Monday, September 28, 2015

tailgate essentials

The few times I've considered canceling my cable, I've always stopped because of football. Between the Packers and the four Big Ten teams among my family's alma maters, I would have way too much football game FOMO to go without ESPN or ABC. But what I love isn't just watching the downs—it's decking myself out in a cozy crewneck sweatshirt and sipping spiked cider in a crowded parking lot until kickoff. The 2008 Iowa/Minnesota game on a FREEZING November night is still one of my favorite tailgates in memory. There's a unique camaraderie that forms among strangers when you're braving single-digit temps together in the name of team spirit. The regularity of such all-day extravaganzas has tapered off as college drifts further away, but I make sure to dedicate at least one or two weekends per season to all things pigskin. Given my fairly extensive Upper Midwest tailgating experience, I wanted to share my must-haves for a successful football Saturday.

Scroll to shop and browse favorite game-day snacks from Minneapolis bloggers! 

Wool Throw | Gloves | Sweater
*A luxe fabric makes such a difference for accessories you spend all day (and all season) wearing.
**Classic shapes trump glam styles for sports events.
***Make sure to have two hands free for eating, drinking and selfie-snapping.

Cowboy Caviar
"This makes a big batch, so there are leftovers, and it feels a bit healthier than other traditional tailgate food!" — Rachel at Rachel's Lookbook

Pretzel Skillet with Beer Cheese Dip
"I've been intrigued by the resurgence of cast-iron cooking, and this recipe is perfect for fall football. Add caraway seeds to the pretzels, use German beer, and it doubles for Oktoberfest!" — Laura at Bow & Arrow Magazine

Baked Funfetti Donuts
"It can be tough to come up with creative foods for early morning games, but these donuts are easy to make and use ingredients probably already in your kitchen. Use sprinkles in your team's colors for a festive twist!" — Lindsey at The Curly Diaries

Sugar & Spice Cupcakes, see below!
"While these are great for fall, my husband begs me to make them all year. They're a hit every time!" — Tamara at Champagne & Macaroons

Combine 1¼ c. boiling water and 1 c. oatmeal. Let stand 20 minutes. 
Cream together: 
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1½ c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
Once combined, add to oatmeal mixture. 
Pour batter into cupcake pan and bake at 350º for 25 minutes. Let cool before frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting: 
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
½ c. butter, softened
2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. 
Gradually stir in sugar. 
Frost cupcakes and store in refrigerator.


  1. I just got Sperry boots and LOVE them - I think I need those mittens, they are too cute!

  2. I want them! I have Bean boots, but like that the Sperry ones are less chunky & masculine.