Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Citrus Butter Cookies

These Citrus Butter Cookies were the Beginning Foods winner at this year's Stafford County Fair. (Good job, Lainey!) The judges raved about them. So I added them to my list for the bridal shower cookie trays. 

They use not 1 - not 2 - but 3 citrus fruits. Lemon, lime and orange zest and juice help give tartness to the sweet treat.

Earlier this month, my friend, Gayla, sent me an article from Midwest Living on the cookie contest at the Iowa State Fair. (Click here for a link to the magazine article.) It was interesting for a couple of reasons.

Gayla and I used to judge foods at the Kansas State Fair. I always judged the special contests - like the Spam contest (yep, that's really a thing) and the Hershey's chocolate cake contest. So she knew I'd like the story about the behind-the-scenes action at the Iowa State Fair.

She may not have known it, but it also interested me because my son-in-law's parents - Alan & Christy - have been urging us to come to the Iowa State Fair for several years now. It's never worked out in a farming schedule, but we hope to at some point. Alan just retired from Iowa State Extension and also was in extension in Kansas earlier in his career. So their involvement and love of all things "fair" (and 4-H) runs just as deep as ours - maybe even deeper.

There were 590 cookies entered in multiple categories at the Iowa fair. Those are weeded down to 65 of the best. And, ultimately, three overall winners were chosen. That particular year, it was a Mojito Bar that walked away with the champion ribbon. 

The writer and judge writes about feeling queasy by mid-morning - even just taking a bite of each cookie she judged. I can relate. I remember at the end of some more sweet-focused contests at the Kansas State Fair, I was ready for cheese curds or something salty.

Ironically, Randy & I are currently in Iowa, but we missed the 2021 Iowa State Fair (August 12-22) by a few days. We arrived for the National Master Farm Homemakers Guild convention in Des Moines on Sunday. As state president of the Kansas Master Farm Homemakers Guild, I am our state's voting delegate to the convention. Today (August 31), we're supposed to have High Tea at the Governor's Mansion, Terrace Hill (among a full day of other activities).

I wonder if they'll serve cookies ...

If you try Citrus Butter Cookies in your kitchen, let me know what you think.

 Citrus Butter Cookies
From The Pioneer Woman (via the Stafford County Fair)
2 c. (4 Sticks) Salted Butter, Softened
1 1/2 c. Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs, Separated
4 c. All-purpose Flour
3 tbsp. Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest (approx 1 Tablespoon Each)
2 tbsp. Orange, Lemon, And/or Lime Juice (2 Tablespoons Total)
3 c. Powdered Sugar
2 tbsp. Whole Milk
2 tbsp. Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest
Juice Of 1/2 Lime
Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
Dash Of Salt
Extra Zest, For Decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until combined. Add egg yolks and mix until combined (set whites aside for the icing.) Add the zest and the flour and mix until just combined, then add juice and mix until combined.

Scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough, then roll them into balls between your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep on the cookie sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a spatula and allow to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, combine 1 egg white with the rest of the icing ingredients. (See notes below.) Whisk thoroughly until combined, adding either more powdered sugar or more juice until it reaches a pourable but still thick consistency.

Drizzle the icing across the cookies in several lines, then do it again in the other direction. (I used an old-fashioned decorator tube.) Sprinkle with extra zest before the icing sets.


  • I used a cookie scoop to form uniform balls.
  • I had trouble sprinkling the zest for decorating the iced cookies. So I combined it with a tiny bit of granulated sugar so that I could more evenly distribute the zest.  
  • I did halve the recipe since I was making many varieties of cookies for the bridal shower. 
  • I used 2 tbsp. of melted butter in my frosting instead of whole milk. I like the flavor that butter adds to icing. 
  • I did NOT use the egg whites in the icing. The Pioneer Woman says if you prefer not to use raw egg whites, you could substitute meringue powder. I used neither the powder or the raw whites.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Rest of the Story: Wheat 2022


Harvest time is kind of like a super model. It's gets all the press and the glossy photos. Just like that model, it usually looks good on camera and is the image that wins the accolades.

Harvest 2021 was no exception. I captured a lot of pretty scenes during the three long (very long) weeks from start to finish. 

But, as Paul Harvey always used to claim, here's "the rest of the story." 

