Seasonal Sundays: Spring Forward ... Slooowly (Week 11)

This week's time change gifts an extra hour of light to our evenings. So this week's "Seasonal Seven" recipes lean into slow cookers and oven slow-cooking so we can linger outside in the fresh spring air, knowing dinner's a-cooking inside. Will you discover a new family favorite? Fingers crossed!

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

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

As ever, thank you for welcoming me into your InBox and RSS feed reader. It's your kitchens, your lives, I conjure while writing ...

Down by the creek, our woods are bright with daffodils. A great horned owl took up residence in a nearby snag this week, undeterred by the crows but taking flight when a pair of buzzards circled ominously overhead. The grass will need mowing before Easter. I wonder, is it too early to open the summer porch? is May 1 too late to open the pool?

So yeah, it's March ... and the march to spring is unequivocal if equally unpredictable.

PS Time Change Alert! Have you changed the clocks this morning? So many clocks convert automatically these-a-days, that a week later, I'm always surprised to find one or two that are still off. It's harder to "spring forward" than to "fall back" – agreed? I'll miss the early-morning light but oh! the evening light is such an uplift!

Democracy Matters

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. None of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part. Pick ONE thing for the top of your To Do List this week.

WOW. President Biden nailed the State of the Union on Thursday. Did you catch it? It's worth watching (here on Youtube) especially if you or others in your circle are concerned about his mental acuity and physical toughness, wondering if he is up for another term. HE IS.

And persuaded or not, the President is OUR CANDIDATE. And any slippage means that the Bad Guys win. We just cannot let them win.

Because did you happen to catch the Republican response from the junior Senator from Alabama? Even Republicans wondered what in HECK was happening. It was straight out of Handmaid's Tale ... and frankly, it's the direction the right-wing Christian Nationalists and virtually all the GOP want to take the country: those will stand up to Trump are brave but few.

For more about Katie Britt's breathy, tremulous voice, be sure to read this week's Substack from Jess Piper, a Missouri organizer whose gutsy work I especially appreciate. A take-away: "As soon as Senator Katie Britt started speaking, I knew exactly who she is. She is so many of the pastor's wives and Sunday School teachers I knew growing up in an Evangelical church. Be sweet. Obey." As I say, worth the read, it's an eye-opener.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE Britt spent an inordinate amount of time blaming Biden for wrecking the "best ever" border situation left by Trump, including intimating that during a personal visit to the border, a woman confided to her that she'd been sex trafficked starting at the age of 12. Ever since the border visit, Britt has been retelling this story, over and over and over.

Thing is??? The woman Britt talked to is a sex trafficking activist and testified before Congress in 2015, describing the horrific abuse that took place in Mexico between 2004 and 2008. (More Info? Watch this from journalist and author Jonathan M Katz.)

Was Biden president 2004 - 2008. NO. Republican George W. Bush was.

Did the abuse take place in the United States? NO. It took place in various places in Mexico.

And yet Britt, this "youthful new talent" the GOP put out there is USING a woman's abuse to her own end. She is USING the woman to blame President for something that happened before he was President.

It's wrong. It's deceitful. It's misleading. It's an out and out lie. It's DISinformation, something the Republicans are spewing left and right.

Look, the situation on the US-Mexico border is both troubling and complicated. I don't pretend to understand 10% of it except to know it needs big attention. And help was on the way ...

Remember the Bi-partisan Border Funding Agreement that came from the Senate earlier this year? It would have made major strides.

Britt herself was one of the senators who wrote the bill but then voted against it! The bill passed the Senate but after Trump said "no way," the Republican Speaker of the House refused to bring it to a vote in the House.

The GOP wants to **tch about the border but refuses to do something about it.

The Words of Wise Women

  • JOYCE VANCE is a lawyer from Alabama, a former DOJ person, a current MSNBC analyst. And hey! She raises chickens! And knits non-stop! Plus she's smart as a whip and I find her perspective always intense, thoughtful and spot-on.
  • READ Her Substack was extra-intriguing after the State of the Union address on Thursday, see Let Biden Be Biden.
  • TAKEAWAY "There’s a saying about the President: Let Biden be Biden. The State of the Union address proved how true it is. This was a solid, even epic speech. Biden hit all the right points in the right way. Now it’s up to us, the voters, to carry it home."

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: Spring Forward Slooowly (Slow-Cooking in a Crockpot or the Oven)

For this week's recipes, I aimed for recipes with winter flavors and combinations that ...

  • ... cover the bases from meal prep to sides to soups to full-blown dinners and from vegetarian dinners to meaty mains
  • ... let you linger outside for the "lamb" of March, its pretty spring evenings
  • ... or scamper inside when March shows its "lion" and it's too cool or wet outdoors
No-Big-Deal Vegetable Stock for the Slow Cooker ♥ Absolutely delicious, just 4 common vegetables, seasoning.

Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots ♥, just 5 minutes prep, budget friendly, healthy and kid friendly.

Homemade Chili with Dried Beans (Slow Cooker or Slow-Cooked in the Oven) ♥ Featuring Hurst's HamBeens Slow Cooker Chili Beans.

