Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Man With the Hands? I Married Him!

... in a sunny wildflower meadow, surrounded by the love of close family.

Our wedding in a meadow

Big Surprise, Right?

EIGHT YEARS We've been a couple for eight years. But here on Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture, until now this wonderful man was mentioned only in sly hints. I called him "my favorite cook" or "my kitchen companion". Mostly though, he wasn't named at all but instead appeared only as the "Man with the Hands" in food photos. (It's true. See here or here or here).

EIGHT DAYS And then we took all of eight days to get married.

Our wedding in a meadow

EIGHT WEEKS ago today, the Man With the Hands and I were married in a golden October meadow, officiated by a dear friend and witnessed by a small circle of family.

So Meet My Man with the Hands.

Our wedding in a meadow

But do call him Jerry, I do.

He's a lawyer with his own firm, a father of three and devoted grandfather of six. He comes from humble family beginnings here in Missouri and is the patriarch of a large, extended family. He's a Marine and a "genuine American college football hero". He's brilliant and funny, a storyteller who quotes poetry and music and books and movies. He paints and reads voraciously, grows vegetables and wants to raise chickens.

He makes me think. He inspires and encourages me. He softens me. He makes me laugh, oh my how he makes me laugh.

And yes, he cooks! WE cook.

The Love of Family

Our wedding in a meadow, the Kellogg side

Such blessings!

My 90-year old father was present for the wedding, all duded up in new jeans and shirt. He's lived with us since March so when we married, Dad became Jerry's "ex" common-law father-in-law. Ha!

(Oh! And my dad wants you to know that he doesn't use a wheelchair. It was just easier to get in/out of than the hay-bale church pews.)

My nephew Alex drove from Texas to represent the family. Bad timing, my sister Adanna was scheduled for surgery just a few days before so she and her husband were unable to make the long trip. I missed my sister so much but thanks to Skype and Alex's video of the ceremony, she and Ted were able to be present in spirit!

Three of six grandchildren, before the wedding

These guyzzz may not look so impressed by all the fuss but had important jobs and took them seriously. The oldest was the "ring leader" and the younger twinzz were the "ring bearers". On their own, they made up a jazzy dance to deliver the rings!

Jerry's daughter sang a lovely rendition of Greensleeves accompanied on guitar by his middle son, singing the words popularized by Debbie Reynold in the 1962 all-star movie, How the West Was Won. "Come, come, come away with me. And I'll build you a home in the meadow." [YouTube video]

So apt! We are working on plans to build a home in this very meadow!

The Kindness of Friends

Chris & Dennis, our dear friends

We were a little surprised – taken aback, even – at the outpouring of joy and support from family and friends.

Let's start with these two, long-time friends Dennis and Chris.

When Dennis was a city mayor, he got himself a license to marry people. Since we don't currently have a church home, talk about luck, having a friend, a real friend, able to marry us. It was so meaningful. Dennis also wrote our wedding vows – even a pair of wordsmiths like Jerry and me couldn't improve on them.

And then there's Chris. WOW.

Four days before the wedding, Chris asked what she could do to help. "Hmm, maybe make rice krispie treats for the kids?" I wondered out loud.

Instead, Chris took it upon herself to create all the "pretty" in the wedding, the wreath for my hair, the boutonnieres for Jerry and my father, the autumn flower arbor, the beautiful tables for the after-wedding lunch.

She worked like crazy to make our wedding day extra-special for us. And it was, so so very special.

Our wedding in a meadow, the lunch afterward

Truth be told, I've had writers block for eight weeks, unable to express our thanks for the enormity of the gifts given by Dennis and Chris. Some times "thank you" just isn't enough, even when it's from the bottom of your heart.

But then? Our friends Huck and Mary hosted a dinner for us at their club. And our friends Dale and Sharon took us for a lovely dinner and we're now making salads in an enormous, hand-carved wood bowl, so perfect for us. A niece and nephew gifted us a Japanese steel-carbon knife, whoa, talk about sharp, it's perfect for cutting thin-thin slices of our house-made gravlax. And in January, our friends Charlie and Jan will host a brunch at the Piper Palm House. Tom and Anne, the couple who introduced us, keep reminding us there's champagne waiting on ice.

