Thursday, November 29, 2012

Candy Cane Oreo Meringue Cookie—12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Candy Cane Oreo Meringues

We’re in the home stretch, Friends.  Today is Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies!  After Thanksgiving, I ended up with eleven egg whites to use for something.  I almost made an angel food cake, but ended up doing other things with the whites.  Someday I’m going to make an angel food cake since I never have made one from scratch and bought a pan a few months back to do so.  But I ended up doing one thing or another with a couple of the egg whites and then decided to make meringue cookies with some.  These Candy Cane Oreo Meringue Cookies turned out great!

Candy Cane Oreos

After finding and loving the new, limited edition Candy Cane Oreos, I decided it would be fun to crush some up and put them in the meringue cookies.  They turned out great!

Candy Cane Oreo Meringues 11-27-12

While they tasted fine as is, I dressed them up a little with a dip in some melted chocolate and a little more sprinkling of the crushed cookies.

Candy Cane Oreo Meringues

I love meringue cookies.  The boys do, too.  And these were a hit at book group I made them for the other night.

Candy Cane Oreo Meringue Cookies 4

Light and crispy, airy but flavorful, love these!  They are so easy to make and pretty low fat.  Win, win!

Candy Cane Oreo Meringue Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 large egg whites (66 grams), room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons crushed or ground Candy Cane Oreo Cookies, and extra for sprinkling on the tops (about 5 cookies)

4 ounces dark chocolate (good dark chips or chopped chocolate)

1 teaspoon coconut oil (or butter/shortening)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Beat egg whites on high in an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment.  As they are beginning to whip, add the granulated sugar a little at a time.  Add the vanilla extract.  Beat until stiff peaks form.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the ground Oreo cookies.  Put the mixture in a large piping bag fitted with a large tip (I use a star tip, but round works just fine).  Pipe dough in to about 1  1/2 inch mounds spaced an inch apart.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 20-30 second intervals with the microwave a half power.  (Should only take a couple minutes, stirring in between intervals.)  Dip half of each cookie into chocolate and set on parchment to harden.  Sprinkle with the ground cookies.  Let sit at room temperature until chocolate has hardened.  Makes about 20 cookies.

The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats is brought to you by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic and all the blog hoppers you see below!




Friday, November 23, 2012

Saltwater Taffy—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater Taffy

Today’s post is a fun treat to make for the holidays that kids will love helping you make.  A couple days ago, I made Saltwater Taffy and Parker and Taylor ended up helping me.

The Sweet Book of Candy Making I got the recipe for the taffy in a GREAT new cookbook I got for my birthday recently.  If you like making candy, you NEED to get this book!  Read this post, then head to this link on Amazon for The Sweet Book of Candy Making, by Elizabeth LaBau, a young pastry chef who is married and has a really cute six month old baby boy.  (Love her, she blogged along with the Tuesdays With Dorie group while we baked from Baking From My Home to Yours and I consider her one of those “friends who I haven’t met yet”.)  She has a delicious blog, too.  Check out Sugar Hero!

Saltwater Taffy 11-21-12

 In the recipe for Saltwater Taffy in the book, Liz shares the wonderful “secret” ingredient—secret because it was new to me, to making softer, chewy taffy, instead of hard tack taffy.  I have made taffy a number of times over the years and have always been frustrated and annoyed that it turns to hard candy, especially if you don’t pull it fast and soon enough.  Should I tell you the secret?  Or should you just have to get the book?  You know what, I’m not going to give you Liz’ recipe, but I’ll tell you that little secret.  After boiling the sugar and adding your chosen flavor, you pour it onto a baking sheet and add a little bit of marshmallow crème.  As soon as it is cool enough, you fold it together and start pulling and incorporated the marshmallow (and coloring). 

I’ll never make taffy again without adding marshmallow crème.  It’s the little things, people. ;) 

So just as I was getting ready to pull the taffy, I had two little helpers comes beg to get to pull some, too.  It was nice to have helpers!  And they were certainly thrilled with the results of making their own taffy.  So much so that after we made the green and white mint flavored taffy, Parker bugged me the rest of the day to make another.

Pulling Taffy

Pulling Taffy

So that night, we made a pink taffy and flavored it with raspberry flavoring.  We also made that one just a little softer and not quite as hard as the first round by not boiling it to quite so high a temperature.  I think it worked well to our advantage because we live at a high altitude. 

Happy Taffy Making Helpers

Happy Little Taffy Making and Eating Helpers

Next time, I want to try banana flavoring, because my favorite Laffy Taffy is banana!  I think licorice flavor would be good, too.  The boys keep snitching the ones we’ve already made, even when I keep trying to hide it in different places.

Saltwater Taffy 3

Thanks again to Brenda from Meal Planning Magic for hosting the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Best-Ever Brownies by Rick Katz—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking With Julia

TWD--Best Ever Brownies  (not chilled) 11-19-12

Way back in February of 2010, the Tuesdays With Dorie group made Dorie’s adapted version of these Best Ever Brownies by Rick Katz.  Reading back through that post, I remembered that I didn’t make those exactly as the recipe said, on accident.    So today was my second chance at these brownies, since they happen to be in Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking From Julia, that the Tuesdays With Dorie group is now working through. 

Now comes the question of whether they are “best-ever”.  This time I did make them exactly as the recipe is written.  They were fudgy and gooey, just as the recipe said they would be.  They are fine.  They are good.  I would have to say in my own opinion, they are not the best-ever of brownies that I’ve made.  Kevin, my husband’s opinion—way too fudgy (he hates fudge—silly, silly man) ;)  He is still not sure he’s had what he thinks would be a perfect, best-ever brownie, but he wants chocolaty and chewy, not fudgy.  I’ve made a few that he really likes and would have to have them all in one place for him to compare.  Sounds fun to me.

