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A Guide to Creating a House Cleaning Plan

I need a new house cleaning plan. Last week I wrote about moving. This week my new house is a disaster and I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that it’s double the size of the rental I’ve been in since my child became mobile. I tried to get ahead of myself and create a new plan before I moved in, but I very quickly got overwhelmed. Why do I have a house with four bathrooms? Seriously, what am I going to do with them? Do I have to clean all of them frequently even if we’re not using them? What about the guest bedroom? The baseboards? Cabinets? Ahhhhh! I’m tired just thinking about it.

So, what am I going to do? Preferably find a nice housekeeper and call it a day, but I’m pretty sure my husband will frown on that. I may have mentioned it before, but when you work from home, people think you should be cleaning your own house, watching your own child, and working at the same time. I’m not sure when you get magical powers after signing a telecommuting agreement, but I haven’t got mine yet, so that’s a bummer. Anyway, I’ve got to have some kind of house cleaning plan in place soon or I’ll fall back into my old ways and forget about my beautiful checklist that keeps me on track. Let’s see what I can come up with.

Guide to Making a House Cleaning Plan

1. Decide what you will actually do.

Sure, there are plenty of lists out there that will help you figure out what you need to do and how often you need to do it, like this or this. Unfortunately those lists won’t clean the house for you, so they’re not necessarily the best way to make your own house cleaning plan. I want to have a clean house, I really do. I also want to keep my sanity. Since those two things don’t always go hand in hand, I can’t follow the perfect mom guide to a spic and span life. Let’s see. I have to do the floors. Have to. I should dust the fans – but I won’t do it regularly. So instead of making it part of my routine cleaning, I’ll wait until I accidentally hit it with something and dust falls like snow.

Making some things a priority doesn’t mean you’ll let the rest of the house go to the wayside. It’s more about feeling accomplished and not overwhelmed. I know I’m going to vacuum. I know I’m going to clean my kitchen and toilets. Making them the main focus of my plan is a good thing because the chances of me throwing in the towel on these things are really slim. Perhaps for you it’s dusting or mopping – we all have chores we don’t mind or dirty spots we can’t stand. Build off of those chores to start, and you might feel like it’s not so bad doing a little house cleaning.

2. Write it down – but make it easy to change.

My floors, always. Schedule says…..It doesn’t matter, they obviously have to be cleaned.

 

I don’t mean you actually have to get out a pen and paper, although you can. I use Wunderlist for everything, so that’s what I’ll stick to. But, having a list of what to do, whether written or electronic, helps you remember what’s due when the rest of the world has tried to fry your brain. I only mop every other week because if it was on my to-do list every week, I’d sincerely have to move to a shack with no floors. But if I didn’t write it down,  I wouldn’t remember if I’d done it or not. Can I look at the floor and tell if it needs mopping? Yes. Am I going to do it if there’s 8 million other things I did commit to in writing? No.

Of course, I do need the ability to change my list without throwing off my entire house cleaning plan. My new house is new new, as in, I’m the first person to live here. I wonder about baseboards. How long are these things going to stay clean and beautiful? Should I wait until they’re really dirty or do it every so often to make sure they never get dirty? I haven’t decided yet. I’m going to put it on my to-do list for two months from now, and then I’ll decide if I want to stick with a two month time frame or not.  It can go for frequent things too – I switched vacuuming days based on the dogs’ schedules, and I do that every other day. Sticking to it is important, but if you can’t change it for the better, you might not want to follow it.

3. Decide if you’re a weekender or a day-by-day cleaner.

Honestly, my schedule doesn’t have  a lot of differences between the weekends and the weekdays. There’s not much point in me loading all my cleaning up on one day since no day is free. But, that might not be the case for you. What’s more likely – you getting two free hours on Sunday, or you getting ten free minutes seven days a week? Some things you might like to do more than once a week. Forget about them for a minute. Think about your once a week, once every other week, and once a month items. What would it be like if they all landed on the same day? If you think that’d be better, load them all up on the weekend. If you think that giant list would cause you to ignore all of it, spread them out.

4. Not everything has to be on a to-do list.

You know what I have never considered putting on my house cleaning list? Laundry. Washing dishes. Picking up toys. That doesn’t mean they won’t get done, but I don’t know when I’m going to do them. Probably when I run out of pants, fill up the dishwasher, or every fifteen minutes respectively. Putting them on the list would be irritating to me, and if your house cleaning plan annoys you, you aren’t going to do it. You have to figure out which chores you’re going to do, but might need reminding, compared to chores that you’re going to do anyway and a reminder would only waste more of your precious time.

5. Share the load.

Make a to-do list for the rest of your family too. Ha ha ha, I’m just kidding. Does anyone have kids or spouses that will help out? What’s that like? Do you all marvel at how awesome you are when you’re done with chores and then take adorable family photos? Or is it, like, really stressful and you all walk around on eggshells trying not to disturb any of your pristine home? I’m fascinated, please share in the comments. Of course, families like that probably aren’t reading lists like this, but still, maybe you’ve heard rumors of these odd creatures. Share that.

6. Whine away – but still do the list.

I try to start my day with fives minutes to myself for breakfast, but usually the baby beats me up. I spend the morning chasing him around, occasionally picking up after him, and then furiously cramming as much work as I can into his morning nap. We eat lunch and do a chore. Just one. If my to-do list has more than two things, I can’t get them done. Because after that, we have to climb the stairs fifteen times, dump all the toys out of every closet, put them away, repeat, and then walk the dogs. Sometimes I can do a little more work in the afternoon, but most likely it’s not going to happen. Then my husband gets home, I cook him dinner, the baby wants to play some more, and eventually they all go to sleep so I can do more work. That’s seven days a week.

Do I whine about cleaning the house? Yes. Good lord, yes. Do I do it anyway? Of course. Who wants to live in filth?  My house is currently a disaster, but eventually we’ll get moved in. Then I’ll start my checklist back up. One day it won’t be so bad. I won’t be pregnant, my husband won’t be in school, and my kids will. I would sincerely hate if my house got ruined in the meantime because I felt like it was too much work to wipe my bathroom down once a week. I’m as tired as the next gal or guy, honestly, but it’s part of being adult. Articles like this are fun to read and relate to, but they’re not helpful. If you’re serious about creating a house cleaning plan, you don’t have to follow the rules of Good Housekeeping. You do have to follow your own.

move in a hurry

The Best Ways to Move Houses in a Frenzy

Are you looking for the best ways to move in a frenzy? Not the best ways to have people tell you, “Wow, you’re an amazing packer!” I can’t help with that, because that’s not my goal. I move all the time and I just want to survive it. Okay, not ALL the time. It’s been eight months since my last move. Before that I did stay in a house for a record two years. That’s totally normal for a non-military family right? I’ve moved across the country, across town, and literally across the street. Sometimes I have lots of time to prepare, others I have zero. This time around I have about three weeks to move to a new neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean it’s not chaotic. I’m pregnant, my husband works ten hour days and has class on the weekends, and my toddler and dogs won’t do heavy lifting.

