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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread
Submitted by Marcia & Casey Van Camp

Poppa Van Camp showed me how to make this and it was delicious!

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (we used light)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp. vanilla (extract is fine)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (white)
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp. allspice (ground)

1. Beat eggs until foamy
2. Add oil, brown sugar, zucchini, vanilla and granulated sugar.  Mix lightly
3. Stir in flour and the remaining ingredients
4. Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean

To prepare the zucchini, wash them off and cut off the ends.  Chop them into medium/large pieces and put them in a food processor.  They do not need to be grated more than a few seconds because you want to get them finely chopped but not squishy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Biscoff Cupcakes

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
Inspired by

Biscoff Gourmet Cupcakes
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp. whole milk
1/2 c. Biscoff spread (creamy*)
1/4 c. Biscoff cookies, crumbled
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Biscoff buttercream frosting:
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
2/3 c. Biscoff spread
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar
4 tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS (cupcakes)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can either make about 12 normal sized cupcakes or about 48 mini cupcakes

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, salt and baking soda, and mix to combine (you can use a spoon)

3. In a large bowl, beat together the remaining ingredients for the cupcakes.  When all of these are well mixed, add in the dry ingredients from the other bowl.

4. Fill the cupcake / mini-cupcake liners 3/4 full

5.  If you are using regular cupcake sizes, cook about 20 minutes.  If you are using mini-cupcakes, bake about 10 minutes.

6.  When the cupcakes are done, allow them to cool.  I usually like to make them the day before and let them sit in the fridge overnight.

DIRECTIONS (frosting)
1. I doubled the original recipe because I hate running out of frosting.  Also, if you have some left, you can store it in the fridge or freezer.

2. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until they are smooth and the frosting is the consistency you desire.

3. If you want to make sure it is stiff, you can mix it longer, or even add meringue powder.

4. Frost the cupcakes and either serve or put them in the fridge to keep them fresh until serving.

*My cupcakes turned out a little flat on the top, but they taste very good.  You could try adding sour cream vs. whipping cream to the cupcakes like in the original recipe but I don't know if that will make a huge difference in the shape.
*I really REALLY like this frosting and I want to try using it on other flavors of cupcakes.

Also - if you aren't familiar with Biscoff, here are pictures of the cookies and spread.  They have these at our local grocery store.  If they don't have them where you live, you could order them online, or perhaps even be brave and try a different type of cookies.'

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

If you are having a Hobbit party, you should try to add Dragon Fruit to the menu.  I bought this at Grand Mart, and although I had heard of them, I had never eaten one before.  It has the prettiest color, and it looks like it could really be a dragon's egg.  

This fruit, reminds you in flavor a little of the kiwi, but without so much acidity.  If you are allergic to kiwis, don't worry, because this fruit is part of the cactus family.

Here is a picture of me...with a Hobbit shirt, being VERY excited to eat this fruit with my husband and friends. 

Basically, the outside is not very hard, so get a sharp knife and just slice it down the middle.

So cool!!!  This is probably not what you were expecting, but yes, it looks like cookies and cream.  After you have opened it up, you can easily scoop it out with a spoon and start eating it.  The seeds are soft and not a problem or annoying to eat.

This fruit is very good and it is more of a mild sweetness, so you can eat a lot of it.  We mixed some into a smoothy and really liked it that way.  Since the skin is so pretty, you could also mix it with other fruit, and then use the skin as a bowl for fruit salad.  I am sure there are plenty of fun recipes online as well.


Rambutan aka "Dragon's Eyes"

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

For my birthday this year, I decided to buy some unique fruit for our Hobbit themed party.  I bought Dragon fruit and also "Dragon's Eyes" which are officially known as Rambutan.  They are sweet, very good for you, and are similar to a lychee.  I bought these at Grand Mart in Falls Church, VA, but other international stores might carry them as well.  The clerk who helped me said they had a lot of these in Honduras where he grew up.  There are also several different types, so what you see might be a little more colorful, or might be smooth as well.

Below is how to eat them, so if you find these, grab some and try them out!

When rambutans are on the tree, they are very brightly colored.  The ones in the store I bought were darker, but they tasted great.

To open them, take a sharp knife and cute a circle around the outside of the rambutan.  Keep in mind that the outer layer is very thin, so you don't want to cut very deep, or you will cut into the fruit.

After you are done cutting, you can take the fruit completely out.

There is a seed in the middle, so you can bite around the seed, or put the whole thing in your mouth and spit the seed out.  You could also try cutting around the seed if you prefer.  Regardless of the method, some bits of the seed will come off with the fruit, but that is ok.  You can eat them, or spit them out.

Another note about ripeness.  When you open the rambutan, the fruit should be clear and firm without a lot of excess liquid.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Golden “chicken” Patties

From Vegetarian Times
Submitted by Mom

(2) 15 oz. cans chickpeas
1 ½ c. quick oats
1 clove of garlic minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste (1/2 tsp season-all works well)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbls. olive oil (optional)
2 to 3 tbls. vegetable oil

1. Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid
2. In a food processor or blender process the chickpeas with ½ c. of the liquid.  If your puree is dry, add more liquid a tablespoon at a time to achieve a smooth, thick paste
3. Place the chickpea puree in a mixing bowl
4. Add the remaining ingredients expect the vegetable oil
5. Mix well, adding additional water or oats as necessary to make a mixture that keeps its shape.
6. Shape into 8 patties (put a small amount of butter in your hands to form the mixture so that it doesn’t stick)
7. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil (about medium) and fry the patties until golden brown on each side.  About 5 minutes on each side

Serving Suggestion: serve like burgers, with tomatoes, lettuce/spinach, etc.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Winter Olympics

Date: June 6th, 2009

As I searched through some old photos, I found these photos from a cake contest a few years ago.  We had so much fun making this, and I remember how extremely heavy it was to carry.  I still can't believe we were able to get it to the church in one piece. 

Team: Marcia Van Camp, Linda & Nick Peterson
Theme: Olympics!!!

Many cakes were baked and assembled

 Before the frosting begins

 Laying down the track

Look at the cute lil' trees and the fresh powdery (delicious) snow   

 Front view of all the winter events

 umm...these were harder than we thought

 action shot!
 Half-pipe with a snowboard

 Extreme skiing

 Down the black diamond

Look at the aerial!
The audience is speechless...


The winners!
Oh my...this creation was so so big.  It took up the whole kitchen table
The luge
Arms of steel carrying the cake to the judges table
First prize, we are so happy!