Can we really believe that spring is here and Easter is close at hand?I started asking the family what dishes they would like for Easter dinner. I also told them that I most likely can't make everything on "the list." We usually meet at our home about 4 p.m. for the Easter egg hunt and dinner follows. I like to have an appetizer out for all to enjoy as we visit and take pictures. I will feature some of our menu in this week's column and conclude with the rest of the menu the following week.The nurseries and big box stores are really bringing in so many garden surprises already,-like Geraniums, solar lights, elephant and canna bulbs and many veggies for our gardens. The thing I don't like about March is that I feel it teases and tricks us in to believing all the warm weather is looming, when in reality, I have bought into that myth and lost many annuals to the point of me watching them freeze as I looked out the window with tears rolling down my face. Hundreds of plants and dollars later, you might say I learned my lesson the hard way. March - be careful. I brought home, but won't plant yet, cannas and elephant ears. I put them loose on the kitchen table and Mike asked how we were going to cook them. I played along and said, "Well, they're pretty tough, so let's marinate them first." Oh, the joking Mikester is at it again.For Easter, I did buy all the plastic eggs and pretty plastic tablecloths. We'll set up a 6-foot table for the grandkids. On the tables this year, I'm going to place real Geraniums and then plant them in pots after Easter. I do protect them from freezing, however. I saw many beautiful silk arrangements that, though they were nice, would be wasted. I like real flowers; seems like the best way to go for me.Thompson's Vegetable DipWhat an easy way to get kids to eat their fresh veggies. We'll try to get as many organic veggies for this dip as possible. I make this dip one day ahead of time.1 cup sour cream1 1/3 cups mayonnaise (Hellman's or Dukes)2 tablespoons dried onion flakes2 teaspoons seasoned salt2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (chop fine.)2 teaspoon dry dill weed1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce2 tablespoons Accent6-8 drops Tabasco sauceMix and let stand for at least 3-4 hours in refrigerator. Suggested veggies for dipping include:Celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, green peppers.Slow Cooker Turkey BreastWe will be offering both a sliced and glazed ham as well as a turkey breast at Easter. Next week, I'll feature the ham.About a 3-pound turkey breast1/2 cup apricot preserves1 tablespoon prepared mustard2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperPlace turkey breast in a sprayed slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and spread over top. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours or until temperature reaches 160 degrees. I'll most likely begin this recipe by 9 a.m.Dee Dee's Southwest Green BeansThis will serve about eight. I may double this for Easter dinner.2 pounds fresh green beans-rinsed, drained and snapped into smaller pieces3 strips bacon (we prefer Applewood Smoked, cut into thin strips, about the size of matchsticks. Clean, sharp kitchen shears work great.)1 small red onion, finely chopped1 tablespoon all-purpose flour3 cups water2 chicken bouillon cubes, or 2 teaspoons chicken base (found in a jar at some markets)Salt to taste (keep it light)White pepper to tasteCook bacon in a medium saucepan until the fat is rendered, about 8-10 minutes. Add onion and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and mix well before adding the 3 cups of water. Add the chicken bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and season with salt and white pepper. Don't add too much salt at this time, because the sauce will reduce some as it cooks and concentrate the salt flavor. Add the green beans and simmer uncovered until the green beans are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.• Next week, we'll venture back into my Easter kitchen for a continuation of some wonderful sides and a dessert. Meanwhile, enjoy the pretty days but keep an eye out for freezing temperatures that could spell disaster on early planted gardens.You may want to invite a friend to dine with you at Easter, someone who may be alone that day.