I did bake the brownies in a 9x13 inch glass baking pan even though it is suggested to bake them in a 9x9 pan.  When we made them for TWD a couple years ago, I did the smaller pan and decided I’d try them in the bigger pan this time, knowing they would just be thinner brownies.  It worked great!  I think they baked up perfectly in thickness. 

That first photo is brownies I cut as soon as they were at room temperature.  After chilling the brownies for a couple hours (which is what I prefer with brownies, then serving them at room temperature if you’d like), here is the brownies.

TWD--Best Ever Brownies, chilled 11-19-12

If you’d like the recipe for these brownies, Monica blogging at A Beautiful Mess is hosting this week and will have the recipe. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Candy Cane Oreo White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s Rice Krispies Treats—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Candy Cane Oreo White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Rice Krispies Treats

Candy Cane Oreo White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s Rice Krispies Treats

Wow—Now THAT’S a recipe title.  I didn’t want to shorten it or leave anything out.  They could easily just be called Peppermint Rice Krispies Treats or Candy Cane Rice Krispies Treats, but they deserve all the recognition from each addition.  Finish reading this and drooling a little, then run (or drive, I’ll allow that) to your nearest Target and find the new, limited edition Candy Cane Oreos and White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s, grab a box of Rice Krispies Cereal and some Kraft marshmallows (although if you’re like me, those are things I always have in the pantry).  Better yet, look to see if Target has the new Kraft Peppermint Mallows, which is what I used.  These treats are super kicked up for the holidays and are so good!

The fixin's for super holiday Rice Krispies Treats

The Candy Cane Oreos are one of their best limited editions yet.  They have that Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints taste, but in Oreo form.  They are good.  My kids really like them.  And they are somewhat picky and often don’t like the “new” flavors of things.   One wouldn’t even try them at first, but after doing so, is hooked.

I really like the White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s, too.  They are strong, but not as much as a candy cane and have that great hint of white chocolate.  The peppermint flavor is the dominate flavor.  I kind of wish it wasn’t quite so strong, but I still love these!  They are easy to snitch a few here and there when they are hiding in your baking closet in an open bag.  (So I’ve heard.)  I don’t have as much of a problem doing that with cookies, but I’m glad I bought two bags of the cookies, because my kids keep snitching those.  And I’ll be back to Target soon for more of the M&M’s before they’re gone!  Run!  How many agree that M&M’s should come permanently in “plain” White Chocolate M&M’s flavor?  Maybe we should all start a petition on their Facebook page or something.  My only wish would be that they just come in regular “plain” M&M’s size.  I kind of think all the new, limited edition, different flavors should just be the regular “plain” size, but they make them a little bigger, I guess so you aren’t confused. ;)

Anyway, these Rice Krispies Treats were delicious!  I made some and took them to a baby shower I attended.  Felt a little bad that it was a shower for a baby boy, but I think they made up for that in flavor and were accepted just fine.  These treats definitely put me in more of a holiday mood. 

Candy Cane Oreo White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms Rice Krispies TreatsPerfect for the 8th week of The 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic.  So nice of her to head up the group and keep it running smoothly each week!

Candy Cane Oreo White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s Rice Krispies Treats, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

10 ounce bag of Kraft Jet Puffed Peppermint Mallows (regular mini marshmallows would work, too)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

15 Candy Cane Oreo Cookies, chopped

about 1 cup White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s

Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil (nonstick is my favorite!), spray lightly with cooking spray.  Chop the Oreo Cookies, set aside.  Put the marshmallows and butter in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for about 40 seconds.  Stir.  Microwave again for 30 seconds.  Stir until butter is mixed in with the melted marshmallows.  (You CAN also do this in a large saucepan, but it takes longer.)

Stir the cereal in to the marshmallow mixture.  When it is all combined, fold in the cookies, then the M&M’s.   Spread the mixture evenly into the baking pan.  I like to tamp it down with a potato masher sprayed lightly with cooking spray to get it even, then I don’t have to have sticky hands. ;)  Let sit on the counter for about an hour to firm up.  Remove from the pan using the foil edges and peel off the foil.  Set on a cutting board and cut into desired sized bars. 

Candy Cane Oreo White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms Rice Krispies Treats 2

While I think, “Hey, at least wait for Thanksgiving to come and let’s enjoy that before Christmas is here.”  I also know it will be here (and gone) before we know it.  Start making treats—it will get you right in the spirit of it all, at least it has for me.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Peach Cobbler and Blueberry Pineapple Pecan Crisp—Lucky Leaf Pie Filling Giveaway

Blueberry Pineapple Pecan Crisp

You might recall back in June with I posted a bunch of delicious recipes and had a giveaway for Lucky Leaf, who make canned premium pie fillings.  I loved trying out some of their fillings and was happy to have a giveaway for a lucky reader as well.  They recently contacted me again and asked if I wanted to try some more of their products.  I received a package with pie fillings, some recipe cards and a nice cloth pie carrier.

I have enjoyed trying a couple of the recipes and now I want to share them with you.  Lucky Leaf has also offered a giveaway again for another lucky winner.  Pictured below is what you could win---some of their pie filling, recipe cards and a kitchen towel.


