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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

Arizona - The Grand Canyon State

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Official Motto: “Ditat Deus" God Enriches

Suggested Motto: “But it's a dry heat"

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Cactirita Cookies

Arizona is home to many magnificent cacti, especially the proud saguaro. This iconic cactus does produce edible fruit, but harvesting is a tricky, unpredictable business. I was not up to hiking through the Sonoran desert in mid-June to harvest these beauties. Instead, I drove to the SuperMercado in South Omaha and found some fresh xoconostle for sale. I had never heard of these cousins to the prickly pear. They had a slightly musty smell and produced a vibrant pink juice that tastes like sour bubblegum but in a good way.

Margaritas did not originate in Arizona, but they are the preferred cocktail of my favorite fictional Arizonan, Eleanor Shellstrop. So I took a butter cookie recipe and added lime zest and tequila. They baked pretty well, I think the tequila or high butter content kept the dough from firming up properly.

When the cookies cooled, I used cactus juice and powdered sugar to make a stunning pink glaze. I made a second glaze with tequila and powdered sugar for contrast. I was tired of cutting delicate flower shapes so the final scraps were cut into a large cactus shape and decorated accordingly. These are probably the cutest cookies I have ever made.

Want to experience Arizona for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...

I was supposed to spend a week on Mount Lemmon for Astronomy Camp, but wildfires prevented that. Instead, I had a grand time hanging out in Tuscon and visiting the University of Arizona's observatories (see below). The highlight of my time in Arizona was a night on Mount Graham where we camped in in the semi-constructed Large Binocular Telescope. The stargazing up there was phenomenal. Also, I suggest reading "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver, it's a lovely novel.

Time for the whole truth

The state flag has a copper star because Arizona's other official nickname is "The Copper State."

(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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