Even as we were harvesting our 2021 wheat crop, Randy was looking ahead to Harvest 2022. Interspersed among the multitude of trips hauling wheat to the co-op at Zenith, the guys also binned two varieties of wheat - Bob Dole and Zenda -  in our on-farm storage.


Last week, we took the wheat to Miller Seed Farms to get it cleaned and treated.


It took multiple trips back and forth to deliver it and then pick it back up after it had been cleaned and treated. 

First stop is the scale house, where the trucks are weighed full. After the cleaning, the trucks are reweighed.

As always, Dolores Wagler, office manager, weighed in the trucks and keeps everyone organized.

On our last trip, Randy backed right in to the facility for unloading to begin the cleaning process.

Photo collage from a previous post

After the wheat is cleaned and treated, it comes back to our farm, where we reverse the process and put it back into the on-farm storage until we're ready for wheat planting in late September or early October.  

When we got back to the farm, Randy unrolled the tarp and then backed the truck into position.

After he had it positioned, I shoved a block of wood behind the back tires to keep it from rolling. 

You may be wondering why the wheat isn't golden in color like it was at harvest. After it's cleaned, we have Miller Seed Farm treat it with an insecticide and a herbicide, giving it its rust-colored hue. This is an extra expense, but we believe it will get the 2022 wheat crop off to a good start. Detractors worry about the amount of chemicals that go into the mix. However, only 0.48 ounce per bushel of Cruiser is used, while 1.68 ounce per bushel of the Vibrance product is used. Think about a little bottle of eye drops (usually about 0.5 ounces). Adding slightly more than 2 ounces to a whole bushel of grain is really not much!
Randy raises the bed on the tandem truck and tilts it into a tub, where an auger carries it back into the bin. 

And from a different angle ...
The white rod in the photo below shows the PTO. It's attached to a tractor, which turns the shaft and powers the auger.

The wheat is augered up from the tub back into the bin.

As the wheat still in the truck dwindled, Randy did his circus performer imitation and used a shovel and a broom to get the truck cleaned out before traveling back to Partridge for a load of another variety.

(I didn't get a wider shot of the process this year. Below is a file photo from 2020.)

Here's hoping this behind-the-scenes work will again pay off in "model-worthy" photos next summer for Wheat Harvest 2022. However, there's a lot more behind-the-scenes work to come between now and then.

"The rest of the story" always includes some bloopers.

The blown tire on the semi as we traveled to Miller Seed Farm was just the first of a plethora of tire problems last week. By last Thursday, we were up to eight different tires that either had to be repaired or replaced on different vehicles or implements. (No, that is not an exaggeration.) That Wednesday, I made two separate trips to Kinchloe's at Pratt for disc repairs and picked up a tire at the co-op. Randy made another trip to Kinchloe's on Thursday. We were back again on Monday after more parts arrived. Yes, they know us by name.

This business is not for the faint of heart. Who knows how many tires and multiple trips for repairs will be thrown in before we cross the finish line of Harvest 2022? Maybe I should start a poll ...

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

She Said Yes!


Susan said "Yes!"

Actually, I suppose "Say Yes to the Dress" has that phrase trademarked. So to fit in with the boutique's hashtag, I should say that Susan will be a #truebride.

Jill and I joined Susan and her mom to shop for a wedding gown on Sunday. It's been a dozen years since we went through that process with Jill. It was so much fun to see all the beautiful gowns and our beautiful daughter-in-law-to-be try them on.

Best of all, she found her dress. Jill and I gave Susan a hanger to use for photos on their wedding day. (I wish I'd taken a photo of Susan with the hanger, but I missed the photo op!) As I joked, Jill and I may be among the only people in the world who can actually spell Fritzemeier correctly. Susan is giving up a four-letter last name for our 11-letter one. I can relate: I went from five to 11 letters 40 years ago.

Photos of the dress will have to wait until May 28, 2022. 

I'm hoping my mother-of-the-groom dress shopping is just as painless. I'm kind of guessing it won't be. 

After our successful shopping trip - complete with glasses of champagne furnished by True Society - we had lunch at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant in The Plaza, courtesy of Susan's mom, Becky. 

It was a bridal-themed weekend. Before we went to Kansas City for the Sunday shopping trip, I hosted a wedding shower at church. I'll have more cookie recipes to share. (I've already shared a couple on the blog, including Cherry Limeade Cookies and Red Velvet Kisses.

