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Entries in bowl games (9)


Last-Minute SUPER BOWL Party Ideas

Hosting a Super Bowl party in a few hours? Don't fret! This morning I shared some tips on CBS Chicago's morning show for a Last-Minute Super Bowl Party.



You don't have to serve "bar food" if you don't want to. Take inspiration from the cuisines of New Orleans (Gumbo), Maryland (Crab Cakes) or San Francisco (sourdough bread, California wine). The choices are limitless, which is good when you're in a time crunch.



For a nod to Nawlins, serve Hurricanes. But for something more interesting, take inspiration from San Francisco's trendy bar scene and serve a Fernet Branca & Ginger Lime. Don't worry, Fernet Branca is very readily available at liquor stores like Binnys.

Fernet Branca & Ginger Lime
Into a pint glass, pour
1.5 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Ginger-Lime Syrup*
Fill a glass with ice
Fill with club soda*
Stir gently and serve

*Can substitute with ginger beer and squirt of lime



If you're not into the game, I highly recommend a rousing game of Commercial Bingo. May the best advertising agency win!



For this party, the decor is last and least! The game is the main event, so there really is no need to stress about decorating your space. But if you really want to, use what you already have. Just remember it doesn’t need to be Pinterest-worthy.
• Since the game is in New Orleans, you can use Mardi Gras decorations
• Turn tissue paper into football-shaped tissue poms
• A green cloth can be turned into a football field. Create stripes with white tape, chalk, paint, etc.
• Even real footballs can be used as decor (just wipe them off first!)


Host an Orange Bowl party!

This post originally appeared in December of 2009, but I absolutely had to revise it for the 2013 Orange Bowl...

When I was a student at Northern Illinois University, our football team had the distinction of being the very worst among Division I schools. To give you an idea of how bad we were, the students rushed the field and tore down the goal posts when we won a game. Not Homecoming. Not against a rival. Just a regular game that snapped our 80 million game losing streak. The next Monday, the gameday results were featured in a two page wraparound of the student newspaper.

Back in the day, gametime = sequin time!The team steadily improved, but even after I graduated, my friends and I could casually roll up to Huskie Stadium on Homecoming morning and easily grab a primo tailgating spot just a few yards from the stadium. And then, things changed. We started winning more games, sometimes even against "good" teams like Alabama and Maryland. Sportscasters began to take notice. Alumni donated money. New buildings popped up around campus. And the tailgating area next to the stadium turned into a top-tier donor lot.

This brings me to January 1st, 2013. NIU is playing in the Orange Bowl. I don't care what the angry tangerine-hued man on ESPN says. I am beyond excited, and I know my fellow alumni are, too.

If you're not going to the Orange Bowl itself (which, le sniff, I am not), or a sponsored watch party, the next best thing is hosting an Orange Bowl party at home. Take inspiration from the Cuban cuisine of Miami, along with some tropical touches.  Some ideas to get you started:

DISH: Serve Mini Cubano Sandwiches, Cuban Shortbread Cookies, and Citrus fruit salad

DRINK: Orange basil mojitos by Recipegirl.com (photo from Fine Living)

DECOR: Spruce up your space with oranges and cloves in addition to a general football motif and team colors. Also stock up on these Cayman 7" plates from CB2. And remember...


(Hello to my 'Nole friends. My love for you will return on January 2nd.) 


More football watching merriment:
Rose Bowl
Sugar Bowl
Fiesta Bowl
plus general football party tips


Super Bowl "Just the Commercials" Party (with free printables)

So...who else zones out during the Super Bowl game itself, but then perks up for the commercials? Well, me too! For those of us who don't thrill to every touchdown, I've created a Super Bowl Commercials Party, inspired by ads from the 1950s and 60s. Enjoy!



The extra space on the side is for your party info. Download, add your text, and save in any image editing program, or write the start time and party location by hand, if you're going to print and deliver. Print on cardstock. If you have the capability, these are sized so that two can print on one landscape oriented page.






I don't think this party needs a ton of decor, but a few cheeky pieces on the TV (as in the photo above) gives you something to look at during the game... ;)

Download "A word from our Sponsor"

Download Color TV



Bingo game

Don't just watch the commercials...turn it into a game! The first person to get a full row (or four corners, or diagonal, or however you like to play) wins! 

Download filled out bingo sheet

Download blank bingo sheet


A full list of suggested bingo squares:
A-list celeb, Animals doing tricks, Animated, At-home scenario, B-list celeb, Bar scenario, BBQ grill, Beach scenario, Beer, Burger, Car, Car commercial aimed at women, Catchy song, Cleavage, Commercial that tried to be funny but failed, Computers, Confusing commercial, Country music, Credit card, Fast food restaurant, Former athlete, Mobile phone, Mobile phone provider, Office scenario, Party scenario, Pizza, Pop singer, Post superbowl TV show, Rap star, Reference to Facebook or Twitter, “See more online”, Slo-mo, Snack food, Soft drink, Sports drink, Things talking that shouldn’t be able to, TV show plug, Upcoming movie, Video game, Web site



This is really up to your crowd. You can do it one of two ways...

Traditional Bar Food: e.g. wings and quesadillas washed down with beer
Girly: e.g. sushi, cucumber cocktails, and fancy cupcakes

Which do you think your friends would prefer? You really can't go wrong either way, in my opinion!


Regional Menus for your 2010 Super Bowl party

Several years ago, someone asked me how many football games I'd ever been to. After doing a rough estimate of my years on the sideline in various capacities I said, "Uh...a lot? At least a hundred?" Despite all those clock hours I still have very little idea what's going on during a football game. I do know that when our guy goes across the end zone with the ball, that's good. Beyond that, it seems that my brain just refuses to make room for any information involving downs and passes and runs. (Those are football terms, right? Did I say the right thing?)

This is why, when it's sports time, I'm more focused on the food and camaraderie. And whenever possible, I love doing a regional tie-in with the event in question.

So what can you do for the Super Bowl?

Miami Cuban, in honor of the location (see my tips from the Orange Bowl)

Creole/Cajun, for the New Orleans Saints (see my Sugar Bowl ideas or this great menu from Epicurious...white chocolate pudding?  Yes, please!)

Midwestern Comfort, for the Indianapolis Colts (Epicurious has a delicious menu for this theme, too)

What are YOU serving for the Super Bowl?


Host a Fiesta Bowl party!


Our final installment in the college bowl party series is the Fiesta Bowl!

The Fiesta Bowl is the newest of the four major bowl games, and is held in sunny Arizona. Naturally, the cuisine of the Southwest is in order. This includes Chile Relleno (try it in casserole form), Sopaipillas (fried quick breads typically stuffed with savory fillings, but I like this dessert version), and the Cheese Crisp.  It's essentially an open-face quesadilla. Variations abound, so feel free to add your favorite ingredients.

In addition, serve this tequila sunrise (from TresGeneraciones.com):

Tres Añejo Sunrise
1 part añejo tequila,
1.5 parts lemon juice,
2 parts orange juice,
1/2 part cranberry juice.

Shake and strain.  Garnish with orange & lemon wheels


As for decorations...it can be a challenge to find fiesta/southwest decor that's not cheesy, so go for a mix of bright and bold colors like these Fiesta Stripe Lunch Napkins at HostessJo.com or the Cayman dessert plates (mentioned in the Orange Bowl post) from CB2.  Some pretty flowering cacti would be nice, but if you really have a brown thumb and can't take care of even a cactus, check out this faux cactus from Target.


I hope you enjoyed our bowl series.  We'll be tuned into the Orange and International bowls at our place, but if your team didn't make it this year, don't let that stop you from having a party!

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