So, what’s a frenzied hostess to do? Get help? Of course not. That would cost money. Although I’ll be honest with you, if you’re moving across the country and not across the city, the help is totally worth it. You’re going to have to get a truck anyway, unless you don’t own anything or don’t want to take it with you. Use the good moving service packers. You won’t regret it. If you are moving across the city, though, I have seen what those movers do and I’ve tried a variety of things myself, so I have some ideas on the best ways to move on your own. Since I can’t currently host anything, I thought I’d go a little off topic and share.

Best Ways to Move in 7 Days or More

Packing for a move in a frenzy
Here go the bar supplies – very important. Notice the paper and plastic wrapping. Very professional.

Use Suitcases for Non-Glass

Does that sound like weird advice? It probably does, but let me explain. Boxes are fun and all, but they’re a lot of work to tape up, they can still break, plus if you do too good a job and bother to label them, you may never open them again. I like to fill up my suitcases with things, then unpack immediately at the new house, then bring the suitcases back and do it again. No, it’s actually not that much work. Yes, I do make more trips. But here’s another bonus – suitcases roll. I’m short, so even when I’m not pregnant carrying big square boxes around is quite irritating. Only have to lift a suitcase in and out of the car, or upstairs, makes moving much easier. Coolers and other empty trunk-like items also work.

Legitimately how I drove with my mugs and champagne glasses. Please excuse the messy car, we’re moving!
Everything survived, no need to worry. Proof of life shot glasses.

Use Lots of Paper or Plastic Bags for Glass

I always have too many plastic bags, which you may have noticed in this post. So when I move they come in handy. I put one bag in a glass, then wrap with a second bag, and that’s that. Do they survive the move, you ask? Yes. Most of my glasses even survived a cross-country move this way, in a box not marked fragile. I didn’t try that on purpose. When I packed I was putting things temporarily in storage and didn’t realize my life on the west coast was coming to an end.  The paper thing is probably safer – it’s what the real movers do – but I don’t usually have paper on hand. The point is, make sure there are fluffy things surrounding your glasses. Unfortunately, there is no cheat code for this, unless you want to bring them one by one. I’ve done that too.

Break Up the Big Stuff

Do you need that end table right now? Can you dismantle your desk or move the guest bedroom before you have to move your own room? This is kind of a necessity for me right now, since I’m handling the bulk of the move and I’m not allowed to lift anything too heavy. I have to rely on different people to help me whenever they’re available, not whenever I am. This is how my three week move that seems like plenty of time has actually become time crunched. But, it’s okay, because I can live with a half-house. For example, we got help with our formal dining table last week, but the kitchen table is staying until the final day. We have room to eat either way.

Best Ways to Move in Less than 7 Days

Fit Your Clothes Everywhere

Okay, so I actually do this every time, regardless of how long my move lasts. Who wants to pack up clothes? Do people actually take them off the hanger? I have used those crazy boxes they have for wardrobes on longer moves, but when you have no time, just keep them on the hangers they’re already on and toss them on top of whatever else you’re toting. They don’t take up much space, they’re light, and it is so nice to simply put them back on the shelves like they always existed in the new closet and nowhere else. The best ways to move do not include wasting time on clothes – ever.

Get Small Boxes & a Dolly

This may seem counter-intuitive, but look at the boxes I posted directly above this. Those were all fragile glass, and they were heavy. I couldn’t have lifted them on my own even if I wasn’t pregnant. It was fine for this move since we do have three weeks, but if I was doing a short-time move, these boxes would have slowed me down. I would have had to find someone else to carry them, when I could have broken them down into multiple boxes and known for sure I could carry them myself. Packing sucks, and when you’re in a hurry I know you want to throw everything into one box and go, but don’t do it. Use lots of little boxes and find a dolly to make transportation easy. Or, the very least, top one layer of books with one layer of pillows. Then you can halfway carry it.

Don’t Make a Donate Pile at the Old House

Moving so much is really awesome for one reason – my house is very light on useless crap. We donate a lot of things every time we move, as well as throw things away. But, when you’re really short on time, if you don’t already have the donate pile ready to go, do it at the new house. Perhaps you think you won’t donate it if you take it to the new house, but I’d be more concerned about time. Even big items of trash require special trips to the dump, and the less time you have in one house, the less special trips you can make. Yes, it’s extra work when you’re moving in, but time is of the essence to make sure you get everything packed. Leave the boxes of useless stuff somewhere you can’t avoid and you’ll make it to Goodwill eventually.

So there you have it. Those are my best ways to move in a frenzy. I am not concerned with perfect packing. Glasses will break if you get too crazy, yes, but you can throw all your shoes in one box without worrying about placement and I swear they will survive. Most stuff will, honestly, if you’re not going far. Don’t forget to shove strange shaped things into the floor of your car either. My bread maker never gets in a box, but it always finds its way somehow. Same goes for my guitar, my golf clubs, and even my plants. If I can move mostly by myself with a toddler and two dogs constantly at my feet, you can do it too! Good luck!

in the metro

A Mexican Pasta Dish With Sausage

Mexican or pasta? Why not a Mexican pasta dish instead? I personally always have ingredients for Mexican food on hand, but my Italian supplies are more limited. That’s why, every once in awhile, I have to combine the two just to get rid of certain things in my cabinets. Beth, you say. Why don’t you just go grocery shopping? Are you really that time-strapped? Well, yes and no. I will go grocery shopping at some point this week, probably even today. But we close on our new house tomorrow (so maybe I’ll start actually hosting things soon), and what’s the point of picking up a whole bunch of ingredients when you’re going to have to move them in a week?

Typically my husband and I eat our pasta pretty plain. We like olive oil for a sauce, and I’ll throw in a nice vegetable and meat to keep it interesting, but that’s about it. This is our favorite. Pretty delicious, I must say. But, I’m trying to clean out my kitchen, so here’s what I’ve got: sausage, pasta, cheddar and Pepperjack cheeses, some spices, and….that’s about it. I don’t have any tortillas, and those won’t be purchased again until the move. I don’t have any mozzarella or Parmesan, and again, those will have to wait. So you can see why sometimes I feel like mixing and matching my regional cuisines. Anyway, let’s get started.

