Friday, March 29, 2013

White Chocolate Lime Coconut Macaroons and Dark Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons 3-29-13

I originally was just planning to share with you this great Coconut Macaroon recipe I recently found.  I made them for the first time in January and it has taken me this long to get my act together and get it blogged, so today I thought I’d make them again.  While making them, I had an idea to try some of the mixture with some lime zest added and dip them in white chocolate.  Then  I wanted to just make more of them the way I originally did with the bottom of them dipped in dark chocolate.  While dipping some, I dropped one in the chocolate, so I just dunked the whole thing and enrobed it in dark chocolate.  Ended up making a few like that. (Can you say Almond Joy?!)  I also recently saw some macaroons that were drizzled with chocolate and had macadamia nuts on top—so I did that, too.

I don’t know why I never thought of the fact that coconut macaroons can have so many different things added.  I also don’t know which kind I like the best.  The white chocolate lime ones are really good and have the little added zing that is good. 

When I originally made these back in January I made them for my book group.  One of the gals in the group doesn’t like chocolate (GASP!), so I always try to make something she can enjoy.  So I made a batch and dipped half in chocolate and left half “plain”.

Coconut Macaroons--What Jew Wanna Eat

Yes, I dipped more in chocolate than I left plain.  ;)

Coconut Macaroons 2

Just teasing, it was about half and half.   They really are great both ways, like they stand on their own without the chocolate.  If you like coconut, you’ll love these.  All the macaroon recipes I’ve seen and made before usually have egg whites and/or sweetened condensed milk.  The coconut is usually just mixed in to the barely beaten egg whites.  This recipe has the egg whites first beaten to a stiff peak with a little sugar added, then the coconut (and ground almonds) are folded in to the egg whites.

For the macadamia nut ones, I just sprinkled some on the tops, but these would be even more kicked up Hawaiian-like if you added ground macadamia nuts to the coconut mixture instead of almonds.

I found this treasured recipe at Amy’s blog, What Jew Wanna Eat.  I’m not Jewish and don’t eat Kosher, but love her blog.  Check out the link for her macaroons, she made them with the bottoms dipped in chocolate, then dipped in sea salt and rainbow sprinkles.  Love!  I also like that they are made with unsweetened coconut, which I prefer to the long shreds of sweetened coconut.  Though both times I made these, I didn’t quite have enough unsweetened and used two cups unsweetened and one cup of sweetened.  I like the texture of unsweetened coconut and that it is usually ground to a finer consistency. 

Coconut Macaroons with White Chocolate and Lime or Dark Chocolate, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Amy, What Jew Wanna Eat

2 large egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

3 cups coconut (unsweetened or sweetened, or a mix of—your choice)

1/2 cup ground almonds (I used sliced almonds, then ground them in the food processor)

3 ounces white chocolate, melted*

zest of half a lime

3 ounces dark chocolate, melted*

Macadamia nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites in a mixer on high to a soft peak.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Then fold in the vanilla, salt, coconut and ground almonds. 

If making some with lime, put half the coconut mixture in a separate bowl and add the lime zest and stir to incorporate.  Scoop mounds of all the mixtures about ping pong ball size onto the baking sheet.  Bake for about 15 minutes until the macaroons are dry to the touch.  Let cool on baking sheet until they are firm enough to move to a wire rack (they are slightly delicate).  Once cooled, dip the bottoms of the lime macaroons in the melted white chocolate and set them on waxed paper to let the chocolate harden.  Then dip the other half in the dark chocolate, or drizzle the chocolate over the tops and sprinkle with macadamia nuts, or colorful sprinkles, or whatever you’d like! 

