With strong Carroll County roots Delayne Morris now lives in Ottumwa. She is pictured here with her 7-year-old son Devin.
With strong Carroll County roots Delayne Morris now lives in Ottumwa. She is pictured here with her 7-year-old son Devin.
Monday, February 14, 2011

Although Delayne (Fischer) Morris moved away from the area in 1984 when she was in eighth- grade, she still has very fond childhood memories of growing up in Carroll. She was born in Carroll and attended Fairview (which was only a block from her house) and Carroll Middle School.

When asked what she remembers the most about Carroll, she mentioned both the sense of community and safety. She recalls the community and schools being extremely supportive of athletics. She can still remember the excitement felt at ball games, pep rallies, spirit week, and bonfires.

Delayne also recalls the strong sense of security for children. Delayne and her husband, Dustin, and their 7-year-old son, Devin, live in Ottumwa. Delayne says she wouldn’t feel comfortable if Devin wandered as far from home as she did as a child and pre-teen.

Delayne remembers walking and riding her bike anywhere and everywhere and having the freedom to do so. She says it’s a little sad her son doesn’t have the same freedoms she had in Carroll when she was a child.

The Fischer family lived on E. 18th St., just west of Fairview. The home used to resemble a barn and has recently been a New Hope Village group home. The best part about the Fisher residence in the 80s was their trampoline in the backyard. There weren’t many trampolines in town back then and their house was a perfect place to stop on the way home from school for a quick jump with friends.

Delayne says she loved growing up in Carroll and has reconnected with lots of old friends through Facebook. She had lost contact with many over the years, but is having a lot of fun catching up with classmates and neighbors.

Bob and Diana Fischer are Delayne’s parents. Back then, her father, Bob was a journeyman/lineman for Knox Construction in Grand Island, Neb. He was on the road much of the time. Her mother, Diana, worked for the post office in Carroll. They were and are still are avid Harley riders. In 1984, they decided to move the family to Chandler, Ariz. The Fischer family loved it there, but wanted to be closer to family and moved back to Iowa in 1989, settling in Fairfield.

These days Bob and Diana are the owners of Top of the Rock Grille and Red Rock Tavern in Fairfield. Top of the Rock Grille is an upscale restaurant featuring elegant dining and is upstairs from the tavern. It’s located in a beautiful historic building.

Delayne’s brother, Jerry (a 1985 Carroll High graduate), runs the family restaurant and bar. His wife, Laura, also works there. Five years ago, Jerry donated a kidney to Laura. Jerry’s son, Justin, 22, has been serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq since June.

Delayne’s younger sister, Beth (Class of 1993), used to manage the restaurant and bar until recently deciding to pursue a career in nursing. Beth and her husband, Dustin Canaday, and three daughters, Samantha, 17, Summer, 8, and Mesa, 5, also live in Fairfield. Dustin is kitchen manager and head chef at the family business.

Delayne (Class of 1991 and Office Manager at Henderson Auto Works in Ottumwa) and her husband, Dustin Morris (Program Manager for Allied Reliability in Eddyville), and Devin, a first grader, enjoy tae kwon do as a family. All three are currently testing for their green belts. Devin enjoys many activities including piano, swim team, Cub Scouts, and video games. Delayne and Dustin have talked of opening a gaming store in the future.

Delayne describes her kitchen as her “playground.” She loves cooking and baking and became passionate about it about five years ago. She began collecting cookbooks and recipes. She challenged herself by cooking new recipes, and as much as she loved impressing family and friends, she was really aiming to impress herself. Delayne also enjoys fitness so many of her favorite recipes have been altered a bit to make them more healthy, but still allows herself an occasional treat.

Buffalo Chex Mix

Delayne and Dustin love hot, spicy food. This is a super easy snack she created.

In a large bowl combine:
3-4 c Corn Chex
3-4 c Rice Chex (can substitute Crispex)
1 c Cheez-Its

1 c dry roasted peanuts
1 c Rold Gold Cheddar Pretzels
In a small bowl, mix:
1/3 c hot wing sauce
1-2 Tbsp canola oil

½ - ¾ tsp cayenne pepper

½ - ¾ tsp paprika

¾ - 1 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 – 2 tsp Tabasco sauce (you may add additional hot sauce to your liking)

Drizzle sauce over snack mix and stir. Microwave 1 minute at a time and stir (about 5-7 minutes total cooking time). Spread on foil and let cool. Store in airtight container.

Peanut Butter Chicken

This is a dish with an Asian flair, but something that is still “kid friendly.” It can be served over rice or tossed with noodles.