These meaningful friendships, we find ourselves both moved and overwhelmed.

Fun Facts!

my phone's home page

The night we met, we saw fireworks! Okay, so no big surprise, that, since it was the Fourth of July at an outdoor gathering hosted by our (now) dear friends Tom and Anne. (Before I forget, Anne is no stranger to Kitchen Parade. How many of us are better pie bakers thanks to her pastry tutorial, How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust? Quite a few!)

We are Tom and Anne's "second marriage" – that is, the second couple to meet beside their pool. Their "first marriage" makes us wonder about unlikely coincidence. You see, she was an exchange student to Finland (as was I), he was a widower (as was he).

Despite all the fireworks, he didn't remember my name and needed help locating the Fourth of July party's "green bean casserole lady" – yes, the amazing World's Best Green Bean Casserole.

We fast realized that I'd already met his granddaughter a year and a half earlier. In fact? Get this! She was even featured on A Veggie Venture, the sweet girl with glasses on the right pictured with "Wonderful" Glazed Turnips & Carrots. Today E is a poised, confident young woman thinking about where she'll go to school – and along with her five boy cousins and brother, a great joy!

WH Hog by bronze sculptor Robert Larum

On our first date, I mentioned that I'd been wanting to buy a whole pig. Without hesitation, he responded, "When you cook a whole pig, you have to be really careful to get the temperature up between the shoulders." All of a sudden, I realized I might be in for a ride. Me? I'd just wanted to have a butcher cut up a pig and wrap it in plastic. This man? He's cooked more whole animals than many chefs.

A few weeks later on our first trip, he surprised me with a bronze pig we call WH Hog (Whole Hog, get it?). While I wandered through a sculpture gallery, he managed to buy WH and arrange for shipping, all without my knowing!

Since then, together we've cooked lots of whole animals. Goats. Lambs. Pigs, lots of pigs. Turkeys, lots of turkeys. But our real claim to fame came in 2010 when we cooked a whole buffalo. The Wall Street Journal even featured us in a front-page story! We did it again in 2011 and 2012 and believe it or not, we'll do it again in 2017. (More about that first buffalo roast here in Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix, we served it and Glöggi (Hot Red Mulled Wine) in turkey fryers by the gallon!)

We both cook, we both cook a lot. But we are Totally.Different.Cooks. Where I measure and weigh and take notes and follow recipes? He's an intuitive cook, making it up as he goes along. Plus? I'm a neatnik and he's, well, a leeeetle bit messy. We have such different styles in the kitchen that when we redid the kitchen, we added a separate stovetop and working space for me, it's a luxury but it does help keep peace in the household. (Want to know more about the new kitchen? Ten Things I Love About Our New Kitchen.)

We're so modern! We shared our happy news with close friends and extended family by text and email!

Is It Different?

walking together near the meadow

Friends ask, Does it feel different?

In some ways, no. We chose to spend our wedding night at home. Of course! In the morning, there was PopPop's Famous Bacon and Ms Alanna's best pancakes to cook for grandchildren! That's just us, who we are.

But then again? The Man With the Hands now wears a gold band on his left hand. So do I. Our vows feel sacred. I feel treasured and protected in a new way.

Mornings, I look at him and feel anew how extraordinary is the altogether ordinary institution of marriage. Evenings, when I think back through the day, it's heart-warming how he figures in so many "highs" and so few "lows".

When I kiss him good night, I whisper, "I love you."

Then in a sort of silent prayer, I remind myself, "We are so lucky. So lucky."

First to dance on a very wet dance floor at a 2015 wedding near Hunt, Texas

© Copyright 2016 Kitchen Parade

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Mulled Apple Cider

How to mull apple cider with fruit and spices, turning everyday supermarket-variety apple cider into something special and irresistible. Mulled apple cider is such a refreshing autumn treat, I serve it hot on chilly days and over ice when it's warm.

Mulled Apple Cider ♥

Such a warm, warm fall we're having here in eastern Missouri – hot even. So when it turned halfway cool-ish a couple of weekends back, we made the most of it, building a fire in the firepit and declaring a cooking holiday. Supper that night? Popcorn drizzled with salty butter and hot apple cider mulled with apples, citrus and spices.

