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.

Hollydays, Shopping for a Cause

Hollydays_Logo_Update_FinalIt’s almost that time of year! Mark your calendars now and join us for Hollydays on October 5 to 8, 2016 at the Baton Rouge River Center. The River Road Recipes Cookbook Committee will be on hand sharing cookbook knowledge, offering samples, presenting cooking demonstrations, and selling all 4 of our beloved books. Check out this year’s special events, information about vendors, and market hours here!

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Farmers Market at Alexander’s Highland Market

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Members of the River Road Recipes cookbook committee will be on hand sharing cookbook knowledge, offering samples of some of our favorite recipes from the River Roads collection, and featuring a cooking demonstration Sunday, October 2, 2016 at the Pop-Up Farmers Market at Alexander’s Highland Market, located at 18111 Highland Market Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Come join us from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Our cookbooks will also be available for sale!

Fireworks on the Levee: A Baton Rouge Tradition

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up, we would celebrate the 4th of July with friends and family, cooking out, soaking up the sun, and of course, setting off fireworks.  My dad would take my brother and me early in the morning to one of those massive firework dealers that seem to spring up overnight around New Year’s Eve and the Fourth, and we would buy an obscene amount of sparklers, roman candles, bottle rockets, and the like. Everyone would gather around after the day’s festivities to ooh and ahh at our firework displays that night, while our miniature schnauzers cowered inside and howled.

Upon moving to Baton Rouge, we discovered the Baton Rouge tradition of watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the banks of the Mississippi River. People arrive downtown early in the morning to claim their spot on the levee and spend the remainder of the day enjoying the nearby festivities, such as the USS KIDD’s July 4th Spectacular or the LSU Museum of Art’s 4th of July Celebration at the Shaw Center, complete with a DJ, cash bar, hotdogs, and jambalaya from Capital City Grill (check out these events and more at Visit Baton Rouge). The fun-filled day culminates with a spectacular fireworks show at 9 pm, sponsored by WBRZ 2 and the USS KIDD. This year, leave the fireworks displays to the pros and come and join us on the levee! You will be  part of a Baton Rouge tradition to remember, and, more importantly, our schnauzers will thank you.

Corn and Black Bean Salad, Warm Welcomes – RRR IV

Of course, no Fourth of July celebration would be complete without a fabulous meal. Warm Welcomes – River Road Recipes IV, features an entire suggested menu to enjoy while watching the fireworks on the levee. One of my favorites from this menu is the Corn and Black Bean Salad, found on page 229. It is cool, colorful, and flavorful, with just the right amount of kick from the jalapenos and spicy cilantro dressing.

The bright, fresh summer vegetables featured in this salad add the perfect pop of color to your 4th of July menu. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

The bright, fresh summer vegetables featured in this salad add the perfect pop of color to your 4th of July menu. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Spicy Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Salad

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced green onions
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
Corn and Black Bean Salad. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Corn and Black Bean Salad. Photo by Lauren De Witt.

For the dressing, combine the corn oil, vinegar, cilantro, lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, and chili powder in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and seal tightly. Shake to mix.

For the salad, combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, red onion, jalapeno chiles, and garlic in a bowl and mix gently. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Chill, covered, for 6 to 10 hours. Spoon into a salad bowl and garnish with sprigs of cilantro and/or red onion wedges.

Serves 8.

Red Stick Farmer’s Market

Join us this Saturday, March 5th from 8:00am until noon at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market!

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Members of the River Road Recipes cookbook committee will be on hand sharing cookbook knowledge, offering samples of  https://jlbrriverroadrecipes.com/2016/02/03/potato-chip-cookies/ & Pecan Pie Muffins…..  and of course, selling all 4 of our beloved books.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend and the Red Stick Farmers Market is a wonderful way to grab a cookbook along with some fresh ingredients to whip up something special for dinner later that evening.

Also, if you, or someone you know is missing the  RRR III: A Healthy Collection cookbook, get one NOW. We are down to the very last copies of that particular cookbook and unsure of when they will be reprinted. Don’t miss the opportunity to complete your set before III is retired for a bit!

 We hope to see you Saturday! Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello.