Welcome To Tailgating Season

Football and tailgating season is here, and we’re a nation of football enthusiasts who live for this time of year when fans gather together with the common interests of good times, great eats, and victorious scores.


Photo by Dave Adamson 

Saturday, September 2, 2023 is National Tailgating Day.

Tailgating is the pass a good time prelude to the game where tablescape ideas and tasty recipes run the field of creativity.


Classy Girls Wear Pearls

Can’t make it to the stadium?


Homegating works too!


Country Living Magazine – Photography by Brian Woodcock

There’s no way to eloquently put it- the Deep South is one hot bowl of summer heat and humidity until it decides it’s not.

The 12 seasons of Louisiana:

Fool’s Spring
Second winter
Spring of deception
Third winter
The pollening
Actual spring
Hell’s front porch
False fall
Second summer
Actual fall

Currently we’re between hell’s front porch and false fall, but we don’t let it discourage we the football faithful; we simply dress cool, decorate even cooler, and forge on.


Bringing a festive tailgating-homegating event together requires thought and time to plan, and everyone has a method to their tailgating madness.

Successful tailgating times is defined in may ways, but festive camaraderie in late summer, cozy days of fall, and chill of early winter is the common ground game goal of all.


Better Homes & Gardens Wood-Burning Copper Chiminea Fire Pit 1

Better Homes & Gardens Wood-Burning Copper Chiminea Fire Pit

Magellan Outdoors Cool Comfort Mesh Chair

Magellan Outdoors Cool Comfort Mesh Chair

Great get together tools come in pairs- a fire pit and a pit of fire to get things good and toasty and good and tasty.


Wood Pellet Smoker Grill BBQ with Auto Temperature Controls

Magellan Outdoors Pro Explore Icebox 45 qt Hard Cooler

Magellan Outdoors Pro Explore Icebox 45 qt Hard Cooler

Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt. Wheeled Cooler, Gray

Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 Qt. Wheeled Cooler, Gray


Mainstays 23 oz. Clear Football Cooler Drinkware, Set of 6

Pack and cart wagons and trash plastic college buckets come in handy.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Folding Sports Wagon with Removable Bed

Academy Sports + Outdoors Folding Sports Wagon with Removable Bed


Carved Wooden Cookie Mold

Carved Wooden Cookie Mold


Touchdown! Serving Tray


Fall holidays and celebrations can be the inspiration to guide your tailgating-homegating theme of the week.


Repeat after me: affordable and reusable.


Go Dawgs! Sitting Bulldog Figurine

Initial costs ding the wallet at first, but grant bang for your party buck satisfaction for tailgating seasons to come.

Natural Burlap by The Yard

Burlap fabric remains a great option of neutral and inexpensive for table covering needs. It comes in a good selection of colors allowing you to go with team colors game to game.


In season local fruits and vegetables make excellent table and centerpiece decorations.


Stack on risers and in crates.

Crates turned upside down or stacked on top of each other make great display options while adding height to your tablescape presentation.


Place in baskets.


Mainstays Round Maize Decorative Storage Basket, Dark Brown

Stems and branches denoting regional and seasonal beauty in varying heights and colors gathered together in vases or free form vignettes achieve the look of effortless style and casual elegance.

festive-fall-woven-vase (1)

Handwoven Seagrass Vase

Vintage or in the style of vintage football items such as a letter sweater, trademark fashions, programs, books, and figurines become super cute centerpieces.

Simply embellish in team colors to tie it all together.

1950s Retro Long Sleeve Letterman Cardigan Sweater

1950s Retro Long Sleeve Letterman Cardigan Sweater


Houndstooth Design Throw Blanket Black

Pick up inexpensive throws in team colors, patterns, and textures to use as spot accents.

October 29, 1938 the Union Gridron Official Football Program Williams vs Union Football GameOctober 29, 1938 the Union Gridiron Official Football Program Williams vs Union

Vintage Tennessee Tech Football Program

Vintage Tennessee Tech Football Program



Bronze Quarterback

Crown Sporting Goods Vintage Leather Football Helmet

Vintage Football Cleats

Aluminum-Handcrafted-Champagne-Cooler-by-Christopher-Knight-Home (1)

Homecoming turns into a true tailgating extravaganza in true seize the moment to gussy up fashion.

Buff Concrete Planter-1

Urns make the trip from patio to tabletop becoming an elegant beverage bucket, a holder packed with LED pillar candles and/or a stunning silverware caddy.

Tailgating treasures tip:

End of season clearance sales result in some mighty fine finds with price points to match. Don’t overlook the aisles and the shelves of big box and resale-vintage-thrift stores.

Home improvement stores hit the nail on the head as sources of complementing pieces such as ceiling medallions, decorative ceiling and floor tiles, and floor model fixtures.

Antique shops come in as hubs of history where unique and eclectic pieces come to live another life as tailgating decor must haves.  Flea markets, estate, and garage sales source vintage dinnerware perfect for mix and match presentation, cast iron cookware, copper kitchen wares, cake stands, Tupperware, table linens, cutlery, holiday decorations and the like.


Fall Olive Leaf Garland by Bloom Room

Introduce real or faux garlands, stems, branches, etc… to the tailgating table as fabulous fillers and display accents.


Martha Stewart

Centerpiece ideas center around grocery store floral departments and my forever go-to, nature’s floral department. It’s always open, and the prices can’t be beat.



Regional and seasonal come together to make a scenes from home tailgating centerpiece statement.





Tailgaters bring their A-game ready to impress.

Tiger Set of 4 Napkins

Tiger Set of 4 Napkins

Traditions impress, menus rival five star restaurants, and the drinks flow like the Mississippi River.


Tennessee Vols Go Big Orange Styrofoam Cups

Stylish Styros

Take the look to next level style with wreaths.


Mixed Leaves Wreath

Uses include flanking table ends, candle rings, stunning base for a beverage dispenser(s), and placed on tabletops to complement nickel plated iron serving trays from Dollar Tree.

Homestead Textured Glass Jug Beverage Dispenser with Spigot

Nearly Natural 26" Fall Sorghum Harvest Autumn Artificial Wreath

Nearly Natural 26″ Fall Sorghum Harvest Autumn Artificial Wreath

Preserved Magnolia Wreath - Threshold™

Preserved Magnolia Wreath – Threshold™



Bourbon Apple Cider Thyme Punch Recipe

bloody-mary-garnishes (1)

Who wants a Bloody Mary?


Game Time Bloody Mary


6 ounces of chilled Clamato

1 ounce vodka

generous sprinkle celery salt

Pickapeppa sauce

ice cubes

fresh lemon juice

Louisiana spicy beans



Pour Clamato and vodka into glass.

Shake several splashes of Pickapeppa sauce, celery salt, and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice into mixture.  Stir well. Garnish with a spicy bean garnish and it’s game time!

Speaking of sauces…

Louisiana hot sauces kick up the fun and the flavors- two things necessary at a Louisiana tailgating get together.

Pour up hot sauce (or any other type sauce or dressing) into clear  disposable plastic cups with lids for individual servings. The deals are better on large containers, and individual servings sizes ?


Pickled Dilly Beans for the tailgating condiment win!

Spicy Pickled Dilly Beans

Spicy Pickled Dilly Beans Recipe

Easy tops the tailgating menu when you pickup items at your local grocery store that put simple and delicious on the table.

Mix it up, spoon it out, and spread it on thick in real-time before game time.


Simple and delicious crowd pleasing appetizer solutions begin with several bricks of cream cheese placed on a lovely plate or platter.


Next, top each brick with a favorite jelly, jam, preserves or spread.

Garnish with fruit, nuts, or fresh herbs.


How deliciously easy is that?


Fit reminders of the season into the game plan.

Linden Street Harvest Wood Cheese Board

Harvest Wood Cheese Board

Linden Street Harvest Figural Pumpkin Wood Serving Board

Harvest Figural Pumpkin Wood Serving Board

Charcuterie boards score big points with the tailgating and/or homegating crowd.

tailgate-food-onion-dip (1)

Country Living – Photography by Brian Woodcock

Caramelized Onion Dip with Crispy Shallots


¼ cup olive oil, divided

3 large sweet onions, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 shallots, sliced into thin rings

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Pretzels and potato, beet, and sweet potato chips for serving


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are a deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; cool completely.

Combine sour cream and onions in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Top with crispy shallots and chives. Serve with pretzels and chips.

-Country Living

Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball

Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball Recipe


Sloppy Cola Joe Dogs Recipe

Gourmet Beef Sliders Recipe

Gourmet Beef Sliders Recipe

chicken and biscuit sliders

Chicken ‘n Biscuit Sliders Recipe



Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 


8 cups water

traditional roux; see recipe below (or 8 ounces of instant roux from jar)

3 chicken bouillon cubes

4 boneless skinless chicken breast, shredded
**Substitution: deli rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 lb. package smoked sausage, sliced

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped onions

1  12 ounce bag frozen chopped bell peppers

½ cup celery, chopped

1 Tablespoon celery seed

3 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fine black pepper, or to taste*
**Substitution: 1 teaspoon Créole seasoning for salt and pepper

½ cup white wine or to taste

4 green onions, chopped



1 cup flour

1 cup vegetable oil


Heat oil in a black skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add flour in gradually, stirring well. Reduce heat to low.  Stir/whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches a rich brown color, approximately 30-40 minutes. You must stir/whisk constantly to prevent the roux from burning.

