Manic Monday

So I decided to try something different. Maybe just for this week. Maybe for awhile? Because Mondays are not really that great. And on Mondays we need extra reasons to smile. Also, my brothers and sisters are forever sharing links that make me laugh until I cry and my cheeks hurt and I can’t think of a better way to pass those along. Plus, I like The Bangles, so there’s that.

red velvet waffle #terrace cafe

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Thinking of You.

Dad,

I made cupcakes. The 30th of October marks your birthday and I was thinking of you. We are all always thinking of you.

You come up often and unexpectedly and sometimes in places that surprise me… pleasantly.

We share many laughs; I know you won’t mind that lots of them are at your expense because it’s in the most endearing and cherished sort of way.

Like when we talk about you puttering around in that old diesel Mercedes that you could hear coming from 32 miles away. How you permanently had that small styrofoam cup of lukewarm coffee glued to your right hand, and you’d have us shift the gears for you from the shearling covered passenger seat so you didn’t have to set that precious coffee down. I always wondered what you did when we weren’t in the car… one of life’s great mysteries, I suppose.

We still think it’s hilarious that you fell asleep on the sofa every night with a newspaper spread across your chest and the TV volume set at it’s highest level while you waited for mom to come home from work. And as soon as we crept down the hall and depressed the button to adjust the volume your eyes would fly open and you’d exclaim, “Hey!! I was watching that!!” Sometimes we’d point out that actually you were sleeping, to which you always responded, “No. I was just resting my eyes.”

We laugh about your cream-of-weird-soup-covered-pork-chops that I think was maybe the only meal you ever knew how to cook, and the time that you made Lindsey and I sit at the dinner table until the middle of the night because we refused to eat canned creamed corn. Whenever I hear one of my children tap out that ting ting ting sound the spoon makes when they are determined to get that last bit of cereal or ice cream from a bowl, I think of you eating oatmeal and mom rolling her eyes.

I remember sneaking onto car lots in the dark to get a close-up look at the reeeeally cool stuff without the salesmen asking us questions.

And how sometimes you’d go to the grocery store for orange juice and be gone for an eternity because there is not one shred of peace to be found in a house full of five children, at least 3 dogs and a revolving door of kitty cats. Also… we know you talked to Ali Cat at night while you washed the dishes when you thought we were sleeping.

It still makes my heart smile to think about when I lived far away and mom would put you on the phone, and you’d keep asking me silly pointless small-talky questions because you didn’t want me to hang up just yet.

Michael still rocks your aviator sunglasses. Spencer eats ice cream for breakfast because he’s determined to gain a little weight and maybe one day fill out that worn old leather bomber jacket.

So anyway… I made these double chocolate buttermilk cupcakes. We are thinking of you.

Happy Birthday.

 

 

Mayday, Mayday…

Just a quick little note to let you all know that I FINALLY got Sugar Dish Me up and running again… thank you for your patience!

You might have missed the post on Whole Wheat Strawberry Muffins… it sort of got lost in the shuffle. And just so you know, those muffins are delicious.

strawberry muffins The About page has been updated, along with Recipes. If you are looking for something and can’t find it, the search bar is handy, all of the previously posted recipes have traveled with me, and comments are welcome! The About page also includes updated contact information, in case you have a question about something you’ve seen here.

I also finally broke down and set up a Sugar Dish Twitter account. Follow me. HELLLLP me.

To sum all this up, thank you thank you thank you for reading Sugar Dish Me. If something is missing or isn’t working properly, please let me know. Suggestions are welcome, as are requests— is there something you want to see here? Tell me!!!

Oh- one more thing: We should all take cues from this girl. (thank you to my sister for the constant stream of internet awesomeness)

 

 

 

 

Seven Things…

I follow a handful of cooking blogs (okay, a really large handful) and sometimes a recipe post will roll around inside my head gaining momentum until I just HAVE to make it. Other times I read a post and mentally tabulate what’s in my pantry. If I have everything I need, I’ll make it right that minute. Some recipes make it into my monthly rotation and I carefully plan to include their ingredients on my grocery list.

I thought I’d take a minute to mention a handful of recipes that I’ve tried from blogs that I follow that, in this simple little house, bearing zero in the way of fancy kitchen gadgets, were a  huge phenomenal success. Follow the links provided to try these crazy good dishes yourself! The photo above was my first attempt at General Tso’s Chicken, shared by Tia at IAMSIMPLYTIA.com. It was better than any take out I have ever had anywhere, I promise. ***Note: breading with cornstarch yields perfect results, but makes a sticky mess. Wear an apron and keep the water running*** Also from Tia, I made a blackened chicken rub for grilled chicken that was spicy and delicious. Chad brushed ours with a little sweet barbeque sauce before taking the chicken off the grill and laying it to rest on my plate.

This is how you feed a hungry man after work. I made Smothered Pork Chops, posted by Allison at Main St. Cuisine. Hers was an adaptation of a Good Housekeeping recipe. I saw that issue (February 2012), and Allison’s pork chops put theirs to shame. I was in a hurry that day and did not take any decent photographs of my creation, but it was a quick easy recipe and I highly recommend it.