Mulled Apple Cider ♥

The cider is so easy to make! Just pour a no-name supermarket-variety apple cider into a big pot, add a few spices (cinnamon sticks, star anise, fennel seed, coriander, a even a couple of peppercorns) and slices of apple, orange and lemon, then let it simmer for an hour or so, concentrating the apple cider essence, "mulling" it with the spices and fruit.

So good! We sat outside for the longest time that night, sipping on cider ...

Mulled Apple Cider ♥

Still, there was lots leftover so I took to pouring a glass over ice for each of us before dinner – a non-alcoholic cocktail perfect for fall. (Ummm ... except for the evening when I slipped in a shot of bourbon and a twist of lemon.)

And when the grandkids came to visit on Sunday? I made another pot. How'd it go over? Two thumbs up from this wonderful seven-year old!

Mulled Apple Cider ♥


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes about 12 cups (easily halved)

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 - 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 - 2 star anise
  • 3 - 4 cardamom seeds
  • 3 - 4 whole coriander
  • 1 - 2 whole peppercorns
  • Pinch fennel seeds
  • Pinch salt

Pour the cider into a large, heavy pot and begin to heat up. Cut the fruit cross-wise, discarding the ends. Add fruit and spices to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer for about 45 minutes, reducing the liquid by about a quarter. Remove the fruit and strain out the spices. Serve piping hot or, once cooled, over ice.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Make this ahead of time, it keeps beautifully in the fridge for a couple of weeks, I just strain it back into the original apple cider container.

VARIATIONS Cranberries? Pears? Get creative!

ALANNA's TIPS Save the poached apple slices, they're wonderful! I made smoothies with the first batch, the second batch went into supper salads. Eagle-eyed readers may notice lime slices in the photos but not in the recipe. That's because when I took photos, I added some lime but we all found it slightly too sour. Lemon and orange, however, are lovely. I suspect many spices would work here but I especially like the mix of cinnamon, cardamom and star anise.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 160 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 33mg Sodium; 41g Carb; 0g Fiber; 35g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 5 & SmartPoints 9

Favorite Ways to Use Apple Cider

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples Chicken Cider Stew Chicken with Creamy Cider Gravy

(And Sweet!)

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter Swiss Bircher Müesli Apple Cider Indian Pudding

Favorite Drink Recipes for Cold Weather

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Glöggi - Mulled Wine Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix Pumpkin Lattes

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2016 Kitchen Parade

Friday, November 4, 2016


Okay, Pie People – or aspiring Pie People! – an invitation to join a celebration of homemade pie! C'mon, it'll be fun!

Join ♥ for #PieDayFriday, a celebration of pie. Recipes, tips and more.

#PieDayFriday. It's Our New Weekly Tradition.

Since Fathers Day in 2016, Friday here is Pie Day. Every.Single.Friday. No skips! (Well, not many.) It's been (twenty-one forty-four sixty, seventy-three wow, make that ninety-two weeks so far!

Why? It's simple fun and of course, good eats!

Plus, there's nothing my 90 91-year old almost 92-year old father loves more than pie. When he came to live with us in the spring of 2016, I sensed that for him (and by extension for me) that the weeks pass slowly and quickly both at once. I wanted to create a little fun, a celebratory start to our weekend.

As it turns out, I find big fun in #PieDayFriday too. I'm revisiting favorite old recipes and pushing my boundaries with new ones. I'm working on my pie crust technique and even exploring new ones. (Keep reading, there's a pie list!)

And I'm learning a lot. Here's a start.
We like our pies on the plain side with familiar flavors and textures.
Men at the table go silent for cream pies while my eyes lift to the heavens for fruit pies.
A shallow pie is just as satisfying as a deep-dish pie.
A half cup of cream makes plenty of whipped cream to top a pie.
Time-wise, mix the crust the night before, bake early the day you're serving.
No-bake pies are a total time saver! Gotta love 'em!

Fresh Strawberry Pie for #PieDayFriday ♥

Will You Join a Fellow Pie Baker for #PieDayFriday? Please Do!