Gumbo Directions

Slice sausage into ½ inch pieces. Using a seasoned skillet for optimum taste results, cook the sliced sausage over medium-high heat until browned. Transfer cooked sausage to plate lined with paper towels, allowing excess grease to drain.  Set aside.

Place chicken breasts in Dutch oven or stock pot, add water, and bring to a boil.  Add celery seed, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper.

Stir and reduce heat to medium low, cooking chicken breasts until done, about 1 hour.  Transfer chicken breasts from pot to large mixing bowl.  Shred chicken breasts and return to broth.

Turn heat back to high and bring to boil.  Add roux to broth and chicken mixture, whisking until roux dissolves.  Reduce heat to medium and add minced garlic, chopped onions, bell pepper and celery, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cubes, remaining salt and black pepper (or Créole seasoning).

Carefully pour in white wine. Stir to blend and incorporate.

Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered for approximately 2 hours, allowing all flavors to marry. Remove bay leaves and skim any grease that has formed off top of gumbo.

Add chopped green onions and continue to simmer for additional 5 minutes.

Serve gumbo over cooked rice.  Top with a sprinkle of filé, more green onions, and hot sauce to taste, if desired.

Tiger-Bait-Cookbook (2)


To the trusty Tiger Bait Recipes we go for Cajun Red Beans and Rice-



Pecan-Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Pecan-Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze Recipe

Coffee Shortbread

Coffee Shortbread Recipe

Make mine Louisiana strong.


Visit the local grocery store bakery department for fresh treats ready for the tailgating dessert table.

Remember, easy is always the star of the tailgating menu.


Brulée  Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Tiger fans making the trek down to Death Valley cross over the Mighty Mississippi River making Mississippi Mud Cake an appropriate sweet treat for tailgating times.

Giving a glance to the recipe below it, I must admit I am intrigued by this recipe for Sausage Cake.  It reads like a c’est si bon classic and new fall favorite to include in the recipe box.


Themed tailgating tablescapes along with the perfect decor accessories ensures entertaining success from parking to parting.

Here’s wishing the football faithful a winning and happy tailgating season!


Gridiron Gatherings Tailgating Ideas and Recipes

Excitement drives this gridiron gatherings tailgating ideas and recipes post down the field of football season is here dreams.

Pregame good times celebrated at home or on location to roast, toast, grill and gab before the game is almost as exciting as the game itself.


The return of high school, college and NFL football is not without a bit of mask-proof of vaccination controversy this year, but at least the return of high school, college, and NFL football with fans welcomed to attend under stadium and state guidelines with safety in mind is happening.


The football nation is gearing up for Friday night lights-Saturday gridiron gatherings-NFL Sunday soirees at stadiums and at home (yes, Virginia, there is an at-home option).


It is said that football is a religion, and the South the mother church of the football faithful.

Evidence of this is seen on any home game Saturday at Tiger Stadium.


Now, we all know football means fall and fall as a theme opens up the field to easy and affordable statement making food, beverage, and decorating choices to build upon.


Lighting sets a festive mood, especially at a late afternoon or evening tailgating event.


Outdoor candle lanterns paired with LED votives and pillars advance the tailgating area into chic dinner party territory, and why not!

Willstar 3 Pack Candle Lights Flameless Wax LED Pillar Candles Flickering Remote Control Lights

You’re not locked into a particular theme other than casual yet elegant football tailgating finery.

You’ve got people to see, dishes to taste, and socializing to do.

Hit the remote and forget about it.


Shop flea markets and online swap shop sites for a new to you light fixture ready to become a lighting focal point to add to your tailgating area.


Give the fixture a good cleaning and perhaps a quick coat of spray paint, remove all the existing wiring, retrofit with LED pillar candles (easy peasy), and adorn with natural elements, string lights, mesh fabric in team colors, or a fall festive garland.

6ft. Pumpkin, Pinecone & Leaf Garland by Ashland®

6ft. Pumpkin, Pinecone & Leaf Garland by Ashland®

Planning these ultimate pregame meet, greet and eat get togethers is part of the game day experience- a social event that counts as a prime style occasion for decoristas to seize the design and decorating opportunity to show your personal style.



