Emporia Living Sallie Edition 2018

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FALL 2018

What it takes to be a champion diver TRANSLATING HOPE

Sally Sanchez is a force in making Emporia’s Hispanic community shine.

SIMMERING FOR SUCCESS Kati Beatty, living her culinary dream and finding success.


Maryann Peak has created a lifestyle brand based in clean living and sustainability.

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SALLIE SPOTLIGHTS Area businesses and professionals share what's up and what's new in their line of work

10 Ek Real Estate The women of Ek 20 Advanced Dermatology Non-invasive cosmetic services 30 Newman Regional Health W.S. & E.C Jones Breast Care Center One-stop shop for breast care needs 42 The Spectacle Meet Dr. Lenahan



Fresh out of school, hometown girl, Kati Beatty, is living her culinary dream and finding success in a profession that’s not easy for women.

52 Casa Ramos Family recipes 64 Midas Touch Golden Tans & Theta Yoga Staycation headquarters 74 ESB Financial Personal finance for kids


78 Advanced Dermatology Mohs Micrographic Surgery


92 Coldwell Banker Hidden Vista

Haylee Weiss talks about what it takes to be a champion diver.

Maryann Peak may have been raised a city girl, but she’s found her niche in the country creating a lifestyle brand that’s all about clean living and sustainability.





Sally Sanchez may not be in the spotlight, but she’s a force in making Emporia’s Hispanic community shine.


If home is where the heart is, Marci Lindsey’s heart fills up every square inch of her vintage home on wheels.


Meet Emporia’s first Baker Boy champ! Lucas Moody shows off his skills in the kitchen and just how he makes those famous Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies.

100 The Copper Top One-of-a-kind event venue and bar




Local ladies weigh in on the topic of “Food.”


Get a sneak peek at Sallie’s firstever Baker Boy Bake Off held in the old pressroom at The Emporia Gazette.


As the Dirty Kanza 200 continues to grow, so does a group of riders whose goal is to get more women (and men) on bikes.

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FROM the EDITOR TIME TO CELEBRATE Wow! This has been quite a year for women! Even though we are committed to keeping Sallie out of the political arena, throughout the production of this year’s publication, I just couldn’t help reflecting from time to time about the climate of the times when it comes to women’s rights, equality and the multitude of issues that go along with this scream for change. Discussion has been fierce, engaging, even ugly at times. Sometimes it’s made me proud to be a woman…. and frankly, sometimes not. As we worked on the stories for this year’s Sallie and met the women (and young ladies), to be featured, it reminded me that, while there is much yet to be done, as women we also have so much to celebrate. All of the women featured on the pages of Sallie are inspiring examples of women who have embraced their gifts, talents or passions, seized an opportunity and forged paths to make a positive impact right where they are….which happens to be here in our little town. And that’s exciting! Speaking of little, Haylee Weiss, our cover story, is one such young lady. Don’t let her petite stature fool you. The 17-year old has already made a huge splash as a three-time Kansas state diving champion. And now, entering her senior year this fall at Emporia High School, she has a laser-sharp focus to not only make it No. 4, but also to break the state diving record in overall points earned. Turn to her story to find out how she plans to make that happen. Another small but mighty Sallie profile this year is a woman who has called Emporia home for more than 30 years. And a very busy 30 years it has been for her! If you’ve been around Emporia long, you may recognize her friendly face, but you may not realize just what a powerhouse she is. From volunteering at bilingual story-time in Emporia schools, to directing a beautiful dance troupe that performs around the state, if there’s something in our community that preserves or promotes the Hispanic culture, it’s very likely Sally has her hand in it. Meet Sally Sanchez on page 44. She’s someone you should definitely know!

one of your own once you see the pictures and read her story. And you can’t help but just be amazingly proud of one of our own homegrown girls, Kati Beatty, who is moving on up in a world traditionally dominated by men. A junior sous-chef in one of the most exclusive resorts in the country, Kati’s career is simmering for success in the world of culinary arts. Of course, you can’t miss the winner of Sallie’s Baker Boy contest on the pages of “Hey Mister.” This fellow has certainly become a talented baker in his own right, but it wasn’t without the lessons and inspiration from the women in his life. There’s a time to fight for change and there’s a time to celebrate what we have and where we are as women and as a community of people who strive for the best in our town. We hope on the pages of this year’s Sallie our readers would agree that we have plenty to celebrate! Our community is a better place to live, work and visit because of the women and men featured in Sallie this year! Now…. sit back, relax and enjoy this year’s edition of Sallie. It’s nice to see you again!

Of course, there’s always so much more: Take a peek inside Marci Lindsey’s simply fabulous, boho-chic vintage glamper in Home Sweet Home. I guarantee you will want

Ashley Walker Editor and Publisher

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the CONTRIBUTORS FOR A SECOND TIME, last year’s Sallie Magazine featuring Charlotte Nickel on the cover, was named Best Magazine in Kansas by the Kansas Press Association. It is such an honor to recognized in this way! There are so many beautiful, sophisticated, smart, publications in Kansas that we all admire and are inspired by. But it would absolutely not be possible to create an award-winning magazine without the hard work and creative spirit of the people pictured below. This is (most of) the Sallie Magazine team, all of whom played a vital role in the production of this year’s edition. Along with our faithful advertisers, Sallie would not be in your hands without each one of them! Below, a few of our Sallie contributor’s share what makes them want to celebrate.


Cassi Olinger: Each time my husband, myself and all five of our kiddos are able to be together. There is nothing more important to us than our family and when we are able to spend uninterrupted quality time together, it gives me every reason to celebrate! Zach Hacker: The accomplishments of my family and friends make me want to celebrate. Whether it be a minor milestone or a major breakthrough, being able to share in the joy of loved ones is always reason to celebrate. Kelsey Barker: My little family's current daily celebrations consist of our son using the potty! However, watching both of our children grow, individually and together, makes my heart celebrate.

Ryann Brooks: I like to joke that I'm easy to please because I can - and will - celebrate just about anything from writing with a nice pen to finishing a really hard crossword puzzle. But my kids are always my biggest reasons to celebrate, from hitting milestones to watching them forge their own path every day. Regina Murphy: When I see people succeeding at what they want to do, I want to celebrate. Someone attains a personal goal; someone makes their business a success; someone gives completely of themselves to others; someone bakes the perfect cake; I want to celebrate!


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the ADVERTISERS Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center��������������������������������������� 20

Kansas Foot Care ���������������������������������������������������� 91

Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center��������������������������������������� 78

King Liquor �������������������������������������������������������������� 17

Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center ������������������������������������������ 29 Bluestem Farm & Ranch Supply ������������������������������ 28 Bobby D’s Merchant St. BBQ���������������������������������� 63 Brian’s Lawn Care���������������������������������������������������� 28 Broadview Towers���������������������������������������������������� 19 Brown’s Shoe Fit, Co.���������������������������������������������� 37 C. Allen Doors���������������������������������������������������������� 49 Carpet Plus�������������������������������������������������������������� 91 Casa Ramos��������������������������������������������������������� 52 City of Emporia�������������������������������������������������������� 90 Clint Bowyer Autoplex ���������������������������������������������� 6 Coldwell Banker�������������������������������������������������� 92 Commercial Street Diner������������������������������������������ 72 Do B’s Burger Barn, Philly Stop & Po Boy Shoppe ���������������������������������� 98 Dr. Thomas A. Kriss, DDS ���������������������������������������� 29 Ek Real Estate����������������������������������������������������� 10 Emporia Anesthesia Associates ������������������������������ 61 Emporia Main Street������������������������������������������������ 71 Emporia State University������������������������������������������ 88 ESB Financial ���������������������������������������������Back cover ESB Financial ����������������������������������������������������� 74 Evergreen Design Build�������������������������������������������� 59 First Start Rental Sales & Service ���������������������������� 41 Flint Hills Tech College���������������������������������������������� 1 Food for Students�������������������������������������������������� 102 Geo Tech, Inc.���������������������������������������������������������� 86 Goods CashSavers �������������������������������������������������� 57 Griffin Real Estate���������������������������������������������������� 72 Guion’s Showcase Furniture & Appliances���������������� 8 Guzman Tree Service������������������������������������������������ 61 Hannah Orthodontics���������������������������������������������� 86 High Gear Cyclery���������������������������������������������������� 89 Holiday Resort���������������������������������������������������������� 72 Innovative Vein �������������������������������������������������������� 51 Joseph Laudie Dental���������������������������������������������� 59

Kari’s Diamonds ������������������������������������������������������ 51 Kohlmeier Dental, LLC �������������������������������������������� 19 Life Care Center of Burlington �������������������������������� 90 Longbine Autoplaza ������������������������������������������������ 27 Lore & Hagemann, Inc.�������������������������������������������� 72 Lyon County History Center������������������������������������ 91 Lyon County State Bank ������������������ Inside front cover Lyon County Title ���������������������������������������������������� 91 M-N Carpet Store, Inc.�������������������������������������������� 62 Marlin Flanagin, DDS ���������������������������������������������� 99 McKenzie Pest Control�������������������������������������������� 17 Midas Touch Golden Tans & Theta Yoga ������������� 64 Midwest Land Group�������������������������������������������������� 5 Mohn Standard & Gravel City Adventure���������������� 84 Newman Regional Health���������������������������������������� 39 Newman Regional Health W.S. & E.C. Jones Breast Care Center ��������������������������� 30 Nex-Tech Wireless���������������������������������������������������� 91 Plumbing by Spellman �������������������������������������������� 85 Prairie & Pearls Western Boutique �������������������������� 37 Regional Development Association �������������������������� 4 RV Doc���������������������������������������������������������������������� 73 Skywalkers Trampoline & Tumbling ������������������������ 28 State Farm, Pete Euler �������������������������������������������� 41 Stormont Vail Health������������������������������������������������ 51 Sutherlands�������������������������������������������������������������� 63 Tanner Carpet, LLC�������������������������������������������������� 99 The Copper Top������������������������������������������������� 100 The Emporia Gazette �������������������������������������������� 102 The Spectacle ����������������������������������������������������� 42 The Sweet Granada�������������������������������������������������� 91 Thomas Felts Photography�������������� Inside back cover Thomas Property������������������������������������������������������ 73 Thomas Transfer & Storage�������������������������������������� 73 Thompson Family Dental ���������������������������������������� 72 Tyson���������������������������������������������������������������������� 104 USD 253 ������������������������������������������������������������������ 73 Waters TrueValue�������������������������������������������������������� 2 Williams Automotive������������������������������������������������ 71 FALL 2018 | 9



