Sugar Dish Me

"if you can read, you can cook" -my momma

Posts Tagged ‘Holiday

Sugar Dish Me Moved!!

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So… by some default of my own (because i am the complete opposite of techno-savvy), some of – actually A GOOD CHUNK of – my traffic keeps landing here at

And I’ve made SOOOOOOOO many new things since those Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins.

I moved Sugar Dish Me and it would make me so so happy if you’d make the jump with me (if you haven’t already).

To see allllll the new goodies CLICK THIS LINK!!!!

And when you get there you can subscribe at the right-hand side of the page.

Here is a quick look at a few of the things you’ve been missing (you can click the photos for the recipes)…

If you’re already following at the new site THANK YOU!!! I appreciate you so much! I really truly do.

And if you’re new here, I look forward to hearing from you!!

Until then…



Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

November 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

White Nectarine Cobbler

with 23 comments

white nectarine and apple cobblerIt’s Labor Day!

Let’s not work.

My little boys are still sleeping and I’m curled up on my sofa, bare feet tucked beneath me, coffee in one hand, typing with the other. Chad tried to work this morning. He got out of bed, donned that familiar uniform, laced up his work boots, and headed out the door. Thirty minutes later he returned, his efforts foiled by all the coworkers that decided NOT to work on Labor Day. He’s currently underneath his old truck, bolting, or un-bolting, or whatever happens when he goes out there to be elbow-deep in all things greasy and mechanical. That is Chad’s version of not working.

Mine includes this couch for at least another half hour, another cup of coffee (or two), and a blanket across my knees. I might load a book onto my nook. I could use a good new read. Any suggestions?

I even plotted my workout schedule to yield a break today. There are no sports bras or running sneakers in this Monday’s future.

how to make easy fruit cobblerBut if you NEED to expend a little energy… if, perhaps, you have some obligatory Labor Day cookout to attend, or if you’re just feeling a little bit like nurturing your sweet tooth … you should make this White Nectarine Cobbler happen. Maximum results, minimum effort. Just exactly the way a lazy day should be.

butter and batterLazy days should also include ice cream. Especially lazy Labor Days, since this particular holiday marks the end of summer and all. This cobbler is a perfect vehicle for ice cream. Not that ice cream actually needs a vehicle to be worthy of consumption, but every little excuse helps.

add your fruitI used white nectarines in my cobbler. And a few slices of granny smith apples. Cobbler feels like a fall-ish thing to me. So do apples. I’m waaaaaaay ready for fall. But nectarines, especially white nectarines, with all their sweet reminders of nectar and honey, are decidedly a summer thing. This super simple cobbler was my way of marrying the seasons … a segway of sorts. This dish was the dessert version of pulling up the petunias and bedding down the pansies. It was a dessert meant to invite jacket/boot weather in and usher bathing suits out.

But I’m still gonna wear my flip flops.

sliced apples and nectarinesToday is Labor Day. Take advantage if you’re lucky enough to be off. Stay in bed just a little too long. Indulge in that third cup of kitchen table coffee. Read a gossip magazine. Have a beer with lunch. Pour it in a frosty mug and enjoy it on your patio.

Do not go to Wal-Mart.

making easy fruit cobblerGet excited about the seasons changing, even though in my great state of North Carolina it will probably still feel like summer long after daylight savings gives us back that extra hour of sleep. Add cinnamon to things.

fruit cobbler with cinnamon and nutmegEat fruit cobbler. Have seconds.
easy fruit cobbler

White Nectarine Cobbler


1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

2 cups sliced white nectarines, 1/2 cup peeled, sliced granny smith apples (or 2 1/2 cups of your favorite sliced fruit and/or berries)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

To Make

Pre-heat the oven to 325. Pour the melted butter into a 9-inch pie plate. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the milk  to make a thick batter. Pour the batter over the melted butter. Spread the fruit evenly across the top of the batter. Don’t press the fruit in, just let it float across the top of the batter. The batter will rise around it as it bakes. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg across the top of the cobbler and then bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Depending on the accuracy of your oven, you may need to bake this for up to an hour (mine runs a bit hot). Let it cool slightly. Serve warm.

custard like fruit cobbler

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

September 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

Posted in Sugar

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Summer Holiday Parfait

with 14 comments

Bite-size cubes of THIS CREAM CHEESE POUNDCAKE, a recipe so simple that Evan read the instructions and made it almost all by himself (point of reference: Evan is 9), layered with Jell-O instant vanilla pudding and fresh sliced strawberries, topped with blue-tinged whipped cream.

