Chick-fil-A Bowl viewing in Baton Rouge

Chick-fil-A Bowl viewing is enhanced with drink specials from Baton Rouge bars.

Chick-fil-A Bowl viewing in Baton Rouge is enhanced with drink specials from local bars.

Chick-fil-A Bowl viewing may be different for those who don’t make it to the Georgia Dome, but no less fun. Click here to see the list I made of some local bars that will boast specials during this evening’s LSU-Clemson faceoff.

If I missed a perfectly good drink special in the Capital City, help a sister out by leaving a comment below. I hope everyone has a very fun and safe New Year’s Eve. Go Tigers!

 

restore your faith in humanity

First responders carry people across the top of the levee from Plaquemines Parish to St. Bernard Parish as Hurricane Isaac sends powerful winds and rain through the area on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. (Photo by Chris Granger, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune)

First responders carry people across the top of the levee from Plaquemines Parish to St. Bernard Parish as Hurricane Isaac sends powerful winds and rain through the area on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. (Photo by Chris Granger, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune)

“23 Louisiana Photos that will restore your faith in humanity”  is a photo essay that my fellow community engagement specialist Maggie Calmes published this morning (view all of the photos and captions by clicking here). The photo compilation aptly reflects on some of state’s more uplifting and poignant moments in 2012. A spirit-boosting sensation struck me at the sight of more than one photo and its respective caption. I’m sharing a link to the photo essay here in hopes that it may give you that same, much-needed boost.

Do you have any uplifting photos from 2012 that you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with the image attached and I’ll promptly add it to this post. We can get our own photo essay started.

Quote of the day:

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” –Mahatma Gandhi

hump day treat: new year’s eve cocktails

Mud & Water's signature holiday cocktail Driftwood

Mud & Water’s signature holiday cocktail Driftwood

The melancholy associated with Christmas’ end is transformed when one realizes that the merry-making isn’t over yet. Excitement and anticipation set in as the new year steadily approaches. It’s another reason to gather and celebrate, not that we in the south ever really need a reason to do either of those things.

Still, we’ll take the reason handed to us and raise a glass (or two) to 2013. My colleague Chelsea Brasted and I already began cheers-ing in the new year last week. We spent the better part of a day at local bars like Radio Bar, Mud and Water, and Hotel Indigo, videoing bartenders as they made their favorite holiday/NYE cocktails. The results were so splendid that I feel compelled to share the article with you.

The above photo is just a teaser from our video shoot. For a link to Chelsea’s full story/video series entitled “New Year’s Eve cocktails: Recipes from three Baton Rouge bartenders,” click here.

In the meantime, check out some other NYE cocktail ideas from Bitsy & Boo:

French 75

Rose French 75

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

Starlight Royale

Blackberry Gin Fizz

Pear Thyme Fizz

Cheeky Rose Cocktail

Quote of the day:

“New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.” –Charles Lamb

christmas cookies

So if you’re a procrastinator like me, you’ve probably just gotten around to thinking about (let alone making) Christmas cookies. But, my fellow put-off-til-tomorrowers, the time is upon us to get to baking. After all, Santa will be coming to collect tonight.

My coworker Chelsea Brasted (@cabrasted) gave me the most scrum-diddly-umptious cookies for Christmas, but I’m afraid I ate them all myself, saving nil for Mr. Claus. Fortunately, Chelsea sweetened the holiday gift even further by providing me with the recipe. I want to share it here in case some of you are still looking for baking inspiration this Christmas Eve.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars until light. Add the egg and mix until fluffy.

Blend the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together well. Add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from About.com’s peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Quote of the day:

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” –Dr. Seuss

new orleans food & drink highlights

PART 3

The holiday weekend is steadily approaching, and my wish for you is quality time with family and friends, sans computer screen. But before you sign off, I’d like to share with you the final segment of scrumptious eats from Michael and I’s New Orleans weekend. Today, I want to share photos from two FAN-tastic hotspots in the Central Business District (CBD): Ruby Slipper Cafe and Herbsaint.

Both harbored their own atmospheric charm and inventive dishes. And both left me completely satisfied, which doesn’t happen that often. Check out the photos below and let me know what you think…

Ruby Slipper Cafe

Bananas Foster Pain Perdu

Bananas Foster Pain Perdu: Traditional French toast with rum-flambéed bananas & raisins, served with applewood-smoked bacon

 

Eggs Cochon: A pair of poached eggs over apple-braised pork debris and an open-faced buttermilk biscuit, finished with Hollandaise

Eggs Cochon: A pair of poached eggs over apple-braised pork debris and an open-faced buttermilk biscuit, finished with Hollandaise

Photo courtesy of southerngumbotrail.com

Photo courtesy of southerngumbotrail.com

 

Gnocchi Bolognese with Parmesan

Gnocchi Bolognese with Parmesan

 

Butter poached gulf tuna with pickled chillies and mint

Butter poached gulf tuna with pickled chillies and mint

Fried brussel sprouts

Fried brussel sprouts

 

Slow cooked lamb neck with saffron fideo and tomato confit

Slow cooked lamb neck with saffron fideo and tomato confit

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Quote of the day:

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” –Henry David Thoreau

new orleans food & drink highlights

PART 2

Instead of working on today’s post last night, I went to see Anna Karenina. Very irresponsible of me, I know, but I’ve been wanting to see it ever since I did that post on Banana Republic’s Anna Karenina collection (to see that post, click here).

