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Organization is name of her game

By Staff | Dec 20, 2013

LINDA OLDENKAMP pepares a recipe in her Sanborn home. She said cooking has always broiught the family together, which helped with dealing with the death of her son, Brandon.



SANBORN – This country cook has a lot a lot of irons in the fire, so the one thing she has perfected is being organized.

Whether it is helping husband Bob Oldenkamp on the farm or preparing a large meal for her family, Linda Oldenkamp said she plans ahead, because organization can make everything a bit easier.

Originally haling from Oskaloosa, Oldenkamp moved to Sanborn about 37 years ago and said she has no regrets.

The Oldenkamps settled about 3.5 miles from their current home. It was there they reared four children – Brandon, Becca, Dan and Nate.

Cooking has always been a way for the family to come together, and with four children and a farming operation it was a necessity, Oldenkamp said.

However, tragedy touched this tight-knit household three years ago, as their youngest son, Brandon Oldenkamp, set out on a climbing trip in the Teton Mountains in Wyoming.

A senior at Dordt College and a standout on the basketball team, Brandon was killed in a fall, and after a two-day search his body was discovered.

Several other people were rescued off the mountain that day after a severe storm had taken everyone by surprise.

Oldenkamp said it took time and a lot of visiting with friends and family and a deep faith in God to begin the healing.

She said Brandon remains an important part of their lives.

The Oldenkamps established a basketball memorial scholarship and also invite current Dordt basketball team members for meals.

“To just be able to come and have a home-cooked meal and talk to one another is great for them and great for us,” Oldenkamp said.

These meals are large, loud and a great time for everyone involved, she said.

Currently, it is a mad dash to prepare for the children, their spouses and the six grandchildren coming home for the holidays, which had Oldenkamp planning.

She’s cooked and frozen soup, bacon, sausage and casseroles in preparation for the large family to gather and relax.

“I like to be prepared so I can just enjoy my family when they are here, ” she said, as four roasts cooked in the oven.

It’s those moments when the grandchildren are sleeping and she gets to quietly visit with her children which still means the most, said Oldenkamp.

After the children moved and had families of their own, Oldenkamp began a different role on the family farm.

Preparing the meals and baking for harvest were a must, but she also began driving tractors and hauling loads for their 450-acre operation.

She said planning ahead with meals makes it possible for her to be in the field and still come in with everyone else to a home-cooked meal.

Roast, potatoes and gravy are still a favorite, but they also love a pork loin and a bone-in ham.

“I just love to cook for large groups,” Oldenkamp said.

Oldenkamp serves as the secretary for Sanborn Christian Church in Sanborn. It entails computer work and making the weekly bulletins.

For 22 years, she said she’s served as a counselor for Jim’s Girl’s Club, an organization which meets on a bi-weekly basis September through April.

Oldenkamp’s organizational skills will be essential for an upcoming church trip to Cary, Miss., when the Oldenkamps plan and prepare the week’s menus and haul them the 19 hours to their destination.

“It is so much fun to be able to do this,” Oldenkamp said.

Chicken with stuffing

6 boneless chicken breasts (cut in half and placed in a large, greased baking pan).

Cover with slices of Velveeta cheese.

Mix one can of cream of chicken soup with 1/4 cup milk and pour over the top.

Melt 1/2 pound of butter (two sticks) and stir in a package of “one-step” stuffing mix.

Put this mixture on top of the prepared chicken and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Hot taco dip

1 pound ground beef,

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 can Ro-tel (hot chilies /tomatoes)

1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 cups Velveeta cheese

Brown and drain the ground beef.

Add can of Ro-tel and the Velveeta cheese and stir until cheese is melted and smooth.

Add remaining ingredients.

Serve with taco and/or nacho chips.

Caramel apple dip

8 ounces softened cream cheese

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the ingredients together for a snack.

Cream puff dessert

1 stick butter

1 large package vanilla instant pudding

1 cup water

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup flour

8 ounces whipped topping

4 eggs

Chocolate syrup (optional)

Boil butter with the water. Add flour and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball, then cool slightly.

Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after the addition of each egg.

Spray jelly roll pan with non-stick spray and spread the dough. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (crust will become bumpy when baked).

Cool, then mix pudding as directed on package. Whip cream cheese slowly and then add pudding.

Spread this mixture onto the crust and let stand for 15 minutes.

Top with whipped topping and drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired.

No bake peanut butter/corn flake bars

1 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 1/3 cups peanut butter

4 cups corn flakes

1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine sugar and syrup and cook on medium heat until it boils, then allow to boil for one minute.

Remove mixture from heat and add peanut butter and corn flakes.

Spread out on a greased cookie sheet. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave and then spread on the top.

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