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What Could Be Special About February

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Winter SceneWhen most of us think of the month of February, at least in the northern hemisphere, we think of cold dreary days barely warmed by the sun which still sets early. We realize, however, that it is a short month and will soon give way to March, which is sometimes better…sometimes. But February is an important month with several things to celebrate. So cheer up! Let’s have some fun with this!

February 1st of every year is recognized as “National Freedom Day”. It celebrates “freedom from slavery” which was signed into effect by Abraham Lincoln.

February 2nd is “National Groundhog Day”. Whether we can trust him or not, Punxsutawney, the famous groundhog, awakens from his long winter nap and goes outside to see if he can see his shadow. If he does, that means there will be six more weeks of winter. If this is the case, he retrieves back into his den and goes back to sleep. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he remains outside to play. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has been chosen as the place to celebrate this momentous occasion. No doubt, by February 2nd, Pennsylvanians are ready for spring.

February 3rd is called “The Day the Music Died” Day. Three singers, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) died in an airplane accident on February 3, 1959 near Clear Lake, Iowa. “The day the music died” is a line in Don McLean’s hit song, American Pie.

February 5th is “National Wear Red Day” to recognize that heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women.

February 8th is “National Boy Scouts Day”. Boys across America have been doing good deeds, learning survival skills and developing a moral foundation through this organization since 1910.

February 14th is, of course, “Valentine’s Day”, the day you buy chocolates, roses, strawberries and take your sweetie to a nice dinner. Or something like that. However, the entire month of February is recognized as “Creative Romance Month” where you are urged to create a special surprise to show your love to your special someone. We think you should show your love every day of the year. (And we hope that you will choose to stay with us at The Stockade Bed and Breakfast and enjoy one of our Romance Packages.)

• The 3rd Monday in February, which falls on February 15th this year, is “Presidents Day” and is set aside to honor all of the past United States Presidents that have served our country.

• The 3rd Friday in February, which falls on February 19th this year, is “National Caregivers Day”. It honors health care professionals, particularly those who serve people requiring long-term or hospice care.

• The last day in February is recognized as “Rare Disease Day USA” to raise awareness about rare diseases and the impact they have on people’s lives. However, this year the last day in February, the 29th, is “Leap Day”, occurring only once every 4 years, and will undoubtedly outshine Rare Disease Day. Leap Day is the day that women, who have been, to no avail, waiting for a proposal, can take matters into their own hands and propose to their guys. The Stockade will be waiting to hear from all those fellows who say “Yes” and are ready to begin planning their weddings. Click to view our Hacienda Wedding Package.

Every day of the year has a special designation, and as one person put it, “Why can’t we have a National Buy Car Parts Day?” Why not? We cannot end this article without mentioning some of our other favorites, which also occur in February:

National Heavenly Hash Day
National Thank a Mailman Day
National Fettuccini Alfredo Day (was first created to help a person eat who had no appetite)
National Clean Out Your Computer Day
National Toothache Day
National Make a Friend Day
National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day (Think positive thoughts today.)
National Ferris Wheel Day (To honor the first drawing, sketched on a napkin in a restaurant.)
National Do A Grouch a Favor Day (Go ahead, it will make you feel better.)
National Drink Wine Day (As if any wine lover needs permission.)
National Lash Day (to promote the need for false eyelashes)
National Love Your Pet Day (hopefully you love your pet every day)
National Cook a Sweet Potato Day (Why not?)
National Dog Biscuit Day
National Tell a Fairy Tale Day
National Public Sleeping Day (On this day, you can take a nap anywhere in public.)

Who comes up with these things anyway????


Beef Brisket Slow-Cooked and Oh So Tender

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The secret to tender brisket is slow cooking in the oven with a marinade of your choice.  Even a bottle of beer can make a brisket delicious and tender. After cooking, you may put it on the pit to get the smoked char on the outside or just serve straight from the oven.  You can put it in the fridge overnight and slice it the next day and reheat in the oven.  But, remember, the brisket is a tricky cut of meat and you must slice across the grain if you want slices.  If not, you can pull the meat and serve it as “pulled brisket.”  Either way, it is delicious.

JD’s Brisket Marinade

Depending upon how many pounds of meat you are cooking, you may need to double this recipe.  But for 1 brisket that is approximately 8 lbs, this should be enough.

