Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Fun

We had a nice Easter yesterday. Actually, let me back up a minute. I volunteered to bring a cheesecake and a coconut cake to my parents' house yesterday for Easter, so I spent a lot of time baking on Saturday. My mil came over Saturday morning to drop off some cinnamon rolls. It's a tradition. She brings us rolls every Easter and Christmas. Anyway, I rolled my lazy butt out of bed at 11:00 (thank you for letting me sleep in, Joe!), walked out of my room and saw my mil. Now, in all fairness, I'd been up until after 3:00 am, so the whole 'sleeping until 11:00' really wasn't all that bad. 

Hello there, dear mil.  Good morning.  Yes, I know it's 11:00.  What can I say, your son married a total derelict.

Anyway, my kids couldn't eat the rolls that she brought because they had Splenda and colored sprinkles on them.  Clay was so upset that he couldn't have any and it broke my heart, so stupidhead that I am, I told him I'd make some cinnamon rolls that he could eat.  So, I'm just getting up at 11:00, I have to run to the store and get about a thousand eggs, come home, boil them, and make assorted baked goods.  Good plan, Dawn.

After running errands and getting all the groceries I needed (well, all the groceries I needed minus all the ones I forgot and had to send Joe for...) I came home and boiled the eggs.  I only boiled 48 this year; enough for each kid to dye 8.  (impressive math skills, no?)  I mixed up the cheesecake and popped it in the oven.  Now, if you've never made a cheesecake, it's important to let it cool gradually to help prevent big cracks in the surface of the cake.  When the cheesecake was almost done baking, I asked Austin to turn the oven off for me.  I generally let the cake sit in the oven that's beginning to cool down for about 10 minutes.  Then I open the oven a crack and let it sit there for another 10 minutes before removing it so there isn't a drastic change in temperature.  Anyway, I asked Austin to turn the oven off for me and he obliged.  A few minutes later, I got up to crack the door open and realized that Austin hadn't turned the oven off, but instead had turned the dial the wrong way, so I quickly turned the dial to "off".  About 10 minutes later, Joe walked by the oven, peeked in, and told me that my cake was burnt.

"Whaaat?"  It can't be burnt!  I turned the oven off 10 minutes ago!"

I jumped up to look and sure enough, it was getting burnt.  Austin had turned the oven off just fine and apparently, culinary artist and brilliant scholar that I am, I had turned it on to broil.  So much for that.  I quickly washed the pan and mixed up a second cheesecake.  As that was baking, I made some cinnamon roll dough and set it aside to rise.  A couple hours later, I was mixing up my coconut cake.  Now, I've never made a coconut cake before.  In fact, I'd just pulled the recipe off my computer and had never made a cake quite like this before.  Naturally, I felt the need to try it out, not for just my family, but for everyone on Easter Sunday.  What better time to experiment with a new recipe?

This recipe was so complicated, it was ridiculous.  I mean, I had to grate fresh coconuts for this recipe!  Actually, I gave Savannah the job of grating the coconut.  Unfortunately, she also grated 4 fingers and 2 nails into the mix.  It doesn't matter though because no one ended up eating that cake.  It turned out flat, dense, dry, and well, about as appetizing as a rock.  It tasted like air and had the consistency of 4 month old corn bread.  I tossed the cakes and decided I'd have to make new ones after church on Sunday because I still had cinnamon rolls to make, eggs to dye with the kids, eggs to hide and I wanted to get to bed at least 15 minutes before the kids got up to see if the Easter bunny had come.

At least my caramel pecan cinnamon rolls turned out good...

005

This is about the time that Brooklyn threw up all over herself and the couch.  Yeah, I know you only wish you lived such an exciting life.  Try not to be too jealous.  I cleaned up that mess.  Just kidding.  I just threw that in there to make sure you were paying attention.  Joe, my hero, cleaned up the mess, of course.  Actually, for the first time ever, Joe helped the Easter bunny hide eggs too.  I think he had more fun doing it than I ever have.