Nothing like watching a pot try to boil

 

Add some spices
Red peppers, my favorite
A nice, messy pot all ready to go

Mexican Pasta Dish with Sausage

Serves 4
20-25 minutes cooking time

Ingredients

1 lb penne pasta
1 lb smoked sausage or chorizo
Red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar
1/2 cup Pepperjack
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta until al dente (10-12 minutes)
  2. Meanwhile, cut sausage into 1/4 in thick slices. Saute on medium high until cooked through.
  3. Add cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper to sausage. Stir.
  4. Add red pepper to saute pan and heat until softened.
  5. Drain the pasta. Now mix in a 1/2 cup of  cheddar and the Pepperjack and stir. Cheese should be melted throughout.
  6. Add sausage and red pepper to pasta and cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Notes

So, this is really more of a Mexican-inspired dish than a plain ole’ Mexican pasta dish. If you want something like nachos on macaroni, I would suggest something like this or this. I like the idea, but I’d be more likely to simply make nachos one day and macaroni the next if I had all the ingredients. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to mix and match recipes rather than buy a whole store full of food, so that’s really my goal here. Now, if you want this particular recipe more Mexican-y, you could switch the sausage for ground beef. Also, definitely adjust the cheese to your own liking. I love cheese, but I know not everyone does.

This dish could also easily be switched to Creole. The flavors are actually really similar to this shrimp and grits recipe, which I also love. I may have an addiction to Allrecipes. I think the gist of what I’m saying is, feel free to throw whatever you have left in your cabinet and fridge, mix it together, and call it a dish. When your life is hectic, who cares if you’re entirely cohesive in your menu planning. Now eat up!

Olives as an extra topping, for those of you who like olives!
CASTLE

Plastic Tablecloth Decorations Vs. Streamers

There are some amazing plastic tablecloth decorations out there. Seriously, look at this and this. Who has time to come up with this stuff? Not me! But, I don’t really have time for anything (starting a blog may have been a terrible idea), so maybe I don’t count. Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned this once or twice, but I’m not really a fan of decorating for parties. That’s a terrible thing for a hostess to say, isn’t it? Yet I say it all the time. I decided maybe I need to stop all those traditional decorating ideas, like using streamers at all, ever, and switch it up a little. Honestly, I don’t have time for the fancy stuff, so my mind turned to plastic tablecloth decorations. I could probably do something with those, right?

Well, if you looked at those amazing decorations I pointed out, you might as well just use streamers. It would take just as long to rip up a whole bunch of paper and tape it to your wall as it would to make those tablecloth things. I don’t want to have to cut and snip and tie and then still tape things. I want something that takes twenty seconds and miraculously looks cute. Impossible? Probably. I decided to test out three different types of decorations using both plastic tablecloths and streamers to see which one was more time consuming, which one was more frustrating, and how much I’d need of each.

Plastic Tablecloth Decorations vs. Streamers

Round #1: Photo Backdrop

 

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1 tablecloth
Time to Complete in Real Time: 5 minutes
How Long it Felt: 5 minutes
Toddler Interference: Minimal
Frustration Level: Low
Overall Look: Eh. I could probably smooth it out add some other decorations, but it takes up a good amount of space so you could have multiple people there.

Streamers

Need: At least one roll, but probably two.
Time to Complete in Real Time: 10 minutes
How Long it Felt: 8 days
Toddler Interference: Moderate
Frustration Level: High
Overall Look: I only made it through one roll before giving it up. I would definitely want a second roll to both make it wider and help fill in any gaps. The tape is ugly too, so a balloon row on top or something is probably necessary.

The Winner: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations

Hands down, no questions on this one. I don’t have a lot of time. If I need a photo backdrop for something, I’m absolutely going this way. If you have help you can probably get yours up a lot smoother and even faster. By the way, the reason it even took five whole minutes was because it took me forever to get the tablecloth unfolded and I accidentally tacked it unevenly the first time. The streamers went faster than I thought they would, but I still had to deal with all that tape (I tacked the tablecloth) and ripping. Then it still didn’t look that nice. Tablecloths, 1, streamers, 0.

Round #2: Doorway Draping

 

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1-2 tablecloths depending on your doorway
Time to Complete in Real Time: 10 minutes
How Long it Felt: 5 hours
Toddler Interference: Minimal
Frustration Level: moderate
Overall Look: I’m not actually having a party, so I didn’t put a lot of effort into this, but the unevenness still bothered me. If you only have a small doorway, this would be an absolute cinch.

Streamers

Need: Depends on the size of your doorway, mine would be about 4
Time to Complete in Real Time: 40 minutes
How Long it Felt: ——-
Toddler Interference: Moderate
Frustration Level: Highest
Overall Look: Okay, I have to confess here. I couldn’t even make myself do this one. Don’t judge me. I’m seven months pregant, I don’t need to be climbing up and down chairs or stools or ladders or a party I’m not having. What I did instead was measure the photo backdrop space and my door opening to see how much I’d need, then figured out the time it’d take per roll. As you can see, my frustration level was off the roof, since I couldn’t be bothered to do it. Would I bother if I was actually throwing a party? Survey says: No.

The Winner: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations

I know it’s not the fanciest of decorations, and for some reason my Dollar Tree purchase makes me look like a Packers fan, but I kind of like this. It gives a little bit of a festive vibe and it really doesn’t require that much work, unless you’re a perfectionist. Perfectionists, you should probably find another blog. I can feel your stress looking at my pictures from here. Tablecloths, 2, streamers, 0.

Round #3: Ceiling Decor

Plastic Tablecloth

Need: 1 tablecloth (and one hula hoop)
Time to Complete in Real Time: 45 minutes
How Long it Felt: 300 years
Toddler Interference: Maximum
Frustration Level: high, but mostly from toddler, not tablecloth
Overall Look: Hahahaha, this would not be a feature at any party of mine. I went with the hula hoop idea instead of streaming from one side to the other because I didn’t have help. I’d have to say nothing is better than this though.

Streamers

Need: Minimum 1.5 rolls
Time to Complete in Real Time: 30 minutes
How Long it Felt: A week
Toddler Interference: Maximum
Frustration Level: Highest -both from the streamers and the toddler. Did you know toddlers like hula hoops? I started tying the streamers, but they kept ripping, so I moved to staples, which actually looked smoother and took less time.
Overall Look: Eh, I’d still probably skip it, but I could see someone with more time on their hands making something out of this. Oh, and I wouldn’t hang it on the chandelier I already have. I just didn’t have time to rig something else up.

