It wasn’t until I became an adult that football became a staple in my life. It wasn’t necessarily by choice – I married a die-hard football fan. Throughout the rest of the year, Ben is willing to relinquish control of the remote to me and let me flip to my favorite show. He’s so patient, and I’m pretty sure I’ve even managed to get him hooked on “New Girl.” But as soon as fall hits and football begins? All bets are off and it’s a fight for the remote, one that inevitably results in our TV being locked onto every football game on…all weekend long.When Ben is busy studying for school, I get the reprieve and throw a disc of Downton Abbey or Harry Potter into the Blu-ray understanding that as soon as he needs a “study break” – i.e. checking the scores and freaking out over his fantasy football picks – football will be back on. But this shouldn’t surprise me – I’ve grown up football. Even though I’ve never really understood the game, I understood that football meant food and friends.Growing up in a large football-loving family there was always a houseful of teenagers, relatives, uncles, brothers dipping their chips and popping the tops of their soda cans, and the sisters and moms and grandmothers laughing in the kitchen and fixing up the game day treats. Game day always meant a great spread – from the bacon wrapped jalapenos, to the bread pudding, the roast beef sandwiches with drippings and, of course, the staple of every game – chips and dip to tie it together. Sometimes you just count on those classics, like that favorite spot on the couch – you just can’t watch the game from anywhere else, the same goes for the chips and the dip.
But not just any dip, VELVEETA and RO*TEL to be precise. Two ingredients synonymous with game day, you just can’t imagine game day without them. Spicy, creamy and convenient, you can be fist-pumping for your favorite team with one first and dipping your chips with the other. Football might not make a whole lot of sense to me, but I know that game day is always a good time, with good friends, family and as always – amazing food. This is how we celebrate our game day, with traditional VELVEETA and RO*TEL, otherwise known as Queso. Cook it up for a crowd and jazz it up (add in margarita-marinated shrimp like I did) and have a game day fiesta! No matter how to slice it, VELVEETA and RO*TEL make game day festive.
What makes Queso the perfect party dip? Leave your comment below for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. If you crave more Queso, check out www.quesoforall.com for the Quesobago tour schedule, Famous Queso Dip Recipe, and a chance to enter the sweepstakes for the ultimate football party!
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These Halloween surprise sugar cookies stacks will give your a spooky surprise as soon as you bite in! Easy and quick and frightfully fun!
Gimme two snaps if you’re excited for Halloween!! Truth is, I’m giving it three snaps. One, because it means chocolate, Almond Joys, Kit Kats and mini 3 Mustkateers twenty four seven. Two, because fall is in full swing and I am totally high on the changing colors of the leaves. And three, because it’s my birthday – this year, the Big 2-8! Okay, and four – because of treats like these!!
Some of your favorite bloggers (and my favorite, too!) have each pitched in spooky, and sinfully simply treats for you today to help get your oozey, gooey, hallowed spirits in gear for Halloween! Best of all these are a cinch when you’re in a entertaining pinch. You knew that rhyme was way to easy. Be sure to take a peek at all of the hallowed treats for your howl-iday.
I am a food blogger, a self-taught photographer, and a recipe developer. I am a social media guru, carb loving, and hungry-for-food-and-knowledge-full-time-job-working-blog-aholic. And I love what I do.
I am not what you call a “professional”. My job does not require a white chef’s coat. I am not a food photographer who works full time for a large corporation with a tangible, lick your fingers to flip to the next page magazine full of recipes I must try. I write on the internet in a small corner of the web that only a few hundred thousand people see in a month – where you have a few hundred thousand in a day visit you.
I recently viewed a clip of an interview that you gave that asked you about social media, and particularly bloggers. Though I agree with some points of your statement, that we are not all “professionals” per se, I disagree with you on almost every other point therein. And it breaks my heart.
Please, I implore you, don’t tell me that I am not a professional. Working for a large scale publication, having a television show, or having multitudes of published cookbooks is not the sole bar in which to mark a professional in the food industry.
I get up in the morning on my weekends at 6am after working a 40+ hour work week, to brew coffee, peruse the internet, respond directly to reader and company e-mails, and then jump into the kitchen to test out and photograph my latest carb laden brain child, all done in an effort to share my joy on my blog the next week and repeat this process the next weekend.