I also told Susan and Brent I'd take orders for wedding welcome basket baking.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Red Velvet Cookies


If you're a fan of the Food Network, you've probably heard southern competitors on baking shows lay claim to the Red Velvet phenomenon.

Just like most things these days, there appears to be a difference in opinion about that. But no matter the history, these Red Velvet Cookies are a pretty and tasty addition to cookie platters.

I've made Red Velvet Cakes and Cupcakes before, but when I was looking for ideas for a bridal shower, the Red Velvet Drop Cookies from Sally's Baking Addiction caught my eye. The bride-to-be has selected a palette of burgundy, pinks and blush, so I thought the red-tinged cookies would be a pretty addition to the cookie trays for her shower.  

The ancestry of the classic red-tinged cake may not actually be the South. Velvet cakes became popular in the 1800s when American cooks began using almond flour, cocoa, or cornstarch to break down the protein in flour. From those modifications, a finer textured cake emerged – dubbed velvet cake. That innovation was followed by sister cakes, the mahogany cake and devil’s food cake. 

Controversy over the color of the cake is still debated: Some believe it’s caused by a chemical reaction between the cocoa and acid, while others attribute the brown sugar, originally named red sugar. Then, in the 1930s, the first modern red velvet cake was served at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and then later tickled the taste buds of Canadians when after it was served at Eaton’s Department Store in Toronto. 

Red Velvet cake as we know it today is probably because of a marketing ploy. A food-dye and extract salesman John A. Adams and his wife, Betty, tasted the red velvet cake at the Waldorf. In 1938, the government passed the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, enforcing regulations on food coloring. Adams decided that red velvet would be his train to success, and as an act of marketing prowess, the couple opted to sell more dyes and extracts. In the 1940s, they released a mahogany cake recipe that used red food coloring. The recipe was printed on cards and sold with vanilla, red dye, and artificial butter flavoring – a popular additive during World War II when butter was rationed.

It also included a recipe for icing, known as boiled-milk frosting, made with milk, flour, butter, and sugar. Red velvet became popular in Texan homes and Midwest state fairs, eventually spreading to the South where it is now a regular at Emancipation Day parties and Juneteenth celebrations – a gathering of red food items that symbolize the blood shed during slavery and the Civil War.

There was a resurgent interest in red velvet when the cake was featured in the 1989 film, Steel Magnolias.

These Red Velvet Cookies aren't just a pretty face: They also taste mighty good. If you try them, let me know what you think!

I used dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses, but you can choose your favorite Hug or Kiss variety.

Red Velvet Drop Cookies

1 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon gel red food coloring (or alternative)*
3236 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For Cookies:
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the milk and food coloring, then then mix on low speed until everything is combined. The dough will be sticky. If you want a more vibrant hue, beat in more food coloring a little at a time. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and up to 3 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow dough to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. Also, make sure there’s room in your freezer because the cookies will need to be placed inside to prevent the chocolates from melting.

Roll & coat: Scoop and roll cookie dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each. Roll each ball in the 1/2 cup of sugar and arrange on the baking sheet about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the edges appear set. Centers will look very soft. Remove cookies from the oven and cool for just 5-10 minutes on the baking sheets.
Set the chocolate: Press a Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each, then using a thin spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to a large plate or a few smaller plates (gently– they’re soft). Place the plate(s) of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes to quickly set the chocolate kiss in the cookie.
Remove from the freezer and serve.

Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Color My World

Taken with my phone

The eastern sky beckoned me outside Monday morning. I grabbed my phone and my camera and snapped a few shots of our silo before I took a short drive to my sunrise tree. 

With my phone

On several occasions, I've noticed a difference in the images I get with my phone's camera vs. my regular camera. Monday's shots were even more markedly different than usual. My camera recorded the images as golden, with very few paintbrush strokes of blue. My phone had both blue and gold tones.

With my camera

I got back to the house, and I had my daily KFRM report to do. Then, I had to go pick up the guys at Miller Seed Farm, where they took seed wheat to be cleaned before we plant our 2022 wheat crop this fall.

With my phone

So by the time I got the photos downloaded, I'd kind of forgotten how markedly different the images were. I played around with editing the photos, but I wasn't satisfied with getting the images to look like "real life." And by that time, what WAS real life? After several hours had elapsed, I was having trouble discerning which was the closest to the truth. So I gave up trying to manipulate the images. I just downloaded them "as is."

