Tailgate Thursday {a brunch tailgate menu}

After a win last Saturday, we’re back on the field TONIGHT.

But let’s rewind to our noon game last Saturday against Tulsa…

A noon game means that mimosas are totally acceptable at 8am.

It also means that your tailgate menu is breakfast-inspired.

Mimosas – a lot of bubbles, a splash of OJ

Banana-Nut Muffins – I left the frosting off of the muffins to make them more breakfast-appropriate.  Muffins travel well and can be made in advance.

Breakfast Casserole – I prepped all the ingredients the night before and simply combined and baked Saturday morning.  I love this spin on the breakfast casserole.  I used some habanero cheese for a little kick!

Apple-Spiked Monkey Bread  – I woke up at 4am for this slow-cooker recipe.  I know.  Crazypants.  It tasted amazing but wasn’t the prettiest dish I’ve ever made.  It was made boozy with the addition of rum.  If I had more time, I think I would have liked the looks of the end-results a little more.

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls – My go-to recipe for any and all tailgates.  I can make them the night before and simply heat them up before hitting the road.  Plus everyone loves these little nuggets of deliciousness.

With it being such an early game, it took awhile for all the fans to surface.

What’s your favorite pre-noon tailgate food?



Friday Favorites

What.a.week.  Not a bad week.  Just a crazy, busy week.  And we have a crazy, busy weekend ahead.  But it’s full of fun stuff.  So let’s get to my favorites and get this work day over and done with.  Can I get an “amen”?

Favorite In Season:  Maple Glazed Apple Fritters.  Holy deliciousness.  I’m pretty sure these could be consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.


Favorite Comfort Food:  Spicy Chicken Chili with Pumpkin Beer Biscuits.  The cooler temps have me craving a warm bowl of chili.


Favorite Flaky:  Spiral Pumpkin Twists with Maple Cream. How beautiful is this dessert?  I just hope the rumor about the shortage of canned pumpkin is a lie.


Favorite Sunday Morning:  Cinnamon Buns with Blueberry Cream Cheese Glaze.  One of these + piping hot cup of coffee + a good book = bliss


Favorite How To:  This Is How We Weekend.    Good stuff.


Favorite Ice Cream for Breakfast:  Syrup and Waffles.  You have no idea how much I adore waffles.


Favorite Slice:  Short Rib Pizza with Smoked Gouda Cream Sauce.   It’s been awhile since we’ve had melt-in-your-mouth short ribs.


Favorite Quote:  from Shutterbean. 


Favorite Idea Ever:  Surprise VacationSo my parents decided to do away with birthday parties  and instead they plan a surprise vacation for us…We get somewhere in the realm of 8-10 clues each year and we have to figure out where we’re going.


Favorite Cocktail:  Apple Cider Gin Fizz.   I could use one three of these after this week.


Happy Friday, y’all!!!!

Friday Favorites

Happy Rainday, I mean, Friday!  I’m starting to think the rain is never going to end.  We’re on day 8 or 9 of rain (I can’t keep up) and I’m absolutely, positively, over it.  But I am going to be positive.  Today is Friday.  Tomorrow is Saturday.  My little brother is coming to visit. Today is Friday. We have a weekend full of incredible food planned.  Today is Friday.


Did I mention today is Friday?  So here are my favorites from the week!

Favorite PSL:  Pumkin Spice Latte Cookies.  I’m not really into PSLs (Pumpkin Spice Lattes).  I’m more of a coffee with cream kind of girl.  But I’m most definitely a cookie girl.


Favorite Non-Traditional:  Beef Enchiladas with Green Olives and Raisins.  I’m completely intrigued by this one.  But I totally dig anything sweet and salty.


Favorite Upgrade:  The gallery ledge.  Forget the gallery wall.  But don’t worry, Big Guy, I’m not redecorating anything right now.


Favorite Sunday:  Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Pizza.  Because pizza on Sunday is our thang.


Favorite Layers:  Oreo Cookie Layer Cake.  I don’t know a soul that wouldn’t want a bite of this deliciousness.


Favorite Bold:  Swing Peacoat in Pure Blue.  I am so not ready to pull out my winter coats.  But I am so obsessed with this color.


Favorite Flavors:  Creamy Miso Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  These need to be on the dinner menu.  And soon!


Favorite Side Dish:  Miso Dijon Green Bean Mushroom Salad.   These were almost the side dish for our steaks tonight.  And I must have a thing for miso this today.


Favorite Fall:  Cider Braised Chicken with Spiced Butternut Squash.   Apple Cider > PSLs


Favorite Game Day:  Cajun Chicken Sliders with Beer Battered Onion Rings.    I might need stretchy pants after this sammy.  And onion rings.  Lots of onion rings.


