In mid-March, we enJOYed celebrating our grandson's tenth birthday at a local park, just before taking him on a trip to Savannah, GA during his spring break from school.
Dogwoods are just one of the traditional symbols that have been adopted to go along with Easter. Of course, the "Legend of the Dogwood" is just that--a legend, but I like the reminders it provides. Here's how it goes:
"At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus' cross. To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said, 'Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.'" (SOURCE: http://www.appleseeds.org/dogwood.htm and http://www.twoeggfla.com/dogwood.html)
Celebrating Easter with eggs has also become a tradition all over the world.
Some say that Easter eggs have come to symbolize long life and happiness. Also,"... because the use of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, colored red to symbolize the Easter JOY..." (SOURCE: http://foodtimeline.org/easter.html) For some, the red Easter egg is much more than a celebration of JOY at the end of fasting -- it is an attestation of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave and of the HOPE we have in Him for eternal life. (SOURCE: http://mybloglovegreece.blogspot.com/2011/04/holy-thursday-tradition-of-red-easter.html)
I hope you will take time to read the trivia concerning the use of eggs (BOTH red and multi-colored) at Easter and share it with your children and grandchildren.
Although I don't recall ever coloring our eggs red, I really like the idea that red was used to symbolize Easter JOY! However, since I'm not a fan of boiled eggs (they smell awful), and I imagine you already know how to boil and color them (just read the instructions on the kit! :-), I decided to share one of my favorite red spring salads ---also guaranteed to bring much JOY to the eater. (NOTE: We're calling it a "salad" because it has less calories that way! But, if you choose, you can also serve this if you're craving a light dessert.:-)
I love it when the grocery stores begin stocking fresh, juicy, crimson red strawberries (and when the prices drop low enough that I can actually afford to buy them :-). Such was the case this past week, so I purchased two quarts. I used one to make my mama's strawberry cake (click on this URL for the recipe: http://www.pinchofthissmidgenofthat.blogspot.com/search/label/strawberry%20cake) and the other to make my "Favorite Strawberry Pretzel Salad" (see page 28 of "A Pinch of This... A Smidgen of That" cookbook). So, let me share a bit of spring with you and get you in the mood to celebrate Easter JOY with your friends and family. Follow me to the kitchen and start gathering ingredients!
Aren't these pretty? The bright RED juciness really does inspire JOY!
Cream together 1 cup sugar and cream cheese.
Add whipped topping and mix well.
Spread over cooled pretzel mixture;
place in refrigerator until cream cheese mixture is firm.
Mix boiling water with strawberry gelatin; stir until dissolved. (Yes, I know... it wasn't too smart to use a RED bowl when trying to photograph RED Jello! Next time, I'll know better! :-)
Add frozen strawberries. (REMEMBER: Since I used fresh strawberries for this recipe, I washed and sliced them, then put them in the freezer to get cold before I added them to the warm jello water. If you let them freeze, they will speed the jelling process.) The colors in this mixture just get prettier and prettier, don't they? :-) (Are you feelin' the JOY yet? ;-)
Place gelatin mixture in refrigerator until it BEGINS to thicken, then pour and spread over cream cheese mixture ...
and chill until set.
Don't forget to print or copy/paste the recipe below:
2 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup butter; melted
1 8-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups boiling water