Seasonal Sundays (Week 52) Christmas 2020

Hey, I know you've got cookies in the oven so this'll be quick, a Christmas-week collection of recipes, including Unusual Choices for Christmas Meals; Inspiration for an English Christmas Dinner; a few ideas for winter fruit salads; some quick 'n' easy Fun with Kids ideas; plus the usual Trending, New, Just Updated. And a new feature that for the moment I'm calling "Made Me Think".
Seasonal Sundays ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

For Christian believers, Christmas is already a time of hope and promise. But in 2020? With the first vaccines being distributed and injected?

HOPE is the hallmark of Christmas 2020. HOPE has us wondering when we'll get our own injections. HOPE has us newly committed to masking and social distancing. HOPE has us girding to stay strong and resilient – especially after a twelve-year old twin grandson exhorted to his grandfather this week, "Hang in there, PopPop." HOPE has us fantasizing about travel destinations. HOPE already knows the day I see my elderly father in person again, there will be lots of tears.

But as long-time reader / follower GreenGrannie wrote this week, HOPE isn't a substitute for forgoing traditional holiday gatherings. Instead, sing along ...

"Someday soon we will all be together
If the fates allow.
Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now."

Merry Christmas, All ... Merry Christmas.


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.

Cranberry Linzer Tart ♥, an impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust. No rolling!
  • THE RECIPE Cranberry Linzer Tart An impressive European fruit tart, made easy with an almond press-in crust.

Music for the Kitchen

I finally got organized – again, for the umpteenth time – using technology to play my own huge collection of Christmas music.

Spotify and the like? Not for me. I want MY music not random/sponsored selections. One of the few things I regret giving up when my husband and I merged households? A CD player that held 300 CDs. Yeah, three hundred, all at once! Organization was clunky but once done, all my Christmas music on shuffle would play for d-a-y-s.

Here are a few favorites, not your usual fare, I think. Hearing these for the first time each year, it's like reconnecting with old friend. Please note, all these selections are affiliate links, here's My Disclosure Promise.

And hey, any recommendations? My "buy now" finger is primed ...

Out of the Ordinary Christmas Choices for an Extraordinary Year

Lazy Man's Ciopinno ♥, a simple but celebration-worthy stew packed with fresh fish and fresh shrimp in a light tomato-y broth. Low Carb. High Protein. Very Weight Watchers Friendly.

Celebration Salad (Maple-Roasted Carrots with Arugula, Dill, Cranberry Vinaigrette, Pomegranate and Glazed Pecans) ♥, an exultant platter of vegan texture, color, flavor and mood. Meatless Monday. Gluten Free.

Chicken Cacciatore ♥, the classic Italian dish, often called Hunter's Stew. Chicken in a wine-savory tomato sauce, one of my very oldest recipes.

An English Christmas Dinner

Perfectly Cooked Roast Beef ♥, a simple easy-to-remember formula to perfectly cook a beef roast, whether rare to medium rare, medium to well done.

Yorkshire Pudding, light and tender ♥ No traditional English Christmas dinner is complete without what Americans call 'popovers'!

Christmas Trifle ♥, a show-stopping English trifle, my family's traditional dessert for Christmas dinner.

Fun with Kids

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

Homemade Caramel Corn ♥, made in the microwave in a paper bag so no mess, no fuss. Fun for kids!

Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter ♥ Use your favorite raw and blanched vegetables and creativity and wait for the compliments!

Winter Fruit

Winter Fruit Salad ♥, a fruit salad for the months when fresh fruit is scarce, a combination of fresh, frozen and canned fruit, brightened with lemon zest and Grand Marnier.

Mexican Fruit Salad ♥, a light and simple fruit salad with a surprising mix of spices and fruits.

Spinach Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette, Fresh Fruit & Maple-Glazed Pecans ♥, a big dinner salad, fresh and green with a rainbow of fruit and g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s Maple-Glazed Pecans, all lightly dressed in a Fruity Vinaigrette.

Made Me Think ...

THREE NICE THINGS Or sure, Five Nice Things, an idea from Cup of Jo. It's a variation on the High-Low my sister and her husband have long practiced (and my husband and I started up again before Thanksgiving) and gratitude conversations.

And yesterday I started "Three Nice Things" with my dad, that seems plenty for someone who's 93-3/4 and confined to a small room, albeit one that just this week cheered up considerably thanks to this half / corner Christmas tree from Wayfair. He's been grumbly and upset for a couple of weeks but this morning, quickly listed three nice things from yesterday. No Paris trips! No hugs! But three nice things in a day. I'm loving my own mental and Notes list ...

VACCINE DEVELOPMENT For all of us who are on alert that the Covid-19 vaccines are coming out of the pipeline extraordinarily quickly, this episode from Fresh Air provides a detailed description and how fast development may well be the norm from here on, thanks to scientific advancements.

Another bittersweet reason? The virus is so widespread in the U.S., testing happens way more easily: more subjects. In China and elsewhere that have tackled the virus straight on? Testing is more difficult if not impossible.

RECIPE WRITING CONVENTIONS Really, recipe writers?

You know how Kitchen Parade and A Veggie Venture recipes include time information, both "hands-on time" and "time to table" and when appropriate, information like "chill time" or "rise time"?

Call me shocked but this week I learned that the "official way" is to ignore all prep time.

If you need to cut up a butternut squash, say, which takes about 10 minutes, magazine/cookbook recipes ignore that. It presumes, by magic! that the squash is ready and waiting, all cut up and ready to go. I don't know about yours but my kitchen lacks such magical powers. So I do it like this How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers and include the prep time.


That big crashing sound you keep hearing about coming out of St. Louis? That's me, the needle-averse Alanna who's triggered into a dead faint by the endless images of needles jabbing upper arms.

Anyone else? Just writing about it makes my hands sweat and my head begin to get woozy ...

THUD. There I go again.


My Top 10 Recipes are predictable, hello Ham 101: What to Know Before Buying a Ham and (Sloooow) Baked Potatoes (How Long to Bake a Baked Potato). But every week, seasonal recipes catch the internet's attention and start to trend.

How to Make Swedish Rye Bread in a Bread Machine or By Hand ♥, the traditional recipe, slightly sweet, bright with orange, anise and caraway. Recipes, many insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.

What's New?!

Finnish Glögi, Red Mulled Wine ♥, served hot in Nordic countries during winter.

Fast Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, another basic vegetable cooking technique ♥

Just Updated!

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus or other Fresh Summer Vegetables, another Quick Supper ♥, just shrimp and your choices of vegetables tossed in an addictive sweet 'n' sour sauce. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

Greek Greens, how to hold dark leafy greens for later, another simple technique ♥ Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Great for Meal Prep. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Don't Be a Stranger!

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, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, 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.

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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.