Favorite Fancy:  Fig and Rosemary Sparkling Cocktail.  Only I would go from talking about stretchy pants to fancy cocktails.  It’s how I roll.


Happy Rainday!




Friday Favorites {first fall friday}

Wednesday officially marked the first day of Fall so I guess I can’t tune out all the pumpkin spice this and apple that any longer.  Our first weekend of fall includes a low-key Friday night with a football-filled Saturday.  Sunday I am meeting up with one of my best friends who lives in Houston.  She’s in town visiting family and I’m so glad we’re able to squeeze in a lunch date.  The last time I saw Natalie was when she and her husband came to visit last November.  Between then and now she’s gone from a family of three to a family of four.   In the spirit of fall, my favorites this week are all fall-inspired.



Favorite Slice:  Sweet ‘n Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Cider Caramelized Onions and Bacon.  Pizza is an anytime food – summer, spring, winter or fall.  But when you put these toppings on the pizza, it becomes a fall pizza.


Favorite Crunch:  Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Granola.  The perfect yogurt topping.  And I love that there’s actually real pumpkin in the recipe.


Favorite Tips:  6 Ways to Make Instagram Both Beautiful and Bearable.   Last, it’s (just) Instagram.  More specifically it’s your Instagram.  Do what feels good to you.  Stand on a chair in a restaurant, style your friends hands just right.  Forget the photograph and just dig into those cheese fries.  Do what feels good to you. Perfection has it’s charm, but so does a real real life.  Ain’t no shame in the game.


Favorite Flavors:  Mustard Burgers with Crispy Goat Cheese and Fig-Onion Compote.  That crispy goat cheese, though…


Favorite Cheeeeese:  Roasted Green Chile Queso Dip.  This totally has nothing to do with fall except I’ll make it as a tailgate snack.  But what I really want is a bowl of dip, a platter of chips and a big margarita.  With salt.


Favorite Cozy:  Basic Rolled Turtleneck.  Summer clothes are my best friend.  But I do adore a comfy sweater or turtleneck.


Favorite In Season:  Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Herbs.  Winter Squash > Summer Squash


Favorite Tex-Mex:  Veggie Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with a Chipotle Drizzle.  These kind of “bridge the gap” between summer and fall.  And Big Guy will love ’em because, well, sweet potatoes.


Favorite Twist:  PB&J Sandwich Donut.  And because now that it’s fall and I’m not laying out at the pool, it doesn’t matter if I gain 5 pounds.


Favorite Cocktail Hour:  Blackberry and Meyer Lemon Gin and Tonics.  This may just be a drink that Big Guy and I can agree on.


Happy Fall, Y’all!!!!

Tailgate Thursday {bourbon-candied ginger and onion dip with homemade sweet potato chips}

With a drink in hand, we cheered loudly for the Pirates this past Saturday but we just couldn’t stand up to our competition.

Regardless of who wins any football game, the food and drink around our house is always winning.

On the drink menu, a French Tropics Summer Punch.  But I like to call it Pirate Punch for a fun tailgate cocktail.

In a pitcher, or small punch bowl, combine 3/4 cup vodka (we are partial to Tito’s), 3/4 cup St. Germain, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup orange juice and 2 cups prosecco.  Serve over ice.

This is a fantastic drink for a tailgate because you can multiple the amounts to make a big batch and it’s a great make-ahead drink.

Warning: this is a potent drink!

(and yes, I have a chipped nail – I promise I will get it fixed this week.)

And to munch, bourbon-candied ginger and onion dip with homemade-homegrown (!!!) sweet potato chips.

This dip is another great addition to any tailgate because you can make it ahead.  (and some parts of this recipe you need to do in advance – like the candied ginger.)

For the candied ginger, thin slices of ginger are simmered in a combination of water, bourbon and sugar.  After simmering for 25 minutes, the ginger is removed from the bourbon simple syrup and transferred to a drying rack.  After about an hour, combine the ginger with 1/4 cup sugar and toss.  Spread that back out and allow to dry.  I did this the night before and let them dry overnight on the drying rack.

For the dip, onions, scallions, shallots and garlic are cooked over medium for about 20 minutes or until golden and caramelized.

The onions are transferred to a food processor and pureed.  The remaining ingredients are then added to the food processor, including Worcestershire sauce, Greek yogurt (I used 2% but you could also use sour cream), Duke’s mayonnaise, soy sauce, a little lemon juice, and the candied ginger.

Pulse until all the ingredients are combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (I added more pepper than salt).

Allow this to chill.

sweet potatoes

During halftime, we fried our thinly sliced homegrown sweet potatoes.  How gorgeous is that purple sweet potato?!?!


This recipe worked perfectly (and the BBQ seasoning was incredible).

The end result was perfect for any tailgate.