Easter morning, the kids found their eggs and to answer your questions, no, I most definitely don't hide real eggs.  I hide 15 plastic eggs for each kid: blue ones for Austin, purple for Savannah, green for Jax, etc.  They each have their own color to look for so everyone gets to find the same number of eggs with the same goodies inside.  Joe stayed home with Brooklyn, who was running a little fever, and I took the other kids to church.  If anyone tells you that I forgot about Clay until I got out to the parking lot and had to go back for him, they're lying. 

After church, I made a new coconut cake, using a different recipe and then we all (including a fever-free Brooklyn) went out to my parents' house for dinner where I ate entirely too much.  Although, other than yesterday, I've been doing really well sticking to weight watchers and doing an exercise tape every night.  In fact, thanks to this exercise tape, I have pain in muscles I never knew I had.  My eyelashes hurt these days.  Ugh.  Whose idea was this 3 week challenge anyway?!

 

49 comments:

Semele said...

I hope you had a joyous Easter! I know you're half Greek, but you're obviously not Greek Orthodox if you celebreated Easter yesterday. Were you Orthodox at one point, or did your religion come from the non-Greek parent? (No hidden agenda here. Just curious.)

plainprecious said...

Dawn,

You did so much better than I did this year. My husbands uncle passed away on Tues so we had to drive 2 hours to veiwing on Friday then funeral on Saturday so my prep time was cut drastically. I was up till the wee hours on Sunday morning trying despartly to get not only my house straightened up Yea right and 5 baskets done. Now I need to mention that LATE Saturday night I realized I had NO clue where the baskets were. My husband who had a major headache was in bed by the time this realization hit me. He is the one who stores the baskets every year so.......... I was left to find them. I ended up going to bed and getting up early to start my hunt. Hmmmmmmmm too bad I only found 2 baskets. So I made my 3 and 5 year olds theirs and with my SHEER amount of brillance winged the other 3. Oh you wont believe my masterly brillance. I put all their things in Wal mart bags. IMPRESSVE NO? Well since they are teenagers they could have cared less.I am glad that your easter went well. Take care and have a great week.

Anonymous said...

Cool Easter, eh, Dawn? My mother used to make me fresh coconut cakes in the shape of a bunny head. One year, she made a cake that resembled one of those sugar eggs with the scene inside. I wish I never had to grow up!!
Know how I spent Easter? I dressed 7 dogs up like pink Easter bunnies and chickies and took photos of them standing in the wild Texas Bluebonnets. Not one of them threw up but my hubby almost did.
That brings me to the point of my post. Many of us ( I am quite sure I am channeling the masses of readers when I use the plural pronoun " us" ) who love children and humor, not necessarily in that order, also love small dogs..Not tacky celeb. arm warmer dogs, but SMALL dogs, say up to 5-6 pounds or so. For some of us, sadly, they are our surrogate children. Would you consider starting links for those of us who would like to support your site ( and household) by buying quality handmade pet clothing and accessories? That reminds me- small dogs should never wear collars, only harnesses.
The really great handmade clothing for both boys and girls is extremely hard to find. Most is mass marketed and made in China and screamns cheap and tacky as well as TOXIC. We worry about exposing our precious darlings to skin-burning chemicals. ( Like the Wal Mart flip flop thong burn thing).
Some good keywords for you there " thong burn". Hey hey.

I know you are bored silly with 6 kids and all, but really, you could add so much to the lives of those of us who aren't fertile but treat our little fur babies like babies for all their lives.
I have one human son.. He pitched a fit about wearing his brand new, designer Oshkosh hand- paint splattered pattern shortalls with matching hand painted Keds shoes when he was 2 and a half. That was 20 years ago. I haven't felt the same rush shopping since then- until I remarried and fell for little Maltese and Bichon Frises. They LOVE to be dressed up. Guess who we are leaving all our worldly goods to in our wills? :)
No kidding.

Love ya sweetie! Hugs!
AMANDA
Dallas, TX

Anonymous said...

Couldn't your mother in law have made Clay-approved cinnamon buns? I'd think that's the sort of thing a loving grandmother would do?

Dawn Spatta said...

Dawn - you inspire me....or wear me out! I have ONE little 3 month old boy and we are SHOT. Thanks for a good read, always!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I cannot believe I never thought of color-coding the plastic eggs. I've colorcoded the plastic plates, the plastic cups, the toothbrushes, and the bathtowels for the kids; but never the eggs.

