Seasonal Sundays (Week 03) Mid January

A quick read, healthy recipes for mid-winter plus a seasonal showcase of tomato soup recipes plus a request for help after a visit to the "fruit" store.
Seasonal Sundays ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and ideas.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays!

Hello from snowy, icy Missouri, where an unexpected but much-welcomed iced-in day means the Christmas decorations will not only will come down but get put away. Our "new year" didn't really begin until January 7th so I'm still catching up. How about you, what's on your life list this week?

In the mean time, there's dinner to plan for ...


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.

Mediterranean Eggplant Skillet ♥, quick, easy & tasty vegetarian supper, just eggplant, zucchini and tomato (fresh or canned) with a little feta stirred in.

A reader sent this eggplant recipe years ago, it's one to make year-round, very filling and satisfying. Look for plump, pretty globe eggplant at the grocery right now, thank heavens for global food distribution systems!

The Year That Will Be 2020

Just FYI, political ads are showing up on my sites. Odds are, we'll all be seeing lots of ads on lots of sites this year, mine included. Here's how online ads work in this day and age.

  • I don't pick the ads. If you see an ad that offends/bothers you, it's not "my" ad and doesn't reflect "my" viewpoint.
  • I don't even see the ads you see. The ads you see are different than the ads I see.
  • Each of us will see different ads, based on what "the Internet" knows about us.
  • I could turn off all political ads but really, I'm loathe to forgo the income.
  • It's gonna be a looooong year ...

Seasonal Showcase: Tomato Soup, Four Ways

Winter Tomato Soup ♥, homemade, where slow-roasting draws summer flavor from canned tomatoes. Six variations, one for the slow cooker.

In my world, it's snowing as I write and much of the U.S. is wet and wintry this weekend. And aren't big bowls of steaming tomato soup wonderful on a snow day?

Okay so yeah, sure, there's the open-the-can and heat-it-up tomato soup. It has its place.

But for real food? Tomato soup is a revelation.

Grilled cheese optional recommended.

Food & Culture

"Coffee first!" I insisted when my sweet but equally insistent Renaissance-man husband sat me down early yesterday morning to discuss a quote from T.S. Eliot, the St. Louis-born and Nobel-prize winning poet, essayist, playright and more.

In a long, dense mostly arcane paragraph about the decline of culture, Eliot posited in 1948:

"If we take culture seriously, we see that a people does not need merely enough to eat (even though that is more than we seem able to ensure) but a proper and particular cuisine: one symptom of the decline in culture ... is indifference to the art of preparing food."

(I know, at eight-oh-freaking-clock-in-the-morning?! What was he, my husband, not Eliot, thinking?! But hey, even early, sweet moment!)

If you're here, if you're reading, chances are good you are not indifferent to preparing food. Me either.

But how does food preparation fit into our real lives?

And I'm not sure that Eliot has it right.

Food is important, what other one thing do we do 3x per day? (Well, yeah, that but stick with me here.)

But I think most of us are trying to spend less time preparing food. (Think microwaves, Instant Pots, semi-homemade, grocery store takeout, etc.) I might make lots of our food from scratch but I still pay attention to streamlining, simplicity and so on.

And for that matter, for Pizza Friday, how much does it matter that the pizza came in a freezer box or was made from scratch? For a kid's birthday, who's going to notice if the cake was a last-second grocery store pickup or a long-belabored fancy-frosted something? Is it always about the food or is there something more important, more telling, at play? Is it always about the food?

Can freezer boxes and grocery-store cakes really be symptomatic of something as serious as the decline of culture? I might be inclined to agree but I dunno ...

Exactly how much time did Eloit spend in the kitchen? Is he the one who'll be preparing all that food he thinks is so important (let alone buying or growing the ingredients, doing all the washing up afterward)? Or does someone else doing all the food prep, presumably women, free up his precious time to think up all his big ideas?

Suddenly, Eliot's position feels not only outdated but sexist and elitist and ... definitely chauvinist.

What do you think? ♥ Is food preparation connected to a decline in overall culture?

