Friday, September 28, 2012

Hokie Hokie Hokie Tailgate

Here are some great ways to turn your tailgate orange and maroon to root for the Hokies the right way! If you're unfortunate enough to not be a Hokie fan, you can still take these great tips and change the recipes to fit your favorite team and colors.

First off, I wanted to make some fun Hokie cupcakes. I figured the easiest way to do this was to make Red Velvet cupcakes with orange icing. Of course Red Velvet goes best with cream cheese icing so I got some Red Velvet cake mix, some cream cheese icing and then some orange decorative icing. I decided to make VT's on most of the cupcakes in orange icing. I spelled out Hokies on one of them and then made orange dots on a few for variety.

After I finished the cupcakes, I whipped up a batch of Ultimate Hokies Pasta Salad. The main thing that makes this Hokie themed is that the pasta is maroon and white VT shaped. It's made by The Pasta Shoppe which I'm sure has other team options as well. You can use this pasta salad recipe with any pasta for a tailgate but of course VT shapes makes it more fun!

Ingredients for Virginia Tech Pasta Salad:
1 cucumber
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper (I used green because the yellow one was bad in the pack I got)
1 red onion (I don't like raw onions so I substituted 1 can of black olives)
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
16 oz pasta
1 seasoning packet (this comes with the pasta, if you're making your own, come up with your own creative seasoning)

Step 1: Make a vinaigrette by combining the seasoning packet, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a bowl and heat in the microwave stirring occasionally for about a minute and a half. I did three 30 second intervals, stirring between intervals. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Make the pasta by boiling water, add salt to taste. Once the water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes. Drain pasta and rise with cold water.

Step 3: Chop veggies.

Step 4: Gently toss pasta, vinaigrette and veggies. Refrigerate until  ready to serve. Toss again before serving.

Finally, it wouldn't be a proper Hokie tailgate without some famous jello shots. To achieve orange and maroon combo jello shots, I first made cherry jello with plain vodka. If you don't know how to make jello shots, just follow the recipe on the jello box but replace the cup of cold water with liquor of your choice. I filled jello cups half full with the cherry and put them in the freezer for about an hour. Then I made a batch of orange jello shots with wine flavored vodka. I spooned the orange over the slightly firm red to create a layered look. I think they turned out great, see below!

Beer Cheese Dip

I found this Beer Cheese Dip on Pinterest and thought it would make a great tailgating item. It didn't specify which type of beer to use so you can get creative. I used my favorite, Hazed and Infused which is hoppy and delicious. It tastes great in the dip. I would recommend picking a more flavorful beer like this as opposed to a light tasteless one like Bud Light or Miller Lite.

2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup beer
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the original recipe called for 2 but I added one and thought it was enough)

Step 1: Beat the first 3 ingredients until blended
Step 2: Stir in cheddar cheese
Step 3: If dip is to thick add a little more beer, I added a small extra pour

Ritz Football crackers make a fun option to eat with the dip for your tailgate.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall in Love with Pumpkins 2k12

It's that time of year again, the time when pumpkin everything starts hitting the shelves at stores and the menus at restaurants. To keep up with a tradition I started 2 years ago, I am going to continue to try as many pumpkin things as possible this fall. Check out my Fall in Love with Pumpkins and Fall in Love with Pumpkins 2k11 to see what I've discovered the past couple autumns. I'll try not to repeat so if I tried a Dunkin Donuts pumpkin donut last year, I may have loved it so I get another one, but I'm not going to add it to my 2k12 blog since it's not a new discovery. I've already enjoyed DD Pumpkin Spice iced coffee, a Wawa Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino and a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte, however I believe they are all already on my previous blogs.

Item: Homemade Pumpkin Pancakes
Where to find: Squirrel's Nest in Morrisville, PA

Since the team I work for made the playoffs this year, pumpkins actually overlapped with my season a little. We had to be in early at work to pull the tarp off the field one day but didn't have to be back in until a bit later for actual work. A few of us went to a small diner for breakfast. I was delighted to see homemade pumpkin pancakes on the specials menu and couldn't resist giving them a try. I've had pumpkin pancakes at IHOP before but there's something about having them "homemade" at a little known diner that makes them that much better. If you see pumpkin pancakes at your local diner, I strongly urge you to give them a shot!