Anyway, today marks the second portion of highlights from Michael and I’s food and drink adventure in New Orleans. Next up: The Bulldog on Magazine Street. This establishment is always packed, and on a nice day, your chances of finding a table on the patio are very slim. It’s a mecca for locals and tourists alike who enjoy draft beer, drinking outside, dogs, cool water fountains and warm conversation. Sounds like my kind of people.

Check out these photos I took during our Saturday visit there… The Bulldog New Orleans 3

The Bulldog New Orleans 5

The Bulldog New Orleans 4

Michael Nicley & Andouille (not Michael my boyfriend…just to clarify)

The Bulldog New Orleans 2

 The Bulldog New Orleans

new orleans food & drink highlights

PART 1

While Christmas is still a week away, Michael and I already exchanged a gift—the gift of a big New Orleans weekend. As I’ve stated before, when it comes down to a material gift or an experience, I will choose experience every time. Fortunately, Michael feels the same.

Also worth noting is the fact that we made a deal before the trip began: no calling and/or making plans with the many friends and family members we have in New Orleans. It was time for some “us” time, if that makes sense. And while it is always wonderful to go out with friends and family, we usually end up on the other side of the table or bar from one another, talking to other people…not each other.

Weekends spent in New Orleans are usually gluttonous ones, filled with copious amounts of scrumptious food and intoxicating refreshments. I must admit that this weekend was no different. Michael and I hit up some of our Crescent City favorites, but we also discovered (and delighted in) a few new bars and restaurants. Since we covered a lot of ground in 48 hours, I’m going to incrementally post some of the highlights from our indulgent weekend. First up: St. James Cheese Company on Prytania. YUM!

Overall, it was an incredible weekend. Eating and drinking my way through New Orleans with my best friend…gifts don’t get much better.

No matter its form, I hope you receive (or give yourself) a truly worthwhile gift this holiday season.

St. James Cheese Company New Orleans

St. James Cheese Company New Orleans

St. James Cheese Company menu


St. James Cheese Company slow roasted beef and bleu cheese on multigrain

SMOKEY BLUE SANDWICH House smoked Mycella blue cheese, top quality roast beef, Worcestershire mayo, tomatoes and lettuce on toasted Wild Flour multigrain bread.

HOOKS CHEDDAR SANDWICH Hooks Cheddar from Wisconsin with house smoked turkey, fresh basil, tomato, mayo and avocado on fresh ciabatta.

Learn more about St. James Cheese Company by clicking here.

More New Orleans food & drink highlights to come this Wednesday. Have you been to St. James before? If so, what’s your favorite sandwich there? I’m determined to try them all. If not, what’s YOUR favorite sandwich spot in Nola? I’ll add it to my “must try” list.

connecticut school shooting

Today’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, with 27 dead, 20 of which were children, marks the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. You can see the AP’s coverage of the story here.

I had a cutesy post put together for you, showcasing the highlights from Michael and I’s big New Orleans weekend, but I simply cannot put it up today. I cannot happily reminisce about a holiday trip when tragic history is in the making. The country’s mood is far too solemn. So is mine.

All I have today are mournful thoughts and wistful prayers, for those whose lives were lost as well as their friends and families. They must now try to carry on in a world that I can only imagine seems far more grim and much less hopeful.

Connecticut School Shooting

Connecticut State Police lead children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., following school shooting there Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.

*Photo courtesy of The Newtown Bee

hump day treat

Happy hump day, lovelies! Italian sausage and red bell pepper is one of those solidified, unmistakable food duos that can’t be compromised. Like other combinations that have stood the test of time (think PB&J), Italian sausage and red bell pepper may be adapted for various dishes without compromising the ingredients’ basic goodness. This dish below is a great example of that. With a few spices and some whipping cream, you have a delicious sauce, where the crunchy sweetness of the bell pepper and robust taste of sausage are the main event. You can toss the finished sauce in traditional pasta, or you can do like I did, and sub in spaghetti squash. For instructions on how to prepare spaghetti squash, click here. I hope you enjoy!

Italian Sausage Pasta copy

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1½ cups whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 12 ounces of pasta of your choice (or, in my case, spaghetti squash)
  • freshly grated Parmesan
  • chopped fresh parsley (for garnish at the end)

Directions

Makes 4 servings

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, about 1 minute.

Mix in sausage and cook until brown, about 8 minutes.

Add peppers and onion and cook until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add salt, pepper, basil and oregano.

Cover and simmer 8 minutes. Uncover and cook 2 minutes.

In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions.

Pour finished sauce over pasta (or spaghetti squash) and toss.

Top with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley and serve.

*Recipe adapted from food.com

 Quote of the day:

“Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.” –Ernest Hemingway

marigold trend spotting

A warm blend of yellow and orange, marigold is popping up all over the stylesphere. Brighten up any look with a pop of this playful color through choice accessories, or make it the centerpiece of your ensemble by donning marigold trousers or a warm (and vibrant) winter coat. What are your thoughts on the marigold trend? What’s your favorite trending color this season? Leave a comment below!

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Left to right: Asos Button Swing Coat / Anthropologie-Tracy Reese Ruched Coat / Yes Style Faux Fur Collar Coat

Quote of the day:

“Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.” –Dr. Joyce Brothers