hump day treat: big john’s bloody mary

On Sundays after church, beginning in the mid-1960s, the Womacks, Wrights, Raggios, Thompsons and Terrells made their way to my grandparent’s home in Jefferson Place, children in tow. My grandparents Bitsy and John (also known as Big John) Weimar always loved to have their people around. The children would play in the yard while parents socialized in the house with Bloody Marys in hand.

Big John’s Bloody Mary recipe was, and remains, a much-anticipated treat, so much so that my uncle has a framed copy of the recipe sitting atop his bar. Another hangs in the kitchen at our camp on Lake Bruin. The paper is slightly yellowed with age and the unmistakable typewriter font hearkens to a nostalgic era (see photo below). As silly as this may sound, I feel honored to be the one to share this recipe with people.

I enjoyed one of Big John’s Bloody Marys last weekend at my family’s tailgate, which I’d like to share a little history on. Beginning in 1958, Bitsy and Big John would park in the same spot every home game, on the side of Lockett Hall before there was Lockett Hall. Fifty-four years later, my family still parks in that spot. The tailgate there began with an ice chest of beer and a box of crackers on the back end of the station wagon; it has grown to a full-on production complete with a massive purple and gold tent, platters brimming with food, and a high-def television. My time spent here with family and friends is irreplaceable. And while Bitsy and Big John are no longer with us, to me they seem immortalized through this weekly ritual each fall, even if it is only a tailgate.

See Big John’s Bloody Mary Recipe and photos from the tailgate below…

Fried shrimp from Maxwell’s Market

Yes, we have an oversized Barbie that’s displayed at the tailgate each week. I don’t know how she got there, but she’s growing on me.

Petit fours from Keller’s Bakery in Lafayette

Meat pies from Maxwell’s Market

Quote of the day: 

 

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” –George Bernard Shaw

hump day treat: french 75

 

Easy to make and even easier to enjoy, French 75 cocktails are crisp, light and refreshing. Michael and I made these with my parents during our recent hurri-cation in Lafayette. With no place to go and nothing pressing to do, it was really nice to sip a cocktail (or two) and watch the rain. But trust me, this bevvy is just as enjoyable under clear skies. I hope you enjoy! Happy hump day!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces cognac, brandy or gin (I used gin)
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (make your own using equal parts sugar and water)
  • Champagne

Directions

Makes one drink

Fill tall glass with ice.

Add alcohol, lemon juice and simple syrup.

Mix with a spoon.

Top with champagne.

Garnish with lemon twist.

Quote of the day:

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” –Lao Tzu

hump day treat: spaghetti & meatballs

It’s hump day here again at Bitsy & Boo! Today’s treat: spaghetti squash and meatballs. I’ve always loved this classic dish, but I don’t love the high carb count associated with it, so I decided to switch out traditional pasta for spaghetti squash.

Compared to traditional pasta, with its 221 calories and 43 g of carbs per cup, spaghetti squash rings in at only 42 calories and 10 g of carbs per cup. It’s also much more nutritious; and while the texture may be slightly different from traditional pasta, you CANNOT taste a difference between the two. I prepared this dish for my parents when I stayed with them during Hurricane Isaac and even they admitted that they would’ve never known it was spaghetti squash unless I had told them.

Obviously, traditional pasta will taste delicious with these meatballs, but I highly recommend the spaghetti squash substitution to anyone who likes to maintain a low daily carb intake (I at least try to on weekdays…weekends are another story altogether). Anyway, I hope you enjoy this savory treat. Happy hump day!

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 cup whole milk*
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 eggs, beaten*
  • 2 T. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 T. garlic, minced
  • 2 t. dried basil leaves
  • 1 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • 2 lb. ground sirloin

*Looking for other ways to make this dish lighter? Try using 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites–this’ll hold the meatballs just fine. Also substitute skim milk for whole. 

For the marinara:

  • 3 lb. fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 t. ground black pepper
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil

Directions:

Makes 8 servings

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs (except sirloin) together in a large bowl.

Add ground sirloin and combine thoroughly; set aside.

Combine all ingredients for the marinara (except fresh basil) in a large baking dish, sprinkling the seasonings over the top of the chopped tomato and onion mixture.

Shape meat mixture into 2 oz. balls (about the size of a golf ball).

Arrange on tomato and onion mixture in baking dish and roast 40-45 minutes.

Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash. For pasta, simply follow package directions. Here are directions for making spaghetti squash:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Pierce squash several times with a fork around its exterior.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.

Cut in half lengthwise, hollow out seeds, and slowly shred squash into a bowl using a large fork.

*Recipe adapted from Cuisine At Home’s Perfect Pasta Cookbook, http://www.cuisineathomespecials.com/.

Quote of the day:

“The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” –Arabian Proverb

hump day treat

When it comes to sweets, I want something substantial. Ice cream, frozen yogurt or even crème brulee won’t do. Sure, those are great additions to a warm and melty brownie or crispy apple pie, but not the main event. I want something I can bite into when indulging in dessert. Do you feel me? You may not. You may be like many of my sorority sisters, who for four years made the weekly pilgrimage to TCBY for Waffle Cone Wednesday, and now, post-graduation, can’t pass a yogurt place on Wednesdays without entering. And that’s totally ok. Completely understandable. I just hope you’ll still be able to enjoy this gem of a recipe: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies.

These yummies, with their strong peanut butter flavor, hearken to the ever-popular Do-Si-Dos. Made, however, with all natural crunchy peanut butter, whole wheat flour and unsweetened shredded coconut, these cookies are much healthier than their Girl Scout counterpart, ringing in at 124 calories per cookie with 11.8 grams of carbs and 4.2 grams of sugar. To top it off, they offer a nice helping of protein and fiber. This recipe makes huge batch of cookies. Bake it all at once or use half and freeze half like I did. Enjoy! Happy hump day!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (I used crunchy sunflower seed butter purely based on preference)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (you can find this at a regular grocery store near the chocolate in the baking aisle)
  • 3 cups oats (I used old-fashioned rolled oats)

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Makes three and a half dozen cookies

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Beat together oil and peanut butter. Add in eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat until mixed. Stir in coconut.

In a separate bowl mix together oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in peanut butter mixture. Stir until mixed.

Drop onto a greased baking sheet in 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons globs.

Gently press to flatten and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Quote of the day:

“Sometimes me think what is love. And then me think love is what last cookie is for. Me give up the last cookie for you.”—Cookie Monster in Sesame Street

hump day treat: fig & prosciutto pizza

Spread fig preserves or jam over whole wheat pizza dough

Top with thin slices of mozzarella

Add caramelized onions and shredded mozzarella

Top baked pizza with fresh spinach, thin slices of prosciutto and cracked pepper

Enjoy!

Num, num, num! Pizza! While I love pizzeria and restaurant pizza, I also thoroughly enjoy making my own at home. It’s especially fun for date night. You can open a bottle of wine, play some music, take turns kneading the dough into circular perfection (or whatever shape you want, really), and then top it with whatever you’re in the mood for. On this particular pizza date night, Michael and I made fig and prosciutto pizza. I was hesitant to deviate from the typical marinara-based pizza, but I’m so glad I did! Sweet fig preserves topped with fresh, creamy mozzarella and salty prosciutto…magnifico!

The arugula called for in the original recipe was unavailable when I went to Whole Foods (believe it or not), so I subbed in spinach. Granted, the peppery flavor of arugula would have added another layer of delicious complexity to this dish, but fresh spinach tasted wonderful too. Next time I make this pizza, I’ll not only try to use arugula, but goat cheese too. Gettin’ crrrazy!

Here’s the recipe my favorite whole wheat pizza dough

Ingredients

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Proof yeast in a measuring cup with warm water (I add a pinch of sugar to the water to give the yeast something to munch on).

In a food processor, add whole wheat and all-purpose flours, proofed yeast and oil mixed with honey and salt.

Pulse processor to combine all ingredients and then process until the dough forms a ball on the blade.

Remove dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until dough has doubled in bulk

Punch down dough and transfer to a floured board and knead briefly

Divide dough into 2 equal portions and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls of dough, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight

Bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding

On a floured board, roll and stretch each piece of dough into a circle (I like thin-crust pizza, so I stretch the dough more, but stretch the dough to your preference, just keep in mind that thicker dough may need a few more minutes to bake in the oven if you don’t want it to be doughy)

Place each circle on a wooden pizza peel, pizza pan or cookie sheet and top as desired

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and bake 7 to 8 minutes per pizza

*Adapted from Curtis Aikens’ whole wheat pizza dough recipe.