The Winner: Streamers

I’m not positive I’d bother with this one. Well, that’s not accurate. I’m positive I wouldn’t bother with this one.  It was frustrating either way, my son just wanted to play with it, and in the end it didn’t look great. If I was basing this on traditional ceiling decorations, though, I still think streamers would win. They’re easier to twist up, you don’t have to worry about folding them or cutting them the right way, and the look is pretty much the same. Tablecloths, 2, streamers, 1.

Conclusion: Plastic Tablecloth Decorations Win

If I’m going to decorate, I want it to be as fast as possible so I don’t waste any time. For the most part, using plastic tablecloths was so much less work than putting up streamer after streamer after streamer. Oh, and if price is a consideration for you,  tablecloths are $1 at the dollar store and about $3.50 at Target. Getting them at the dollar store is obviously cheaper, but you can get more decorative ones at other stores. Two rolls of streamers are $1 at the dollar store and  between $1 and $3.50 for one roll at Target. I’m probably not going to start enjoying decorating, but at least now I know I have another option besides streamers. The next time you throw a party, think about that and spend more time enjoying and less time decorating!

 

Rock a 3 course valentine's day dinner

How to Rock a Three Course Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day dinner. Ug, am I right? Like I need another special meal to plan in between the cleaning, working, and baby-watching. I suppose I could be like most normal people I know and go out on the town. But it’s not exactly romantic when I have to drag my toddler along, especially considering he’s incapable of sitting down. Does anyone else have that problem? I’m not sure why my husband and I even try to go out anymore. We can’t talk to each other because one of us is always walking around the restaurant following our son. We do occasionally have a baby-sitter, but my parents have been happily married for three hundred years and it’s also my mom’s birthday, so they’re out for this one.

I’m left with two choices. Either I cook, or I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day at all. That actually doesn’t sound so terrible, but my husband does like to acknowledge the holiday even though we don’t do gifts. So, cooking it is. Some of you may think I should have the hubby cook. No. You come eat his cooking sometime and then see how you feel about that. More power to you if you’re in a couple where you both cook. It sounds amazing. Anyway, without further ado, here’s my plan to fix a three course Valentine’s Day dinner without wasting all day in the kitchen.

Plan your Valentine’s Day Dinner Ahead

I would love if I always had everything I needed in my refrigerator, but it’s a rare rare day when that happens. I go through phases where I meal plan a week at a time, with some great advice, but I can’t keep up with myself during tax season. There could be anything in my fridge right now. Or nothing, which is probably more likely. This means for a three course meal I really need to come up with a plan ahead of time. Then I can grocery shop in advance, not have to run to the store later, and know exactly how much time I need to carve out of my day.

Pick a Cohesive Menu

Do you like Italian? Greek? Want to recreate some meal you and your lover had all those years ago? Pick one and go with it. The last thing you need is to have to come up with some sort of palate cleanser in between the important stuff. I’m going Greek this year because I need to practice a baklava recipe. Yes, I know baklava is originally from Turkey. That doesn’t mean they don’t make it in Greece. Anyway, that’s not the point. I want to practice this recipe, and my husband loves Greek gyros, so that’s the direction I’m going. Last year we had Italian if I remember correctly, and I also seriously considered French, but we’ll take it one year at a time.

I do have one caveat for your cohesive menu – the emergency cheese. What? You’ve never had to invest in an emergency cheese? Well, you should get used to the idea. It’s great. I know I’m going to do my best to plan everything and have a fixed schedule. I also know that’s not going to happen, because, life. That’s why I like to buy a good block of cheese when I’m doing my special occasion shopping. For my husband, only Gouda will do, so that’s what I get. Once I get backed up, which I inevitably will, he can munch on that with some apples. It also works as a first course appetizer or a dessert cheese plate if you really get behind. Wah lah! Emergency cheese.

Make Ahead Dessert

Dessert is the last course of the day, but I think it’s a great idea to make it the first course you cook. I’m going to make mine Thursday night after the kid goes to sleep. That way I know it’s done. Here’s a quick list of make-ahead desserts, but I’m sure Pinterest will show you a thousand more ideas if you can’t find one to fit your theme. Some desserts, like cheesecake, actually taste better to me after a day of sitting around, and it will allow you a little more time to do something fancy if you like. Plus, it’s the last course of your Valentine’s Day dinner so if you’re too tired to cook anymore, it doesn’t matter. Even something like creme brulee, which sounds really difficult but isn’t, can mostly be done ahead, then crisped up at the last second.

Easy but Elegant Salad

Anyone can dump a package of salad in a bowl. In fact, if that’s what you want to do, I’m not going to stop you. But, salads can also be really beautiful and elegant without a lot of work. When they’re not the main course, you usually don’t have to worry about getting a lot of protein in there, and that saves you cooking time. I think the last time I did a French salad the most difficult thing I did was toast some walnuts and dump in pre-crumbled goat cheese. Here’s another good list. If you’re following along my Greek menu, I’ll be doing your basic Greek salad by picking up a bunch of ingredients at the grocery store antipasti bar. They let everything swim in oil, so I probably won’t even have a dressing. I’ll throw my antipasti in a bowl with some lettuce and mix. So easy!

Spend your time on the Main Dish

You have to make a main dish, right? The emergency cheese just can’t replace your main course, no matter how much you want it to. If you’re going to get crazy, this is the place to do it, although I wouldn’t necessarily advise it. Does your theme have a slow cooker meal you could try? That’d save some time. You might not have to cook anything by the time Valentine’s Day dinner starts! I will be making gyro meat and tzatziki sauce. Is this complicated? Yes. I’m not going to pretend it’s not. But, I can do it in phases, like sauce in the morning, meat mixing afternoon, cooking it while I mix the salad. If I could ever find a good tzatziki, I would buy it and save myself the trouble, so please feel free to make recommendations. I do like cooking the meat though.