Tailgaters are known for bringing their A-game to the game day tailgating tablescape.


The Grove at Ole Miss – Au Courant Floral Creation

Decoristas know how to style and set space and table by taking advantage of the season’s offerings.

Late summer sees sunflowers, lush greenery, magnolia leaves, and seasonal fruits and vegetables ripe for the decorating picking.


Go Huskers!

Corn husk wreath around the cake stand, candles, or a platter of corn tamales- how cute!

corn husk wreath

Build on the for the fall of it all theme by decorating with fall festive pine cones, pumpkins, vines, branches, gourds and flowers.


I can’t think of a better tailgating table runner foundation than this synthetic grass table runner.

Juvale Synthetic Grass Table Runner

Juvale Synthetic Grass Table Runner


Go Vols!

Seasonal flowers, natural or spray painted branches, magnolia leaves or seasonal stems paired with vintage or in the style of vintage trophy or champagne bucket vases make impressive centerpiece presentations.


Fresh and festive flower bargains afford me the opportunity to load up on blooms of beauty.


Pick up a sunflower bouquets at your local grocery store.

Pop in eucalyptus stems in fall or team colors paired with gathered cotton team print fabric- fabulous!




Pack a plastic urn with magnolia leaves

Plastic urns are lightweight and easy to haul around game to game, and magnolia leaves a wonderfully inexpensive-natural-beautiful choice of centerpiece accent.


Mums and pumpkins, the unofficial official season and flower of fall and football, remind me of homecoming court corsages and crisp fall game day afternoons and evenings.

Cut out a pumpkin, add mums in team or seasonal colors, and voilà; fall is on the table.

Paired together as focal point centerpieces, mums and pumpkins naturally create the look of the season.


An easy DIY pumpkin centerpiece project is a couple bags of moss and an application of spray adhesive away from becoming a dazzling seasonal stunner.


Better Homes & Gardens

The DIY project from Better Homes & Gardens adds succulents cuttings to the moss, and although lovely, I prefer the natural simple elegance achieved with just the moss.

Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum Moss

Faux pumpkins easily become decorative darlings when painted in team colors and paired with a vintage style football.



Bargain bins, dollar, thrift, and big box stores and end of season clearance sales can be tailgating tabletop treasure troves.

Give the attic or storage closet a once over for football themed oldies but goodies to put to decorating use.


Leaktite 5 Gallon LSU College Bucket

Home Depot can’t seem to keep these 5 gal. LSU college buckets in stock at this time of year.

They transport well and qualify as a…

Centerpiece vase.

Trash can.

Pack, cart and store carryall.

Ultimate gift bag for the sports fan.


Faux Wood Charger

I lean towards selecting tablewares and serving pieces made from natural materials or with the look of for their durability and focal point factor.


You get a whole lotta bang for your buck as we are entering into the fall and holiday season where natural pieces and neutral colors complement and reign entertaining supreme.

Footed Teak Serving Board

Footed Teak Serving Board

Autumn Wooden Pumpkin Platter

Bowl 6oz 4pk Set - Cherry Wood


Wheat Copper Pastry Server and Serving Spoon

Picnic Time Kickoff Serving Tray

Picnic Time® Kickoff Cutting Board & Serving Tray

There’s a time and a place for paper and plastic, and tailgating is the time for paper plates, napkins, and plastic drinkware.


Stacking draws the eye and frees up valuable tabletop space.


Brown or white paper lunch bags filled with snacks like popcorn, crackers, chips, and pretzels mixes and placed in baskets or on trays conquers the issue of a more visually appetizing way to present snacks and goodies in individual servings.


Now let’s look at a few more tailgating ideas and recipes.

Show your football in the fall spirit with this in the spirit of fall spirit.

Delish shows us this easy recipe and serving presentation idea for Apple Pie Vodka.

Mainstays 23-Ounce Football Cooler Glasses, Set of 6

Mainstays 23-Ounce Football Cooler Glasses, Set of 6

Fellow tailgaters invited to join in the pregame ritual of gathering together over food and drink love to bring something to the tailgating table.

When our Callin’ Baton Rouge tailgating friends ask what can they bring my stock answer is fried chicken.


Pick up a basket, box or bucket of this tailgating food favorite and bring the delicious and the easy to the table.

Lemony Spinach-Artichoke Dip Recipe

Pack up individual boxes for guests and serve along with individual dippin’ fixin’s such as crostini, chips, and/or crackers.