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SUCCESS What could be considered part fairy tale, or just really good reality TV, the story of one of our own hometown girls captured the attention of Sallie Magazine. After landing an externship at The Broadmoor Hotel as part of her culinary degree at Flint Hills Technical College, Kati Beatty has done what so many young chefs dream to do: land a job at one of the most prestigious resorts in the world, known for its culinary arts, and is already moving on up the ranks in a profession that has historically been dominated by men. FALL 2018 | 13




hen Emporia native Kati Beatty walked through the doors of The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs on June 8, it was her last day … as a cook, that is. Less than a year after landing a position on the culinary team at one of the most luxurious and renowned resorts in the world, Kati traded in her checkered pants for black ones, a really big deal for aspiring chefs. “Today is my last day of being a cook,” she said. “Tomorrow, I walk into the Broadmoor with my black pants as a Junior Sous Chef, of Banquets, in the Garde Manger Department. I’ve worked so hard to get to this moment, but it still feels unreal. “I’ve switched departments, so I am learning so much more about Garde Manger now — the different cheeses and meats — all of the like. I will also have the opportunity to meet so many new people. I will have the honor of learning about so many new cultures because of the international program The Broadmoor has. I’m excited to learn, grow and take on more of a leadership role in this journey of a new position.” After completing an externship with the Broadmoor, Beatty was hired as a cook in January this year. She has been working under the guidance of Executive Sous Chef Justin Miller. “Kati has been a rock star for us here at the hotel,” Miller said. “She began as a Cook 1 and has now become a Junior Sous Chef. She has a great maturity, hence the reason she was considered for the position. She has room to grow like all of us here do, but her attitude and drive go a long way.” Miller said it is obvious Beatty loved working at the Broadmoor and was proud to be a part of the team. “Kati takes her job very serious and cares deeply about taking care of our guests,” he said. “She is always upbeat and happy to do whatever is asked of her. She is open-minded when challenged to be better at her craft. Kati is going to make a great chef in her future as a culinary professional. She has all the right attributes we look for in this profession: attitude, drive, determination and a sense of humility.”

“Kati takes her job very serious and cares deeply about taking care of our guests.”

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The Broadmoor first opened its doors in 1918. The main resort complex is situated at the base of the Cheyenne Mountain five miles southwest of downtown Colorado Springs. Visitors to the resort have included heads of state, celebrities, professional sports stars and business professionals. Broadmoor founder Spence Penrose set out to create a dining experience which celebrated modern innovation while honoring culinary traditions of the American West. The facility showcases 10 restaurants as well as 10 cafes and lounges — which range from Colorado’s only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond restaurant — to its cafes which emphasize fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. Beatty said the opportunity to further her culinary career and now attain Junior Sous Chef status was a dream come true. “To be a Junior Sous Chef five months fresh out of culinary school at age 20 is pretty cool,” Beatty said. “God has guided me through this path of hard work, stressful days and late nights, which were driven by passion and dedication. What I do is for His glory, to serve His people. I am incredibly blessed for all the opportunities that I’ve been given.” TRAINING FOR SUCCESS Beatty began her culinary training at Flint Hills Technical College and won its first Chopped competition in Oct. 2017. “The program at FHTC was absolutely amazing,” Beatty said. “I loved the program and learned so much. During my third year I learned to cook with my heart. Cooking gave me meaning and passion.” Beatty’s mother, Shari, said Kati had always taken her competitions seriously and spent a lot of time prepping for them. “The Chopped competition was so intense to watch and was definitely one of the most stressful competitions any of our children have participated in,” Shari Beatty said. “When Kati was announced champion, we were thrilled that all of her hard work 16 | EMPORIA LIVING


paid off. There aren’t words to describe that moment, but I can tell you it was a memory that will last a lifetime.” FHTC Culinary Instructor and program coordinator Brian Romano said in many respects, Beatty was an ideal student while in the program. “Kati was always full of positive energy — was always learning and wanting to know more,” Romano said. “She was always waiting to ask another question and her desire to learn was unquenchable. Her desire to know and grow made her a good culinary student and has now contributed to her professional success.” Romano said Beatty didn’t just have a knack for success in culinary arts; she was willing to put in the hard work to achieve success. “There are many attributes someone needs to have to be successful in this career — the ability to work hard, the right mindset, motivation and perseverance, just to name a few,” Romano said. “Passion, a thirst for knowledge and the ability to grow are essential, and Kati has always been that way. She balanced it all with a touch of humor, humility and stubbornness. When Kati won Chopped, she did what she did

every day — she was herself. The bubbly and joyous side came through as she competed and was evident in her food.” FINDING HER PASSION Shari Beatty said while growing up, Kati enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen when she was a young girl. “Kati always looked forward to going to Grandma’s house to help with preparations for the family Thanksgiving and Christmas meals,” she said. “It wasn’t until high school that Kati’s love of cooking was really discovered. Her teacher, Cami Zimbelman, gets the credit for guiding her onto this journey. Kati’s dad, Keith, has also always enjoyed cooking, and we remember when Kati used to get upset when he would barely spice things up with a little pepper. “We were all shocked when Kati declared her desire to study culinary arts. She was certain this was the avenue she wanted to take her future and, since that decision, she has definitely changed her likes and dislikes in the world of spices and foods.” When Beatty’s parents learned Kati would be working at The Broadmoor, they were excited for the possibilities that were ahead, but knew life would be different. “Honestly, I believe Shari was more freaked out about it than Kati,” Keith Beatty said. “Kati was ready to go — and wrapping your head around your 18-year-old moving to Colorado is a bit much. This was not summer camp with counselors; this was getting up at 2 in morning and putting in more than a full day’s work. We knew she could do it, but the thoughts of her spending the summer there were a bit nerve-wracking. “When Kati tells us that everyone at the Broadmoor thinks she is much older, it says a lot. She holds her own and that makes me proud. In a society in which most businesses complain about new hires or kids with no common sense, it seems Kati is appreciated, and that says a lot. I couldn’t be prouder of her.” THE LIFE OF A CHEF Katie Beatty said even though she knew exactly what she was getting herself into when choosing her career path at The Broadmoor, she was not ready for her life to change in such a drastic way. “I am in love with my life,” she said. “I know no different from a normal person’s normal 9 - 5 schedule, to my 10 a.m. - 1 a.m. schedule — though, at times, it is not always like so. As a Cook 1, I worked for the banquets p.m. team, which meant I catered all the parties. The majority of my role was organization. I checked the carts at the end of the night to make sure everything was right and nothing was missing. My team and I would prep for the following day and cater dinners around The Broadmoor property. It is a lot of fun, but a lot of work.”

Beatty said her successful transition from childhood into adulthood, both personally and professionally, would not have been possible without all the support she received along the way. “My Sacred Heart Elementary School teachers showed me the wonderful ways of the Good Lord and taught me about vocations,” she said. “I truly believe I have found mine. My family supported me through everything — the weird creations of food I would make, my competitions, my move and now my new life. “My high school culinary teacher, Mrs. Zimbelman, shined light on the path I wanted to go into and helped me follow my dreams. My Chef, Brian (Romano), has been with me through it all. All of my classmates will always be close to my heart.” Shari Beatty said seeing her daughter’s growth, both personally and professionally, has been a true blessing. “I think it’s every parents’ dream to watch their child find a passion and be self-motivated to push themselves to reach for their dreams,” she said. “Kati has definitely pushed herself since she found her love of culinary arts. The teachers at FHTC kept her love of learning the art alive and Kati continues to work hard as she passionately reaches for the ultimate title of ‘Executive

Chef ’ in her future. Watching her grow into such a strong, faithful lady with an amazing work ethic has been such a blessing.” “It’s sometimes hard to fathom what Kati was like a few years ago, especially the girl that could not play basketball anymore due to concussions,” Keith Beatty added. “She found new avenues to express herself. When she did practice cutting or even fabricating a chicken, it was fun to watch the intensity. She has made us so proud to see how much she has grown. “Over the years Kati has been very determined, and finding a passion is something most people never find. Some pick careers because of money, some because it’s easy, but they are never really happy. When Kati calls home and complains she only got to work 10 hours on a given day and was hoping for 13, I know she has found her true passion.” REACHING FOR THE STARS No matter what’s written in the stars for Kati Beatty, whether she joins the ranks of famous chefs such as Julia Child, Rachael Ray and Paula Deen, Beatty will always remember her Kansas roots. “You can take the girl out of Kansas, but never Kansas out of the girl,” she said. “I am incredibly blessed with the way I grew up and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s hard as heck being away from home. Kansas is one of those states that people make fun of due to the fact there is nothing to do, but I miss it so much. I miss having my family and friends nearby. I miss going anywhere and knowing someone. I miss the stars 18 | EMPORIA LIVING


— oh my, the stars. I miss my country cruises and my nights hanging out by the bonfire. Kansas will always be my home.” For now, Beatty knows the sacrifices she makes will one day lead to the ultimate success of achieving her life’s goals. “If you know me, it will come as no shock when I walk into a kitchen I assume authority, and most the time it is not denied,” she said. “My job is stressful and hard because of the long days. There are days when I feel dead — like a zombie — but never a day goes by that I don’t leave loving what I do. It may be hard now, but I know in the end, it will all be worth it. “I believe there is a quote that says, ‘The day I lose my passion is the day I quit,’ and I absolutely love that quote because I am not doing this for the money. If you are a cook, you understand. I do this because of the joy it brings people. The Broadmoor makes people happy and we make a change for people. I love what I do and where I’m at because it makes everything worth it. I say I have played this game of life pretty well so far, but I would be nothing without the help of everyone I have met along this incredible journey.” — Written by Mary Ann Redeker.