Whether you’re spending a lot of time on the main dish at night or in the morning, I would still aim for something really tasty. This actually is a special occasion. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t go through all the trouble. As for a side dish, that’s totally up to you. I’m going to buy pitas to serve our meal as a sandwich, but other dishes might necessitate something more. Pasta’s fine on it’s own. A piece of chicken or steak might require a vegetable or something though. In that case I’d suggest steaming a vegetable, or maybe throwing a baked potato in the oven when the cheese comes out. Those are both super easy options that won’t distract you from the other stuff. Alright, readers. Go out and put together a fabulous three course Valentine’s Day dinner!

how to SET UP A 5 MINUTE BIG GAME SPORTS BOOK AT HOME

How to Host a Big Game Sports Book at Home

Have you ever wanted to host a big game sports book at your own home? As a native Nevadan, I always like to add a little gambling to my football parties. I’m not sure why, exactly. There’s just something fun about losing three different bets immediately because somehow the Giants forced Tom Brady into a safety in the first drive of the game. Of course, you don’t have to gamble with money. Some people have it, some people don’t, you know which one you and your friends are. You can also gamble with drinks, food, pride, or you know, whatever else you can come up with. We personally choose money or beer, depending on who we’ve invited, but to each their own.

This year I’m not hosting a Super Bowl party, as I’m living in a tiny, dark rental house for one more month. But, my friends did ask me to bring some Vegas type games with me. Since I don’t have to cook, I should have plenty of time – oh wait! I’m a frenzied hostess! It’s tax season and I’m a bookkeeper. I have NO time for anything (including this – which is why it’s late this week!). But, I said I’d do it, so here we go. Enjoy my ideas for making your own big games sports book, and please, don’t feel like it should take all day.

Big Game Sports Book Ideas

Are they a little crazy looking? Sure, but see what I have to work around?

1. Super Squares

If you’ve ever had coworkers, been to a restaurant with TVs in January, or casually glanced at game day ideas, you’ve seen these before. You won’t see them in a Las Vegas sports book, but they’re still fun and easy to get people’s toes wet in the gambling arena. I’m not going to go through the whole process – the folks over at Super Bowl Squares have that covered. Follow those instructions. Now, here’s my input: Get some poster board, don’t waste your time measuring squares because no one cares about that, and then tape it to a wall in an obvious place. You should also have some squares filled out beforehand so people get interested. Yes, you do have to pony up if you place the bets. Then direct your first couple of guests right to that big beautiful grid and get the game going.

2. Prop Bets

I took an extra two seconds per football. Fancy!

Prop bets are my absolute favorite. They are the reason I somehow managed to lose all those bets at once back in 2012. They’re basically just random things you can bet on, like what color Gatorade will get dumped on the winning coach or how long the national anthem will last. Here’s a good list of bets for 2017 specifically, but you could update this each year, minus perhaps the entertainment ones. I would not choose too many. It would get confusing, because you are not actually a sports book. Instead, pick about five, making sure to pick some from both game and non-game related bets. Then throw them on another poster board and have the bettors write their answers on it.

One other little addition I might add this year is to set up a couple of bets about the guests. Not everyone there is going to be a football fan, so to keep them entertained, I thought it might be fun to make some prop bets like “Who will start the backyard football game?” and “Who will cry at a commercial?” If you have big drinker friends, you can incorporate that as well. Since this is your own private big game sports book, you might as well involve everyone.

3. Who Will Win?

Okay friends, you should be doing this even if you aren’t going to make a big game sports book. Why wouldn’t you bet on who’s going to win? Now, there are a couple ways of going about this. The easiest, obviously, is to simply pick who’s going to win. I typically don’t collect any money for this, but when I have guests they write their name on a slip of paper and put it in a bowl dedicated to the team they think is going to win. Once the game is over I pull out a name out from the winner’s side and they get a prize. You could actually collect money and split it between winners; I would give them all something the color of their team, like a pin or beads, to prove they won.

4. Vegas Style

On the other hand, you could get crazy and go real sports book style. Here’s a link to the current odds. I can’t advise you to actually pay out on those odds, unless you’re a rich person, in which case you may want to consider something other than poster board for your sports book. I can tell you what those numbers mean. The line is pretty easy. According to that site, New England is favored by 3, which is the -3 you’re seeing.  Basically you bet on the Patriots if you think they’ll win by 3 or more. You pick Atlanta if you think they’ll win, or even if they’ll lose by less than 3 points. It’s not much of a spread, so good luck with this one.

The other fun part of trying to plan a big game sports book  is taking bets on the over/under. Usually the over/under is what Vegas thinks both teams are going to score combined. In this case, it’s 58 points. Fifty-eight! That’s a high scoring game they’re suggesting. The good news is, the betting part is much easier than the scoring. Do you think there will be more or less than 58 points scored during the game?  You can write down people’s bets for this if you want, or have people put their names down somewhere, or whatever you want. Again, I wouldn’t suggest you spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to pay like the sports book would. I’d just settle on a wager from the beginning; perhaps pair over bettors with under bettors and let them choose their own terms.

Well, that’s about it! Enjoy your big game sports book, and don’t forget your amazing bookie visor! 🙂

 

Pepperoni Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Recipe for Pepperoni Stuffed Turkey Burgers

I created my own pepperoni stuffed turkey burgers when I accidentally bought Italian seasoned ground turkey. I guess I could have just had Italian seasoned burgers, but I wasn’t in the mood. Pepperoni pizza burgers also weren’t for me, as I hate pizza sauce. I hope pizza sauce doesn’t take this personally; it’s actually tomatoes I hate. I don’t even like ketchup. Anyway, I’ve never found that particular ground turkey again, but I figured out how to season it myself, and now my husband and I will occasionally enjoy our own little Italian burger.

As far as using ground turkey over ground beef goes, that’s really up to you. I started using ground turkey in college because one of my roommates was (and still is) super into healthy eating. I’m not particularly careful about that, but unless ground beef seems absolutely necessary, I now prefer turkey. There’s only one reason for that. It’s less greasy. Unfortunately, less grease also means it’s a drier meat. Plus, you can’t cook it medium – it’s got to be done. So, feel free to use ground beef if that’s your thing. The important part of this burger is the pepperoni, so it should taste fine either way.

Pepperoni Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Ingredients (2-4 servings)

1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
pepperoni
mozzarella

 

Instructions

  1. Mix all seasonings with ground turkey. You do not need to spend much time on this; in fact, it is better not to over mix it.
  2. Shape four-eight thin patties. They should be bigger than your bun. Four patties = two burgers.
  3. Place pepperonis to taste on half of the patties. Do not go all the way to the edge of the burger; you are going to need that edge for combining patties.
  4. Add mozzarella to taste on top of the pepperonis (or vice versa).
  5. Put one plain patty on top of each pepperoni/mozzarella patty. Use the outer edges to close up the burger so you can no longer see the mozzarella or pepperonis.
  6. Put the patties into individual plastic wrap. You can reshape here if you want to. Then put them in the fridge for a hour or two, or freezer for at least twenty minutes, and let them set.
  7. Grill your burgers. You should only need to flip once. Inside should be 160°F when they are done.
  8. Eat!

