Seasonal Sundays (Week 52) Almost ... Christmas

Christmas itself is marked by each family's own traditions, so hey, maybe you'll join me for exploring the idea of "Christmas Adam" – that's the day before Christmas, um, Eve – when it's possible to mix things up and do something different? Ideas follow ...

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

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Why Christmas Adam?

Once I started celebrating birthdays again (hey! isn't everybody like 31 for 19 years?!), I fell hard for "birthday eve" and "birthday boxing day" on either side of birthdays.

So no surprise, when "Christmas Adam" lit up, after taking a sec or two to figure out the humor in "Adam and Eve" significance, I was all in.

Because Christmas itself is so much about tradition, even new ones fostered during the pandemic, but still, all about doing mostly the same things, cooking the same foods, following the same special routines, year after year. For sure, Christmas traditions are wonderful!

But ... Christmas Adam? Especially when it falls on a Friday? It's the chance to experiment with something new and fun and cozy and maybe even something brand-new or something we don't make enough time for otherwise or ...

So today I'm sharing some Christmas Adam jumping off points, definitely nothing fixed, more like a few sparks looking to alight.

And just like the menu is a jumping off point, so is the date. The something new doesn't have to be Christmas Adam on December 23rd.

What about a Solstice Dinner on Wednesday, December 21? or a Boxing Day something on December 26th? or something midweek between Christmas and New Year's? or maybe save the idea for next year?


In Praise of Time-Shifting

And speaking of what my family calls time-shifting ... I have the idea that many of us are going to experience holiday interruptions this year, as people go down with the flu, RSV, Covid and colds that just won't quit, cough-cough, snuffle-snuffle.

It's life in 2022, lots of damn-it-everything-is-back-to-normal thinking but more than plenty real-life reality. (Dang, no cookie decorating with grandkids today ... and is it even possible for eight people to be well on Wednesday? I live in hope ...)

So consider time-shifting.

Can "Christmas Eve" or "Christmas Day" be shifted by a few days? You bet.

We did it for years with my folks, my sister and her family and nobody but nobody remembers that some years, we celebrated Christmas Eve on December 29th or January 2 ...

Here's how: Just pick your own dates, then forget the actual dates.

Work toward the selected dates ignoring the actual calendar. If you always the star on the top of the tree three days before, do that, using the new date.

And once you decide that Christmas Eve is December 29th this year, wake up on the morning of the 29th and make it Christmas Eve, whatever you'd normally do. And that night? Yes, Santa will come! And the next morning, yes, gather round the tree ... it really is Christmas, whatever the calendar says.

Time-shifting works, it really works!

PS Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! I've long been so curious about these celebrations and hope to someday, maybe get some sense up close and personal ...

About the Photo By Popular Request, a Little Insight into the Top Image: Three years ago this week, I spent many quiet moments in a stained-glass lined hospital chapel, giving thanks for the surgeon, the medical staff, the nurses, the technology advances that allowed my husband to continue his life "even better" after a heart valve replacement rather than open-heart surgery. Life came full circle when the same heart surgeon performed emergency surgery on a young family member last week ...

Follow the Star ...

Year-End Calendar Notes

By Grade Three, We All Know That ... ... an hour has 60 minutes, a day has 24 hours, a week has seven days, a month has (it's complicated), a year has 52 weeks, etc etc etc.

But Wait! The Calendar Goddesses decided that 2022 has not just 52 but 53 weeks. So look for one last Seasonal Sunday in 2022, Week 53, that's next week.

Seasonal Sundays Arrive on ... Monday Since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, look for that Week 53 edition on Monday, December 26th aka Boxing Day. New Year's Day also falls on a Sunday but Sunday delivery it stays.

New Post Time? Beginning in 2023 , I'm considering scheduling new recipes and Seasonal Sundays for 3am. It's weird but I have a couple of favorite blogs that post then and when I can't sleep in the middle of the night, well, there they are. Thoughts???

Cookbook Gift Ideas

For the food lovers in your gift-giving circle, cookbooks are a great choice. May I recommend two new this year?

  • Smitten Kitchen Keepers by the inimitable Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. The library waitlist for Deb's new much-awaited cookbook moved fast. So when I downloaded and made two things on the first day (the Bodega Egg & Cheese Sandwich, a total keeper, have now made it 3x) and the Cheddar-Pepper Biscuits (love the stacking technique and intend to see how it works for on my own biscuit recipes, can Mom's Perfect Biscuits be even-more perfect?! I think so!), off to Amazon I went to buy a copy.
  • Hmmm. It does have a sort of city vibe, not surprising since Deb and her family live in New York City. It also has a summer-y side, this happens too, when a cookbook writer lives in the South or develops the recipes during the warmer months.
  • On the plus side, for anyone who does digital cookbooks, this book has been constructed with that in mind, it's really easy to navigate, a rarity. Way to go, Deb.

  • The World in a Skillet from Milk Street, Christopher Kimball's successor to Cook's Illustrated. Now honestly, I haven't followed a single recipe from here but a half dozen times, I've looked at a recipe and thought, "Oh, that'll be dinner. I'll just use ..." and completely turned the recipe upside down with ingredients already on hand. I love the layout here, Done in One (one-hour dinners) + Three-Quarter Time (45 minutes) + Quick Step (30 minutes) + Skillet Sides (cuz apparently we cooks struggle for sides) + One-Pan Pastas + Hearty Grains + Stir Fries + Pan Roasts & Bakes + Skillet Slices & Sandwiches. Plus, excellent, the index is really well done by ingredient.

  • COOKBOOKS STACKING UP? I hear you. It makes me wonder if a cookbook swap might be in order, kinda like a cookie swap, maybe with neighbors, a group of friends, etc.

Made Me Think ...