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As Haylee Weiss begins her senior year this fall, she has a lot on her mind. A three-time state dive champion, she knows exactly what it’s going to take to pull off No. 4. And if anyone can do it, Haylee can!



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ost people may not immediately recognize what a “back one-somersault, two-and-a-half twist” is, but watching Haylee Weiss perform one perfectly off the diving board is unmistakable. With grace, poise and laser focus, it was that back one-somersault, two-and-a-half twist that landed her a third state championship last spring at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka. Seemingly effortless, as if she was born to fearlessly catapult her small frame from 3.2 feet in the air to the pool below, it’s hard to believe Haylee only started diving three years ago as a freshman at Emporia High School. “I had actually never been on a diving board competitively,” she said. “I mean, you go to the pool and you jump off of the diving board a couple times and just have some fun, but I’d never really thought about doing it seriously or competitively.” Once she got started, though, Haylee dove in 100 percent so she could become the best she could be. She’s only been beaten once at a competition, and that was by fellow EHS diver and friend Whitney Sparks, at her very first meet. Though Haylee tends to downplay her achievements, EHS Diving Coach Barb Clark said it’s really a phenomenal feat. “She is the first one for 5A that’s done that,” said Clark, who has been coaching diving at EHS for 30 years. Since starting her diving career, Haylee has broken a number of school records and won meet after meet. But even with all of the accolades that have come along with her diving career, Haylee’s true passion has always been gymnastics.

“I never really have to think about it. You just have to remember to keep your chest up and hit a tight pike position and then open up all the way when you come out. That’s all there is to it.”



THE APPROACH Haylee, the daughter of Robert and Wendy Weiss, first got involved in gymnastics after, of all things, breaking her arm when she was just 4 years old. “Everyone remembers those little ‘Cozy Cars’ that everyone had, riding down the hill and doing stupid stuff,” Haylee laughed, her eyes lighting up as she spoke. “Well, little 4-year-old me decided it would be a great idea to stand on top of one on our concrete patio. Lo and behold, I fell off the car and pinned my arm behind my back and chipped the bone on my elbow.” Surprisingly, it was that accident that set Haylee down a path to gymnastics, she said, thanks in part to a suggestion by the orthopedist who treated her. “The doctor that I had actually said, ‘Hey, you need to put her in gymnastics. She’s built for it.’ So, following his advice, my parents enrolled me in a tumbling-type class at Sherry’s Dance Academy,” she said. Haylee loved it, but as she got a little older, her tumbling class started to fizzle out. When she was 6, her mother enrolled her in a class at Sunflower Gymnastics and introduced her to the trampoline. “I love trampoline because there’s always another challenge to overcome, and there’s always something you have to do to get to the next level,” she said. “In trampoline there’s always a new mountain to climb, and then when you get all those skills, you get to make up your own and then they name them after you. That’s pretty cool.” Haylee’s gymnastics career has taken her all over the United States, from Long Beach, California, to Providence, Rhode Island. And it was during some of her trampoline work that Haylee caught the eye of Clark.

“I started out watching my granddaughter in gymnastics and I saw Haylee and I thought, ‘Gosh, I wonder how old she is?’ I was a middle school teacher and I knew she wasn’t at the middle school,” Clark said. At the time, Haylee was a student at Olpe Junior High School and wasn’t sure if she wanted to switch schools and leave her friends behind. “I asked her if she’d ever thought about going to Emporia, and she said, ‘No.’ I told her, ‘Olpe doesn’t have diving, and you’d be a good diver. Think about it,’” Clark said. Haylee did think about it, and as she thought about it more, she thought maybe a larger school would offer more opportunities both athletically and academically. “I ended up saying I’d come over for freshmen year to just try it and I ended up really loving Emporia,” Haylee said. DIVING IN Clark said when Haylee decided to come to EHS and dive, the first goal she set for herself was to win state. Knowing she’d never dived before, Clark figured they had their work cut out for them, but Haylee’s determination and trampoline gymnastic background helped give her an edge early on. “Having that ability and the awareness in the air will relate over to the diving board,” Clark said. “Most of my divers have been gymnasts, and it just carries over. I was a gymnast, I was a diver. I knew it could happen. But Haylee, she went quick on learning it because she wanted to learn the majority of the dives. That helped, having her eagerness and wanting to learn. It helped.” What gives Haylee an edge is her ability to twist and flip quickly, Clark said. “She’s a good twister. [Her dives] are very clean and quick.” FALL 2018 | 25

During the 2017-2018 season, Haylee was the only female athlete to perform a two-anda-half twist dive. However, Haylee said her favorite dive is the inward dive pike, which she begins by facing the diving board, pushing herself up and almost folding herself in half before she makes a straight line into the water. “I never really have to think about it,” she said. “You just have to remember to keep your chest up and hit a tight pike position and then open up all the way when you come out. That’s all there is to it.” It also helps to be a perfectionist. Friend and teammate, Whitney Sparks, who also placed at state this past year, knows firsthand what it takes to compete at such a high level in diving. “Haylee’s definitely a perfectionist,” Whitney said. “She has a way she wants to do things; so when it doesn’t always go her way, it’s hard. I think that can be a good thing or a bad thing, but she always makes the best of it even when things aren’t the way she’d like them to be.” The two dove together since Haylee came to EHS in 2015 as a freshman until Whitney graduated last May. “We’ve just complimented each other in a way that I helped her get better and she also helped me get better,” Whitney said. Wendy Weiss said her daughter’s natural perfectionism is what helps her succeed and prioritize. Even with all of her meets for both gymnastics and diving, Haylee maintains a high GPA in school and keeps a good 26 | EMPORIA LIVING


relationship with her siblings. “The schoolwork we put a lot of emphasis on,” Wendy said. “If she’s behind on schoolwork, there may be a meet she’s not going to. I have pulled her out of meets before when she was running behind on her schoolwork, so she’s had to learn to prioritize to keep up with all of that.” Haylee said she credits a lot of that skill to her work with her gymnastics coach Josh Wright, whom she started working with when she made the switch to Skywalkers Gymnastics in 2013. “He’s done so much for me,” Haylee said. “He is amazing. It’s been a little bumpy at times, and we haven’t always gotten along, but I think a lot of the higher-level athletes before me were guys and he had to get used to that a little bit.” Wright has become a part of the family, and Haylee said his support has been immeasurable over the last five years. “He’s like a second father for me, for real,” she said. “He’s always there to support me. He’s spent extra hours in the gym with me just to make sure I was ready for a competition. He’s always been with me to support me since I came over. It’s been difficult at times, but I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without him. I’m really grateful for him, and sometimes I think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. And it’s not just gymnastics, you know? It’s ‘How are you doing at school?’ ‘What have you been up to?’ He’s like a parent to me.”

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GOALS As for continuing diving after high school, Haylee’s not sure where the future will take her. Although Coach Clark admits she’d love to see Haylee attend KU where she can easily follow her diving career, Haylee isn’t so sure. “I think my heart is really in trampoline,” she said. “I absolutely love it. I’d love to continue doing that, keep jumping, keep going to competitions. It’s one of my biggest dreams since I was a little kid.” Wendy said she and her husband know their daughter is headed for a bright future, no matter what she does. “I couldn’t be more proud of her,” she said. “I would like to see her to be happy with what she can do and what she can accomplish. She’s done well in dive and I hope she reaches her goals for herself, but I really just want her to see how amazing she really is. Because she really is an amazing individual.” As she heads into her senior year at EHS, Haylee has a pretty good grasp of what her goals are. First, she wants to win again at state. But that’s going to mean more difficult dives. All summer she has been practicing her back one-and-a-half with one-and-a-half twists, a dive that’s worth a lot of points. Second, since she’s already broken the school record, she wants to break the state record. She can do that by earning 377 points at the state meet next spring. Lastly, she just wants to enjoy her senior year. “I’m really excited for senior year,” she said. “Not even just for dive, but for the gymnastics aspect of it. Just being a senior, you get to control a little bit more and you have a little more say. That’s something I’ve been really excited about since I was a freshman. It is bittersweet, though. Even last year walking through the halls I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is it. I’m almost done!’” — Written by Ryann Brooks



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A born and raised city girl, Maryann Peak has now found her place in the Flint Hills doing what she does best: raising her daughter and, along with her husband, nurturing a business and lifestyle brand built on natural, sustainable living. FALL 2018 | 33