Fig & Prosciutto Pizza recipe…

Ingredients

  • Pizza Crust*
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons fig preserves or jam
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 12 ounces, weight fresh mozzarella, sliced thin (I bought a bag of shredded mozzarella as well to sprinkle over the top of the pizza)
  • 6 ounces, weight thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 bunch washed and rinsed arugula or spinach
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan
  • Caramelized red onions (optional)
  • Shredded mozzarella (optional)

Directions

Drizzle kneaded pizza dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt

Spread fig preserves (or jam) all over the surface of the dough and sprinkle lightly with salt again

Lay slices of mozzarella all over the surface and sprinkle lightly pepper

Add caramelized onions and shredded mozzarella (optional)

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly

Remove from oven and immediately lay prosciutto over hot pizza

Just before serving, sprinkle on arugula and Parmesan shavings

Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately

*Pizza ingredients in this recipe are for half of the pizza dough recipe. You can freeze leftover dough and save for later, or you can double the ingredients above and make two fig & prosciutto pizzas.

*Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman’s fig-prosciutto pizza with arugula recipe.

Quote of the day:

“Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.” –Socrates in The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

 

hump day treat: peach mojitos

Hey lovelies! How’s your hump day going? We’ve got peach mojitos on tap for our hump day treat this week. I want to feature this recipe while peaches are still readily available in local grocery stores and farmers markets. Louisiana grows some of the sweetest, most aromatic peaches in the U.S., and late May through early September is the best time to enjoy them. That said, I made these peach mojitos a few weekends ago at Lake Bruin and I want to make them once more before it’s too late. This weekend at Pensacola Beach will be the perfect opportunity to do so. I hope a peach mojito find its way into your hands this weekend, or some other delicious bevvy!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 to 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 small, ripe peach, sliced (you may remove the skin, but I didn’t)
  • Small handful fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup (or just plain sugar if that’s all you have)
  • Club soda

Instructions:

Thoroughly muddle peach slices, mint and lime juice in a tall glass (I didn’t have a muddler, so I placed the ingredients in a bowl and muddled them with a large spoon)

Swirl with rum

Divide mixture between two Collins glasses and fill with ice. Top glass off with club soda.

Mix with a spoon or by pouring the drink back into your mixing glass, then back into your drinking glass.

*Recipe adapted from Cookie & Kate’s peach mojito.

Quote of the day:

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead.” –Anonymous

hump day treat

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another hump day treat! This week, I’m bringing you roasted corn guacamole. Fresh corn from local Louisiana farms is readily available from late May through August. With that in mind, you can stock up on it right now, cook it and freeze it for later OR you can be like me and add it to pretty much every meal you prepare.

I had eaten lots of roasted corn salsas in my day, but never a roasted corn guacamole. Because some of the key ingredients in roasted corn salsa also serve as key ingredients in guacamole (like tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and red onion), I assumed it would be a good addition. And it was!

I used Alton Brown’s guacamole recipe (it’s my favorite!) and added roasted corn to it. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cob of roasted corn (Corn roasts best with the husk on. Soak it in water for 30 to 40 minutes so the husk doesn’t burn and then grill off the flame for 45 minutes to an hour)

Directions:

Place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Drain and reserve the remaining lime juice after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher, add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and roasted corn. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

To see Alton Brown’s recipe on Food Network’s website, click here.

Next time I decide to add panache to my standard, but scrumptious guacamole, I think I may try grilled pineapple. I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes! Do you have any guacamole additions that you think I should try? Leave a comment or email me.

I hope you enjoy this hump day treat!

Quote of the day:

“Although I don’t take myself very seriously, I do take my work extraordinarily seriously.” –Alton Brown

hump day treat: banana oat pancakes

There’s something about eating a fancy breakfast that puts me in the vacation state of mind. And by fancy, I mean it’s not microwaveable and takes more than 5 minutes to prepare (really high standards, I know). I made these banana-oat pancakes at the lake over the weekend and they were FAN-tastic! Hands down best breakfast I’ve ever made.

The recipe calls for oat flour, which should be found next to regular flour on the baking aisle of your local grocery store, but don’t fret if you can’t find it there. It’s extremely easy to make your own. If a recipe calls for one cup of oat flour like this one does, you simply place one cup of rolled oats in a food processor or blender, grind well and voila!

Check out this recipe for a delicious, healthy and naturally sweetened breakfast and let me know what you think!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Stir together the mashed bananas, coconut oil (or butter), lemon juice and honey (or maple syrup) in a small bowl.

Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.

Stir just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a heavy cast iron skillet (or nonstick griddle) over medium-low heat.

When the pancake is just beginning to set, flip it with a spatula and cook for another 90 seconds or so, until golden brown on both sides.

Resist the urge to scarf pancakes down. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite!

Ingredients (for six to eight pancakes)

  • 2 large bananas or 3 small, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 small lemon, juiced)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

1. Stir together the mashed bananas, coconut oil (or butter), lemon juice and honey (or maple syrup) in a small bowl.

2. Beat in the eggs. If your coconut oil goes back to its solid state like mine did at this point, just warm the mixture for short 30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring between each, until it is melted again.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

4. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.

5. Stir just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Do not over-mix or you’ll get tough pancakes!

6. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes

7. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet (or nonstick griddle) over medium-low heat. If necessary, lightly oil the surface with vegetable oil or cooking spray.

8. Once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on it, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto it. Let pancake cook for about 3-4 minutes, until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cake.

9. When the pancake is just beginning to set, flip it with a spatula and cook for another 90 seconds or so, until golden brown on both sides. You may need to adjust the heat up or down at this point.

10. Serve the pancakes immediately or keep warm in a 200°F oven.

*I topped the pancakes with sunflower seed butter, honey and banana slices, but use whatever you’d like…go crazy!

*Recipe adapted from Cookie & Kate’s banana-oat pancakes.

Quote of the day:

“I happen to know everything there is to know about maple syrup. I love maple syrup. I love maple syrup on pancakes, I love it on pizza and I take maple syrup and put a little bit in my hair when I’ve had a rough week. What do you think holds it up, slick?” –Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers

hump day treat

At the beginning of the summer, I hosted a going away party for my best friend Becca, who was moving to Houston to study for the CPA and start her new job. Yes, we happen to have the same name; and if I had a quarter for every time a guy at the bar said, “Ohhh, you come in pairs!” upon meeting us, well, let’s just say I could easily buy the leather peplum top I’ve had my eye on. Ok anyway, back to the party. It was my small way of showing Becca how much I was going to miss her and still do—to the point that I’ve cried upon saying goodbye to her on two different occasions. Pathetic much? Yes. I need get that sh*t under control.

While I try to work on that, please take a look at these peach and prosciutto crostinis that graced the party table. The tangy sweetness of the peach, combined with creamy ricotta cheese and salty prosciutto made this appetizer a go-to. I think crostinis are awesome because they are so easy to make when you’re pressed for time and you can customize them with whatever cheese and seasonal fruits/vegetables you like. See this recipe below…

Ingredients:

Makes 12

12 thin slices ciabatta (I bought a fresh loaf from Calandro’s on Government St.)

1 ripe peach

ricotta cheese

thin slices of prosciutto

honey

Directions: 

Brush ciabatta on both sides with olive oil and grill for 1 minute per side

Halve, pit and thinly slice peach. Spoon 1 tbsp ricotto onto each toast and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper

Tear prosciutto into feathery pieces and drape a few slices over ricotta. Top with 1-2 peach slices and drizzle with honey

*Recipe adapted from Camille Styles’s peach, prosciutto and ricotta crostinis.

Quote of the day: 

“It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.” –Meryl Streep

hump day treat

Every time I say “hump day,” I think of Mrs. George on Mean Girls saying, “I’m gonna make you girls a hump day treat!”

In honor of Amy Poehler and her hilarious interpretation of the Mrs. George character, I wanted to share a little hump day treat with you. I have always loved blueberry muffins, but it’s rare that I indulge in one because they are just that—indulgent. If I’m going to consume close to one third of my daily carb and caloric intake in one sitting, it better be filled with cookie dough, dipped in chocolate and topped with peanut butter. Ok, not really, but you get where I’m going with this. With whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and applesauce in place of excess butter/oil, these oatmeal blueberry muffins are a delicious alternative to the not-so-healthy blueberry muffins I once coveted.  What’s more, I don’t feel guilty eating a second one!

Come back next Wednesday for another hump day treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used soy milk and they still tasted great)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)

Directions:

Makes 12 muffins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl combine the applesauce, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add in the applesauce mixture.  Stir together just until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats, oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins.

Quote of the day:

“Life itself is the proper binge.” –Julia Child