Here’s a little-known fact about yours truly: Through most of my teenage years and just into my twenties, I aspired to be a marital therapist, specializing in premarital counseling. I considered it very seriously for many years, but the culinary industry is a vacuum that keeps sucking me back in. Ultimately I’m okay with that, but finding an outlet for my gift of listening and interest in navigating interpersonal dynamics is still high on my bucket list. I think that’s what initially drew me to one of my favorite couple-crushes/girl-crush, Jim and Elizabeth Carroll. They are some of the ACTUAL coolest people around.
I originally tuned in to WE’s Marriage Boot Camp to watch Bridezilla alumni echo another round of havok like the chaos they had each reeked as we watched them plan their weddings in years prior. The show has since evolved and now features reality stars as the identified patients. For every bit of misconduct and immature behavior the Boot Campers depict, counselors Jim and Elizabeth are on call to respond with expertise, reason, and a depth of compassion that floors me every time. They deal with some REAL stuff on the show; sometimes the rawness of revelations and conversations is uncomfortable. Anger is triggered; shame is confided; pain is exposed. I am always in such awe of Elizabeth and Jim’s tenacity and tenderness as they maneuver, what I think is fair to call, a HOT MESS.
I actually chat frequently with the directors of the show, particularly Elizabeth and her daughter Ilsa, who is also part of the counseling team. We gab on Facebook quite a bit and I try to live-tweet with them during every episode of MBC (by the way, if you want to tweet with me during the show, I’m @theotherpovey). The show premiers on FRIDAY DECEMBER 4th. Tune in and make some snacks!! Special lil’ thanks to Elizabeth (hey, girl!) for helping me with a couple of these viewing party menu ideas!
Let’s start with the main dish!
“Lowe” Country Boil
Low Country Boil is an easy meal that is both a crowd-pleaser and, in this case, a nod to Sean and Catherine Lowe. It’s also just right because there seem to be quite a few Southerners in this season’s cast!
Bad Girl’s Club Sandwiches
Add a little sriracha for a “Bad Girl” factor.
This one is a nod to a past season– season 2, to be exact, when Syleena Johnson was offended and said, “That just kinda steamed my peas.”
I found it hilarious and haven’t forgotten about it since. I’ve been trying and trying to find a clip of that quote, with no success, but I promise I’ll keep looking.
To tell you the honest truth, I didn’t actually steam these peas. I sauteed them very simply with some butter, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.
These are nothing more than some Funyuns with a dip. I preferred to use pretzel rings, but after I failed to find them at five different stores, I chose an alternative.
Elizabeth told me that one of Jim’s favorite foods is fried chicken (he’s a Southern boy!), so I included some chicken strips alongside the dip.
Better Than Sex Cake
Please don’t make me explain why this suits the theme. I can’t.
BTS cake has many, many different variations. I had some extra white chocolate chips on hand, so I chose to do a White Chocolate Lemon Cake. I just used a boxed lemon cake mix and made a white chocolate whipped cream, and then I topped the whole thing with candied lemon peel and white chips. Store this, covered, in the refrigerator until it’s ready to serve.
Let’s move on; I’m blushing.
A nod to Basketball Wives
Last but not least, trust me when I say that you’re going to want a cocktail while you watch the show. In fact, get these flowing at least half an hour before it starts.
At the risk of patting myself on the back, I’m a bit proud of this little cocktail, for three reasons. First, the name of it is wedding-related. Secondly, the flavors are perfectly seasonal with the taste of cranberry and a little orange. Thirdly, it’s my little accolade to my lady-crush Elizabeth and her always-on-point style. I notice girlfriend loves her Royal blue; I think it’s her favorite color.
(How fabulous is Elizabeth? Let me count the slays.)
3 parts Cranberry Sprite (or any clear cranberry soda)
1 part Blue Curacao
Serve with or without ice– whichever you prefer!
If you have leftover wedding memorabilia lying around– such as champagne classes, a cake server, unity candles, a cake topper, fake rose petals, etc.– now is the perfect time to dig those out and reuse them!
Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars premieres on WEtv on FRIDAY DECEMBER 4TH at 9/8c! There’s QUITE a cast this season and you won’t want to miss it!
If you end up loving the show as much as I do, pre-order Jim and Elizabeth’s Marriage Boot Camp book, which will be out in January! Elizabeth and Ilsa also have a new marriage and relationship blog. And don’t forget to tweet me @theotherpovey during the show using the hashtag #MarriageBootCamp!