Seasonal Sundays (Week 50) Crazy for Cranberries

Happy December, All! What a collection of cranberr-y and Christmas-y ideas gathered just for you, all in one easy-to-scan place, a quick read, naturally, cuz you've got cookies to bake and gifts to wrap and ...

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

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

We seasonal cooks, we focus on certain colors, flavors, tastes, textures and ingredients throughout the year.

Name any Kitchen Parade recipe and I'd bet a bag of cranberries that I know the month in which it was published.

I follow hundreds of wonderful food blogs and every December am always fascinated with the progression from cranberry to peppermint to eggnog ... and when somebody pops up in July, say, with cranberries? I remember, oh yeah, they live in the southern hemisphere where it's winter.

But me, I am C-R-A-Z-Y for Cranberries so usually skip the whole peppermint and eggnog taste sensations and instead pitch up with tart cranberries well toward spring, as long as my freezer supply lasts, that is.

For me, it's not just the cranberry color, it's that sour-fruit tartness. If I could easily put my hands on sour cherries or fresh lingonberries, there'd be more fruity variety throughout the winter – but alas, no such luck, even if once I couldn't resist a ten-pound fifty-buck bucket of lightly sweetened lingonberries and would do it again in a heartbeat.

So during a season when the flavors of "butter" and "sugar" shaped into cookies rule the day, today I'd like to inspire you to grab a few extra bags of fresh cranberries. They'll keep in the fridge for a good couple of weeks, then can move to the freezer.

Random Christmas-y Ideas ...

Who Knew ...

... that Christmas is powered by ... AA batteries?! I bought a 48-pack early in the week, thinking, "Oh well. They keep." After putting up Christmas? Only a handful remain.

Oh and the pricey LED outdoor lights we invested in last year? Half had to be replaced.

Still ... sparkly lights and pretty ribbons, I do love 'em!'

Best Christmas Advice from a Kid

Years back when he was maybe eight or nine, my husband's Chicago grandson clued us in: the more ribbons the better! Maybe we "receive" with our eyes? Especially when gifts rest beneath the tree for a few weeks or days ...

So every year in tribute, I fixate on layers of color, especially for the Littles in the family. (But I'm thinking the young teens won't mind so much either ...) Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just ribbon this way and that plus a bow or two.

That Said ...

Did you notice that ribbons bring joy on both sides? But these next few weeks are so jam-packed with December-ish expectations and responsibilities on top of January-December real life. So Emily Henderson's On Preventing (Or Preparing Or Coping) With “Overwhelm” During The Holidays (And A Letter To The Universe On Behalf Of Women) really hit home.

So did a post from Cup of Jo where women nix-nayed anyone's idea of women being responsible for all the family gift-buying. "I do my family. He does his." was the overwhelming sentiment. I'm happy to pitch ideas and even pick up odd things that strike me but hey, go for it. And the same goes for gift wrapping ...

Christmas-y Music for the Kitchen

On the Ten-Things-Even-My-Good-Friends-Don't-Know list, right there in the middle is that over the years, I've built a huge collection of Christmas music and every year, look forward to switching to Christmas music throughout December.

And hey, did you hear this story on NPR? How what we know as Carol of the Bells was written 100 years ago by a Ukrainian composer? I'll never hear it again without remembering the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people whose country is being ravaged by a ... well, you know.

Anyway, here are a few favorites from my collection, 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 ...

One Favorite Christmas-y Thing

Ever since I heard about "favorite thing" gift-giving idea, I've wanted to collect a list of small things that make life just a little bit better. So here you go!

(A reminder that these are affiliate links but are for ideas and products which we've bought with our own money and use in our own home.)

This set really helps with our outdoor gatherings with Littles but is so nice looking, too, it would work well for kids rooms or playrooms at home or at gramma's ...

  • kids table & chairs – super-easy to assemble + quite sturdy + love the gender-neutral mint color + also a pretty ivory color + do wish the chairs stacked
  • extra chairs – love that you can separately order a pair of matching chairs

And NOT Just for Christmas!

Three Favorite Sandwich & Cracker Spreads ♥, quick and easy, great for meal prep, made from simple pantry ingredients.

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.

Fresh Cranberry Bars ♥, a chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar snow. No mixer required.
  • THE RECIPE Fresh Cranberry Bars A chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".
  • ANOTHER TAKE Snickerdoodle Bars Snickerdoodle flavors with the firm, chewy texture of blondies.

