Seasonal Sundays (Week 44) Pumpkin Heaven

This week, I've pulled together an entire patch of pumpkin recipes. (Can one ever have too many?) Here's the chance to turn your own kitchen into pumpkin heaven ...

Seasonal Sundays ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

I give up. Pumpkin season has arrived.

Poor apples but in fact, I relented with the first request for a pumpkin pie a bit back, much recommended, it's sweetened with honey not sugar.

And then this week, pumpkin muffins clamored for attention and when they were gone-gone by the end of the day, repeated their demand the next morning too.

And somehow, yesterday, the grandpa-grandson pumpkin carving demanded 125 pounds of pumpkins – apparently now-teenage twinzz who tower above their mother are happiest with ginormous pumpkins which tower over all but the record-breakers.

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: We're a family of pumpkin painters, not just pumpkin carvers. These little guys amuse every year ...

It's Not Politics. It's Civics.
It's Like Voting Every Day. Legally.

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights.

It's time to look up, study up and speak up. Make your voice heard!

Don't get overwhelmed. None of us have to personally change the world.


Pick one thing and put it on top of your To Do List this week. Next week, add another.

Here are my suggestions. I'll be adding to this list ...

NEXT WEEK? Suggestions Welcome.

Vote Early Word is, early voters are showing up in throngs all across the country. Voting early means voting when on your own time, when it's convenient. Who knows what might pop up by the official Election Day of November 8th?

In 2020, my dad was hot-hot-hot to vote early-early-early. He was a life-long Republican but was furious at the turn the GOP had taken and was aghast at the anti-democratic corruption of the 45th president. "I'm 94 years old," he announced. "I want to vote now." And so he did.

Life takes many turns. Vote early, as soon as you can.

For anyone who wants to more actively participate, I recommend this list of action items from Chop Wood, Carry Water and this list of places that are recommended for last-minute meaningful financial contributions from Robert Hubbell.

LAST WEEK Subscribe to a Local Newspaper My husband and I watch in dismay as our local paper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, becomes increasingly thin in local content and even other content – except sports! I counted six sports writers in a recent issue even if the entire front section had only three local news stories.

I know, I know. It's seems senseless to continue subscribing or re-subscribing if the "value" or "utility" or "usefulness" is on the decline.

But the logic is this.

Without subscribers and thus advertisers, local papers will fail or worse, get sucked up by multi-paper chains that cut local staff and fill pages with USA Today-style pablum.

And without local papers, without focus on local issues, the "bad guys" will win because nobody's watching, nobody's connecting the dots, nobody's tracking people/issues over multiple years and even decades.

Here's an example. Last spring, I went looking for information on local school board candidates. There were dozens of candidates and zero information from informed, non-partisan sources ... zero. What did I do? I gave up. Even this highly motivated voter just gave up. I still have no idea who was elected, only that local schools are under tons of pressure to ban books, bully teachers, block student rights.

PS Facebook is no substitute.

TWO WEEKS AGO Question Your Own Truth One night, the light was so pretty as the sun set, the tree tops were bright with orange. Fall had arrived!

Except ... it hadn't. It was June, early June.

Instead, the long slant of the setting sun lit up the leaves, turning them fall orange.

Wouldn't you look at this photo and agree twas taken in early autumn, just as the first leaves begin to turn color?

Just look! We can see it with our very own eyes. Of course this photo was taken during fall.

But truth isn't always black or white or for that matter, green or orange. Facts can be a little slippery. Truth can be veiled by a big lie.

More than ever, it's important for us to stay engaged, listening to other points of view, discerning not "our own" truth but the real truth.

I think of this "fall" photo every time I'm ready to jump on something that's in the news, forcing myself to question something being presented as fact, remembering that news is is history's first draft. What's the source? What's the evidence? Who has what to gain by this information? Is it a developing story?

RECOMMENDED READING How Hitler's Enablers Undid Democracy in Weimar Germany, this covers a period of world history many of us have less familiarity with than the battles and Holocaust.

THREE WEEKS AGO Make Sure Your Circle Has Registration & Voting Plans Focus on voter registration and election-day voting plans for your immediate family plus some number more. Do the research, make the calls, get the links and the forms, make sure people are registered (or know how to do it) and know when/where to vote. Follow up!

Why give focus to something so basic?

  • Because voter participation is the bedrock of the operation of our democracy. It's how we make choices about the kind of country we want for ourselves and the generations that follow.
  • Because elections are organized at a local level, where you live dictates your particular voting situation. For example, where we live, the St. Louis County Election Board conducts elections for County residents.
  • Because of the 2020 Census and re-districting, district lines may have changed. You and your extended family may live in a different district than before.
  • Especially in Red States, MAGA Republicans are hell-bent to make voting harder, different, confusing and even intimidating.
  • Your usual polling place may have changed.
  • Early voting may have been eliminated. There was no early voting for the August primary but there is for the 2022 Midterms on November 8th.
  • That means Election Day lines may be longer than customary in recent years.
  • Absentee voting may still be in place but may require a permission process well in advance.
  • In-person registration on election day may be gone.
  • ID requirements may be new. Be sure to know the rules for provisional ballots.
  • Polling places may have more "election watchers" than usual, especially in states/venues with angry 2020 election deniers.

TALK TO NEW / YOUNG VOTERS Will young people come out to vote in 2022?

We're taken to talking with young voters in the family, raising key issues and how their lives and hopes and dreams and plans will be affected for decades in a way our lives won't.

