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Add a taste of springtime to your healthy holiday meal

Easter dinner may get the lion's share of attention, but some of us gather for Easter brunch instead of, or in addition to, the traditional ham dinner. In my case, we celebrate Easter dinner with my husband's family and reserve the Saturday before Easter for an Easter brunch -- complete with an Easter egg hunt -- with my side of the family.

When you think of Easter brunch dishes, eggs and colorful spring salads come to mind. So I've included a Light Broccoli and Turkey Sausage Brunch Casserole and a Red Leaf, Pear, and Walnut Salad in the recipes below. Ovo-lacto vegetarians (those who eat dairy and eggs) can enjoy the casserole recipe, too, by using a soy-based sausage or by eliminating the sausage entirely.

You'll also find a recipe for a flavorful, higher-fiber brunch roll -- Roasted Garlic & Sage Pocket Rolls -- that even my preteen girls couldn't seem to get enough of. Each of the recipes includes journaling tips as well.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Easter!

Red Leaf, Pear and Walnut Salad

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (rice vinegar can be substituted)
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1/4 cup canola oil
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
10 cups rinsed and well-drained red leaf lettuce, coarsely chopped, packed
2/3 cup walnut pieces (or coarsely chopped), toasted* (sliced or slivered almonds can be substituted)
4 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

  • Add vinegar, apple juice, canola oil, Dijon mustard, and honey to food processor or blender and pulse until well combined. Stir in poppy seeds and add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Reserve 1/4 cup of the dressing and set aside.
  • Add red leaf lettuce and walnuts to large bowl, drizzle the remaining dressing over the top, and toss to coat well. Divide the lettuce among 8 individual salad plates or bowls. Add pears to the large bowl and toss them with the reserved 1/4 cup dressing. Spoon pears evenly over the eight salads.

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