Maryann Peak doesn’t have anything to do, she’ll soon find something. As a result, she continues to develop new and diverse skill-sets that she inevitably finds ways to put to practical use. One of the most recent topics that piqued her interest, however, unexpectedly blossomed into a business, “Flint & Lime - Shower Locally,” which specializes in soaps and bath products made by Peak and her husband/business partner, Zeb Peak, in their home a few miles west of Emporia. “We got our name from our love of nature and our location,” Peak says on the company website, www. flintandlime.com. “We live in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas on a large slab of limestone.” Seeds for the enterprise were planted during a winter break from graduate school in 2014. She was finishing a master’s degree in health, physical education and recreation at Emporia State University. “I was bored,” she recalled, saying she turned to the Internet to search for a project to keep her busy when a blog caught her attention. “It was something like, ‘50 things everybody ought to know how to do.’ I already knew some.” Butchering a deer, for example, was on the list; she can do that and has done it for years. This time, Peak chose to learn soap-making. She bought supplies from local stores, built her own soap-making forms and prepared to try her hand at a new kind of recipe. She remembers suiting up in goggles from an old chemistry class, rubber kitchen gloves and a bandana over her face for safety. “I looked like Walter White in our miniscule kitchen,” she said with a laugh. Peak found the project thoroughly enjoyable and dove

in deeper, experimenting with scent combinations and perfecting her recipes. Family and friends received the first few batches. “They went over really well, so we thought maybe we could sell it,” Peak said. Peak tries to keep their products as natural and basic as possible by blending them from ingredients she primarily grows, harvests and processes at home. Pots on the front porch are filled with herbs, like rosemary, basil and lavender, for the soap and bath products business, and the beeswax and honey used in them comes from their own bee hives. She uses essential oils to add color and texture to the products. “Being able to do something from seed to flower, from lye and oil to soap, that whole process is super satisfying to me,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what it is, I like making things from start to finish.” And something within her nature seems to urge her to broaden and extend the finish line. She has expanded the product line from soaps-only into lotions, beard oil and lip balm flavored with popular tastes like chocolate mint and lemonade, according to the website. Flint and Lime offers unscented varieties for sensitive skin, but signature scents, like Lemongrass Spearmint and Lavender Patchouli, remain most popular. She occasionally adds in a “fun” or seasonal scent, like beer or pumpkin spice. “It took a long time to get our basic menu (of products and scents), but we’re happy with it now,” she said. “We’re proud of our ability to keep our products as clean and natural as possible.” Demand for their products remains steady, in large part because of the company’s online presence and word of mouth from satisfied customers. FALL 2018 | 35

Susan Lane, owner of Gufler Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Emporia, already was using good boutique products to make her guests feel pampered, but switched to the Flint & Lime line in 2017 after searching for a natural, locally-produced source. Lane noticed an immediate change. “Guests always left the soaps and lotions in the room,” Lane said. “Now they are packing up Maryann’s lotions and even sometimes the partially used soaps to take home with them.” Maryann also displays her wares at expos and markets, if she can spare time from the farm and her job selling crop insurance at Frontier Farm Credit. Zeb Peak works as an electrical lineman by day and on the farm and in the business by night, unless storms — both locally and nationally — interrupt the flow. As time allows and topics present themselves, Maryann also blogs on the Flint & Lime website on subjects ranging from “You Stink, But We Can Fix That” to “How To: Turn Your Baby Into a Barnyard Animal,” a humorous but helpful, illustrated step-by-step look at making a simple chicken costume for Halloween. The Peaks’ daughter, Nora Larkin Peak,



a blue-eyed charmer who turned 1 year old in June, was a welcome addition to their responsibilities and the model for the blog’s finished-costume photo. It’s not surprising that Nora accompanies her parents on their farm rounds, whether she’s riding in a dual-wheeled red wagon pulled by her dad and loaded behind her with a couple sacks of pig feed or in the large, fenced-in garden half-filled with flowers and half with vegetables that Maryann Peak will can later to stock the pantry for winter. She copiously tracks seed sources, planting times, results, and more in a notebook that she will use to guide her in future plantings. Some of the flowers, grown primarily from seeds and transplants from Maryann’s own plants, are used by her mother, who worked as a florist for years and now has her own business, Clover and Honey Floral, in addition to being marketing supervisor at the Emporia Recreation Center. “I definitely ... got the entrepreneurial spirit from her,” Maryann said. “She’s got a knack for marketing.” Jennifer Bennett talks with pride about

“I looked like Walter White in our miniscule kitchen.”

her daughter’s accomplishments, and in the fact that Peak is growing and making things that are healthy and sustainable that benefit her family and the environment. “I love Maryann’s vision for Flint and Lime,” Bennett said. “She has always been a farm girl at heart and she isn’t afraid of hard work. She is growing flowers now that I will be able to use for Clover and Honey. She does all the work, and I get to pick out what she plants.” Bennett knows her daughter’s heart well. Reared a few miles outside Emporia on a suburban property on Road F5 with parents Jennifer and the late Dr. Brenton Bennett, Maryann Peak developed a natural connection with the outdoors. “I learned a passion for it,” Maryann said. The Bennetts also owned a farm and pastureland south of town, where they often spent time hunting, hiking, looking for deer antlers after the animals had shed them and generally enjoying all that nature had to offer. She joined 4-H, with pigs, sheep and goats among her projects, as well as crafts, baking and canning. At Emporia High School, she was a top player on the Lady Spartans golf team. “I definitely wasn’t girly,” Peak said. “I was a blue jeanwearing, dirt-kicking kind of kid.” She connected early with a kindred spirit, Zeb Peak, when she was 14. Zeb was the youngest of several generations of Peaks steeped in ranching and farming. Zeb, however, grew up in the city, on a small acreage along 24th Avenue that had been grandfathered into the city limits and which usually had

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a handful or two calves grazing not far from the house. For her 15th birthday, Zeb wanted to give her a bucket calf. The motherless calf would need to be fed from a bucket or bottle with a nipple attached until it could be weaned. Zeb wisely asked her father first for permission. “My dad told him he could if he’d build the fence,” Maryann said. So, Zeb did. Almost 15 years later, Zeb’s can-do attitude still inspires her, no matter what challenge she decides to take on. “I think it’s only fun because Zeb’s always willing to do it with me,” she said. “Zeb is the most supportive human ever. He supports whatever I want to try.” That likely is because Zeb Peak has an abiding faith in his wife’s wide-ranging talents and abilities. As a graduate student in recreation, Maryann Peak had accepted both a practicum and, later, a full internship with High Gear Cyclery in downtown Emporia. She found herself learning how to repair bicycles. “I really don’t have a mechanical bone in my body,” she claimed. But she attended classes and became a Master Certified Trek Mechanic in bicycle wheel-building. “She’s good at a lot of things,” Zeb said, with obvious pride. And Zeb is an active member in all aspects of the team effort it takes to juggle family, farm and business interests successfully, whether the tasks involve animals, plants or slicing Maryann’s long bars of soap into uniform 6-ounce bars, packaging and labeling them. She has given him free rein over a new product he finds especially unique, a lotion bar that needs only to be stroked across dry skin rather than rubbed in to be absorbed. The ease and speed of application could be appealing to men and women alike, and Zeb is pleased to take ownership of the product. 38 | EMPORIA LIVING


As busy as the pair already is, both continue to plan for the future and to diversify their operation. “Everything now is kind of, ‘what I want to do fall and spring,’” Maryann said. Zeb Peak planted brome last year, with the intention of adding cattle to the mix, if weather conditions allow it to develop well. Maryann wants to enlarge the garden and add a berry patch, too. “It’s funny when you move to new dirt, to see what it will do,” she said, explaining they will have the soil analyzed to see if adjustments need to be made for optimum growing outcomes. “Hopefully, it’ll not need much more than chicken poop, because we’ve got a lot of that,” she added with a wry smile. Goats also may be added to the mix to provide milk for the Flint & Lime products. The couple already has two pigs, Frank and Bean, edging nearer to a date with the butcher; they raise freerange chickens and guineas and sell the meat and eggs on a small scale, for the moment. “We just butchered 35 chickens,” she said, explaining that chickens stop laying eggs at the age of 3 or 4. “Then most people turn them into soup.” The extreme heat in late spring and early summer already has claimed the lives of several of the chickens in a flock that the couple intended to grow larger in number rather than shrink through a force they could not control. But the Peaks will be able to remedy that small setback. “Zeb asked me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day,” Maryann said, recalling a conversation earlier this year, “and I said, ‘You know, I think I want a chicken incubator.’” — Written by Melissa Lowery & Bobbi Mlynar

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Maryann: A Screenshot Favorite photo filter app (if you have one) and why: Does Instagram count? That is the only place I put filters on photos! Home screen image and why: Zeb and Nora, because they are my two favorite people. And they are both just so dang cute! Favorite Game: I don't think I have a single game on my phone, but I pride myself on how many points I can rack up on the Domino's Pizza app! Favorite social media app: Instagram, people seem to vent their political and social opinions less on Instagram. All I want to see are puppies and babies... PUPPIES AND BABIES! Most obscure app on your phone and what's it for: SkyGuide, it is an app that you can point to the sky anywhere in the world and it will tell you what constellations you are looking at. My dad always made a point to teach us the constellations, and I want to be able to share that with my kids! Orion is my favorite! App most likely to be viewed when waiting on or for something/someone: Instagram or Snapchat Favorite podcast: I want to tell you it's something like Dave Ramsey or the TED Talks podcast, but the truth is, it's Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe... and I have no shame about it! Favorite shopping app: Amazon Favorite emoji: I am not sure I have a favorite, but my most used emoji is the eye roll one. Not sure what that says about me! Craziest place you've ever lost or left your phone: Most recently, we took the top and doors off our Jeep, and I lost my phone out of it in a pasture. I found out just how accurate Find My iPhone is, it put the Jeep right on top of it... literally... I ran over my phone... (insert eye roll emoji) App checked first in the morning: The Weather Channel app typically! App checked last before bed: Social media of some kind, emails and usually the weather again. 40 | EMPORIA LIVING


An app you should use more, but don’t: Probably Etrade or Edward Jones. I should do a better job keeping up with my investments. Name of your favorite playlist: Vanilla Ice Radio on Pandora (and I am dying a little inside admitting this to the world). Top 3 people you text: My husband, the Bennett Family Group text, and my best friend. Cities listed in weather app: Just Emporia. Most essential app: Probably FaceTime, it lets me keep in touch with Zeb when he has to work on storms far away, it allows my sibling and family who don't live near the chance to keep up with Nora, and most importantly, it lets my sister tell me if my outfit choice is a horrible decision or not! Number of unread emails: One



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Some of the most influential people are those who are rarely seen. They are behind the scenes or in the shadows of the great things that are happening.

