Easter is one of my most favorite holidays.
I love its simplicity. No rushing around. No freaking out over last minute gifts. Just family. Faith. Food. What’s not to love about a holiday like that?
Pre-Easter dinner, my parents and I took a walk down an old dirt road for some exercise. My sis, Nicole, was serving Easter for dinner this year, so we figured it would be nice to stretch the legs before sitting down to a gourmet feast. 😉
All the snow is (finally!!!) melting in New England, and it’s really beginning to look a lot like spring.
Me and my dad!
This was the second year that my sister took on Easter, cooking everything from the ham to the potatoes to the soup.
Oh, and the bread.
I’m a bit obsessed with her rosemary bread and sweet potato soup.
Obsessed, I tell you!
Smooth and creamy soup meets warm and doughy bread…it was meant to be.
(Nicole knows how much I love this stuff and sent me home with a pot full of soup…thanks, Nicole!! 😀 )
After the appetizer, we all dug into the feast that Nicole had lovingly prepared.
I made my contribution with roasted green beans (recipe to come!) and my Memere’s dessert recipe for Lemon Lush, which is a combination of dream whip, cream cheese, lemon pie filling and buttery graham crackers. It’s as heavenly as it sounds.
The rest of the meal was made up of creamy mashed potatoes, super sweet butternut squash, dilled carrots, cranberry sauce, ham and turkey.
On to dessert!!!
There was Memere’s recipe for Lemon Lush…
…and Nicole’s carrot cake!
I savored a serving of each.
The meal lasted well over 2 hours from start to finish. It’s too bad every meal can’t be savored in such a delicate way. 😀
I receive a lot of questions from people regarding “how do I eat healthy during the holidays?”
My general recommendation is…don’t. While I don’t recommend stuffing yourself silly, I also don’t recommend focusing so heavily on eating healthy for one day, one holiday. Enjoy the foods you love without feeling gorged or sick (nobody likes that feeling, and it’s still important to respect your body.) Give away or freeze the leftovers for another day. And cut back a little on portions while increasing physical activity for the next few days. It will all balance out. Focus instead on how to improve your healthy eating habits for all those other non-holiday days of the year. 😉
Here is the ratatouille recipe that I promised!
I like to keep double batches of this stuff in my freezer and pull it out as needed.
It’s full to the brim with veggies and serves well on top of whole wheat toasts, whole wheat pasta or brown rice. Sometimes I’ll bring it to work along with some pita bread and a sprinkling of feta cheese, forming an impromptu ratatouille sandwich.
(p.s. Ratatouille is not as difficult or pretentious as it sounds! You’ll find that aside from chopping and roasting, this recipe comes together fairly quick and easy!)
Ratatouille—recipe taken from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine
- 1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
- coarse salt and pepper
- 2 large yellow onions, diced large
- 1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced large
- 2 large zucchini (1 lb total), diced large
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 T. fresh oregano
- 2-3 T. red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350. Place tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4 inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 T. olive oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1/2 tsp salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out any excess liquid with a paper towel. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and oregano to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.
QUESTION: What is your favorite holiday and why? What was your favorite meatless meal this week?