Cinnamon Cookies

With Mardi Gras coming up, I thought these cinnamon cookies would be perfect to bring to a party or a parade snack! I added some Mardi Gras colored sprinkles to make them more festive! I would recommend greasing the pan before baking, they did stick to the pan.

Cinnamon Cookies, RRR 1, pg 193


    2 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    2 egg yolks
    1 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    4 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 egg whites
    1 cup chopped nuts


Set oven to 300 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Spread thin on an ungreased cookie sheet. Over this spread two egg whites stiffly beaten. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake for 40 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

Below is a photo of the finished cookie!

Orange Champagne Cocktail

This past Saturday I hosted a game-day/watch party for the LSU game. I selected the Orange Champagne cocktail drink for the crowd and it was a HIT; especially for a Day game!

Orange champagne cocktail, RRR 4, pg 97


  • 2 quarts Champagne, chilled
  • 2 quarts ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 quart of orange juice, chilled
  • 2 pints of fresh strawberries
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the champagne, ginger ale, and orange juice in a large pitcher and mix well. Pour into champagne flutes and top each serving with some of the sliced strawberries.
      Makes 15 (4 oz) servings

    Here are some photos of the drinks! They were so good and great for a party! I served with a platter of strawberries out for guests to add to their drinks.

    Adult Bento Lunch Box

    First off, I’ll explain what a Bento box is incase you are unaware like I was.

    Courtesy of Merian Webster:

    Definition of bento box: a multicompartment box used for containing the different courses of a usually Japanese lunch

    Here is a cute bento box I found at Albertsons locally in Baton Rouge

    The first item I have chosen is:

    Bagel Chips from RRR 3, pg. 258


    • 6 bagels
    • Non-stick butter flavored cooking spray


    Slice bagels as thin as possible, approximately 6 slices per bagel. Places slices on ungreased cookie sheet. Spray moderately with cooking spray. Add salt, onion, garlic, etc, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

    Makes 18 servings of 2 chips.

    I have selected cinnamon sugar mini bagels and here is a picture of my bagels.

    To pair with the bagel chips, I have selected:

    Sweet cream cheese with peanuts

    RRR 3, pg. 30


    • 8 ounces of light cream cheese
    • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1/3 cup of chopped dry roasted peanuts
    • 3 or more apples, cut into wedges


    Combine first three ingredients and mix together well. Gold in peanuts. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with slices of apple as a spread.

    Serving size: 25 servings of 1 apple wedge and 1 tablespoon dip

    Here is a picture of the spread.

    The last item I have chosen for the box is:

    Asian Chicken Wraps, RRR 4, pg 265



    • 1 cup canola oil
    • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons minced ginger root
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cracked red pepper


    • 1 rotisserie chicken
    • 1 cup chopped cabbage
    • 1 cup chow Mein noodles
    • 1/2 cup shredded almonds
    • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
    • 4 green onions chopped
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
    • 4-6 large tortilla wraps


    For the dressing, combine the canola oil, vinegar, ginger root, soy sauce, garlic, sugar and red pepper in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves.

    I have added pictures of the ingredients below.

    Here is the minced ginger root.

    Here is the dressing mixed together.

    Now for the wraps, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Combine the chicken, cabbage, noodles, almonds, bell peppers, green onions, and sesame seeds in a bowl and mix well. Add the dressing to the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Spread the cabbage mixture over the tortillas and roll to enclose the filling. Wrap each roll individually in baking parchment paper and secure with tape. Cut each wrap diagonally into halves.

    Serves 4-6

    Here are the almonds and sesame seeds toasting. Be careful because the almonds are easy to burn! They should be light brown.

    This is what the mix should look like.

    Add the mix to the tortilla then close up the wrap!

    Here is the finished wrap.

    Here’s a few pictures of the bento box put together!

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

    Bread Pudding. So, so yummy. Deep in history as a frugal way of making use of stale bread so there was no waste. That is part of our Creole and Cajun heritage here in Louisiana; make use of everything our bounty has to offer. The outcome are wonderful dishes such as: Gumbo, Jambalaya, Boudin, and Bread Pudding.