Party in a glass.

Happy 4th Everyone!!

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Celebration Ruination

with 24 comments

I am a self-proclaimed fireworks junkie.

Growing up, every year for the 4th, we would spread blankets in the shady grass of a little park tucked into the corner of uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, and wait for the action to happen. Usually we’d swing by Kentucky Fried Chicken for a meal to tote with us. Sometimes my mom would make sandwiches. Always the recipe for the afternoon and evening was the same:

You have to arrive at the park hours before the show to find parking and just the right spot to spread out. The shady blanketed place where mom and dad sat was home base. We were free to run through the grass, make friends with neighboring children, feed the geese, do cartwheels, and take a zillion trips over the bridge to peer into the pond below. Reporting back to home base meant a drink, a snack, stretching across one of my grandma’s old quilts, and watching the clouds roll overhead. If you situated yourself just right mom would play with your hair. Asking my dad the time every fifteen minutes was a necessity because between 9:30 and 10 pm the 5 minute warning shot went off and then the fireworks would commence.

We loved the deafening boom that echoed off the buildings. The loud crackles that lit up the air and made us smile and laugh involuntarily. We’d try to pick our favorite displays of color, each one outdone by the one that followed. We’d sit together, faces tilted toward the sky, and watch in awe. Notes of the national anthem would float by, broadcast from a car stereo manned by one of our for-the-night neighbors sharing in the experience. The “grand finale” was a spectacular display of lights, colors, and sounds, all blending together, that seemed to go on and on and on forever until your senses could barely stand it.

When it finally stopped and the sky went dark, there was always a pause. A silence so big and full of awe it was almost audible. Then the night would erupt with cheers and clapping and whoops and hollers as the entire city reveled in the celebration. You could hear crowds cheering from parking lots, stadiums, and rooftop decks for blocks upon blocks, the joy spreading from one picnic blanket to the next.

Then we’d snatch our belongings and race to the car so my dad could try to “beat the traffic”.

I would use every color in my crayon box to recreate the fireworks on construction paper for days.

This tradition peresevered for years and years for our family and many others. I adore the 4th. As we’ve all grown older our Independence Day traditions have moved zip codes and morphed a bit, but we still celebrate and share each other’s company as much as distance and schedules will allow.

Last year Chad and I made every attempt at being present for every fireworks event in a 60 mile radius. We were mostly successful in our endeavor, sitting on the roof of the car in the sticky summer heat watching the sky light up and glitter before our eyes. The town we live near was off their game last year, setting their show off a day earlier than usual. We only caught a glimpse of it by accident while making a late night run to the store for a gallon of milk. I was so disappointed.

Yesterday I came to find out that one of the more amazing shows we caught last year in a tiny mountain town nearby has already happened. The 2012 4th of July Extravaganza was scheduled for June 29th. WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD.

Rescheduling this most important national holiday has become a very common practice; most of the fireworks shows in our area are not even happening on the 4th. What’s worse is that we’d already missed many of them before the weekend even got started good. THAT is celebration ruination. For real.

For me, strawberries, buttermilk, and a cast iron skillet are the kitchen essence of July the 4th. They ring of freshness and tradition with just the right amount of comfort. I need lots of comfort when I miss out on happy holiday things that have carried on my whole life; things I’m only missing out on because of poor event planning and subsequent advertising. Strawberries and buttermilk definitely do the trick.

I baked this cake in my cast iron skillet using Joy the Baker’s flawless recipe. I loaded finished slices of my skillet cake with fresh whipped cream and more sliced fresh strawberries, picked and purchased that same day, courtesy of Knob Creek.

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake from Joy the Baker


1 small (8 ounce-ish) carton of strawberries, hulled and halved

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teensy pinch of kosher salt

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled just a little

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top

To Make

Pre-heat the oven to 375 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the strawberries in a bowl and in another smaller bowl whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt. Drizzle this mixture over the strawberries and toss to coat. Spread the strawberries evenly across the parchment paper in a single layer. Roast them for 25-35 minutes; watch them closely! Remove them when the juices thicken but before they start to burn (mine started to burn around the edges and I had to snatch them out!). Empty the strawberries AND their juices into a bowl and toss them with the balsalmic vinegar. Set aside.

Turn the oven up to 400.

Butter the heck out of your 11 inch cast iron skillet. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a smaller bowl whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter. Then add in the vanilla.

Dump the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it is just smooth and combined. Spread the batter evenly in the buttered cast iron skillet and then spread half of the strawberries over the top. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the entire top of the cake.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. **WATCH the cake! Mine started to get a little too dark around the edges**

Serve at room temperature with fresh whipped cream and the remaining roasted strawberries.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Posted in Sugar

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My Dad Liked Steak

with 15 comments

When I was a little girl I used to go to work with my dad when my parents’ schedules overlapped. I can remember trying to be very quiet in a small unoccupied blue cubicle with my crayons while my dad finished up in other parts of his office. There was a vending machine outside the back door that dispensed glass bottles of ice-cold Coca Cola, and if I was really good I could get one before we went home.

Sometimes my dad and I would go for walks in the small but fast-growing city we’d transplanted to. There were a few tall buildings, bordered by perfectly manicured trees and water fountains. Traffic, noise and sunshine dancing through the tree limbs making patterns on the sidewalk kept my senses stimulated as we walked along hand in hand. One building in particular was white and had vertical black stripes that ran the length of it, stopping just below the second floor.

At six feet and five inches tall, I always thought my dad was a giant. To me he seemed like the tallest man in the whole wide world. When he picked me up to carry me once my little girl legs had tired out I always felt like I was flying through the air, floating above the crowds. I was convinced that my dad could reach the stripes on that building, and I managed to persuade him to walk two blocks out of the way just to try it.

He set me down on the sidewalk and reached as high as he could… but he couldn’t reach the stripe. I am not one to give up easily, so I talked him into trying to touch a different stripe. Dad obliged. Since the stripes were probably a good twenty feet off the ground, my dad had to know he was not going to be able to reach. But he continued to humor me. Perspective is a little off when you’re five. Finally he perched me up on his shoulders, leaned against the sun-baked white concrete of the building, and told me to reach as high as a could.

I was so close.

My mom worked at night so Dad and I usually did our own thing when dinnertime rolled around. He could boil hot dogs. And make peanut butter toast. I think that’s where his culinary skills stopped, though. So usually we went out to eat. Dad and I ate lotsa junk. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza… all that stuff is really awesome when you’re small. Once in awhile he would take me out for mint chocolate chip ice cream. His favorite was butter pecan.

A few times a year we would drive back home to Belleville, Illinois and visit family. My dad’s brother lived across the river in a suburb of St. Louis. We would get in the car, just me and my dad, and drive over the Mississippi. It was so cool. Even after I turned six and had a little sister, or when I was eight and had a little brother, too, or when I had another little sister at ten, we would still have our day out – just me and my dad.

He took me to lunch at the Zodiac, a restaurant tucked into the upper level of Neiman Marcus where we always went to shop for my mom. They serve popovers with strawberry butter. Dad always ordered steak.

