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A Farewell Blessing
Saturday 11th of February 2012 04:35 PM


By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

This will be my last blog post for KFRM. They've decided to offer a different feature on their website, so it's the end of the road for the KFRM blog. I'll still be bringing you the Central Kansas Report each weekday on KFRM.

I would like to invite you to continue to visit our farm along the Stafford/Reno County line by visiting my personal blog,
Kim's County Line. I will continue to offer recipes, photographs, thoughts about life in general and tales from the farm - all from a Kansas farm wife's perspective.

You can find me at:  http://kimscountyline.blogspot.com. (Just copy and paste it into your web browser and then bookmark me so you can come back and visit often!)

And, until then, I will leave you with the words of an Irish blessing with images from our beautiful state:

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

The rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


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Valentine Treat 2: Cake Balls
Thursday 9th of February 2012 06:55 AM

 By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line 

I know you're not supposed to do things just because "everyone else" is doing them. But, it's hard to ignore the Cake Pop craze. There's a cookbook featuring Cake Pops. The cover of my December/January issue of Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious showed 10 versions of Cake Pops. A bunch of cooking blogs have been singing the praises of Cake Pops and Cake Balls.

So before Christmas, I joined the band wagon and tried them, too. One of the reasons I was dragging my feet was that I really don't like canned frosting. All the recipes I was seeing featured a can of frosting. I am a self-admitted frosting snob. So when I finally saw a recipe that used homemade icing, I was sold. (I found the recipe for using the homemade frosting at The Kitchen is My Playground blog.)

Four years ago, a blogger named Bakerella first posted a photo and recipe for cake pops. As she reminisced in her February 1, 2012, blog post, she had no idea this simple little idea would take on a life of its own (and lead to appearances on Martha Stewart, with the Pioneer Woman, on the Today Show and plenty of others.) Bakerella now has her own bakeware and clothing line. She has a whole following of people called Pop Stars who try to top one another with phenomenal decorations and designs.

And it was all born from a little ball of cake and frosting on a stick.

I made cake balls - sans lollipop stick - for Christmas and then decorated some for Valentine's Day, too. Mine aren't nearly as fancy as those made by Pop Stars across the world. But they aren't bad for a Kansas farm wife, I guess.

They'd be a perfect treat for your Valentine, too! Enjoy!

White ones are Cake Balls; Chocolate ones are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Cake Balls

1 baked 9 X 13 cake (or equivalent of homemade cake recipe)
1 to 1 1/2 cups vanilla frosting (canned or your own)
1 lb. vanilla candy melts, any color
About 2 tbsp. shortening (I didn't use)
Larger sprinkles for decorating

Crumble cake into a large bowl, working it into small crumbs. Add frosting and mix until well combined. Shape into 1-inch balls, using about 1 tablespoon of the cake mixture per fall. Set aside on waxed paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour or place in freezer for about 15 minutes.

Notes: I used a homemade white cake. Since this recipe is for a sheet cake, I estimated how much of the cake to use and Randy gladly consumed the leftovers. I also used homemade icing, which I'd flavored with almond flavoring (Use the two-layer cake frosting recipe also attached to the white cake post.) When I make these cake balls again, I will just use 1 cup of the icing. I probably added too much. If you use a drier cake made from a cake mix, it might require more of the frosting. Just use your own judgment.

In a small bowl, melt candy melts and shortening (if desired) together in the microwave per candy melt instructions (typically 30 second intervals, stirring in between). Use a fork to dip each cake ball in the candy coating, letting excess coating dip off back into the bowl. Place on waxed paper. Sprinkle with sprinkles or place larger decorations on the coated balls. Let stand for coating to set up.

Note: I would just melt a portion of the candy melts and the shortening at one time. Almond bark can seize up when moisture or part of the cake ball falls off into the melted candy. So if you just work with a little bit at a time, you don't ruin the whole pot of almond bark. Can you tell that may have happened to me?

The original recipe said you could add rainbow sprinkles to the cake mixture. I didn't want to have that texture, but it would make it pretty inside. That blogger said she kept pouring them in and stirring until the mixture looked "confetti-ish." So, use your own judgment if you want to go with sprinkles.

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Valentine's Treat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Wednesday 8th of February 2012 08:14 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

C'mon ... admit it: Part of the appeal of making chocolate chip cookies is the dough. We all know we're not supposed to eat it because of the risk of salmonella. But if you don't, you have more will power than I do.

These Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles give you the taste without the no-no of raw eggs. (Sorry I can't take the calories out, too!) I made these for Christmas and decorated part of them with snowflakes and Christmas trees. I used Valentine's decorations on some and stuck them in the freezer for safekeeping for the February 14 holiday.

They are a little bit labor intensive and messy with all the steps and the chocolate dipping. But they were a hit at family Christmas celebrations. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate or almond bark for dipping
Sprinkles, decorations, etc. for topping the truffles

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until it is incorporated and you no longer see chunks of brown sugar. Beat in sweetened condensed milk and mix until well combined. Stir in semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Cover bowl and refrigerate until dough is firm, at least 1 hour. Use cookie scoop to scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls, roll into balls and place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Place all the rolled balls back in the refrigerator until you are ready to dip them in chocolate.

