Seasonal Sundays (Week 41 Mid October)

To promote Breast Cancer Awareness, some personal news, gulp, news that too many of us share ... breast cancer.
Seasonal Sundays ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and ideas.

Is Your Mammogram Up to Date? Mine Wasn't.

Survivor Soup (Beet, Potato & Cauliflower Soup), bright pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month ♥ Weeknight Easy. Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly.

The words come hard and not without tears and a catch in my voice. But I'm going to say them "out loud" here in writing.

"I have breast cancer." Or perhaps more accurately, after a long summer of surgery and radiation treatments, "I'm recovering from breast cancer."

Here's the recipe and my breast-cancer story, Survivor Soup (Beet, Potato & Cauliflower Soup). The soup goes way back to 2005 but it too is a survivor ...

PS And please take care of your mammogram. And if yours is up to date, then check with your mom, is hers? or your sister's? or your daughter's? or your neighbor's? Ask. And if the answer is no, then ask again. It's so easy to put it off, so easy to procrastinate, believe me, I know.

Something For Supper

Picadillo (Cuban Ground Beef Skillet Supper) ♥, Cuban-style comfort food.

Is anyone else fixated on finding the very best Cubano, that's the iconic hot sandwich, just slices of ham, roast pork, pickle slices and mustard pressed between long, soft buns? I order one after the other, perhaps a trip to Miami is in order. But barring that, it's simple, homey comfort food, a one-pot supper that's on the table in no time at all with pantry ingredients.

Here's the recipe, Picadillo (Cuban Ground Beef Skillet Supper). Weight Watchers, make it even Freestyle friendlier by substituting ground chicken or turkey for the hamburger.

Something For Those Pretty Heads of Cauliflower!

Cauliflower Risotto ♥, an easy risotto with cauliflower, bacon, fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese.

Cauliflower is such a chameleon, here it mimics rice. This recipe pairs cauliflower and rice, making the usual calorie-bomb that is risotto, decidedly healthful but stil, absolutely risotto.

Cauliflower Risotto, just leave out the bacon for Meatless Monday, I often do.

Something for Meal Prep

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Grits (or Pumpkin Grits or Butternut Squash Grits) ♥, a 'skinny' pot of grits, conveniently cooked in the slow cooker with sweet potato (or pumpkin or butternut squash) and a little mik, with just a tablespoon of butter stirred in to finish.

Haha, last week I shared how I cook grits in the microwave, Microwave Green Chili Cheese Grits. But now? Get out the slow cooker!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin or Butternut Squash) Grits, we like them both, Weight Watchers, you'll especially appreciate the butternut squash version.

Something from My Pumpkin Patch

Baked Pumpkin Donuts and Donut Holes ♥, cake donuts warm with spices, coated with buttery sugar. A really special fall treat. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

These pumpkin donuts are a tradition around here. With any luck, as you read this, the 10-year old twins and I will up to our elbows in pumpkin and flour, making these. I can't share it but there's a video from last year, the two boys taking their first bites on camera. The picky eater nods his head, remembering the moment he realized that he "likes pumpkin donuts". The curious eater takes a bite and offers up obvious appreciation, "They're delicious, actually."

Baked Pumpkin Donuts & Donut Holes, fun with kids but appreciated all around the table. And you don't need a donut pan, we like the "holes" best, they're shaped in a mini muffin pan.

Oh! And the recipe includes my homemade pumpkin pie spice, it's time to make a triple or quadruple batch to use through the fall!

Not into sweet stuff? No problem. Transform your morning oatmeal with pumpkin and natural sweeteners, Creamy Pumpkin Steel-Cut Oats. It's great for meal prep, a big pot will hold throughout the week.

Trader Joe's Test Kitchen

Now full disclosure, I'm a "real food" cook, I don't often buy (or then like) the premade food at Trader Joe's or anywhere else for that matter. But I had high hopes for these two (new to me) products. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt, you might just love these or find them convenient ...

  • Butternut Squash Pizza Crust (in the frozen section) – Pretty color, just a handful of ingredients, gluten free, just 60 calories for a good-sized slice, all the right notes! But it takes almost an hour from opening the box to eating a pizza, delivery is faster! And the crust itself is kinda-sorta cardboard-ish. A bad pizza would be better.

  • Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry (in the frozen-vegetable section) – We liked this! It cooked up fast and tasted pretty good (like a 6 out of 10) especially topped with a couple of poached eggs. But the package says it yields 4-1/2 cups and we only got 2, which changes the nutrition dramatically.

Something to Organize

Why Dried Beans Won't Cook, another Quick Tip ♥, the reason why dried beans some times won't cook, how to avoid it.

Forget "spring" cleaning, here it happens in the fall, at least in the kitchen. It's a fall ritual I've come to enjoy ...

CLEANING Every morning this week, while the coffee cooks, I've been methodically removing the contents of the kitchen drawers and cupboards, one or two a day, nothing too overwhelming. The drawer/cupboard gets cleaned; the organizers washed and left to dry in the dishwasher; excess stuff moves to the Goodwill box.

PURGING And then? I throw away all of the bags of dried beans from last spring or even last fall. Why?

It's easy to forget that even dried beans have a season. The beans on the shelf today (at least in stores with high turnover) are likely this year's crop. The beans from last spring? or a year ago? They're not. And their age is the reason why, every so often, when you make chili or cook up a pot of beans, the bean just won't cook.

Why Dried Beans Won't Cook, all the ins and outs of bean cooking.

REPLENISHING It's also a good time to take inventory of your spices. What's low? What's out? Then stock up, spices go on sale during the time before the holidays, not usually everything at once but if you have a list, you'll know what you need and what you don't.

LIST-KEEPING Speaking of lists, this week I'm experimenting with using Alexa/Echo to keep track of my grocery lists. It's handy in the kitchen, ordering Alexa around, telling her what to put on what list. I think I need a spices list!

If this works, it'll make Alexa useful for three things. The first? Replacing an old-fashioned radio in the kitchen. "Alexa, play St. Louis Public Radio." The second? A kitchen timer. "Alexa, set the timer for 10 minutes."

Something That Makes Me Smile

Baseball people, here? You've maybe heard, St. Louis has the best sports fans in the country and heaven knows, generations of St. Louisans love our baseball Cardinals ... who just happen to be in the hunt this year.

My dad lives in a senior center down the road and before game time, one of the caretakers goes from room to room, switching the TVs to the game. And during the game, everybody can keep track of what's happening, the sound echoes down the long hallways.

Go Cards!

Something New

Mac n Chicken, just your best Mac n Cheese with chicken, with protein ♥ One-Pot Comfort Food. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Long-Time Family Favorite. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.

It's as easy as this. Take your best mac n cheese (yes, I'm partial to my one-pot approach to mac n cheese) and then add some cooked chicken. And then, if you like, take it one step further and stir in some cooked sweet potato, not for nutrition but for familiar color.

Here's that new recipe, Mac n Chicken.

Something(s) Updated

Fresh-Tomato Chili ♥, top all your chili bowls with fresh tomatoes! Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Slow Cooker, Oven or Stovetop.

Something from My Bookshelf

Cover of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – This book swept me away, it's the multi-generation tale of two sisters and their offspring, a harrowing look at the slave trade and its impact generations down the line. It's won awards all over the place. I intend to listen to it again. If you read this book, make notes on the family tree, it gets complicated!

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert – I waited for several weeks to get Elizabeth Gilbert's new book. But I returned it 25% in, when I just didn't feel invested in the characters. Anyone else feel differently?

Libby – Does your library use the "Libby" system? It's worth checking out! It's a way to check out digital books (which can be read on your Kindle or in the Kindle app) and audio books (I may well give up my Audible subscription, we'll see).

But what I love most about the Libby system is the practicality/flexibility of the "hold" system. I put one book after another on hold and some times, when it becomes "available soon", I'm reading something else or just don't want to take on that particular book right now. So Libby lets me put my hold on hold, without losing my place in line. So once I'm ready to to read that book, I change the hold status and voila, usually the next day, that book is mine to read/listen to. Very practical!

Text Me Back!

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail via, dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, whatever.

  • It's October. What foods are inspiring you right now?
  • Did you make something extra-good this week?
  • What're you reading? What's grabbed you on Netflix?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

Just a Reminder

I personally select everything that's mentioned here — nothing is sponsored, nothing is paid advertising. Oh and if you happen to buy something via a link to Amazon (just Amazon, no others), Kitchen Parade may earn a small commission. Zero pressure, just an FYI that's required by law and good manners. My Disclosure Promise

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.