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Sally Sanchez is one such person. For nearly 40 years, she’s been a small but mighty force in Emporia — inspiring, shaping and encouraging a community of people about whom she is passionate.


t all started in 1975 when Sally moved from Texas to Emporia with her husband, Juan, with plans to stay no more than a handful of years. More than four decades later, the two are still here, and Sally’s influence is everywhere. Emporia revealed itself as a great place to raise a family, Sanchez said. “Every city, every town, has its problems,” she said. “But they’re not major like other cities. The people are very friendly. That's one thing my parents loved when they lived here. It's really just a great community.” Sanchez's contributions as a volunteer are aimed at maintaining that perception and building on it. After accepting a secretarial position at Emporia High School in 1980, Sanchez found herself being drawn into more and more roles at the school and beyond. There always had been a substantial local Hispanic population in Emporia, but Sanchez saw numbers begin to grow as an influx of new Hispanics came into the community and brought with them an accompanying change in needs. “It just escalated as years went on, and then it went to fullblown in the late 80s, early 90s,” she said. “I saw people needing interpreters and what-not.” She began using her skills as an interpreter with growing frequency, and soon suggested translating school forms and notifications into Spanish so parents could read essential information that affected their children and themselves. She also interpreted as needed at parent-teacher conferences and other meetings. Former EHS co-worker and teacher Nancy Gilpin described Sanchez as the “go-to” person who knew whom to talk with

or where to find information for anyone in the building who needed help. “The whole school worked with Sally, and she worked with the whole school,” Gilpin said. “She was the point person. She really went above and beyond to be effective and impacted so many lives, both students and staff.” For Sanchez, the rewards came in watching the growing participation of Hispanics — more bilingual staff at school, in medicine, law enforcement and the legal profession, and in entrepreneurship. “Also, too, what gives me such pleasure to say is seeing the number of Hispanics graduating high school and pursuing higher education,” Sanchez said. Sanchez — a dancer herself growing up in Texas — again broadened her responsibilities and coached the EHS dance team for the last 17 years of her 30-year career at the school. She continues teaching dance with the Raices Hispanas Grupo Folklórico, which has grown to 18 dancers and performs at local events and across the state. “Working with the kids here and watching them carry on these traditional dances is really an amazing opportunity,” Sanchez said.”... We want to keep this Hispanic heritage alive. We don't want it to fade away.” Segueing into a leadership role outside the high school was a natural progression for Sanchez, a petite woman with ready smile and seemingly boundless energy. She became involved in Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow in 1999, helping organize events like the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, raising money for the HOTT Scholarship Fund and serving as Cinco de Mayo's Queen/Princesita Candidates

“Working with the kids here and watching them carry on these traditional dances is really an amazing opportunity. We want to keep this Hispanic heritage alive. We don't want it to fade away.” 46 | EMPORIA LIVING


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Coordinator. The celebration has since outgrown its earlier home at Las Casitas Park and has blossomed into a block party for the at-large community in downtown Emporia. Sanchez also serves a broader spectrum of the community. She completed eight years on the Emporia Community Foundation Board of Trustees, is on the boards of directors for the Emporia Senior Center and Cradle to Career Literacy Center, and serves at Abundant Harvest. She is a member of the Emporia State University Latino Legacy Scholarship Committee and the ESU Hispanic Heritage Celebration, which showcases Hispanic culture on campus. Education has been and remains a priority for Sanchez, who harbors a special passion for literacy among children and English Language Learners. An auxiliary benefit resulting from her commitment to education is that she gets to learn, too. “I learn something every day, whether it's a new word or something else,” she said. “I'm not just here to help you out. I'm also learning. I instilled that in both my kids: ‘No matter what it is; it could be something real minute, but you learn something new every single day.’” She volunteers as a bilingual story time leader, teaches adult English Language Learners at local businesses and works with Mobilizing Literacy for Lyon County Families. A Mobilizing Literacy team visits with three families every day, with Sanchez assigned to help on Tuesdays. Working in tandem, one team member reads a story to the pre-kindergarten children in English and Sanchez reads it in Spanish. They also provide snacks and bring along activities for the families to do. Occasionally, special activities are planned to bring all of the families together, such as a zoo-themed undertaking last fall at the David Traylor Zoo. The turnout was much larger than anticipated, with book-readings, music and movement, physical activities and lunch included in the educational event. “I initially approached it as a volunteer opportunity, but it turned out to be a paying job,” she said with a wry chuckle. “So I work part-time and combine my passion for improving literacy with my commitment to our community.” Sanchez also volunteers in a relatively new group, the Spanish Speakers Club, organized by LeLan Dains, which meets each Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Salsa St. Mexican Grill, 1120 Commercial St.



“I was just elated,” Sanchez said, describing her reaction when she heard about the club. “Oh, my gosh! Here's a group of people who want to learn to speak Spanish!” The get-togethers are open to the public — both Spanishspeaking and those who want to learn to speak Spanish — in a less-structured atmosphere than traditional language classes. Dains sometimes brings activities or lessons, with an emphasis on celebrating Spanish and Latin American culture and absorbing the language. Sanchez, Patricia Reyes and other HOTT members also joined forces with well-known outdoorsman and Fishing's Future leader Phil Taunton to offer Hispanic families a new experience at Camp Alexander in April of this year. She targeted children who had never gone fishing and brought them and their families to camp for a day of fishing, with HOTT furnishing the meals for participants. “Oh my goodness, that was a wonderful event,” Sanchez said. “It was very well loved by everyone involved. Camp Alexander, they didn't even know it existed.” Awareness of resources and attractions, though, would be helpful to people unfamiliar with the community. That need could be filled as part of the growth she envisions for HOTT into a permanent physical location. It would not need to be large, she says, just an office that could serve as an information hub. “Something our community needs is El Centro, or a center, where we can have information and resources all in one place,” she said. “People, both newly arrived and long-time residents, reach out to HOTT and ask for information or help finding resources all the time.” Former EHS co-worker and gifted education teacher Marcia Law praised Sanchez as “undeniably a driving force” behind HOTT, as well as a highly regarded mentor, life coach, community leader and spokesperson. “What I find so admirable about Sally is she has encouraged and inspired hundreds of kids to represent this community through Hispanics for Today and Tomorrow,” Law said. “Any time of the day, you could find a student at her desk. Whether it was a question about scholarships, a job or a

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family concern, students knew Sally was always there to give advice or help with any situation.” Sanchez encourages students and adults to volunteer, to advocate for something they believe in and to get involved in the community. “That way we can have a voice,” she explained. “You can make a difference by you taking part in it. “If you're bilingual, volunteer to interpret at schools. Reach out to the assisted living or nursing facilities. They need interpreters, people to visit with residents, people to read. Ask others if they know about opportunities or needs, and follow up.” The advice proved to be sound for Yuliana Viveros, 20, who in 2011, as a young teenager, began performing under Sanchez's tutelage with the Folklórico dancers. Viveros earned a HOTT scholarship on graduation from EHS and now attends Emporia State University, where she is junior student majoring in psychology with a minor in Spanish and working two part-time jobs. The HOTT scholarship helped buy books for her first year of study and eased the way into higher education. This year, Viveros was crowned 2018 Queen of Cinco de Mayo. Because candidates are expected to raise money for HOTT scholarships, the competition gave Viveros an opportunity to sustain and grow the fund so other students could benefit as she has. Viveros chose to make several varieties of cheesecake, 50 | EMPORIA LIVING


including strawberry, Oreo and one made with a Nutella-based filling and topped with individual Ferrero Rocher candies — a hazelnut wrapped in a thin hazelnut creme encased in chocolate and chopped walnuts — that proved especially popular with her customers in the community. She also sold pupusas that a friend from El Salvador assisted in making. Sanchez's mentoring, though, helped provide the motivation she needed to compete, and she found she enjoyed the experience. “Sally really encourages the Hispanic community to get out there and be involved and be really a part of the Emporia community,” Viveros said. “I liked that — a sense of being part of the community.” Viveros' comment reflects the growth and ripening of the seeds Sanchez has planted and continued to nurture for years. It would be challenging to find a better role model — for Hispanics and the general public — than Sally Sanchez. She has dedicated herself to identifying needs in the community and finding a way to fulfill them through pairing advocacy with action. It's something she plans to continue. She isn't ready yet to carve out time for a more traditional “retirement.” “Quite honestly, volunteering is keeping me busy, and I'm thoroughly OK with that. I really am,” she said. “It is self-satisfying to me. I guess that's my hobby — volunteering.” — Written by Melissa Lowery & Bobbi Mlynar



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is often said that, “Home is Where the Heart is.” It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be fancy and it certainly doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. “Home” is the place where our hearts are made full and where they find rest from the daily grind. This year’s Home Sweet Home feature is just that kind of place. In fact, this “Home Sweet Home” is only 14 feet long, 84 square feet of living space and isn’t much more than an aluminum can on wheels. It’s a 14-foot, 1968 Cameo, aka “Granny Gone,” and it’s become even more than Marci Lindsey’s weekend retreat from the glitz and glamour of selling diamonds and gowns to brides-to-be. It is the place that makes this 47-year-old dreamer’s heart soar!