Mix together:

1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T soy sauce
2 medium onions cut up
8 cloves garlic chopped

Buy brisket pre-trimmed or trim before cooking to remove excess fat.  Season with Tony Chachere’s seasoning, garlic powder, basil, thyme and oregano.  Place in pan deep enough to accommodate brisket with liquid poured over it.  Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in 325 degree oven for 3 to 4 hours.  Cool.

You may make gravy from the liquid that it is cooked in.  I use the fat skimmed from the top and pre-browned flour to make the roux.  Pour in the liquid and cook till thick.  You can put in some beef bouillon for extra flavor.

This is a great dish for New Year’s Eve or the day before a party because you can cook ahead and serve in a chaffer.  Enjoy the party!!!

Joyce DeLerno’s Pecan Pie

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Pecan Pie PhotoEverybody has their own family recipes that bring back fond memories. My mom’s pecan pie was always one of my favorites and she did a couple of things different than other recipes that I’ve read. The use of the maple flavored syrup mixed with the light corn syrup gives it a slightly different flavor. Mom used Log Cabin syrup, but it is no longer available. I now use Mrs. Butterworth’s Original. You could use real maple syrup also if you are so inclined. Using chopped pecans gives a more crunchy top. I use Pillsbury pie crust as I don’t have the time to make crust from scratch. But, the flavor and texture of this pie is wonderful and I hope you enjoy it as much as the DeLerno family does. Thanks for the memories Mom! We miss you.

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup maple flavored syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups chopped pecans
Pastry pie shell

Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth
Add syrups, extract & salt and blend until smooth
Fold in pecans
Pour into 9 inch deep pie shell brushed with egg whites to prevent sogginess
Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until golden brown with filling set
Delicious plain or served with vanilla ice cream on top

Happy Notes by Greer – Highland Nights 2015

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tiger eye acrylicA new artist to The Stockade for Highland Nights on November 13th will be Happy Notes by Greer, a creative company specializing in greeting cards, notecards, stationery, invitations and prints. The style is colorful-simplicity with a touch of whimsy. The Mississippi-based company formed in February 2015 is owned and operated by the mother-daughter team of Stacey and Greer Andrews.

tags, sleighGreer, now a junior in college, is the creative person behind Happy Notes. Her talent can be traced back to at least the second grade when she was the recipient of the “handwriting award” at her school. She has always drawn and doodled, and even created her own fashion line when she was twelve.

Rudolph Christmas CardIn late 2014, at the urgence of her mother, she began thinking of a business that would use her talents. Since she had always written cards and letters to friends and family, it seemed only appropriate that she pursue something in the stationery and greeting card industry.

T-Shirt Happy House GraphicShe began producing greeting cards and stationery using pen, paint and watercolor. Now, just shy of one year in operation, Happy Notes are available in 16 retail locations across Mississippi.

While the cards remain the focus of the business, Greer has branched out into acrylic canvas paintings. She also produces a monthly T-shirt design – shirts available for purchase on the web site.
instagram @happynotesbygreer

Ornament Christmas Card       Christmas card Bright Lights

Lee Maxwell and Miriam Maxwell Juban – Highland Nights 2015

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single oysterBrother and sister, Lee Maxwell and Miriam Maxwell Juban, will be at The Stockade Bed and Breakfast on November 13th for Highland Nights with Louisiana oysters. These will not be edible, but handcrafted items of Louisiana oyster half shells (coquille d’huite Louisiana). They are beautiful keepsakes to hold your own special treasures like earrings, rings or of oysters

This particular part of Highland Road where Highland Nights takes place is memorable for Lee and Miriam. Their parents had a drugstore on Highland Park Drive and Maxwell Drugs on Highland at the gates of LSU.

single oyster 2       2 oysters

Butter Toffee

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ToffeeThe most difficult thing about this Butter Toffee is not eating it all before you give some away.

*Necessary Equipment: Candy Thermometer*



• 16 ounces Butter, melted
• 16 ounces Granulated Sugar (about 2 ¼ cups)
• 3 ounces Water
• 1 teaspoon Salt
• 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
• 16 ounces Chopped Toasted Nuts (8 ounces if you only will coat one side)
• 24 ounces Tempered Dark Chocolate for coating, melted (12 ounces if you will only coat one side)

Preparation Instructions
Combine butter, sugar, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring gently, under candy thermometer registers 298 degrees.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla until well combined.
Pour the mixture onto a silicone baking mat or good parchment paper. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to spread quickly before the toffee sets. Spread thin.
Allow toffee to cool completely. Blot to remove excess oil from the surface. Coat surface with the melted chocolate (use half of the melted chocolate if you will coat both sides) and immediately sprinkle with topping.
Optional, if you want chocolate and nuts on both sides: When chocolate has totally set, carefully flip over (it’s okay if it falls apart a bit and coat the other side with the rest of the chocolate. Sprinkle on topping.
When set, break into bite-sized pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Sandy Engles of The Purple Sage – Highland Nights 2015

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Sandy EngelsSandy Engels of The Purple Sage will join us at The Stockade for Highland Nights on Friday, November 13, 2015.