In two of their recipes I have tried, one for an Amaretto Peach Cobbler and a Blueberry Pineapple Pecan Crisp, I made some adaptations to the recipe.  The cobbler was to be made with a packaged sugar cookie mix while the crisp was topped with a packaged yellow cake mix.  So, again (like I did in my last Lucky Leaf post), I made my own cookie dough and yellow cake mix, since I would rather have homemade than boxed treats.  I know, the pie filling is a canned product, but I really like it and love that it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup.  I would certainly keep some in my pantry for times when a quick dessert is needed.  While as a lover of all things home baked, I hate to say, but my family almost prefers some canned things—like cherry pie filling.  I still have a can of Lucky Leaf cherry pie filling and will be trying their recipe for Cherry Kuchen soon!

The Peach Cinnacake I made last time was a big hit and Kevin really likes peach desserts, so first up, I made the Peach Cobbler.  The recipe is supposed to have Amaretto in it, but since we don’t use or drink alcohol, I left it out.  Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Lucky Leaf

2  21-ounce cans Lucky Leaf Premium Peach Pie Filling

1 recipe for sugar cookie dough (14  1/2 ounces), see recipe below

1 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Make the sugar cookie dough:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 a large egg (2 tablespoons or about 25 grams)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 tablespoon milk

1  1/2 cups (180 grams) all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream together in a mixer the butter and sugar.  Add the egg, vanilla and milk and mix until well combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined.

For the cobbler-- 

Spread the two cans of pie filling into an ungreased 9x13 inch baking dish.  Break the cookie dough up evenly into little pieces and sprinkle it evenly over the filling.  Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top.  Dot the top with the cubed butter.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.  Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Ready to bake Lucky Leaf Peach Cobbler Ready for the oven—while the Lucky Leaf recipe called for dry sugar cookie mix and I used actual cookie dough, I think it turned out great!

Lucky Leaf Peach Cobbler 2

  The BlueberryPineapple Pecan Crisp, which also had crushed pineapple was also delicious and I was very happy with the way it turned out using a homemade dry yellow cake mix!  I looked at different homemade cake mix recipes online, and then adapted a few things to come up with this mixture for sprinkling over the blueberries. 

Blueberry Pineapple Pecan Crisp, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Lucky Leaf

For the cake mix--

2 cups (240 grams) all purpose flour

1  1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (not instant)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

1  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, dry milk and salt.  Pulse a few times to mix together.  Add the pieces of butter and the vanilla and pulse until crumbly and the butter is mixed in to a sand-like texture. 

For the crisp--

1  20 ounce can unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained

1/2 cup (110 grams) packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1  21-ounce can Lucky Leaf Premium Blueberry Pie Filling

18.25 ounces homemade yellow cake mix (there is about a cup leftover so weigh it if you have a kitchen scale, if not, just measure out a scant cup of the mix—you can use it to make your own microwaveable mug cakes!)*

1 cup pecan halves, chopped

1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray with cooking spray a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Pour pineapple into the dish.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Top with pie filling and spread it evenly (it will not spread perfectly, but that is okay.)  Sprinkle the dry cake mix and pecans over the filling.  Drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Blueberry Pecan Crisp 2

If you want to win the Lucky Leaf giveaway, here’s what you need to do (you have five entries for chances to win)---

Leave me a comment on this post after visiting the Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling Recipes and tell me which recipe you’d try first.

Like Baking and Boys! on Facebook.  Come back and tell me you did or if you already do, let me know in a separate comment.

Like Lucky Leaf on Facebook.  Come back and tell me in another comment that you did.

Follow Lucky Leaf on Pinterest.  Come back and tell me in another comment that you did.

Follow Lucky Leaf on Twitter.  Come back and tell me in another comment that you did.  #LuckyLeafLuckyMe

The contest is open to U.S. residents only and entries will be accepted until Sunday, November 18 at 7 p.m. CST. 

LET THE HOLIDAY BAKING BEGIN!  Lucky Leaf has lots of great ideas and recipes on their website and Pinterest pages!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Banana Pudding Cookies—Support For Sandy, A Food Blogging Event to Help the Victims of Hurricane Sandy, #FBS4Sandy

 Banana Pudding Cookies

Though I missed the official posting yesterday, for a food blogging event to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, they are letting whoever wants to join in post anytime through the month of November.  After seeing and hearing all about the devastation caused to the East Coast from Hurricane Sandy, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to share in a very small way with those who have lost so much and who are still suffering.  While I know that we all think we couldn’t possibly do enough to really help someone, every little bits counts.  It all adds up. 

What is the next best thing to helping monetarily?  Comfort.  It brings people together, gives warmth and genuine love, and shows concern—especially when you’re talking about comfort food.  ;)  So just as a way to have all our Support for Sandy posts come together with some kind of unity, we all decided to post something we think of as comfort food.  And now you’re probably rolling your eyes that I have chosen cookies.  I do believe my cookies bring comfort to many, so I just couldn’t bring myself to make meatloaf or chicken noodle soup.  Though one of the hosts for this Support for Sandy group is Barbara at Creative Culinary and she has posted some mighty good-looking meatloaf!  You will also find on her post all the other comforting foods and recipes by all the other bloggers participating in the event at the end of her post.

Banana Pudding Cookies 3  A couple months ago I saw a post Maria at Two Peas And Their Pod did for some Banana Pudding Cookies.  I have wanted to make them since then.  I bought some banana pudding mix a while ago and already had the Nilla Wafers.  I didn’t adapt Maria’s recipe much.  The biggest differences were that I used chopped Lindt White Chocolate when she used white chocolate chips.  I don’t really like white chocolate chips—they are just never as good as the real thing. ;)  The only other things I did were changing or adding to some of her directions for making the cookies.   Banana pudding, with vanilla cookies and whipped cream is definitely a comfort food—putting that comfort in to a cookie—even more comfort in my book.