And, Dawn, next time you are baking, call me for advice. You don't have to grate your own coconut - it comes in bags in the baking aisle (send Joe back for it).

Just-Me-Jen said...

Damn, woman !
You do pack a lot into a day!
Glad it all worked out in the end.
Love the photos! :-)

Kim said...

Good grief woman. What a story. Thanks for the tip on cheesecake; I never let mine cool gradually (just pop it in the fridge after I take it out of the oven) and it always has a huge crack. I will try that next time. Well, not broiling it, of course, but you know what I mean.

Amy said...

Different colored eggs for each kid?...You are a genius!
I never thought of that.
We spent Easters with my boys arguing over who found the most eggs.
It never "dawned" on me to assign them colors.:)

Amy said...

Sorry! I added an image to your slideshow. By the time I got to the end of your post, the slideshow had stopped and it was on "Add an image!" Sorry, just delete that!:(

Bear Bites said...

I got out of the parking lot a down the road before I realized I was short a Willie once!

morninglight mama said...

Wow, what a weekend. I thought I had it bad sitting up with the baby in the wee morning hours! :)

How did you handle the hey-mil-you-brought-food-my-kids-can't-eat situation? I have a precarious-at-best relationship with one of my mil's, so just reading that made me uncomfortable.

Thanks as always for sharing your adventures!

Dawn said...

I have got to hide eggs for my girls next year- make 'em work for it! I just pile all of their goods up in the family room. Geeeze, I make it too easy!

Robin said...

Thanks for sharing your Easter weekend with us. I NEVER even thought about the number of eggs you'd have to boil for each child to enjoy the all-time favorite egg coloring. HOLY COW!! What are you going to do with all those eggs? You'll be eating egg salad for weeks! Did eggs jump up in price in Chicago? They sure did in the central part of the state...I nearly choked just buying a 18 pack ....it was almost $4.00!! Since when does it cost so much for something a chicken does naturally!?!? There's (human) work involved but really the chicken does most of it!

Anyway, I'm glad you had a good weekend. I can't figure out how you function on so little sleep. You're my hero!

Anonymous said...

I love the pic of your daughter crying for chocolate. My son who is 4 broke into his chocolate bunny before I even relized it was almost gone... then at church I keep wondering what was wrong with him... he was so hyper!!! Duh... sitting still for 1 1/2 hours full of chocolate... that'll teach me!

Amanda

Janet said...

Wow, what a day. Once again I am awed by your stamina and resilience. I would have given up at about the first coconut cake.
My grandmother made a topping for her cheesecake out of sourcream, sugar and a bit of lemon juice. Quite tasty and really added to the cake, but I firmly believe now that she did it to hide the cracks. I can send you the recipe if you want to try it.

Heather said...

I love your Easter egg idea! I think we may try that next year! This year we told our older 2 to leave the "easy" eggs for the 2-year-old to find. Of course, he's the one that found the egg up in the planter, in the drain pipe, and under a flower pot...

Karla said...

Great Easter post. I'm pretty certain you would know firsthand the 'consistency of 4 month old corn bread'... you've probably found some in someone's bed, on your bookshelf, or in someone's pant's pocket.

Have a good week!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good Easter. I just wanted to thank you for pointing me in the direction of Mimi and Jullian, who in turn pointed me to Coleman. It has been a blessing for me. Thanks. Dede

Life with Spirit said...

No SSO??? Awww. Good job working out and doing WW!!! Very Impressive.

Gayle said...

Hi Dawn. I've been reading your blog since the E-Bay ad days, but this is my first time posting. Reading your blog today, I loved the idea you have about hiding the easter eggs for the kids, different colors for each of them.
I had an Easter Egg hunt at my house Sunday, and had several children out finding eggs, all different ages. My daughter was upset because she didn't find any. So my sweet little 6 year old niece, took an egg out of her basket and re-hid it so my daughter would be able to find one of her own. Next year, I will definitely do the different colored eggs for each child.
I love your blog, thanks so much for the laughs.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That's a lot of baking.