And I have to admit – I was a little skeptical of this recipe.  I honestly was afraid that the bourbon-candied ginger was going to overpower the dip.  But the good news is that it didn’t.  I’d consider this an upgrade on a typical onion dip.

Now we’re 1-2 and facing Virginia Tech at home on Saturday.  Kick-off time is 3:30pm so I’m preparing a tailgate menu that includes food that travels easy (since we have an hour drive) but that’s hearty enough to count as lunch since we all know Big Guy will probably make me leave the house at 8:30am.







Friday Favorites

Hallelujah!  We made it to Friday.  This was my first full week at work in I don’t know how long and boy, oh, boy am I ready for the weekend.  Big Guy’s been in Atlanta all week for an intense training and I’m kind of tired of hanging out with myself.  We have a date night planned this evening at our favorite place in Eastern NC and then tomorrow we’ll be cheering on the Pirates at home.  The weather looks all kinds of gorgeous so I know we’ll be spending time outside all weekend long.  Here are my favorites of the week:

Favorite Fascinating:  Mind-Bending Photos that Seem Fake but are Actually Real.   I can’t get over some of these photos.

Favorite Back to Basics:  Buttery Layered Buttermilk Biscuits.   Sure, I’ve made biscuits before.  But I’m ready to master a biscuit recipe.  And by “master” I mean I want to make the best biscuit Big Guy’s ever tasted.

Favorite Fall Appetizer:  Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread.  How amazing would this be on a pretzel?  And you only need five ingredients.

Favorite DIY:  Super Easy Garden Herb Salt.  Can we add this to the list of what I’m doing this weekend?  Because I don’t want any of my herbs to go to waste.

Favorite Football Food:  Slow-Cooker Blackberry and Jalapeno Chicken Sandwiches.  Last year I made a pulled pork sandwich for several games that was devoured each and every time.  I have a feeling that would happen with this sandwich, too.

Favorite Toasty:  Seasoned Buttered Crackers.  I’m pretty sure these would be just as addictive as crack.  And they’d be perfect for so many things.  I’d like to have them at an oyster roast.

Favorite In Season:  Bacon Wrapped Fig and Honeycrisp Apple Salad with Salted Caramel Pecans.   This salad is full of so much good stuff.  But the bacon wrapped figs are probably my favorite part.

Favorite Sunday Supper:  Creole Chicken with Mushroom Dirty Rice.   I love dirty rice.  And chicken thighs are my thing.

Favorite Layers:  Salted-Caramel Banana Pudding. I’m missing my family in a fierce way.  And banana pudding will always and forever make me think of my Momma.  I love this fun twist on a classic.

Favorite Cocktail:  Apple Cider Moscow Mule. We have a well-stocked bar.  But there are two things we don’t have:  ginger vodka and Moscow mule cups.  And now I need both.

Happy Weekend!

Tailgate Thursday {jalapeño honey hummus with spiced olive oil tortilla chips + wonder wings with buttery Nashville hot sauce}

Tailgates aren’t just for home games!  Big Guy and I love to have mini-tailgates at home, even if it’s just the two of us.  When talk of the Pirates playing in the Swamp first started Big Guy had big plans of us going to that game on the road.  But in the end, we just couldn’t make it happen with our busy schedules.  At the end of the day, I’m kind of glad we weren’t in Florida because holy rain buckets – it was a messy, wet game in the Swamp (how appropriate!).

I’m fairly certain that the neighbors (10 doors down) could hear Big Guy screaming and hollering at the television but it was a great game to watch.  The Pirates put up quite a fight and despite a loss, they really gave me hope for this next game.  (My brothers and Dad should be so proud of my football talk.)

In between all of the jumping around and yelling, there were delicious bites of food!

Hummus may not sound exciting enough for a football Saturday but when you had roasted jalapenos and honey, I promise it’s good enough.  And then you add homemade tortilla chips to the mix and you have yourself a dippin’ good time.  The hummus is so easy to make thanks to your food processor and tahini + olive oil makes it incredibly silky, smooth.  The chips were super crunchy and flavorful and I added a new spice to my massive spice collection thanks to these babies – dried jalapeno pepper.

To wash the hummus and chips down (and to make Big Guy more tolerable), a Pirate Salty Dog (simply blueberry puree + fresh grapefruit juice + vodka and a salted rim).

Later on in the game, we cooked the most traditional football/tailgate food I can think of – WINGS!  But these were wonder wings.

I made two different sauces for the wings but there was surely a favorite of the two.  I recommend tossing your wonder wings with Buttery Nashville Hot Sauce – finger lickin’ good.  (The other wings were good – but we couldn’t get over the smell of the fish sauce that overtook the entire house.)

This weekend we face Navy in another away game at 3:30pm on Saturday.  I’m busy planning my tailgate menu – listen for Big Guy’s yelling because we’re apparently taking this tailgate to the backyard.