Seasonal Sundays (Week 1) Early January

It's a big moment, switching years, ditching 2020 for a fresh and soon-to-be vaccinated 2021. For January, for the year, can we live with simple, spare and spartan? Let's start with recipes, simple single-vegetable soups buttressed by hearty soups with slurpy noodles. And breakfasts, sumptuous in their very simplicity. C'mon in and look around. Ideas galore!
Seasonal Sundays ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Who knew that even a simple Christmas and New Years is a relief to leave behind? that it's energizing to move back into an [early 2021-ish] normal[-ish] life in January?

I so loved our minimalist (for us) Christmas decorations that we put up this year but am also relieved that they're not only down but boxed up for next year. We pull many/most/all art off the walls during the holidays so once the Christmas stuff is gone, I leave the walls bare for a few days, maybe a week, just to create a visual respite ... simple, spartan, spare.

And in the kitchen? This week's grocery order will be heavy on vegetables and little else, because the pantry is full of grains and lean proteins to build upon. Meals this next week? Simple, spartan, spare.

"It feels like it's getting closer," said our friend Jan last week, as we recounted the stories of all the people we know. Be safe, people, be safe.

I fear we're so anxious for life to return to normal now that vaccines are reaching arms, that we're mentally unprepared for the months, even years, it might take. If the expectation is a pre-covid normal for 2021 ... broken hearts may prevail.

Who's started to visualize about what a late-covid "normal" might look like? So far, mine includes get-to-know-you-again dinners with grandkids, morning coffee in PJs with my sister, in-person visits with my dad, friends at the kitchen table for dinner.

Who needs Paris? fancy meals out? Not me.

What's on your list? What would make life "normal" again ... even if it's simple, spartan, spare.


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.

Tuscan Vegetable Stew ♥, a year-round detox stew, quick to make. Vegan. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Happy Anniversary, A Veggie Venture!

Hard to believe, I know, but A Veggie Venture turned 15 last spring! There are thousands and thousands of food blogs now, but way back in 2005, there really were only a couple of hundred of us and we all knew one another ... the photos were universally AWFUL but twas a blissful time, all those tables from across the world, joined by a passion for food, family and friendship.

But like so many 2020 celebrations, A Veggie Venture's anniversary "party" was postponed.

The idea was to look back at A Veggie Venture's first year of cooking a vegetable in a new way every day to highlight recipes – just 15! from 365! – which remain ever so useful, all these years and recipes later.

Dedicated to A Veggie Venture's community of vegetable lovers, may I present ...

15 Favorite Vegetable Recipes That Stand the Test of Time, an anniversary collection ♥

Best Recipes of the Year for 2020

Pinto Bean Salad, another Fresh & Flexible Salad ♥ Quick to Make. Low Fat. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.

How to Cook White Rice ♥, it turns out perfectly every time without special equipment.

Made Me Think ...

  • FROM BILL GATES, so illuminating, both covid and climate These breakthroughs will make 2021 better than 2020
  • QUOTE "When I think back on the pace of scientific advances in 2020, I am stunned. Humans have never made more progress on any disease in a year than the world did on COVID-19 this year."
  • SMALL RANT Can someone in Bill Gates' circle please-please-please moderate the comments? Total spam.

  • FROM VOX, again a look forward Seven Significant Silver Linings from 2020
  • QUOTE "2020 had good news that would stand out as astonishing triumphs of human achievement in any other year. In areas ranging from public health to medicine, from poverty alleviation to food technology, there were some tremendous leaps."

  • ON A LIGHTER NOTE Guide to Canadian Cookbooks
  • QUOTE "We are more than a nation of butter tarts. We are more than poutine (which is Québécois and has been appropriated as Canadian, but that’s a whole other post). We are more than all dressed potato chips and bagged milk. Canadian food is not a monolith, nor are our recipes (or receipts, as some of us still call them)."

Digital Housekeeping #1 ... Automated Backups

January 2021 seems like the perfect time to clean out our digital closets. Anybody in? Over the years, I've found a few ways that fit into an otherwise busy life. Will something work for you, too? Look for more ideas throughout January, just one per week because who has time/energy/inclination to tackle every closet at the same time?

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT sponsored, it just works for me.

I've used iDrive for automated backup for years and years. Every night (or as often as you choose), iDrive automatically backs up files that have changed. I have had occasion to go back in and recover files, it's a little clunky but works. I especially like how iDrive offers the option of mirroring your laptop or not.