We still hide our real dyed eggs inside the house. I'm sticking to my story that it was good enough for me, I never got sick, they'll be fine. So far, so good. The 17 year old is now doing the Easter Bunny's job. I'm too tired to stay up later than the 13 and 15 year olds!

Rick said...

Clay was like Jesus - left behind in the temple. Where was he, teaching the Senior Citizens a thing or two about God?

spj said...

I discovered a new (?) coconut cake mix during my last trip to WalMart--it is FANTASTIC and you can even get coconut frosting!! Next year, let Betty help you bake your cakes! :o)

Domestic Spaz said...

We gave each one of the kids their own color to look for this year, too! It was great because we could hide the older kids eggs much harder and they were all so adorable helping each other out. "I found a blue one over here for you!"

valkyrie_lisa said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a pretty hectic weekend. What a great mom you are, baking cinnamon rolls for the kids on top of everything else you already had planned. And planning it so that each kid gets the same number of eggs is brilliant!

Buncha Blue-Eyed Monkeys said...

Here's my cheesecake recipe: Empty the contents of this package into a medium-sized bowl, Add milk, Stir, Pour into (ready-made--love those Keebler elves!) crust, cool in fridge for two hours.

I think I might modify that recipe a bit, though, I saw a tub of "Cheesecake fill" at the grocery store friday. I am sooo getting that...and soooo trying not to eat it outta the tub.

Thank you for sharing your eventful weekend!!

Colleen said...

You never cease to amaze - love the idea of each kid finding their own colored eggs.

Question for next Sunday's sound out: Do your older kids know about the Easter bunny, and how did you break it to them?

My kids are little - 3 & 1 - but I'm paranoid they'll think I'm lying to them when they find out later.

Heidi said...

Oh, what a clever idea to hide plastic eggs for your children and assign colors to each child! (And it sounds like you don't do Easter baskets--just the eggs?)

I'm really curious about the food rules you have for your children (i.e., no Splenda or colored sprinkles). Have you ever posted all the rules before? (Sorry--I can't remember!) I'd love to hear more about them.

Let Them Be Little said...

That is a great idea about color coding the eggs, so far with my 3yr old and 1 yr old it hasnt mattered but that is a super idea to file away for the future. My husband loves to make cheesecakes and he always bakes it in the oven with a sheet cake pan full of water to help it not crack. It seems to work for us!

StampingJoan said...

Dawn....

1.) love your stories as always! I do the same thing with new recipes etc. But I don't to bread. I use the frozen roll method to make my cinnamon-pecan pull apart rolls. A no brainer for me.

2.)the mutant butt rolls make me spew my diet pepsi all over my screen! As well as I like big butts!

3.)What are the red Greek egg thingies????

Joan

Karen Deborah said...

Wow when you get this many comments do you read them all? Between baby barf and burning cakes how do you blog? Amazing. If I got up to my MIL before coffee, it could be a jail sentence.
I love your writing, your fun and REAL. Please come by and vist me for my give away, you might find a couple of recipes in it that won't be such a hassle. If you win. I found you through my long lost buddy at "Laughing Always Helps".

Karen Deborah said...

PS I bought a New York Cheescake from SAMS, cop out yes, easy yeas, and delicious.

Colleen said...

I didn't realize that Splenda was a no-no on the diet? I thought since it's essentially backwards sugar that it gets processed the same as sugar? Or am I completely misinformed? Also, care to share your diet-ok cinnamon rolls?

jodi-mother of six said...

the colour-coded plastic eggs reminded me of something I did years ago when my six were little. I colour coded all their sox. Then I KNEW who was losing them!! Worked for me!

Laura said...

If you are going to try to squeeze that much baking into that little time, you really must learn more basic repair tricks! First of all, that whole "leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool slowly" stuff - mostly bunk. Of course, it can depend some on the recipe you use . . . but I no longer use the recipes that call for all that complicated cooling. Cheesecake cracks mostly come from overmixing or from a recipe that is too dry by design. My favorite thing to do with cheesecakes now is make them cupcake sized - more work on the front end, but they bake tons faster and there is no cutting (plus, since there are only two of us, I can store them in the freezer for at least a month before DH eats all 30 of them).