 

Notes

As I mentioned before, turkey meat can be a little drier than ground beef. I rely on Worcestershire and cheese to be my moisteners, but I’ve read that you can put in a little mayo or butter to help with it as well. Of course, that seems to me like it’s missing the point of using healthier meat, but to each her own. This is a pretty good article about making juicy burgers if you’re interested.

I usually only make two burgers out of a pound of turkey. Do they wind up being half a pound each? I don’t know. Maybe, sometimes. Other times I don’t let the patties sit long enough and part of it falls into my grill before I even start cooking. I call that a forced diet, frenzied style. I also like to use shredded mozzarella because I always have some on hand, but it might be less of a mess to simply cut a few slices off a block. Lastly, once my patties are in the wrap, I like to beat them down a little so they get thinner and easier to cook. That’s it! Go enjoy your pepperoni stuffed turkey burgers!

Why i'm hosting my own birthday party

Why I’m Hosting My Own Birthday Party

I’m turning 32 in a couple of weeks. Last time I checked, no one cares when you turn 32. That is why I’m throwing my own birthday party this year. I usually do this anyway, as it would be a lot to ask someone else to do every year, but I’ll be handling everything this time around. That means I’m the greeter, the chef, the baker, the decorator, the clean-up, and the designated driver. What?! The designated driver at my own birthday party?! Sounds crazy, I know. But I’m pregnant, so it’s really not that big a deal. Typically someone else would get that job, as well as cleanup and baking, but I’ve run into a few issues this year.

The first issue is that I’m preggo. I already have one child and I don’t need a second shower, but I know my family is going to do at least a “sprinkle,” because that’s just how they are. So I don’t need them throwing another party for me. I also happen to be finding out the sex the weekend before my birthday. Since we like to reveal with blue or pink cake, it just makes sense for me to combine that with my own birthday party.  The second issue is I’m still new to Tennessee, and I don’t feel like letting one of my recent acquaintances come up with a guest list to introduce me to people. Regardless, there is nothing wrong with throwing your own birthday party! Just follow a few rules so you don’t come off as needy. Unless you are needy. Then do what you want.

Rules I Have for Hosting My Own Birthday Party

1. No Requesting Gifts

Did you know some people out there still bring gifts to birthday parties? I feel like in college all my friends and I were so broke we just gave up on that tradition and never picked it back up. Then I moved to the south and guests kept bringing me things, whether it was for my birthday or housewarming or whatever. I might bring a bottle of wine if I’m invited somewhere, but I’m not  into gift giving for every occasion.  I don’t want gifts either – unless it’s wine, obviously. So, when I host my own birthday party, I not only don’t request gifts, but I specifically tell people not to bring them. Maybe it’s tacky, maybe it isn’t. Either way, I don’t want you to stress when you come to my party.

2. Don’t Go Overboard

This, my friends, is the opposite of going overboard!

If I’m throwing a party for someone else, I almost always buy more food and/or decor than I will have time to deal with. I want everything to be perfect for them. But guess what? When I’m throwing my own birthday party, I’m usually just impressed I thought of inviting people ahead of time. I feel like it’d be weird to hang a whole bunch of birthday banners for myself, so I’ll definitely skip that. I get to pick my own favorite foods, whether I pick it up or cook. It’s also nice not to have to deal with some fancy bakery – I don’t like a lot of cake frosting, but bakers love it. So I’ll slather some buttercream on it and be done.  No fuss, o headaches, just all my favorite things.

3. Don’t Feel Bad Combining With Another Event

This year I’m doing a little gender reveal during my birthday. Last year I had a newborn and have legitimately no memory of my birthday as I was very sleep-deprived. The year before I enjoyed the big 3-0 at the same time as the Big Game. I know not everyone has a championship to watch on their birthday, but if there’s something else to combine it with, why not? I feel like it takes the spotlight off me, plus it keeps us “old” folks from getting partied out. If I was still in my early twenties back-to-back parties might be fun, but that’s not the case anymore. I had two Christmas parties in three days this December and it about killed me. Maybe that will change once the kids are older, but that seems so far away.

4. Don’t Get Caught up with Etiquette

Why do I say don’t get caught up with etiquette while I’m posting rules that are basically about etiquette? Well, look. Some people get really stressed about what society has to say about throwing your own birthday party. Miss Manners is particularly gruff on this point. There are whole discussion boards in forums dedicated to how tacky it is, and yadda yadda yadda. But who cares? If Miss Manners is your friend, just don’t invite her. Tell those forum people to stay home too. Not everyone knows how to throw a party, and even if they did, not everyone has friends who would want to throw one for them. Feel free to ignore advice that is simply too old-fashioned to listen to.

5. Have Fun!

This one’s actually important. You know what the worst part of hosting my own birthday party is? It’s that I’m a hostess. I like hosting, obviously, but it’s a lot of work and running around. You have to check on people and make sure your guests are okay, specifically your guest of honor. So how do you check on the guest of honor when it’s you? Don’t feel bad if you get caught up with someone and don’t make constant rounds to other people. This is your show, so you might as well enjoy it and let them come to you if you want. That’s about it for rules. So go out, have fun, and plan your own party!

 

Busy Hostess, Green Hostess

Can a Frenzied Hostess be a Green Hostess?

In my mind, I’m a green hostess. Not the color; I mean environmentally friendly. In reality, I’m pretty sure that’s not true at all. France banned paper cups and plates at the end of 2016, an ever since I read that I’ve been wondering how terrible these little life savers really are. There has to be some kind of a trade-off, right? Maybe washing a whole bunch of dishes is worse than using paper plates…

Nope! Not even close! Every single article I read trying to make myself feel better about using paper plates helped me feel the opposite. Reusable, they said. Use ceramic plates, they said, and wash them in your environmentally friendly dishwasher that you totally have (I actually do have one. But I know that’s not true for everyone). These are good intentions. But are they realistic? Can a frenzied hostess like myself ever really be a green hostess too? I already spend enough time trying to get everything else together. How am I supposed to worry about the environment when I’m in such a time crunch?

Tips to Becoming a Green Hostess

Okay, so these are not going to be earth-shattering revelations. You’ve probably heard all of them before. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of things, and to go in with a specific plan to be environmentally friendly instead of feeling guilty about it later. I’m not the only one who feels guilty, right? When you take out bags and bags of trash after a barbecue, don’t you cringe just a little? I would say if you don’t feel a bit remorseful, this isn’t for you, but on the other hand, if you don’t care at all maybe you’re exactly who should be focusing on being a green hostess.

