Merry Christmas Cooking ‘Ghany Style!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Seriously…. I LOVE Christmas. Just ask my boys or my husband Matt. Christmas season is my absolute favorite (aside from being at camp in the summer). I love the songs, the traditions, the lights, the decorations, slowing down for Advent, the festivities… and of course, the FOOD!

With our year-long 100th Anniversary celebration happening  — #GhanyTurns100 —, I thought it would be fun for camp families to bring some favorite camp foods into your home this season in a homemade, DIY way. Especially if you’re giving the gift of camp as a holiday present, a little food to set the scene can really take your gift giving over the top!

Anyway, I’m always up for a challenging in the kitchen, and themes are always fun. Maybe you like that, too. So here we go…

Peppermint Patties

I was inspired by this recipe for homemade peppermint patties, sent to me by an alumna and support staff member earlier this month. Somehow peppermint patties just became a beloved thing at camp going way back, probably to my grandfather Cooper’s time. So of course we’d like to make our own Alleghany style version, which this recipe is perfect for. And I love that the website it comes from is Cooking at the Cottage – how Camp Alleghany is that?!

There are several other recipes out there for homemade peppermint patties; here’s a Paleo one with less sugar and fewer ingredients ). I haven’t tried them yet, but it’s a winter break goal of mine.

Why would someone want to make homemade peppermint patties when you could just buy them yourself? Well, as I mentioned, I do love a challenge in the kitchen. I also prefer to make things without a lot of sugar or artificial ingredients for me and my kids, so the second link is more my style anyway.

Getting that peppermint pattie recipe made me wonder what other camp menu items could we try at home over the break to bring some homemade camp-style meals into our home this season? Here is what I came up with:

Streusel Cake

The all-time favorite breakfast at camp! You can go for a boxed cinnamon cake to make things super easy. Or here’s one that’s gluten- and dairy-free that I personally love and it is a fan-fave in my house. If you prefer a classic version try this one from King Arthur Baking.

Mmmm, I can smell this now. Wouldn’t this be perfect for your Christmas morning?

West Virginia Breakfast (biscuits, apples, and sausage)

If you’re more of a savory person in the morning, how about trying our famous biscuits, sausage, and apples breakfast, otherwise known as West Virginia Breakfast?

Mae your own simple baked apples, serve up some of your favorite sausage, and even bake your own biscuits!

Speaking of biscuits, have you ever tried Miss Carrie’s Yeast Rolls? You can grab that recipe on one of our old blog posts about Thanksgiving Dinner. These old timey favorites will surely be a crowd pleaser at your holiday meal!

Chicken Patties

Chicken patties are another all-time camp favorite that can make for a nostalgic yearning-for-camp homemade dish.

Here’s a recipe that is a little different take on them by using up leftover cooked chicken to make the patties! Give it a try and see what your family thinks!


Miss Hazel perfected a Beefaroni recipe, turning it into a camp favorite for generations. Try this one and see if it compares!


In addition to the homemade peppermint patties, there’s always roasting s’mores in your fireplace, fire pit, or heck – your microwave! This is such a fun way to bring camp to life during the off season. Recently my kids decided to make a ‘Ghany S’more and put peppermint patties and peanut butter on the graham crackers with their roast marshmallows. They’re chefs in the making. And it was tasty!!

Something I’ve never tried but would LOVE to is homemade marshmallows. If you make them tell me how they turned out.

But something I HAVE tried is a surprising grain-free dairy-free homemade Oreos and they were a huge hit in my house! I actually made them last year around St. Patrick’s Day and dyed the vanilla cream green. Also check out the lemon cream cookies from the same website. Whip up a batch of both and after your favorite meal enjoy milk and cookies together on Christmas night (or leave some out for Santa!)

Feeling inspired? What might you like to tackle this holiday season? What’s on YOUR holiday menu? I’d love to know — leave your ideas in the comments below.

Happy cooking and happy holidays to everyone!

Elizabeth Shreckhise, Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls

*If you want to learn more about the merits of sleepaway summer camp, download my FREE e-book, 3 Reasons to Begin Your Child’s Sleepaway Summer Camp Experience Early. It’s a great resource to share with friends, or if you are a first-time camp family and you wonder what sleepaway camp would be like for your child. Come join us!