Food Festival Cook Off that uses Gerber Carrots instead of shredded carrots.  So much easier and my family loves it.  Check out the recipe at An Inviting Abode.
Addyson is a big fan of the cream cheese frosting!

Everett thought the park was much more fun than Neena's
dining room!

Next year Sydney and Emily will be running around too!
Hope everyone had a lovely Easter. 
What recipes are your family's Easter Favorites?

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