White Chocolate LIme Coconut Macaroons 3-29-13

Go ahead and play with your macaroons, flavors could be endless!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

My favorite are probably the simple coconut macaroons, dipped in dark chocolate, but those white chocolate lime ones ARE pretty darn good, if you HAVE to have white chocolate instead of dark. ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Baked Mozzarella Sticks 3-21-13

I made these last week on a night Kevin had to work late.  The boys LOVED them.  I only made 16 of them and they were upset when they were all gone.  They were easy to make and so much better than the over-battered fried ones, in my humble opinion. ;) 

I’ve learned a few things since making them.  I made them for dinner again last night.  This time I used a different brand of mozzarella sticks than I’d used the first time and just for fun, I didn’t cut them in half.  In my recipe, I’ll recommend a certain brand of cheese, but you are welcome to try whichever you like.  And now I’ll make sure to cut them in half as well, not sure if that helped cause the melting, but there was also a difference in the thickness/roundness of the two brands of cheese and I actually baked a few of each last night and the ones I’d used the first time didn’t melt like the other brand. 

Anyway, these were great and perfect for pleasing kids.  I used a simple store-bought pizza sauce (gasp!) this time, because I just happened to have some on hand.  Any marinara sauce would be great for dipping these in.

These are made by dipping each stick in flour, then egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs with Panko crumbs and a couple other things added.   They are then baked for a short time and ready to eat!

Skinny Baked Mozzarella Sticks 3 I found the recipe for these at Skinny Taste and have adapted it slightly. That recipe notes that it makes 24 sticks, but I barely had enough egg for 16.  You can use another egg and easily get 24 with the remaining flour and breadcrumb mixture.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Skinny Taste

8 sticks Frigo Cheeseheads part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks, cut in half, frozen  (recommended, but other brands may work)

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup all purpose flour

5 tablespoons Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

5 tablespoons Panko crumbs

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 tablespoons dried parsley

Cooking Spray (I used an olive oil spray)

Marinara Sauce, for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Keep cheese sticks (already cut in half and frozen) in the freezer until ready to use.

Prepare three separate dishes, one with the flour, one with the egg and one with the breadcrumbs, Panko, parmesan cheese and parsley.  Remove the cheese sticks from the freezer and working quickly dip each stick first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture.  Set them on the foil-lined baking sheet.  If your oven isn’t preheated yet, stick the sheet of prepared sticks in the freezer.  (They need to stay frozen right up until they go in the oven!)

Spray the tops of the prepared mozzarella sticks with cooking spray and bake 4-5 minutes.  Turn each over and bake another 4-5 minutes.  Start with 4 minutes, checking to make sure they don’t melt.  Makes 16.


Simple and delicious!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Lemon Vanilla Rice Krispies Treats

Lemon Vanilla Rice Krispies Treats 3-21-13

Lemon Vanilla Rice Krispies Treats

QUICK!  Run to your nearest grocery store and find the Campfire Lemon Marshmallows.  Grab some vanilla chips (or white chocolate chips if you can find the real thing), some yellow bunny Peeps (optional), Rice Krispies cereal if you don’t have any and make these delicious, spring-inspired (Easter!) Rice Krispies Treats!

These were so easy to make and delicious!  I don’t know if I can ever eat a plain Rice Krispies Treat again, love the tang from the lemon!

Besides the Campfire marshmallows, which also come in key lime, I added some white vanilla chips and some lemon zest to the marshmallow mixture.  I love Rice Krispies Treats and enjoy coming up with different ideas and flavors.  All the flavored marshmallows of late are great!  You could easily get away with making these with regular marshmallows if you can’t find the lemon ones and just add more zest and some lemon juice.

Lemon Rice Krispies Treats 3-21-13

Lemon Vanilla Rice Krispies Treats, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

8 ounces Campfire Lemon Marshmallows

3 tablespoon unsalted butter

3/4 cup white vanilla chips, divided use

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of half a lemon

5 cups Kelloggs Rice Krispies cereal

Yellow bunny Peeps (optional)

Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick foil (or foil sprayed with cooking spray).  Set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows, butter and 1/2 cup of the white chips.   Microwave on high for 45-60 seconds.  When melted, stir all together to combine.  Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest.  Stir to mix.  Add the cereal and stir to combine.  This always works the best with a wooden spoon.  Once it is all mixed together, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of white vanilla chips.  Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly (I love using a potato masher!).  Lay Peeps over the treats and press down slightly.  They will stick while the treats are firming up.  Once set, remove them from the pan using the foil edges.  Peel the foil off the treats and cut them on a cutting board. 