    Though Bread Pudding recipes date back centuries world wide, Louisiana is renown for its ever so many varieties of the dish. You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant here that doesn’t serve it as a dessert. The variations are endless with fruits, nuts, fruit cocktail, many different sauces, and other spices and indulgences.

    In River Road Recipes III: A Healthy Collection, we have a recipe for Low-Cal Bread Pudding, on page 231. It is tempting and delicious without the guilt with only 249 calories per serving! Try our recipe. We are sure that your family and guests will love having a touch of our Louisiana culture served to them with our healthy twist.

    We would like to extend a special thanks to the Photographer and Food Blogger, Teresa B. Day,, for the beautiful pictures.

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day

    Low-Cal Bread Pudding, RRR III, page 231, Photo by Teresa Day


    • 8 slices thin light white bread
    • 1 stick light margarine, melted
    • 1 cup egg substitute
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • Two 12-ounce cans evaporated skim milk
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


    Toast bread on both sides and crumble into small pieces. Put the crumbled bread into a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Pour melted margarine over the crumbs. Beat together egg substitute and sugar; add milk and spices. Pour milk mixture over the crumbs; let stand until crumbs absorb some of the liquid. Stir in raisins and extract. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until light brown and set in the middle. Serve warm with a scoop of light whipped topping or top with a scoop of vanilla yogurt.

    Per Serving     249 Cal     5.3 Fat(g)     18% Fat Cal     1 Sat Fat(g)     3 Chol(mg)     218 Sod(mg)

    Yields 12 servings


    Laura Bellone: The Artist Behind The Art


    Raised in Louisiana with two artistic parents, it’s no surprise that Laura Bellone developed a passion for art and painting at an early age. Trained as a landscape architect, Laura continued to paint as a hobby until she felt inspired to open Petite Louisiane – small, affordable art that can fit anywhere in a home or office.  Laura paints what she feels is the most nostalgic connection for her and her clients: the sights and sounds of beautiful Southern Louisiana.  From boiled seafood to swamps and cypress trees, Laura’s art evokes what it feel’s like to be a part of the rich culture of southern Louisiana. We are excited to introduce you to her and hope that you will pick up a copy of the updated RRR III and one of Laura’s prints at Hollydays. 


    A little Q & A with Laura:

    Where did you attend college and what did you study?
    LSU, College of Landscape Architecture, BLA 2006

    How did you get started as an artist?
    I started taking art classes in high school but have always had a passion for drawing and painting even at a young age.    Both of my parents are teachers but also have an artistic side, so I grew up around the arts. Petite Louisiane was created a few years ago when I started painting miniature paintings as gifts.  My friends encouraged me to sell them at a local Mid-city event and it just took off from there.


    What inspires you?
    My surroundings: nature and the sights of everyday Louisiana life.  The illustrations for the cookbook depict iconic landmarks or scenes from southern Louisiana.  Everyone has a nostalgic connection to at least one of those places, so I wanted to help bring those memories to life.   I love to hear the stories clients tell me as they are buying or ordering a piece.  They will walk up and pick up a painting and tell me how it reminds them of a family home, grandparent, or just a great childhood memory.   I also keep affordability in mind; I want everyone to be able to enjoy the paintings so the majority of my original works ranges from $25- $50.  It’s bright pop of color that fits on a desk or shelf!

    How did you decide you wanted to partner with the Junior League to provide the artwork for RRR?
    A friend approached me with the idea for the project and I thought it would be a good way to challenge myself as an artist.  Once I spoke to League members about the theme they wanted to portray, I instantly knew the style of sketches I wanted to create for the book


    Do you have a favorite piece of art from the cookbook? If so, what is it and why?
    It is hard to pick just one.  I feel like every time I finished one if became my favorite until I completed the next one.  I pushed myself a little further with each image.

    What are some of your favorite dishes to make? 
    My favorite dish,  is one that I am still trying to perfect, my great grandmother’s Spaghetti and Meatballs.   She taught my grandmother, and my grandmother taught my mom and her sister, and then taught me and my sister.  I haven’t quite gotten it just right yet, but I’m close. All of my favorite dishes are ones from my childhood, from homemade baked macaroni to roast and daube.