Please don’t tell me that I am not a professional who devotes all of her extra time – and let’s face it – time at my “real job” to do what I am fiercely passionate about – food blogging. You’re very fortunate to have entire departments available at your disposal to create, test, photograph, and market all of your wares, recipes, and trusted ideas. I? I do that all myself for a fraction of the cost – though my bank account may disagree. I am the complete professional package. I conduct myself professionally, and have a business, like a professional. So what did I miss to rise up to that level of “professional” we all hold in such high esteem?
Please don’t tell me that I don’t test my recipes and don’t rely on skills that I have accrued from trusted sources, including your publications, soaking up hours of reading, and my DVDs of America’s Test Kitchen played on repeat to the chagrin of my husband, and internet video’s of Jacque Pepin learning how to debone a chicken and how to temper eggs with melted butter to make the most divine, lemon scented hollandaise sauce known to man. Knowledge and learning is power – and I am viciously hungry for it.
For nearly four years I have worked tirelessly on this hobby, which has become my unwavering passion. I’ve tried to mold my own corner of the internet into something that I can be proud of, something I can show off and something that will last indefinitely. Perhaps you have lost some touch with those who read your publications – because when someone emails you to tell you that they have one of your recipes in the oven filling their home with a smell so wonderful it comes bursting out of their windows it makes your heart grow knowing that someone thought of you as a trusted source and welcomed you into their home, even for a brief while.
You have an army of infinitely talented people working for you, photographers who have spent years working on and honing their craft. Is it somehow less legitimate that I have picked up my Canon Rebel and created a photograph of the same caliber? Is it less worthy of praise or someone’s drool on their keyboard?
We have all come from different roots, background and skill sets. I believe your background did not start in the kitchens and working your way up through the ranks? Yet we all wish to rally people around a common theme of food, friends and family. I don’t see our missions as all that different – just the methods we use to get there. You have created an empire, one that is trusted by millions. Let me have my empire. I’m proud of it, no matter how small it may be. It’s all mine.
I have the upmost respect for you, your publications, the things you create and how you have diversified into products that are of high quality and great style. I have products of yours in my home that I adore! Though you seem to see us bloggers as having nothing original to provide to the ethos, and that there is nothing solely original to provide to the masses anymore, why do you continue with all of your hard work? What is the point of continuing on if not to inspire and be bountiful in spreading the knowledge that you have and sharing that with others who crave the same? I hope you will look past our, as you say, unoriginality and see that we are a community, a very tight one that lends itself to inspiration and rallying together provide support to one another, to teach one another new skills, and to tell one another there is nothing we can’t do and there is nothing we can’t create if we put our minds to it.
Thank you for being an inspiration to millions, and please continue to do so without airs and looking down upon us. We do try, so hard.
I have a crème brûlée to make and bourbon to go drink now. Perhaps I will pair them together. And photograph it, too. Of course.
These crab cakes are pure New England with an beer twist! Try these IPA Crab Cakes with Spicy Beer Hollandaise at your next game day with a cold IPA in hand!
Did you grow up watching The Simpsons like I did? And I mean the good old-school Simpsons – not the lame new-age Simpsons. It was our daily quality family tv time. That probably explains a lot about me right there… One of my favorite accents of all time is the New Englander accent. Mostly the characterized version of it. I mean, c’mon how can you watch the and not laugh hysterically when you hear Joe Quimby and his brother come to fist-to-cuffs with the French waiter over the proper pronunciation of the word Chowdahhh.
Or hello?! Was anyone else forced against their 11 year old will to watch New Yankee Workshop with Nawwwm Abram on a Saturday morning on PBS as he made dawve tailed drahhwwws (not drawers) for his new oak chest? Hilarity. Either way, I love it. I laugh, uncontrollably and totally inappropriately. But the other thing that is so New England to me, is crab cakes. Though I don’t think New Englanders really have a funny way of saying crab cakes, it’s just one of those “synomomous with the East Coast” foods that them makes me think of the accents and say Chowdahhh, every time. Crab cakes and chowdahhh.
But back to important business – crab cakes. I love them and their distinctly New England flair. I just always associate them with the east coast and Ben and I have a deep and unwavering urge to go to the coast and frolick in piles of fall leaves, go apple picking and then press our own cider, naturally. Because isn’t that what you New Englanders do every weekend? –And of course we’d devour ALL THE CRAB CAKES!!
