Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday Dinner

Since I can remember, my family has done Sunday dinner. When I was young, my parents would pack us into the van and off to Grandmother's house we'd go (I know we're a bit older now, but the picture to the right is the 5 of us). My grandparents lived about 45 minutes away, but since we made the trek every Sunday, I knew each landmark along the way indicating that we were 30, 20, 10 and then only 1 minute away. My fondest meals were those prepared by my grandpa on the grill or in his chili pot, while my grandma would serve side-dishes that tasted as though they were prepared with all the love in the world, and they always were. On birthdays, my grandma would let us choose a favorite cake and she would make it just how we imagined. (Without fail, I always requested cheesecake with cherries on top ... mmmmmm!)

When my grandpa passed away, Sunday dinners were moved to my mom's house. My mom did her best to prepare the same meals that my grandpa cooked over the years, while incorporating some of her own recipes. My grandma still held her post as the queen of side-dishes and desserts. Don't get me wrong, my grandma could prepare a killer roast or stew, but for some reason her roasted potatoes, chopped salads, fresh-snapped green beans, and homemade custard are the dishes that stand out to me.

For the next 13 years, my mom and grandma worked side by side to create some of the most delectable Sunday dinners. When my grandma passed away in 2006, the absence of her caring heart and loving hugs were immediately missed, along with her decadent cakes and perfectly seasoned vegetable stew. While our family struggled with the loss of such an inspiring woman, we knew how to carry on her legacy -- Sunday dinners.

As our family keeps growing (we're up to 22), my mom continues to cook for the whole crew, and as the years go by she gets more and more creative. She's had to purchase a much larger grill, more substantial pans and -- something I can only dream of -- a double oven, to accommodate our ever-growing family. Most of her Sunday dinners consist of at least two entrees, three or four sides and a wonderful dessert. She's even kept the birthday tradition going with a special cake for each person's birthday.

I love being at my mom's on a Sunday afternoon, as she begins prepping, watching the front door as each family makes their way over. One of the little ones usually rings the doorbell before bursting through the entryway yelling "YAYA, we're here!" Everyone piles in and the fun begins, as we all socialize and chase children around for a whirlwind evening of laughter, storytelling and good food.

Now that I'm in DC, I only get to go to about four or five Sunday dinners a year and I miss being with my family as they come together for a few hours to enjoy each other's company and spend time together. Since it's just Jesse and me out here, it's a little hard for us to start our own tradition. However, after 3 years of living out here we finally figured it out - we started inviting our friend, Drew, over every Sunday to take part in our dinner.

It started back in March with Drew's birthday, ironically. It fell on a Sunday, so we celebrated as a group on Saturday night, meaning he didn't have any special plans on his actual birthday. We invited him over for a chili dinner and I made cookie sundaes for dessert. He brought over a movie for us to watch together after dinner, and a tradition began that night. Since then, he's been over just about every Sunday to take part in our very own Sunday dinner.

I spend the afternoon prepping and the evening cooking, Drew brings a movie and Jesse does the clean-up. It's a really heart-warming feeling to know that while my family is back in Kansas City enjoying their Sunday dinner, I'm out here enjoying my own version of the tradition.

I thought it would be fun to extend part of the tradition to everyone reading [all six of you :)], by sharing a dish every week. The plan is to post the recipe every Monday morning, so enjoy this week's recipe and more house stuff will be coming tomorrow. :)

Raspberry-Peach Crumble*
Serves: 6-8
Total Time: 45 minutes
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup peaches, diced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Adjust oven rack to upper third. In a 9" pie plate, toss raspberries and peaches with sugar, lemon juice and 2 tsp. flour.

In medium bowl, mix remaining flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and oats with fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit mixture.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until fruit is bubbly and top is browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

I found the original recipe online. It called for blackberries and blueberries, but I switched the fruit to save money. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can substitute the fruit however you like. Also, the original recipe says it only serves four, but you can definitely get 6-8 servings out of it, especially if you serve it with a little ice cream.


  1. I love this. Such an endearing and warm story of three of the greatest things in the , friends & food (triple f's if you will). Those things alone are pretty amazing...but when you combine them together, you can't beat it. I'm looking forward to the recipe's every Monday and becoming an extended part of the tradition!!!

  2. This is such a great idea! There's always more time to do a more in-depth dinner on Sundays, and the idea of sharing it with people is definitely a stellar one.

    And the crumble sounds awesome, I may need to pull it out in the fall, and make an apple version. LOVE me some baked apples!

  3. Casandra,

    Yum, apples with a few raisins would be good! You could even mix a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg into the fruit mix. I think autumn is the best time for food ... personal opinion :)

  4. this was so wonderful, sus! thanks for sharing. :)

  5. Yay, Susan! You are a lil homemaker! I'm jealous of your mad skillz and your big fam!

  6. I love the kitchen transformation...but of course I love the WAFFLES more :) Can't wait to see your place!



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