Seasonal Sundays: Red, White & Blue! (Week 27)

Stock up on sparklers because this week's "Seasonal Seven" just might inspire one or two or three red, white (and blue!) celebrations during the most summery week of the year. Happy Canada Day! Happy Fourth of July! With these recipes, color is key, but I've definitely not forgotten "easy" and "delicious". You can make these now, really!

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

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Seasonal Sundays is 100% written by a real, live human, no blah-blah copycat ChatGPT AI plagiarism, thank you very much. Any awkward phrase, unclear meaning, misspelled word, mistaken fact, bad punctuation or overwrought alliteration is the clean, proud product of my own inadequacy as a wordsmith and oversights as an eagle-eyed editor. But when that human says she's grateful that you're here, reading, well, please know, she really truly 100% means it.

Canada and the U.S. both have national holidays, Canada Day and Independence Day. The symbolism is apt: the two celebration are only days apart and in 2024, fall in the same week.

Regular readers know that I grew up in a small town in Minnesota right on the Canadian border, like right on the border: the house where my sister and I grew up looks right across the Rainy River onto Ontario. In town, there's an international bridge crossing the river, American Customs on one side of the bridge, Canadian on the other. The "border" is somewhere in the middle of the river and a small, tree-filled Peace Park overlooks it all.

And we grew up in a "transnational" home: our dad was an American, our mom was Canadian (until she naturalized to become an American citizen, she wanted to vote!) and at that time, our Canadian family was a short drive away in Winnipeg.

And we didn't have a television until I was maybe eight years old: even then, there were only three stations, all broadcast from Canada, one in French. We grew up with the The Friendly Giant and Mr. Dressup, a sort of Canadian Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

The U.S. and Canada share a border that's 5500 miles (8900 kilometers!) long, the longest in the world. A huge 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S., two-thirds within 100 kilometers. Our countries haven't fought in more than 200 years.

So let's celebrate our countries' centuries-long alliance, shall we? We'll start with food!

In Praise Of ...

  • ... catching up by phone with an old boss and his wife, he changed my life in so so many ways

  • ... these sticky yellow balls to catch flies and fruit flies (affiliate link), which really do nab the little buggers and even seem to deter them. I bought the first one when we were on Pelee Island in Lake Erie for the eclipse back in April. So many people said, "Oh, you're so lucky to be here before the bugs." I figured, these things must work and for sure, they do.

  • ... removing a hydrant from a space just outside the kitchen and dining room, it was already an eyesore but the replacement would've been taller and bright orange ... be gone, ye hydrant! (ask me how I feel in a couple of months of hauling hoses across the yard)

Democracy Matters

Midway through the Trump administration, my dad sat me down for a serious conversation. "If you need to move to Canada, I'll understand."

This week, my husband asked, "How about New Brunswick? Or Spain? Or, of course, Finland?"

Oof, people. Between the power-grabbing Supreme Court decisions and the intensity of the Presidential "debate", whoah, What.A.Week, one that gets you to thinking just where to go if the U.S. blows up.

I hardly know what to think so am leaning on others to ground my own thinking. These two short essays made a difference to me. Note how these activists are NOT giving up, NOT conceding a loss four months before the election, NOT letting up and definitely NOT contemplating a move to Canada.

Chop Wood, Carry Water: "I’m not going to add much to the punditry on the [debate]—I likely had the same wrenching experience you did, and experienced the same fear and confusion afterwards. Unlike many others, however, I lack certainty about what the next steps should be. I can’t say I fall into the “withdraw NOW!” crowd; nor do I feel I belong in the “Biden must stay!” contingent. I am, frankly, torn. We all stand to lose so greatly if the wrong choice is made. Fortunately, no one is looking to me for advice. My job—and ours, if you don’t mind my saying so—is to simply keep going, whatever happens, following the lead of those who make such decisions and working to save democracy."

Pepperspectives from David Pepper (the whole piece is worthwhile but here's an excerpt): "One reason 2016 happened is that most didn’t expect it. It was unimaginable. That November, we learned painfully that it can happen. Many probably looked back and thought—if I’d known that the risk was real in 2016, I would’ve done more. But now in 2024, the risk is clear. And yes, it’s even more clear after last night. This is real. This is scary. More real than it felt for most in 2016. So with that reality much more clear, we have the opportunity to not make the mistakes of 2016 over again. Each of us can and must use every part of our footprint to save democracy. And, know that as in recent elections, this will be razor tight. And it will all come down to turnout…. …and one question: Do we (greater in numbers than the other side) care more about protecting democracy and freedom than they do about destroying both? The answer must be yes. Keep going. Do all you can!"

Extra Interesting: David Pepper is intriguing. He's run for (and lost) statewide office in Ohio. He's headed the Ohio Democratic Party. He fights to expose political corruption and limits to voting rights in Ohio. And ... he writes non-fiction about democracy and has authored five novels.

Just this week, he started publishing a new novel entitled "2025: A Novel" online using an, ahem, novel concept: each chapter takes an element of the Republican Project 2025 and imagines its impact in very real human terms.

