Two more weeks of Lent season

As we are approaching Easter with only two weeks left now, many are still following the Lent season traditions, so for the past two articles I have included meatless recipes. I have concentrated on vegetarian dishes which are much more healthier for us but do we follow the Lent season?

Easter is a very special and important holiday and we need to take the time to seriously think about importance of the happenings and events during the time of Jesus.

As parents and grandparents, we need to teach our children about the true meaning of Easter and not only what the Easter Bunny will bring. There is so much beside the Easter Bunny and egg hunts and I know it is our society and I am guilty as well. While I was growing up in Greece, the Easter season was by far the most important holiday of the year and it still is today.

The churches during Holy Week are filled to capacity with many even standing outside the church. During this time people do not consume meat or dairy products all week in order to prepare to take communion.

Last Tuesday we celebrated the 5th Annual Spring-Easter event at Parkersburg High School where Student Council teacher Michelle Swisher and her students did a fantastic job as always helping me put this event together. It takes a lot of work, time and preparation to make this event successful involving so many students and organizations.

Entertainment was provided by the Big Red Band Brass Ensemble under the direction of Dan White, PHS A Capella Choir under the direction of Pam McClain, Neale Elementary School Choir under the direction of Danielle Taylor, NJROTC Color Guard, the Big Red Indian, Forge Student ministries and Student Council and the PHS Foundation. Also taking part in the nights event was the Chick fil A Cow and the Easter Bunny followed by the annual egg hunt sponsored by the Elks Lodge #198 providing over 4000 filled baskets to the ones finding golden eggs. The PHS Foundation committee and president Sue Steinbeck spoke about the 100th celebration of the school building coming this year and providing Easter cookies for everyone.

The program concluded with the lighting of the lights on the high school “WISHING YOU A HAPPY SPRING” and lighted Easter Bunny and East Basket. (Drive by the high school at night to see how nice the lights look)

Next week we will have updates of the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet contest.

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Garlic Cheese Spread

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced green onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

flatbread, focaccia bread or assorted crackers

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and oil until fluffy. Add the Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic and pepper; beat until well blended. Spoon into a small container. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with flatbread, focaccia or crackers. Store in the refrigerator.

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Cream Cheese Dainties

1 cup butter, softened

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup apricot spreadable fruit or seedless raspberry preserves

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour to the creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough into four portions; cover and refrigerate until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough at a time into a 10×7 1/2 rectangle. Trim edges if necessary. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares.

Place 1/4 teaspoon spreadable fruit or preserves near each end of two diagonal corners. Moisten the remaining two corners with water; fold over and press lightly. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until corners are lightly browned. Cool 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.

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Nutty Orange Snowballs

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

12 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

In a large bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in orange peel and extracts. Shape into 3/4-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until bottom are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Place remaining confectioners’ sugar in a large resealable plastic bag. Add cookies, a few at a time, and shake to coat. Store in an airtight container.

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Mocha-Cinnamon Coffee Cake

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking cocoa

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

confectioners’ sugar, optional

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour a third of the batter into a greased 10-inch fluted tube pan.

Sprinkle with half of the walnut mixture; repeat layers. Top with remaining batter. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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