Celebrating 15 Years Easter Breakfast
More than Chocolate Rabbits and Chicken Pees
Oh children, we must celebrate!
Songs will be sung, dancing will commence, stories will be told--for behold, ‘tis the 15th anniversary of the marvelous, magical Newberry Magazine.
First, we must salute visionary publisher Robert Summer, whose magazine has spotlighted the ‘Berry so beautifully that strangers and natives alike fall in love with her again and again, every two months.
Next? We contributors bow our heads in gratitude: for the loyalty of ‘Berry fine readers such as y’self; for the wow-amazing stories shared by fellow travelers in the “Center of the Universe;” and for the blessing of living amongst people who know they tread upon hallowed ground.
Let us pause to reflect, dear children, and to reminisce.
If I multiplied correctly (which happens sometimes, most often by accident), then you and I have experienced together 120 adventures in edibles, libations and other entertainments.
During our adventures, we have discussed over 400 savory and sweet delights, among them: skin-it-y’self fried rabbit and “Bullbat Time” fruit acid; vinegar soup and persimmon bread; plain ‘ol chicken ‘n’ dumplings—and Aunt Polly’s world-famous, well-travelled, cold-oven pound cake “made with love in every slice to bring peace to the world” (genuflect).
Who could forget the oooh-so angelic lemon pie with heavenly meringue crust? The Coca-cola™ congealed salad? The rite-of-passage deviled eggs made with Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s favorite condiment, Durkees?
Perhaps you recall, too, the only Newberry Magazine recipe published with a recommendation for safety glasses and the telephone number for Poison Control: German pretzels made with lye.
Oh, yes. The Newberry Magazine food section is ever so educational. Only here would you be informed that the self-same controlled-distribution, hyper-alkaline, potassium hydroxide solution used by industries for heavy cleaning—and by drug cartels to make people disappear—can also be used to give your home-baked pretzels a shiny-lovely, oaken-brown appearance.
The “lye-in” pretzels were a nod to Oktoberfest and our German ancestors, but over the years we have visited many nations. Hungary for goulash, Italy for gnocchi, France for choucroute, Austria for the lunch Emperor Franz Joseph ate every day of his adult life—and Morocco by way of Silverstreet for a super Super-Bowl supper, Maccaronade.
Many of you have contributed recipes through the years, too. My favorites are: “blink-back-tears” Bloody Marys with hot sauce and horseradish; best-ever tomato sandwiches made with summer-kissed, still-warm tomatoes from the Farmers Market; and oh-so-fine pimento cheese to be served not only in crust-trimmed fru-fru sandwiches at a bridal shower, but also slathered over chili-blessed, thick-pattied, manly-beefy burgers.
Oh dear, my eyes mist. What fine folks, what fine food, what fun-filled times we have had. As Bob Hope often sang, “Thanks for the memories...”
Many, many thanks—
And sadly, one confession of a grievous omission.
During a short review of our 120 adventures together, there came a startling revelation. Food-humorist malfeasance has been committed.
Fifteen years, and no easy-peasy or make-ahead recipes for Easter morning have been presented.
(Committed by whom? presented by whom? Oh children, allow me to share a bit of English teacher magic. In any situation with blame potential, consider the passive voice. It’s the only sentence structure with built-in culpability-avoidance. You’re welcome.)
Sure, some breakfast recipes have been published (by whom? see what I mean??), among them waffles and boil-in-bag omelets. Why, Newberry Magazine has even pronounced the Bloody Mary a healthy breakfast because, after all, (move over, oranges) tomatoes have Vitamin C galore.
Still, it seems to me there is a glaring omission. If memory serves (which happens sometimes, again mostly by accident), in none of our 120 visits have we celebrated Easter with easy, make-ahead breakfast foods.
Please, allow me to make amends.
At long last—huzzah and hallelujah—here are recipes for Easter breakfast beyond marshmallow Peeps, jelly beans and milk chocolate bunnies.