Apparently geographic stereotypes run strong with me. You all probably think us Seattlites roast our own coffee beans every morning before we go to work in our flannel suits and Doc Martens and go fishing for salmon every weekend… which we do. Duh!
It just so happened I needed a quick New England fix, and when my dear blogging friend Jackie Dodd of The Beeroness sent me her new cookbook – I flipped right to the crab cakes and proclaimed that they would be made. And they were. Let me tell you, they were amazing and left me jonesing for all things New England and more crab cakes.
Jackie is absolutely the bee’s knees and she has been a constant source of inspiration for me since I started blogging. One of my proudest moments came when Ben was purusing the blogosphere and he came out to me toting his computer and said “Honey, look at THIS blog – she cooks everything with BEER!!!” only to have my proudly puff up a little and say “Yeah, Jackie! She’s like, totally my friend!” I was hoping my husband’s my-wife-is-a-badass meter went up just a little even if it was just by association.
Jackie and I have bonded over our love of all things beer and I will get to celebrate with her tomorrow because she’s going to be here in Seattle doing a book signing!! If you’re not in Seattle – check out her full list of tour dates with many more dates to come so you can meet her yourself and clink glasses with this top drawhhh beer swilling gal.
Jackie’s also been kind enough to want to share the beer love with you all and I am giving away a copy her Craft Beer Cookbook this week! If these crab cakes make you drool now – wait until you get your mitts on this and get the chance to flip through it yourself! One word – fine, five. – Chocolate Chip Stout Milk Shake. *Mic Drop * Cleaver. Out.
This light and healthy blueberry lemon mousse recipe is perfect for those trying to stay healthy but indulge a bit. And it’s ONLY 150 Calories per serving!
This weekend I finally did it – ran my first 5K!! It’s been six years in the making and I finally did it. Being the food driven weirdo that I am, I shuffled along 3.1 miles listening to my my iPhone with a pre-loaded 3rd season episode of NCIS, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, not tripping myself and this light and healthy blueberry lemon mousse. But there is a better reason for me to be hyper focused on this treat… because it’s for a Very Special Someone… You’re dying to know who, aren’t you? I know. Suspense is just awful. Oh, is anyone else totally tied to their Hulu catching up on Nashville, Chicago Fire, New Girl, Sleepy Hollow and duh, SCANDAL? I know… I can’t pull myself away. Wait, where I? Oh yeah, suspense. It sucks. Like I said, there is a good reason for it… Are you ready? Ya sure?
It’s because today we’re throwing a GIANT surprise Baby Shower for our friend Liz of The Lemon Bowl. You know Liz – or if you don’t that needs to be remedied immediately! Our sweet lemon loving Liz is due to have an adorable little lemon very soon and all of your favorite food bloggers have come together to share our favorite lemony sips, bites and treats. There is no shortage of inspiration to celebrate this inspirational woman.
I got to know Liz this year, stalking her blog (like ya do), becoming quick friends and even shackin’ up together for a weekend in Austin with out other favorite foodie friends to eat ourselves stupid. We became great friends and I am so thrilled for this continuing parental adventure of hers. How she does it all, and is adding Little Lemon Numero Dos to the mix just astounds me – she’s Wonder Woman!
Liz has been a source of healthy inspiration for me, having gone through her own weight loss success, so I wanted to pay proper homage to a woman who has inspired me to harness my willpower and strive for healthy manageable weight loss, made me laugh, made me thoughtful, and who is a daily part of my routine. Even though we are separated by thousands of miles, she’s a gem through and through and we are all so very lucky to know her and call her our friend.
This light and healthy blueberry lemon mousse clocks in at only 150 calories, is fluffy and airy, tart and creamy with a smooth blueberry sauce as a surprise at the bottom. For all of you’s and me’s trying to be healthy, but need a little extra indulgence in their lives – this is just right for celebrating, and well – just because. Happy Baby Shower Liz and here’s to you and the little Lemon, too!
Check out all of the other Lemon-tastic treats whipped up in honor of this fantastic friend of ours. If you’re a lemon lover – this is totally your zen place.
A perfect sweet bread with warm apricots and orange this gooey apricot orange twisted coffee cake will be a big hit at your next tea time or for the holidays.
