JLBR Member Spotlight: Celebrating Hollydays with Renee Skinner

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It’s nearly the most wonderful time of the year – Hollydays! Hollydays is the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s largest fundraiser. Since Hollydays began 32 years ago, it has raised over $6 million dollars for the Baton Rouge community! In the past 32 years, Hollydays has raised over $6 million dollars for the Baton Rouge Community. These funds directly support our community projects: Diaper Cooperative, Kids in the Kitchen, Patient Activity Days, Breast Health Awareness, The Little Bookshelf, Building Blocks to Bright Futures, and Ready Hands.

For many, including this year’s Hollydays Chairman, Renee Skinner, Hollydays is the “kick-off” of the holiday season. With over 200 merchants to browse, Renee says that Hollydays is where “my Christmas shopping officially begins and I officially feel like I move from Summer to Fall. Last year at the Hollydays market I purchased the most beautiful tea towels from a vendor that I used to package my favorite River Road Recipe—the Sugar and Spice Pecans from the Warm Welcomes cookbook.  I make these pecans every Christmas for my neighbors, children’s teachers, doctors, etc. They are so simple to make and always a crowd pleaser. They are great to snack on by themselves, on top of cheese, or even on top of ice cream.   Last year, by wrapping them in the beautiful Christmas tea towels with a pretty ribbon, it made it an even more special gift.  I am not very artistic or crafty, but they turned out beautiful.  Nothing beats a homemade gift.  I can’t wait to see what I can find at Hollydays this year to package them in!”

River Road Recipes:W arm Welcomes Sugar and Spice Pecans, wrapped in a beautiful tea towel Renee purchased at Hollydays last year, make the perfect gift! Photo by Renee Skinner.

River Road Recipes:W arm Welcomes Sugar and Spice Pecans, wrapped in a beautiful tea towel Renee purchased at Hollydays last year, make the perfect gift! Photo by Renee Skinner.

Hollydays 2016 kicks off with Blitzen’s Bash on October 5, 2016 and continues through Saturday, October 8, at the Baton Rouge River Center. We hope you’ll join us for great shopping, entertainment, special events, food, music and more. You can purchase tickets and learn more about some of the special events at this year’s Hollydays at www.hollydays.org.

Sugar and Spice Pecans, RRR IV, p. 255

In addition to making a great gift, these pecans are a great snack for cocktail parties and the like!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 4 cups

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Kitchen Tools:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking Sheet
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Measuring spoons

InGredients:

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

  • 1 pound pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (heaping) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Morton Nature’s Seasons Seasoning Blend
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

Directions:

  1. Toss the pecans with the butter in a bowl Add a mixture of the sugar, brown sugar, seasoning blend, and curry powder to the pecan mixture and mix well.
  2. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 275° for 45 minutes, stirring at 15-minute intervals.
Photo by Jessica McVea.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

3. Remove the pecans to a plate and let stand until cool. Stir in an airtight container.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Bacon Cheese Spread

This yummy appetizer is found in River Road Recipes IV on page 131 and is very quick and easy to make.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes, plus at least 3 hours of refrigeration time

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 8

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Chopping knife and cutting board
  • Nonstick frying pan
  • Food processor (optional)
  • Plastic cling wrap

INGREDIENTS:

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup (about) chopped pecans
  • Assorted party crackers

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Set out the cream cheese to allow it to soften. Using a chopping knife and a cutting board, roughly chop one cup of pecans or use a food processor. Chop the green onions.
  2. Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until creamy. Stir in the bacon, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

3. Shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball and coat with the pecans.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

4. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, for about three hours.

5. Serve with assorted party crackers.

 

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Pepper Jelly Cheese Pâté

This delicious appetizer is found in River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes on page 170 and is very easy to make. Commercially prepared red pepper jelly can be purchased in just about any grocery store or gourmet food store and is typically found on the same aisle as other jellies and jams.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes, plus 3-10 hours of refrigeration time

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 12 to 14

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Chopping knife and cutting board
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-quart loaf pan
  • Food processor (optional)

INGREDIENTS:

img_0699

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 1-2 green onions)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups red pepper jelly
  • 1 sleeve whole wheat crackers

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Spray the 1-quart loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the prepared pan with plastic wrap, allowing enough overhang to cover the pâté (see the picture under step 4 for example) and spray the plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using a chopping knife and a cutting board, roughly chop one cup of pecans or use a food processor. Chop the green onions.
  3. Mix the cheese, mayonnaise, pecans, green onions, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

4.   Pat the cheese mixture into the prepared pan and cover with the plastic wrap. Chill, covered, for 3 to 10 hours.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

5. Invert the pâté onto a serving platter and discard the plastic wrap. Spread the top of the pâté with the pepper jelly, allowing some of the jelly to drizzle down the sides. Serve with the whole wheat crackers.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Caramel Apple Dip

As fall begins to show its face there are many wonderful things that come along with it. Beautiful leaves changing colors, the spirit of football, and the excitement of a new school year all warm our hearts in the fall. If any food makes one think of fall, it’s caramel covered apples. This recipe is an easy way to throw together a delicious dip conveniently for that last minute football party or when the kids decide that your house is the best hangout spot for the night. Although everyone loves a delicious caramel apple, no one enjoys the mess. This dip allows you to have the great taste of caramel apple without the mess! If kids are your crowd, consider also serving this dip with graham crackers, pretzels, ginger snaps, or vanilla wafers.