Sandy’s tagline is, “Wise Skincare with a Bit of Southern Sass”. She feels this is a good philosophy for her and her products. Sandy’s company, Purple Sage, is a touch of Sass (think purple), Wisdom (that’s the Sage), and Rebel (that’s Sandy, the owner).Commando_

Ever since Sandy was a child, she wanted to make soap.  She describes her fascination with that project in her bio on her website, The Purple Sage.

In addition to hand blended soaps, her company makes lotions, creams for pain discomfort, foot creams, foaming milk baths, bath fizzies, facial toners, sugar scrubs, room sprays, body sprays, laundry powder, and dishwasher cubes.

Visit Sandy at The Stockade during Highland Nights to see and purchase her products.

Lavender-Mist_    Body-Butter_    Lavender-Mint_

Debbie Buco – Empty Nest Pottery – Highland Nights 2015

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Debbie Buco of Empty Nest Pottery in Baton Rouge will be at The Stockade for Highland Nights on November 13, 2015.  She has been doing business as Empty Nest Enterprises, LLC since 2009.

8 Debbie BucoDebbie fell in love with clay while taking classes in throwing on the wheel at LSU. (No, not after watching that steamy film scene in “Ghost” which everyone always asks her about!). Debbie says, “Working with clay on a potter’s wheel is like a dance – trying to ‘lead’ the clay into the form that you envision without having the whole thing collapse into a pile of mush. It is one of the most satisfying and the most frustrating things that I have ever done. My goal is to become the best potter that I can be and to create beautiful functional forms from the clay. I make pottery by throwing on a potter’s wheel or by hand building, or by combining these techniques.”

Butterfly VaseThe process of making pottery consists of forming clay on the wheel or by hand, trimming the piece, adding surface decoration, bisque firing, glazing, and the final glaze firing.

ProcessSurface decoration has become a major component of my work with clay. I love to draw and then carve designs into different color underglazes on a piece. I have been using the sgraffito and mishima techniques to draw Louisiana wildlife. Some of my favorites are pelicans, alligators, herons, ducks, and of course, chickens!

Green Plate1Sgraffito is Italian for “scratching” and the design is carved with a very small V-shaped tool. This is like drawing backwards because I remove the background underglaze revealing the white clay body. The picture is what is left uncarved.

Mishima results in a fine line drawing done in black underglaze on the piece of pottery. To achieve this effect, I use a very sharp pointed tool to draw my picture into the leather hard clay. The black underglaze is inlayed into the crevice and then wiped away with a damp sponge. After bisque firing, additional underglaze colors are hand painted on to create a water color effect.

All of my pottery is glazed in lead free and food safe glazes.

I also make clergy stoles — those beautiful things that pastors and priests wear around their necks during church services! I will be opening an Etsy shop called Heart, Mind, and Stole soon to showcase these.

Photo 2There are many potters who are making many beautiful things! The wonderment of it is that each of us could use the same clay, the same tools, glazes, and underglazes, and yet, create vastly different kinds of art. I think my work is unique because it showcases the life that I live here in Louisiana. I love the outdoors and wildlife and I try to share that beauty with others through my pottery.

Pottery is both exhilarating and frustrating. It is a complex and constant journey toward meeting my own expectations as a ceramic artist. I am grateful to have the opportunity to play in clay every day. Creating makes me happy!”


Debbie was born and raised in Baton Rouge. She received her BS degree from LSU in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling, +30 in Gifted Education. She took pottery throwing lessons while at LSU. Debbie taught elementary and middle school gifted students in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes for 28 years before retiring in 2009.

In addition to seeing Debbie and her work at The Stockade during Highland Nights, you can see her pottery at the Baton Rouge Arts Market, held downtown on the 1st Saturday of every month and the first 3 Saturdays in December; Lagniappe Gallery, and Knits by Nana (knitting bowls only).