Banana Pudding Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (165 grams)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)

1 (3.4 ounce) package banana cream instant pudding mix

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2  1/2 cups all purpose flour (300 grams)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped vanilla wafer cookies (like Nilla Wafers), plus more for the tops of the cookies

4.4 ounces Lindt white chocolate bar, chopped (save some of the tops of the cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together in the bowl of a mixer the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the dry pudding mix, eggs and vanilla extract.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix just until combined.  Stir in the chopped chocolate and wafer cookies.

Put cookie dough on baking sheets using a cookie scoop or about walnut-sized mounds of dough about two inches apart.  Press each cookie dough ball down slightly with the palm of your hand.  Put extra  white chocolate and chopped wafer cookies on the tops.  Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven and using the edge of a metal spatula, carefully push the cookies into round forms as some will have spread to a not-so-round shape.  (This is a trick I do with all cookies to get uniformly round cookies!)  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Banana Pudding Cookies 4

If you like and are comforted by banana pudding, these cookies are for you!  Comfort in a cookie!

Don’t forget the purpose of this post—let’s all unite together in Supporting the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Click on the Support For Sandy image and it will take you right to the Red Cross website where you can donate—every dollar counts.  I can’t give much, but am happy to give a little.

Thanks to Barbara at Creative Culinary and Jenn from Jenn Cuisine for putting this together.

Other sources to see where you can help are also listed--

  • American Red Cross is providing food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims. You can donate directly to the Red Cross or  you can also text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • The Salvation Army is also focused on providing food, shelter, and support to victims, and takes donations for storm relief.
  • Feeding America is providing food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.

Check out all the chatter on Twitter for Support For Sandy with the hashtag #FBS4Sandy.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Truffles—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles 9-20-12

Week 7 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats and I know what you’re thinking—those don’t look very Christmas-y.  Well, use your imagination and pretend they are red, green and white.  See, they’d be perfect!  I made these a couple months ago for a baby shower I hosted and have been wanting to blog them since, but haven’t found the opportunity to do so.  I decided you need to know about them, so here you go.

I really don’t take any credit for the idea for these.  Back at the end of August (which seems like just yesterday, or maybe like a week ago anyway), Dawn at Vanilla Sugar posted some Banana Bread Balls she made using banana bread (obviously) instead of the ever-popular cake balls.  After I saw those, I knew I wanted to try them because I. LOVE. BANANAS.  (You are what you eat, right?)  I also don’t really care for cake balls.  Mostly because I don’t like cake mixes or canned frosting, which seems to be “the thing” for cake balls.  I have tried them in the past with homemade cake and frosting and they did turn out well, but have still never really made cake balls all that much. 

Dawn made hers with banana bread and cream cheese, then dipped them in melted chocolate and sprinkled them with walnuts.  YUM!

Well, I stumbled upon a little boo-boo I made in the kitchen back in September.  I made my most favorite cake in the world--Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, but thought I’d try it in a bread pan and make a banana “bread” that had a swirl of cinnamon-walnut-chocolate chip streusel in the middle and on top, like the cake.  I believe it would have worked just fine in the bread pan, but took it out of the oven too soon, so the bread sunk a little in the middle.  That doesn’t make me very happy, but I wasn’t about to throw out the cake/bread.  Having Dawn’s Banana Bread Balls in mind, I just started taking some of the cooled cake and forming it in to walnut-sized balls.  I stuck them in the freezer. 

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Truffles 5

That’s where the baby shower I mentioned comes in to play.  I remembered those lonely cake balls in the freezer and decided they would be really fun to dress up for a girly baby shower.  I chose to use candy melts for dunking them and used white and pink and some chocolate bark. 

Banana Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cake Truffles Cute.  Fun.  Yum!  Before telling shower guests what they were, they were all trying to guess what flavors were in them as they ate them.  Did I mention I love this coffee cake?  It has, of course, bananas and the swirl/top layer has mini chocolate chips, cinnamon and walnuts, along with brown sugar.  Because I use mini chocolate chips and some pretty finely chopped walnuts, they were fine when forming the cake in to balls.  The cake was cool, but still fresh, so the chocolate chips kind of melted in with the cake as I formed the balls.  It was all good!

Banana Cake Truffles Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Truffles, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

For the cake--

Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Coffee Cake, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Bon Appetit 2003

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon (heaping)

1  1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 ounces coconut oil (original recipes uses 1 stick unsalted butter--I was actually out of butter (gasp), but loved how this turned out with the coconut oil

1 large egg

1  1/3 cups very ripe banana, mashed (I used about 4 small-medium bananas)

3 tablespoons buttermilk

Prehead oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8 inch square pan (although I used a 10 inch round springform pan and it worked great!)  *Or try a 9x5 inch bread pan—bake for 50 minutes, then check for doneness and adjust accordingly. I probably baked the bread pan cake for 50-55 minutes and it could have used another 5 minutes.  It was not doughy, just sunk in the center.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together to sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (this can be done all by hand if you use the oil as opposed to butter which beats together with the sugar better in a mixer), beat coconut oil and sugar until well combined.  Add egg and beat until fluffy.  Stir in mashed bananas and buttermilk.  Add dry ingredients and blend well.  Spread half the batter in prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle half the streusel evenly over the first half.  Spread the remaining batter over that and top with the rest of the streusel topping.  Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (the original recipes says 45 minutes), with my bigger pan, I only baked it 25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

For the coating and cake truffles instructions:

6-8 ounces white candy melts

6-8 ounces pink candy melts

6-8 ounces chocolate bark or candy melts

sprinkles for decorating

*Use any colors you’d like for any holiday or event.

