Each year Sandy Knudsen’s husband, Rex, and daughters, Allissa and Katie, select two recipients for the memorial scholarship in Sandy’s name.
Each year Sandy Knudsen’s husband, Rex, and daughters, Allissa and Katie, select two recipients for the memorial scholarship in Sandy’s name.
Each year Sandy Knudsen's husband, Rex, and daughters, Allissa and Katie, select two recipients for the memorial scholarship in Sandy's name.

Remember Sandy Smiling, a cookbook compiled in memory of Sandy Knudsen, of Carroll, is available for purchase through Sandy's husband, Rex, and at Special Moments in Carroll.

The recipe book, "Recipes and Remembrances Remember Sandy Smiling," contains hundreds of recipes for soups and salads, side dishes, main dishes, breads and rolls, desserts, cookies, and fun-filled advice such as "Recipe for a Happy Marriage" and "Recipe for Life" given by friends and family of the late Sandy Knudsen.

All of the recipes and pieces of advice were compiled to honor the memory of Sandy Knudsen of Carroll who lost her battle with melanoma in August of 2005.

After her death, Sandy's niece, Kim (Schon) Rohe , had the idea for the cookbook. Sandy's daughters, Allissa and Katie, describe their cousin Kim as "being very involved, creative and loves to do everything."

Not only would the cookbook serve as a way to raise money for The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, an event Sandy loved, and The Sandy Knudsen Memorial Scholarship, but it was also a way for Sandy's family and friends to contribute recipes to a cookbook to remember Sandy.

The cookbook took about a year to put together. The family asked for recipes from those who knew and loved Sandy including family members, friends, and co-workers.

In 1996 Sandy was diagnosed with melanoma. She went through treatment for about a year before going into remission. Nine years later in February of 2005, Sandy was again diagnosed with cancer, this time Stage 4 melanoma. She and her husband, Rex, traveled to Bethesda, Md., to the National Institute of Health for experimental treatment.

By this time the cancer had spread to her organs and one lobe of Sandy's lung was removed. Sandy's sister, Mary Schon, who lived in Florida, took time off from her job to come stay with the Sandy and Rex's daughters, Allissa and Katie, during this time. Another one of Sandy's sisters, Jeanie Pletchette, of Winterset, traveled with Sandy and Rex to Maryland.

As months went on the tumors spread to Sandy's brain and the experimental treatments were discontinued. Sandy, a wife, a mother, a dear family member, a friend, and a teacher lost her long fight with cancer in August of 2005.

Sandy's death in August came right before the new school year at Kuemper Catholic Schools began. Allissa and Katie recall this time to be very emotional for everyone at school. That school year both daughters were to be together at St. Lawrence where Sandy taught sixth grade reading. Allissa said it was difficult, but "The teachers were super nice and really supportive."

Sandy was one of 10 children of Leo Schon, of Carroll, and the late Rosie Schon, Each year she was very involved with The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Carroll. Katie said, "It was her favorite day of the year." One year she proudly served as Survivor's Chairperson. Sandy knew what it meant to be a survivor as two of her siblings are cancer survivors.

Each year, Sandy's side of the family puts together a team in her memory. The Schon Family Team wears shirts bearing Sandy's name and photo. They have also held other fund-raising events such as an auction to raise money for the scholarship fund and Relay for Life. One year family members ran a half marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska to raise money.

Rex, Allissa and Katie select the Sandy Knudsen Memorial Scholarship recipients. Two scholarships are awarded each year. One to an eighth-grader who will attend Kuemper Catholic High School and one to a graduating senior going on to college. Each applicant must submit an essay telling how cancer has affected their life.

Allissa, a junior at The University of Northern Iowa and Katie, a freshman also at UNI, take great precaution with their skin. They avoid the sun as much as possible and use liberal amounts of sunscreen. "Everyone has a one in 10 chance of skin cancer, but because of our mom, we have a one in three chance," explained Allissa. The sisters also see a dermatologist once a year to have their skin examined for any suspicious changes.

Allissa and Katie recall their mother cooking and baking for them as children. Sandy's specialties included Snickers salad, spaghetti and cavatini. She also used to make Scotcharoos especially for her niece and goddaughter, Kelly Pletchette.

However, after Sandy's diagnosis with celiac sprue in 1997, Sandy's cooking and baking changed. She began to find gluten-free versions of sweets such as chocolate chip cookies which are in the recipe book. Allissa and Katie said they preferred the GF version over the regular ones, but Sandy joked how the gluten-free flour was more expensive so the girls should eat the other ones.

Paradise Smoothie

Gary Schon, Sandy's Brother

1 (15 oz) can Dole Tropical fruit salad (undrained)

1 (8 oz) container vanilla non-fat yogurt

1 (6 oz) can Dole pineapple juice

1 small banana

¾ cup ice cubes

Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Note: can add strawberries or any fruit of choice.

