Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Liz Nelson
Gazette Correspondent 

My Favorite Recipes: August 8, 2019


August 8, 2019

Elise is no stranger to Colfax.

“I was born in Colorado, but my family moved here when I was going into the fourth grade,” she said. The daughter of Cary and Patti Cammack, the family first moved to the area when Cary took a part-time job with Jennings Elementary School teaching music. When a full-time position came up, he took it and moved the family to Colfax.

“I’m from Grand Junction, but I don’t remember it at all,” she said. “Four out of the five of us were born there.”

Spending her formative years in Colfax, Elise worked at Tick Klock Pharmacy as a teen and graduated from Colfax High School in 2002 and that fall started at Brigham Young University of Idaho in Rexburg.

In 2005, Elise served a mission through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan. Missionaries through the church do not select their mission locations, but are appointed through a selection referred to as a “calling.”

“I was surprised and a little embarrassed,” she admitted. “I was like, ‘Wait, where’s Taiwan?!’ I couldn’t even believe I was going to learn Chinese.”

She served there for about 18 months before returning to the United States.

“It was an amazing place to be,” she said. “They’re very kind, generous people. It was so much fun to be in a different culture. It was so different from our own. It was a lot of fun.”

Elise returned to BYU-I in 2007 and graduated with a bachelor of arts in interior design in 2009.

“It was hard to get a job,” she said. “It was a difficult time to graduate with that degree because there were no jobs for newbies – everyone wanted five to 10 years of experience.” She worked as a nanny for a while and at a doctor’s office before finally landing her first interior design job with Light Spot Modern Designs in Salt Lake City, Utah, while living in Orem, Utah. It was there she first met her husband, John.

“We met at church,” she said. “More officially, we met when he came over to fix my computer. He still fixes my computer!”

John and his sisters attended the same ward – the specific boundary defined by the church which dictates when and which building members attend church services – and Elise knew who he was, but had not talked to him before.

“I thought he was really nice and should get to know him,” she said.

She began inviting him to movie nights with her roommates and the two became good friends. They started dating shortly after and married on July 29, 2011.

“We just hit the eight-year mark,” she added.

They lived in Pleasant Grove, Utah, before moving to Hayden, Idado, in 2015.

“We always talked about living in the Spokane-area. When we had a chance to move that way it ended up we landed in Hayden and really liked it there. It worked out to come down here to house-sit [for my parents],” Elise said. The Shavers moved to Colfax in June when Elise’s parents left to serve a mission in Scotland. “It’s a long-term house-sitting gig,” she said.

For now, Elise is a stay-at-home mom to her children. Ada is 7, James is 6 and Paxman is 2.

“John had a friend by that name,” she said. “When I was pregnant with him, John suggested it and I really liked it, too. We call him Pax,” she added.”

John is a software developer for Emsi in Moscow.

“They’re growing – they just announced they’re going to build a much larger building because they’re busting at the seams, they don’t have enough desks for everyone they’ve hired so far,” she said. John attended a technical program when he was in high school and is most self-taught. “He did a lot of IT stuff for a while before he got his first development job,” Elise said.

The family just experienced their first camping trip together.

“[The kids are] willing to try new things and love to have adventures. They hadn’t been camping until this summer. We camped Kamiak and hiked, that was new for them. They love new things, sports, anything that’s different. They get it from me – that was part of my journey in my college years. I had a chance to go to Europe and did my interior design internship in NYC. I love to travel and adventure and experience new things,” Elise said.

Elise admits she doesn’t follow recipes when she cooks.

“I grew up with cooking – my parents are both really good cooks, both came from families who cooked all the time.” She added, “I don’t remember ever really not knowing how because it wasn’t like one of my grandparents or parents said, ‘we’re going to learn how to cook.’ It was the way we lived. That’s just the way we grew up.”

The first thing she cooked by herself was chocolate chip cookies. “I don’t remember them being bad,” she said, “so they must have been good!”

At home, Elise says she does the majority of the cooking. “Because I grew up with it being part of what we did in my family, half of my cooking I don’t follow a recipe. I just cook! But, my husband is the opposite – he’s very meticulous and has to follow the recipe exactly. It takes him forever! I think he would cook more if I asked him to. It’s just easier to do it and get it done. I do 95 percent of the cooking. He is good at breakfast – he makes breakfast for the kids. I can give him credit for that,” she said, laughing. “I feel like I used to enjoy cooking more before I became a mother because now it’s more of a chore than it was before. I don’t know that I really enjoy it! We cook a lot of Asian food – we both enjoy that a lot. One thing that he likes to make for me is Thai green curry. He discovered early on when we were dating that I really like green curry. When we were dating he figured out how to make it. For special occasions he will always make it.”

