Plan a Natural and Fuss-Free Easter
Dye Eggs Naturally
Swap artificial dyes for an easy-to-make alternative that results in soft, beautiful hues. If you've got some extra veggies or fruits, you've got the basics for creating natural dyes. Simmer foods such as beets, apple peels, carrots, red cabbage or red onion peels in a cup of water, then add a dash of vinegar to create your dye. Soak eggs from a few minutes to overnight for a range of colors.
Here are four "recipe" ideas to get you started:
Yellow Add 6 tablespoons turmeric and 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 4 cups hot water and stir until dissolved.
Blue Add one head of shredded purple cabbage to to 4 cups boiling water. Sir in 1 tablespoon white vinegar and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the cabbage with a slotted spoon (save it for a recipe, if you like).
Orange Add the skins of 6 yellow onions to 3 cups boiling water. Stir in 1 tablespoon white vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the dye.
Red Cut 6 medium beets into chunks and add them to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 1 tablespoon white vinegar and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the beets with a slotted spoon (save them for a recipe, if you like).
Prep the Deck (and Porch)
A welcoming porch provides cozy, front-row seating for the family egg hunt. Graphic pillows and a throw blanket turn the setting into an inviting outdoor living space, a thoughtful touch considering it's the first area guests will see when they arrive. Unpack seating and décor from storage a few days before the event to allow them to air out.
Center of Attention
Whether you're going for a colorful or understated theme, the centerpiece is where you want to set the tone. Elevate garden picks or a store-bought bouquet by dividing like-stems into vases of water and dye. Or nestle a handful of dyed eggs in a bed of carnations for a quick, graceful option. Easiest yet: Place a large glass cloche over a potted succulent and voilà.
Set the Scene
Rely on an elegant place setting to decorate the rest of the table. The fun, yet functional display is a great area to invite pattern and texture to a fuss-free tablescape. Add a natural element, like a radish, fresh stem or egg placecard, to maintain the theme.
On the Menu
Create a menu that continues spring's natural color scheme-not to mention easy to prep. The Bacon, Blue Cheese and Nectarine Salad starts the meal off sweet, with a tangy puree dressing that can be made hours before serving. For the main course, cut juicy slices of the Cherry-Glazed Ham with Fresh Basil. Intimidated by the big entree? Review our guide on how to buy and bake the best ham to relieve the stress. Sweet-tart Lemon Curd delights for dessert when used as a topping on homemade shortbread.
Store the Leftovers
Save meal scraps for several entrees to come. With flavorful options like Lentil-Ham Soup, the family may forget they're eating leftovers.