And it made me think about life as we know it today.
With my camera
Some Facebook friends color their vision of life through a conservative lens.
Others see the same situation with a much more liberal viewpoint.
And my view often falls somewhere in the middle.
Who is right?
Who is wrong?
Is there a middle ground?
I sure hope there is. And, with God's help, I hope we can find it. 
For the record, the more golden sunrise was probably closer to reality. Here's a photo my friend, Janet Hardin, posted Monday morning to her Facebook page.
Photo by Janet Hardin
But, then again, another of my Facebook friends, Jamie Kreutzer, posted this Monday sunrise shot from downtown Stafford.
Photo by Jamie Kreutzer
So ... there you go. The picture depends upon which view finder you're looking through.

I saved a devotional way back in January, thinking I'd use it sometime with nature photos. It was from one of the daily devotionals that arrives in my email in box - this one, from New Every Morning. I stash these snippets of wisdom in my blog "draft" folder. 
Here's the devotional and question from New Every Morning:

Today’s Reflection

Gracious God, thank you for the gift of this day.
We know that each day is a gift coming anew from you.
For the beauty of creation, we give you thanks.
For the joy of loving and being loved,
we give you thanks.
For the steadfastness of good friends,
we give you thanks.
For meaningful work to do and supportive colleagues,
we give you thanks.
When challenges and hardships overwhelm us,
remind us that your grace is all around us, everywhere,
to be seen if we just remember to look for it.
Let our prayer at the end of this day and each day
be gratitude for what you have given to us.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

  (Upper Room Books, 2012)

Today’s Question

How can you practice noticing goodness today?

Today’s Scripture

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
—Psalm 9:1 (NRSV)

Thursday, August 12, 2021

A Banner Day

Today is a banner day. My parents - Bob & Janis Moore - celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary. (This collage is from one of the books my mom put together for the grandkids). 

2021 Photo by Kent Moore

They were just 17 and 19 when they were married. And even though that seems young by today's standards, it seems to have worked out pretty well for them and their descendants - four children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grands. 

A couple of those great-grands also are having a banner day today.

It's Kinley's and Brooke's first day of the new school year. Kinley is a 4th grader, and Brooke is in 1st grade. I was anxiously awaiting the first day of school photos.

At this point in her life, Brooke wants to be a kindergarten teacher. (I wonder if that will change to first grade teacher after this year?)

Kinley's career choice of "veterinarian" has remained constant for several years. (I think that it was "dolphin trainer" one year, but that's still animal related.)

For old times' sake, I foraged in my childhood scrapbook to see what I looked like when I was the girls' age. (Thanks to my mom for her organizational efforts! I wish I'd inherited that quality.)

Jeff Berry, Kim Moore, Carol Beberstine, Lorraine Frisbie, Eugene Stotts

For me, first grade was the first stop in my academic life. Byers didn't have kindergarten.  I had a whopping five people in my class - counting me!

At Byers, two grade levels were combined, so both the 1st and 2nd grade had Mrs. Bond as their teacher. 

Front row: Curtis Matulka, Eugene Stotts, Ronnie Young, Mike Kelly, Kim Moore, Carol Beberstine, Jeff Berry. Back row: Monte Pritchett, Kevin Warren, Mrs. Bond, Danna Stinemetze, Lorraine Frisbie, Bob Parker.

 My fourth grade year was the final one at Byers. In fifth grade, Byers consolidated with other small Pratt County schools to form Skyline. I don't remember exactly what I wanted to be at those milestones in my life. I remember "composer" was one of the things I dreamed of becoming. (I was not granted that God-given ability, though I certainly appreciate musical composition.) But I also thought of being a writer. So I guess maybe I had an inkling of what I might become.

 The shot of the girls boarding the bus this morning also brought back a little nostalgia. I rode the school bus the 3 1/2 miles to Byers. My kids had a longer trip for their dozen miles or so to school. I didn't find any photos of my "antique" bus.

Even though my efforts in scrapbooking did not compare to my mom's, I did find a few photos of Jill at similar ages to her girls.

Jill was 8 1/2 and Brent was 6 in this first-day-of-school photo.

Here was their school bus photo that year.

Jill would have been 6 - just like Brooke - in these photos. Brooke wanted her hair crimped for her first day of school. And I noticed that Jill had her hair crimped for her first day of school, too.
You can see the bus lights coming in the dark!

What goes around comes around, I guess!

Happy anniversary and happy first day of school to some special people!