Monday, March 2, 2015

Mom's Recipe Experiment - Coconut Diamond Bars

Who doesn't look at all the delicious recipes on Pinterest and make a list of things to try? I know I do!

A month or so ago, my husband knocked over my late mother's recipe box. As I was putting away the recipes, I realized that I did not recognize the majority of them. They might not have been her favorites and made it into her rotation. But I decided that instead of experimenting with strangers' recipes on Pinterest, I ought to try my mom's.

First up, Coconut Diamond Bars. I vaguely remember these from my childhood, so it was a good place to start.




RECIPE:
Mix and pat into a 9x13 pan
1/2 c softened butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 c flour

Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes

Pour the following ingredients on top of above crust
1 c brown sugar
2 TBL flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped walnuts
1 1/4 c coconut

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool and slice into desired shapes.


My experience:
I cooked the crust for 12 minutes. I reduced the amount of walnuts from 1 cup to 1/2 cup. My mom loved nuts, more than I do, so I reduced the amount. In the end, I feel like I a full cup would've been good.

The bars were overcooked. There is a bit of burnt flavor right at the edge but nowhere else. Right in the middle where they are about right, they taste a lot like an almond roca (hmmm, I wonder if I should find a way to add chocolate...mmmm).

Conclusion: Chewy, buttery, with the warmth of lots of brown sugar. This recipe has potential and is worth trying again to nail down the baking times/temp. I would reduce the temperature to 325 and bake the crust for about 10 minutes and the top for about 18 minutes.


Friday, January 30, 2015

The Unexpected Archaeological Dig of the 2012 Bank Statements

I'm having to re-file my 2012 taxes, and tonight I went through all my bank statements from that year. They are bank statements...deposits, withdrawals, and purchases, yet they are a journal.

The charge at Lagoon - it was Jocelyn's first time. We were uncertain if she was old enough to enjoy it, if it was worth the time and money. It was. It was because she loved it. And it was worth it because we did not know it was our very last weekend as a family of three.

The numerous charges at Popeye's in Arkansas. Memories of adopting Noelle. And seriously, why aren't there any Popeye's in the west? :)

The gas station charge in Yellowstone. We were coming back from Noelle's first trip to Grandma and Grandpa Z's house. Justin and I were in different vehicles, and I was with Noelle. She cried the WHOLE time and I swore we would never take her on a road trip again. My sanity had never been that frazzled.

The charge to the body shop, repairing my father-in-law's truck that we borrowed to go camping. Camping. That camping trip. The camping trip that started it all... There is a chasm that separates things into Before and into After. This camping trip was during the Before, but it was the domino that pushed me into the After. My parents were camping in Island Park for about six weeks and we joined them on several weekends, as much as we could. There were forests fires that summer and the sky was always red. Joci wandered from our campsite and got lost. I had never seen my 79-year-old-father run as fast as he did when we discovered she was missing and he sprinted to the lake shore. Our little family meeting Smokey the Bear. Making memories with "The Aunts." Mom and Joci playing ball. Dad and Joci playing with clothespins. It was during this six week trip that a stool shifted and my mom fell and tore her rotator cuff.

The charge to Tuacahn, taking Joci to her first play. Aladdin. She was enchanted. It was also Noelle's first and last trip to Grandma Normandie's house. And both of my daughters' last time seeing their grandmother alive.

Gas charges in October to St. George--an emergency trip to help my brother who had broken all his limbs in a motorcycle crash. My last time seeing my mom alive.

The charge for the florist in November. For $70. Because it was my mom's 70th birthday. I'd already sent her a present, and the practical part of me said that was enough. But 70! That's a big deal. It wasn't too hard to talk myself into the symbolism of $70 for her 70th year on this earth. And I am so glad I did. The last picture I saw of her was a photo she texted me of her holding those flowers.

12/7/12.

My heart jumped into my throat.

These are just numbers. Transactions. Money coming, money going. How can a bank statement affect me so much?

12/7/2012 Defining Line Salon. I was oblivious that Before was turning into After as my hair processed on my lunch break.

And then a charge for a plane ticket. Fast food. Gas stations. Newspaper fees for the obituary. The charge at JCPenney for dresses that my girls and I needed for a funeral that we hadn't packed for.

And then charges a week later. Groceries. Supermarkets. Gas. Toy stores for Christmas presents. The world did not stop at that chasm like it should have. This was the beginning of the After.

You know those rocks that geologists love that show layers upon layers of rock that eventually form a mountain? That's what time does. My hurt and my grief haven't gone anywhere. 2013 put down a layer over that chasm, a thin, useless patch over a bottomless hole. Another layer came from 2014. 2015 adds a little more dust every day. The bank statements I read today were like an archaeologist that dug through the protective layers that time had so painstakingly placed over my grief, resurrecting it and putting it on display. And I wasn't in the After anymore, but lost in the chasm once again.

Today I have one more reason to hate the IRS.


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