Our message? Don't let older folks like us make generational decisions for younger folks like you.

Voting is just one step, albeit an important one. Get active, get organized.

FOUR WEEKS AGO Educate Yourself on a Single Issue at a Time The news is a lot, no doubt. It's hard to keep up, we have lives to live. It's easy to look away, feeling helpless or even hopeless.

One way to counteract these feelings is to "clean your sink" or "make your bed".

Huh??? Well, sure, clean your kitchen sink and make your bed if you want but these are really metaphors for the idea that when you're feeling stuck, do ONE thing and have something to show for it.

This week, I suggest diving deep into a single issue, one that matters in your own life and those you love.

Two possibilities, straight from this week's headlines.

  • ENERGY Dig into some of the energy components of the vast, far-reaching Inflation Reduction Bill. I found this hour-long interview (from Preet Bahara's podcast) of U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Grandholm very, um, illuminating. What will make a difference in your own life, your kids lives, the lives of your community?

  • STUDENT LOANS This is a good place to start, educating yourself on how the Student Loan Forgiveness Plan (from the NYT, no paywall) will work. Suggestion: immerse yourself in it first, then consider your own view on its its fairness and impact, especially if someone in your circle relies on Fox for opinions.

  • Reproductive Choice? Book Bans? The J6 Committee Work? Pick just one thing that matters to you and dig in, become an expert in a way that works for you, for your own clarification, to speak confidently with others, to be able to refute hypocrisy, misinformation, disinformation and outright lies.

FIVE WEEKS AGO Lean On Historians & Thought Leaders for News Synthesis Learn from historians and thought leaders who are fighting for democracy each and every day. Many are publishing newsletters on a site called Substack. Nearly all have "free" versions (that's what I'm doing, so far) even if there are options for paid subscriptions. Just type in your email and hit subscribe. No spam, no ads, just thoughtful thinking from smart people attempting to help the U.S. save itself from authoritarian anti-democratic minority rule.

  • My #1 pick will always be the brilliant Heather Cox Richardson who has been writing Letters from an American nearly every single day since September 2019. For me, "Heather" (as we refer to her in this house) is a must-read. She cuts through the day's news and presents an interpretation in a calm, history-grounded voice, with an eye/ear for what will matter to historians in future. Facebook people, she also does twice-weekly talks/lectures: she's whip-smart, speaks in plain language without drama. Yes, I'm a big fan.
  • I also read Substack newsletters from Robert Hubbell (which originated as a source of hope and perspective for family and friends after the 2016 election and five years later, remains true to that mission) and Aaron Rupar (an independent journalist who describes himself as "fair but not impartial" and is not shy about taking mainstream media to task for "both sides-ism" and similar equivocation).
  • There's Joyce Vance in another Substack newsletter called Civil Discourse. She's a law professor, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Justice, a former U.S. Attorney, a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC – also a knitter and chicken keeper! The chicks and chicken show up every so often ...
  • There's also the so-familiar 90-year old Dan Rather in an aptly named Substack newsletter called Steady: and so it is, a place for what he calls "contemplation, empathy, learning and yes, a little humor when warranted".
  • Who's inspiring you? Please let me know!

SIX WEEKS AGO Learn About Relational Organizing Check out and sign up for Red Wine & Blue, suburban women on a mission relating to voting rights, reproductive choice, book bans and so much more. This week I participated in a 30-minute Great Troublemaker Training Session on Zoom that introduced relational organizing aka talking to your family and friends.

SEVEN WEEKS AGO Communicate with Lawmakers on Timely, Targeted Issues Sign up for Chop Wood, Carry Water, a 5x weekly email, each one with targeted, timely suggestions on who to call/write/text about what, including easily adaptable scripts. I lurked for a couple of weeks but now make five-ten minutes an essential part of my day.


Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins ♥, healthy pumpkin muffins that stay fresh for days. Moist and spicy with great texture.

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.

Pumpkin Bars ♥, quick & easy, filled with fall spices.

Autumn Pumpkin Bread ♥, moist, flavorful pumpkin bread, my forever-favorite recipe.

Sweet Pumpkin Seed Crumbles, a fall favorite ♥ A Veggie Venture, crunch clumps of honey-sweetened oats and pumpkin seeds, more nut brittle than granola.
  • THE RECIPE Sweet Pumpkin Seed Crumbles Crunchy clumps of honey-sweetened oats and pumpkin seeds, more nut brittle than granola.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Pumpkin Granola Lightly sweetened, gently spiced with our favorite fall spices.

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Fruit Dip, more pumpkin fun ♥ Just four ingredients and ten minutes.

Honey Pumpkin Pie ♥, sweetened with honey instead of processed sugar.

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Snickers Cookies on Sticks (or NOT) ♥ Peanut butter cookie dough baked around a mini Snickers bars. Sticks optional! Rave Reviews!

Just Updated!

Old-Fashioned Southern Brunswick Stew, another healthy recipe ♥, an old southern tradition for election gatherings, layers of different meats and favorite southern vegetables like corn, okra and lima beans.

A Veggie Venture's Recipe Box, more than 1000 vegetable recipes, all organized to quickly find just the right recipe.
    • THE COLLECTION Recipe Box Start here to find inspiration for just the right recipe.
    • ANOTHER TAKE A-Z of Vegetables Start here to discover a collection of recipes for a specific vegetable.

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, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, 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. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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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.