I've had great experience with support. Once I remember calling because I knew I was close to 100% of my storage plan and then whoosh, I was under 50%. Why? Because iDrive was offering 2X the storage space to new customers and doubled the storage space for existing customers. Smart! Appreciated!

For more options, see Wire Cutter's cloud backup services, I see that iDrive is one!

Oh! And I see that iDrive will also back up your phone ...

What works for you? Are you backing up your devices? Good ideas welcome!

A Journal Journey

I call it December Hindsight, November Hindsight. And today I intend to attempt a 2020 Hindsight, hmmm, is that redundant?

Here's what I mean.

A journal, my journal anyway, is a closeup view, a day by day reckoning.

But these hindsight pages are different. They look back to the few things that colored the month. More impressions than incidents. More feelings than failures. More mood than memories.


The first week in November, of course, was the election. But November's hindsight was the angst of the election, all the build-up, all the antagonism afterward.

December was all about the holidays. But December's hindsight was the ritual of turning on the lights at dusk, falling asleep and waking up to fairy lights on the giant evergreen in front, singing carols on the phone with my dad.

See the difference?

Anway ... I'm finding it quite lovely, maybe you will too?

PS My sister gifted herself, a daughter-in-love and me guided journals from Vertellis. Start when you start, move at your own pace. A very thoughtful, mindful approach, especially if your own journal efforts aren't quite working for you ...

Healthy Breakfasts: Start the Day Strong

Spinach Brownies, another easy, healthy breakfast ♥ A Veggie Venture. Fresh & Flexible. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Low Cal. Vegetarian.

How to Make a Spinach Omelet, another quick, healthy breakfast ♥ High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Budget Friendly.

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Seasonal Showcase: Simple, Spartan Soups

Quick Broccoli (or Cauliflower) Soup ♥, fast, delicious soup made with five ingredients.

Healthy Carrot Soup ♥, my cousin's famous carrot soup recipe, creamy even though it's made with skim milk, not cream. Weight Watchers Friendly. Budget Friendly. Low Carb. Rave Reviews!

Weight Watchers Zero Points Garden Vegetable Soup ♥, WW’s famous original soup, quick to make, sure to satisfy. Vegan. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Whole 30.

Seasonal Showcase: Hearty Soups ... With Slurpy Noodles!

My Chicken Noodle Soup ♥, meaty and noodle-y with a special technique to plump up just a few noodles. Low Carb. High Protein.
  • THE RECIPE My Chicken Noodle Soup The way I make it, meaty and noodle-y with just a few noodles.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Hamburger Soup A hearty soup with chunks of meat and a cornucopia of bright-colored vegetables.

Lasagna Soup with Fresh Spinach ♥, a healthy hearty soup, high protein.

Weight Watchers Spinach & Tortellini Soup, another healthy soup ♥ A Veggie Venture. WW Friendly. Low Carb. Low Fat. Easily High Protein. Great for Meal Prep.

Soups & Salads Especially for January

Seasonal Soups & Salads for February, a monthly feature ♥ A Veggie Venture


Who else loves seeing old photos pop up, quick memories from years past? Welcome to a recipe timehop ... from the first week in January, still relevant, years later.

Cabbage & Pepper Chakchoukah aka Ooga-Chaka Eggs, another healthy breakfast ♥ A savory make-ahead vegetable stew, perfect for nesting runny eggs. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Braised Collard Greens, a fine southern tradition at New Year's ♥ WW Friendly. Vegan. Low Carb. Low Fat. Gluten Free.

Steamed Vegetable Medley ♥ with a drizzling or dipping sauce. Vegan. Gluten Free.


My Top 10 Recipes are predictable, hello Weight Watchers Zero Point Food Lists and Weight Watchers Zero Points Garden Vegetable Soup. But every week, seasonal recipes catch the internet's attention and start to trend.

Ham & Beans ♥, an easy, budget-friendly one-pot supper that makes best use of a leftover ham bone. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Four Ways to Cut Brussels Sprouts depending on how you'll use them ♥ Step-by-step photos.

What's New?!

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

Just Updated!

Kitchen Parade's best recipes 2002 - present, just one per year ♥

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.

Horseradish Whipped Cream for Beef ♥, a restaurant-style touch for roast beef, steaks, other beef.

Quick Tomato Sauce for Pasta & Pizza ♥, just canned tomatoes plus pantry ingredients, ready in 20 minutes.

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, 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.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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