Thursday, November 19, 2015

Shortbread Cookies

11/19/2015 Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup of white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, and then stir in the vanilla.
3. Add flour and salt and mix well
4. Roll out cookie dough and cut cookie
5. Bake for 10-12 min

Notes: This recipe was on the package for these cute cut-out cookies that I bought at World Market. I looked on their site but I don't think they have the recipe online.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Zesty Burger

11/16/2015 submitted by Casey Van Camp

1 pound hamburger
1 cup hidden valley avocado ranch (Ranch, 1/2 avocado blended until smooth)
2 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 medium onion chopped finely
1/2 tsp black pepper, garlic, celery salt
2 tsp sea salt

Add all ingredients and mix well into meat.  Form patties and cook them as desired. 

Top with Mushrooms, mexican cheese, avocado slices.  This would also be great on a whole wheat bagel

Friday, November 13, 2015

Apricot Chicken

11/12/2015 Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
Inspired by Laura Thayn

4 boneless chicken breasts - cut into stripes
1 cup / 8 oz of Russian salad dressing (I used Ken's Steakhouse)
1 cup / 8 oz apricot jam (I used Polaner)
1 package of dry onion soup mix (I used Lipton)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place chicken in a 9x13 pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Mix remaining ingredients and then pour them over the chicken
Cook for one hour at 350 degrees

We had stuffing as a side and it was great because it soaked up the sauce. It would be great over rice as well. The original recipe calls for 8 chicken breasts but those would never fit in my pan.  Basically, you want to fill the pan with chicken, so that could mean 5 breasts or more if the bird is small.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sweet is the Work

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp 11/09/2015

For Young Women in Excellence this year, our theme was Sweet is the Work.  Here are some pictures of the decorations which I am posting so if there are others out there who want to copy any of this, please do!  I can't take credit for the any of the creativity, my main contribution was frosting cupcakes.

Here is the original blog that we were inspired by and which has all these wonderful printable items!

Young Women in Excellence is a program we have every year for the girls in church ages 12 to 18 to celebrate all the hard work they have done.  We had talks given by girls on different values such as Integrity, Faith, Knowledge and so on. We also sang the hymn, Sweet is the Work and it was lovely.

I love these rosettes and the individual cotton candy treats.  We had small bags so that girls and their families could take candy home with them. 

The podium was covered which looked so great especially when the girls were up there speaking.  

Here is a view of the whole scene.  We ended up using about half of the gym so that the program would be more intimate.  The table in the back was set up so that girls could display items from their projects.  I also like the chevron banner hanging above because it's so colorful.  As with many old church buildings, we cannot lift the basketball hoop, so we added some pom poms to it. 

Welcome table and programs.  I absolutely LOVE those large lollipop decorations.  It makes me want to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Look at this yummy display!  I love the white chocolate fountain that has matching colors, so pretty!  We had strawberries, popcorn (yes, it comes in pink), and a yummy cherry bundt cake among other things.

For the chairs, plastic tablecloths were cut in strips so everything looked pretty but it was cheaper than tool, and you more options for colors. Since we were in the gym, the backboard was covered as well with those plastic tablecloths.

All of the Young Women values were on the wall along with pictures of each of the Young Women.

I made frosting for about 48 cupcakes and piped them and I doubled the below recipe but I ended up adding a little more shortening because it was too firm.    

Frosting (not doubled)
1 cup white shortening
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 teaspoons of water
Pink Wilton Paste - I used about 1/16 of a teaspoon 
**you might need to add a little more water or shortening to get the desired consistency

Friday, November 6, 2015

Funnel Cakes

Submitted by Marcia and Casey Van Camp

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Vegetable oil
Sifted powder sugar (optional)

1. Combine flour, sugar, milk, and eggs in a bowl, beating until smooth
2. Heat 1/4 inch oil to 375 degrees in a skillet
3. Cover bottom opening of a funnel with a finger
(funnel with a 3/8 inch opening works best)
4. Pour 1/4 cup batter into funnel and hold funnel over the skillet
5. Remove finger from the funnel's end to release batter into hot oil; move funnel in a slow, circular motion to form a spiral
6. Fry each funnel cake 1 minute or until edges are golden brown; turn and fry until golden
7. Drain on paper towels
8. Repeat with remaining batter
9. Serve warm and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired
10. This makes about 1 dozen 5 inch cakes

