The Frugal Foodie Has Tasty Tips for Easter
Welcome to the Frugal Foodie Corner! My Frugal Foodie Friends, I will be sharing weekly tips for stretching food budgets, having fun and making do in the kitchen and garden. This column is about growing food, storing food and preparing food. All are welcome here. This column’s comments are for sharing and learning, about food only please.
Today’s topics are eggs and eggless carrot cake, just in time for Easter. Most of us are used to having lots of eggs to celebrate Easter. If you have eggs, I have a few tips for you. But, even if you do not have eggs, I also have some tips for you.
*Traditionally people boil lots of eggs for Easter. There are many recipes for hard boiled eggs, but here is an easy one from a chef I know: Put 1 single layer of eggs in a pot and fill with water until it is 3 inches above the eggs. Too much water is better than too little. Add about 1 tablespoon of salt for each ½ gallon of water; this can totally be approximated. Bring the eggs & water to a rolling (fast bubbling) boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit on the stove in the pot in the water until the water is cool to the touch. The eggs will now be perfectly cooked & easy to peel. Remove them from the water and allow them to dry before dying or storing.
*Hard boiled eggs are more perishable than fresh eggs. They will last in the fridge for about a week. They also spoil at warm room temperature in as little as 2 hours. Please handle them safely.
*Raw eggs that are collected fresh from your own chickens, ducks or other poultry may be stored at room temperature. However once raw, fresh eggs have been washed and/or refrigerated, they must be stored in a fridge.
* If you didn’t buy an egg dying kit this year, here is a link to dying eggs using food coloring.
*My personal Frugal Foodie method for dying Easter eggs is to actually crush edible flowers onto them. Kids can color the eggs first with crayons if you have some, then rub the flowers onto the eggs. Some pretty flowers to try are calendula, violets, salvia/sage, primrose, and dandelion. Turmeric spice also makes a lovely yellow color. I want to see the masterpieces, so feel free to share a picture in the comments.
*If you are out of eggs or vegan, do not worry. Paper eggs are way more fun for an indoor egg hunt, since they can be taped to ceilings, windowsills, toys, bed posts, the fridge and even where the toothbrushes are. Have kids color the paper eggs a day or two early. Before you hide the eggs, you can even write messages on the back, such as “Happy Easter,” “We can bake cookies today,” or “Mom can play Legos with you for one hour today.” If you don’t have children, just color a really pretty design, cut it out in an egg shape and put it in the window for you & your neighbors to enjoy. Also take a picture and share them with me in the comments.
*I love carrot cake. It is so healthy that I never feel guilty eating it. There are so many wonderful recipes for carrot cake on the internet and in cookbooks. They range from dense whole wheat, molasses sweetened natural carrot cakes to fluffy white flour, white sugar carrot cakes. If you usually bake, I am sure you already have a favorite recipe. Enjoy!
* If you do not usually bake, it is easy to make a box of yellow cake mix or spice cake mix into tasty carrot cake. Just grate 2 large carrots. Combine the grated carrots with a small (7-8 oz.) can of pineapple (crushed, tidbits, chopped rings, or even 4 oz. plain pineapple juice), and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. You may also add raisins to this mix if you would like. Use 1 full teaspoon of cinnamon for yellow cake mix. Let bowl of carrots, pineapple, etc… set for an hour. Then make the cake mix as directed, but replace the water in the mix with the bowl of carrots & pineapple. You may need to bake for an extra 5 minutes.
And now a tasty recipe for Eggless Carrot Cake:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup oil, such as coconut oil or vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
2 tbsps milk
1 tbsp vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large carrots grated (about ¾ cup)
Small (7-8 oz.) can of pineapple (crushed, tidbits, chopped rings, or even 4 oz. plain pineapple juice)
Combine the grated carrot, cinnamon and pineapple in a bowl. Stir and let sit for an hour or overnight in the fridge.
Pull out ingredients, preheat oven to 325*, and grease a medium cake pan, 2 small cake pans or a large loaf pan.
Mix together the milk, vinegar, sugar, vanilla, oil, and carrot mixture. Set aside.
Combine/sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir these dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, mixing until combined well.
Put the cake mix into the desired pan(s). Tap the pans twice on the counter to release air bubbles.
Bake in a reheated oven for 35-40 minutes. When the cake is done, a skewer, knife or toothpick can be inserted into the cake and come out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing.
This is a lovely dense cake. Allow the cake to cool fully before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ block (4 oz.) cream cheese softened at room temperature
1 cube (1/4 lb.) butter softened at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon juice
Optional garnishes include edible flowers, fine chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and even a baby carrot cut to a point. Some edible flowers currently blooming are calendula, violets, strawberry, salvia/sage, primrose, and dandelion.
Combine the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Add the powdered sugar, lemon and vanilla to the mixture. Combine all ingredients until smooth and spreadable.
You can add an additional teaspoon more powdered sugar or ¼ teaspoon milk to adjust the frosting until it is easy to spread.
Wait to frost your cake after it has cooled completely. Decorate your lovely cake, take a picture & share it with me in the comment section.
I hope these tips brighten your holiday and lovely Spring season. Until next week, enjoy some good food and garden dreams.