Debbie has visited India and wandered through the Taj Mahal (in 112 degree blistering sunshine!). She has snorkeled off of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. She also walked through the Daintree Rainforest there. She has given birth to and raised 4 delightful sons and has 3 equally delightful grandchildren. Debbie raises hens (who provide delicious breakfasts)! She wrote an archeology activity guide about Poverty Point entitled “Expeditions”, which includes lessons and activities to help students learn about the prehistoric culture in northeastern Louisiana. Poverty Point was recently chosen to be a World Heritage site! Check it out—it’s in your local library! She and her husband are beekeepers and have 5 hives in their side yard. They occasionally make mead – a honey wine. Their peach ginger mead is awesome!


Jeana Esser Edgeful Art – Highland Nights 2015

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Jeana Esser Closeup PhotoJeana Esser will be displaying and offering for sale her artwork at The Stockade during Highland Nights on November 13, 2015.

According to Jeana, Jeana Esser Edgeful Art is an appropriate descriptive title for her company as she describes her art as “edgy”. She is also responsible for Uncle Bud Productions, which is all about her famous icon, Uncle Bud (who she will let remain a bit of a mystery for now). She is a local Baton Rouge artist and she paints things that move her. Everything she paints has gotten in her head for some reason or another and has an importance.

Jeana is a talented Visual Art teacher at Woodlawn High School. In addition, she is a local artist, teacher, musician, and writer (contributing writer for Town Favorites), she is an animal lover, dogs primarily, but recently she has been captivated by hummingbirds due to the long hours she has spent looking out of her kitchen window.

Her inspiration comes from a plethora of sources. She recreates many of her father’s vintage photographs in her own context, taking liberties with color and scale. She often exaggerates perspectives as well. Much of her paintings, drawings, and sculptures are of a whimsical nature, thus fueling her love of finding humor in all things and using color to enhance it. Places where she has travelled and moments in time also contribute to her creativity. In a nutshell, she is an artist through and through. She loves teaching art workshops for all ages. She is most at peace when she is in her studio surrounded by her furry friends and great music, which is constantly going on in her house! Her most important job, however, is being a mother. She has an amazing daughter who never ceases to inspire her and make her want to be better in all areas of her life.

As of this moment, she is “smelling the roses” and creating a new body of work in addition to a few part-time ventures. She has taught Art and Pre-K for a few years now but at this time she is creating more art and showing it all over. Currently, she shows her work at The Foyer, Mosaic Garden, and Portobello’s Grill on Jefferson Highway. Additionally, she is starting a dog walking/pet sitting business, as well, so she is doing the things that she loves.

When asked makes her art different, she responded, “Because it symbolizes who I am, what I see and how I see.


Jeana Esser Biography

I first picked up a pencil and large drawing pad when I was 4. I actually remember drawing a picture of one of my dad’s friends, who I called “Mr. Nose” for obvious reasons. Apparently the likeness was rather uncanny according to my mother. After that, a monster was created. I hardly ever left the house without a pad and pencil. Painting happened much later. I graduated from LSU with a BFA and a minor in Art History.

My inspiration tends to transcend beyond what may be normal and that allows me to take liberties with everyday things, people, and places. Images tend to pop into my brain and I cannot wait to put them onto canvas. My paintings are often whimsical in nature and much of my subject matter comes from my late father George’s faded black and white photographs. I then recreate them using my own colors and context.

My life is anything but dull and I consider myself lucky in that being creative is not an option. It’s who I am. I am thankful for the important people in my life who contribute to my overall happiness and successes. In the words of Michelangelo: “Believe it or not, I can actually draw.”

Jeana Esser

Man Red Pants - Jeana Esser Sailboat - Jeana Esser  Bar - Jeana Esser              Let's Dance     Lou


Janene Grodesky – Highland Nights 2015

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The Stockade is proud to have Janene Grodesky display her artwork with us again for Highland Nights on Friday, November 13, 2015.

With a Ph.D in Kinesiology from LSU, Grodesky has a passion for studying and incorporating movement into her works. She also credits a childhood spent with a Zoologist father as influencing her love of biology and nature as reflected in her adult works. She asserts a natural interconnectedness in her expression through texture, color, and dimension. She enjoys deconstructing the “micro- world” and strives to place it in the “macro,” or cosmological context.

Grodesky has been actively showing her work for over 10 years. She has been invited to participate in various gallery shows, juried events, and a few “outsider” collections. She won the People’s Choice Award for Art Melt 2013 for her work “Lepidoptera,” which deconstructs and abstracts a butterfly wing. She currently resides in Baton Rouge with her husband, three dogs, and five cats. She is co-owner of One Heart Yoga Center. She can be reached at

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