According to a 2005 CBS poll, cold cereal is the top breakfast choice in America, especially for women. Men generally prefer traditional eggs and oink-oink in one transmutation or another: sausage, bacon, ham.
Untraditional but popular? Forty-eight percent of Americans under 45 have eaten cold pizza for breakfast, but only 16 percent of seniors.
As for cold cereal, you are on your own. Just pick a box, any box. It doesn’t really matter, now that prizes in the box have fallen out of favor. (I bid them a fond farewell: Alas, poor cocoa-puffed dinosaurs and lucky-charmed leprechaun rings, I knew you well.)
As for the cold pizza choice? If you are over 45 and want to visit another demographic, give it a try. I, however, am among the 16 percent of seniors who have already done that. Unless you are desperately hungry and somewhat buzzed and have nothing to do all day, I wouldn’t recommend it. Within 30 minutes, your tummy rebels and screams that you must never again consume concrete for breakfast.
Bread, however, is easy on the tummy, and it’s considered the staff of life, which seems entirely appropriate for Easter.
Breads are involved in every breakfast choice presented in this issue. Of primary importance in their selection was you want family time on Easter, not stove time.
The morning of Easter is often a busy-hurry-bustle. Easter baskets must be filled. Children must be dressed, hair combed and/or curled. Shoes must be found, then polished. Showers must be taken and make-up applied.
Sunrise services must be attended. (By whom? ahh, you remembered!)
Flowers must be picked for the living cross. Children must be instructed not to eat the entire bag of jelly beans in one sitting. Peeps must be microwaved—
Yes, I said exactly that. Microwaving Peeps is one of our favorite Easter traditions. Assemble children around the microwave, place a Peep on a paper plate, microwave for about a minute. Children watch the microwave door, as if they were watching TV, while inside the oven the Peeps swell up big and blow up.
Now that’s entertainment.
There is method to the madness, you know. If the chaps don’t blow up Peeps, they eat them—and sugar themselves nigh unto a jumping-bean, bouncy-ball frenzy.
There it is. It requires a great deal of energy to keep up with over-sugared children. Therefore, breakfast foods that are easy and/or can be made ahead should be helpful.
The cinnamon swirl bread presented here can be made the day before and served before and/or after your sunrise service or worship at 11 a.m. Simply slice and smile.
The glaze is optional, but it’s cream cheese frosting—and oh dear children, it is wonderful.
For the swirl, you can use a spatula or knife. Make a zig-zag pattern from side to side of the loaf pan, twirling all the while. That should work, but please don’t zig-zag so much that the swirl is gone.
If you do? Simply say you made cinnamon bread. Ta-dah, all fixed.
Another bread choice for Easter Sunday is, appropriately, Resurrection Rolls. These rolls offer you an opportunity to re-tell the Easter story to children.
The marshmallow represents the purity of Jesus, the crescent roll dough represents the shroud and tomb, the butter and cinnamon/sugar represent the oil and spices with which Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. When removed from the oven, the rolls are empty in the middle (marshmallows melt), as was Christ’s tomb on Easter morning.
Last year the children in our Bible Study class made Resurrection Rolls, and many were excited to find the rolls empty. Then they discovered the rolls were delicious, too, and the excitement grew.
Aside from the beauty of the story and the sweetness of the rolls, the preparation is quick and easy, perfect for a busy Easter morning.
Bonus? Your kitchen smells cinnamon-warm wonderful.
Word to the wise: when making the rolls with children, use a cheap plastic tablecloth to contain the mess and to make clean-up easier (butter butter, drip drip, nuf said).
Also, you may want to prepare extra cinnamon-sugar for little ones. They will likely lick a goodly amount from their sweet little fingers—those plump-adorable, saliva-shiny, germ-infested sweet fingers that touch every roll they make.
Just don’t look, y’all. Try not to think about it—
Or, you can make y’self a separate pan of rolls.
In either case, enjoy.
Now for the “piece de resistance.”