Once the cake is cooled, form into walnut-sized cake balls, form it to hold together my squeezing it in your hand.  Set them on a waxed paper lined baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap.  Freeze until firm, or once frozen, put them in a plastic zip top bag and freeze up to 2 months. 

When ready to coat the truffles, remove them from the freezer. 

Melt the candy according to package directions in a microwave-safe bowl.  Dip the frozen cake truffles in one color at a time.  If the melts are hardening, you can microwave it again until it is the consistency you want.  Dip one cake truffle into the melted candy while it is sitting on a fork.  Bring it out of the candy and tap the fork lightly on the side of the bowl to drip off the excess.  Set on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper using another fork to slide it off the dunking fork.  Sprinkle immediately.  If using another color to drizzle over the truffles, you can do that after all of them are made. 


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Scottish Oat Cookies and The Daily Cookie Book Giveaway Winner!

Scottish Oat Cookies 11-6-12

Run now to your nearest book store, or at least get on Amazon and order your copy of Anna’s (author of Cookie Madness blog) new cookbook, The Daily Cookie, 365 Tempting Treats for the Sweetest Year of your Life—it’s available today!  While you’re on your way home from the book store, go ahead and vote—it’s election day!  Get your vote on!

The Daily Cookie

You might recall, or maybe you’re dying to know if it was you—but I had a giveaway for a copy of The Daily Cookie last week.  A WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED!  Drumroll, please……………………………………………………..

Lucky #13 was chosen by Random Generator!  Who was lucky #13!  It was Amy, from Amy's Cooking Adventures!  Yay!  Congratulations!  You’ll love having this book.  I got an early copy of it from Anna and have already made a number of cookies from it.  I wanted to pay it forward and give a book to someone else. 

Thought it would be fun to make Amy’s birthday cookie today, since that was what you had to do to enter the giveaway—tell me your birthday.  Amy’s birthday is March 10.  And here’s the scoop about what Anna chose for that day’s treat—Scottish Oat Cookies.  March 10 marks the day the First Successful Telephone Call was made by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.  So grateful for that guy and invention!  Anna says in the book, “On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell shouted one of the most famous phrases in history, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson.  It was the first successful communication via telephone.  In honor of Bell’s Scottish heritage, today’s cookie is a Scottish-style oatmeal cookie.”

These are a great shortbread-like cookie with milk chocolate on top.  They are the kind of cookie I could eat too many of at a time, and moreso because they are crunchy, so Kevin won’t care for them.  I will have to force my boys to eat them. ;)

Scottish Oat Cookies 12-6-12

I played rebel here and swirled the chocolate on the cookie instead of Anna’s suggestion of making lines in the chocolate with a toothpick.  Rebel?  Lazy?  Or do the swirls signify my craziness? No matter, I’m sure you could put the chocolate on any way you’d like.  I almost drizzled it on, but ended up spooning it on and just swirling it around with the back of a spoon.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe to a tee, I find that with Anna’s recipes, she has worked hard to ensure they come out well, so no adjustments are ever necessary.    I must have laid the chocolate on a little thick because I did end up using about six ounces of melted milk chocolate instead of her suggested four ounces.

Scottish Oat Cookies, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Anna Ginsberg, The Daily Cookie Book

1  1/4 (100 grams) cup quick-cooking oats (old-fashioned work, too, just not instant)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (45 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (45 grams) whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 scant teaspoon salt

1/4 cup firmly packed (55 grams) light brown sugar

2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar

9 tablespoons (4  1/2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 tablespoon golden syrup or light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4-6 ounces milk chocolate (I used Ghirardelli, Anna suggested Cadbury)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the oats until fine.  Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt and pulse to mix.  Add both sugars and pulse again to combine thoroughly.  Add the butter and process until the mixture is coarse and sand-like.  Add the corn syrup and vanilla and pulse until combined.  The mixture will but dry and not like a cookie dough. 

Transfer half the mixture to a piece of waxed paper set on the counter.  Form it together into a disk with your hands.  Cover with another piece of waxed paper.  Roll one disk to about 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut out 2 inch round circles with a cookie cutter.  Place on baking sheets about two inches apart.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cookie sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals at about half-power or in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Spoon the melted chocolate over the cookies.  Once the chocolate is partially set, you can drag a toothpick through it and make lines in the chocolate.  Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature. or do a quick-set in the refrigerator.

Baker’s notes:  These are dense, crumbly, and crispy rather than chewy.  Whole wheat pastry flour is softer than regular whole wheat flour and can usually be found in the bulk bin at big grocery stores or in natural food stores, like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  Omit the additional salt if using salted butter.

