Forcing Spring!

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It’s not spring, at least in New England! With Easter coming, warm-weather items in stores, and not a bloomed daffodil in sight, we’re making it spring!

I’ll be honest. I love four seasons, but spring isn’t my favorite here. It’s not warm enough to wear sundresses and sandals, and most of the time it’s grey and damp, especially this year! Everyone I know is so sick of the cold and wet. It might have thawed a bit, but it’s going to take abnormally longer to get the grounds warm and the ice melted!  As I am writing, snow is falling again! I’m ready for a spring kinda’ mood! Forget the electric bill, I’ve turned on lots of lamps…otherwise it feels like the Batcave!

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In Texas, Easter meant warm enough weather to wear a new sundress.

Me, 1970-something, Houston

Me, 1975, in Houston

My daughter, 2004

My daughter, 2004

I always did the same with my daughter, though she had to include a coat. We also always dye Easter Eggs. I remember my mom let me “paint” boiled eggs with food coloring all year long as a kid, not just at Easter. Now my daughter and I experiment with dyeing eggs using natural things such as beet, still enjoying this tradition together even though she’s older. I turn the hard-boiled eggs into deviled eggs. Add chopped dill into your basic deviled eggs…it turns them into divine eggs! (It’s too cold when ya open the fridge and think, “Gosh, it’s warm in there.”)

This year, my daughter and her Girl Scout troop volunteered to hide eggs and assist with Newtown Parks and Recreation’s Annual Spring Egg Hunt. We were afraid the snow would hide the eggs, but the turnout was great, and everyone had a wonderful time.

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It was bittersweet for me to see Audrey being the “big” helper…just a few years ago she would’ve been hunting eggs. I’m so proud of my girl, and my scouts. It was freezing, but you get to the point where if you never leave the house because of bad weather, you realize you never leave the house. Ever.

It’s winter outside, but I’m making it spring inside, with spring decor. I also “decorate” with chocolate. (When all else fails, there’s always chocolate to perk us up). I’ve got two lovely chocolate bunnies for my family, for Easter Day, from Bridgewater Chocolate (http://www.bridgewaterchocolate.com/), made in Connecticut by a former New York City chef from Sweden (Swedish chocolate is my favorite)!

There's a little bit o'heaven in that chocolate...

There’s a little bit o’ heaven in that chocolate…

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We also have our own real “Easter Bunny”! Patches is one of the prettiest bunnies ever! I love her mop of wild brown fur on top of her head. Many people think bunnies are good Easter presents, not realizing the maintenance involved. I wouldn’t let my daughter have a pet rabbit when she was younger. Rabbits are very delicate and can break their backs from twisting if frightened or held incorrectly, and aren’t always just little docile balls of fluff. Ours gets cranky at times, forcefully thumping her feet when displeased. She growls when she wants a treat and is denied (she’s only allowed two a day). She doesn’t get along with other rabbits, and gets nasty if someone invades “her” territory. Their cages need to be kept clean, they have sharp teeth and nails, and they need exercise every day. Too many bunnies are discarded after Easter when owners realize they’re a commitment, just like any other pet. We love our bun and all her quirks, and she really loves my daughter! Spending time with our pets keeps cabin fever blues at bay!

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Flowers inside help, too. We forced paper whites to bloom. Paper Whites are my favorite bulbs, long-lasting and fragrant. Drop the bulbs in the middle of almost any container in seed starting mix, keeping the soil moist like a wrung-out sponge. (Beware, they’re very toxic to pets, so put them where animals won’t get near them).

I’m setting the table with bright spring linens to make meals feel special. I received a set of these beautiful, vintage mid-century glasses for my birthday, manufactured by Culver Glass, originally from Brooklyn and known for its 14-karat gold detail. These babies won’t be caught near a dishwasher!

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The only butterflies we’ll see for awhile are these!

 

Speaking of meals, I’ve pulled out favorite spring recipes. I’ll leave you with my Cheesecake Pie, which graces my Easter Sunday table, and is my favorite potluck dessert.

You’ll need one graham cracker crust. I prefer making my own, using organic ingredients.

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I use organic grahams, but gluten-free grahams can be used, too.

 

  • To make your own, use 18 graham crackers or 1 ½ cups crumbs, mix with ½ cup melted butter (1 stick) and ¼ cup sugar.
Crush the cfackers in wax paper with a rolling pin, then mix in a bowl. Better for the environment than a plastic baggie!

Crush the crackers in wax paper with a rolling pin, then mix in a bowl. Better for the environment than a plastic baggie!

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  • Press the mixture into a pie plate using wax paper and the back of a spoon (the wax paper keeps it from sticking to the spoon). Chill while mixing the pie filling.

 

  • For the filling: Take two (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (Horizon brands makes a good organic one or for a lower fat content, use two bars of Neufchatel cheese – works just as well). Beat with 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites), ¾ cup of sugar, ½ tsp.vanilla, and 1 tsp. of almond extract.

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  • Pour into the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not let it brown too much. Refrigerate before slicing.This pie is great on its own, but you can also garnish with fruit or fruit sauce.
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If I’d stayed on the phone much longer, I’d have had a burned pie! It tasted wonderful!