Lemon Vanilla Rice Krispies Treats 3-21-13 These are a perfect springtime treat, but I would not be against making them anytime of year (minus the Peeps). ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies, Not Mocha—Tuesday With Dorie, Baking With Julia

TWD--Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

For Tuesdays With Dorie this week, we got to make cookies!  Now THAT’S right up my alley.  Sadly, I had to skip the last pick, which was homemade croissants.  I just cannot subject myself sometimes to that much fat because I already know I love croissants.  If you want to see others who posted their croissants, look here.

Today’s cookies were supposed to be Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies, but as most already know, we don’t “do” coffee products here, so I adapted it and instead of instant coffee powder, I used cocoa powder.  The cookies were also supposed to have chopped dried apricots in them. ???  I thought that sounded a little strange, but would have actually tried some in a few cookies if I’d have had some, but I didn’t.  Instead of trying dried cherries or something else, I just used lots of chocolate.  The recipes actually called for lots of chocolate—one pounds of any mix of bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate.  I used dark chocolate, semi-sweet and some milk chocolate.

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies (2)

I ended up only making half the recipe and at the last minute decided to make a few changes that I thought would help with high altitude.  I wanted to make sure the cookies didn’t spread and flatten out too much, which can be a high altitude issue and one that I don’t like.  I like a thicker, soft and chewy cookie.  And with the way I made them, that is exactly what I got.   Because I changed the recipe, here is how I made them, but if you want the recipe that has coffee and apricots from Baking With Julia, which was contributed by Rick Katz, you can get it from our host, Peggy from Galettista.

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

5 tablespoons dark brown sugar

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  1/4 (150 grams) cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces chocolate chips (I used 5 ounces dark, 2 ounces semi-sweet and 1 ounce milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In bowl of electric mixer, combine the butter, and sugars and beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix just until all combined.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

Scoop cookies onto baking sheets leaving about 2 inches between each.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cookies sit on baking sheet for a couple minutes when they have come out of the oven then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

*The Rick Katz recipe also has you chill the dough for a couple hours.  I baked a few cookies right away, then chilled the rest of the dough and baked later.  I didn’t feel like it made a difference.

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies 3These cookies are dangerously good.  I really liked the addition of just a little bit of cocoa powder and they are chock full of all kinds of chocolate!  I think they’d also be good with pecans for a little added crunch.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sam! (Trippin’ down memory lane!)


My sweet baby, Sam, turned six on Saturday!  Hard to believe, because I am certain he was JUST this big yesterday!


Sam was such a great baby! 


Aw!  Love!

Can’t stand the cuteness!    Age 1




Can’t stop, I mean, just look at him!


Age 2



Age 3



Age 4



Age 5


Sam's first day of kindergarten

And now, just like that, he’s six.  What next, sixteen?  sigh

We had a fun day today with an Easter themed birthday party that Sam decided on himself.


I made him a yellow confetti cake with chocolate frosting.  Then it had bunny Peeps all around it and green frosting on top with some eggs.  Yes, I know, the cake wasn’t perfectly flat on top.  I liked to say that it was a rolling hill. ;)


Sam had some school friends over and we played lots of egg-themed games.  Probably everyone’s favorite was the pinata and the Easter egg hunt. 


But how cute is this bunny Sam made himself and they played pin-the-nose-on-the-bunny.

IMG_3051Brody, Sam, Timothy, Zac

Sam had a great day!  They all had A LOT of candy, decorated Easter egg sugar cookies, ate cake and Peeps and I have to say, I am not looking forward to Easter actually being here in two weeks and doing all that candy again.  I feel like I just took care of that.  I say we just focus Easter on the true meaning, our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie for Pi Day

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie

Happy Pi Day!  While you math people celebrate in your own special ways, I choose to celebrate with pie! ;)

Today I decided to make a Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie because of two reasons—I had a couple Meyer lemons in the fridge begging to be used and two—I  also had some buttermilk to use as well.  I really like Meyer lemons.  I have gone through a dozen of them in the last month or so.  When I first bought some, I looked up all kinds of recipes and had a hard time deciding what to do with them.