Scottish Oat Cookies 12-6-12

Before putting the icing on these, even our doggy, Chip, loved the bites I gave him of one! ;)

Congratulations to Amy!  Your book is on the way from Amazon and will probably arrive by Friday!  Everyone else, you’ll love having this book in your collection, especially in time for holiday baking or gift giving!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Salmon Artichoke Patties and Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies—Secret Recipe Club

Salmon Artichoke Patties (Nov. SRC) 11-2-12

I know what you all are thinking—“What has happened to Katrina?  Where’s the chocolate?”  Don’t worry, it’s coming. ;)  With my Secret Recipe Club assignment for this month, I got to have Stephanie’s blog, Sustainable Cooking for One.  You might wonder how that worked out for a gal who is feeding a family of six.  Here’s the short of it.  With Halloween just past us, my boys have eaten way too much candy and junk over the last week.  On Friday night, I’d planned to make breakfast for dinner—sausage, eggs, and French Toast.  After they got home from school, they all dove in to their Halloween candy.   I won’t let them have any before school, but we’ve decided to just let them get it all over with and they can eat as much as they want.  The sooner it’s all gone, the better.   By the time I asked them if they wanted sausage and eggs, which they love, they weren’t too keen on the idea.  I told them fine and if and when they were hungry they could just have some cereal or make a sandwich. 

That left dinner wide open for me as Kevin has just eaten some leftovers.  I had found on Stephanie’s blog some Salmon Artichoke Patties and remembered that I had some salmon in the freezer..    It really took no time at all to thaw some.  I had some canned artichokes as well.  All set.  I cooked the salmon for a couple minutes, then let it cool at bit while getting the rest of the ingredients ready in a bowl. 

Ready to form Salmon Artichoke Patties

It took no tine at all to form six little patties and cook them in a skillet for a couple minutes.  Parker and Taylor like salmon, so I called them in to try one.  They weren’t impressed with how they looked, but tasted it anyway—and liked it and each at one.  Kevin ate one plus some of another and I ate the rest.  We had a good, quick healthy “dinner”!  (Scott was spending the night at his cousin’s house and Sam just had some cereal.)

Salmon Artichoke Patties 2

I only snapped a few quick pictures, so these aren’t very good photos—I think that is why I also prefer making and photographing desserts, they just look better on film to me.  That’s just because of my lacking the ability to make savory food look better for the camera.  That said, we do eat considerably healthy.  And I’m happy to say that I believe all their Halloween candy is just about gone. 

Salmon Artichoke Patties, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Stephanie at Sustainable Cooking for One

6 ounces cooked salmon, broken in to little pieces

6 ounces artichoke hearts, (canned) drained and chopped small

2 teaspoons cornmeal

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon oregano flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Mix all ingredients together until combined.  Shape in to six patties, about 2  1/2 inches round.  Sautee in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil on medium heat a couple minutes per side until browned.  Serve immediately with a hot sauce or garlic-chili sauce or mustard.

*Stephanie has a cookbook available with this recipe in it.  One Bowl:  Simple Healthy Recipes for One


Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (Nov. SRC)

I really enjoyed looking through all the recipes on her blog.  She has mostly, if not all, gluten free recipes.  While browsing around, of course I stumbled on chocolate chip cookies and had to see about making those.  They were gluten free and used corn flour, white rice flour and a mix of other gluten free flours.  In looking at the choices I had at the grocery store, I decided to make the cookies more all whole grain instead of gluten free.  I ended up using corn flour, brown rice flour, some barley flour and some oat bran.  So because of the barley and oat flour, the cookies I made are not gluten free, but surprisingly I kind of like them.  You can definitely taste the different flours, or just taste that they are not your normal chocolate chip cookies, but I like that.  These cookies also have some molasses, banana and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies, Whole Grain, adapted by Katrina, Baking and Boys! from Sustainable Cooking for One

1/3 cup corn flour

1/3 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oat bran

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon barley flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tablespoon molasses

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 a large egg (25 grams), room temperature

1 banana (100 grams), mashed

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or any kind you’d like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Set aside.  Cream together in the bowl of a mixer, the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the molasses, egg, vanilla and banana and mix until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips.  Scoop  cookie dough onto baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes (I did 12).  Allow the cookies to sit on the baking sheet on a wire rack for a couple minutes before removing them from the baking sheet to cool completely on a wire rack. 

*Try a mixture of other flours you’d like or have on hand.  I bought corn flour and brown rice flour to make these, but already had oat bran and barley flour on hand.  Stephanie used a mixture of buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, millet and brown rice flour along with the corn flour and some white rice flour. 

Cinnamon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

There you have it---salmon patties and my chocolate fix with some whole grain cookies.  Win and win.

I like Stephanie’s philosophy about food, you can read about it on her About Me section on her blog.  Hadn’t heard of her blog until now, but I’m glad I do now.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Date to Always Remember, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and a Few Other Memories

November 5, 1999, 13 years ago, my sister, Mandi, passed away at the young age of 33, from Multiple Sclerosis.   


That nasty, so-far-incurable disease was not nice to her body. She was diagnosed at the age of 19 and struggled through a lot of those years, especially the last 2-3 years of her life.  She has two beautiful girls, Ehryn (25) and Alysn (19), who are wonderful!  It was hard for my family to watch what she was going through.  A couple months before she died, her husband could no longer take care of her 24/7, so she spent those months in a care center.  Kevin and I lived in Arizona at the time and it was hard to not be in Idaho to see her and help out my mom who spent every moment she could, while she wasn’t working, to be with her.  She became sick with a fever and an infection that the doctors could not figure out.  I was called and told she had anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple days to live.  I then flew home to be with Mandi and my parents.  When I arrived, Mandi was no longer even really response.  She just laid in bed and had not been eating or drinking for a couple days.  She could open her eyes when she was told I was there to see her.  She died the day after I arrived.  It is hard for me to think of her that way because I have so many better memories.  That is what my mind is focused on today as I think of her.  I will say though, that her passing and those moments were some of the most spiritual moments of my life as my whole family was there surrounded by her as she took her last breath.  We were all cheering her on as she made her valiant run (We know she ran after so many years of not even being able to walk!) back into the arms of her loving Father in Heaven and other family who have already passed, like my grandmother (my mom’s mother) who died from MS at the age of 24 when my mom was only 2 years old.

