Kitchen Parade Extra: Caramel Corn ♥

Who else is itching to get into the kitchen for fruitcake, Christmas cookies, holiday candies, all the wonders of holiday baking? I can hardly wait!

This recipe for caramel corn (and corn is a even vegetable, yes?!) is great in the interim, satisfying both a sweet tooth and a baking binge. The caramel corn is made in the microwave with nothing more than a few ingredients and a paper bag -- and some shake-it-up fun!

It's from a 2002 Kitchen Parade column, published today online for the first time. So here it is, my recipe for homemade caramel corn.

And because I'm expecting a houseful, already I'm planning menus and stocking the freezer, some times testing new recipes, other times turning to long-time family favorite recipes already published at, especially all the soup recipes and wintry comfort food recipes.

SO WHAT IS KITCHEN PARADE, EXACTLY? Kitchen Parade is the food column that my Mom started writing for our family newspaper when I was a baby. Today …

Spaghetti Squash Cooked Whole ♥

How to cook a spaghetti squash whole. Drop-Dead Easy + no more semi-dangerous attempts to cut through a whole squash! Weight Watchers friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Okay, I finally get it. Every time I cook spaghetti squash, no matter how, I'm unimpressed by the taste. Sure, it is easy to cook. Sure, it has virtually no calories. But why waste one's energy on food with no taste? But my sister likes spaghetti squash, so she's always puzzled by my reaction. Three times now, she's repeated, "I just cook it for the noodles." Oh, right!

Here's the deal: cook spaghetti squash and then put it under something, just like noodles or rice or potatoes. That makes it a virtually calorie-free, carb-free starch. Get flavor from what's on top, not the spaghetti squash itself. Sisters are smart!

When Adanna mentioned she'd cooked a whole spaghetti squash with great success, this time I heard her th…

Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup Recipe ♥

Hearty lentil soup, slow cooked right in the oven at a low heat. A great option for anyone who doesn't have a slow cooker or isn't happy with the results of a slow cooker. (That would be me, too often.)
~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~
2007 Original: Does this soup look worth trading, say, for apple pie? That was the deal, a piece of American Apple Pie for the recipe for this oven-cooked lentil soup, all in fun, of course, since the recipe holder (hi, Rass!) was getting pie anyway and the pie-maker (me) often swaps recipes with Rass and his wife, dear family friends for more than 50 years.

And Rass' lentil soup is excellent! It's meaty and full of rich flavors. And it cooks by itself in the oven, no worries, for a perfect five hours. What comes out is perfectly cooked, hot and hearty, steamy and spicy, utterly delicious. It's perfect for cold winter days, a definite keeper.

2015 Update: Wow. So yeah, this is great lentil soup. I m…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Cranberry Apple Crisp ♥

Hello from cold and snowy (and glorious) northern Minnesota where on Thanksgiving Day, the dawn temperature was about zero (yes, Fahrenheit) and ice diamonds fell from clearwater blue skies much of the day. Today, soft snow began to fall about noon, especially magical as people gathered to sing carols and light the town Christmas tree. It's no wonder I've got winter on the mind, you'll see the evidence in this week's recipe in Kitchen Parade for Cranberry Apple Crisp which also makes up in 'diet', 'topping' and 'crumb pie' versions. It's a lovely combination of sweet and tart, a wintry take on fall's favorite.

SO WHAT IS KITCHEN PARADE, EXACTLY? Kitchen Parade is the food column that my Mom started writing for our family newspaper when I was a baby. Today it's published in my hometown newspapers in suburban St. Louis and features 'fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences'. Want to know …

Kitchen Parade Extra: Squash Puff ♥

"How are you?" Yesterday, at church in my hometown in northern Minnesota, Pastor Rosanna suggested that this is a good week to answer something other than the customary "Fine", suggesting "Grateful". Today, I'm sitting in a small coffee shop (thank you to Linda from the Smiling Moon, to whom I'm much grateful for WiFi!) to post this and just heard someone just-arrived for Thanksgiving give a local a big hug. I didn't hear his question, but did hear her laughing answer, "Grateful."

And so I am, and so, I hope, are you. Only a few more days, now, til Thanksgiving. I love imagining your kitchens all abustle, giblets simmering on the stove, the frig spilling over with pre-Thanksgiving ingredients, busy-busy-busy.

Today I republish my Thanksgiving column from 2005. There's a recipe, yes, for squash puff, a long-time family favorite. But I hope the accompanying essay creates a moment of quiet reflection, of gratitude, in your busy-ness…

Brussels Sprouts with Maple & Walnut Vinaigrette ♥

Today's new Thanksgiving vegetable recipe: Fresh Brussels sprouts gently cooked and dressed in a simple vinaigrette, either a 'rich' vinaigrette for special occasions or a 'light' vinaigrette for every day.
Don't let me whine, but if there's one thing wrong with Thanksgiving vegetables, it's that so many recipes are laden with butter and cream and cheese and bacon and aloy! sugar. This means that if there are several vegetables on the table, they all sort of taste the same: rich and indulgent.

So I always like to make sure that there's at least one vegetable on the table that is spare and simple and yet totally full of flavor.

These Brussels sprouts are a perfect candidate, dressed in a simple vinaigrette with lovely flavors.
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 8 (big servings, likely 16 for big Thanksgiving meals)
Salted water
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and Xd


Boozy Baked Celery ♥

[A warm welcome to all who are visiting A Veggie Venture for the first time! In November, it's all Thanksgiving vegetables, adding new recipes to build this year's collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. But don't worry, in December and especially January, A Veggie Venture will return to its usual vegetable recipes, fast, low-calorie, easy to put on the table.]

Aii, how butter, cream and cheese turn prosaic celery into pure poetry! As it bakes, the kitchen fills the luscious aroma of sherry. Noses lift into the air, "What is that in the oven?"

It's ribs of celery in a creamy white sauce imbued with the essence of both celery and sherry (or brandy or maybe an anise-flavored liqueur like Sambuca?) and then topped with Parmesan. And oh my -- it is delicious.

Darn those celery strings! Next time I will definitely strip the strings off the celery ribs before braising them.The inspiring recipe calls for a whole stalk (yes a stalk, the whole big th…