At one time, I used them in a lemon poppy seed dressing with a spinach and strawberry salad.  De-lish!  I used one in some lemon cornmeal cookies I made recently—they were good, but I didn’t think they were that pretty, so I didn’t post them.   Basically, lately when I made something that needs lemon, I’ve been using Meyer lemons.  I love that they aren’t too terribly tart and have their own distinct flavor with a little hint of orange or tangerine.

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie 3-13-13

So, in that search a month or so ago, I found this pie and have had it on my “to make” list since then.  The recipe for this pie is found on a new-to-me blog by Alanna, The Bojon Gourmet.  She is a baker and pastry chef and has gorgeous photos of the things she makes.  This Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie recipe is so well written and Alanna tried it different ways until she felt it was perfect.  Like she mentioned, she had never made a buttermilk pie before and neither had I.  I wanted something a little different than just making a lemon meringue pie or lemon bars or something like that so when I saw that this had buttermilk, I decided that was what I wanted to try. 

I followed her recipe to a tee.  My only issue was, even though I did exactly as she described in her recipe for the crust, mine still shrunk a bit.  Hate it when that happens.  I’m wondering if that could be solved with some high altitude tweaking, but who knows.  So after prebaking the crust and seeing it had shrunk a bit, I knew all of the filling wouldn’t fit in the crust.  I filled it as full as it could be without overflowing.  Then I made a quick cookie crust with Nilla Wafers and baked the rest in a 9x5 inch bread pan that I lined with non-stick foil.  It came out great!

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie with Nilla Wafer Crust

The cookie crust was simple and could easily be doubled in an 8x8 inch pan.  Here’s the recipe for the bread pan.

Nilla Wafer Cookie Crust, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup Nilla Wafer cookie crumbs

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar and melted butter until it is the consistency of wet sand.  Spread evenly in a 9x5 inch bread pan lined with non-stick foil, leaving some foil hanging over the edges to easily release the tart from the pan.  Prebake the cookie crust in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. 

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Pie with Nilla Wafer Crust

As if you couldn’t tell, I made some whipped cream for the top of each slice of pie and the tart.  With the Meyer lemons, this isn’t as tart as regular lemons would be.  If you’re a lemon fan, and especially like Meyer lemons, go check out the blog with the recipe, The Bojon Gourmet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Almond (Amaretti) Cookies (Gluten Free)—Group B, Secret Recipe Club

Amaretti Cookies

On Sunday, I had a little time and was making cookies.   After making two different kind, I saw my friend, Suzanne mention on the Secret Recipe Club Facebook page that they needed someone to fill-in for a blog posting today.  I’m always up for “playing” with other groups in the club and helping out when they need an extra baker/cook.  So I scoured the blog I was assigned, Dee’s blog, OnTheMove-In The Galley and instantly had heck of a time deciding what to make.  This blog is full of delicious food.  I don’t know her whole “story”, but right now she lives on a boat and cooks and bakes there.  She has lots of salmon recipes, including this Barbecued Salmon that I wish I could have made for this post.  Still plan to make it sometime.  Check out her blog, so much good food!

Since I was already baking cookies, I made more.  I made these Almond Cookies, which are like Amaretti Cookies.  I’ve always wanted to try making amaretti cookies.  They are kind of like an extra crunchy French macaron.  Dee mentioned how hers were a little chewy in the middle on the first day, but the next day or two they were crunchy throughout—but she still liked them.  As I write this on the day I made them, they are a little chewy in the middle, but mostly crunchy.  I love the almond flavor.  These are a perfect little cookie treat.  The only fat is a natural fat for the almond meal.  Can’t beat that.  I will make these again for sure.  I like having something I feel I can nibble on when I make other goodies for everyone else that I don’t eat since they aren’t as healthy.  Hey, I just realized these cookies are gluten free!