Caramel Apple Dip RRR Blog

 

Caramel Apple Dip (RRR IV, Warm Welcomes Pg. 184)

  • 4 Granny Smith apples, cut into wedges
  • 4 Red Delicious apples, cut into wedges
  • 2 liters lemon-lime soda
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ (12-ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Toss the apples with the soda in a bowl. Soak, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours. Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a mixing bowl until creamy.

Caramel Apple Dip RRR Blog

Mound the cream cheese mixture in the center of a serving platter. Drizzle with the caramel topping and sprinkle with the pecans. Surround with the apple wedges, alternating the colors.

 

 

Gone in a Minute Bean Dip

With Labor Day weekend quickly approaching, look no further than this Gone in a Minute Bean Dip recipe for a quick and healthy appetizer! Try pairing this bean dip with our delicious Fiesta Dip to give guests and family members a variety of options to choose from.

Gone in a Minute Bean Dip

Photo by Jessica McVea.

Gone in a Minute Bean Dip, River Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection, p. 9

  • One 15-ounce can pinto or great northern beans, no bacon
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup picanté sauce
  • Chopped green onions to garnish

Drain and rinse beans well and blend in food processor along with the garlic, oil, juice, and cumin. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and stir in picanté sauce. Garnish with the green onion tops. Serve with oven-baked chips, pita bread, or raw vegetables, or take it a step further and make your own bagel chips (recipe found in RRR III, page 258)!

Yield: 2 1/2 cups, or 20 servings of 2 tablespoons each

Nutritional Note: This recipe contains 26 calories, 0.9 grams of fat, and 108 mg of sodium per serving. You can reduce the sodium by using freshly cooked beans or simply buying no-salt added canned beans.

Black Olive Dip

While most of us consider Memorial Day weekend the start of summer, the true first day of summer isn’t until June 20th. Although it’s still technically spring, temperatures in south Louisiana are already creeping into the low 90s. With the rise in temperatures and the kids out of school, pool parties, beach trips, and barbecues begin to dominate the social scene. This quick and easy Black Olive Dip recipe works well for any summer occasion and is guaranteed to keep guests coming back for more!

Black Olive Dip

Photo: Jessica McVea

Black Olive Dip (RRR II, page 12)

  • 1 soft, ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon minced onions
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped ripe olives

Peel the avocado and mash. Stir in the onion, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and Tabasco sauce. Beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy and blend well. Stir in the black olives. Chill and serve with your favorite tortilla or pita chips! (Helpful hint: leftover dip can be used as a delicious sandwich filling, as well!)

Fiesta Dip

Fiesta Dip

Photo: Jessica McVea

In celebration of upcoming Cinco de Mayo next week, here is a quick and easy “Fiesta Dip” for the occasion. This recipe is so easy to prepare ahead of time and bring with you to a Cinco de Mayo festivity. It is also a quick treat to prepare at home for family and friends.

Give this recipe a try from our original River Road Recipes I cookbook. We are sure it will be a delight for you, your family, and friends!

 

Fiesta Dip

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese softened

2 tablespoons of cream

3 tablespoons of French dressing

1/3 cup catsup

1 ½ tablespoon grated onion

½ teaspoon salt

Red pepper to taste

Soften cream cheese and add remaining ingredients, blending until smooth. This is very good with raw celery, cauliflower and corn chips. Will server 10 to 12 people.

 

Deviled Eggs

It is that time of year again! Easter is upon us. The birds are singing, the trees are budding, the days are getting longer, and soon the Easter Bunny will arrive. With the Easter Bunny comes the magical tradition of dyed and decorated hard boiled eggs left out for the Easter Bunny to hide and for children to search for with delight. The eggs are a symbol of the rebirth of spring and the end of the Lenten season. Winter has come to an end and nature is bursting alive with newness and color.

Easter Sunday afternoon, after the egg hunts have ended, the colorful eggs are nestled once again in baskets in our kitchens. It is a beloved southern tradition to turn these eggs into “deviled” eggs.

Deviled Eggs Blog Resize Pic

Deviled eggs are a southern staple that never goes out of style. There are even many types of platters, some fancy and some just practical, whose sole purpose is dedicated to displaying and serving deviled eggs (sometimes they are referred to as stuffed eggs). In fact, it is not uncommon for these dishes to be family heirlooms passed down from one generation to the next. Seems as those every southern kitchen has at least one if not two deviled egg plates

River Road Recipes IV has a delicious recipe we are sure that you can use this Easter Holiday.

Deviled Eggs

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 11 ounces cream cheese, softened *
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dill or sweet pickle relish
  • Paprika to taste
  • Pimento-stuffed olives thinly sliced

Cut the eggs horizontally into halves, reserving the yolks and whites. Combine the reserved yolks and cream cheese in a food processor and process until blended. Add the next seven ingredients to the cream cheese mixture and process until smooth. Fold in the pickle relish with a wide-mouth spoon. Using a teaspoon, mound the egg yolk mixture into the reserved egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and top with olive slices.

For variety, divide the egg yolk mixture into 2 equal portions. Add dill pickle relish to one portion and sweet pickle relish to the remaining portion. Sprinkle paprika over the eggs stuffed with sweet relish and sprinkle dill weed (and/or slice olives) over the eggs stuffed with dill relish.

*If preparing less than one dozen eggs, mix 1 ounce of cream cheese per egg yolk.