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Sallie Magazine talks with Marci about how Granny Gone came to be and what it means to her to have this special place to call her own. SM: How did you get interested in vintage campers? ML: I started looking for a camper about three years ago. I’ve always wanted to hit the road but never took the jump. After watching several close friends lose their life too young before they could pursue their dreams, I started thinking about it a little more. After a trip to Colorado and a long talk with my friend, Chris Seets, I knew I should just go for it. She had started her pursuit of having a tree farm and encouraged me to start my dream of hitting the road. SM: Where did you find yours? ML: I purchased it last September in Emporia for $900...which was a steal! 56 | EMPORIA LIVING


“I wanted to make her scream vintage hippie boho junkie (like myself).”

SM: We understand you've named her. Tell me about that: ML: The name of my Glamper is “Granny Gone.” The name came about when this grandma wanted to hit the road and be gone! I especially love spending the weekends at my good friend’s tree farm in Abilene and hitting camper shows in the area. I love the freedom my little camper offers me! SM: How did you know this was “the one” when you saw her? ML: I am a bit of a worry wart and very frugal, so at first I wasn’t sure whether I was going to jump the gun, but my friends encouraged me and I couldn’t pass on the price! The rest is history. SM: What kind of shape was she in? ML: She was in pretty rough shape. The outside had been primed, but that was it. The inside was almost original with several wall areas covered after water leaks throughout the years. It was kinda dirty, drab and boring (not my style). That worked in my favor, though! It gave me the chance to make it my own. SM: What was your vision for the renovation? ML: I wanted to make her scream vintage hippie boho junkie (like myself). I’m not going to lie, it was a little overwhelming at first. SM: Tell us more about the renovation: ML: Kari Stookey, a good friend and fabulous decorator, came over immediately and we found a color scheme and started painting. I worked on the inside all winter when it wasn’t too freezing. I covered walls with metal-looking tiles, primed and painted all the walls and cabinets, bleached EVERYTHING, painted the countertop. Tip: never use countertop paint in a 58 | EMPORIA LIVING


small area without the windows open). Rosa Castillo (our seamstress at Kari’s) made my curtains out of tea towels and my friend Cindy Harwood helped me make and cover the cushions. A new set of tires and I was almost done. I couldn’t start painting the outside before waiting until I had several days rain free (which took forever). I started with another sanding, another coat of primer and then painting. With all the rain, it took almost a month to finish. I finished her at the end of April, just a day before my first vintage camper show in Abilene on April 29. Then I started filling it with all my vintage treasures I’ve been given and found along the way. Both of my kids, Chelsea and Jessica, have found such fun things to decorate and are always giving me little ideas. SM: What's your favorite part of the renovation? ML: Painting the outside was my favorite part. I did that all myself and it was nice to see the finished product knowing I did it all myself.



SM: What do you love most about “glamping?” ML: What I love most about glamping, so far, is seeing everyone’s reaction when they see an ol’ camper that has been rehabbed pull up! I also think I enjoy how it connects me to my childhood. I was born in 1970 and it was just nicer then. Walking into my camper is like walking back into that time of my life. SM: What do you do when you go “glamping?” ML: Glamping is all about relaxing and enjoying the quiet. I just sit back, listen to music and think about my years ahead hitting the road and seeing the beauty of campsites, roads, parks and visiting little towns with little diners and great pie! And even though she’s called “Granny Gone,” I am looking forward to taking my grandkids, Desirae and Myles, on some camping trips and returning them super spoiled. SM: Where do you like to take her? ML: I belong to a group called Sisters on the Fly. A group of all women like myself who get together fishing, camping, kayaking and crafting. It is a nationwide group of women. Typically, the only rules are: no kids, no men and no BS. SM: Tell me about your relationship with the tree farm? What exactly do you do up there? ML: My camper right now is hanging out in Abilene because that’s where I spend a lot of time. I stay at my friend Chris’s property, which is also a tree farm. Chris loves Christmas as much as I do. So when she decided to open her lodge, I was so excited to help her with opening her business. SM: What do you plan to use Granny Gone for in the future? ML: I have a 7 - 10 year plan. In that time, I want to be fulltime on the road, working at National Parks and campsites along the way. 62 | EMPORIA LIVING




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The Emporia Gazette was the site of a friendly competition of delicious proportions recently. Five Emporia men — Lucas Moody, Brian Jones, Chris Rech, Kim Simons and Jerid Thomas — went toe-to-toe to find out who makes the best cookie in the first Sallie's Baker Boys Bake-Off. The competition featured the best home-baked cookie recipes of each, all of whom are known for their cookiebaking skills. The cookies were tasted by a panel of judges to determine a winner. And the winner was not only named “Sallie’s Best Baker Boy” but he received the distinction of being Sallie’s “Hey Mister” this year!


eet Lucas Moody. Most people know him as the director of the SOS Child Advocacy Center, Dad to Collin Moody or as a newlywed to Amy Moody. But those who know him well, also know he’s got some serious skills in the kitchen. And he loves to use them. For the Baker Boys Bake-Off, Lucas wooed the judges with a platter full of oatmeal, white chocolate chip and cranberry cookies with a side of dulce de leche milk bites and beat out four other men to win the contest. Moody credits the women in his life for his culinary skill. “I've got a pretty extensive cooking history,” Moody said. “My grandma was a fantastic cook — a cinnamon roll champion — and made amazing bread and cinnamon rolls. And then, my mom bought a coffee shop and had a little bakery and sandwich place.” Moody grew up cooking. “We used to go to wheat fields with (his grandmother) in the summertime and she

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"You're going to make mistakes, and baking ingredients aren't super expensive, so just get in there and give it some effort and enjoy the time, because the kitchen is a really cool place to be.�



would pick out harvests of wheat,” he said. “She would buy fields at a time and put them in freezers in big 50- to 60-pound bags. Then we would grind her flour. She was a pretty neat lady.” This was in rural Coffeyville. His mother's shop, named for his greatgrandmother, is in Independence and still open, though no longer in the family: Ane Mae's Coffee Shop and Sandwich Shop. Moody likes to bake, but he's not adverse to other things. “Baking? I have never felt like I have perfected it the way of some of the other things I like to cook,” he said. “But baking was tradition with my family. It's what we did, from grinding your flour to making cinnamon rolls. It's always been one of those things that I wish I was better at. I feel like I'm good at it, but when you grew up around people who you feel like were the masters of it, you always go back to the memory and say, 'It's not my grandma's cinnamon roll' or, 'it's not my mom's cinnamon roll or her cookie or her bread.'” Moody feels they had “the touch.” “I'm a recipe guy, and they were both

very much 'feel," he said. “They didn't use machines, and they could touch the dough and say it needs more of this or it needs less of that or it needs to rise more, where I look at a timer and see how it goes. They were very 'by the heart' with it.” He still pursues baking mastery. “Even now, when my mom comes up, I've always got some baking project that I want her to do with me,” Moody said. “Because I'm trying to get away from being just 'the recipe guy,' and getting more into what does it smell like when the yeast blooms? How do you know when it’s ready compared to when it’s not ready? How do you know when you've over-done it? “I would say baking is one of my favorite things, but it's probably not one of the things I'm the best at. It's one of my favorite things to do because there's just such a heartfelt memory there.” Moody isn't picky about tools or ingredients, except for butter. “I don't use margarine,” he said “I use butter, and I try to buy unsalted butter for the most part, just because I think it's a little bit better quality. No gizmos or

gadgets, though; I've got some old baking pans that my grandparents have passed down.” Moody's cookie had a side — a secret weapon. “You know, one of the things I like about the cookie is dunking it in milk,” he said. “It's good in milk, it's buttery, it's sweet and a glass of cold milk tones it down. But I didn't want to just do milk.” So Moody started brainstorming. “I used to drink caramel milk as a kid,” he said. “So I wondered — how could I make edible milk bites? Something that, you could eat a cookie and then kind of palate-cleanse with the milk bite." Moody ended up with a special mixture of high-quality milk, dulce de leche cream and gelatin to make milk bites in the shape of a small, golden flower. “I wanted this to be kind of soft, but still firm enough you could pick it up with your hand. I poured it all into molds, and kept it as cold as I could so the judges would get the idea they were having a cookie with a glass of caramel milk, without actually bringing caramel milk in glasses.”

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It was impressive, and the combination put Moody at the top of the list. What advice does Moody have for potential Sallie Baker Boys? “Just do it,” he said “One of the things we do in my house, that makes cooking in general special, is that we do it together. “My brother probably gave me the best advice when I got married to Amy, and that was — a lot of people look at a relationship as 50-50, because 'somebody's got to do it,' and he said no, it's really 100-100. “So, we don't have somebody that's designated to cook in the kitchen, or mow the yard or put gas in the car, because the reality of it is, it's 100-100. We make that time for us, we get to spend that time together, we do it together, we enjoy doing it together. It's 'TV off, stereo on,' my kid's in there and we're goofing off and trying things. “So, the biggest thing I can tell people is get in there and try,” Moody smiled. “You're going to make mistakes, and baking ingredients aren't super expensive, so just get in there and give it some effort and enjoy the time, because the kitchen is a really cool place to be.” Meet Lucas’ wife, Amy, on page 77. She weighs in on the topic of “food” In Her Own Words.” — Written by Regina Murphy



Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups flour 2 cups quick oats (not instant) 2 cups crisped rice cereal 2 cups white chocolate chips 2 cups dried cranberries Cream the butter and sugars in a very large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and stir well. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Press a spoonful of batter into your hand and flatten slightly. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. The cookies will not brown, and will look quite pale when done.

