Sugar Dish Me

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

Posts Tagged ‘reading

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pies

with 14 comments

carrot cake whoopie pies

Growing up, my sisters and I had a favorite book. I’m not sure my brothers ever cared much about it, though I KNOW it lived in the giant book basket that was perched next to the hearth, and I’m sure my mom must have read it to them. My mom read us lots of books.

Anyway, our favorite book was called Fanny and May, by Jon Buller (and NO, this has nothing at all to do with the giant loan conglomerate Fannie Mae, though they should probably read it and learn a few life lessons). Pleeeeeease tell me you’ve read this book.

If you haven’t read this book, you need to find it and commit it to your everlasting mind… stat. Download it to your kindle, search it on your nook, read it on your iPhone. I don’t care if you have no small children in your life. It’s THAT crucial. I promise.

In this book, a sugar obsessed elephant named Fanny lives with her mom and her little sister, May, in a house made of CAKE.

That’s right. I said cake.

So in the story, published in 1984 because that year helps this next part make sense, Fanny and May’s mom (also an elephant… a very fit elephant) marches through the cake house in leg warmers, a leotard, and a fuzzy headband and says she is heading out to aerobics class. If I lived in a cake house I guess I’d probably have to take like 17 aerobics classes a day, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in a leotard. My mom used to rock the leotard/leg warmer/fuzzy headband look in aerobics class at the Y when I was little. That’s because she is infinitely cooler than me.

carrots for cookies

Okay, so the elephant mom is heading out to aerobics class, and the last thing she says to the girls is, “And don’t eat the house!!!!”

Ummmmm… I don’t know about you, but if I told my kids not to eat the house made of cake while I left for an unspecified amount of time, I’m pretty sure they would do exactly the opposite.

set up to bake carrot cake cream pies

When mom is away, elephant girls will play! It wasn’t long before cakey cravings got the best of Fanny and she just had to lick the house frosting.

flours and oats

May tries to tell Fanny that licking the frosting is a sliiiiiiiipery slope. Very slippery. Because only a teensy percentage of us possess the willpower to have just one tiny taste of some kick ass frosting (though I’m wondering… does house cake stay fresh? Does the frosting melt in the sun? Does it freeze like wedding cake? What kind of foundation do you build it on? So many questions…).

Of course, Fanny does not listen to May. If she did this would be a really boring story.

beat the butter and sugars

Fanny tempts fate, licks the frosting, licks some more frosting, has a bite of cake, and then CAN’T STOP EATING THE CAKE.

Before she knows what has happened, Fanny eats the whole house.

And then May is all like, “What’d you do that for, Fanny? Why can’t you be more like me and exhibit some freaking self-control? Mom is going to kill you.”

beat in the eggs

Fanny starts to worry, though thinking back, I’m not sure how she wasn’t in a sugar coma. Maybe elephants metabolize cake better than I do?

So here’s the best part of the whole story: Fanny’s like, “Whatever, May. You’re such a goody two-shoes. What kind of elephant girl doesn’t WANT to eat a house made of cake? Gah.”  And then! She jumps on her skateboard and heads to the wishing well. In case you couldn’t tell, that’s my favorite part.

dry to wet ingredients

When Fanny gets to the wishing well she waits in line for a while, hoping she can fix the problem before her mom gets done working out. There’s this creepy man in line right in front of her and when it’s his turn, he throws his coin in the wishing well and does the WORST THING EVER.

He says, “I wish for there to be no more wishing well!” Then he cracks up laughing in Fanny’s face.

I mean, who does that?! I suppose, in the real world, someone would probably commandeer a wishing well and ruin the fun for the rest of us. There is no way a wishing well could ever exist peacefully in the center of a small town. But I still think it’s a pretty crummy thing to do to a little girl on a skateboard, for crying out loud.

stir in carrots

Poor ‘ol Fanny makes her way back home, dreading the conversation she’s going to have to have with her mother.


P.S. Before I finish with storytime here, I’d like to note that the above photo is a very clear picture of What Not To Do when making these cakey little cream pies. DO NOT shape, smush, or flatten out the dough. Just let it be weird and rounded and ugly. You’ll be glad I warned you when you make these.

carrot cake oatmeal cream pies

When Fanny arrives home, her mother and sister are busy baking new bricks of cake to rebuild the house. The mom was pretty nice about it. Probably nicer than I’d be if my kids destroyed our home. Maybe she had really good insurance? At any rate, I always felt sort of bad for Fanny. We all know what it feels like to totally lose control and eat the whole house.

Moral of the story? You can’t have your house and eat it, too.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cream Pies (adapted from THIS recipe at Cookin Cowgirl)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats, divided

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

Pre heat the oven to 350. Butter a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper.

Beat the butter and sugars together until they are fluffy and smooth- this takes about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, continuing to mix until they are just combined. Blend in the vanilla.

Using 3/4 cup of the oats, make oat flour. Just pulse the oats in the food processor or blender until coarse crumbs are formed.

