Unbelievable Mashed Potatoes

Posted by on May 31, 2011

Hey folks… I just couldn’t wait to share my new found favorite Mashed Potato recipe!! I got this from a dear old friend last week and made them the same night I got the recipe and… WOW… amazing. So creamy and delicious, you don’t even want to smother them in gravy and there’s no seed so slather them with extra butter. I could eat a plate full of these as a meal itself!! Cream Cheese and Chives Mashed Potatoes 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup milk 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives 1/4 tsp black pepper (Garnish with extra chopped chives if desired) Place potatoes in a pot large enough to cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes well and return to saucepan. Cut cream cheese into cubes and add it and the butter to the potatoes in the pan. Using a potato masher, mash this mixture until the cream cheese and butter are melted and incorporated well. Add milk, chives, a few dashes of salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Garnish with chopped chives if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings… or less, depending on your willingness to share!! I dare you to tell me these aren’t absolutely delicious!! Bon Appetite! Be good… Chef...

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Thought of the Day

Posted by on May 30, 2011

On this Memorial Day, we  remember all of our Nation’s Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice and we pray for the safe return of all of the American Soldiers who are currently deployed.  Many members of our Camp family have served and some are currently serving our Country overseas.  These men and women deserve our gratitude and respect for risking their lives to defend our Nation.  Please keep Air Force Captain Jared Ostroski, Army Major Matt Chambers, and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Jared is the brother of our own Chef Jason and Matt is a former camper, staff member, and the father of two campers.  Both Jared and Matt are currently deployed in the Middle East.  These men embody the very best of Camp’s values and we hope they will come home safely to their families as soon as they can.  God Bless Jared, Matt, and all of our Camp family who have put on a uniform and served our Country. Brent Birchler Boys Camp...

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The meaning behind Thought of the Day…

Posted by on May 26, 2011

Every morning at camp, after we eat breakfast, all of the girls and staff members go to a place called “The Chapel”. It’s this beautiful little area behind the main part of the camp where we meet regularly, usually full of noise and excitement, which we call “The Bowl”. As we all walk back from breakfast, finally coming out of the morning coma many of us fall into, most are very giddy, full of excitement for the activities and the day ahead.  But as soon as we cross through the bowl and see those greeting us silently with their pointer fingers raised gently against their mouths, a certain peace crosses over each individual entering. This area is cleared of almost all of the trees.  There are lines of benches for all of the kids to sit. At the front, there is an altar with an enormous cross and just behind that are a few of trees that shade the lake. In the mornings, especially in the summer, it’s sort of gray and overcast, if not in the sky there is always a certain glaze over every eye, not yet fully awake.  But during the five minutes we spend there, more often than not, the sun reflects off of the lake and a sort of glow arises behind whoever is sharing, drawing everyone’s attention. I talk often about how camp is more than just a bunch of activities and a place to make friends away from home and how in reality it is a place of emotional growth both in and out of those activities; well in my opinion, this is the most essential part of that growth. In the chapel every morning, every camper and every staff member is offered a powerful message to reflect on throughout the day. This is called “Thought of the Day”. These messages are ones that everyone, no matter what age, can connect to on even the most minute level, and that they can carry with them throughout the day; maybe even through their life time. As counselors, we like to think that we can make an impact, but no matter how great of a connection you form with your campers, there is no designated time of day where you can sit them down and try to teach them a lesson that you have learned over the years, and that you think will better them as people.  For the most part, it is our responsibility to do that by leading by example. “Thought of the Day” is our one opportunities to share with the entire camp, something that will challenge them on an emotional level. Many of these stories and poems are ones that I remember from when I was a camper and I aspire to share them with as many people as I possibly can in and out of camp. I have one...

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It's Almost Time!

Posted by on May 24, 2011

” Being a team player is not about doing the job of others; it is about doing your job for the benefit of others!” As Gab, Brent and I are getting ready for Summer Camp, we spend A LOT of time getting Staff Training together. I love this time of year because the enthusiasm that comes from our staff or our “Professional Role Models” is completely contagious! I can’t believe that Camp is right around the corner!

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Great Granola

Posted by on May 22, 2011

Hello faithful readers… As we leave the  Wintery weather behind us, it’s time to get outside and enjoy nature. You may find yourself wanting to take a hike through the woods… maybe around the trails here at YMCA Camp Ockaninckon!! Well, I have a simple and easy snack you can make at home and bring on the trail with you… home made granola. I will preface this recipe as I always do… be creative, use your own likes and dislikes to create YOUR own special granola blend!! Ingredients 3 cups rolled oats 1 cup slivered almonds 1 cup cashews 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1/4 cup vegetable oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup raisins Directions Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Now… here’s some ideas… You can use dried cranberries instead of raisins OR 1/2 raisins and 1/2 cranberries!! Dried cherries?? You can change the nuts to all of one kind… or substitute one kind for peanuts or toasted hazelnuts or whatever you like. You may substitute some or all of the nuts for an equal amount of wheat germ. Sunflower seeds? Pumpkin seeds?? You can also substitute 1/2 of the total amount of maple syrup for honey. Add cinnamon? Vanilla? Be creative and explore your inner Chef!! Be good… Chef...

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Professional Role Models

Posted by on May 20, 2011

It is awesome to see how excited the staff are for summer to arrive!  New staff are arriving almost every day and they can’t wait to get started.  Lots of staff of working hard to implement new ideas for the summer and to hone their counseling abilities.  I am 100% positive that our campers are in for a terrific summer!  We can’t wait for you to arrive!  37 days to go!!! Brent Birchler Boys Camp Director

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