Pomaria Garmany Elementary School PTO has published a new ‘Berry cookbook, “Cooking With Class.” Among its 350 recipes is this sausage breakfast casserole by Lunelle Harmon.
Yes, bread is a prominent ingredient, but not the star of the show. That role is performed by three of the four pillars of a traditional Southern breakfast: eggs, cheese, and oink-oink (in this case, sausage).
The fourth pillar, of course, is grits. Go ahead, if you have the time, and make a big ol’ pot full. Just remember, the breakfast casserole can be assembled the night before, and it can be placed in the oven about 40 minutes before you intend to eat. Then you go on about your business until the timer rings.
With grits, you have to stand by the stove and stir. With a whisk. With grits bubbles popping your hand. Heaven knows I love ‘em, but I think “easy” counts on holidays.
I like to serve this with syrup, as if it’s French toast, but the casserole is filling and savory all by itself.
Oh children, how pleased I am to offer these three easy-tasty recipes—and how mightily relieved. At long last, my food-humorist malfeasance of the past 15 years has been corrected.
Now, let us celebrate. Let songs be sung, let dancing commence, let stories be told—behold, our ‘Berry fine Newberry Magazine has turned 15 years old.
Fingers crossed, this is only the first 15.
Thank you, dear children, for this amazing, incredible ride.
In conclusion, we wish for you and yours a springtime filled with splendid days, fragrant flowers—and food that makes you smile.
Sausage Breakfast Casserole
By Lunelle Harmon
“Cooking With Class,” published 2018, Pomaria-Garmany Elementary School
12 slices bread
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. sausage, browned & drained
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 C. grated cheese
4 eggs, beaten
* 1 tsp. dry mustard
2 C. milk
Place 6 slices of bread, spread with margarine, in the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of sausage and cheese. Repeat. Mix the beaten eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over mixture. Place complete casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve hot. Word to the wise: Pam is a cook›s best friend, and for this recipe, please invite butter-flavored to the party.
(*Dry mustard is not an ingredient in this recipe, but it is used in several other recipes. You may want to consider it. I included it in mine, and it played well with the other ingredients.)
Resurrection Rolls, For the Little Ones
In this Easter recipe, the dough represents the shroud and the tomb. The marshmallow represents Jesus’ body. The butter and cinnamon-sugar represent the oil and spices used to prepare Jesus› body for burial.
When taken from the oven, the marshmallow will have melted. The empty rolls represent the empty tomb.
1 pkg. crescent roll dough
3/4 C. sugar
1 bag large marshmallows
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with Pam, butter-flavored. (If you are baking more than a muffin tin will hold, you can use parchment paper on a baking sheet. Thing is, the rolls are more flat and the marshmallow sometimes leaks out.)
Melt butter in a bowl. (If using microwave, check every 30 seconds to make sure butter doesn›t brown: usually 1 minute works). Leave butter in the bowl or pour into pie plate for easier dipping.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in separate small bowl or pie plate.
Open package of crescent rolls. Pull dough apart to make triangles. Lightly dip marshmallow first in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Set on triangle of dough. Pull dough together and seal edges. Roll in hands until round. Dip again in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Set in muffin tin (or on parchment paper), and bake according to package directions. (Take note: crescent roll packages call for 12 minutes, but in my oven it took about 20.)
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
By Betty Connelly
Fruit of the Spirit,» St. Luke›s Lutheran Church
1-1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. finely chopped pecans, toasted
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk
1/3 C. cooking oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 C. of the sugar, the nuts and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl beat egg; stir in milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon mixture. Draw a wide rubber scraper down through the batter and up in a circular motion to marble. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
(Online sources say this bread is best when wrapped in plastic wrap and left out overnight. That means, of course, the bread can be made the night before and served on Easter morning. Word to the wise: make two loaves. It›s so good, you’ll want a slice for Easter lunch, too.—sds)
Glaze for Cinnamon Swirl Bread (Optional)
1 4oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 C. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. milk
Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla, salt, milk and confectioners sugar 1-2 Tbsp. at a time.