1. Buy Eco-friendly paper plates.

You think I’m crazy now, don’t you? I just spent all that time talking about paper plates and I still want to buy them. Look, here’s the thing. I can pretend to be a green hostess all I want, but the truth is, I already have enough dishes to do after a party than to have to worry about every single guest and how many plates they want to dirty up. If it’s a small party, yes, by all means, use the good dishes. But a big barbecue or Halloween party, or anything involving 20+ people, is going to make being a green hostess much more difficult unless you get a caterer who does all the cleanup for you. These plates aren’t  necessarily the cheapest options, but you will have to get tips about cheap somewhere else. I like these and these.

2. Set up signs for “Recycle” and “Trash.”

Whenever I go to a party, I always ask if the host recycles. I think in some places it’s a given that they do, but it’s not everywhere. I couldn’t even get my trash company to pick up my recyclables when I lived in North Carolina, so I just gave up. Make it easy on everyone. Put up some big garbage bags (or trash cans, if you have multiple) with signs above them so everyone can easily deposit their used goods. This is going to be environmentally friendly, plus less time consuming for you. If you make it obvious where you want their garbage, guests will be more likely to throw stuff away. Have you ever been to a hostess’s house where they put the trashcan in a pantry or under the sink? No one wants to go through your stuff to find the garbage, so it gets left out.

3. Skip the Streamers.

You already know this one’s my favorite, right? I’ll take any excuse not to decorate, and this is a great one. Leave all those paper products on the shelves of the party store, friends, and tell everyone you’re a green hostess. I’m not saying you can’t decorate at all, but why not get some reusable decor or try out some garbage? Wine bottles are my favorite decorations saved from the trash. Just peel all those labels off and stick some candles in them and you’ve become super fancy. Then you shove them into a cabinet somewhere and use them again next time (or drink more – also fine). Now you’re saving paper, plus the headache of having to tape all those nonsense strips of paper all over your house.

4. Take your Reusable Bags when Food Shopping.

Look, I’ll be honest. I have no idea what to tell you about environmentally friendly food, other than buy local and don’t buy things individually wrapped in plastic 15 times. But I can tell you this. Reusable shopping bags are great. Your house won’t become crowded with plastic bags, plus there’s less to carry because they hold more. I sincerely don’t understand why everyone isn’t already using them. They save time loading and unloading, and they save the environment by not getting thrown into landfills. Seriously, if you don’t already have them, get them! Then use them every time you have a party, and eventually you’ll remember to use them every time you shop. Now that’s a green hostess!

GOUNELLE

Game Day Food by Football Team Cities

Have you ever tried to plan your game day food by NFL city? The play-offs are fast approaching, which means most people will have their eye on the big game. But, if you’re like me, your team will only be hosting the game, not playing in it. So, I celebrate them in earlier rounds. I try to be fair in my game day food, even when I have a preferred team. I’ll use one signature dish from each team’s city (or state, or region if that’s what they represent). I do this all of January every year, yet I never remember my research. It was high time to make a comprehensive list, and I had to share it. There are lists like this out there, I know, but I don’t want to buy specific ice creams or make cabbage rolls, so here we are.

The great thing about having a list like this is you can use it all year. Some teams see the play-offs all the time; others are Cleveland, where the best game of the season is game 1. (Sorry Cleveland! At least you have basketball.) Why not enjoy a little city-specific game day food all year long? It doesn’t have to be a big party; in fact some of these would be better for just a few friends. When it comes to game day food, it can be really fun to color coordinate things like cupcakes or punch, but it’s also fun to get  cultured. I tried to find three ideas for each team, using main or side dishes where possible. Some were easy – think Philadelphia or  New York. Some were ridiculously difficult – I’m looking at you, Jacksonville. If you know of better ideas, feel free to let me know!

List of NFL Game Day Food

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals play in Glendale, but since they claim the whole state I didn’t feel obligated to stick to the area. You might think of Mexican when you think of the Southwest, but there’s also a heavy Native American influence to give you more of a variety of dishes.

Chimichangas
Fry Bread
Cheese Crisps

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is a great food city. I would legitimately drive there right now just for dinner if my child enjoyed the car.  You can likely find any kind of food you want there, but when it comes to it’s signature dishes, think Southern.

Fried Chicken
Biscuits
Grits

Baltimore Ravens

I feel like it would be cheating if I wrote three different types of crabs, but friends, they have at least that many signature crab dishes. I listed Lake Trout here, although there seems to be an argument as to what that actually is. Have fun with that if you just can’t stand crab!

Crab Cakes
Pit Beef Sandwiches
Lake Trout

Buffalo Bills

When you think Buffalo, I’m sure you think buffalo wings, and that is a good option. But it’s not the only option! There were actually quite a few dishes the city claimed to be good at, although they didn’t all seem like game day food.

Chicken Wings
Beef on Weck
Charcoal Broiled Hot Dogs

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are supposed to encompass both Carolinas. I was tempted to only do North Carolina since I lived there for five years, but I decided to be nice. When I say barbecue, you should be aware, there are very distinct types from each state. Choose wisely!

Barbecue
Shrimp & Grits
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

Chicago Bears

Did I even need to bother with Chicago? I’m not sure that I did. It has so many signature dishes, you might as well make anything you can think of and just call it “Chicago-style.”

Deep Dish Pizza
Chicago Style Dogs
Italian Beef

Cincinnati Bengals

I was recently in Cincinnati and determined to stop by one of their chili places, but I didn’t make it. Their chili fascinates me though – they put it on spaghetti! Who thinks of this stuff?

Cincinnati Chili
Goetta
Montgomery Inn-Style Barbecue

Cleveland Browns

I thought I was going to have a hard time with Cleveland, but they surprised me. They have several dishes that not only make sense as a game day food, but they’re also pretty easy to make, even for a group.

Polish Boys
Pierogies
Pizza Bagels

Dallas Cowboys

Ah, Texas. So much food, so little time. Luckily there are two Texas teams to fit it all in. I tried to split them appropriately, but they both have that Tex Mex style to them and love meat. Perfect for games, right?

Brisket
Burgers
Tex Mex

Denver Broncos

I love Denver’s restaurant scene, but they have a lot of influences from all over the place, so it was hard to narrow it down. If you’re on the east coast, you’ll probably prefer a Denver sandwich over the omelette, but west coasters might enjoy them for an early morning game.