Is it apocalyptic fiction? I fear so. It's also verrrrry readable. Here's Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3.

The Words of Wise Women

  • "All in all, a really big, big power grab day for the supreme court and an ominous sign that presidential candidates may win debates or lose debates, and that these performative network moments are not what we should focus on, because the real revolution is happening across the street." ~ Dahlia Lithwick, The Day SCOTUS Became President, very very worth listening to.

Made Me Think ...

I come from a long line of newspaper people, five and maybe six generations back. The family joke is that our blood runs black ... ink black.

So I watch the decline of local newspapers with not only worry but nostalgia. One of the family newspapers, the Warroad Pioneer, was owned in succession by my grandparents, an uncle and an aunt. When its ink ran dry in 2019, the story was featured in the New York Times, see The Last Edition: The Dying Gasp of One Local Paper.

Still, when I learned that the last big local St. Louis paper, the Post-Dispatch, increased subscription price to $155 a month, it took two seconds to decide to wipe the morning ink off our hands albeit an hour to move to a digital-only subscription. Would we still be print subscribers if the paper hadn't become such a shell of its former self, little local and state news, few local columnists. The sports coverage? Huge.

Forgive the mixed metaphors, but there's a chicken and egg thing here. The paper loses subscribers, the paper reduces expenses so it loses more subscribers and further reduces expenses.

How much is a paper worth? A lot. But for us, not in its current state, $150 a month.

Full Disclosure: I wrote a weekly column for the Post-Dispatch for some years but resigned when my elderly father came to live with us. I never once walked in the Post-Dispatch building and never once met my editor face-to-face. (It must be said, however, she was very helpful during those last few months when I started to miss deadlines.)

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: It's Red, White & Blue Week!

For this week's recipes, I aimed for recipes as sparkly as sparklers, all invoking the colors of Canadian and American celebrations of independence.

  • Red = strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, red potatoes, tomatoes
  • Blue = blueberries (naturally), blue or purple potatoes
  • White = whipped cream, white potatoes, goat cheese, feta
  • Unusually? Let's start with dessert! Cuz these aren't to be missed.
Summer Poke Cake with Strawberries & Blueberries ♥, so fresh and festive all summer long.

What's Brand-Spankin' New?!

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

Easy-Easy Hummus Salad, another Quick Supper ♥ Just a light, loose homemade hummus topped with fresh summer vegetables. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Easy-Easy Hummus Salad Another Quick Supper, just a light, loose hummus topped with chickpeas, fresh summer vegetables and feta. (PIN This)

Light & Lemony Crab Salad, another meat salad ♥ Easy, inexpensive protein.

Protein Smoothies for Two ♥ Intentionally fill a blender with 40 grams of protein and about 400 calories.

Honey-Sweet Cornbread, another family favorite ♥ Made from scratch in minutes, on the table in 35 minutes.

July: Reader Favorites

Homemade Basil Pesto ♥, extra basil flavor thanks to no cheese, mixing technique.

July: Lost Recipes

Smoked Salmon Salad ♥, a simple cold salad, smoked salmon with cucumbers and red peppers, takes just a few minutes to assemble.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

A collection of recipe ideas for Canada Day ♥

A collection of hand-selected recipes Fourth of July celebrations ♥

Looking Back ...

Soups & Salads Especially for July

Tired of the same-old salads? Check out Seasonal Soups & Salads for July, a monthly feature ♥ A Veggie Venture

Good to Know!

Pretty Ways to Serve Summer's Best Tomatoes ♥, ideas from creative food bloggers across the world.

Silly (But Fun?!) Food Holidays

The Best No-Recipe Recipe I Made This Week

Leftover Pesto + Whipped Cream Cheese = Best Toast Ever

I still remember the cream cheese and pesto appetizer that someone brought to a potluck on Prince Edward Island, way way wayyyyy back when.

Sam's Club Test Kitchen

Woof. It's been a week, again. We're still recovering from Covid, just yesterday we both slept more than 12 hours, that's NOT like us. For some days, the fridge just got more and more bare. I was definitely scrounging to put dinner on the table.

Then! I remembered that in the downstairs freezer was a bag of frozen breaded chicken bites from Sam's Club. And in the fridge was a salad bag my husband's daughter had brought over with dinner earlier the prior week.

Could it be dinner? It sure could and it was. Better yet? It's one we will definitely repeat.

The chicken went in the oven. Meanwhile, I added tomatoes to the bag salad, a definite improvement and salad freshener.

Maybe, as my Canadian Nana would say, "Hunger is the best sauce" but this was such an easy, satisfying supper, one to repeat.

I didn't love the bag of chicken bites so won't link to it here but I'm definitely going to try others, because this was a total supper-saver.

What's In Your Fridge, Pantry Freezer for Easy-Easy Last-Minute Suppers?

  • Pasta?
  • Eggs?
  • A bowl of cereal? (No judgment! Especially if there are blueberries!)
  • A piece of toast?
  • What, pray tell?

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 advice for Seasonal Sundays?
  • Just one thing that would make it more useful for you?
  • 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.