Thursday, April 21, 2011

A sure sign of Spring!

In just a few days we will be celebrating Easter--my favorite celebration in the church year, and my favorite season of the year. Yes, Spring has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Daffodils have been up and in bloom for almost a month, but they've been know to stick their pretty little yellow heads out of the snow. Robins and hummingbirds overwinter.

No, my acknowledgement that Spring has finally arrived comes from the native ferns in my garden and out in the forest. When the days are still short and temperatures are barely above freezing, I remove all of the fronds from my ferns--right down to the ground. It's a rather alarming sight. All one is left with is ugly brown mounds, some not even an inch tall but others well over a foot. It all depends on the age and size of the fern. And they continue to slumber until the days lengthen and the weather begins to warm. Then, one by one, they begin to send up new fresh fronds. Those new fronds are so very soft and green, and they tell me that Spring has finally arrived.

We'll be enjoying a somewhat non-traditional Easter dinner this Sunday. Instead of the usual oven-baked ham, I'll be serving an assortment of salads, using fresh vegetables and fruits. Deviled eggs will also be on the menu, and for dessert I'll be making lemon cheesecake bars--an easy-to-do recipe from Duncan Hines. 

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

For Crust:
1 pkg Duncan Hines Pudding Recipe cake mix*
1 egg
1/3 cup cooking oil

For Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry cake mix, egg, and cooking oil until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup. Pat remaining crumb mixture in bottom of an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and lemon juice until light and smooth. Spread over baked layer. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 15 minutes longer. Cool, and cut into bars.

*Duncan Hines has many flavors that will work well with this bar cookie--yellow, classic white, french vanilla, lemon supreme, orange supreme, or pineapple supreme

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