½ lb spaghetti – or – 2 c Basmati or brown rice
¼ c Asian Sesame salad dressing

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips or diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, cut into strips

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

3 ribs celery, sliced

1 can chicken broth

2 Tbsp peanut butter

¼ cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp chopped peanuts

Begin cooking spaghetti or rice as directed on package. Heat dressing in a large nonstick skillet or wok on med-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; stir fry 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add veggies, broth & peanut butter; stir fry an additional 3-4 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Add soy sauce. Serve over rice or toss with spaghetti. 
Garnish with your choice of any or all of the following:
cilantro, peanuts, shredded coconut, wonton strips, crushed red pepper flakes, hot or sweet chili sauce, green onion, soy sauce

Good For You Pizza

This is an alternative to traditional pizza. Delayne loves finding recipes that are healthy for her and her family.

2 oz. turkey pepperoni
1 ½ c Mozzarella

1 pkg active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ c whole wheat flour
¼ c cornmeal
½ tsp sea salt
¾ - 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Top with Spinach Pesto Sauce (recipe below)
In a small bowl combine yeast and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in honey and olive oil. In a large bowl combine wheat flour, cornmeal, and salt. Stir in yeast mixture. Stir in as much of the all-purpose flour as possible. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth & elastic (6-8 minutes total). Shape the dough in a ball; cover and let rise until nearly double (30-45 minutes). Meanwhile prepare Spinach Pesto - cover and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Punch dough down; let rest 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface roll dough to a 12 inch round or 10 inch square. Transfer to greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until browned. Top with pesto sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until bubbly.

Spinach Pesto Sauce

1 c packed spinach leaves
1 c packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled (I use the minced garlic in the jar)
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Prepare in a food processor (or blender on chop/puree). Cover & process to a smooth paste.

Orange Cheesecake

Here is a simple dessert Delayne created using low-fat ingredients. She says it tastes like an orange creamsicle.

12 oz reduced fat cream cheese

¼ c fat free sour cream

zest of 1 orange

juice of 1 orange (or ¼ cup store bought orange juice)

1 ½ c powdered sugar

1 tsp orange extract

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
8 oz Lite Cool Whip (thawed)
Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Fold Cool Whip. Transfer to a graham cracker crust. Refrigerate to set until fairly firm. Top with additional Cool Whip, if desired.

Linda’s Red Velvet Cake

Delayne’s mother in law, Linda Morris, of Ottumwa, makes cakes for wedding and other occasions. Everyone in the Fischer family loves Linda’s cakes. This cake was served at Delayne and Dustin’s wedding, Beth and Dustin’s wedding, all of Devin’s birthdays, and Bob Fischer’s retirement party.
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix

3 eggs
1 c sour cream

1/2 c water
1/4 c oil
1 bottle red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla 

In mixing bowl combine all ingredients at low speed until moistened; beat for 2 minutes on high speed. Pour into greased and floured 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool completely before icing.


1 c half and half
3 tablespoons flour
1 c sugar
1 c butter (room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla

Blend flour and milk (shake in shaker or in a jar with a tight fitting lid). Pour into small saucepan and cook on low to med heat stirring constantly until thickened. Cover immediately with saran wrap to avoid a skin from forming. Cool completely at room temperature. Beat the butter (room temperature), sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add the cooked mixture and beat into butter and sugar mixture until blended and still fluffy. Spread on cooled cake. Keep the cake in cool area or fridge but don’t freeze.
Grandma Steffes’
Rhubarb Cake
This is a family favorite that Delayne’s grandma used to make. Delayne’s late grandparents, Frank and Cordelia Steffes, lived in Templeton until Frank passed away and Cordelia moved to Carroll. When Delayne was a child, her mom also made it and now Delayne is carrying on the family tradition. 

1 ½ c brown sugar

½ butter
2 eggs

1 sour milk

1 tsp soda

2 c flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

3 c rhubarb (cut into small pieces)


½ c sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all together (in given order) and pour into greased/floured 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with topping & bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Cherry Cream Crumble Pie
This is Delayne’s dad’s favorite pie. He often requests her to make “his pie.” It even won first place in a pie baking contest a few years ago.

½ c sugar

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cans (15 oz. each) pitted tart cherries, drained

1 c (8 oz) sour cream (can substitute vanilla yogurt)

1 egg, beaten

¼ tsp almond extract

1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell


1/2 c quick cooking oats

1/3 c all-purpose flour

1/3 packed brown sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ c cold butter

½ c chopped pecans

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cherries, sour cream, egg and extract. Stir well. Spoon into pastry shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
For topping, combine oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon, in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over filling. Cover edges of crust to prevent over browning. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool on wire rack for 1 hr. Store in refrigerator.