a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Helping the Hoppity Hare and Your budget continued

            Putting the Shell on your buttercreme Easter eggs!

The cheapest, and very satisfactory, way is to buy "almond bark" for your covering. It is found near the chocolate chips and comes in chocolate, vanilla and sometimes, butterscotch flavors.

Melting it in the microwave is the easiest way but you may use whatever coating type and melting method you prefer.

Whatever method you use, be extremely careful not to let liquid or even steam get into the coating!

  • Melt coating over very low heat or in the microwave, stirring often until melted and smooth. Note: the coating usually holds it shape until you stir it so don't be fooled by it looking like it is still hard.
  • Only remove one tray of eggs from the refrigerator at a time so they will stay cold. 
  • Using a fork or similar item, spear the bottom of each egg and dip into the coating. Allow excess to drip back into the pan.
  • Return the egg to the tray, and when full, return the tray to the refrigerator.
Note: If you have coating left but have to put it aside for a while, just leave it in its pan or bowl, remove from heat, cover, and leave at room temperature for a few hours until you can get back to it. For a longer period of time, store the container covered in the refrigerator.

Most years that completed the eggs. 

In more ambitious times, I drizzled squiggles of another flavor or color of melted bark on the coated eggs. To do this: place a small amount of melted coating in the corner of a snack-size
zip-lock bag, cut off a tiny piece of that corner and made "swirly" patterns on the previously dipped and hardened eggs.  

The eggs can be sprinkled, before the coating hardens, by sprinkling with tiny candy decors, colored "glass" sugars, chocolate shot, etc. 

On rare occasions I used decorating icing to make small flowers, bowls, chicks and bunnies on the eggs. 

Different toppings can be used to identify the different fillings, you can leave the bottoms un-dipped to identify the flavors, or you can dip them completely and take "potluck" when distributing the eggs or choosing one to eat yourself. 

AND. . .The Dipping Can Go On When The Fillings Are Gone

If you have melted coating left after you have finished your dipping, look around for other things to coat. You are limited only by your imagination. Possibilities include:
  • washed and well-dried strawberries, stemmed cherries, pineapple pieces
  • frozen banana chunks
  • marshmallows
  • cookies or peppermint sticks (maybe dip them only halfway)
  • crispy Chinese noodles or nuts (then drop by clusters)
  • pretzels, or even potato chips!
Sixteen years ago when I first self-published the "bookette" containing this recipe, well known mail order catalogs were selling chocolate or white dipped pretzels that were "drizzled" with the opposite flavor for approximately $1.00 per ounce!!!

When our kids started leaving the nest --- the eggs flew to them --- to colleges around the country, missionary apartments and military bases throughout the United States and the far reaches of foreign countries. Some landed in better shape than others. 

In our efforts to have the eggs arrive somewhat intact, many packaging methods were tried with varying degrees of success. No matter what condition they were in when they finally arrived, they were excitedly received. 

Wrapped in plastic wrap and nestled in popped corn worked best. However, what a revelation when our grandchildren were old enough to talk on the phone and, to the dismay of their parents, thanked us for the popcorn!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk 
(recipe equals one 15 ounce can)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 boiling water
1/4 cup margarine
1 to 1-1/2 cups dry powdered milk (amount will vary with types/brands)
Put sugar, boiling water and margarine in a blender or food processor. Process at low speed until smooth. While turning processor on and off, add dry milk 1/4 cup at at time until the condensed milk is the right consistency (thick and creamy like the commercial product).
Note: success varies when using this in a recipe that requires baking.

Now that I have shared recipes for our fun part of celebrating Easter with small 
(and used to be small) children I cannot leave it without saying that these eggs were just a small part of the celebration. 

Our main focus was/is celebrating the true meaning of Easter --- the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. May His blessings be with you always.

Until next time,
        I am Simply, Gail

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