Easter is early this year, April 8th. IÕve 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 food, the meal centered around ham. Looking through my cookbooks and history books on food and cooking and I was not able to come up with reasons why we have traditionally used ham on Easter. Anyway, for those of you looking for something a little left of traditional, IÕve put together some of my favorite recipes that could be used with or without meat.  IÕve also included some tips that will help you feel less like a stuffed and roasted pig with an apple in its mouth, and more like a youngster headed out for an afternoon of Easter egg hunting.


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 and 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 and set a side. Halve and seed pears, cover with water and splash with sweet cooking wine. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Pears should be fork tender. Drain and 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 and generous drizzle of dressing. Serve warm.


Tips for healthy feasting-

Focus family time around activities other than just 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 the feast.

If your find yourself with indigestion following your meal sip some peppermint or ginger tea.

Happy Easter! Till next time, Rebecca.