Which came first, the Easter bunny or Easter eggs?

Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates to at least the 13th century, according to The History Channel. It is believed German immigrants brought the egg-laying hare to Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Their children made nests where this fabled creature could lay its colored eggs. As this custom spread across the nation, Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts.

It has been 59 years since my mom hosted her family’s first egg hunt, and our tradition is still strong and growing through five generations. Mom also makes an Easter egg tree annually, so this year I asked her help us make a fresh one. Mom cut a branch from her lilac tree, cemented it into a coffee can and painted the branches white. Then she showed our Italian exchange student how to carefully use a needle to make a small hole at the top of the egg and a larger hole at the bottom, so we could blow out the yolks. (Anyone else do this and then make an angel food cake?)

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My Mom Shirley and Elle

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My Mom Shirley, Elle and Giulia

When I was a kid, we couldn’t purchase Easter tree decorations at the store. We had to color real chicken eggs and then decorate the tree branches with silk flowers and ribbons. Now our tree contains a mixture of handmade and store-bought decorations.

In years’ past, we dyed hard-boiled eggs that were then turned into my mom’s legendary potato salad. I remember standing on a kitchen chair as a little girl, so I could reach the kitchen counter where Mom would help me make an Easter bunny cake. Another one of my favorite memories is when a live bunny was left in my Easter basket.

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Now that my kids are adults our traditions continue to evolve. My daughter will tell you that Easter dinner isn’t complete without ham and a side of macaroni and cheese with corn. My cousin makes the absolute best homemade version of this, using our grandma’s recipe for frozen sweet corn. Today I’m sharing a similar recipe from our hometown church cookbook.

In addition, I’m sharing recipe ideas for Easter brunch. I enjoy using leftover holiday ham to make the two casseroles. Ham also makes a great side to French toast.

Easter brunch ideas:

Macaroni & Cheese with Corn


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, including water
  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can cream style corn
  • 1 cup uncooked small shell pasta or elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup butter, melted


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Stir together corn, uncooked pasta, cheese, and butter in a large bowl until well combined. Transfer mixture to 2-quart casserole dish.
  • Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue baking for 30 more minutes or until pasta is tender.