In a large bowl whisk together the oat flour, remaining oats,  all purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves. Using a sturdy wooden spoon stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Then fold in the shredded carrots.

Drop the dough by the rounded tablespoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet. Do not try to flatten or shape the sticky cookie dough – you want the cream pie sandwiches to be fluffy and this dough has a tendency to spread in a tasty but not-so-pretty way.

Bake for 10 minutes and then let the cookies cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Cream Pie Filling

The Pioneer Woman says that marshmallow fluff tastes EXACTLY like the filling in a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie. That would be a great shortcut if you have it on hand. I used vanilla buttercream because I was out of cream cheese (a sin, I know). The original recipe calls for a cream cheese filling, which I bet would be amazing, considering cream cheese and carrot cake are practically best friends. So the cream cheese option is what I’m including for you here:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar **Note: Again, I haven’t tried the frosting part of this recipe, but if it were me, I’d cut the sugar and the cream cheese in half.  Annnnd I’d sift the powdered sugar. If your frosting seems too thick, add heavy cream a teaspoon at a time until the consistency is where you want it. Okay. I’m done.**

Beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the vanilla. Then beat in the powdered sugar. Beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Spread a bit onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich the frosting between another cookie.


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

September 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Sugar

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

A Good Book

with 32 comments

It is no secret that I love to read. I have an insatiable appetite for words on a page- newspapers, magazines, short stories, memoirs, blogs, and everything in between. Novels are are like the frosting on my daily read cake. When I feel like the dishes and laundry can spare my attention for a little while, when there’s no third grade homework begging my not-so-patient direction, when our evening meal is done being stirred or sauteed, I reach for whatever novel has captured my imagination and tune everything out. I deserve a time out, right?


Something happens to my family when it appears as though I’m trying to read. Suddenly everyone needs to talk to me. Everything is very urgent. Like the imaginary house Andrew built while playing Minecraft. Or Evan’s musings about why he can’t hear me talking to him when the TV is on. Chad needs my opinion on new tail lights for the rail buggy and has 17 funny clips for me to watch on You Tube.

In retaliation I have decided to cook dinner at 10 o’clock in the morning so I can steal a few precious moments of quiet with a book. Oh yeah.

The crock pot.

Whisk together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger, and 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder. Pour the sauce over 2 pounds of boneless pork roast. **Note: Chinese five spice powder was not available at my local grocer. After a little research I found that it varies from here to there but usually includes star anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. I added a dash of each and the flavor was super.**

After slow cooking the pork for 6 hours on LOW (4 hours on HIGH), remove it from the slow cooker and set it aside to rest for a few minutes before shredding. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and bring it to a boil.

Whisk together 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Slowly stir it into the boiling liquid. Continue stirring and cook for another minute. Remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside while you shred the pork, and then spoon the sauce over it.

With an arsenal of slow cooker recipes up my sleeve I plan to get my read on.

But I’d be willing to bet that without my nose stuck in a book in the company of my family, the novelty of talking to me will disappear. Unless I’m on the phone.

Chinese Hacked Pork (from Family Circle, April 2012)


1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 pounds boneless pork roast

3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

To Make

Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, and five-spice powder. Place the pork in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over it. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. ***The original recipe calls for marinating the pork overnight before cooking. I skipped that and it was still full of flavor. But it couldn’t hurt.*** When the pork is done, remove it from the slow cooker and set it aside to rest before shredding. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Whisk together the chicken broth and the cornstarch and then pour into the boiling liquid. Continue cooking and stirring for another minute. Shred the pork and spoon the sauce over it.

I served this over sweet jasmine rice with a heap of steamed snow peas on the side, and garnished it with some pretty green onion slices.


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

Sookie’s Chicken Casserole

with 20 comments

It is no secret that I love to read. I finished another book a couple of days ago, and have been searching my nook shopping library for suitable and cheap reading material ever since. It’s been a fruitless search. My wishlist is 100 miles long, but at this juncture, I cannot justify the expense. The free books are mostly in desperate need of an editor (note to self published authors: please proofread. Please?). But the real root of the problem is that I am pining away for a new release from one of my favorite authors– and the date is still two months away (Shasta Cola it’s still two months!!!).

If you read my post on Caroline Bellefleur’s Chocolate Cake, then you are already aware of my affection for Sookie Stackhouse. And since Chad gave me The Sookie Stackhouse Companion for Christmas, whenever I am longing for a good read, I make a recipe out of this book.

The recipes are just as super as the writing.

In a large bowl stir together cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, sour cream and poppy seeds. To cut calories and fat where I could, I poached the chicken and used fat free, low sodium versions of the cream soups and light sour cream. I also used brown rice.

Poppy seeds needed to star in their own photo.

I used Reduced Fat Ritz Crackers and cut the amount of butter called for in half. I crushed the crackers and stirred them with the melted butter before spreading them across the casserole (the original recipe says to drizzle the butter across the top).

Bake this at 350 for about 30 minutes. The result will be a crunchy crust and a casserole that’s hot and bubbly. We ate this up, along with the giant pile of roasted vegetables I served with it. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a take along dish for a potluck.