ENJOY!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

Leave a comment 14 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    Thanks for the pie recipe! Going to make this!love the pics ! Cindy”’

  2. Hi Nicole,

    Oh my word. Just thinking about all that snow and cold winter and the cold spring melt almost made me want to cry! :-) I love the seasons also, but I LOVE living where spring comes with a vengeance. Green grass, pink and white blooming dogwood trees, daffodils everywhere, tulips blooming. Okay, I’ll shut up now!

    The cheesecake pie recipe sounds yummy!

    – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dori, I wish I was visiting my mom in Georgia or my dad in Texas for Easter! This weather really is for the birds. It snowed again last night, and looks like it will be rain on Saturday and snow on Easter. Ick. I usually say “it’s been a long winter”, but this really is the longest we’ve ever seen. Yesterday the weatherman on tv started to do his report, and instead he said, “You don’t want to know!” and threw his shovel down into a pile of snow. Everyone’s trying to keep a sense of humor about it. What else can ya do? I am starting to worry a bit about my gardening and yard. We will have to see what will grow this summer. Send me some of that Tennessee sun, please! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Jan Sturgill says:

    I loved seeing the Easter pictures of you and your daughter. I was lucky to have the kind of mom that would encourage us to color eggs! She always did, even up in her eighties…Since I still have the occasional yard visit from my lovely friend the English Angora, I have had rabbits on the brain. I went to a class the other night, and what would be nibbling on the bushes around the building? A nice brown domestic rabbit! Must be a lot of ‘releasing’ of rabbits after Easter…Drat…
    Thank you for the great pie recipe. Just what I envisioned for Easter dessert!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jan, I still can’t believe that beautiful Angora rabbit you saw. What a stunning picture! I hope you can catch him! Let me know how you like my pie recipe! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, these are beautiful pictures of you and Audrey. The one of you when you were three with your Easter Basket is one of my favorites. I bought the little pinafore for you and your brother had to dress you because I was in the hospital with food poisoning!
    The picture of you with the red rolling pin is good too and where did you get your big earrings? Hope spring comes to you soon! Love this blog.
    Love you, Mother

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Mom. I love the look of pure joy on Audrey’s face when she first dyed Easter eggs. Glad you liked this post! Love, N

  5. susana says:

    Lovely pictures…..kids are cute….I wish I could remember to force bulbs to bloom, but not sure when to start.love the flowers. Used yo do the egg coloring with my kids. Miss those simple days of Easter surprises…..went the bunny route one year and we ended up with…..rabbits galore! Won’t forget that year!we kept one after we got rid of most of them. Had to keep our thumps. Believe me the between into things….cards, drywall and kids toys.yes they have teeth! Did you know rabbits can be frightened and/due from it? Happen to a baby rabbit we had. Its a job to care for rabbits….kids get tired very quickly….I ended up caring for them, cleaning their pellet poops and/when it got too much for me, we found new homes for them. Never again! I think I’d rather raise a dog!
    Happy/Easter, susana

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      I hear ya, Susana! I am the one who ends up taking care of our bun, and she prefers my daughter. I’ve been nipped a couple of times, but she loves Audrey and will fall asleep in her arms. She only growls at my husband! My dogs are much easier! But we still love our bun. She’s so cute. Happy Easter! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi Nicole!
    What else CAN we do but FORCE spring in New England this year? Your post surely hit home with me. We are supposed to get warmer temps with rain this week and I’m praying its’ true. Most of our backyard ( and all of my raised beds) are still covered in snow. I NEED that soil to start warming up if I’m gonna have flowers to enjoy and sell this summer! Darling photos of you and your girl and your ‘ bun ‘ . I needed a dessert for our Easter gathering so I thank you for your cheesecake recipe. I’ve never made one, but this unseasonably cold spring is making me feel adventurous! Hugs and Happy Easter!
    Deb, the Beach Farmgirl

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deb!
      I’ve been wondering about your area, too. My peas should already be in the ground, but I can’t even FIND the garden yet! I think Mother Nature may have forgotten us this year, don’t you? Enjoy the cheesecake, let me know how it turns out. Hang in there, farmsis…it’s got to warm up here sooner or later, right? Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Rose says:

    Nicole,

    Missed visiting you this Easter and spring break! Thanks for the great blog about your Easter and spring activities, I feel that I are keeping in touch with your daily life by reading your blog.

    Loved the “blast from the past” Easter photographs! I must find my “vintage” photographs and frame them to keep those holiday memories alive. I never heard of the Bridgewater Chocolate company but will make plans to order some chocolate from this company in the near future!

    Thanks for the great photograph of your cute bunny, Patches! She looks happy and
    healthy!

    Love the butterfly glassware! How exquisite and festive! I especially love the full apron that you are wearing! It looks great on you and I am glad that you can make good use of it!

    Rose

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rose! We missed your visit too, but when you do come the weather will be better than it was at Easter anyway. Can’t wait for you to meet Patches and Pip, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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