Ice Cream Cake

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

I made this cake for my mom's birthday this year and it was delicious!  Since it is cold, it may have been better for me to make it in the summer, but I wanted to try something new and I was very pleased with the results.  It took more prep time because you have to keep freezing it along each step, but the steps themselves are pretty easy.,b61b5c4b-8920-44a0-a8c1-a072be18d4bd,Search%20Results,3,with%20image,

1. 1 box (18.25 oz.) Devil's food cake mix
2. 1 container (1.5 qt.) your favorite Ice Cream
  Getting ice cream in a square cardboard container will be the easiest. 
3. 1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed          
4. 1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1. Cook the Devil's food cake as directed and let it completely cool
2. Trim the top of the cake so it's flat.  Cut the cake in two
3. Wrap cakes in aluminum foil and freeze at least 2 hours.
4. Take the cakes out of the freezer and place 1 piece on a serving platter.
5. If you have purchased a square container of ice cream you should be able to open it up and slice pieces that will line up with your cake.  I bought ice cream which had to be scooped and it was very messy.  You can try to smooth it out and make it even but it's a lot of extra work.
6. Once you have the desired amount of ice cream on your cake, place the second piece of cake on top.
7. Freeze for about 5 hours (overnight is easy as well)
8. Beat whipped topping with marshmallow creme in large bowl until smooth. Frost cake with whipped topping mixture.
9. Freeze 1 hour. Decorate as desired.

Gingerbread House - Hockey

It all started....with Abby (Croshaw) Chipman and Darren Haycock.  We went to FHE (Family Home Evening) and we were told the activity would be making gingerbread houses.  For some reason we just didn't want to make a standard house SO we decided to do a hockey stadium.

The scoreboard

So much blood on the ice...


The fans are fighting it out!

Philly Cheesesteak Bread bowl

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
inspired by Rachael Ray

4 bread bowls
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, sliced as thin as possible and rings separated
1 package of philly cheesesteak meat
Salt and pepper
8 slices provolone cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 bell peppers (red and green recommended)

1. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, add vegetable oil and heat

2. Add onions and mushrooms, stir and cook until mushrooms darken and onions start to look transparent. Add steak slices and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until meat is lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. Slice off the top 1/2 inch of the bread; reserve. Scoop out the insides of the loaf, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick shell, and cut into cubes.

5. In a large skillet, heat 6 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and rosemary for 2 minutes. Place the bread shell on a baking sheet; brush the inside with some of the seasoned oil.

6. Add 3 cups bread cubes to the skillet with the remaining seasoned oil and toss to coat; transfer to the baking sheet, surrounding the bread shell. Reserve the skillet. Place the bread top on the baking sheet cut side up. Bake until browned and toasted, 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, in the reserved skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until golden, 10 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Add the steak to the skillet and cook for 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the onions.

8. Spoon half of the steak-onion mixture into the bread bowl; top with half of the cheese, then half of the croutons. Layer with the remaining steak-onion mixture, croutons and cheese. Bake until the cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Top with the bread lid. To serve, slice into wedges.

Grandma's Jello Fruit Salad

Submitted by Alisha Stamper

one 3.5 oz strawberry jello
one 3.5 oz raspberry jello
one 16 oz frozen sliced strawberries with sugar
two cans fruit cocktail with cherry removed after opening
two bananas

1. Defrost strawberries and strain with a colander. 
2. Strain fruit cocktail on top of the strawberries. Remove cherries.
3. Empty both jello powder packets into one bowl. 
4. Boil two cups of water, add to powder, whisk to dissolve.
5. Add two cups cold water to jello mixture.
6. Put fruit in whatever contained you want jello to "Set" in.
7. Cut up bananas into fruit.
8. Pour jello mixture on top, push down fruit as needed. Let set overnight.


Created by Lanni Brisson
Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

1/2 cup oatmeal (quick oats)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
1 tbsp. chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tbsp. raisins or craisins
1 tbsp. flax seed
1 tbsp. wheat germ

Add dry ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and add enough water to just cover the mixture.  Heat on high for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.  When it is done, stir in milk to reach the desired consistency.  I like a lot of milk so I probably add 1/2 cup.

I usually make about 10 packets ahead of time so breakfast is ready to go.  I just put them into Ziploc sandwich bags which I reuse.  Making this mixture every morning might work for some people but doing it ahead of time is a lot easier.  I also found that over time I stopped needing the brown sugar because the sweetness of the raisins was so good.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What Did the Peep Say?