That's right. I hereby call on all the pie bakers and all the aspiring pie bakers and yes, even those who concentrate on pie consumption not pie production. All are welcome ...

Follow me on Instagram, that's Alanna Kellogg and/or on Facebook via Kitchen Parade.

Then whenever you're inspired to make a pie, snap a picture and upload to either Instagram or Facebook. (Tip: To post to both at the same time, upload your photo to Instagram, then click the "Facebook" option to automatically/simultaneously post there too. Love that trick!)

Tag your posts #PieDayFriday and also #KitchenParade. Other people use #PieDayFriday so tagging it with #KitchenParade makes it easier to locate your posts. I can't wait to see your beautiful pies!

If you like, follow along here for inspiration:
#PieDayFriday & #KitchenParade on Instagram
#PieDayFriday & #KitchenParade on Facebook

Not into Instagram and Facebook? No problem. Just send me a quick e-mail via to share your #PieDayFriday experience. I'll figure out what's next.

Questions & Answers: Just Remember, The Point is the PIE.

Q. Fridays only? A. Nope! The point is the pie, not the picture or the post. So bake and share your pie whenever it suits you.

Q. But every week, right? A. Only if you're as pie-obsessed pie-happy as I.

Q. What about recipes? A. If you want to share your own recipe, sure, do, but it's not expected. If the recipe is from a cookbook, a magazine or an online source, just give credit and if you like, link to the online source.

Q. Homemade crust? A. Again, the point is the pie – if crust makes you happy, make crust, otherwise, no stress.

Q. What about a Pinterest board? A. Good idea! #PieDayFriday on Pinterest.

Q. Anything else? A. I'm happy to answer more questions!

Butterscotch Cream Pie for #PieDayFriday ♥

My #PieDayFriday Pies

(so far, 87 pies in 92 weeks!)

YEAR 2018
#92 Last-Minute Pantry Pie (mandarin oranges & banana)

#91 Honey Pumpkin Pie from A Veggie Venture
#90 Velvet Custard Pie (another great last-minute pie!)
#89 Chocolate Banana Cream Pie (a work in progress ...)
#88 Banana Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade
#87 Lemon Meringue Pie from Kitchen Parade

#86 out of town, no pie
#85 out of town, no pie
#84 Snickerdoodle Pie
#83 Naked Cranberry Raisin Pie (recipe on its way next fall!)
#82 Baked Butterscotch Pie & Coconut Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade

YEAR 2017
#81 And ... again during the week between Christmas and New Year's
#80 Hmmm ... no pie during Christmas week
#79 Raisin Cream Pie (gotta share this recipe!)
#78 Baked Butterscotch Pie (recipe coming, just a few details to nail down!)
#77 Easy-Easy Jam Tart (with lingonberry jam)
#76 Last-Minute Pantry Pie

#75 No pie, my dad was in the hospital :-(
#74 Pecan Pie (with a butter crust, the first one I've mostly liked!)
#73 Gingerbread Cream Mini Pies
#72 No pie, out of town!
#71 Banana Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade

#70 Fresh Plum Pie
#69 Atlantic Beach Pie &
Honey Pumpkin Pie from A Veggie Venture
#68 Grape Pie
#67 Grape-Apple Pie
#66 Old-Fashioned Raisin Cream Pie

#65 No pie, on vacation!
#64 No pie, on vacation!
#63 Fresh Plum Pie
#62 oops, no pie this week!
#61Naked Blueberry Pie

#60 Sweet Cherry-Mint Streusel Pie
#59 Summer Berry Pie from Kitchen Parade
#58 Cheesecake Pie from Kitchen Parade (this time, with a wonderful raspberry topping)
#57 Last-Minute Pantry Pie (with fresh peaches, so so good!)
#56 Chocolate Cherry Pie (so rich, so good!)

#55 Blueberry Rhubarb Pie from First Prize Pies &
Coconut Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade
#54 Last-Minute Pantry Pie (with fresh pineapple)
#53 What will be the one-year anniversary pie?! Believe it or not, no pie this week! How did that happen? Simple answer: hosting 50-some lawyers for a three-day meeting in St. Louis.