My dad appreciated a good meal. I think he’d be satisfied with this black and bleu salad. A bed of crispy romaine lettuce tossed in homemade caesar dressing and then dolled up with sliced roma tomatoes and crumbled bleu cheese. A spicy steak grilled to a perfect medium-rare, sliced and placed on top and then sprinkled with a few homemade whole wheat croutons and a smidge of parmesan…

Black & Bleu Salad


8 ounces of steak per person (I used thin-cut ribeyes)

McCormick’s Montreal Spicy Steak Seasoning

worcestershire sauce

romaine lettuce

roma tomatoes

crumbled bleu cheese

parmesan cheese

caesar dressing (I use THIS RECIPE for caesar dressing from Creative Noshing – it’s simple, I always have the ingredients on hand, and it is awesome.)

croutons (Creative Noshing’s homemade croutons are simple and tasty, too)

To Make

Liberally season the steak with the spicy seasoning on both sides. Place the steaks in a shallow dish and pour in worcestershire sauce, just enough to coat each piece. Cover and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Wash the romaine and cut into 2 inch pieces. Slice the tomatoes. Toss the romaine in the caesar dressing – not too much – just let it lightly coat each piece of lettuce. Portion the dressed romaine onto plates. Top with the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle each salad with the crumbled bleu cheese. Grill the steaks to your preferred doneness (our steaks were very thin and we prefer them medium rare, so only a minute or two on each side using a very hot grill was plenty). Let the steaks rest for just a minute before slicing. Slice them into strips and then toss a few croutons and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese onto each salad.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

June 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Dinner

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The Whole Enchilada

with 30 comments

It’s Memorial Day weekend. It’s hot, the sun is shining, and there’s a bit of a breeze.

It’s a good weekend for bright red toenails and sun on your cheeks.

It’s time for slip-n-slide and freshly cut grass (in that order, because if you know anything about slip-n-slide it’s that freshly cut grass will stick to wet legs).

Memorial Day makes me think of the first day at the pool, the back of my bare legs sweaty and sticking to the hot leather seats of my mom’s old Lincoln, sunscreen, and NuGrape at the concession stand.

In North Carolina, the end of May ushers in heat and humidity, afternoon thunderstorms, and bare feet on burning asphalt. Summer sneaking up on us is driving with the windows down, radio blasting, and a cherry ICEE with beads of perspiration trickling down the side of the cup.

It’s roadside produce stands and afternoons at the lake, patio dining and margaritas with salt, on the rocks, please.

Memorial Day weekend celebrates a season of cookouts and picnics and red checkered tablecloths; it’s a time of year lit up by fireflies and smelling of citronella candles, and nights that sparkle with fireworks spreading across a dark black sky while you prop up in awe on the hood of your car.

There are burgers and hot dogs, slaw and potato salad, banana pudding and brownies,  the company of family and friends. This weekend is the beginning of tank tops, flip flops, and wild frizzy hair. It’s the start of garden tomatoes that yield the best BLT’s and homemade salsa; it’s so much summer squash you have to unload it on your neighbors, and the crisp tartness of pickling cucumbers doused in vinegar.

Memorial Day is for remembering. It’s also for making memories.

And THAT is the whole Enchilada.

Chicken Enchiladas (from Southern Living, October 2011)


5 tablespoons butter, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

3 (4 ounce) cans of diced green chiles (if you don’t like it hot, mild varieties are available)

3 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of freshly grated sharp cheddar and colby-jack cheeses)

1 package of 8 inch flour tortillas

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

chopped tomatoes and fresh cilantro to garnish

To Make

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet and saute the onion and bell pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl stir together the cooked onions and bell peppers, chicken, 1 can of the diced green chiles, and 2 cups of the cheese. Spoon the mixture onto the bottom 1/3 of each tortilla shell and roll them up, placing them seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. While the enchiladas are baking, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons on butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Whisk in the flour until it’s smooth. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly for 1 minute, and then gradually whisk in the chicken broth and milk. Bring the heat to medium, still whisking contantly, and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes. The mixture will be thickened and bubbly. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 cans of green chiles. When the enchiladas come out of the oven, pour the sauce evenly over them and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Bake for about 20 more minutes and then garnish with the tomatoes and cilantro.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Dinner

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Two Soups

with 16 comments

Was your Mother’s Day wonderful? I hope it was.

Mine was super, from start to finish.