Spring 2014

Marcia & Casey Van Camp

So...For many years I have wanted to enter the Washington Post's Peep Contest.  We had so much fun creating this BUT it was a lot of work.

Gingerbread men getting painted

I bought some moss at the craft store and we used spray glue to get it to stick.  We glued black paper to the sides of the box so it would be nice and dark.  We also added foam to the bottom so that we could stick the branches through and glue them down.  We used toothpicks to help the gingerbread men stand up.

For the main characters, I cut their ears so they would look more like foxes.  I bought some small pieces of felt and sewed them little outfits which was really fun.  I bent and cut a coat hanger to help them stand up straight and so I could adjust the way they were standing.  We had some little battery lights we stuck into the walls and some we put in the moss and I really like the way they look.

These pictures of course have the flash on so you can see things easier but the above photo is closer to what it really looked like.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Under the Sea Party

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

Here are some pictures from Aurora's 1st birthday party. We love her so much!

Sandcastle cake! 
I used candy molds and candy melts for the seashells.  I made one cake mix in a 9 x 13 pan for the bottom.  Then I made another cake mix and split it between two smaller round glass pans I had.  I frosted with white frosting and used crushed up graham crackers for the sand. I looked at a lot of pictures online and some used marshmallows for the tops, and I used sugar cubes.  I also frosted beyond the cake onto the tray so it would spread out a little more.  I really like the way it turned out. 

Next time I would use white or a light brown cake mix since other colors show through easily...and perhaps a darker frosting as well.  I would also use less moisture in the cakes so they stack easier. For the frosting, I would not get extra whipped since it slides off the sides and can't handle the graham cracker.  

Star cookies!
I rolled out some Pillsbury ready to bake sugar cookies and used a star cookie cutter. I added some Wilton colors and eyes, and look how cute they are!

Sand dollar cookies!
I used some Pillsbury ready to bake sugar cookies for these.  I made a small bowl of light and dark brown sugar.  I put the bottom of a glass into the sugar and flattened out the cookies with it.  I bought a package of sliced almonds and tried to pick out a bunch that were not broken and had nice shapes.  I placed them on the cookies after they baked and some were easier than others.  I started getting them wet with water and that seemed to help them stick.  I think next time I would make these cookies just a little thicker.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Broken Glass Cupcakes / Cookies

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp, 10/31/2015

Inspired by

Here are some pictures of the cookies I made this Halloween.  I wanted to make cupcakes but ran out of time and energy SO I used the Pillsbury ready to bake sugar cookies I had in the fridge.  I like the attached recipe since you can microwave the glass concoction vs. using your pan.  I did find though that using cooking spray changed the color to more yellow glass...and the glass was kinda sticky.  I tried it without but then the glass just stuck to the wax paper.  Maybe next year I will try some different methods.  I was able to get enough glass though to break off, so it all worked out.

Also, I don't know that I would used sweet and condensed milk again.  I would probably try for something thicker.  My blood isn't quite as good because I didn't have any black dye, and I was trying to use brown.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hippo Soup

Inspired by
Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

I saw this online and went out the same day to make little hippos because I though they were so cute. I am excited to try other animals like an octopus perhaps!

1 package of frozen bread rolls (I used a generic brand that had 12 rolls)
Black eyed peas
Black beans
Soup of your choice

1. Allow the dough to thaw.  I let mine thaw in the bag, but the link above shows another method

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

3. Make the hippos!  Basically, as I made each piece I would stick it onto the paper.  You could forma  complete hippo or do all the bodies, then all the heads, etc.

In general you want, 1 larger elongated shape for the body, a round ball for the head, 2 smaller round balls for the face, and 2 tiny balls for the ears.  I didn't measure anything exactly, I just tried to make them look somewhat proportional. You could decide to make small hippos or big hippos, mine were about 3 inches long from back to front.

If it gets sticky, use some flour.

4. Let the dough rise to able double it's size. I took a while making my hippos so some were on the rise while I was making the rest, but that is ok.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. At this point, I brushed them with butter but the original directions have you brush them after they bake.

and bake the hippos for about 15-20 minutes.  I ended up using 2 baking sheets because I wanted to have room and I was worried they would rise and stick together.

6. Allow them to cool and then cut slits for the eyes and nostrils.  Add the beans and voila!

*I used La Madeleine's tomato basil soup because it is so tasty.

*I didn't feel like cooking the beans so I just used uncooked beans, and then we just took them out when we ate.

*If you decide to store them in the freezer or fridge, just don't set them on top of each other because they might come apart.