Seasonal Sundays (Week 51 Mid December)

May we talk about family holiday traditions? Plus this week, a seasonal showcase of shortbread plus recipes and ideas for these often-hectic last few days before Christmas.
Seasonal Sundays ♥, easy December recipes plus a showcase of shortbread recipes and holiday ideas for home and life.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays!

Are you feeling "Christmasy"? ♥ It's not always an easy time of year and oh my, don't the expectations reach starry-sky high? Here's wishing you the spirit you seek, whatever that might be, for you.

But if you are feeling "Christmasy," then go ahead, wow, revel in it! At least that's what I'm telling myself this year when the thought of this time before, during and after Christmas is one of .... let's call it contentment.

Our (more) minimalist Christmas decorations are simple but festive, more quiet voices in the background than raucous carols blaring from speakers. The gifts are mostly settled if to-date unwrapped. I'm not even stressed that our time for Christmas preparations is protracted, first by a couple of big non-holiday family events, soon by impending weather that bodes well for cookie-baking and card-writing but little else.

Because oh well. Christmas shall come, the Child shall be born, shepherds shall watch and the Star shall shine, one way or another. What's done is done and what's not is not and good sleep belongs high on the To-Do list. And a good salad too, This Year, Let's Give Salads with Abandon.

My thoughts this week turn to Big-T and small-t traditions, keeping them, creating them, passing them along, investing in our own and those important to others. Food traditions, to be sure. But small moments too.

This week my favorite "small moments" were shared with my father (all 93 and three-quarters years old) who lives in a care center down the road a ways. We've been setting up shop in a sunny room there at side-by-side tables, one for his Christmas cards, another for my mine/my husband's. It's slow-going for Dad, penning hard-fought sentences. Next door? The daily music hour with local musicians, no raucous carols there, thank you very much. With any luck, this card-writing is a new tradition ...

What traditions are on your list? ♥ I'd love to hear ...


Pick One is for those of us overwhelmed by life's unending choices. If that resonates, then check out this one recipe and then call it a day. It's one that I think could make the most difference, the one I hope will become a regular in your kitchen, as it is in mine.

Gingerbread Pudding Cake ♥, an old-fashioned recipe, magical layers of cake and pudding!

You know those chocolate pudding cakes, the ones with pudding on the bottom and cake on top? Well this is that ... except, you know, s-w-o-o-n, gingerbread pudding on the bottom and gingerbread on top. It's not yet tradition here but I'm working on it! Christmas Eve? Yes, I think so!

Something for Supper

Hoisin & Honey Pork Tenderloin with Butter-Simmered Carrots Roasted, another Quick Supper ♥, topped with a quick sauce of hoisin, soy sauce and honey and served with extra-flavorful, healthy carrots.

I've lapsed in the meal-prep department the last while and come supper time, do I ever feel the pain. No salad dressing, no bread, not even any quinoa.

That means cooking dinner, start to finish, from scratch. You too? Some ideas ...

Family Traditions

A Birthday Cake for Jesus ♥, a sweet, simple way of keeping the spirit of Christmas for young children. No baking, no recipe required.

Littles in your family? Here's a lovely family tradition on Christmas Eve or heavens, any other night before or after Christmas.

And for once, it's not about the cake.

Quick Bites: Holiday Appetizers

Spinach Pinwheels with Pears & Dried Cranberries, a festive holiday appetizer ♥

Does anybody have their act together with quick appetizers? Please do-do-do tell me how you do that! ♥

Let the Cookie Baking Begin?

No-Roll Christmas Sugar Cookies ♥, quick and easy, chewy and buttery, colorful and festive. Tastes just like the very best sugar cookies, without the fuss and mess of rolling.

Who's up to their elbows in flour and sugar?! ♥ What're you baking? Do you start with the old favorites or get tempted by new ideas?

Once I buy butter (today!), I'm itching to heat up the oven. Here's what I've got my eye on this year.

Seasonal Showcase: Shortbread!

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies ♥, a simple chocolate cookie, tender and crisp, barely sweet.

Last year, my dad was in the hospital twice during the ten days before Christmas: his condition wasn't dire but left little energy for cookie-baking. The one cookie I baked that year? Shortbread.

For years, I relied on my sister's shortbread to arrive in the mail: hers was just better.

Then she gave me a lesson. The primary technique? "Don't over think it." Ha. As if that's possible. Today, I think, she and I are each baking shortbread – in kitchens 700 miles apart but united by tradition.

Something New: Seasonal Granola

Gingerbread Granola ♥, granola all dressed up for Christmas with orange and molasses plus special spices. Lower Sugar, Bigger Flavor. Vegan. Gluten Free. Great for Meal Prep & Homemade Food Gifts.

Hello, granola lovers!

And sure, it can be served in bowls for breakfast. But I think of granola not so much as "cereal" but "topping. For Creamy Oatmeal. For yogurt. For ice cream.

More Vegetables from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Mashed Sweet Potatoes product review ♥ A Veggie Venture. Weight Watchers Friendly (Purple Plan). Low Fat & Filling. Gluten Free.

Another good product from Trader Joe's, this one will be of special interest to Weight Watchers people following the new purple plan. The ingredient list? Sweet Potatoes. Nothing more!

Just Updated!

Savory Roasted Pecans, a great last-minute appetizer or hostess gift ♥, just pecan halves roasted with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and savory spices.

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, launch a message in a bottle, whatever.

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.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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