Easter is celebrated throughout the world for religious reasons, however, many people in the secular world use the holiday to usher in Spring. The main non-religious symbols of this celebration are the rabbit and the egg. Both are meant to represent fertility, as the season of Spring generally does. They symbolize the new beginnings and new life that is about to come.  We’ve always loved this idea as it dates back thousands and thousands of years, however being vegan, we weren’t such a fan of using actual eggs. And as environmentalists, we didn’t want to use chemical dyes or plastic eggs.

However, we have fond memories of Easter Egg hunts as children and remember the exhilaration of finding them hidden in your garden. So when we think of what traditions we will pass to our own children and how we want to represent fertility without hurting the Earth or animals, it gets complicated. We want to teach them to celebrate life and the season of Spring in a positive manner, yet still involve the childhood fun and amazement of a good old fashioned egg hunt.

What we decided upon was to keep the symbol of the egg, but vegan and naturalize it!  In craft stores, they sell wooden eggs which can be painted or dyed.  Even better if we could locate FSC certified sustainable wooden eggs, as the White House did this year.  Choosing plastic eggs is another possibility, however, they are generally made from petroleum and can’t easily be decorated. But on the plus side, they can be re-used the following year and can hide fun little gifts.

Once we decided to go the route of the wooden egg, we also want to avoid the typical chemical dyes and petroleum based paints and opted for a natural take. There are a variety of natural paints on the market to use, we love Unearthed, all vegan and natural.  We also found this uber helpful site which explained how to make dyes at home. Here is a run down of what to use for which color, click on the full article for exact instructions.

Gold: Handful of yellow onion skins
Yellow: 2 tablespoons turmeric or a handful of carrot tops
Green: Handful of coltsfoot
Blue: 2 cups chopped red cabbage (for best results, add cabbage to water while hard-boiling eggs)
Pink: 2 cups chopped beets
Purple: 1 cup frozen blueberries
Brown: 2 tablespoons coffee grounds or 4 black tea bags

After the wooden eggs are finished and naturally adorned, the next step was to teach the children how to respect the eggs as new life and not a food source. Traditionally, the eggs would now be hidden all over the yard or house, the children would find them, and proceed to eat them. Using a basket to collect them seemed to continue this idea. Building a nest within the basket or just by itself is a wonderful solution to this issue. The nest will symbolize the new life (eggs) how they would appear in nature, just waiting to hatch rather than be eaten by humans. For an even better effect, add  toy or wooden birds. Now when  the kids collect all their eggs, they will be returning them to Momma and Papa bird.

So there it is. It is possible to celebrate Spring, Easter, and new life, cruelty free and naturally. You can still use the idea of what eggs represent and have a fun, interactive way to teach children about the preciousness of life. Plus, now us vegans and environmentalists can still have our Easter egg or rather eggless hunt for generations! Happy Easter :)

With Easter fast approaching we wanted to highlight a traditional American Easter dish. But upon research we found that besides Ham and Lamb, there really isn’t a traditional side dish. So we surveyed a few friends and found that many people eat some form of potato dish for Easter. Since mashed potatoes are pretty simple (just add vegan margarine and soy milk) we thought we would share our recipe for Vegan Scalloped Potatoes. These make a great side dish or main attraction. However, we also have some great ideas for Meatless Easter Main Dishes:

And since it seems most Americans choose to eat meats on this holiday, here are a few suggestions to replace the roast! Instead of serving ham, try one of these great grain roasts by Field Roast Grain Meat. They make a terrific substitute to Ham Roasts that are traditionally served at American Easter dinners. Or for an even closer version to Ham, check out May Wah’s Vegan Ham. There aren’t very many substitutes for Lamb, but you could always serve a Tofurkey Roast. Any reason to serve Tofurkey sounds like a great idea to us! Or you can always combine a number of great side dishes to create a feast. Check out our Recipe backblog for more ideas.

And we encourage you to shy away from Easter Eggs and suggest you check out these Fair Trade, Vegan Divine Chocolate Easter Eggs. These will make any “egg” hunt just as fun! So we want to wish everyone a Happy Easter and Welcome Spring! Start the season off with some delicious Scalloped Potatoes!

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

2 Cups Soy Milk
1/4 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
6 Potatoes (Yukon Golds are the best)
1 Onion
6 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp pepper
Paprika to Taste
Parsley (optional)
2 Tsp Nurtitional Yeast (optional-for cheesy-ness)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the potatoes into thin slices and finely chop the onions. Arrange a layer of potato slices and onions on the bottom of a medium to large casserole dish(about 1/3). Melt the margarine and pour about a 1/3 of it over the layer. Next, sift the flour, salt and pepper (and nutritional yeast if you are using it) together. And also sprinkle about a third of this mixture over the layer. Continue to do this until all the ingredients are used up. Next pour all of the soy milk over the layers and make sure the top layer is very saturated. Sprinkle paprika to taste over the top and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the milk has thickened and the potatoes are soft enough to eat. Garnish the top with parsley and dig in!

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