I’m not ashamed to say that my favorite thing about any major holiday is food traditions.

Thanksgiving?  There better be a big, juicy turkey on the table.

Christmas?  I want to be eating gingerbread everything.

Fourth of July?  I won’t be happy if there’s not at least three types of grilled meat and a mountain of potato salad falling off my plate.

As great as food traditions are, sometimes you need to shake things up a little.

Wrap and roast that turkey in bacon.  Top that gingerbread with a maple-bacon glaze.  Dress up that potato salad by throwing in blue cheese and bacon.  (Note: there is no food that is not made better by adding bacon)

With Easter fast-approaching, here are some fresh takes on the classics that are sure to wow your guests and still check off your annual traditions.

  1. Dried Cranberry Hot Cross Buns

(Source: Natasha’s Kitchen)

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I’ve always hated raisins.  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment in my childhood where the sweet, juicy wrinkle-nuggets first went on my “hate it” list, but there they are, and there they’ll stay.

Which is why I was so excited to see this take on the traditional hot cross bun.  I usually opt for the fruit-less or chocolate kind around the table, but a simple swap of raisins-for-cranberries gives this Easter tradition a pop in color and flavor you won’t want to miss.

  1. Asparagus and Bacon Popover

(Source: Closet Cooking)

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I wouldn’t say that I’m lazy, but you give me the option of slaving over a convoluted brunch tart or a one-pan popover, I’m going to opt for the one-pan wonder every time.

Kevin at Closet Cooking whipped up this easy asparagus (because you know how to eat in-season) and bacon (because bacon) popover that looks impressive, but actually only needs about 10 minutes of prep time.

  1. Spinach and Artichoke Quiche

(Source: Simply Recipes)

 

Have you ever sat down at a restaurant brunch, excited for a crisp slice of their quiche-du-jour, only to be told that they “just sold the last piece?”  Sheer heartbreak, no?  Everything else on the menu pales in comparison.

So avoid the heartache and make your own this Easter!  Your brunch guests will be wowed at your restaurant-quality dish and it’s easier to toss together than it looks.  This spinach and artichoke recipe is bursting with vibrant greens–a colorful reminder that spring is on our doorstep!

  1. Maple Brown Sugar Ham

(Source: Life as a Lofthous

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My slow-cooker gets a solid workout during the winter months and I’m always on the prowl  for new ways I can use it throughout the year.

Cue this luscious slow-cooker recipe–a fresh spin on the traditional honey-glazed roast.  I love the use of maple and brown sugar to give this Easter ham a sweet, caramelized coating that tastes just as great the next day (if you manage to save any for leftovers!).

  1. Bacon Pea Salad

(Source: Foodie With Family)

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Oh, look!  There’s bacon again!  What a surprise!

The combination of sweet green peas, smoky bacon, and crunchy red onion make this salad aesthetically pleasing swimming in a bowl on your tabletop and not to mention it adds a light, freshness to your brunch plate.  I particularly love the subtle zest of the paprika, you normally only find in a deviled egg this holiday.

  1. Deviled Egg Salad

(Source: Simply Recipes)

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Speaking of deviled eggs!  No Easter brunch is complete without them!

I remember watching my grandma painstakingly slice open eggs, lay them out on a special little deviled egg platter, and then pipe-filling them in, one by one.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This deviled egg salad has all the flavors you love (mustard, paprika, mayo) with a few new ones (hello, tabasco!), minus the hassle of piping or the small matter of transporting them.

  1. Sparkling Lemonade Sangria

(Source: The Whisking Kitchen)

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I’m not sure what your Easter drink traditions are, or if there really even are Easter drink traditions, but now is as good a time as any to start one.

I love a good lemonade and sparkling wine so this sangria-lemonade, which is bursting with fruit and citrus, will definitely be making a pretty pastel debut on my Easter Sunday menu.

  1. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Maple Pecan Frosting

(Source: The Food Charlatan)

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Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting go together like peanut butter and jelly, chips and salsa, bacon and, well, everything.

But Karen at The Food Charlatan, takes that relationship to a whole new level by mixing maple syrup and toasted pecans in her cream cheese frosting.  The result a sweet, nutty layer of pillowed atop a super-moist cake.

Even the harshest carrot cake critics will want in on this fresh take on a classic Easter tradition!