Lemony Spinach-Artichoke Dip Recipe


1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 envelope dry vegetable soup mix

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Assorted corn or tortilla chips


Stir together first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

Drain thawed spinach well, pressing between paper towels; stir into artichoke mixture. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

Serve with assorted corn or tortilla chips.

-Southern Living

Kevin Belton's Cookin' Louisiana

Kevin Belton’s Cookin’ Louisiana

Kevin Belton cooks Louisiana, and the parishes of The Pelican State love the taste of home.


Louisiana cooking hits the flavor button with its unique blends and mixes of spices, sauces, and syrups.

Bacon Popcorn Drizzled with Creole-Spiced Butter

Garden & Gun – Photo by Eugenia Uhl

Kevin Belton’s recipe for Bacon Popcorn Drizzled with Creole-Spiced Butter  is a marriage of unexpected flavor combinations resulting in a c’est si bon taste treat.



Back to the individual serving appetizers school of thought…

After studying the staged image of the popcorn, loving the rustic, rusty, and fabulous decorative tin piece, it dawned on me how easy it would be to replicate the look with a new PVC ceiling tile.

Consider it a tailgating table investment piece, although the price per tile is under $20.


Milan 2 ft. x 2 ft. Glue Up PVC Ceiling Tile in Graphite Gold

Still love this option, too.

Caramel Peanut Popcorn Snack Mix

Southern Living – Photo by Greg Dupree

Rustic Hammered Copper Cauldron

Unique sets an impressive table.


Stromboli is a pizza inspired full meal appetizer of epic eats proportions, and this recipe for Stromboli from Julie’s Eats & Treats will score with the crowd.

LSU Gumbo.


LSU Gumbo Yearbook

LSU Game Day Gumbo.


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo


white-bean-chicken-soup-recipe (1)

Great Northern Bean and Chicken Soup


2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon minced garlic

2 cans Great Northern beans

1½ cups cooked chicken, shredded

1 32 ounce box chicken broth

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 cups water


Melt the butter in Dutch oven (or just toss the butter in with the veggies like I do).  Add the sliced carrots, chopped celery and chopped onion.  Sauté until onions become translucent.

Add shredded chicken, beans, bay leaf, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate all the flavor goodness together.  Add water, bouillon cube and chicken broth bringing to a boil.

Once a good bubbling boil is reached, reduce heat to low and allow soup to simmer for 45-60 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and serve with crackers or cheesy corn cornbread.

white-bean-chicken-soup-recipe (2)

Baskets come in as handy dandy serving and displaying option crackers, breads, and cookies.

Large Willow Basket by Ashland®

Large Willow Basket by Ashland®




Sausage Pumpkin Soup


1 pound bulk pork sausage

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 cans (14-½ ounces each) chicken broth

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin

½ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk


In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker.

Add the broth, pumpkin, syrup, pie spice, garlic powder and nutmeg.  Cover and cook on low until flavors are blended, 3-4 hours.  Stir in milk; heat through.

Serve with croutons, crackers 0r cornbread.

-Taste of Home


Philly Cheesesteak Recipe from Valerie’s Kitchen is gameday perfection.


What’s a tailgate without a good hamburger?


The seasoning trick begins with plenty of salt and pepper.


Cook the hamburger patties low and slow, throw in a handful or two of thinly sliced onions, perhaps some mushrooms, and go full-on flavor from there.




Have any of you tried a spoonful of Private Selection Hot Pepper Bacon Jam atop your hamburger patty?




Your taste buds will thank you.

Spiced Apple Hobo Pack-Blaine-Moats

Better Homes & Gardens – Photo by Blaine Moats

Apples and cinnamon and brown sugar, oh my!

The taste of fall and flavor suited to tailgating found in this recipe for Spiced Apple Hobo Packs.

foil-apple-pack-ingredients (1)

Inquiring Chef’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Bars is fourth quarter (dessert) on the board delicious.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Bars

This recipe for Moist Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glaze from Butternut Baker includes pumpkin, maple glaze made with real maple syrup, and a crunchy streusel so rich and so delicious it will become your new fall taste treat obsession.

Moist Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glaze

From pan to pack tote to platter, cookies, sweet breads, cakes, and brownies travel well and satisfy the sweet tooth of big kids who tailgate.


Dessert and coffee go together like football and tailgating.

tiger coffee mug

Make mine a cup of Community Coffee- a Louisiana tailgating tradition.


Distinctive and delicious tailgating ideas and recipes sets the pregame party in motion to score an entertaining touchdown.