Wednesday, April 16, 2014

fly the nest

When you've lived in a house long enough to go through life stages like a marriage, birth, graduations and family holiday gatherings, you start to notice physical elements of the house, like a door or a chip in the wall, that hold special memories, a part of your personal history...sentimental objects that you'd wish you could take with you wherever you go.

In our hallway along the doorway trim to our kitchen, we've marked through the years, the growth of our children.  Every so often the kids would want to see how much taller they've become, and they'd stand with the world's most perfect posture, almost on their tippy toes, in hopes that a new pencil mark will be drawn just a notch above the last one.

As Easter approaches, I am reminded yet again, on how life has many little "pencil" marks as indicators of how far we've come, showing the notches of our history.  Every year, during this sweet season of Easter, I empty a dozen eggs (I use this germ free method so we can actually eat them) and rally the kids around the table, with little cups filled with dyes, to colour them.  It's a magical process- the kids watching with intense patience as each egg becomes more vibrant as they sit in those little cups of dye.  Colours and patterns are planned out, stickers are placed and at the end, their creations are displayed as souvenirs of our time together.  But as the years pass I've found this activity, which once would occupy their interest for at least a full morning, would be done quicker and quicker every year, now being completed within a few mere minutes.

However, as we sat around the table with finished projects, I realized that the time that was once filled with childhood activities are now just replaced with time filled with more meaningful discussions instead (and in this case, a deeper understanding of what Easter really means to us).  Although I will continue to prepare the eggs for our yearly ritual, I will cherish these family traditions, not just as another holiday activity, but as another opportunity to spend precious time together, filling these kids with vibrant confidence so when they're ready to fly the nest, they'll become beautiful contributors to this world we live in.

Wishing you a Happy Easter 

filled with rejuvenation and love!

Easter Egg Nest Cupcakes
(makes approximately 1 dozen)
There are a few ways to make these cupcakes.  The easiest way to make them (for those who do minimal baking) is to buy pre-iced cupcakes, a bag of shredded coconut, and candy coated chocolate eggs.  Bake the coconut as directed below.  Remove the icing from the centre of the cupcake, add the coconut to the perimeter of the cupcake and add the chocolate eggs.  If you like to bake from scratch, the directions are below.

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (about 5 ounces)
  • Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe below)
  • Chocolate Frosting/Icing (recipe below)
  • Candy Covered Egg Shaped chocolates

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until light brown, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan once. Set aside to cool.
  • Lightly frost cupcakes with 1 cup chocolate frosting; set aside. 
  • Form each nest with 2 tablespoons toasted coconut. (I also piped a small amount along the perimeter of the cupcake, so the coconut has something to adhere to
  • Using candy covered chocolate eggs, place in the middle of the nest.

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Line standard muffin cups with paper liner. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Add milk, vegetable oil, and 1 1/2 cups warm water; whisk to combine. 
  • Add eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.
  • Divide batter among muffin cups (filling each about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick inserted in comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 20 to 25 minutes. 
  • Let cool in pans on wire racks, 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to racks and let cool completely. 

Chocolate Frosting (for 12 cupcakes)

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. milk (or 35% whipping cream for creamier texture)

  • Combine butter, sugar and cocoa powder and blend with an electric beater, until well combined.
  • Add milk and beat on high until smooth and creamy.


1 comment:

  1. lovely! fabulous! creative idea.. i can't wait for the Easter to come, i want to give my kids this really amazing Easter gift.. lots of hugs for you.. :)


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