Seasonal Sundays (Week 48) December Bucket List

Seasonal Sundays on a ... Monday? It happens, post-holiday festivities and travel. Here I look ahead for December, seven recipes on my list to "must make" in December. (No cookies! Not yet, anyway!) I hope you'll find one or two destined as "keepers" in your own favorite-recipe collections.

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

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Hey, all. Thank you for following Kitchen Parade, for checking in on these Sunday recipe collections. It means the world to be welcomed into your InBox and RSS readers and most of all, your kitchens. So thank you, thank you. And if you like this week's recipes, perhaps you'll share this newsletter with a friend or social circle? If you forward this message, others may subscribe for free right here. Thank you!

I swear, in this home, we do more last-minute carry-out during November and December than the entire rest of the year. Is it because there's so much attention on holiday meals? because each month's usual activities/responsibilities/chores remain but holiday busy-ness loads on top?

Sigh. I'm (still) recovering from Thanksgiving and it's still (barely) November and already, I'm looking forward to the respite that is January.

My two solutions?

  • Set a daily 10am reminder to ask myself, "What's Tonight's Dinner Plan?" (As I write, I'd best get this At Last! Black Bean Soup a-cookin'.)
  • Make a bucket list at the beginning of the month, recipes that just sound good. I just finished my December bucket list. What's yours?!

In Praise Of ...

  • ... My family all had so much fun with Thanksgiving stickers (good for a kids activity but they're big, so everybody wanted one glued to their shirt) and Thanksgiving headbands (fun and showy and stay on!) that I've already ordered similar ones for Christmas. Here are the Christmas stickers and one of the sets of Christmas headbands I've ordered.
  • ... unplugging, something I managed to do for eight straight days during our Thanksgiving travel including an overnight with dear friends (and their grown daughter! we think I last saw her when she was maybe six!) from my college days and a wonderful few days with my sister and her family in Texas, no wonder we returned home last night so road-weary but socially-energized!
  • ... taking the slow(er) road, at least one direction, to drive through the world-class beauty that is northwestern Arkansas, southeastern Oklahoma and the Panhandle Plains of north-central Texas. Much to our surprise, there are new roads everywhere, many not on a ten-year old GPS, not all interstate but definitely four-lane
  • ... an unexpectedly EXCELLENT hand-formed burger in Kiowa, Oklahoma in a divey-lookin' place with a few pickups parked outside, it definitely goes onto the "stop again next trip" list

SEASONAL INSPIRATION: December's Bucket List

Why a bucket list? I wrote a bucket just for myself in October, listing all the recipes that appealed for the month, then publicly for November. No surprise, I didn't make even close to all of those dishes in either month but just having the lists really helped with meal planning: for the first time in forever, I bought groceries for specific meals. It fights decision fatigue, that too-many-choices inertia. I've tried similar concepts before: picking a single cookbook, picking a single cuisine (a la Deep Mexico: Ingredient-Driven Mexican Meal Prep). Helpful, maybe?
Overnight Coffeecake ♥, easy, adaptable coffeecake recipe, mix it the night before, bake to serve hot and fresh in the morning.

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.

Spinach Pinwheels with Pears & Dried Cranberries, a festive holiday appetizer ♥

Apple Yogurt Salad ♥, a winter fruit salad, just apples with Greek yogurt, tangerines, pomegranate, fresh mint and a touch of cardamon. Great for winter brunches, Christmas morning, light holiday desserts. Weight Watchers Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Gluten Free.

Sautéed Collard Greens with Bacon, another easy side dish ♥

Christmas Chicken Salad ♥, chicken salad all dressed up for Christmas with seasonal flavors!

Elk Meatloaf ♥, also works with beef, bison, venison, turkey, the Quaker Oats recipe, totally tasty.

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.

Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar, another vegetarian supper ♥ Hearty greens tucked between layers of whole-grain bread studded with butternut squash and cheddar cheese.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

  • December 1st - Alanna's Unofficial First Day of Winter
  • December 1 - 23 - PikkuJoulu (Finnish "Little Christmas")
  • December 21st (Thursday) - Winter Solstice (Official First Day of Winter)
  • December 24th (Sunday) - Christmas Eve
  • December 25th (Monday) - Christmas Day
  • December 26th (Tuesday) - Boxing Day
  • December 31st (Sunday) - New Year's Eve
  • January 1st (Monday) - New Year's Day
  • Jan 7th (first Sunday) - Alanna's Take Down Christmas (or Else) Day
Christmas Recipes, another seasonal recipe collection ♥, special recipes for holiday baking, food gifts, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, Christmas dinner and more.

A collection of recipes for New Year's ♥

Looking Back ...

A Quick Peek Into a Thanksgiving Kitchen

We did 15, I think it was, at my sister's house in Texas, including 5 Littles, complicated time constraints and me numbed by cold medicine that kept me on my feet but not especially productive. Since we were gathering at 10am and eating at 11am and focused on fun kid-friendly activities, we opted for a less-traditional menu of turkey sandwiches plus a couple of sides and (too many!) desserts.

Our 2023 Menu
"It's Tradition: Pie for Thanksgiving Breakfast"
Pumpkin & Blueberry (from Walmart, they were quite good!)

Thanksgiving Lunch
Trader Joe's HoneyCrisp Apple Cider (so good!)

Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast (chilled & sliced)
on Slider Buns with Mayo, Mustard & Tomato

Orange & Lemon Jello Squares! (totally into these)
Baked Beans (canned but doctored with homemade BBQ sauce)
Mac n Cheese
Cornbread Stuffing
Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing)

Trade Joe's Pepita Salsa (spicy but good!)
Cranberry Salsa with Chips
Pilgrim Hat Cookies (made by the Littles :-) )
Mini Pecan Tarts (from Walmart, quite good!)
Key Lime Pie
Banana Pudding (with an extra cream cheese & sweetened condensed milk layer)
Apple-Cranberry Dump Cake

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast ♥ How to cook a breast for white meat, producing turkey stock for great turkey gravy including the giblets.
  • THIS WEEK We cooked two turkey breasts in one slow cooker the day before, sliced them for sandwiches in the morning. This worked well in one way, but I think next time I'd actually cook a whole turkey the day before and then slice it for serving on Thanksgiving. So much of the stress (for me, anyway) about cooking a turkey is timing it right with all the sides especially with a single oven ... plus dark meat! After we'd headed back to St. Louis, my sister was happy to find a container of turkey juices in the fridge to make not Saturday Soup but Sunday Soup to use up lots of leftovers but it could've gone into the freezer, too, a la How to Freeze Stock in Canning Jars.
  • THE RECIPE Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast Plus Turkey Stock and Turkey Gravy. (PIN This)

Mac n Chicken, just your best Mac n Cheese with chicken, with protein ♥ One-Pot Comfort Food. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Long-Time Family Favorite. High Protein. Great for Meal Prep. Recipe, insider tips, nutrition and Weight Watchers points included.
  • THIS WEEK I left out the chicken and topped an oven casserole version with panko-bacon crumbs but a single batch would have been enough, especially since the kids (and maybe everybody?) wanted "more cheese". I need to take another look at this recipe, especially if it's going into the oven, that means the sauce gets sucked up by the noodles.
  • THE RECIPE Mac n Chicken Just mac 'n' cheese with chicken, just mac 'n' cheese with protein.

Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing) ♥, my grandmother's recipe for sausage stuffing, just sausage, good bread, herbs and an egg-milk binding. Stuff a turkey with it or just bake in the oven.
  • THIS WEEK This is one of the few recipes that I swear, my sister and I make the same. So good!!
  • THE RECIPE Sausage Stuffing (Turkey Dressing) Our grandmother's recipe for sausage stuffing.

Cranberry Salsa ♥, raw cranberries plus an explosion of seasonal flavors for a Christmas salsa vibe. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.
  • THIS WEEK A single batch was a bit much for a smaller food processor, midway, I wished I'd done half at a time. I also used an entire bunch of fresh cilantro and it was not too much! So good!!
  • THE RECIPE Cranberry Salsa An explosion of flavors with a Christmas vibe.

Just Updated!

Slice 'n' Bake Coffee Cookies with Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans ♥ Small effort, dramatic appearance.

Something to Read

This book is for all of us who are struggling to understand the long-time conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It's a beautiful but (likely doomed) love story, think "Romeo and Juliet" and "West Side Story". I say "likely doomed" because I haven't finished All the Rivers yet and can only fear the ending.

The book was published in 2017 and is set after 9/11 but is really a book for the moment. You know how easy it it to fight over the ketchup or some small household something? Imagine all those little arguments PLUS the baggage of knowing that your lover's people aim to kill your people. IMAGINE. I.Mean.This. REALLY TRY TO IMAGINE.

The language is lyrical, it flows with compelling storytelling. The open political discussions are raw and personal, mostly it's just quietly woven into everyday small interactions. Weirdly, some moments are out-loud funny: this non-joke-remembering person learned a joke I hope to remember forever!

Much Recommended. Definitely a candidate for my own Best Book of 2023.

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.

  • Any ideas for Seasonal Sundays? Share away!
  • It's almost December. What foods are on your bucket list?
  • Did you make something extra-good this week?
  • Who's stocked up on butter?! Who's baking cookies?!
  • For those who celebrate, is there a certain moment when Christmas somehow just begins?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

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.


  1. Mary from Madison11/27/2023

    So grateful for you and the recipes you share. Have you considered roasting your turkey in a Nesco or other roaster? We have a too small oven and have found this helpful. Seasoned Greetings to you and yours!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna