I set out on a mission this week. One that I definitely accomplished. I wanted to see if a spontaneous drive (and phone calls) to some of my favorite local places could inspire the perfect Easter weekend in the Rockford region. While chatting with a few locals along the way - cue the lightbulb – I realized how lucky we are to have such caring and amazing people in our community doing what they love each and every single day. So, if you're curious or maybe still looking for Easter ideas, here are a few I discovered along the way!
1) To brunch or to host?...that is the question!
The age old question...to gather the family up and make it a brunch date (great Easter brunch suggestions HERE) or round up the Easter decor and host at home. You can't go wrong either way but if you're hosting at home, I stumbled upon some timeless items that will add that extra umph to your buffet, coffee table or fireplace.
Fun decor items found at Porch
More fun decor at Porch
Sweet bunnies, baskets and plants at Enders inside Edgebrook
I then thought about what clever recipes I could discover on this journey to create the perfect Easter. So I contacted Sean Farr, a longtime friend and Culinary Director for Franchesco's and Fresco at the Gardens. He's been creating exquisite dishes in the Rockford region for several years, so when I asked him for a suggestion he was definitely ready for the challenge. Annndddd VOILA! We have Carrot Top Juice paired with Truffle Aioli Deviled Eggs!
Photo credit: Fresco's at the Garden
Carrot Top Juice
Ingredients: pineapple (5.25 oz), seasonal apples (4.75 oz), orange carrots (5.5 oz), fresh ginger (4.5 oz), fresh lemon juice (3/4 cup) - may need to condense serving size.
Directions: Wash and dry the fruit, cut and mix up all fruit into a bowl, blend fruit with a juicer, strain the juice through a double mesh strainer at least 3 times (to get rid of seeds, pulp, etc.,) then add lemon juice to the mixture and mix and finally garnish with a slice of pineapple!
Truffle Aioli Deviled Eggs
Ingredients: 1dz eggs, 6 avocados
2t lemon zest, 2T lemon juice, 2T black truffle oil (from Olive Oil Experience), 1t granulated garlic, 2 cups mao, 1/4 cup basil chopped, salt/pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients until incorporated. Makes approx. 2 1/2 cups.
The perfect hard boiled egg: cover 12 large eggs with water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 15 minutes and then drain immediately and cover with ice and cold water until cooled. Peel eggs, split and remove yolks.
In mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup mayo, 1T minced capers, 2t dijon mustard, 1/2t smoked paprika and salt/pepper to taste. If mixture seems dry...add more mayo. Pipe or spoon mixture into egg halves.
Deliciously grilled avocados - peel and quarter avocados, lightly rub all sides with olive oil and season with salt/pepper, then on a hot grill or pan cook for about one minute on all sides.
Plate build: Add arugula, grilled avocado, deviled eggs, smoked salmon (suggestion), truffle aioli and other garnish as desired!
2) What to do and where to go?
If there's one thing I've learned from my time at the RACVB it's that there's always something fun happening in the region. Here's our Calendar of Events including fun things to do with the family from Easter Egg Hunts to free movies at local theaters!
I talked with another great friend Ann Marie Walker, Director of Marketing at the Discovery Center Museum and she had some great tips to get us all ready for the Eggstravanza and Egg Hunt happening this Saturday at the Riverfront Museum Park!
- Tip #1 - Visitors should plan to arrive at least 20 minutes before scheduled egg hunt times to ensure there is enough time to get through admission and head to the hunt area.
- Tip #2 - Some eggs contain "GOLDEN TICKETS" for extra special prizes.
- Tip #3 - Eight different candies, plus stickers and tattoos await to be found inside the eggs!
3) Spread some Easter love!
I always love the reaction when surprising someone with a fun gift. If you're looking to surprise your loved ones or give yourself a happy little gift for the holiday...definitely check out Porch, Enders or Roxy Carmichael for festive items from plush bunnies (and other fun animals,) beautiful fresh flowers and stylish clothing + accessories to wear this spring!
A variety of soft huggable toys at Porch
Enders flowers cut fresh and put into a custom arrangement
Photo credit: Roxy Carmichael
A quick trip and a few phone conversations later, I discovered some great suggestions straight from our locals that make each holiday (and day for that matter) in Rockford extra special. For other fun things to do and places to visit all year long, check out GoRockford.com!
Have a very HAPPY EASTER everyone!