At what point in your post-wedded bliss did your family start asking you about the impending grand-babies? Cause I have been getting questions. Or rather anxious hopes that the wee-ones will magically arrive any day with one swift and powder I Dream of Jeannie Blink. But they’re a ways off. I mean, a ways. And it’s not just me that has the fever- but grandma has some baby fever worse than any other person I know.
When I was in college she pinned her hopes of me coming home with an MRS degree – only to disappoint her when I was single and baby-less. Of course she wanted the man to come before the kid – but at one point her fever (cough, desperation cough) was so bad she was willing to pre-forgive me if I got the order backwards…
Five years later, she is still waiting and within 3.27 seconds of coming over for a visit she offers up the carbs, cookies and rolls (oh my!) to me all in an effort to butter me up for the impending borage of questions regarding the topic. She is strategic that old broad! I can’t dodge them. It’s a veritable baby-fevered mine field, and I fall for it every. single. time! I can’t help but lay down my defenses when carbs are involved. Worst of all of this is that she knows it, too.
But I have to say the woman knows her carbs and this apricot orange coffee cake ring reminds me of her in every way. The squishy-just-like-a-Michelin-baby’s-leg apricot orange coffee cake ring rolls kill me dead. And if babies are this squishy and filled with apricot and orange – I would eat them up. Not in a weird Dommer-esque way, just an OMG-Give-Me-All-The-Squish way. I’m not helping my cause, am I? I yearn for her home made bread and rolls just like I yearn for das bebehs. But right now, I’ll take the calories and carbs… like I said, imperfect body but money in the bank.
Crispy toasted bread, tossed with roasted sweet peppers, onions, and crispy bacon. Coated with a vinegar dijon dressing, this is tangy mix will start your day off right.
Do you like flying? I’ve had a love/hate kinda thing going on with it for a few years now – but I think I’m finally on my way to getting over it and almost – dare I say – enjoying it again? Maybe? Which, now that I say that means my next flight it going to be B to the Umpy. I’ve been flying since I was a baby, and until I was 14 I was totally cool with the lofty skies. It just happened that I went to Japan when I was 14 and had the time of my life – until our flight home. Being 14, with a group of other 8th graders and a few chaperones on a trans-Pacific flight, at night, in a lightening storm, was well not my idea of a good time and that was the moment I got over my wonder of flight. And as soon as I was able to drink pre-flight that started happening. Not much, just a beer or glass of bubbles to take the edge off. I was one step shy of loading up on the Xanax but I think I found an alternative – and dudes, it works like a charm.
Remember Dramamine? Yes, the sea-sick preventer? I used to abhore that stuff- mostly because I always had the faux-orange chewable kind, but with all the flying I’ve been doing – I’m in Iowa right now, bee tee dubs. – Meredith of Sock Monkey Slippers has shown me the light of the Dram again!! Last week’s flight from Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls was on a tiny barely-a-jet puddle jumper that had me losing my ish all over the place. She told me to pop one of those bad boys and 10 minutes later I was la-la-la-ing my way through! Miracle if there ever was one!
So before I jumped on my jet to Des Moines, I stocked up and I am set to go! No more boozing, no Rx-ing, and I am happy as a clam and *gasp* almost enjoying the rock-n-rolla of flight. And even small planes aren’t as terrifying. That combined with a hearty breakfast and I’m flying high in the friendly skies!
Who says beer isn’t for breakfast? This Blue Moon Orange Glazed Breakfast Beer Bread is perfect to start your day, especially toasted, slathered in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar! And no alcohol remains after baking, so you’re not technically drinking before noon.
Hunting season is almost here, and this year I’m going to miss it. It’s not like that’s anything new, because there were plenty of weekends it was too far for me to go to get away from college, text books, and tests. Now it’s travel, work, PTO, and running my first 5K this weekend – which as been years in the making on its own – but missing out on hunting camp this year has a pretty big mark in the con column. Not just because it’s a chance to sit around a campfire with my entire family – because usually it’s freakin’ cold. It’s not just because of the card games and laugh – because those are the times memories get made. It’s not just the food tendered by my great aunt who refuses, to this day 50+ years on to relinquish the spatula. It’s because this year is the year we were meant to spread my great grandma’s ashes at her old hunting spot up on the ridge – which we couldn’t do last year.