Amaretti Cookies 2

Check out the link for the Almond Cookies above on Dee’s blog for the recipe, I didn’t change anything.  She added a sliced almond or chocolate chip to the tops of hers before they baked, which sounds great.  I didn’t do that this time.  And I cut the recipe in to thirds because I ended up not having as much almond meal left as I’d thought.  I was proud of myself for the math I did to figure that out! ;)  It’s the little things for me sometimes, people.  Still with 1/3 of the recipe, I got 16 cookies.  Love them!

Almond Cookies 3-10-13

In more of my “snooping” around her blog, (Would love to know more of the story about why she currently lives on a boat, since I didn’t have time to read back to the beginning and through her entire blog, but it is such a great blog and quite the intriguing life.)  But in my search for inspiration of what to have for dinner last night, I found this Balsamic Chicken Caesar Salad and was inspired to try it, especially when I remembered some cooked chicken I had in the freezer.  I did a quick thaw of the chicken, reheated/sauteed it a bit, prepared the dressing and a salad and Kevin and I had it for dinner (while I fed the boys hot dogs).  After mixing the dressing, which is olive oil, Greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, garlic and parmesan (similar to Caesar, but lighter since nonfat Greek yogurt is used instead of a mayo or egg yolks), I knew the second I added the balsamic vinegar that it wasn’t going to be a very pretty color.  Worst part was I have some white balsamic vinegar and should have used it, I even thought of doing so before adding the black vinegar, but in the end, I didn’t.  I think the dressing and salad would have looked so much better.  Oh well—the taste is what mattered and it certainly tasted great!  The veggies I added to our salad weren’t the same as the one Dee used, but I don’t think that made it too different, since the dressing and the chicken were the “stars”.  See the not-so-pretty, but ever-so-tasty brown dressing?  Our salad had red, orange and yellow sweet peppers, some cucumber, tomatoes, carrot and croutons, along with the chicken and romaine lettuce.

Group B March SRC 3-10-13

Once again, so glad I got to “play” with Group B in the Secret Recipe Club.  (I’m officially in Group A.)  Check out all the other posts for Group B below.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies

Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies 3-6-13

Here are the Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies along with the recipe that I mentioned in my last post.  These sure don’t look like much, but they are really quite good.  Of course, I can’t help but think they’d be really good with some added chocolate, too!  Still, they are perfect for those few crazies out there that don’t like chocolate or don’t eat it. ;)

I found the recipe all over the world wide web, but in all the places I found it, it was linked back to the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook.  I still need/want that book.  It’s been on my Amazon wish list forever. 

If you really, for some reason, don’t like cashews, you could use pecans or even peanuts.  Of course, you’d get a different flavor each time.  I love the ground up oats in these cookies.  You could easily make them gluten free using gluten free oats, though with my recipe, I also added some whole wheat flour that the original recipe didn’t call for.  I made a number of adjustments to the recipe, mostly thinking I didn’t want them flat and too spread out, especially in our higher altitude here in Utah.  Here is one of the recipes I found online that is more like the King Arthur Flour version at Joe's blog, Culinary in the Desert, Country Lives in San Francisco now and hasn’t blogged for a while.  He’s got some great recipes and photos on his blog.

Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups old fashioned oats, ground for 30 seconds in food processor

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup salted cashews, coarsely chopped (and more for the tops of the cookies)

extra fine salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the ground oats, whole wheat flour, salt and baking powder.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and stir just until combined.  Fold in the cashews.  Using about two tablespoons of dough per cookie, scoop onto baking sheets.  Put a few pieces of cashews on the tops of the cookie, then sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 16 big cookies. 

