Consumer Science teacher shares her fall favorites

by Greta Kelderman/

With the season changing to fall, Family and Consumer Science teacher, Dr. Pamela Vande Voort is soaking in the season in her free time and in the classes  she teaches. 

Teaching students is Vande Voort’s passion and she loves to help build students’ skills for a lifetime of service in God’s kingdom. She enjoys building relationships with students and guiding them to choose wisely in every situation. 

“In  Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) courses I love teaching students life skills: SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer), building relationships, health and fitness, being a responsible consumer, caring for children, food and nutrition, cooking, textiles, sewing, purchasing and caring for clothing, housing and the environment, and interior design,” says Vande Voort. 

Vande Voort is working on incorporating the changing of each season into her classes. The housing and interior design class is enjoying time outside while looking at Pella’s historical houses and looking at different kinds of windows on the school building. The creative living class is celebrating pork month by making some delicious bacon wrapped BBQ pork loin strips. And finally, the child development class is already getting ready for Christmas by partnering with Operation Christmas Child to bless a child with a gift.

As Dr. Vande Voort incorporates the season into her classes. She is also enjoying the season outside of teaching.

“There are so many things that I love about this season of the year: watching the leaves turn brilliant colors, walking through crisp fallen leaves, raking leaves, doing the final lawn mowing, cutting and saving dried seed heads from marigolds and zinnias from our garden to plant next spring, harvesting garden produce, watching the combine harvest corn and soybeans, and walking and gleaning corn from the corn field for squirrels for a winter treat,” says Vande Voort.

Vande Voort loves to prepare comfort food and drinks for the season. Hot Cranberry and Apple Punch and Scrumptious Sugar Cookies are some of her favorites to make in this fall season. Below are her recipes.

Hot Cranberry and Apple Punch

  • 1 qt. cranberry juice
  • 1 ½ qt. apple juice
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar 
  • ½ t. salt
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves


  • Pour fruit juices into a 12-cup coffee maker.  Place remaining ingredients in the coffee basket.  Cover and plug in.  Complete the cycle as for coffee making.  Remove the basket as soon as the perking stops; discard spices.  Serve in heated mugs.  Yield:  8 -10 servings  ~ Enjoy!

Scrumptious Sugar Cookies

  • 1 c. butter (use only salted butter)
  • 1 c. cooking oil
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 4 c., plus 1 T. flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. cream of tartar
  • 1 t. soda


  • Cream together butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and oil until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time.  Beat after the addition of each egg.
  • Add vanilla.
  • In another bowl, sift together: flour, salt, cream of tartar, and soda.
  • Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture a little at a time, mixing well between additions.  
  • Turn the mixer to high speed and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Fill a medium size cookie scoop with cookie dough and place the cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.  12 cookies per cookie sheet. 
  • Press each cookie lightly with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar.
  • Bake in a 375 degree oven for approximately 9 minutes or until the sides of the cookie turn golden brown.  Watch closely and do not overbake.
  • Place the cookie sheet filled with baked cookies on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a cooling rack covered with paper towels and continue to cool. 
  • This cookie also makes a delicious base for mini fruit pizzas.  Use a large size cookie scoop and bake six cookies on a cookie sheet. 

Yield:  Approximately 4 dozen cookies.  ~ Enjoy!


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