Gram, as she was so affectionately known, has been gone for six years now. The first year, we didn’t want to throw her off her ridge and kept her firmly tucked between sweaters and jeans in my parent’s closet. Then the next year, she got accidentally forgot at home. Uh, whoops. And last year we remembered Gram and brought her with us – but got stymied by the rain. What can I say, I’m a woos about the rain and I highly doubt Gram would have wanted to get drenched as we threw her over her ridge. I mean, the woman had standards and the least we could do would be to throw her over her cliff on a nice sunny day… c’mon. But this year, I’ll be missing it – my last good bye to Gram, my spirit animal of the relative variety.
Not a day goes by I don’t think of Gram – Adalaine. And I’ll be thinking of her this weekend. And making an extra batch of beer bread, the hunting camp favorite carb staple. Gram would have approved in every sense.
Try these sweet, healthy Date Pecan All-Bran Truffles that come together in 10 minutes! Made with bran cereal, dates, honey and cream cheese, these fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth!
You know what’s hard? Eating healthy while traveling. You know what else is hard? Having uber talented and creative friends. Let me explain in one second… Bear with me because there is a giveaway at the end of this! I’m still trying to find the balance of eating healthy, working out, and ridding myself of the whalesque bloated feeling from oodles of decadent food that I simply can’t turn down. I need a new plan of action for travel eating and snacking. And not just travel snacking but everyday snacking, too.
Jessica of The Novice Chef blog – you know who she is – the one who makes things like these and of course these . Well she came out with her newest cookbook baby the Cereal Sweets and Treats cookbook which really captures her passion for everything cereal. A self proclaimed cereal freak, this girl has come up with a whole book full of things to do with cereal, besides eat it with spoon! And I mean, she got creative. I’ve already made her Lucky Charms macarons, that were to die for and filled with marshmallow creme, and then these Date Bran Energy Bites. The first batch I made came together in ten minutes and satisfied my sweet and emerging health tooth in one little bite. I felt satisfied and guilt-free – a miracle.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, which doesn’t always lend itself to healthy options – read: I just had a Sonic Chicago Dog and Cherry Limeade… I wish I had a little package of these energy bites to get me through my cases of the munchies and didn’t leave me feeling whalesque. They travel in my lunches so well, I think I’ll be making a batch of them for my trip next week too!
Jess is a magician in the kitchen, and this whole book is filled with colorful, fun and festive treats for cereal lovers! Her photography makes every treat look like something sitting in a shop window that you stand outside with your hands and nose prints planted firmly on the glass. I all but licked the paper of the book hoping that it was like the schnoz berries wall paper from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… #noshame (Darn it, I said I’d stop hashtagging…I’m such a liar.)
To get your mitts on a copy of Jess’s Cereal Sweets and Treats Book enter below and grab this recipe for your next healthy snack!
These No Bake Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Caramel cones are an easy and super handy treat when your little ghouls and gobblins want a quick trick or treat on the go.
Being a blogger poses a problem when it comes to seasonal cooking. We get to celebrate everything one holiday before it happens – like Christmas gets celebrated at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is at Halloween and Halloween is basically as soon as Labor Day strikes 12:01am. Or in my case, it was August. And it’s not just the fact that Halloween is right around the corner – I mean, it’s because it’s my birthday and I’m stupid excited about it – but because it means Pumpkin-ception is upon us. Raise your hand if you were throwing elbows at the old bitties at the Starbucks to be the first in line to get your mitts on a Pumpkin Spice Latte… There are no judgements here.
I’ve been really trying hard to temper my excitement over the pumpkin that is upon us – but I feel like I’ve been failing miserably. I’m not sure if an apology is in order, but I’m leaning towards not. I mean how can you balk at Skinny White Chocolate Pumpkin Creme Brulees and learning how to make your own Perfect Pumpkin Puree? That’s right, you can’t. See? And there is no shortage of fantabulous pumpkin recipes to be had! And I’m not the only one of this kick – it’s Pumpkin Week and the usual suspects and I are celebrating this versatile gourd and putting it to good use in everything under the sun, son.
Welcome to Country Cleaver, where country comfort and convenient cooking come together. Follow my adventures of self-reliant country cooking and baking from scratch with a little life mixed in for kicks! ...more