Salted Cashew Crunch CookiesI plan to “play around” with this cookie dough.  I loved the way they turned out with the ground oats (which, yes, I’ve used before).  I think it’s a great base for a “healthier” cookie—at least one that is whole grain.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Another Loss to Share and More Memories, Including Fruit Punch and Cashews


This is going to be difficult, but today marks eleven years since my sister, Lara, passed away—March 7, 2002.  I just wrote a post this past November about my older sister, Mandi, and her losing battle with multiple sclerosis in November 1999.  I remember thinking that I had some time before I had (wanted) to do this again for Lara, but can’t believe it is already that time.  Neither true story is easy to tell.

Lara was just 12 months older than me, born October 27, 1968.  I posted a lot more pictures of Mandi than I have available of Lara.  That is because I have Mandi’s photos from when she was growing up.  My mom made us all an album, the kind with those old sticky pages where you peel the clear plastic away and stick photos to the page.  After Mandi’s passing, I took that album and removed the photos from it because they are not good (not acid-free) for safe keeping photos for years and years.  I told my mother I would redo her album.  I still have the photos—not in an album yet.  But I don’t have too many pictures of Lara when we were younger.

Here’s Lara and I in about 1971.  Notice—I kept drinking my milkshake.  Lara abandoned and dropped hers to hold the kitty.


And here we are on my 3rd birthday, Nov. 15, 1972.  Notice again, I’m  making sure I eat my cake.  Lara is trying to steal my presents! ;) 

My 3rd birthday, Nov. 15, 1972

Notice a trend here—I still always go for the food, especially treats! ;)  It was destined way back when.


Can’t forget this one with Mandi, Lara and I.  Aw, so cute!  (Can anyone else tell my mom used to cut our hair herself?  Yep, she’d put tape across our forehead and cut whatever hair stuck out the bottom.)

Lara and I at Flintstone Park in Rapid City, South Dakota 1978

Here is a fun one of Lara and I in about 1977-78.  Our family went on a trip to Rapid City, South Dakota and saw Mt. Rushmore, went in caves and stayed at an RV campground in a rented camper.  Have you ever been to Flintstone Park there?  We thought that was so fun.

Here’s a fun little story that I always like telling about Lara.  When we were probably 9 and 10 (maybe 10 and 11), we lived in Broomfield, Colorado.  This isn’t the funny part, but during those years (I was ages 7 to 11 while we lived there), we each had a paper route—yes, those were the good old days when kids used to deliver newspapers.  We lived up this big hill from where our school was (YES, we walked to school and back uphill both ways, trudging through feet of snow!), but a lot of our paper route was down the hill.  We loaded our packs with papers and hopped on our bikes and headed down the big hill.  I don’t remember exactly, but we crashed hard on our bikes, tumbling and getting pretty beat up.  That’s not the particular story, but just something I remember as Lara and I screamed to make sure we were both okay.

Anyway, Lara, Matt (my 4-years-younger-than-me brother) and I were walking around in the neighborhood.  Lara got this crazy idea to go to a church nearby and the three of us climbed up on the roof.  Little history here, Lara was all tomboy and a bit rebellious.  I was goody-goody and prissy, I’ll admit it.  Matt was only about 6 years old and pretty much did whatever he was told.  Back to the rooftop.  On the way up, I got a sliver in my finger.  After getting to the top, I was annoyed about my finger, so I climbed back down and walked home to cry to mom about it.  In the meantime, Lara and Matt decided it would be fun to tear pieces of shingles off the church roof and throw them out into the road where there were oncoming cars.  Next thing my parents knew was that the police station (which at the time they were janitors for) called to tell them they’d picked up Lara and Matt and had them in for booking.  Not kidding, just to scare them, they took them to the police station, fingerprinted them and took their mug shots.  Can’t forget the big ol’ smile on Matt’s face in his mug shot.  Apparently someone driving by the church saw what they were doing and called the cops.  To this day I SWEAR I did not do anything more than climb up on the roof.  If Lara were here, she’d say I was tearing shingles off the roof, too.  She was always trying to get me in trouble and blame things on me. ;) 

Another good little story, one time Lara and I were walking around town again (this was so long ago it was back when it was fine to let young children wander around cities on their own).  We’d walked and walked and decided we were thirsty.  We ended up going inside a Popeye’s Chicken Restaurant to buy a drink.  Lara went up to the counter and was looking at the menu and said, “We’d like a Q-T of Fruit Punch, please.”  I slugged her and said, “that means quart”.  Teased her forever that she didn’t know Q-T meant quart.  Had to hold on to anything I could because way more often than not, SHE teased ME about anything and everything. 