Item: Grandma's Special Recipe Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Where to find: 7-11

I ran into 7-11 the other day to grab some last minute items to make dinner when I happened to see these on the shelf. At 99 cents the price was right, plus how could I pass up something pumpkin flavored? I think I remember this brand of cookies from school lunches. Unfortunately these did not live up to the hype. They weren't terrible but I probably wouldn't buy them again. Oh well, you live and you learn!

Item: Fulton's Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur
Where to find: Total Wine & More, or your local liquor store

Gary got this for me at his store in Cherry Hill. A couple years ago we tried a pumpkin liqueur that was good in mixed drinks. This one is delicious all on it's own. Simply pour over ice and it is truly tasty! It tastes like liquid pumpkin pie which is fantastic. I highly recommend this special treat. It's a great substitute to try in place of Eggnog during the holidays. Especially since not everyone likes Eggnog.

Item: Wild Onion Brewery Pumpkin Ale
Where to find: Hulmeville Inn (or craft beer bars and stores)

I don't usually include pumpkin beers on these posts because I try so many during the fall, I never remember to keep track of which ones I've tried. I just got a sip of this one as it was a friends' but it was quite tasty. It's low in alcohol and easy to drink. I just had to share it though because I'm in love with the can! This would be the perfect addition to any Halloween party. Since this was at a bar, hopefully I can find where to get it by the 6 pack or larger.

Item: Pumpkin Fluff Dip
Where to find: Find the recipe here

This is a recipe I made for my 31 Days of Halloween challenge. It's sweet and tasty and super simple to make!

Item: Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Mix
Where to find: World Market

The only negative to this mix is that it only makes 8 cupcakes, I found that number very random. It is absolutely delicious though. The kit comes with cupcake mix, cream cheese icing mix, sprinkles and decorations.

Item: Maine Root Pumpkin Pie Soda
Where to find: Total Wine & More

This soda was very tasty but also very sweet. It's good in small doses but I can't imagine drinking it too often. I also can't imagine it pairing well with much so it almost makes for a good dessert drink.

Item: Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Where to find: Riverview Dinner Theater (or other restaurants during the fall season)

This bundt cake was quite delicious. It had all the flavors that you want in a pumpkin dessert.

Item: Pumpkin Pancakes
Where to find: IHOP

IHOP obviously does pancakes right and their pumpkin ones are no different. I may have included these in a previous pumpkin blog but they're so good they're worth mentioning again.

Item: Pumpkin Spice Cupcake
Where to find: Stace of Cakes

I made my own pumpkin spice cupcakes using a mix but I also tried one from a local NJ bakery. I wasn't too impressed with theirs. I had some of their other flavors later on which ended up being really good, they just didn't do this one right I guess.

Item: Pumpkin Donuts
Where to find: Dunkin Donuts

Like the IHOP pancakes, I'm pretty sure I posted about these before but they're also super delicious and worth mentioning. I think I almost ate this whole box by myself. 

***This post will be updated during the season as I try new pumpkin things. If you have any recommendations, please share!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall is my Favorite

I'm excited to celebrate fall in so many different ways! I will have a few different blog series going on. Every year I do a "Fall in Love with Pumpkins" series where I try to sample as many different pumpkin items as possible. Check out my Fall in Love with Pumpkins and Fall in Love with Pumpkins 2k11 for past treats. I already started Fall in Love with Pumpkins 2k12 by getting homemade pumpkin pancakes at a local diner in Morrisville, Pa called the Squirrels Nest.

Something new I'm doing this year is a Fall Bucket List. I've found a few but I'm going to attempt to check everything off the list of one I found. If it's successful, maybe I'll try different ones in future years.

I am also hoping to do some more fashion posts as I am excited to start wearing boots again!