Sookie’s Chicken Casserole (from The Sookie Stackhouse Companion)


2 cups of cooked rice (I opted for brown)

4 chicken breats, cooked, skin and bones removed, and the shredded (I poached boneless skinless chicken breasts)

8 ounces sour cream (I used light)

1 (10 ounce) can of cream of chicken soup (reduced fat, low sodium)

1 (10 ounce) can of cream of celery soup (reduced fat, low sodium)

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1 roll butter crackers, crushed (I used reduced fat)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

nonstick cooking spray

To Make

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9X13 baking dish with the nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl stir together the cooked chicken, sour cream, both soups, and poppy seeds. Then stir in the rice. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish. Combine the crushed butter crackers with the melted butter and then cover the chicken mixture with the butter crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes until the casserole is bubbly and the cracker topping is toasty.

Serve with a big plate of green vegetables.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

March 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

Posted in Dinner

Tagged with , , ,

Caroline Bellefleur’s Chocolate Cake

with 6 comments

 If you didn’t already know, I wander around here with my nose stuck in a book for at least part of most days (and if it’s a really great book ALL of everyday until it’s finished…shhh! Chad thinks I’m being productive), and everytime I get into the middle of a book I like, I get all personally involved with the characters. I think it’s my girl version of fantasy football or role playing games. I have a friend named Shasta

 (she is a real person, not a can of cola, but I really like this picture) and she and I only ever talk about 3 things:

  • How ridiculous our children are being at any given moment
  • books that we got sucked into like an alternate universe
  • Sookie Stackhouse (and all things related to her)

The children are at school right now so we can’t talk about my boys OR her daughters’ latest musical number with interpretive dance in front of their couch. I don’t know about Shasta, but I’m not reading anything worth mentioning right now (same book for two weeks… totally unheard of). That only leaves us with Sookie Stackhouse. She never fails me!

In the world of supernatural fiction, Sookie is the creme de la creme of heroines. She could mosey into the Twilight series, beat down Bella and Edward, and then return to Louisiana to finish her bar shift without scuffing her sneakers. Sookie is sassy and smart. She doesn’t take handouts and isn’t afraid. She cleans the house instead of pining for months and wandering into the forest with a broken heart. And the girl can cook.

The problem I have is that Charlaine Harris (the author that gave Shasta and I our third favorite topic of every discussion) can only write so much, and every time I sit down with a new novel featuring Sookie Stackhouse, I’ve finished it in less than 48 hours. Then I’m left to pine away for months and months until she portions out my next fix. It makes me think about wandering into the forest with a broken heart… oh wait. That’s stupid. I should clean the house.

Fortunately my sweetheart pays attention to my slight obsession, and for Christmas he gave me The Sookie Stackhouse Companion. THERE ARE RECIPES IN THIS BOOK.

And since I’m a serious fan you know I will have to cook my way through this thing.

Other readers (that may be more obsessed than Shasta Cola and I) created recipes based on dishes mentioned in the series, and then submitted them for publication before this book was released. Why didn’t anyone tell me???

I was craving chocolate, so yesterday I made Caroline Holliday Bellefleur’s Chocolate Cake. Ms. Bellefleur’s cake is legendary in Sookieland and when she died, she left the recipe to the town, only for them all to discover she’d been dressing up Duncan Hines for years. Don’t hate. It’s worth the hype.

I made 12 cupcakes with the frosting the recipe called for, and 12 cupcakes with the frosting I wanted this cake to have before I read the real recipe.

 I can’t decide which one I like better. I’m REALLY glad I made both. I think Sookie would be proud if there were actually any left to share.

 And now I’ll share with you Ms. Bellefleur’s cake recipe secret, as printed in the Sookie Stackhouse Companion.

Do you have a favorite series you follow or author you’d recommend? More importantly, are there recipes you’d like to create out of their books?

Caroline Holliday Bellefleur’s Chocolate Cake


1 package Swansdown Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (or Duncan Hines, if you can’t find Swansdown anymore)

1 (8 ounce) package seedless dates

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons shortening

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons brewed coffee

1 cup chopped pecans

To Make

“Mix the cake mix and bake in a greased 9X13 glass pan, following the box directions”**I made cupcakes… creative license**”Cook the dates, water, and sugar in a double boiler for 30-40 minutes. Spread on top of cooled cake.”**Okay right here I poked holes in my cupcakes (careful not to puncture the liner) with a skewer so the syrupy moistness seeped into my chocolate cake**”While the date mixture is cooling on the cake, mix together the confectioner’s sugar, salt, shortening, vanilla, coffee, and pecans. Spread on top of the cake. Sometimes I use pecan halves to create a pattern to make it look prettier.”

Thank You Charlaine!

Chocolate buttercream frosting was not my recipe. I could rewrite it, but what’s the point when Alice at Savory Sweet Life has so clearly mastered it past perfection? It’s sinful.

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

January 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm

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