In honor of this great remembrance, the other day I made a fun fruit drink for the family as an evening snack.  It was a big hit.  Must have made Q-T’s and Q-T’s of it.

Fruit Punch Drink 3-4-13

Quick and easy drink to make that would be perfect for parties.  It’s a combination of fruit punch, pineapple juice, ginger ale and orange sherbert.   Here’s the link for the recipe found at Allrecipes.  I halved it for our family night treat.

Lara also took great pride in teasing and jokingly bullying me.  She thoroughly enjoyed slugging me (hard).  I was silly enough that when she’d slug me, I always needed the other arm to feel the same, so I’d have her slug me hard on the other arm.  She also used to sit on me and tickle torture me.  This wasn’t just light playful tickling, she’d dig her fingers in to my armpits until my laughing turned to crying.   She thought this was so funny.  She was always much stronger than I.  She’d also pin me down, sit on top of me, hold my arms above my head and dangle a nasty spit loogie right in my face.  She’d never let it fall, just torture me while I screamed and turned my head back and forth.  sigh!

Throughout a lot of our teenage years, Lara and I each had a room in part of our house at the time that was unfinished.  It was just the sheetrock walls and floor boards, no paint, no carpet, etc.  Off in that same part of the house, just off from the kitchen was the walk-in pantry.  I remember Lara and I snuck in there a time or two and gorged ourselves on a BIG bag of cashews my mom had in there.


Chocolate chips seemed to also be eaten a lot as my mom used to buy things like that in bulk.  At one point, Lara and I literally made ourselves sick eating too many cashews.  (You know what happens if you eat too many cashews at once?)   Well, in remembrance of that lovely occasion, I made some really good cashew cookies.  Stay tuned for that post with the recipe!

Salted Cashew Crunch Cookies 3-6-13

Lara liked punk and hard rock music and that whole genre of 80’s look—the clothing, the music, the attitude.  One day my friend, Ann, and I thought it would be fun to get all “punked” out with Lara.  You can’t really tell with this photo, but we had gobs of make up on and looked pretty hot and ferocious in our short skirts and tights.  Lara is on the left.  She definitely looked like she was tough.  Ann and I, not so much. ;)  We pranced all through our neighborhood like that, making sure everyone saw us.  That is the only time in my life and in all 10 years of the 80’s that I ever looked like that, I was 13 or 14.  I’d have to say I was more of the “big hair” nerdy preppy-wannabe type.


Lara loved to scare people.  She would hide around every corner of the house and just wait to jump out at someone innocently walking by.  She had quite the screech she’d do when she’d jump at you.  She always thought it was SO funny.  I know she took great pride in scaring my mom and dad especially.  It was all in fun.   One time I’d gone to my room (in the unfinished part of the house) to go to bed.  I knelt down at my bed and was saying my prayers.  I kept feeling something on my leg and kept flicking at it.  After about the third time of feeling something crawling on my leg, I jumped up, flipped on my light and there was Lara hiding under my bed laughing her head off at  how she scared me half to death.  I thought there was a spider on me.  Will never forget that!

Lara LOVED corn.  If we were having corn for dinner, and especially at Thanksgiving, her plate would look like this—you can’t even really tell, but there is at least 2 cups of corn on that plate.  We finally got to where we always made Lara serve herself last so everyone else could have some corn.  She did just about the same thing with mashed potatoes, too.  Every summer for years, my mom would have dozens of ears of corn and we’d all spend a day shucking it, cooking it, cutting the corn off the cob, bagging it and freezing it to enjoy all year.  Lara was always right there helping with this task because she loved corn!