The tomato sauce pictured here was a recipe from Creative Noshing. It was full of veggies and delicious tomato flavor and made this rigatoni so so happy. I used this tomato sauce for the mini pizzas my family made at our last birthday bash. From Creative Noshing’s site I have also made caesar dressing (which I pulled off without a food processor- it was super yum), and baked oatmeal (which was delicious and kin to having dessert for breakfast; next time I make it, it will be accompanied by a big scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt).

These recipes are totally copycat worthy. Try them! You’ll see!

On another note… last week I posted a handful of awards, but I felt like I was getting a little long winded. Awards come with a set rules for acceptance, and I postponed fulfilling the requirements for another day. Another day has arrived. The Beautiful and Kreativ Blogger Awards both required me to share with you seven things. And yesterday I received another Kreativ Blogger award from Tabkhet el yom who with her blog does some really amazing things! It’s traditional Lebanese cooking from a mother of four who posts recipes for things like biscuits with anise and falafel (my own personal favorite). So if we are keeping track here, I’m supposed to tell you 7…14…21 things. And that’s too many.

I’m gonna break it up…

This is my favorite picture of Chad & Me

2. I am totally opposed to having things on my feet. I prefer to be barefooted at all times and refuse to sleep in socks.

3. I used to sell and install cable tv.

4. I am terrified of spiders. Once when I was opening the store I worked in, a gigantic spider flew out of the light above me and landed in my hair. I have ALOT of hair and I just thought it was a moth buzzing around me until I got inside, locked the door behind me, and a spider the size of my fist crawled down my arm. I flung it into the floor and let out a blood curdling scream, and then left Chad a hysterical voice message at 6 o’clock in the morning. He still laughs at me about that.

5. The gum balls from two sweet gum trees in my front yard have become my natural enemy.

6. I live in a dry county. Prohibition is going strong down here, ya’ll.

7.
This is my happy family.

Diner Classics & Awards

 

The behind the scenes “stats” board of a blog are a strange phenomenon. The posts that make the numbers spike are always interesting to me. Generating an audience is a pretty neat trick, albeit one I haven’t mastered yet. I have to assume that content is a little piece of the action- a smidge of a contributing factor- and the content here that sends numbers soaring is neither fancy nor the best of my literary attempts. It is plain old everyone-makes-it-everyone-loves-it-order-it-in-every-greasy-spoon-in-America food.

People love a tuna melt. They love oatmeal cookies or chewy chocolate chip. They love cozy casseroles made with familiar ingredients that are probably already in their cabinets, and can definitely be found at any local grocery store. I’ve decided that in honor of the classics, and because of my super love of classic diner food, I’d start a little series here- a collection of recipes paying homage to the All-American standbys we all know and love. A few weeks ago I posted a tuna melt. Today the star of my show is egg salad.
But before I bang out this recipe, and WHILE I’m paying homage to things that are awesome (like diner food and chocolate chip cookies), I need to address some awards that came my way. I have amassed a small collection of awards in recent weeks and would like to take a minute to acknowledge the winners that nominated me and then pass the recognition on.

Creative Noshing, sometime in between skillet fried potatoes, a move, and a kitchen flood she found time to share The New Blogger Award with me. Take a minute to flip through her super recipes and eloquently penned memories.

Vina Kent passed me the Beautiful Blogger Award– she is a writer, a voracious reader, and blesses my posts from time to time with really positive words.

Domestic Diva, M.D. called me her “probably favorite”, and she is probably really one of mine. She is quick-witted, smart and shares things like Red Wine Risotto and Shrimp Pot Pie. Plus she makes me laugh.

All these awards require that I nominate a few picks for should-read blogs (5 for New Blogger, 7 for Beautiful, and 7 for Kreativ), but I think that the volume of picks here dilutes the effect (19 would be sort of ridiculous). I’m gonna list you a solid five that I think are way worth it:

Year of Healthier Living: writes about trying to green up her household. She posts weekly menus and grocery lists with her farmers market and local finds.

Hot Rod Cowgirl: her photos are stupefyingly beautiful. Click the images on her page for the enlarged versions of her home landscapes that make me JEALOUS.

Go Bake Yourself: High school student and baker extraordinaire. Her cookies are stuffed full of candy and her meringue is professionally torched. This girl is going somewhere.

Little House, Big Heart: Just found this one a few days ago. Newlyweds, new house- lots of super ideas.

Masala Art: a collection of recipes, posts reveling on her cute as ever little boy, and 5 things on Foodless Friday! I really dig the 5 things.

I also created a page listing all these awards, complete with the pretty stickers they came with!

And for the egg salad…
I hard boiled 6 eggs and then gave them a bath in cold water. I keep the water running while I peel them.
I separate the whites from the yolks…
Then I smush the yolks and dice the whites. The yolk gets dressed up like a deviled egg… mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and pickled relish if you are so inclined. And a dash of paprika. I add chopped celery and onions to the diced whites cause I like a little crunch.
Mix it all back together.
Smear the egg salad all over whole wheat toast and smother it with crispy green lettuce.
Classic Egg Salad

Ingredients (Egg Salad is all about preference- no measurements necessary. Eyeball it.)

6 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, yolks and whites divided

mayonnaise

salt & black pepper

pickled relish

paprika

celery, finely diced

onions, finely diced

To Make

Smush the egg yolk with a fork and stir in the salt, pepper, mayonnaise, pickled relish, and paprika. Mix well. In another bowl combine the egg whites, onions and celery. Stir it all together and eat it off the back of the spoon… or make a sandwich.