PS After our little tête-à-tête, my husband fixed a lovely breakfast and the discussion continued over eggs and more coffee ...


How to Poach a Perfect Egg ♥, the Cook's Illustrated technique. So easy, you'll never forget!

A poached egg is a thing of beauty, yes?! They're more trouble than fried eggs but it's easier to cook poached eggs for several people.

If it were just me, poached eggs would be part of "supper" once or twice a week. They're especially nice atop a warm supper salad, tucked into an otherwise spare soup or yum, just tossed with ribbons of fresh spinach. So good!

With this recipe, you'll pay attention to a few details (the pan, the water temperature, the timer) to poach the eggs. But nothing's hard.

And hey! ♥ What's the last "thing" you mastered? Share your pride! Is there a "thing" that eludes you despite multiple tries? Share your pain!

A Big Night at the "Fruit" Store

Once upon a time, we picked up my husband's granddaughter for her birthday, dinner and a gift. "Let's go to the fruit store," she giggled from the backseat. The fruit store? Turns out, she coveted a pricey i-something device and knew Grandpa wouldn't say no.

I recalled that expensive outing when my husband and I spent our own dollar-dropping evening at the Apple store this week, a new phone for him (replacing a ten-year old phone) and gifting one another Apple watches for Christmas, a good 4-5x what we'd normally spend on one another, two people who need nothing and want for little.

Anyway! I'm the guinea pig on the watch side while he adapts to the new phone. Kinda confusing, at first, Apple!

So help out a couple of Apple Watch newbies, will you, please? ♥

  • Has anybody designed a watch face that's especially useful? Which face and what's on it?
  • Where/when do you charge it when for the safety features we most want, it should be worn virtually all the time?
  • Are there watch features you especially recommend? I'm loving the timer feature! Uh oh, does anyone else get fewer steps on the Watch than on a Fitbit?

Trending at A Veggie Venture

Swiss Chard Skillet Supper with Tomatoes, Corn, Fresh Dill & Feta, a great vegetarian supper recipe, one of the best vegetarian dishes I've made all year! Seasonal. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Healthy and delicious, no beating that combination!

Month to month, the top ten recipes at A Veggie Venture are steady and predictable. But every so often a few surprises pop up.

Here are three recipes that are gathering steam right now! The first one's on the menu this week with winter root vegetables. The second is in the fridge, a winter staple.

The third? Cabbage sprouts, which might just be an entirely new vegetable for many of us ...

Something for Supple Feet

DIY Homemade Foot Lotion ♥, take care of your feet with three easy-to-find ingredients.

Still not really into cooking since the holidays? Me either, truth be told, especially since our "big cooking events" bookended the holidays. We're still working on leftovers from the last party!

So now's a good time to focus on "cooking" that's "not food".

This lotion is made from three inexpensive Walmart-type products, way way less expensive than heavy-duty foot creams. Your feet will be soft and supple in no time ...

Coconut Pie: Too Good to Share!

Coconut Cream Pie ♥, how to move grown men to silence. Super fast to make.

Do January birthdays get the short end on cake? Not around here!

My husband's brother-in-law turned 97 this week and he got just what he wanted – his very own coconut cream pie!

Now truth be told, Oscar gets a coconut cream pie whenever his daughter visits from California, a few times a year. It's become part of the ritual, he knows it's coming! He even knows it's coming before or after his birthday – on the actual birthday, you see, he gets lots of visitors and would have to share that pie!

I made this year's birthday pie kind of late and was super-surprised, even though I make it often, how fast it was to make.

I threw My Favorite Graham Cracker Crust (except with butter not ghee) into the oven and by the time it was baked and cooled, the filling was ready too. It chilled overnight and I sent along a can of whipped cream ...

There's not a lot one can do to make a 97-year old happy. But his own pie? I'm in.

Just Updated!

Apple Yogurt Salad ♥, a winter fruit salad, just apples with Greek yogurt, tangerines, pomegranate, fresh mint and a touch of cardamon. Great for winter brunches, Christmas morning, light holiday desserts. Weight Watchers Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Gluten Free.

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, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, 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 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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