Also, you could have sliced the burnt top off that cheesecake and covered it up with something like chocolate, sweetened sour cream, caramel-pecan frosting, etc., to hide the evidence. Lots less time than making an entirely new cake.

Can you guess I've had my share of kitchen flubs? Once I ate strawberry-rhubarb crisp right off my kitchen floor, in tears because I was so upset about flipping it upside down on the way out of the oven.

Valarie said...

Well, it sound slike everything ended up being fine. Don't you love it that you are on a diet and are the one that ends up making all the baked goods. Sound a lot like my life. Oh, and just FYI, I am with Brooklyn....I want chocolate for breakfast!

Michelle said...

Yay, Dawn! Good mom moment -- you said you'd do something for your kid and when you realized it was going to be hard to do, you didn't back out of it but went through and did the right thing. I love it when people do that :)

And umm red eggs? For the non-Greeks, can you share the significance?

I am with everyone else on loving the idea of color coding the eggs. My MIL did a hunt (our fifth of the year....) after church on Sunday and hid 35 eggs. Eight year old niece unashamedly had 19 eggs. 2 and 4 year old between them had 16 (7 and 9 respectively). Color coding would have been more realistic.

Thanks as always, Dawn, and sorry your Saturday baking was so rough!

Michelle
www.honestandtruly.blogspot.com

nutralady2001 said...

Huge mutant butt rolls..................BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Thanks for the laugh first thing in the morning , just as well I read that between coffees

imbeingheldhostage said...

burnt cakes and all-- you need a trophy! We didn't even dye our eggs until Monday night-- that's how on top of things we are. And that was after the week when I forgot to put a kid on the school bus-- as it pulled off and I'm blowing kisses to one child... two child...three...what the heck, where's three?! Still in the car.
But now it's all your fault I'm going to be baking all day tomorrow, because those rolls look so good!!

Dawn in NC said...

I'm curious to know about the no-Splenda thing too...mainly because I let my 3 yr. old daughter have it in drinks, etc. and am wondering if there's something I don't know!

Shellie said...

I don't have to be jealous of your exciting life because mine is the same brand of exciting. We're so lucky...

CLLady said...

I've been selling my cheesecakes for over 20 years. I've probably made thousands of them. I'll share my "no crack" tricks (although some do crack no matter what). Beat the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth. Once you add the eggs resist the urge to beat too much! You don't want to incorporate air. Once the cake is baked, wait about 15 minutes and then carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the springform pan and open the pan a bit. You don't remove the side. Just separate it from the cake the close it again and let the cake cool. A lot of cracks happen because the cake shrinks as it cools and the sides are stuck to the pan.

Tammy said...

Funny post.

I do have to say I'm a bit dissapointed though. While your rolls look delicious, I really wanted to see a picture of the disaster cheesecake and coconut cake! lol

Crazy Mama said...

You color code your kids too? I love it! We do it too. People look at us like we're nuts because of that. Maybe instead of 200+ plastic eggs I should do as you did. That would be WAY less stressful. Sounds like fun overall though.

Dawn2 said...

My step son's birthday was on Easter this year. Since he's now 29 I made his basket out of a colandar I bought at Target and put his birthday money in plastic eggs. The 16 year old got a real basket and ate his chocolate bunny ears first right before church. I say let the youth director deal with a bunch of hyped up teenagers! LOL! Chocolate for breakfast is always on our menu on Easter! We didn't dye eggs this year but I did have to boil some for deviled eggs for a "snack" before dinner.

I haven't made a cheesecake in years - maybe I'll try one again soon since I've read a few good pointers. There is nothing like a homemade cheesecake the box ones can't even compete!

TONYA said...

Despite the food debarcles and puking it still looks like you had a great easter.

I too colour coded my eggs, mainly b/c Marisol must have pink or purple and then there is a 12 year age gap b/w Flynn and Jayden so of course the contents of the eggs are different for them.

Donna said...

Good job on the cheesecake. Ha! I like mine nice and golden brown on top, but um, I never tried broiling before. Are you sure you weren't actually trying to make creme brulee?

I'd never thought about easing out of the oven like that. I have an awesome recipe from Cooks Illustrated that is perfect.

Shifty46 said...

Why can't your kids have splenda or colored sprinkles?

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