Corn! 3-5-13

I mentioned it already, but she was rebellious. During those years, she had a hard time obeying our parents. What we didn’t know then was that with her being mad and hating school and all of that, she was suffering from bi-polar depression. 

When Lara was 16, she left home.  When she was 17, she had her first child, Saharra.  When she was 18, she had her second, Jim.  When she was 19, Kayla was born.  And when she was 21, Holly came along.  I’m not going to go in to all of it, but I wish I had pictures to show of her and her kids.  So sweet and cute.  One thing I think to this day is that Lara was a wonderful mother.  She loved her children.  She did everything she could for them.  Life was definitely hard for her.  She was married to the first three kids’ dad for a while, then had Holly with her second husband.  That only lasted for a few years. 

Here’s a fun picture of my family that I found.  I was thinking it was probably from about 1987, but it might be more like 1989.

Scott Family about 1987This picture is SO 1989, I concluded that because I don’t have my braces on and I had my braces on for 5 years, from 1984-1989!  And why oh why would a photographer make the two chunkier people sit on the ground so their fat is more squished?  That always bugged me about this picture.  It makes me laugh.  Wow, we have all sure changed!   Lara looked good.  She lived not too far from us with the kids.  I used to get one of her kids every Saturday and take them out for the day to do fun things.  Loved that time being an aunt!

There are just too many details and this is getting very long.  During those years of struggle with Lara trying to raise four young kids, she had a very hard time dealing with all the men, past and present in her life, which also included fighting for custody of the kids.  There were a number of years for a while (after I’d left home and moved to Utah), that she was gone and my parents had her four kids.  One thing we have learned as a family since her passing is that you can never judge someone or know what they are going through, especially when they have a mental illness.  I know my parents tried being there for her when they could and I know she struggled with ever feeling like she fit in our family.  Thank goodness that everyone is so unique and different!  Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone were the same?  No, the years with Lara struggling to figure out who she was even back to when she was a teenager until later as an adult were not easy.  It pains us to this day to have not shown her more love and understanding.  She needed more help than she was getting from her family.  I don’t even know all of the situation with her illness, but in her later years, she had gotten some counseling and was on medication that helped her make better decisions. 

I’m still choosing to leave out some of the details, but after fighting over the phone with her ex-husband about more custody issues with the kids,  she told her friend she was with that she was going to go kill him and then kill herself.  It was then her friend struggled with her to get the gun she had away from her.  We actually don’t really know what really happened, if the gun went off in the struggle accidentally or what, but my sister shot herself in the head.  I am not telling you this for sympathy or to hear about how sorry I’m sure anyone reading this who didn’t know is, what I really hope is that somehow this gets anyone else who might be struggling with anything in their life to seek help.  We have so many things we wish we could go back and change as a family.  So many things we really wish we knew about dealing with mental illness.  If you have someone in your life that needs help—help them get help!

Kevin and I lived in Arizona at the time, but I got a call from my parents in the middle of the night.  I will now forever hate the sound of a phone ringing in the middle of the night!  I flew to Idaho the next day.

Lara passed away two days after being put on life support at the age of 33.  She left four teenage children who I know have struggled with not having their mother.  She loved them so much.  I love those four wonderful now-grown kids!  Saharra will be 27 next week!  Jim is almost 26.  Kayla will be 25.  And dear, sweet Holly was killed in a car accident at the age of 17 in I believe 2007.  I suppose she needed her mother and went to go be with her.  Yes, I know it seems that my family has certainly had their share of tragedy.  We have a sure knowledge that we will all be together as a family again someday and find comfort in that. 

Here are some links for Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness if you know of anyone in need.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Information about Bi Polar Disorder

And WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS!  Holly was the only one in a car full of friends who was killed and she was not wearing her seat belt.


Love you, Lara!  Try as I do, I cannot make that same sound she’d make when she’d jump out and scare someone.  I have even tried to show my kids and it’s really just more laughable when I try to do it.  No one can make that screech like Lara did, but I’m sure everyone in my family can hear it in their heads.