Tortilla Pinwheels

Rex Knudsen, Sandy's Husband

1 (8 oz) sour cream

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

1 (4oz) can diced green chilies, well drained

1 (4 oz) can chopped black olives, well drained

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

½ cup chopped green onion

garlic powder to taste

seasoned salt to taste

5 (10 in) flour tortillas

fresh parsley for garnish


Mix all of the filling ingredients together thoroughly. Divide the filling and spread evenly over the tortillas; roll up tortillas. Cover tightly with plastic wrap twisting ends; refrigerate several hours. Unwrap; cut in ½ - ¾ in thick slices (an electric knife works best). Discard ends. Lay pinwheels flat on glass serving plate; garnish with parsley. Leave space in center of plate for a small bowl of salsa, if desired.

Makes about 50 pinwheels.

Pink Panther Salad

Irene Knudsen, Sandy's Mother-in-Law

1 pkg tapioca pudding

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding

1 pkg strawberry Jell-o

2 cups hot water

1 (10 oz) pkg frozen strawberries

1 (8 oz) container Cool Whip

In a medium saucepan, combine pudding mixes, Jell-o, and hot water. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add strawberries. Stir until berries are defrosted. Let stand in refrigerator until slightly congealed and then add Cool Whip. Mix thoroughly.

Taco Mac Salad

Mary Schon, Sandy's Sister

This was one of Sandy's favorite late night picnic plates.

1 ½ cup uncooked macaroni twirls

1 lb ground beef

1 (1.4 oz) pkg taco seasoning

½ cup chopped green pepper

½ cup minced onion

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1 box cherry tomatoes, halved

½ head lettuce, shredded

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup French dressing

1 (6 oz) pkg taco-flavored corn chips

Cook macaroni as directed on package. Drain; rinse with cold water; drain again. Brown meat and drain fat. Add taco seasoning to meat and mix well. Cool. In a large bowl mix macaroni, green pepper, onion, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and seasonings. Chill. Just before serving, stir in seasoned ground beef, French dressing, and corn chips. Toss lightly.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Rosie's White or Dark Bread

Leo Schon, Sandy's Father

This recipe comes from Sandy's late mother, Rosie Schon.

2 cups milk

½ cup lukewarm water

2 pkgs yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

6 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon lard (heaping)

10 cups white or dark flour

Heat 2 cups of milk over medium heat. Mix ½ cup lukewarm water with 2 pkgs yeast and 2 tablespoons sugar. Set in warm place. In a large bowl mix water, salt, sugar, and lard. Add heated milk. Add 3 cups of flour. Then add 3 more cups of lour. Add yeast mixture, then 4 more cups of flour. Mix thoroughly. Turn out onto pastry cloth. Keep kneading dough until it's not sticky (keep adding small amounts of flour). Place dough in large bowl. Let rise for 1 ½ hours. Punch down dough then turn back onto pastry cloth and knead. Place back into large bowl. Let rise for 1 hour. Turn back out onto pastry cloth. Shape into loaves. This dough can be made into buns or cinnamon rolls. After loaves have been placed into bread pans, poke a few holes in dough and let rise for 2 hours. Bake for 50 minutes total. Bake at 400 degrees until brown on top, then turn oven to 325 degrees until done. If you are making buns, bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. If you are making cinnamon rolls, bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chex Mix

Allissa and Katie Knudsen, Sandy's Daughters

Allissa admits the holidays are the hardest times to be without her mother. She and Katie would help their mother bake sugar cookies and make almond bark pretzels and Chex Mix while putting up the Christmas decorations.

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ teaspoon seasoned salt

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

3 cups Corn Chex cereal

3 cups Rice Chex cereal

3 cups Wheat Chex cereal

1 cup mixed nuts

1 cup bite-sized pretzels

1 cup garlic flavored bite-sized bagel chips

Heat oven to 250 degrees. In large ungreased roasting pan, melt butter in over. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in remaining ingredients until evenly coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

Makes 12 cups

Butterscotch Sundae Cake

Shirley Angrick, Sandy's Sister

2¼ cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups brown sugar (packed)

½ cup soft shortening (Crisco)

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Add 1 ¾ cup brown sugar, shortening, milk, and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes. Add eggs. Beat 2 more minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. To make glaze mix ¼ cup brown sugar, butter and water. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Then without stirring, boil 1 ½ minutes (do not overcook). Dribble around top of iced cake.

Strawberry Pies

Sheri Schon, Sandy's Sister-in-Law

4 qts strawberries

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

2 pie shells

red food coloring

Clean strawberries. Bake two pie shells and fill with strawberries. To create the glaze, crush 4 cups strawberries and add sugar and water. Heat to boiling. Add cornstarch slowly and stir until thickened. Add food coloring until a nice red color. Cool glaze and pour over pies. Serve or refrigerate.

Two pies serve 16

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Shelly Schreck, Sandy's Teaching Colleague

We tried to include these in the teacher's lounge so Sandy could enjoy some goodies too!

¾ cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup egg substitute

2 ¼ cup gluten-free flour mix

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ (1 lb) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Gradually add egg substitute and vanilla extract. Sift together the gluten-free flour mix, baking soda and baking powder. Stir into the butter mixture until blended. Finally stir in the chocolate chips. Using a teaspoon drop cookie dough 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until light brown.