Easter’s Joyful Celebration

You would think that this post would write itself. Really? I mean it’s Easter – only the most important celebration in the Christian Faith. So why am I struggling to find the words to share?

The Church tells us that the Feast of Easter is the most important of all the Feasts. Even more so than Christmas, although I do struggle with that. I mean, without Christmas, there would be no Easter. And without Easter, there would be no salvation. The two seem equally important in my lay eyes, so I have to trust the Church teachings as to why Easter trumps Christmas. Obviously, it’s all about salvation.

The Church tells us that Easter is not only the greatest Christian feast; Easter Sunday symbolizes the fulfillment of our faith in a single event. Through His Death, Christ destroyed our bondage to sin, through His Resurrection, He has given us new life – not only the promise of Heaven, but a new life on earth. Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven. Oh, but there’s a part missing – let’s try it again

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven

There it is again, that annoying little issue of free will. God has a plan. He wills for us to be with Him on earth and in Heaven. It is up to us, each of us, to decide for ourselves if we wish to surrender our own will and accept His plan wholly, without reservation. That is a tough one. Not even the saints have succeeded without faltering. Jesus set the tone and let us know struggles are part of the process before accepting. Take this cup from me – He did ask. Oh, but He did say “if it is Your will”. To imitate Christ, as we are all called to do, means working through the sturggles and taking the more difficult road. Oh but the reward is great. Greater than anything we could imagine.

One of my favorite places to visit is Yosemite National Park. It is breathtaking, even for those who remain on the valley floor. You can stand in awe of God’s creation. But for those who decide to scale the face of the dome, the view is even more spectacular. The reward for the struggle and perseverance is great; for God will lay before you His Kingdom without end.

Ultimately, that is what faith and fidelity are all about. It is up to us to decide.

Both Easter Sunday and the Easter Season are a time of celebration. Easter Sunday marks the first day in the longest of the special liturgical seasons of the Church. Longer than the 12 days of Christmas or the days of Advent or even the 40 days of Lent. For Catholics, the Easter Season begins on Easter Sunday, and ends on Pentecost Sunday, 50 days later. Surprisingly enough, the Easter Season does not end 40 days later with Christ’s ascension into heaven. For the Catholic Faithful, the days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday establish first Novena.

It is only fitting that this, the first day of the most Holy of all seasons, begin with giving thanks, gathering those we love and sharing a meal together in the sight of God.

May the Lord bless you and keep you all the days of your life

Easter Supper
Orange Glazed Easter Ham
Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes
Honey Glazed Carrots
Warm Dinner Rolls with Butter

Orange Glazed Easter Ham
1 (10 lb) bone-in Fully Cooked Ham
3-1/2 cups packed Brown Sugar
1-3/4 cups Orange Juice
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Note: The total cooking time is approximately 3 hours 10 minutes, about 19 minutes per pound for a 10-pound ham. For smaller hams, reduce time accordingly.

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Line both the bottom and the rack of a roasting pan with foil. Place the foil-lined rack inside the roasting pan.

With the fatty down, use a sharp knife to cut 3/4-inch long diagonal lines about 1-inch deep all over the surface of the ham. Working in the opposite direction, repeat to create diamond shapes cut into the ham. Turn the ham over, fatty side up. Repeat the same process to create the same diamond shapes.

Place the ham, fatty-side up, on the rack in the prepared pan. Place in the heated oven to cook, rotating the pan halfway through. Cook until the center of the ham is warm and the fat begins to crisp, about 2 hours.

While the ham is roasting in the oven, mix 3 cups of brown sugar with 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Remove the ham from the oven. (Close oven door to retain heat). Carefully brush one-third of the glaze over the ham. Return to oven, bake for 20 minutes. Remove again from oven, brush with another third of the glaze, and bake for 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven a third time, brush with remaining glaze, and cook until the glaze is shiny, the skin is dark golden brown and crispy, about 30 minutes more.

Mix remaining 1/2-cup brown sugar, 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper and a generous amount of fresh black pepper into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has been reduced by half, about 8 minutes or so.

Remove the ham from the oven, tent and let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board to slice. Serve with Orange Reduction Sauce on the side.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes
2 large White Onions
3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
Kosher Salt as needed
2-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 Garlic Cloves
White Pepper to taste

Peel and finely chop the onions; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized, 35 to 40 minutes.Keep warm.

Peel potatoes, cut into quarters and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover potatoes by 1 inch. Peel garlic, grate over the potatoes. Stir to blend. Bring pot to a boil, the add Kosher Salt to taste. Cover; reduce heat and summer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes or so.Place a colander in a large metal mixing bowl. Drain potatoes into the colander. Lift from the bowl, let drain completely. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, discard the rest.

Return potatoes speckled with garlic to pan. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and white pepper. Mash until smooth, adding reserved liquid as needed. Stir in onions, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately.

Honey Glazed Carrots
6 medium Carrots
2 Rosemary Sprigs
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Honey

Peel carrots. Cut carrots, separating thicker bottom portion from thinner top portion. Cut thicken part in half, then slice all of the carrots on the bias into 1-1/2 inch pieces. Set aside. Strip rosemary needles form the sprigs. Roughly chop the needles, set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and the carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 6 minutes, tossing the carrots in the pan so that the cook on all side. Add the butter, honey and rosemary. Continue cooking until the carrots are beautifully browned and tender, another 6 minutes or so.

Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with pan drippings. Serve and enjoy.

Heavenly Father Almighty, give me the strength to be still and to receive Your merciful forgiveness. Bound up my brokenness with Your healing grace.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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