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In case you haven’t noticed, Sallie has a few tasty stories

for our foodie readers this year. Whether it’s found in the precision and art of a world-famous culinary team or in the hands of a dad whose “workshop” is his kitchen, for most of us food is a lovelanguage all its own. It’s just part of our lives and something we have a relationship with…..like it or not! In this year’s “In Her Own Words,” readers weigh in on the topic of “Food,” what it means to them and how it enriches their lives and those around them.

Nancy Thomas, 72,

has called Emporia home for 56 years. She and her late husband, Jerry, own and operate Thomas Transfer and Storage. She has three grown children, Tara, Trudy and Jerid. Her favorite food is fresh garden tomatoes and in her free time she enjoys playing golf and spending time with friends and family. I have to ask myself, “How have I been influenced by food and the love of preparing it?” Let’s talk Farm to Table. It is amusing at times when restaurants talk “Farm to Table.” Growing up in a rural Kansas farming community, farm to table was a daily occurrence. As a child I loved the satisfaction on the faces of those enjoying the food being served and prepared by my mother as well as grandmothers and aunts such as a fresh fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with buttered corn on the cob, homemade bread and butter, and for dessert, apple pie with homemade vanilla ice cream. Whether from the back of a tailgate in a field of wheat being cut, Sunday dinners with family, or a dinner prepared with friends, there was always the element of homemade and deliciousness. Coming from a farming community and farm to table cooks, I had good cooks as mentors. And with fresh produce from gardens in the summer and, excess canned for the winter months, butchered beef, pork, and fresh milk for making butter and cottage cheese, I grew up knowing what good food really tastes like. Then add the joy of keeping an ear open for the next fabulous recipe, cookbook to savor, or dinner to plan, food is, and always has been, the perfect way to say, “I Love You,” and the center of where memories are made.



Rebecca Romano, 43,

is a certified transformational wellness coach and functional medicine practitioner. She’s married to Chef Brian Romano, culinary and hospitality instructor at Flint Hills Technical College. Rebecca moved to Emporia four years ago from Springfield, Missouri. Her favorite food is scrambled eggs with fresh rosemary and scallions. She’s an avid reader, scrapbooker, photographer, DIY crafter, road-tripper and anything that involves the outdoors! Ah food, how I love thee! I enjoy growing you in my garden, planning a menu and shopping for you weekly, and preparing and cooking you daily. You are one of the many things that enrich my days! For many, food is an afterthought, a necessity to fill a hungry belly. For me, it’s a central component of my life, always inviting me to experience it in all its wonder — from nourishing my body and keeping me healthy, to its creative capacity in making works of gourmet art, to connecting me to the land and the wonder of the cycle of life and growth, to the vastness of its abundant flavors and textures awakening the senses of sight, taste and smell. It just does not disappoint. But, most importantly, it nourishes the soul, as it can do the extraordinary and bring together family, friends and community. It can turn us from our saturated, busy lives to our closest neighbors. A joining through communion that lets each of us know we are loved and matter. And for me, this is one of the reasons why I place it so highly in my life. It’s a connector that gives LIFE in every form.

Amy Moody, 41,

is an accountant at the Emporia Recreation Center, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed food-geek. She’s newly married to Lucas Moody, where the theme of the wedding was food, of course. She has two stepchildren, Collin and Hilary, who are on their way to becoming foodies themselves. Amy’s favorite foods are cheese and croissants. In her free time, she’s in the kitchen experimenting with new ingredients and recipes with Lucas. Their most recent “new” ingredient: Naan bread. Food has become a very powerful thing in my world, and I tend to think of it in two very different ways. There’s the nourishing side to food that includes cooking to feed my family, many trips to the store, supporting local farmers when I can and even a little gardening. The kitchen has become one of my favorite places to be because food challenges and excites me. I’m that person that posts my meals on Instagram. Then there’s the passionate side of food. My husband and I travel whenever we can and on a trip we’ll visit notable restaurants, try the local favorites, occasionally stalk our favorite chefs, but almost always end up checking out their grocery store. I love the community aspect of food: supper club, brunches, and forcing new recipes and ingredients on non-adventurous souls in the hopes of converting them to “foodies.” I absolutely love those moments that just wouldn’t be as special if there wasn’t that certain item to mark the occasion. Sometimes it’s a risotto that reminds me of when we were dating, a bowl cake that feels like a total treat or a bran muffin that can only mean it’s Thanksgiving. We use food to celebrate and enjoy life a little bit.

Jenny Losada Ramos, 35

She is primarily a stay-at-home mom, but also works as a registered nurse at Newman Regional Health and at the family business, Casa Ramos, on the weekends. She has five children, four boys and one girl (this is counting her first-born baby boy, who is in Heaven). Jenny was born In Medellin, Colombia, and moved to Seattle, Washington, when she was 12 years old. She and her husband, Carlos, have lived in Emporia for 12 years. Her favorite food is Colombian food, then Mexican, then Italian! In her “free” time she likes to hang out with her children and practice yoga. Food means different things to different people. To some, it is a habit or an addiction. To others it is a pleasure or a luxury, and to many it is just a basic need to live and survive. To me, food is what my life revolves around and literally the tool that is used in my household to make a living and provide for my children. Unlike when I grew up in Colombia, here there is an abundance of food everyday and always. Thank God for that blessing! When I was little, food was the reason to get up and work. Food for the day was an unknown. We knew eventually we would eat and somehow we would be provided for, but we didn't know what or how much or even when. Some days were better than others. Even though we never went hungry, food was a big concern growing up. In my world today, food is not a concern. I no longer have to worry about when or how I am going to feed my family. Also, thank the Lord for that blessing! Just for comparison, with one meal for one person here, I could have fed my entire family in Colombia. I am forever grateful for the fact that we can take food for granted and that now, instead of having to worry about feeding my family, I am blessed to be able to feed the families of others.

Jodi Heermann, 60,

started her own home-based business, Eclectic Expressions by Jodi, LLC after 13 years in fundraising. She creates felted wool bowls and vases, hand-knitted cowls and hats and more! She’s married to Kent Heermann and has two grown children, Jennifer and Andrew. Jodi has lived in Emporia for 25 years. Her favorite foods are pizza and pasta and in her free time she enjoys being with family, gardening, reading, yoga and working with her L.E.A.P. group. When asked to weigh in on the topic of food, several things came to mind. Food is nourishment and nurturing. It is good for the body and soul, a form of communication and a way of sharing with others. Families have traditions where food is the main attraction. Special holidays bring on all the favorite dishes handed down from generation to generation. Birthdays are celebrated with the favorite cake of the honoree. Food can be a form of communication. We welcome new neighbors and show compassion and sympathy with food. New cultures are experienced with food. We’ve learned that making healthier food choices helps ward off disease. The Food Network has made us much more aware of food as a culinary experience. Watching chefs prepare and serve beautifully plated food is so civilized and thoughtful. The time and expertise that goes into the presentation is inspiring. It is a positive form of expression. Food is also something many persons in our community do without. How can that be? Fortunately, local businesses, organizations and churches collect food year round hoping to ease the problem and support those in need. We all want to be nourished and nurtured. Food makes us feel good; so sit back, enjoy the food and share with others!

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Sallie Magazine had heard there were a lot of guys out there who love baking and cooking as much, if not more, than their significant others. In an effort to bring them “out of the kitchen,” Sallie hosted the first “Baker Boys Bake-Off.” 82 | EMPORIA LIVING



he men prepared their cookies at home and met down in the former Emporia Gazette pressroom for the official taste test. It was especially fun to see these professors and businessmen get pretty dang serious about their recipes. It was a friendly competition, but there could only be one winner. In this year’s Sallie’s Kitchen, our readers not only get a peek at the Bake-Off, but also the recipe each Baker Boy submitted. Feel free to try them at home, however there’s just no substitute for one handcrafted by one of the boys themselves! Lucas Moody is the 2018 Sallie's Baker Boys Champion, but he was given a strong run for the title by Sallie's other four Baker Boys: Brian Jones, Chris Rech, Kim Simons and Jerid Thomas. Most of them have been spending time in the kitchen since they were children, watching cooks on television and family in the kitchen. Three expert judges — Haley Brinkman, Barbara Say and Haley Lawton — had a tough job trying to pick one cookie to rise above the rest. They judged on appearance, taste and texture. In the end, only one point separated each man. Here are the recipes for men and women of all experiences to try at home. Let's get cooking!

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Jerid Thomas

President, Thomas Transfer & Storage

German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies 2 cups flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 4 ounces German chocolate, grated 1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut 1 cup pecans, chopped Filling: 14 ounces sweetened, condensed milk 2 egg yolks 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/3 cup sweetened, flaked coconut 1 cup pecans, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut and pecans. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Once the dough is chilled, line four cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place onto parchment. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake cookies 10 – 12 minutes or until edges are firm. While the cookies are baking, make the filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, yolks and butter. Whisk often so mixture doesn't burn. Heat until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Let cool completely. Assemble cookies by spreading filling over the bottom of one cookie and then covering it with a second cookie to make a sandwich. 84 | EMPORIA LIVING


Chris Rech

Area Manager, A.M. Cohron and Son, Inc.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Adapted from Jacques Torres) 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons flour 1 2/3 cup bread flour 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips Sea salt, coarse grind

In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugars until very light, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. With stand mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate pieces without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate 24 – 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated up to 72 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Set aside. Scoop six 3 1/2-ounce mounds of batter onto baking sheet (About the size of a golf ball). Rearrange any chocolate chips so they point into the dough for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown, but still soft, 18 – 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes, then slip cookies to another rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough until desired number of cookies are completed.