    Who taught you to cook and what are some of your favorite memories around the kitchen?
    My mom, dad and grandmother taught me how to to cook.  My grandmother taught us the recipes passed down from her mother.   My dad liked to create dishes on the fly.   He rarely followed a recipe and went with his gut on what went into the dish,  it was always delicious and sometimes rather creative in presentation.

    What is your favorite River Road Recipe?
    Crawfish Étouffée


    We hope you have enjoyed reading more about Laura and viewing some of her incredible works of art. Visit her website and Instagram to see more. Don’t forget Hollydays is just around the corner!

    River Road Recipes at Hollydays

    We are ready and raring to go for Hollydays and excited to see everyone at our booth. Here are some of the recipes from RRR IV you will find when you visit our booth in just a few short weeks.

    River Road Recipes IV, Warm Welcomes, our newest addition, illustrates how we cook, eat and live in Baton Rouge. It features 48 menus, with over 300 innovative recipes, and color photographs to assist with all of your entertaining needs. A USA Book News “Best Books 2005” Award Finalist, Cookbook Category.

    River Road Recipes I, II and III are all included in the Walter S. McIlhenny Community Cookbook Hall of Fame. The real winner, however, is the Baton Rouge community, which has benefited from more than $3 million derived from cookbook sales and donated by the Junior League of Baton Rouge to local charitable and educational projects.


    Photography by Lauren De Witt

    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


    • 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.

    • 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


    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.

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

    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.


    Photography by Lauren De Witt

    Fool’s Toffee

    This foolishly easy treat is found in River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes on page 235. Check out our original post here!

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes refrigeration time

    Level of Difficulty: Easy

    Servings: 8 to 12


    • Measuring cups and spoons
    • Wooden spoon
    • 10×17 inch baking pan
    • Aluminum foil
    • Saucepan
    • Food processor or chopping knife and cutting board
    • Butter knife or metal cake spatula

    INGREDIENTS:Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    • 36 to 40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
    • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
    • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans


    1. Gather your kitchen tools and prepare your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350°. Using a food processor or a chopping knife and cutting board, roughly chop 1/2 to 1 cup of pecans and set aside.
    2. Line a 10×17-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with butter. Arrange the crackers in a single layer with sides touching in the prepared pan.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    3. Combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    4. Pour the butter mixture over the crackers. Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture evenly over the crackers.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    5. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes or until the chocolate chips soften. Spread the chocolate evenly over the prepared layers using a butter knife or metal cake spatula.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.

    6. Sprinkle with the pecans and press lightly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Break into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

    Photo by Lauren De Witt.


    Photography 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


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


    • 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


    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.

    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.

    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.

    To Market We Go!

    Join the ladies of River Road Recipes this Saturday, September 30 at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market from 8:00 am until noon.  We will have all four of our books in stock, including the newly reprinted River Road Recipes III. Stop by our both at the market on the corner of Fifth and Main in downtown Baton Rouge to sample one of our Potato Chip Cookies or Pecan Pie Muffins and get an early start on your holiday shopping.


    Potato Chip Cookies

    This sweet and salty treat is found in River Road Recipes II: A Second Helping on page 210.


    Photograph by Aimee Broussard 

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes

    Level of Difficulty: Medium

    Servings: 9-10 dozen


    • Measuring cups and spoons
    • Wooden spoon
    • Mixing bowl
    • Electric mixer (optional)
    • Cookie sheet



    Photograph by Lauren De Witt

    • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter (note: best with butter, but margarine and butter flavoring may be used)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups crushed potato chips (such as Lay’s Original)
    • Powdered sugar (to taste)


    1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350°. Using an electric mixer or by hand (phew!) beat the butter until light and fluffy. This will take a long time! (Note: Try setting your butter out on the counter to soften for about 30 minutes to make the process easier. Do not try to speed the process up by microwaving the butter, however. If the butter is too soft, your cookies will not hold their shape upon cooking.)
    2. Add sugar to the butter and beat well.

