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Snacking Your Way to Midnight
Friday 30th of December 2011 09:13 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

The clock is tick-tick-ticking toward the New Year and thoughts of sugarplums are replaced with diet resolutions.

If you're looking to start your quest for health
before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, here's a snack mix alternative to try for your New Year's Eve party.

Jill got the recipe at work and then made a batch herself. It's a lower-calorie version of a snack mix, but it's still sweet and crunchy. (Note that the serving size is 1/2 cup. Serving size always gets us into trouble, doesn't it?)

Enjoy your New Year's Eve celebration! We'll see if I make it to midnight. I wouldn't bet on it.

Banana Cinnamon Snack Mix
Makes about 14 (1/2 cup servings)
2 cups Banana Nut Cheerios Cereal
1 cup Cinnamon Chex Cereal
1 cup fat-free small pretzel twists
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or nuts
1 egg white
1 tbsp. orange juice concentrate
1/3 cup Splenda or sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup crispy apple chips, broken into pieces
1 cup craisins

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix cereal, pretzels and seeds or nuts. Set aside. In medium bowl, beat egg white, orange juice concentrate, sweetener and cinnamon with wire whisk until well blended. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Stir in popcorn. Spread in pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until light brown and crisp. Remove from oven. Stir in apple chips and craisins. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

(Jill used banana chips rather than apple chips because that's what she found.)


But ... if you want to get one more dose of butter and sugar before committing to the new diet regime, try this Toffee Snack Mix for your New Year's snack table.


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Thursday 29th of December 2011 07:13 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

I'm stumped. And I think I may need professional help.

Well, at least my yard might need some help from the experts.

Randy and Jake took out some a tree and overgrown bushes from the side yard this week. Last fall, Randy campaigned to plant some new trees. I told him I thought we should clean up what we had first.

The problem? Neither of us really knows what we're doing in this department. (That will come as no surprise to anyone who has visited us.)

We had to say goodbye to several 125-year-old pine trees at our farmstead last year because of pine wilt. We need to replace them, but should we choose blue spruce (like the one Jill & Randy planted in 1987 seen in the background)? Or should we choose deciduous trees?

With this latest dismantling project, the old hackberry tree was growing into electrical lines and the evergreen bushes surrounding it hadn't been trimmed in years.

Unfortunately, the mess seems worse than when we started. The stumps are still there until we can borrow a front loader with more "umph." The ground has pockmarks left from the tractor tires and branch removal.

The good news? Randy didn't fall from the bucket loader or cut off any of his own appendages with the chainsaw while removing tree limbs. The electric line stayed up, so my power stayed on.

I'm not sure whether I was out there to watch the proceedings or to be right there to call 9-1-1 if he toppled from the bucket. Thankfully, nothing but the ground was harmed in this winter maintenance project. So I guess it's a success after all ... even if it doesn't look like it at the moment.

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A Rose By Any Other Name
Wednesday 28th of December 2011 07:23 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Am I a Grammy?



My kids called my father-in-law "Poppo" (long 'o') when they were little. I'm not sure how it started, but I know it stuck until they decided they'd outgrown it.

I've never held this important title before. So what does a modern grandmother do? She Googles it, of course. Google has an answer for everything.

And wouldn't you know it: I found a quiz to tell me what kind of Grandma I will likely be. Will I be an Oma or a Nana? Will I be Gram? A Gigi?

Drum roll please. And the test results reveal ...

You're a Grandmother!

You are a traditional, old-fashioned grandmother. You love cooking for your grandchildren and creating traditions with them. Your grandchildren will always feel warm and welcomed. You possess a lot of skills that may soon be forgotten, unless you share them with your grandchildren! Names such as Grandmother, Grandma, Grannie, Grammy and Nanny are good choices for you.

I'm sure my children are super surprised that I'm old-fashioned. (Wink. Wink.)

So ... what do your children call their grandparents? Or, if you have already reached Grandparent Land, what do your grandchildren call you? Did you choose the name? Or did they choose it for you?

I think I'll go by whatever name Smalls chooses. At this point, I'll probably respond even if she just grunts in my general direction.


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The Tapestry of Family
Tuesday 27th of December 2011 07:29 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Blake & Braden

The twinkle in their eyes rivals the glow of the tree lights. They see wonder and delight in the smallest things.

It makes us look at things differently, too. A strawberry Jell-O stain on the carpet wasn't nearly as big a catastrophe as we watched Braden "help" his Grandma clean the carpet.

"More, more, more," he'd giggle.

"More, more, more" we adults thought, as the music of little children's giggles and chatter colored the room more abundantly than any lighted tree.

This was Braden's second Christmas, but with an August birthday, he wasn't all that interested last year. It was Neelly's first Christmas. (Both are my sister Lisa's & Kyle's grandchildren.)

Neelly, 8 months, sat in a high chair that had first brought her Great-Grandma Moore to the table to share meals at the family table 76 years before. The rabbit-themed high chair is one of those threads that hold the tapestry of family together from one generation to the next. Neelly is the fourth generation to use it, and it came from the side of the family for whom she is named.

Along with new little ones came new traditions. Instead of waiting until after supper for opening packages, we opened gifts mid-afternoon. Post naptime made for good moods all around.

But even with a growing family, there were empty spaces at the table this year. Jill & Eric decided to stick close to home, since their baby girl is due January 12.

For the first time since Madison was a baby back in 1994, one of my folks' seven grandchildren wasn't there to help blow out the candles and celebrate my Mom's Christmas Eve birthday.

Little people mean more challenges for the annual photo tradition. Did anyone get a shot with everyone looking the same way? Probably not.

Not having Jill and Eric there felt a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and then discovering that a couple of essential pieces were missing.

But life evolves. And we'll see Christmas through the eyes of yet another child next year. The tapestry of family will add another interwoven piece, another thread that will strengthen the fabric of family.

And that is a very good thing.


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Monday 26th of December 2011 08:49 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

There is beauty in leftovers. The cook is tired. But there's still stuff in the fridge to make a good meal.

Well, this cook is tired. Anybody else? Even as a child, I remember feeling that letdown when the Christmas presents were unwrapped and the grandmas and grandpas went home. It doesn't have a thing to do with what
was or wasn't under the Christmas tree.

Even though we still have one more Christmas celebration in our future, the gifts are wrapped. The holiday treats are finished. And the go-go-go chant in my head and heart have quieted a bit.

So I think I'll "chill" today (or chill as much as this Type A "do-er" can chill). Thankfully, I have a few appropriate "leftovers" from last week's winter storm.

See? There is beauty in leftovers.

December 21, 2011

Looking for a way to use your holiday leftovers today? Try this Pepperidge Farm Chicken (or turkey) Casserole.

And Brent has requested Plantation Turkey & Ham Casserole sometime while he is home for the holidays. It's another favorite and it uses up two different holiday leftover meats.


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