Cranberry Walnut Bread ♥, special for the holidays, a barely sweet yeast bread studded with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
  • THE RECIPE Cranberry Walnut Bread Special for the holidays, a barely sweet yeast bread studded with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Hot Cross Buns Sweet buns traditional for Easter.

Fresh Cranberry Cake ♥, a rustic cake that pops with fresh cranberries, best made a day ahead so perfect for potlucks and holiday gifts.
  • THE RECIPE Fresh Cranberry Cake Best made a day ahead.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Fresh Cranberry Bars A chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".

Christmas Banana Bread ♥, everyone's favorite banana bread, all dressed up for Christmas!

Cranberry Pudding with Butter Sauce ♥, a popular recipe from the 1950s and 1960s, a dense, moist cranberry cake served with a rich butter sauce.

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.

Lemon-Honey Chicken Skillet ♥, a one-pot chicken dinner with a medley of spices and vegetables.


Dang spammers. I've had to turn comments off again, thanks to spambots leaving hundreds of spam comments a day, what a scourge.

But I miss hearing from y'all!

So if you've made a recipe from Kitchen Parade or A Veggie Venture, feel free to drop a quick email via I especially love to hear about your adaptations.

Tomato Soup Vegetable Salad ♥, a retro salad updated from the 1960s. Great crunch, a real crowd pleaser.
  • FUN STORY! "Hi, so this salad was served at my baby shower when my mom was carrying me. It's the salad that we had every Thanksgiving. Sure love it with some shrimp and olives. Thanks for sharing." ~Anonymous
  • THE RECIPE Tomato Soup Vegetable Salad An old-fashioned salad makeover.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Bloody Mary Salad A jello salad with kick.

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Thanksgiving: We Can't Quit You!

We had a splendid Thanksgiving in Texas with my sister and her husband, we can't actually remember the last time we celebrated together but I have the idea (though she disagrees) that it was the year her now 30-year old son was an infant. Agreed. WAY TOO LONG.

And I learned so much, cooking with my sister! She's a great cook, super-organized, super-healthy and super-practical. I came home with three recipes I'll share soon!

She put us back on the road with turkey sandwiches (so good and so smart, the turkey and mayo mixed with a little Cranberry Salsa and wrapped between two lettuce leaves, preventing the bread from turning soggy) and then that night, we ordered carryout chicken-fried-chicken with, ahem, the requisite mashed potatoes and gravy, kinda Thanksgiving-ish, don't you agree? And once we were home and restocking the fridge, I even picked up a turkey breast on sale! More sandwiches for the win!

Anyway, here's some of what we made for Thanksgiving. What a meal!

Three Secrets for Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes ♥, showcasing three techniques from Cook's Illustrated. The good news? The techniques can be applied to your own favorite mashed potato concoction!
Cranberry Salsa ♥, raw cranberries plus an explosion of seasonal flavors for a Christmas salsa vibe. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.
  • FOR THANKSGIVING Adanna never peels the apple and used a teaspoon of ground ginger instead of a tablespoon of fresh-grated ginger. We used frozen cranberries and oh! so good all frosty and cold right at first. We followed our own advice and made a double batch. (Post not updated yet.)
  • THE RECIPE Cranberry Salsa An explosion of flavors with a Christmas vibe.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Cranberry Orange Relish with Fresh Ginger That old-time recipe with a whole orange, skin and all.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie ♥, two pies in one, unusual and familiar both at once. Love the No-Roll Oatmeal-Cookie Crust!
  • FOR THANKSGIVING Wow. What a pie. We called it "granola" and served it for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, a tradition I truly do recommend! This is a pie that travels well, both deconstructed and fully baked. This year, I used golden syrup instead of corn syrup and will do so again and again.
  • THE RECIPE Pumpkin Pecan Pie It's a two-fer! One pie, two Thanksgiving favorites.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Honey Pumpkin Pie Sweetened with honey, not processed sugar.

Just Updated!

Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce for the Slow Cooker ♥, the convenience of the slow cooker plus the sweet aroma of cranberries, fresh ginger and orange zest!

Sugared Cranberries ♥, big payoff for little effort, a rush of sweet and sour, wet and dry.
  • THE RECIPE Sugared Cranberries Just two ingredients and a few minutes of time. So festive for the holidays!
  • ANOTHER TAKE Cranberry Salsa An explosion of flavors with a Christmas vibe.

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

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

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), 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, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. 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.