There is also lots of football games to watch! I'm always ready to try some new tailgating or homegating ideas such as these ideas from my Super Bowl post last year.

Finally, I will be doing some type of Halloween daily challenge. Last year I did a few Halloween related posts including a series on DIY Halloween Costumes. This year I am going to do my classic format which I started with my 25 Days of Christmas. Since Halloween is on the 31st of October, I may try to do 31 Days but we shall see.

Stay tuned and Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Creative Cocktails: Irish Trash Can

I love discovering fun new drinks. Last night, while out for karaoke, I saw a guy get a drink that looked like a version of a Corona-Rita, except it was blue and had a Red Bull tipped upside down in it instead. Intrigued, we asked the bartender what it was. She proceeded to introduce us to the Irish Trash Can. It's similar to a Long Island in the sense that it is multiple liquors mixed together. I decided to google how to make one. Below is a recipe I found online. I'll have to try to make my own sometime! Fun stuff!

1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz blue curacao
1/2 oz triple sec
1 can Red Bull

Fill a glass with ice, add all the liquors and stir. Turn a full can of Red Bull upside down in the glass. It will float and slowly seep down into the glass turning the mix green, hence the name.

You're welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2012

End of Summer...

I had lofty goals to do a few more Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer posts but unfortunately I just was unable to find the time. All I ended up with were some drinks and some tunes, see the two posts below. Hopefully next summer I can find more time. Now that my long hours at work are ending, I will have time to focus on my favorite season, fall! Stay tuned as the first day of fall rolls in this weekend...

Blue Curacao Drinks
Summer Music

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Live For Quotes: Stephen King Edition

“Calling it a simple schoolgirl crush was like saying a Rolls-Royce was a vehicle with four wheels, something like a hay-wagon. She did not giggle wildly and blush when she saw him, nor did she chalk his name on trees or write it on the walls of the Kissing Bridge. She simply lived with his face in her heart all the time, a kind of sweet, hurtful ache. She would have died for him..”

 “Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.”

 “Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”

 “A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”

 “Sometimes she'd go a whole day without thinking of him or missing him. Why not? She had quite a full life, and really, he'd often been hard to deal with and hard to live with. A project, the Yankee oldtimers like her very own Dad might have said. And then sometimes a day would come, a gray one (or a sunny one) when she missed him so fiercely she felt empty, not a woman at all anymore but just a dead tree filled with cold November blow. She felt like that now, felt like hollering his name and hollering him home, and her heart turned sick with the thought of the years ahead and she wondered what good love was if it came to this, to even ten seconds of feeling like this.”

 “Sorry is the Kool-Aid of human emotions. It's what you say when you spill a cup of coffee or throw a gutterball when you're bowling with the girls in the league. True sorrow is as rare as true love.”

 “...stupidity is one of the two things we see most clearly in retrospect. The other is missed chances.”

 “The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are things you get ashamed of, because words make them smaller. When they were in your head they were limitless; but when they come out they seem to be no bigger than normal things. But that's not all. The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried; they are clues that could guide your enemies to a prize they would love to steal. It's hard and painful for you to talk about these things ... and then people just look at you strangely. They haven't understood what you've said at all, or why you almost cried while you were saying it.”

 “Any parting could be forever, and we don't know.”

 “I know that the thing under my bed doesn't exist. But I also know that if I keep my feet under the blanket, it won't grab my ankle”

Friday, September 7, 2012

September Flowers: Playoff BONUS!

The Trenton Thunder made it to the playoffs which means bonus Monday Morning Flowers! Some staff members took a trip out to Reading for game one and they also have flowers in the women's bathrooms. Not to insult their flower company, but the ones that are provided to us are so much more beautiful. Theirs was a very small, plain arrangement. Ours are always stunning. See for yourself.

September 7-9:

The wheat and the orange colors definitely give these arrangements a bit of a fall feel which is perfect for playoff baseball. As always, I love the bird of paradise flower. It's so elegant and colorful. One of the reasons I was so excited that the Thunder made the playoffs was to see more Monday Morning Flowers! Hopefully we make it another round!