Easter is one of those holidays that my mom absolutely adored. After a long Lenten season, she loved throwing off the proverbial sackcloth and just reveling in the day’s pure joy.
In an effort to carry on her traditions or in a fit of temporary insanity (not sure which) I agreed to host dinner for our big, crazy family. 20 people. Lord help me. Apparently I forgot I can’t cook!
The only way forward: institute a plan to break down the “big dinner” into smaller projects that don’t terrify me or overwhelm with their complexity.
Step 1: Plan the Menu
I spent about 45 minutes going through cookbooks and my mom’s old recipe cards to put together the big menu. I then made copies of each recipe and put them all in a plastic sleeve, so I don’t have to waste time thumbing through cookbooks on the big day.
Step 2: Map out the prep schedule
Since spring break falls the week before Easter (and that means 2 young boys underfoot all week) I know I’m going to need to be extra efficient in my prep work. Here’s how I’m breaking it down.
This week: Make the centerpiece for the table. I considered quite a few table decorations:
Bunny fold napkins (via: Good Housekeeping)
Egg place cards (via: Epicurious)
And an Easter Egg “tree” (via: Martha Stewart)
However, though I’d like to do all of them, I have to come to terms with the fact that (a) I work full time and (b) lack crafting abilities. SO, I’m going to go for a simple, but beautiful arrangement of peonies instead (image via: TheCinderellaProject)
If I get that basic decoration done this week, then I can relax and enjoy down time with the boys for most of their spring break. Here’s the day-by-day and hour-by-hour plan leading up to Sunday.
Holy Thursday: Do the grocery shopping, iron the linens
Good Friday: Set up the dining room, extra tables, etc., clean the windows in dining/living rooms
– am: decorate eggs with the boys in advance of the big hunt
– nap window: make the hazelnut meringues for the dacquoise
– pm (after kids asleep): make the buttercream for the dacquoise, assemble, and put in the fridge
If you’ve never eaten a dacquoise, it has got to be one of the most insanely delicious cakes ever to be invented. Layers of heart-attack-inducing-melt-in-your-mouth coffee buttercream are put in between crunchy hazelnut meringues. It looks like this (image via: Saveur.com). YUM.
– 8:45am: mass
– 10:30am: remove the lamb from the fridge, egg hunt!
– 11:00am: make popover batter, put in fridge
– 12:00pm: prep the potatoes
– 1:30pm: make the spinach salad (use hard boiled egg from egg hunt) & put bowl on table
– 1:50pm: put popovers in the oven, put butter on the table, pour water into glasses
– 2:15pm: put potatoes on to boil
– 2:30: pull lamb from oven, put on serving tray and cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 min, take
out popovers & put in a basket on the table, steam green beans and asparagus
– 2:30pm: Serve first course
– 2:40pm: Put veggies into serving dishes, mash potatoes, have DH carve the lamb
– 2:45pm: Serve main course
– 3:30pm-ish: Serve dessert/coffee
Whew! Although it’s a little daunting, and I’m nervous about getting everything out on the table so that it’s hot vs. lukewarm, It’s amazing how much better I feel having a plan. It’s also clear where I am going to need extra hands on deck to help me. So I’ll start thinking about who I want to delegate to now, which will help reduce stress levels a lot!