(54 pies in 52 weeks!)

#52 Flapper Pie, an old-fashioned Canadian pie from Dinner with Julie
#51 Coconut Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade

#50 Banana Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade
#49 Perfect Rhubarb Pie: Annie Dimock’s Straight-Up Rhubarb Pie from A Veggie Venture
#48 Last-Minute Pantry Pie (with mandarin orange & canned citrus)
#47 Rhubarb Custard Pie from Kitchen Parade
#46 Coconut Cream Pie from The Blue Owl for my column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

#45 Cottage Cheese Pie from Kitchen Parade
#44 Last-Minute Pantry Pie (this time with fresh mango and banana)
#43 Bourbon Butterscotch Pie
#42 Lemon Cream Pie
#41 Fresh Strawberry Pie from Kitchen Parade

#40 Easy Margarita Pie from Kitchen Parade for Pi Day on 3/14 &
#40 Coconut Banana Cream Pie for #PieDay Friday
#39 Lemon Meringue Pie
#38 Old-Fashioned Raisin Cream Pie
#37 Ricotta Pie with Almonds
#36 Old-Fashioned Raisin Cream Pie (my favorite in 36 weeks, recipe coming next fall!)

#35 Last-Minute Pantry Pie (with mandarin oranges, first called "No Name Pie" but definitely deserved a better name!)

#34 Out of town, tried a grocery store pie (fail-fail-fail)
#33 Out of town, brought home pie from Cooky's Cafe in Golden City, Missouri
#32 Apple Marmalade Pie
#31 Orange Meringue Pie

#30 Coconut Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade (2 pies!)

YEAR 2016
#29 Coconut Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade
#28 Gingerbread Cream Pie (recipe coming next Christmas!)
#27 Vanilla Custard Pie
#26 Chocolate Mint Cream Pie (recipe coming next Christmas!)

#25 Butterscotch Pie
#24 Cranberry Apple Pie from Kitchen Parade
#24 Four Thanksgiving Pies!
Two Honey Pumpkin Pies from A Veggie Venture &
Cranberry Apple Pie from Kitchen Parade &
Gingerbread Cream Pie
#23 Old-Fashioned Green Tomato Pie from A Veggie Venture
#22 Pecan Puff Pie (a Farm Journal pie cookbook recipe, good but not great)
#21 Mulled Cider Cream Pie (recipe still needs work)

#20 Sweet Potato Chocolate-Swirl Pie new from A Veggie Venture
#19 No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie new from A Veggie Venture
#18 Honey Pumpkin Pie from A Veggie Venture
#17 Grape Pie (recipe coming next summer!)
#16 Apple Cider Cream Pie

#15 Chocolate Cream Pie
#14 Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Kitchen Parade
#13 Lemon Meringue Pie from Kitchen Parade
#12 Dark Chocolate Cream Pie from Leite's Culinaria
#11 Fresh Plum Pie from an old Farm Journal pie cookbook (recipe coming next summer)

#10 Butterscotch Cream Pie
# 9 Fresh Strawberry Pie new from Kitchen Parade
# 8 Finnish Fruit Tart from Kitchen Parade
# 7 Fresh Peach Pie from Kitchen Parade
# 6 Blueberry Sour Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade

# 5 Best Ever Lemon Meringue Pie from Farm Journal pie cookbook
# 4 Blueberry Cheesecake Pie new from Kitchen Parade
# 3 Blueberry Cheesecake Pie new from Kitchen Parade
# 2 Mexican Coffee Ice Cream Pie from Homesick Texan
# 1 Banana Cream Pie from Kitchen Parade

Shortcuts to Pie Recipes from Fellow Pie Bakers

Dinner with Julie Espresso and Cream In Jennie's Kitchen Leite's Culinaria Pastries Like a Pro Sally's Baking Addiction Simply Recipes Taste and Tell

A Bonus: What a Sweet Gift for Pie Bakers!

My friend Elise Bauer from Simply Recipes contributed her recipes to this illustrated 2017 Pie Calendar, a great holiday gift.

© Copyright 2016 & 2017 & 2018 Kitchen Parade