Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sand Hill Cranes

 My Mother has had the pleasure this summer to host two Sand Hill Cranes in her open field and will be sad when they leave for the winter!
 From early morning to near dusk the cranes graze either in Mom's field or in her neighbor's yard.
 The cranes have a distinct loud "voice" and a unique flying pattern.  When they fly, their legs are straight out behind interesting to watch.

A majestic bird indeed!

I hope all of you can enjoy viewing these birds sometime!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5x7 Folded Card

On My Mind 5x7 folded card
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 The above photo card was created for Marlene, a special friend of the Olsen-Sayles staff; who is currently experiencing some health problems.  In the past, she created aprons and mittens for Olsen-Sayles and also made the best brownies ever for our staff.  We miss you, Marlene, and pray for restored health and your return to Frankfort!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Orange Chicken Salad

 What to fix for dinner was the question of the day...something quick and easy...get a rotisserie chicken and doctor it up...perfect!
 Perhaps adding penne and fruit would be tasty, so here we go making another salad!
 Orange Chicken Salad:

1 Rotisserie chicken, torn into bite size pieces
3/4 cup halved green grapes
3/4 cup halved red grapes
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 box Penne (16 oz. box, using half)
1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup Hellmann's Light
1/3 cup orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Salad greens
Candied almonds, if desired

Combine chicken, grapes, cranberries, yellow pepper, green onions, and cooked pasta in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the Hellmann's and orange juice thoroughly.  Add to the chicken mixture, stirring thoroughly to combine.
Gently add the mandarin oranges and season with salt and pepper.
If desired, garnish with candied nuts (or add them directly to the salad).  We prefer just garnishing with the almonds, so they stay crisp.
Place leaf lettuce on plates and top with the chicken salad and there you have it...a nice salad for dinner and the grocery store heated up their facilities preparing the hot kitchen at our house!!!

Please enjoy~

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blitz Torte

 My mother-in-law, Arlene, introduced me to this cake many years ago and of course when I make it I think of her!  She was a fountain of knowledge in the baking department (among other things) and she shared many of her recipes with me!
 Soon after Ben and I were married I learned that his mother always made Blitz Torte for birthday celebrations.  
She always sterilized a dime and stirred it into the batter and the person finding the coin was to experience good luck for the coming year.
 If you decide to make this be sure to read the entire recipe and set aside plenty of time.  Don't be discouraged by that statement, but realize that there are a few steps.
 Blitz Torte:

1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1  1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup blanched almonds

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients a third at a time, alternately with the milk and vanilla, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Spread evenly in 2 well greased 9" round cake pans (I place wax paper in the bottoms and grease again).  Set aside.  In small bowl beat egg whites until foamy; add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Beat in gradually the 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar beating  until stiff peaks form.  Lightly spread over cake batter and sprinkle with almonds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until meringue is golden.  Cool in pans on wire rack for ten minutes, turn out onto racks, meringue sides up and cool thoroughly.  To assemble, place one layer on cake plate and spread with Filling (recipe follow).  Top with  the second layer of cake.  Garnish with whipped cream, fresh mint, maraschino cherries, and candied almonds , if desired.


In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.  Stir thoroughly and then blend in 4 egg yolks and 1 cup sour cream.  Stir over low heat until thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (depending if you like almond or not)
Cool to room temperature and chill thoroughly (place plastic wrap directly on the filling)

Candied Almonds:

1 egg white, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Beat egg white at high speed of an electric mixer until foamy.  Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  Fold in almonds.  Pour butter into a 9" square baking pan.  Spread coated almonds in pan over butter.  Bake at 325 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until almonds are dry, stirring every 5 minutes.  Set aside to let almonds cool completely.

I hope you enjoy this special cake~

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Mini Turtle Cheesecakes

 The combination of chocolate and caramel is a favorite of mine and this little gem satisfies the sweet tooth!
 The recipe makes one dozen mini cheesecakes and would be perfect for a ladies luncheon! 
You will see how quick and easy this is when you read the following recipe.
 Turtle Cheesecakes:

12 Oreo cookies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1/4 cup pecans, chopped coursely
1/4 milk chocolate chips
Hot caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Line muffin tin with foil liners
Place one Oreo in the bottom of each liner
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
Spoon batter evenly over the Oreo cookies and then top each with the chocolate chips and pecans.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until set.
Cool and then place in fridge 
When ready to serve, remove the foil liners and drizzle with hot caramel topping and garnish with freshly whipped cream, a sprig of fresh mint, and a maraschino cherry!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ricotta & Tomato Tarts

 What to do with all the beautiful tomatoes that grace the Farmer's Markets and the ones from Courtney & Matt?  Little tarts, of course!!!
 This recipe will not disappoint, trust me!!!

Ricotta & Tomato Tarts:

1 package puff pastry, thawed
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (Spice World)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4-6 large grape tomatoes
Olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roll out one sheet of puff pastry slightly, to create a perfect square.  Cut into four equal squares...fold under the edges to create a circle.  Score the inside of the rounds 1/2 inch from the edge.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and prepare other sheet of pastry in same way.  Place in oven for 10 minutes.  

In the meantime, mix Ricotta cheese, garlic, Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons basil in bowl.

Thinly slice the tomatoes.

When pastry is removed from oven after 10 minutes, place a mound of cheese mixture on top of each pastry tart and spread out evenly.
Arrange the tomato slices, slightly overlapping on top of the filling.

Return to oven for another 10 minutes (or until golden) and the tomatoes are slightly roasted.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons chopped basil.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and grind a little fresh pepper over all.

I trust you will enjoy~

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sweet Cherry Bruschetta

 Mother Nature dealt the cherry crop a hard blow this year...record high temperatures in March and then hard freezes in May made for a very small crop of fruit.
 This bruschetta is delicious and I hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Cherry Bruschetta:

1 loaf Baguette
Olive oil for baguette
1  1/2 cups chopped sweet cherries
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon Raspberry Blush Vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Fresh Mozzarella cheese
Basil, if desired

Combine the cherries, cilantro, yellow pepper, chopped onions, Vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Set aside.

Cut baguette in 1/2 inch slices and place in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn slices, brush each slice with olive oil, return to oven and bake 5 additional minutes. Quickly place
  fresh mozzarella (sliced thinly) on each slice.  Then top each slice with a heaping tablespoon of cherry mixture.
I added freshly chopped basil on top for a nice additional flavor!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun With Zucchini

 With the abundance of zucchini right now it is fun to try new recipes and this one was a hit!
 Scoop out the center of each zucchini, removing all seeds (I used 4 zucchini).  Brush the hollow zucchini with olive oil, crushed garlic to taste, along with salt & pepper.  Arrange halved grape tomatoes (red & yellow) alternately and then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from oven and place fresh mozzarella cheese between the tomatoes.  I used fresh mozzarella balls and cut them into nice sized pieces.  
Turn oven to broiler and place zucchini back in oven until the cheese melts.
Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper.
A tasty dish for summer!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Relay For Life

 As mentioned in a previous post, I have a friend currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  She has faced chemotherapy with a positive attitude and she amazes everyone with her determination!
 Relay For Life is this weekend and Olsen-Sayles is sponsoring a Luminary for Tina!
 Tina's favorite color is yellow so I made the flower out of yellow tissue, then glued on some green ribbon for accent.  
We gals at Olsen-Sayles are truly celebrating Tina's Grace and Courage and praying for remission!