Coffee in bed (and now I know I’m not the only one that knows how to work the coffee pot) while I propped up on pillows and read a book. A creamy bowl of old fashoioned oatmeal with cranberries and walnuts (and now I know I’m not the only one that knows how to work the stove), a clean kitchen (my children know how to wash dishes!!!!), and handmade garden-ready gifts. My little boys stayed up half the night painting clay pots to plant in that say, “Happy Mother-D,” which translates to, “Happy Mother’s Day; we ran out of room for ‘s’ and ‘-ay'”. I will plant flowers in my pots and cherish them forever and ever again.

Chad started me an herb garden (complete with chamomile for tea!); he stored away a little snatch of a passing conversation we had months ago and served it up for Mother’s Day. I love that.

Thank you Chad for orchestrating a relaxing morning full of well-behaved little boys and happy surprises. Thank you little boys for the best presents ever! Also, thank you for not being annoying in the car. Great big thanks to my sister, Lindsey, who put on a beautiful brunch for my mom and I (mimosas, chicken salad, fruit salad, mini quiche, potato skins & cookies!) and for having really good taste in clothes. Thank you littlest sister Steph-O for driving in circles, taking the day off, making a fruit tart that we totally devoured last night, for a super cool gift, and for braiding my hair. Thank you Momma for being the most awesome mom on the earth everyday all the time; and thank you for purple African daisies and O.P.I. nail polish.

Last but not least, thanks to all the boys for patiently keeping each other company while us girls fixed each other’s hair and chattered away in between bouts of champagne induced giggles. It was great.

It’s super rainy in the Carolinas today; we are alternating between torrential downpours and spotty sunshine through the rolling storm clouds. Days like this always inspire soup – the ultimate cozy comfort food. Remember on Easter when I was pining away for Easter ham?

this is the ham my little brother put in the freezer instead of the fridge… oops.

Well I never had the ham, but mom gave me the ham bone. I made a creamy corn chowder.

A week or two ago I tried my hand at black beans from scratch. I started with dried beans, soaked them overnight, cooked them with lime juice and fresh herbs and was so excited about the finished product…


I don’t know where I went wrong (the original measurements were weird… I might have gotten confused? sounds about right…) but I was left with a vat of beans that I could not make myself eat. And I hate throwing food away. I have all sorts of guilt about it. So I coaxed the offensive beans into a yummy black bean soup.


Soup is a really simple way to use up all your leftovers or disguise rude pots of beans.

Corn Chowder from


1 ham bone, all extra meat trimmed off and set to the side (to be added back in later)

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups of milk (I used 2%)

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

1/2 a large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

salt, pepper & paprika to taste

To Make

Make ham stock. Put your ham bone in a stock pot and fill with just enough water to cover it. Bring it to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the ham bone and drop the heat to a simmer, reducing the stock to about 2 cups of liquid. Remove the stock from the heat and set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet and remove from heat. Whisk in the flour until it’s smooth and then slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk. Return the skillet to the heat stirring until the milk thickens. Then stir in the corn, onion, garlic, and trimmed ham from earlier. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the ham broth. Simmer. Stir in the second cup of milk. Simmer and stir. Add more of the ham stock until the soup is to your desired consistency. Add the salt, pepper, and paprika to your taste.

Black Bean Soup (modified from


1 tablespoon oil

2 thin slices of deli ham (optional), diced into tiny pieces

2 medium onions, finely diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2-3 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth

1 can of Ro-tel OR diced tomatoes with green chiles

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon chili powder

all your offensive black beans OR 4 cans of low-sodium black beans, drained, not rinsed

salt & pepper to taste

1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped

juice of 1/2 a lime

To Make

In a large non-stick skillet heat the oil. Stir in the ham and onions and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Pour in the chicken broth, canned tomatoes with green chiles, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, and chili powder. Bring it to a boil and then stir in the beans. Boil and then reduce the heat to simmer, stirring frequently. Season with the salt and pepper. After about 10 minutes stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

What’s your favorite soup on a rainy day?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

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