Cherry Blossoms in the Rain

cherry blossoms in the rain

“For I remember it is Easter morn,
and life and love and peace are all new born.”
~ Alice Freeman Palmer (1855-1902), the first female college president

My friend Janice sent me a two-word text message last night: “Magic hour.” She lives in the mountains and I knew the sun must be low in her sky, creating beautiful light for taking photographs.

Here in Denver it was overcast and drizzling, but her message inspired me to stop cooking and head outside with the camera. I’m so glad I did, because otherwise I would have missed the chance to see the cherry blossoms in the rain.

 

cherry blossoms

“I think of the garden after the rain;
and hope to my heart comes singing,
At morn the cherry-blooms will be white,
and the Easter bells be ringing!”
~ Edna Dean Proctor, Easter Bells

 

cherry tree in bloom

Wishing you a beautiful Easter—and perhaps, a quiet moment to pause and experience spring’s miraculous rebirth,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Thanks to my friend and photographer extraordinaire Povy Kendal Atchison, who first sent me the Alice Freeman Palmer quote.

11 Things To Serve For Easter Besides Ham

Homemade pasta noodles

Photo: Missy

We’ll have a dozen or so friends and family here to celebrate Easter on Sunday, and I thought it might be fun to veer away from traditional ham and come up with a fresh menu for lunch. But what to serve? Here are some ideas I came up with after perusing cookbooks, Pinterest and some of my favorite food blogs:

1. Homemade pasta
2. Roast chicken
3. Brunch
4. Beef brisket
5. A salad buffet
6. Roast turkey
7. Soup and just-baked bread
8. Made-from-scratch pizzas
9. A potluck picnic
10. Grilled salmon
11. Desserts and tea

I think I’m going to go with #1, homemade pasta. I’m envisioning two kinds of sauce–maybe a creamy Alfredo swirled with a little pesto, and perhaps a meat sauce for the men-folk. I’ll accompany it with some veggies and grated Parmesan cheese to stir in as wanted.

How about you? Will you be gathering with loved ones for Easter this year? Are you serving a traditional ham, or something else? I’d love to hear about your plans.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You might enjoy this past post, “A Bowl of Easter Memories.

A Better Glass of Water

Better glass of water

When I was a kid, our mom did an interesting thing with our water. She filled a pitcher with tap water and left it to sit out overnight, uncovered. In the morning, she covered it and put it in the refrigerator for our drinking water. My brain may be embellishing this memory, but as I recall the water was a pure and delicious for drinking as any bottle of designer spring water today.

These days, I fill a clean glass pitcher with water from our refrigerator’s water filtration system and let it sit out overnight. The filter removes contaminants and impurities (ours claims to even remove pharmaceutical residues), and letting the water sit uncovered for eight hours evaporates any traces of chlorine that might have been added to the water for sanitation. Refrigerating it ensures that we always have good drinking water, and my family loves it. It’s a free, easy way to help us all drink more water.

How about you? Do you filter your water, or do you have to buy bottled water? Do you have good tap water where you live, and have you ever tried this trick?

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

Eliminate Weeds When They are Small, and Other Thoughts of Spring

Pulling dandelions

It’s the first week of April, and I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging but our front yard is mostly free of dandelions. You heard me right.

We had snow followed by warm temperatures this week, and the ground is nice and soft. So I spent a very pleasant hour in the sunshine, absorbing Vitamin D and pulling dandelions – many of them very small. Of course, dandelion season hasn’t really started and we don’t use chemicals so the battle has just begun. But still. Today, I feel good about myself.

What about the back yard, you ask?

The back yard?

Dandelions

The back yard is a topic for another day, my friends. Because as I was pulling up the small dandelions in front, I was thinking about parallels to my life. Do you do that when you garden—sometimes think deep thoughts? I find that I do.

Deep Thought

So today, as I was pulling up small dandelions I was thinking about the areas of life where I might figuratively “pull weeds” earlier, with positive benefits. Here are some of the ideas I had:

  • Paying off small debts before they accumulate into bigger debts and big problems.
  • Aside from an occasional splurge, not over-eating or drinking too much wine. Weighing myself every day, and making adjustments as necessary.
  • Staying in touch with people I care about, and not letting too much time go by before we connect.
  • Speaking up if something is bothering me, instead of keeping it inside and giving resentment a chance to grow.
  • Setting aside quiet time every day for rest and reflection, so my brain doesn’t get burned out.
  • Asking for forgiveness quickly, and being quicker to forgive others.

How about you? Do you have any figurative weed-pulling strategies? Heck, I’d love to hear your literal weed-pulling strategies, too, since I’ve got that back yard to think about…

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

My Favorite Waffle Recipe

Waffles and bacon

This weekend my son had a sleepover and the boys requested waffles. I thought that sounded like a fine idea, and I modified my regular recipe a bit to incorporate some whole wheat flour. We had really fresh organic eggs that made the waffles especially light. Here’s the recipe:

Light, Crispy, Golden Waffles

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, separated

Preheat the waffle iron, lightly greasing it if you don’t have the nonstick variety. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and egg yolks. In yet another bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture all at once, and stir just until most of the lumps are smooth. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the egg whites until they are nearly incorporated and the batter is still light.

Here’s how it looks when adding the egg whites:

Making waffles

And here’s how it looks after folding them in:

waffle batter

Pour the batter in the preheated waffle iron. Ours uses about 1/2 cup of batter per small waffle:

waffles ready to cook

Cook until golden brown. This mixture fills our waffle iron three times, making about 12 waffles.

Waffles

Enjoy!

The signature for Eliza Cross

Homemade Saline Solution Recipe

Saline solution recipe

Spring is officially here! For many of us, the glorious season of blooming bulbs and budding leaves also heralds the beginning of allergy season.

A simple homemade nasal wash can be a terrific remedy for stuffy noses, and I like making it in small batches so it’s always fresh. It costs pennies, and best of all, you can warm it a little before using it so your nose feels like it’s going to the spa.

I’ve tried a number of recipes, and we find this combination is just right—strong enough to be effective, but gentle enough that it doesn’t sting.

Homemade Saline Solution

  • 1/2 cup filtered water, boiled and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • tiny pinch (half of a 1/8 teaspoon measure) baking soda

Heat the water so it’s just a little warmer than room temperature. This takes about 13 seconds in our microwave, but your time may be different so you’ll probably need to experiment. You can also heat the water in a saucepan just until it’s comfortably warm.

Stir in the salt and baking soda until completely dissolved. Use the solution in a clean aspirator or neti pot, and discard any that you don’t use. Makes 4 ounces.

Has spring arrived in your part of the country yet? Here in Colorado we’re just starting to see the first signs, with crocus blooming and bulbs emerging. Here’s to un-stuffy noses so we can enjoy all the wonderful scents of spring!

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross