A glorious Easter feast

I’ve always enjoyed Easter, maybe more than Christmas- a reason to celebrate with family and friends, a joyous time of new beginnings. Growing up Easter was celebrated with the traditional foods, the Easter feast centered around ham. Looking through my cooking and history books on food I was not able to come up with why ham is an Easter tradition. Looking for something different? Here are some of my favorite recipes that can be used with or without meat and some holiday health tips that will help you feel less stuffed when heading out with the youngsters for an afternoon Easter egg hunt.

Jeweled Rice

2 c brown or basmati rice, rinsed well

1/2c corn kernels

1c blanched almonds

21/2c spring or filtered water with a pinch of salt

3/4c unsweetened dried apricots

1/4c brown rice syrup

Sprigs of fresh parsley, minced

Bring to a boil rice, corn, almonds water, add salt & cover loosely. Cook for 25 minutes, or until rice is tender. Soak apricots in warm water for 30 minutes, drain. In a small saucepan, combine apricots, 1/4c spring water & brown rice syrup. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When rice is cooled combine with fruit mixture, stir in parsley & garnish with a twig of parsley. Serves 4-6

Farmhouse Style Potato Carrot Medley

3 med carrots, peeled and sliced

6 med potatoes, peeled & quartered- for a different texture, you may leave skins on

1 clove garlic

1/4c nonfat yogurt

1/2tsp salt

Pepper to taste

Steam potatoes, carrots & garlic together until tender, about twenty minutes- drain. While hot, mash add yogurt gradually then season

Watercress & Pear Salad

2 bunches watercress, rinsed and left whole

2 ripe pears

1/4c sweet cooking wine

2/3c pecans, lightly toasted then chopped


3 TBPS umeboshi vinegar

2 tsp prepared mustard

1TPS brown rice syrup

1/4c sesame tahini

Bring a pot of water to boil & blanch watercress. Drain, slice & set a side. Halve & seed pears, cover with water and splash with sweet cooking wine. Bring to a boil & turn off heat. Pears should be fork tender. Drain & set aside. Whisk together dressing ingredients. To serve, arrange watercress on salad plates. Place pear half in center. Just before serving sprinkle with toasted nuts & generous drizzle of dressing. Serve warm.

Wanting to eat more healthily? Remember these things-

Focus family time around activities other than food- walking; egg hunts, music or board games.

Be aware of your hunger level. Are you eating because you are hungry, or because food is available?

Have a sensible snack or breakfast prior to your feast

Always cook with the freshest ingredients

Buy fresh or, dried herbs in small amounts, their flavor deteriorates after three months

Happy cooking, and Happy Easter! Till next time, Rebecca.