FIRST YEAR OF JUNIOR LEAGUE + KIDS IN THE KITCHEN + STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRUMBLE

As my Junior League graduation approaches, I thought I’d re-cap my first year as a provisional in the League. It seems like the year flew by and I found it to be rewarding. The first few months in the League were stressful for me since I was knee deep in PR work for the Eskenazi campaign at the time. I was MIA for the first few months due to work commitments, but was able to knock out the remaining hours required of community service in the last few months before May.

The program is set up so that provisionals have a mentor to help guide them through their first year and answer any questions along the way. Each group consists of about ten ladies and it is organized geographically by where you live so that it is convenient to periodically meet. There is a handy online portal called Digital Cheetah (I did not make that up, you can google it) that helps keep track of your meetings and requirements. You are required to attend a certain number of general meetings (held at fun places like the Central Library and Indiana Landmarks) and also fulfill your committee obligations.

The committee work was my favorite part of Junior League. I was a member of the Kids in the Kitchen committee and I loved it. Not only do I love to cook, but I think it is important to learn healthy habits early. Our committee met once a month and then more often as our big event approached. JLI partnered with Stephen Foster Elementary School to host an afternoon of fun activities for kids. We had five stations: coloring, grow your own food, trail mix, physical activity, and cooking demo (my station). I demonstrated and fed the kids english muffin pizzas. Based on the lack of leftovers, I’d say they were a hit! Each kid left with a Kids in the Kitchen backpack, a water bottle, cookbook, and frisbee. My calligrapher friend Kim was kind enough to create the passport that we stamped as the kids completed each activity.

Other volunteer activities included spending the day at St. Richard’s School helping parents register their kids for the Horizons summer program. Alphabetizing books in the basement of Indy Reads was another favorite – my inner nerd was in book heaven.

The Schnull-Rauch House, which is now owned by the Children’s Museum (since 2009) and located next to the museum on Meridian.  The house was donated by John Rauch, Jr. in 1979 to the Junior League of Indianapolis to be used for their headquarters. 

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The 2015-2016 Provisional class – I am in the back row, third from the left.

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A general meeting – I am in the yellow dress next to Ali Norman. Senator Merritt spoke to the League about the legislative session.

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Kim’s doodling!

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Kids in the Kitchen!

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Laken getting the kids active before their pizzas!

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St. Richards!

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Indy Reads!

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My grandmother (my dad’s mom) grew rhubarb and I have fond memories of her making rhubarb pie. Since I think she would be proud of my involvement with Junior League and especially volunteering my time at Indy Reads (she was a librarian), I decided to make a rhubarb treat. I’ve made rhubarb pie before, so when I saw this recipe for a crumble, I had to give them a try. No rhubarb baking experience is complete without me googling, ‘which part of the rhubarb will kill you?’ first. Here’s the deal: rhubarb leaves are high in oxalic acid, which can cause kidney failure. However, you’d have to eat approximately 11 pounds of the leaves to get yourself into trouble. Now you know!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRUMBLE

Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup  plus up to 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup  light brown sugar
Heaped 1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon  lemon juice
1 tablespoon  sugar, divided
1 cup rhubarb
1 cup strawberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom and two sides of an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

Place the oats, 3/4 cup flour, brown sugar and salt in bottom of baking pan and mix. Pour melted butter over, and stir until clumps form. If the clumps feel soft or look overly damp, add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture (for the top). Press the rest of the crumb mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan.

Spread half the fruit over the crust. Sprinkle it evenly with cornstarch, then lemon juice, and 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Spread remaining fruit over this, and top with second 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Scatter reserved crumbs over fruit and bake bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until fruit is bubbly and crisp portion is golden.

Let cool in the pan or in the fridge – they will become crisp once chilled. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Store leftovers in fridge.

Top with some vanilla ice cream and you’ve got a party!

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