Hoppy Easter!

Easter Bunny Watercolor 2018 11×14

Hoppy Easter!

For those celebrating, I thought I would share a quick watercolor I did this weekend of a magical Easter Bunny.

A bunny that is THE Easter bunny would have to be magical right?

In doing a bit of quick internet research, I learned the Easter Bunny originated in Germany in the 1500s, and came to the United States in the 18th century through Protestant German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area (not far from me in Mars, PA!).  They told their children about the “Osterhase,” who brought good children colored eggs, candy, and sometimes toys in nests they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, I hope this magical watercolor bunny brings a smile to your face and joy to your day.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

If you know me at all, you know Poppy Seed Cake is my favorite of all cakes.

Unusual to most I’m guessing, but most significant to me because my Grandma always made it for my birthday (New Year’s Eve) since everyone is just about over it with sweets by then after the holidays.

I had some fresh strawberries that were on the verge of going bad and lemon on the brain from a cookie I was making for the wedding cookie table, so I decided to whip up and “zip” up a poppy seed cake for Easter Sunday.

A bit of tart and sweet lemon zest in the batter along with chunks of juicy red-ripe strawberries and a thin lemon glaze really “Spring”ed up my usual wintertime poppy seed cake craving.

Hubby loved his with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and an extra handful of fresh strawberries on top.

If you are looking for a fresh, not too sweet, but yummy Spring cake to serve, give this one a try.  It is truly delightful!

Fresh Strawberry & Lemon Poppy Seed Cake*

  • Servings: 1 marvelous cake
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4  cup poppy seeds
  • Glaze:
    • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 Tbsp milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease and flour a fluted cake pan or your favorite.

In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest.  Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating.  Add milk, yogurt and vanilla next.  Stir in dry ingredients until combined.  Gently stir in strawberries and poppy seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake test inserted comes out clean.

Prepare glaze by mixing lemon juice and powdered sugar until sugar is completely dissolved, then stir in milk until smooth.   Set aside.

Cool cake for at least 20 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

Serve with additional fresh strawberries and ice cream, if desired.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Adapted from a recipe found on BakerbyNature.com

Easter & Spring Carrot Vegetable Tray

Easter & Spring Carrot Vegetable Tray.

It’s not always that hard to be creative and fun with your food for holidays and special occasions.

For our Easter celebration this year, I made a veggie tray in the shape of a carrot with carrots and other vegetables.  A meat serving platter is a great shaped tray for creating this “design.”

We dipped our veggies in hummus.

You could also make a ranch or dill or spinach dip or whatever you like, but have fun with your food and make it a little festive with quick and easy simple touches like this!

My favorite is the sugar snap peas.  What is your favorite crudite?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes (with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions)


Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes (with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions).

Our family celebrated Easter a week early this year by getting together yesterday.  With the traditional ham, I made a kicked up version of scalloped potatoes.

Roasted tomatoes, sweet yellow, orange, and red peppers, and sweet onions….

layered in with creamy, cheesy potatoes

made for an amazing potato casserole!

To add a bit more “zip,” I kicked it up even more by using jalepeno havarti cheese instead of plain gruyere or havarti.

We loved it!

If you are looking for a new way with potatoes to go with your Easter ham or with roast beef or pork or chicken or even by itself for any other special occasion (like Monday night dinner), this scalloped potato recipe is worth the little bit of extra effort.

Hope you’ll give it a try.

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions*

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes (or your favorite) sliced thinly
  • 2 cups jalepeno havarti cheese (or your favorite), grated
  • 8 campari tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange or combination), cut into strips
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut in half and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tsp. herbes de Provence (sweet French herbs and flowery lavender with Italian herbs and fennel that includes: rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, French tarragon, dill weed, Turkish oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram.
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Whisk egg yolks and 1 cup half and half in small bowl.  Set aside.  In large pot, combine 1 1/2 cups half and half, nutmeg, salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the sliced potatoes.  Simmer until halfway cooked, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in egg-milk mixture and cheese.  Cover and keep warm.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Put the sliced tomatoes, peppers and onions on a baking sheet in separate piles.  Drizzle with olive oi and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbes de Provence.  Bake 10-15 minutes until tender and charred around edges.

Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray 9×13 baking dish with Pam cooking spray.  Sprinkle half the panko bread crumbs in bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon half of the potato mixture into the dish.  Top with half of the roasted vegetables.  Layer the remaining half of potatoes then remaining roasted vegetables.

Bake until potatoes are tender – 50-60 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining 1/2 cup half and half.  Sprinkle with remaining panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*slightly adapted from Food Network

Every Bunny Loves Some Bunny Sometime

Funny Bunny 8×10 Watercolor

Every Bunny Loves Some Bunny Sometime…

Every Bunny falls in love somehow…

Well – I’m surely not Dean Martin, but I do love painting bunnies…

especially funny bunnies this time of year with Spring and Easter right around the corner.

And Remember – in case you doubt…

You Alone are Enough
You have nothing to prove
to Any Bunny!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

I used only three colors to create all of the colors in this silly critter:  Cobalt Blue, Permanent Rose, and Quinacridone Gold, which also also created purples and greens and a dark “mud” to be almost black without looking too black.

 

Babette the Bunny

pink-orange-gold-abstract-bunny-watercolor-9x12-140lb-fabriano-artistico

“Babette” pink-orange-gold-abstract-bunny-watercolor-9×12-140lb-fabriano-artistico

The weather was so warm here for a couple days this week, it felt like Spring!
I don’t remember ever having 60 degree weather in February.  Even the birds were singing and celebrating.

The Spring-like weather must have been the inspiration for “Babette” the Bunny who somehow came to life one evening after dinner.  No drawing – just started painting the eye and then splashing water and pink and orange and dabs of quin gold in the shape of a bunny.

And as for her name, it must have come from the hours of binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix I’ve been doing since Christmas.

It was fun to create a Springy painting on a Springy February day.  Fingers crossed I’m not inspired to paint snowy landscapes in May the way our wacky weather has been this year!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

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