Mandi was the first born of my parents on January 26, 1966.  She set the precedence for being a cute baby that all four of my other siblings and I did a great job following.  (Recently been looking back at some old photos, can you tell?) ;)


We were all chunky babies.  Mandi was probably only 3 months old in this photo.  Check out this next photo.  Mandi’s daughter, Alysn, had a baby in July of this year.  She named her Mandie.  Here she is recently at about 4 months.


Mandi would have been so proud of her first grandchild!  I am loving seeing baby Mandie grow in to such a cute, chubby baby and she definitely has some similarities to my sister, her grandmother. ;)



How cute is THIS picture of three little girls in the early 70’s. ;)  Rockin’ that ‘do, Mandi.  Funny, my second grade picture is the same hairdo.  Thanks, Mom!


Mandi, Lara, and Katrina , 1972

Mandi got to spend 3 years with Mom and Dad before Lara came along and then me just a short year later.  Yes, I like to say I was the best accident my parents ever had. haha  I really just remember the normal few things about being very young, but it was the three of us until my brother Matt came along four years later.  (My dad was so happy to finally have a boy!)  Two years after Matt was born, Mark was born into our family.  My little sister, Sara, completed our family four years later. 

Just remembering little bits of things here and there from being really small is tough when you want to be able to remember more, especially after losing two of those siblings at such young ages.  (Mandi and Lara were both 33 when they passed on just two years apart.)  I remember silly things, like the three of us sharing a huge upstairs room together for a while when I was about 6.  We’d often goof off as quietly as we could to not get caught after being put to bed.  One time my mom yelled up the stairs, “Hey, cut it out up there.”  My sister, Lara, said in a super quiet whisper, “We don’t have any paper or scissors.”  Not sure how, but Mom said, “I heard that!”

Mandi was a wonderful pianist!  (MS took that away from her the last 5-10 years of her life.)  From the time of her early teens she could play just about anything.  When I was about nine years old, we came up with a great skit that we put on for the family.  Mandi would play the song, Fur Elise, by Beethoven.  I came in the room with her, dressed with black tuxedo tail ready to do my part in our duet.  While she was playing the song, I’d stand at the piano getting my things all ready for my part, opened a bag full papers, I think I put some lip gloss on, cracked my knuckles, getting ready for my big part in the duet—all in front of everyone while Mandi played, .   I got out my music and sat it in front of me---one big note written near a giant treble clef.   At the very end, I’d put my index finger high in the air and lower it down in a spiral to play the very last note.  It was silly and funny and a great memory of Mandi and I together.  That was our thing and our song.  My mom recently found in some of Mandi’s things, my music for that song and I’ve had in my photo album one of the pictures that was taken during our performance.  I believe we performed the song a time or two together in our teens for other “audiences”.   


While not a very well taken picture, because it’s so old and taken on an old camera, it’s not the best, but such a fun photo to remember.  I think we had our performance, then had a nice dinner with the family.  You can see in the photo that the piano was RIGHT next to the dining room table. ;)  Too bad, I think it must be the other side of the piano, when I was about 5, I carved my name really big (KATRINA SCOTT) into the side of the piano and blamed Lara for doing it.  (She would have done something like that.  But I specifically remember the actual carving.  I might beat my kids if they do something like that to our piano! ;)   And yes, my mother cut our hair herself.  Thanks for the bowl cut, Mom!  (ILY)


Mandi LOVED cats.  Every inch of her walls were cat posters.  She had stuffed cats and cat figurines and cat calendars—you name it, if it had anything to do with cats, she had it.  We always had a number of pet cats as well.  I loved cats, too.  At the age of 16, out of nowhere, I became very allergic to cats.  Guess my body had had enough of so many cats.   I have always missed being able to be near cats.  In the later years, when Mandi and I lived miles apart, whenever I’d see her, I’d always get an allergic reaction being around her.  We’d joke that I was allergic to her when it was really just that she always had “cat” on her.  From Mandi’s first cat, Blackie, who lived until she just wandered away and died somewhere, to her cat, Leigh, that she had when she died, and many in between, Mandi was a true crazy cat lady. ;)  After her passing, my parents kept Leigh, and even though growing up my dad always disliked all our cats, he sure loved Leigh and let her be on his lap and even eat ice cream with them in its own bowlful!  I think Leigh was almost a 20 year old cat when she died.  I’m sure that was a great reunion for Mandi!

Another great memory with Mandi was sometime during the years that I was ages 7 to 11, Mandi would often sneak when my parents weren’t home or were in another part of the house and she’d have me help her make some chocolate chip cookie dough, just enough to fill a smaller bowl. We wouldn’t measure, just eyeball the ingredients. I can’t remember if she was smart enough to just leave out the raw egg, probably not.  But we’d make the cookie dough and sneak down to this crawl space in the house we lived in in Broomfield, Colorado, which was accessible from our bedroom and we’d eat the cookie dough as fast as we could. Yes, I’m “blaming” Mandi for my love of cookie dough! ;)

Chocolate chip cookie dough 10-25-12

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good chocolate chip cookie, but give me some of the dough and I’m good, don’t even need a cookie after that.

I recall how cool Mandi was when I was only 12 and she was starting to date.  Her boyfriend at the time came over in his convertible Volkswagen bug and Mandi was not embarrassed to let Lara and I go for a ride in his car with them.