  • Putting the Poetry Back in Christmas (no paywall) from Anglican priest Tish Harrison, whose writing always makes me think. Here's a sample: "Advent is meant to be to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. It’s always been the wisdom of the church to have a fast before a feast, to have this time of holding back and restraint so that you really appreciate and understand the reasons for the joy and the feasting when it comes."

More Christmas-y Music for the Kitchen & Fireside

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. Every year, I look forward to switching to Christmas music throughout December. Here are a few favorites from my collection.

Please note, all these selections are affiliate links, here's My Disclosure Promise. And hey, any recommendations? My "buy now" finger is primed ...

This week, I'm featuring Christmas albums on the quiet side, perfect for background music while WFH, moments of solitude late at night, even for those peaceful moments before the pandemonium of Christmas morning.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: Seven Ideas for a Festive "Christmas Adam""

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.
  • IDEA This is almost completely make-ahead and makes for one special meal. Add some good bread and a salad and you're done. Or ... if you're feeling ambitious, maybe use ciopinno as the jumping-off point for an Italian Seven Fishes celebration? Someday I will, I really will.
  • THE RECIPE Lazy Man's Ciopinno A simple but celebration-worthy stew.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Oyster Stew Fresh oysters in a milky broth.

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.

Finnish Meatballs ♥, light and tender meatballs, draped in a cream sauce.
  • IDEA Find a little holiday hygge with food from another culture, here, lean into Finnish or other Scandinavian foods. Then maybe watch JouluTarina (The Christmas Story) (affiliate link), the story of how Santa came to be Santa. This version is dubbed in English so easier for kids.
  • THE RECIPE Finnish Meatballs Light and flavorful meatballs, perfect for make-ahead entertaining.
  • ANOTHER TRADITION Homemade Swedish Potato Sausage A picture essay of a grandmother passing along a family recipe.
  • & ANOTHER How to Make Norwegian Lefse Video by expert lefse maker LeAnne Kruger.

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

Make Tonight a Pancake Night ♥ Move over Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday!
  • THE IDEA Pancakes (or waffles?) for supper! I'd spice 'em up with gingerbread and add a scoop of ice cream. Now that's got tradition written all over it.
  • THE CONCEPT Make Tonight a Pancake Night Move over Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday.
  • AND ANOTHER #PieDayFriday Because good pie deserves more than one day a year.

Turkey Wild Rice Casserole ♥, my long-time go-to wild rice casserole, perfect with after-Thanksgiving leftover turkey.
  • THE IDEA Nothing like a big ol' casserole for a cozy evening in. Surely you have a recipe your family loves? If not, let me suggest mine. It's extra-good with smoked chicken and in a recent 1.5X batch, I added a seasonal "vegetable hash" from Trader Joe's with mini bites of butternut squash, celery, etc. So good. (Post not yet updated with these notes but they're highly recommended.) Methinks my recipe box my life needs another really good casserole.
  • THE RECIPE Turkey Wild Rice Casserole A festive make-ahead hot dish.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Afghan Chicken & Rice Casserole (Kabeli Palau) Unusual, amazing combination of ingredients.

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.

Big Fat Chewy Molasses Cookies ♥ Mix and bake in one hour!

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week.

Graham Cracker Toffee ♥ Quick & easy, just thin layers of homade toffee, chocolate, nuts. Addictive? Maybe!
  • THIS WEEK It's been soup and sandwiches for supper all week because my kitchen has been a cookie-baking machine. This was my husband's favorite! "That chocolate one that's all broken up into pieces," he describes.
  • THE RECIPE Graham Cracker Toffee Quick, easy, addictive!
  • ANOTHER TAKE Homemade Microwave Caramel Corn No mess, no fuss in a paper bag.

How to Steam Eggs ♥ Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked eggs at the same time.
  • THIS WEEK But a baker's gotta eat, right, even between cookie timers?
  • THE SIMPLE TECHNIQUE How to Steam Eggs Simple technique for soft-cooked and hard-cooked both at once.
  • ANOTHER SIMPLE TECHNIQUE How to Poach a Perfect Egg Step-by-step using Cook's Illustrated technique.

Refrigerator Pickled Beets ♥, made with canned beets or fresh roasted beets, no canning required, keep for weeks in the fridge. Vegan. Low Sugar. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Just Updated!

Make-Ahead Bran Muffin Batter ♥, mix now, bake in small batches later, including a single microwave bran muffin in a mug.

Elk Meatloaf ♥, also works with beef, bison, venison, turkey, the Quaker Oats recipe, totally tasty.
  • THE RECIPE Elk Meatloaf Adapted from the easy Quaker Oats meatloaf with ground beef, elk, bison, venison or even turkey.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Cast Iron Meatloaf My go-to recipe for meatloaf.

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.

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

Holiday Fruit & Yogurt Parfait ♥, beautiful layers of cranberry, applesauce and pineapple surrounded by kiwi slices.

Something to Read

The Last White Man This is a short but thought-provoking book. What if you woke up and found your skin another color? Would you (your family, your friends) recognize yourself? And what then happens to the world when others experience the same change? And what happens when everyone has the same skin color? Is there something that still gives away our "birth color"? This is a fascinating exploration, one to bring up at the table.

THE BOOK The Last White Man (affiliate link) by Mohsin Hamid

Demon Copperhead Wow. What a voice, this Demon. Within the first few minutes of listening, I was glad that the audio book is long, more than 20 hours. I'm now halfway in and am so glad there's yet a long way to go!

I loved Barbara Kingsolver's early books with a passion but haven't loved her recent work since 1998's The Poisonwood Bible. Demon is a tour de force.

THE BOOK Demon Copperhead (affiliate link) by Barbara Kingsolver

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.

© 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.