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave on 70 percent power and stirring every minute until smooth. Don't burn! Use a fork to help you dip the chilled dough ball into the chocolate and roll it around to cover all sides. Place it on a waxed paper-lined platter. Sprinkle with any desired toppings. Repeat with rest of the dough balls. Keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

For a variation, you can roll part of the truffles in almond bark, giving a white chocolate coating on the outside. I used real dark chocolate for the coating, which was a nice contrast to the sweet filling.

Yield: 3 to 4 dozen truffles.

Tomorrow: Another treat for your Valentine!


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Monday 6th of February 2012 07:59 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

"The day is ending,
The night descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Afternoon in February

Solitude: For some, it may mean loneliness. For others, it may be a welcomed time apart. It's all in how you look at it, isn't it?

The Kansas plains provide a backdrop for solitude. One feels small and insignificant as day says hello to night under the vastness of a crayon-box-colored western sky.

But that same sky changes if you look from a different perspective. The plastic-covered windows of a stately old stone barn mute the fiery colors. This watered-down version is beautiful in a different way.

And isn't that true of solitude, too? Sometimes we want that riot of "noisiness" in our lives. We long for the color that other people and experiences can bring.

Yet there is a mystery to solitude and time alone. It's a time for rejuvenation ... a time for reflection ... a time of peace. It softens the edges of all the noise in the world, kind of like that barn window.

"There is a privacy about winter
which no other season gives you …

Only in winter…
can you have longer, quiet stretches

when you can savor belonging to yourself."
- Ruth Stout

Wishing you a time of peace today, friends, even in the midst of a hectic life.

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Response 1
Tuesday 7th of February 2012 01:59:28 PM
Submitted by: Sam Oborny
Beautifully said. I do love the winter season but couldn't have put it so well into words, thank you!
Response 2
Wednesday 8th of February 2012 08:15:22 AM
Submitted by: Kim.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to comment. I truly appreciate that!

Super Bowl = Super Snacks
Friday 3rd of February 2012 08:39 AM

By Kim L. Fritzemeier

KFRM Central Kansas Reporter

Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line

Teamwork: It helps get football teams to the Super Bowl. It also helps get your Super Bowl spread to everyone's plates in the time it takes to watch a few of those high-priced commercials.

Beef Tostadas were on the menu at Jill's and Eric's when I helped out after Kinley was born. But it could be an easy way to feed guests at a Super Bowl party: Form a line-up of the ingredients buffet-style, and then let everyone "scramble" to build it their own way. Every quarterback needs options, so you could provide fajita chicken, shredded pork and other fresh toppings. Throw in some refried beans and Mexican rice: Score! The meal is done (except for the snacks and the desserts - see below for a few ideas.)

It doesn't really fit the flavor profile for either the New England Patriots or the New York Giants. I'm not sure what makes the grade as the quintessential team food for those two franchises. (It's not like cheeseheads from last year's Super Bowl.)

Enjoy! What are your favorite Super Bowl snacks or meals?

Beef Tostadas
From Taste of Home's
Simple and Delicious magazine
December 2011/January 2012

1 lb. lean ground beef (I used roast beef - see below)
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 tsp. taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tsp. chipotle sauce
6 tostada shells
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 1/2 cups guacamole
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
Chopped cilantro
Chopped green onion

Cook beef and red pepper over medium heat in large skillet until meat is no longer pink; drain. (Because I used already cooked roast beef, I softened the red pepper in the microwave.) Stir in chili sauce, taco seasoning, salt and pepper; heat through.

Combine sour cream and chipotle sauce in small bowl.

Layer each tostada with lettuce, meat mixture, guacamole, cheese and chipotle cream. Top with chopped green onions and cilantro.

Serve with refried beans.

Notes: I used roast beef instead of hamburger. I had cooked a roast in the same liquid I'd used to make pulled pork sandwiches. (The pulled pork would be a great Super Bowl meal, too, by the way.) Then I brought part of the roast to Jill and Eric's. Originally, I thought we could use it for sandwiches. But then I saw the tostada recipe and thought it would be perfect for that. The beef had some extra spices from its stay in the slow cooker, but it just added to the flavor.

I didn't buy tostada shells. Instead, I used whole wheat tortillas. I sprayed both sides with cooking spray and then broiled them until they were crispy.

We used more than the 3 cups of lettuce called for. I purchased shredded lettuce from the grocery store, rather than doing it myself this time.

Jill and Eric especially liked the chipotle sauce/sour cream combo. They thought they'd be using that idea for other Mexican meals or for sandwiches.

Need other ideas for the Super Bowl? Click on the underlined recipe names for the recipes. (Some of those posts also have links to more recipes, so happy exploring!)

Baked Brie
Team Spirit Munch
(If you're actually a Patriot or Giants fan, you can use candy melts in the team colors.)

Deli Slices

Cheesecake Bars

Clipper Bars

Have a great weekend everyone!


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