Bison Burgers
Green Chili
Denver Sandwiches/Omelettes

Detroit Lions

I always thought a Coney Dog was a Coney Island thing, but either I’m wrong or confused about the history. Apparently they’re Detroit’s signature dish. I’m kind of vague about apples, I know, but it gives you a chance to be creative.

Coney Dogs
Square Deep Dish
Apple Dishes

Green Bay Packers

The team’s fans are called Cheeseheads, and if I wasn’t sharing this list, it would be all cheese. Since I am, I did my best to find some other dishes. Wisconsin sounds like a good place for game day food!

Fish Fry
Cheese Curds
Brats

Houston Texans

Houston’s food is all over the place due to it’s history of immigrants from everywhere. There’s a big Cajun influence along with their Tex Mex, and of course regular ole’ Texas chili.

Chili (no beans)
Cajun Shrimp
Pecan Pie

Indianapolis Colts

Every source I looked at claimed Indianapolis loves breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches, so I would have to say this one is actually definitive. Of course, if pork isn’t for you, there are other options.

Corn on the Cobb or Sweet Corn
Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Sugar Cream Pies

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oh Jacksonville. You all claimed you have no specific dish, and after a morning of searching, I believe you. In fact, I picked shrimp for you because you had a lot of vague “seafood” comments. But your baseball team is the Jumbo Shrimp, so the crustacean must be cooked somewhere, right?

Camel Rider Sandwiches
Shrimp
Lubi Sandwiches

Kansas City Chiefs

I’ll be honest with you. After researching Kansas City food, I’m pretty sure all they eat is barbecue. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, it doesn’t matter. In fact, if you are a vegetarian, you might cease to exist once you cross city limits. I added some broader Kansas/Missouri foods to round it out.

KC Barbecue
Fried Chicken
Zwieboch

Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles claims to be good at everything, so go ahead and make whatever you want. I left a ton of stuff off this list, like tacos, but other cities needed foods too, so LA has to share.

Ramen
Thai Food
French Dips

Miami Dolphins

To me, Miami is all about Cuban food. They might serve something else, but I’ve never looked. I know some of these things look difficult and not like what a frenzied host might want to make, but they aren’t that bad. If you don’t have time to try them, make any Cuban dish and call it a day.

Ceviche
Croquettas
Fried Plantains

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota has a ton of regional food. A lot of it comes from Nordic influences, which is perfect for the Vikings. They may be hard to accomplish. But the other parts are kind of like what you would expect at a state fair or an unhealthy potluck (think Jello salad), so you have a variety of foods to choose from.

Lefse and/or Lutefisk
Deep Fried Cheese Curds
Tater Tot Hot Dish

New England Patriots

Friends, if you don’t have a good recipe for clam chowder or know of  a can worth serving to people, let your eyes skim right past that option. Pretend you saw oysters or cranberries. There’s probably many more choices as well, since the Patriots are greedy and represent a whole region.

Clam Chowder
Lobster Rolls
Boston Cream Pies

New Orleans Saints

You know what’s great about New Orleans food? No other city claims it. They have a rich history of Cajun/Creole cooking that’s really distinctive, and it sure was nice not having to read about what kind of tacos they serve.

Gumbo
Jambalaya
Muffulettas

game day food

New York Giants

You may be aware that there are two New York teams. Two! And they play in New Jersey! It’s nonsense. But, I’m perfectly okay with it in this situation because New York has a ton of food they can claim as their own. Add a few more teams, I’m sure I could find a few more options.

Pizza
Hot Dogs
General Tsos Chicken

New York Jets

If you’re wondering, these are listed completely at random. I don’t feel like the Jets would be more likely to eat bagels than the Giants, or that the Giants would be more likely to eat pizza than the Jets. Wouldn’t it be kind of funny if they were though?

Pastrami on Rye
Chicken & Waffles
Bagels

Oakland Raiders

Yes, that’s right, I gave taco truck tacos to Oakland. All the forums I read were pretty insistent about this, so it is what it is. I’m not sure precisely what kind of tacos appear in those trucks, so I guess that means you can choose whatever you want.

Taco Truck Tacos
Barbecue
Oysters

Philadelphia Eagles

Philly’s really adamant that they’re more than cheesesteak, so please don’t feel like that has to be your only choice. Pretzels for game day sounds amazing. By the way, Irish potatoes aren’t Irish or potatoes. I wonder what the Irish think of that.

Cheesesteak
Irish Potatoes
Soft Pretzels

Pittsburgh Steelers

You are reading this right. Pierogies are appearing on the list for a second time. Who knew this country had such a love of pierogies? I ate them in North Carolina once and no one else knew what they were. Primante is a restaurant, but you can find their recipes online.

Pierogies
Primante Sandwiches
Fried Zucchini

San Diego Chargers

Do I remember something about San Diego moving to LA with the Rams? I might have to change this soon. Until then, enjoy some more California food with a beachy vibe.

Carne Asada Burritos
Fish Tacos
Turkey Avocado Sandwich

 

San Francisco 49ers

I miss San Francisco clam chowder in a bread bowl. I ate clam chowder all over Boston, but nobody served it like they do on the pier. Cioppino’s a pricier meal, but it’s actually pretty easy to cook. Just remember to clean your shellfish.

Clam Chowder with Sourdough
Cioppino
Mission-Style Burritos

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle folks couldn’t seem to agree on anything other than salmon, so serve that however you want. They also kept mentioning coffee, but last time I checked you can’t eat that. They do say their vegan food is great, so if you are feeling like it’s time to try something animal product-less, might as well start with this.

Salmon
Fish and Chips
Vegan

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I bet you’re surprised to see Cuban sandwiches here instead of Miami. They actually started out there, but the more I read about Tampa, the more I realized this is where they belong. And yes, that says enchilado, not enchilada. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t create it.

Cuban Sandwiches
Crab Enchilado
Spanish Bean Soup

Tennessee Titans

Here’s my current home team (although not the one I root for). With these three dishes you’ve got Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville covered. I’m not a super fan of cornbread, but it is a nice and easy addition to a game day meal.

Memphis Barbecue
Hot Chicken
Cornbread

Washington Redskins

Our nation’s capitol is known mostly for food of other country’s. Neat, huh? Everyone agrees the main signature dish is the half-smoke, although they claim locals don’t actually eat it. But then, D.C. isn’t exactly full of locals anyway.

Half Smoke
Ethiopian
Mumbo Sauce

Well, that’s it! I hope this gives you enough game day food ideas for at least a couple of years.