    Photography by Lauren De Witt

    3. Add vanilla and flour gradually and mix.


    Photograph by Lauren De Witt

    4. Crush potato chips with your hands and add them, mixing well.


    Photograph by Lauren De Witt

    5. Drop batter from teaspoon onto cookie sheets.


    Photograph by Lauren De Witt

    6. Bake at 350° until slightly brown. The cookie baking time will vary dependent on oven type (conduction versus convection) and climate but will typically take between 8-12 minutes. Monitor carefully at 9 minutes. 

    7. Sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar and enjoy!


    Photograph by Aimee Broussard

    Taco Soup: The Perfect Weeknight Dinner

    As school bells ring signaling the start of a new year, families everywhere will be faced with the weeknight dinner struggle.  Taco Soup is an easy, hearty, crowd pleaser that can be prepared quickly, mostly with ingredients from your pantry.  While the instructions state an hour-long simmering period, this recipe can be prepared in advance or left to simmer on the stove while homework is conquered.  Double the recipe and freeze the leftovers of this delicious dish for the first fall chill.  Tailor the toppings listed or add your own favorites to please everyone in your family.  Best of all, the preparation of this dish only dirties ONE POT making cleanup a breeze!


    Photo by Jennifer Henry

    Taco Soup (RRR IV pg. 45)


    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles, Italian-style tomatoes or Mexican-style tomatoes
    • 1 can while kernel corn, drained
    • 1 can Ranch-style beans or pinto beans with jalapeno chiles
    • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
    • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • Garlic powder to taste
    • Tabasco sauce to taste


    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    • ½ cup chopped green onions
    • ½ cup sliced jalapeno chiles
    • ½ cup sliced black olives
    • 1 avocado, chopped


    Brown the ground beef with the onion in a large saucepan, stirring until the ground beef is crumbly; drain.  Stir in the undrained tomatoes, corn, undrained beans, seasoning mix, dressing mix, chili powder, garlic powder and Tabasco sauce.  Bring to a boil; reduce the heat.

    Cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Ladle the soup into bowls.  Serve with the sour cream, cheese, green onions, jalapeno chiles, olives and avocado.

    Serves 6.

    Baked Cauliflower

    After a long day I am sometimes at a loss for what side dish to prepare to accompany my main dish. Last week I turned to my mother, a former Junior League member, for assistance. Of course she knew exactly what I needed based solely on her knowledge of the River Road Recipe books and what I told her I had in my kitchen. Below is the easy and crowd pleasing Baked Cauliflower that saved the day!

    From River Road Recipes I, page 53.


    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 40 minutes

    Level of Difficulty: Medium

    Servings: 4-6


    • Measuring cups and spoons
    • Wooden spoon
    • Sauce pan
    • Small pot
    • Glass baking dish



    • 1 head of cauliflower
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento
    • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
    • 1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
    • 1 tablespoon grated cheese, or more to taste


    1. Cook the whole cauliflower in boiling salt water for about 20 minutes. Drain and place in baking dish.

    IMG_8196 (1).jpg

    2. Melt Butter in small skillet. Add flour and stir until blended. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Add salt, pepper, pimento, and green onions. Blend.


    3. Pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and grated cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until slightly browned.


    Sustainer Spotlight & Event: Kitchen Tours with Helen Bolin


    What: The Junior League of Baton Rouge’s Kitchen Tours event is a self-guided tour of six beautifully appointed kitchens in Baton Rouge.

    When: Sunday, April 2, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m.

    Cost: $20 General Admission. Tickets include admission to all six homes on the tour! A limited number of $100 VIP Tickets are also available that include brunch and a limo bus to bring you to each home, and other goodies from our sponsors.

    The Deets: We are especially excited to announce that this year’s Kitchen Tours will showcase the gorgeous kitchen of one of our Sustainer Members, Helen Bolin. You can read about Helen’s Garden District kitchen-remodel here! Incidentally, Helen’s mother, Mrs. Prentice Bolin, was also a Junior League member, and she contributed several recipes to our much loved River Road Recipes I cookbook, from a refreshing Pineapple Fizz  (p. 8) to delicious Fluffy Dumplings (p. 42)! The Junior League has also joined forces with Acadian House Kitchen + Bath Design and Stone Baton Rouge for this fabulous event that you will not want to miss! 

    Buy Tickets Here