Squash & Carrot Stew ♥, a low-calorie spice-rich vegetable stew with butternut squash and carrots. Two versions, one for the stovetop, another for a slow cooker. Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

Chicken Cacciatore, a classic Italian stew ♥ Winter comfort food slow-cooked in a tomato-wine sauce.

Minnesota Sloppy Joes ♥, sloppy joes made from scratch in the crockpot.

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

Slow Cooker & Oven Slow-Cooking Recipes ♥, supper savers, sides and more.

What the Heck Is Going On with Brown Sugar???

A spoon holding lumps of brown sugar.

For the last year/so, I've noticed that every single bag of dark brown sugar is extra-lumpy. At first, it was little tiny lumps. Now it's whole bags, turned rock solid.

The funny thing is, I buy the same product, C&H Dark Brown Sugar. And I store an open bag the same way I have for decades, right in the bag in a tin with a tight lid in a kitchen cupboard. And yes, I do bake some less but really? Not that much less.

This week, I decided to throw out a last bag and buy a new bag or two. Here's what I found at the store.

  • The C&H bags of Dark Brown Sugar? Solid as a rock, every single one of them.
  • The cheaper house brand that's not cane sugar? Fine.
  • The C&H bags of Light Brown Sugar? Soft and supple.

I don't get it. Ideas, anyone???

March: Reader Favorites

Old-Fashioned Banana Floats (also called Orange Floats) ♥ Part orange julius, part root beer float.

March: Lost Recipes

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread ♥, traditional Irish soda bread recipe except with whole wheat flour. No yeast!

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

  • Fridays During Lent - Friday Fish
  • March 10th (Sunday) - "spring forward" time change
  • March 10th (Sunday) - Academy Awards
  • March 12th - Equal Pay Day
  • March 14th (Thursday) - Three-One-Four Day, a Celebration of All Thing St. Louis (314 is our area code!)
  • March 14th (Thursday) - Pi Day
  • March 16th (Saturday) - St. Urho's Day
  • March 17th (Sunday) - St. Patrick's Day
  • March 19th (Tuesday) - First Official Day of Spring
  • March 28th (Thursday) - Baseball Opening Day!
  • March 31st - Easter (yikes! soooo early!)
  • Celebrate St. Urho's Day with the Finnish diaspora on March 16th ♥
    • IS IT FOR REAL? St. Urho's Day is celebrated on March 16th by people of Finnish heritage.
    • IS IT TO MATCH? St. Patrick's Day Why should the Irish get all the fun?!

    Easter Ideas & Recipes ♥, from Hot Cross Buns to Twice-Smoked Ham.

Seasonal Showcase: PiDay --> #PiDayFriday

#PiDayFriday, the weekly tradition ♥ It's fun, it's delicious, it's a challenge.

Pi Day comes around just once a year, #PiDayFriday every week. Which one do you suppose the pie-loving men in my life prefer?

So yeah, we have a thing about pie around here. I even made pie for (almost) 95 weeks in a row, we called it #PiDayFriday and man, what a lesson in really digging into one thing, getting good at it.

I still have sooo many fun, interesting and even unusual pies to share with you!

Fun "Green Food" for St. Patrick's Week

Sure, I'm happy to recommend the hearty, gravy-rich Irish Beef Stew and next Sunday, I'll make Corned Beef with Red Potatoes, Carrot Chunks, Cabbage Wedges & Cheese Sauce.

But this might be a good year for a little more fun, especially with kids. So how about a meal of all-green food?!

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

Spinach Pancakes ♥, light and fluffy whole-wheat pancakes with fresh spinach.
  • THE RECIPE Spinach Pancakes Whole-wheat pancakes with fresh spinach, light and fluffy.

Green Rice, turned bright green with spinach and coconut milk ♥ Vegan. Gluten Free. Budget Friendly.

Recipes for St. Patrick's Day ♥, including green food.

Looking Back ...

Veggies Forever

Pride of Erin Soup ♥ A Veggie Venture, a simple cabbage, potato and kale soup, perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

Good to Know!

DIY Substitute for Baker's Joy ♥, just three ingredients and works like a charm.

Something to Read

One Summer in Savannah was an easy, enjoyable read, despite broaching difficult subjects, sexual assault, family loyalty, family responsibility. The plot line was perhaps a bit predictable (a beautiful protagonist, a hunky love interest, Cane & Abel twins, a genius child, a huge inheritance) but I have the idea it would make for great conversation in a book club.

The book was this month's pick for Together We Read, this means "no holds & no waiting" because there are an unlimited number of digital/audio copies available if your library participates in the Libby program.

I can't recommend Libby more, I'm on the verge of quitting my $15/month Audible subscription except that, well, some books aren't on Libby; some books I know I'll listen to again and again; some long books I just don't finish in Libby's 21-day borrow time.

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!
  • What's the first sign of spring in your neck of the woods?
  • Who else is fascinated by the slow-then-super-fast progression of spring?
  • Anyone else having trouble picking "just one pie" for Pi Day?
  • Who remembers when not wearing green on 3/17 meant getting a "pinch"?! Who thinks of it any time you see green clothing in a store?
  • 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.