HOLIDAYS AND TRADITIONS

Pantry Ingredients: Natural Dyed Easter Eggs

IMG_9501

I look down and smile at Snowball, he is such a cute fluff ball. Can’t help spoiling him.

“Buona Pasqua,” I smile at my little pooch.

He follows me to the kitchen, I am slow as it is early and I have not yet had caffeine. Bella Sophia is home this week, enjoying spring break…we stayed up late. She is in fifth grade now, time goes too fast and I cherish school holidays.

Tomorrow I will make a variation of traditional Easter bread, pane di Pasqua. We will have a light  bread with sesame seeds. I will have rolls and a centerpiece bread for the Easter supper table. The bread is similar to St. Joseph breads as my family LOVES this. I have to hide some for a “next day feast”. The rolls keep well in a tight container and are a delicious ‘day after Easter ham sandwich’. I think of my hubbie’s granddad, who has passed. Grandpa Joe would visit for Easter, he adored my bread. Bless cousin Gene who would drive him. I would always send them home with a package of Italian breads.

Just so you know…I am not against dying Easter eggs the traditional way. I have fond memories of going to the store with my sister Fran. What dye kit to purchase? The packages alive with bunnies, chicks and shiny colorful eggs. So many choices…traditional, marble, glitter… As a matter of fact, we will be coloring eggs at Fran’s house Saturday. We will also bake Italian Easter cookies. Getting the kids together is a tradition.

However, I do like balance and having healthy options. When possible, I like to use natural colorings for the eggs, so that when they bake into the loaf of bread there are no extra chemicals. Also, I am lazy today. Spring break and all. It rained last night, a perfect excuse for a stay home day.

I rummage through the pantry. There was no pre-planning. Welcome to my spur of the moment life. As Molly would say, ‘make your own daily adventures’.

I gather the following items:

red onions (my hubby likes the crunch in pasta primavera)

white vinegar

sea salt

I notice that I have a small bottle or organic cranberry juice…I decide to add that to the tableau.

IMG_9500

Bella Sophia glides into the kitchen, all energy. I am bent over into the pantry. “What you up to?” she chirps. I am not quick to answer, I mumble back. “Coffee?” she asks. “Grazie” I reply.

Bella Sophia makes me the very best morning latte. I taught her young, she has a “tip jar” by the coffee machine. Smart girl. She knows just how I like it, double strong espresso with half and half, stir a bit with a fork while combining to make an easy froth.

Snowball scampers after me, “you are out of luck, this is no soup for you” nodding my head I make a sour face at him. 

I am now quickly chopping red onions. I am efficient, using a knife to skin the colorful purple skins off. I hate it when eyes tear up. I save the center for the pasta primavera. Bella Sophia lends a helping hand. We look like Strega Nonna. 

We combine:

6 cups water

½ a cup white vinegar

3 TBS. salt

1/3 cup cranberry juice

The concoction goes to a high gas burner to boil. Once boiling I add 9 cage free brown organic eggs. (See photo below for before and after egg image.)  I plan to make three centerpiece Easter breads and need three eggs per bread. As soon as the water boils we add the eggs…wonderful that we can cook and dye at the same time. For extra measure I cover the simmering pot with a lid.

Now, time for coffee. I give Snowball a piece of salami. The term is ending; I have papers to grade. We all have busy lives.

I am happy, this took only a few minutes and I feel good about using natural ingredients. Bella Sophia had fun. In the old days Nonna Frances would have had Auntie Mary or Auntie Jenny from down the street over, they would have done this together. Here’s to a new age, let’s keep sharing.

How do you think our Easter eggs turned out? 

Huckleberry Wishes, Maxine (A.K.A. Molly)

IMG_9502