One of the best memories I have with Mandi was when I was 13, in 1982.  My favorite singer of all time (still to this day), Rick Springfield was coming to concert in Boise.  Mandi got a ticket for me to go with her and a girlfriend of hers.   (She had cat poster on her walls, I had Rick posters!)


Photo courtesy of

She was 17 and I love and am so grateful that she wasn’t embarrassed to take her little sister along to a rock concert.  That was my first concert and it was amazing!  I swear to this day that even though we were up in the nose-bleed seats somewhere, that Rick danced over to a spot where he was singing right to me. ;)  After the concert, she bought me a tour t-shirt.  I wore that shirt for as long as it would fit me.  Wish I still had it!

The early summer before I went in to eighth grade—8th grade, probably the most fragile time in a young girls life, I was having a fit about my hair one morning.  I’m not even sure if 7th grade had ended yet because I have pictures of me at one of Mandi’s school functions with my new, funky ‘do.  But I got mad about my bangs that morning, so Lara grabbed the scissors and said, “I’ll fix them.”  And she cut them crooked.  Mandi grabbed the scissors from her and exclaimed, “I’ll fix them!”  And she cut my bangs crooked and much too short.  Pretty mad by then, I grabbed the scissors and shouted, “I’ll fix them!” and I cut my bangs to almost nothing.  What the heck was I thinking?  I looked like the biggest dork.  Had to go get a super short pixie cut and live with almost no bangs for a couple months.  (NO photos will be posted for this one!)

Somewhere in all our years together, Mandi got me hooked on Vaseline.  She loved it and always had some on her lips.  To this day, I do, too.  Found the CUTEST little container of Vaseline a couple months ago and had to get it for my collection. ;)

IMG_0282 Mandi graduated just before I went in to high school (9th grade).  I was always a little bummed that we were never in high school together.   She ran off to college and things and I didn’t see her very much.  I suppose we always stayed close and I know she’d call.  One time when she came back from college and was staying with us for a little while (weeks or the summer, I don’t recall), but she did something that mad me and my friend, Ann, mad.  Don’t remember what, but we weren’t happy.  To this day I regret that Ann and I put a bunch of dead flies that were in the window sill in her underwear drawer because we were mad at her.   She was not happy about that!  It’s the dumbest, little things you wish you could take back when someone is gone.  When I hear of grown, adult siblings not getting along or not even speaking to each other, my heart aches to be able to go back and do certain things differently and I beg them to just love each other and cherish the time you have together, because you never know when someone will be gone.

Mandi LOVED San Francisco.  Before getting too sick to work, she had a pretty nice job in a corporate office in downtown SF for a few years.  She loved living right in the hub of it all.  In June of 1991, I went to Hawaii to BYU-Hawaii for a writers’ workshop for a week.  Mandi helped me get a ticket that allowed me to have a couple days layover in San Francisco and she showed me “The Bay Area”.  Two other times while she lived there I went with different friends to “the bay” and stayed with her.   (That “bay area” in quotes is an inside joke with her daughter, Ehryn.) 


1994, right before my brother, Mark, went on his mission to Alaska

Moving on to more “recent” memories of Mandi—she LOVED Princess Diana.  At the time of Princess Diana’s death, I was newly married to Kevin.  Mandi was getting sicker because of the MS.  She had tremors and shakes really bad, and I don’t remember slurred speech as much as we all just kind of thought she often talked on and on and sometimes didn’t make sense.  She called me LATE the night Diana was killed and talked and talked to me for hours about it.  If I would have known Mandi would be gone just a few short years later, I wouldn’t have been so annoyed with the long, drawn out conversation. 

After my oldest, Scottie was born, Mandi and her husband came to see us.  They lived in Seattle at the time and we were in Utah.  I remember feeding Scott in his bedroom late one night.  Mandi and her husband had just gotten back to our place from being somewhere that evening.  Mandi could barely walk at the time and usually used a wheelchair, but the wheelchair didn’t fit down our hallway.  But she wanted to sit and talk with me.  So she crawled down the hallway and into Scott’s bedroom to sit on the floor and talk with me while I fed him.  She literally crawled on her hands and knees to be with me!  Dignity was not as important to her as being with people she loved.  I cannot get the image of her crawling in to the bedroom to talk to me out of my mind, but I am so thankful for that time and that memory.  Because we lived so far apart, I don’t remember much more than that before her passing.  A few times I recall them visiting to Idaho for holidays or in the summertime.  We had a family reunion in June of 1999.  It was great to have the whole family together, we knew it would be the last time she would be there. 

She was trying to raise her two daughters and having a hard time taking care of them.  When she died, Ehryn was 12 and already living with her dad and Alysn was six, also living with her dad (different dads).  Ehryn has told me a few of the memories she has, one when she remembers Alysn fell off the trampoline and got hurt and Mandi, though she could no longer run, crawled out to go help her.  Ehryn has also told me a few times  that Mandi used to always talk about me and told her I was her best friend.  I never really knew that until then, that she thought of me as a friend, her best friend.  

Mandi was such a wonderful person.  Sometimes I can’t believe she has been gone for 13 years.  Sometimes our years growing up together seem so far distant, at times the years fly by and other times it seems like she was just here.  I can think of many more things that I won’t share at this time, but I sure miss and love her.  I am comforted to know we will all be together again someday.  I need to go make some cookie dough now. 

1986  1986

Love you, Amanda Leigh!  (Having also lost my sister, Lara, in March of 2002, I wouldn’t want anyone to think she was not loved or cared about by me either, but I will save writing about her for another time.  We definitely had a different relationship and totally different stories to tell.)