I am a HUGE football fan (college football in particular) so I enjoy Football themed stories. Something about football guys realizing they are in love just makes me happy. :)
Julie Brannagh has a fabulous series, Love and Football, coming just the right elements of strong football players and swoon worthy romance! The latest in the series is Covering Kendall and Julie has stopped by today to give us her input on how to throw a great tailgate party!
Julie Brannagh’s Top Tips For a Great Tailgate PartyThe leaves are turning, there’s a snap in the air, and your husband and brother-in-law have welded themselves to the family room couch every Sunday for the big show. That’s right, it’s football season! It’s possible to tailgate at the stadium before the big game, but MY favorite “tailgates” are at home with my husband and our big chocolate Lab, Moose.
Here’s a few tips that might make YOUR Sundays more fun!
- First of all, don’t stress. Martha Stewart is not coming over to inspect your centerpiece or try your food. (I’d like to think that Martha might grab a beverage, sit down on the couch and join in on the fun!) Your guests are there to watch the game and cheer their team onto victory. It doesn’t have to be perfect for everyone to have a great time!
- Nobody needs to be a football expert to attend a tailgate or watch football. There are on-line resources for those who might want to learn a bit more about the game, but mostly, it’s a fun party. Most guys (and your girlfriends!) will love being asked questions beforehand if you’d like to learn a bit more about football. During the game? Wait until the commercial. ;-)
- It’s always good to get a rough estimate of how many people are showing up at your house (or with the group heading to the stadium) beforehand so you’ll know how much food and beverages you might need.
- Think “easy”: Nobody’s expecting gourmet here. Most tailgates consist of grilled food, sides like potato or pasta salad, chips, dip or salsa, maybe some crunchy stuff like raw vegetables and hummus (tell the guys you heard that Peyton Manning/Russell Wilson/JJ Watt LOVES the stuff) and BEVERAGES. It’s nice to provide an option for someone who’s on a diet or does not eat meat.
- Use paper/plastic products for food service if at all possible. I understand that the environment is important, but so is the easy clean-up. If there’s someone who wants to bring something besides the usual stuff, ask them to bring a package of napkins/paper plates/plastic cups. If they really want to go all-out, plastic utensils are good, too.
- Here’s the situation with beverages at a tailgate. There are two kinds: Alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Non-alcoholic, stadium version: Sodas. Sparkling water. Juices. Load up a cooler and make someone else carry it to the stadium. Alcoholic, stadium version: Find out what the policy is for the area you’re tailgating in. Beverages, at home version: Non-alcoholic-There’s a ton of recipes online for fun, festive and delicious punches or your grocery store is full of sodas, juices or sparkling water. Alcoholic: If people want to bring their favorite, LET THEM. One more note, however. You’ll need to make sure those leaving your home after the game have not had too much to drink or have a designated driver. There’s nothing fun about drunk drivers.
- One more thing: Do not forget the wings. The wing-eaters will be broken-hearted and wishing they’d stopped at the grocery store deli to get some. The non-wing-eaters will think they are nuts, but seriously – if you like them, there are many easy recipes to make them ahead of time and either heat them through on game day, or serve them at room temperature. Here’s Alton Brown’s amazing wings recipe. Here’s the recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip, which my husband has to have each Super Bowl Sunday. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and just make a double batch. Your guests will inhale it! I've made this with low-fat cream cheese; it’s still delicious.
- If you’d like to provide dessert for your guests, again, think “portable”. Bars, cookies, cupcakes, anything that can be consumed without a plate and utensils works best.
- Last but not least. The game’s over, the tailgating area/your family room is a wreck, you've had a great time but you’re exhausted. Before everyone hits the road, pass out a trash bag or two and ask for a little help with the cleanup. The faster it’s done, the faster YOU can be reading a great book or putting your feet up for a few minutes before dinnertime!
Thanks so much Julia for taking time to share your Tailgate Party tips with us here at Love. Life. Read.
About Covering Kendall
By Julie Brannagh
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Kendall Tracy, General Manager of the San Francisco Miners, is not one for rash decisions or one-night stands. But when she finds herself alone in a hotel room with a heart-stoppingly gorgeous man-who looks oddly familiar-Kendall throws her own rules out the window...and they blow right back into her face.
Drew McCoy should look familiar, he’s a star player for her team’s arch-rival the Seattle Sharks. Which would basically make Drew and Kendall the Romeo and Juliet of professional football...well, without all the dying. Not that it’s an issue. They agree to pretend their encounter never happened. Nothing good can come from it anyway, right?
Drew’s not so sure. Kendall may be all wrong, but he can’t stop thinking about her and he finds that some risks are worth taking. Because the stakes are always highest when you’re playing for keeps.