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Brian Jones

Storeroom Coordinator at Newman Regional Health

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies Cookie: 5 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup sour cream, room temperature 1 cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Frosting: 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract 5 cups powdered sugar 3 Tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a second large bowl, cream together the sour cream and butter at a low speed. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Gradually add the flour to the creamed mixture, mixing well until combined. The dough will be sticky. Divide dough into two balls and flatten each into a disc. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 – 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Generously flour a work surface to prevent dough from sticking. Also rub flour onto the rolling pin. Place one unwrapped disc of dough onto the work surface and sprinkle the top with more flour. Roll dough from the center outward until the disc is 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with additional flour to prevent sticking if needed. Dip a cookie cutter in flour and cut out cookie shapes. Use a spatula to transfer to baking sheet. Bake cookies 8 – 10 minutes or until they are baked through but not brown on the bottom. Do not over bake. Transfer hot cookies to a baking rack to cool completely. Make the frosting by mixing together the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla on a low speed until thoroughly combined. Add food coloring, if desired. Frost each cookie and store in an airtight container, using waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking.



Kim Simons

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Emporia State University

Samoas (adapted from www.halfbakedharvest.com/mexican-samoas-cookies) Cookie: 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 1/3 cup granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon baking powder Topping: 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut 1 (14 ounce) can dulce de leche 3 Tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 8 - 12 ounces dark chocolate, melted The dulce de leche needs to be prepared several hours in advance. See the recipe at [Below right]. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, 1/3 cup sugar, milk and the vanilla in a medium size mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until combined. Flour a clean work surface and dump the dough out onto it. Roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Using a 2-inch circle cookie cutter, cut as many cookies out as possible. Then, using a smaller 1/2-inch to 1-inch circle cookie cutter, cut the centers out of each cookies to make a doughnut shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, re-rolling it to create as many cookies as you can. Place the trays of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake the cookies for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Place on a cooling rack and let cool fully before topping. To make the topping, spread the coconut out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, tossing the coconut halfway through cooking, watching carefully during the baking. Let the coconut cool and then add to a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup prepared dulce de leche with the milk and melt together over low heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour the dulce de leche mixture over the toasted coconut and mix well. Take the remaining dulce de leche in the can and spread a little over the top of each cookie. Now press the coconut mixture on top of the cookie to gently adhere. Place back on the cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining cookies. Place the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate. Remove the cookies from the freezer and dip the bottom half of each cookie into the melted chocolate allowing any excess to drip of. Place the cookies back on a parchment or wax lined baking sheet as you finish. Using a spoon or fork, drizzle the top half of each cookie with chocolate. Place the pan of cookies in the fridge for 10 - 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. Cookies can be kept in the fridge or at room temperature in a cool, dry place. PREPARATION FOR DULCE DE LECHE 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk, label removed Place the can on its side in a large pot. Fill the pot with room-temperature water, making sure the water level is at least 2 inches above the can. Set pot over high heat and allow to come to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours for a lighter caramel, and up to 3 hours for a darker caramel; check the pot every 30 minutes to ensure the water level stays above the can, adding boiling water as necessary to top it up. Using a pair of tongs, remove the can from the water and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature (important: do not attempt to open the can while still hot, which can cause pressurized hot caramel to spray dangerously). Unopened cans of dulce de leche can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months. To use, open can when cool and scoop out into a double boiler. Soften dulce de leche to a spreadable or “drizzle-able� consistency. Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

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In Sallie’s Kitchen celebrates the culinary history, present and future of Emporia. Regina Murphy has 30 years’ experience in a variety of culinary settings and is the Features Editor of The Emporia Gazette. Her regular contributions include “Murphy’s Menu” and “Grapes & Grains.”



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A Place to STArt



As the Dirty Kanza continues to grow, so does the need for a place for beginners to get their feet wet …. er, dirty…. in the sport of cycling. Babes on Bikes, a group that originated several years ago to be an unintimidating way for women to get started cycling, has grown to not only include some “dudes,” but they are also giving back with meaningful community outreach to local organizations. Groups of cyclists setting out from downtown Emporia has become a familiar sight as the popularity of cycling has grown. And on any given Sunday or Wednesday evening, you will see a crew of mostly women saddle up and head out on the day's chosen route. These are the Babes on Bikes. GETTING WOMEN ON THE BIKE Babes on Bikes is a group for all skill and fitness levels, whether the last time you were on a bike was as a child or you're training for the Dirty Kanza. Primarily made up of women, the group was founded in April 2014 by Gretchen Russell and Rachel Andrews with encouragement from Kristi Mohn of Dirty Kanza Promotions. “This was really Kristi's idea,” Gretchen said, relaxing in the beer garden behind Mulready's Pub after a Wednesday evening ride. The group generally ends its rides here or at another communal watering hole. “Kristi recognized that there was a need for a women-only group to encourage more women to get on the bike,” Gretchen continued. “You can have a guy tell you how to change a tire or change your seat height, but it's different to have another woman say, 'I started where you are, let me help.’ We just hear each other differently.” Other Babes chime in affirmatively. “When [Gretchen] and I started riding, we used to go on the Thursday night rides with a lot of guys, and that was intimidating,” Rachel said. “Which is weird, because women are generally harder on ourselves than guys are, but it was just a different dynamic.” “Dudes are good — they're encouraging — but it's different riding with the Babes,” Amy Geitz said. “If you're having a bad day on the bike, they're going to say, 'Hey, it's just one day, everybody goes through it.' They are encouraging in a different way.”

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“I'm too slow to ride with the other guys,” laughed Brent Carlson, one of a handful of male Babes. “These people are all fun to ride with. They help us get over that voice in our heads that says, 'This is too hard' or 'I can't do it.’I love riding with them.” “NO ONE LEFT BEHIND” Babes on Bikes has an official cycling team, sponsored by Williams Automotive, Mulready’s Pub, Ratcliff Gas and Mitchell Markowitz. This summer, the team is sporting new, pink jerseys designed by April Armstrong, an artist at Maud's Tattoo. Sunday rides are geared toward team training, but, like the Wednesday rides, are open to anyone, whether they're training to compete or building confidence on the bike. What motivates a person to start cycling is unique. The Babes themselves all have different stories about what got them on a bike and what their first goal was. “Everyone has their own reasons for cycling,” Karen Belford said. “Some people do it to get healthy, some people do it because cycling is something big in Emporia and you want to be a part of it.” Kathryn Martin is one of those who joined the Babes because she wanted to participate in the Dirty Kanza. She and her father signed up to compete in the 50-mile race this year, then Kathryn realized she needed support to make that happen. The Babes were exactly the group she needed. “When someone's new, [the Babes] won't let you be by yourself,” she said. “Someone goes with you and won't leave your side. They 96 | EMPORIA LIVING


make sure you're OK; if you need to go slow they don't make you feel bad about it, they talk to you. I was worried about it being awkward, but it's not. They make you feel so welcome.” Several people who have been with the group for a year or more have surprised themselves by riding longer distances than they thought possible when they started. “My first goal was five miles,” Rachel recalled. “A year to the day later, I rode 50 miles.” Jason Delgado is another of the male Babes. When he showed up for his first ride more than a year ago, Jason did not think cycling was for him. “Amy [Geitz] started riding with this group and started egging me on to join them on a Wednesday ride,” he said. “I didn't think I could ride five miles, let alone ride 15. But she talked me into coming one day. This group doesn't leave anybody behind, so they all rode with me and talked to me the whole time and I made it through that first ride.” Jason is now a regular part of the Babes outings, riding alongside newbies and making sure no one gets left behind. Watching other riders overcome the obstacles that kept them away from cycling and grow more and more confident is what keeps Gretchen motivated. “I love the idea that I can look at certain people who are riding now and who are achieving or surpassing goals, and I know they're riding because I encouraged them to get on a bike,” she said. “That's what keeps me excited.” FALL 2018 | 97

BEYOND THE BIKES While riding and socializing are the main reasons the Babes exist, the group has also expanded into community outreach. They host fundraising events like the BOO Cruise, a Halloween-themed ride in October, and the Thanksgiving Pie Ride, both benefiting local organizations. The group also volunteers during the Dirty Kanza. This year, they were part of the Williams Automotive Volunteer Brigade, assisting “anywhere and everywhere.” No matter what the Babes are doing — riding, hanging out afterward or giving back to the community — they want to encourage other women in particular to get on the bike and get started cycling. “It can be intimidating to start riding because there are so many excellent riders around here, but you have to start somewhere,” Karen said. “That's where our niche is; we are the people who will ride five miles or 10 miles with you until you work up to more. We encourage everyone to just get started.” — Written by Melissa Lowery

Visit Babes on Bikes on Facebook for information about rides, community service opportunities and more! www.facebook.com/BabesOnBikesEmporia/ 98 | EMPORIA LIVING


TIPS ON HOW TO START BIKING: — By Gretchen Russell

1. A good bike is worth it; spend the money. 2. Make certain you maintain it. Have the local bike shop show you how to clean, lube and maintain it. 3. When you are just starting out, don't be afraid to ask questions! Us old-timers are here to help! 4. Know the traffic laws! 5. Always ride prepared — water, helmet, snack, a little money, spare tube. 6. If you are nervous riding alone, jump on with a group! There are group rides almost every night of the week. 7. EVERYONE FALLS DOWN. 8. The most important thing is to HAVE FUN! It's just riding a bike, after all! FALL 2018 | 99



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