In the future, Elise said she wants to get back into interior design for herself rather than working for a company. “I’m an entrepreneur at heart – I’ve always had the opportunity my whole life to work for small businesses. In high school I worked for Tick’s, the internships in New York were for small businesses, my first interior design job was a small business. I had amazing mentorships from the owners. I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I don’t have a desire to have a firm, but I would love to do something creative and what I’ve been thinking is to do a holiday décor kit kind of business where someone could buy everything they need for Christmas – like for their mantle or their table, all in one kit. Eventually, what I really want to do is design the pieces for the kit and have them manufactured. I’ve always been creative and artistic and would love to design lighting and furniture. That would be my ultimate dream.”


Thai Green Curry

Original Recipe by Kanakum Lawson, tweaked by John Shaver

Elise says, “Some of the ingredients can only be found at an Asian market, and we suggest buying everything but the meat, oil and veggies there! There’s one in Moscow that carries everything you need. And what the Thai lady who helped John learn to make this said about fish sauce: ‘Don’t taste it, don’t smell it - just put it in!’”

2 tbsp canola oil

1 large can coconut


1 large can bamboo

shoot strips

3-4 tbsp grated palm


3-4 kaffir lime leaves

2-3 tbsp green curry

paste (The more you

add, the spicier it gets)

1-1 1/2 lbs chicken or

beef, sliced thin

1 - 2 cups bell peppers,

diced large

1-2 cups broccoli florets

1-2 cups zucchini,

thickly sliced

3 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 cup fresh Thai basil


Heat veggie oil on medium heat in wok or other large pot.

Add green curry paste and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the creamy, top half of the coconut milk and stir fry 3-4 minutes, until bubbly.

Add meat and stir-fry about 5-8 minutes Add the remaining coconut milk and 1⁄2 can water (using coconut milk can). Add bell peppers and broccoli. Drain bamboo shoots and add to pot.

Remove middle stems and veins from lime leaves and add lime leaves, fish sauce, and palm sugar to mix.

Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly. About half way through, add the zucchini. Add fresh basil leaves and remove from heat. Serve over fresh sticky rice (Jasmine is best).

No-fail Chocolate Cake

Adapted by Elise from a recipe on the Add A Pinch blog. Elise says, “This cake works amazingly - Every. Single. Time.”

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened

cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable,

canola oil, or melted

coconut oil

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup unsweetened


3-3/12 cups confection-

er’s sugar

1/4 – 1/3 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring. (I have also used a 9x13 pan and a cookie sheet - just adjust your bake time accordingly.)

For the cake:

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.

Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything gets mixed evenly. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30-35minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the chocolate cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely. Frost and enjoy!

For the Frosting:

Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well combined.

Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer to high speed for about a minute.

Repeat until 3 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup of milk have been added.

Add vanilla extract and combine well. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.

Lemon Dill Coleslaw

By Elise Shaver

Elise says: “I don’t even measure when I make this, so all the amounts are approximate! I came up with this recipe because I don’t like sweet, heavy coleslaw. I wanted something that tasted light and fresh, and that had some awesome dill flavor, which I love. So when you adjust the taste, think fresh, dilly, lemony, not sweet!”

Juice of 2 lemons

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup milk

1-2 tsp granulated gar-


1-2 tsp granulated


1/2 tsp salt

1/2 - 1 tsp freshly

cracked black pepper

1-2 tbsp dill weed

1-2 tbsp sugar

1 bunch green onions,


2 bags pre-shredded

coleslaw mix

In a large mixing bowl toss the coleslaw mix and green onions together. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients. Whisk together until mixed well. Taste and adjust if needed.

Add dressing mix to onion and coleslaw mix and toss until evenly coated. Enjoy! Great on pulled pork sandwiches or on it’s own.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

By Elise Shaver

Elise says: “This one is for when fall arrives.”

1 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, diced

small (or granulated

garlic if you have picky


6-7 large carrots,


3 stalks celery, diced

3-4 garlic cloves,

minced (pre-minced or

garlic powder is fine


4 cans chicken broth

2 cups fresh spinach,

chopped small

2-3 cups shredded

chicken (I like to use

rotisserie chicken)

1 package Gnocchi (or

make homemade, if

you’re feeling really


1 cup cream or half-

and-half or milk

Salt and pepper to


In a large stock pot melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and sautée 7-8 minutes until mostly cooked through.

While veggies are cooking grab another pot, fill it with water and put it on high heat to prep to cook the gnocchi. When veggie mix has cooked through, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, while stirring.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. When the water in the second pot has come to a rolling boil, add half the package of gnocchi and cook according to package directions, about 6-7 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon or tea strainer to remove cooked gnocchi and add it to the broth mixture. Bring the water up to a rolling boil again and cook second half of gnocchi.

This process takes a little extra time, but will cook the gnocchi thoroughly and give it the best texture possible!

When all gnocchi is cooked and added to the broth, add chopped chicken and spinach. Stir to combine. Add cream (or half-and-half or milk). Add pepper and salt to taste. I usually use regular chicken broth and don’t add any salt. Bring to a simmer and serve. We like to dip rustic bread or homemade rolls in ours.


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