Super Bowl Sunday: Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe

Recipe Header - Food Marriage Blog

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Appetizers are my favorite part of any football party and today is no exception! Here’s a fun recipe that you can whip up in no time before the game: a Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball recipe. I made it before for my Girls Fantasy Football Draft party and it was a hit! (please excuse the photography here…it was a quick pic snapped on my iPhone that night!)

Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball Recipe | FoodMarriage.com

Needless to say, my participation in a Girls Fantasy Football league (3 years in a row) has not enhanced my knowledge of the game much. However, it has increased my attention span for watching football games! It was always so fun throughout the season to recognize players’ names and cheer for my guys! While I didn’t win the big money, what I really got out of this football season was the friendship, camaraderie, and competition with the girls! It’s something I think we will keep going for years to come!

This recipe is so easy with only 4 ingredients: cream cheese, pimentos, pecans, and string cheese. Anyone (even the kids) can make it! You can make it an hour before the game or you can make it the night before so it is ready to go. It also transports very easily if you are traveling to a party – I put it on the serving tray and covered it with plastic wrap. I brought two different boxes of crackers and opened them up once I got there.

Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 1 Pimento Cheese Ball

Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball

Ingredients

  • 2 (8oz) blocks of cream cheese
  • 1 (4oz) jar of pimentos.
  • 1 cup chopped Pecans
  • 1 piece string cheese

Instructions

  • Let your cream cheese sit out to soften.
  • Finely chop your pimentos (do not discard the extra juice).
  • Add your chopped pimentos _(and the extra juice from the jar) into your cream cheese.
  • Mix together well (I used a hand mixer).
  • Set the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking. Using your hands, shape the mixture into a half football shape.
  • Crush your pecans into smaller pieces.
  • Sprinkle pecans onto the top of the football, slowly pressing in so they stick to the cream cheese/pimento mixture. Continue adding pecans until the entire top is fully covered.
  • Refrigerate for at least a half hour to allow it to harden again (you can also make it the night before and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will also allow the flavors of the pimentos to infuse into the cream cheese even more).
  • Remove from the parchment paper onto your favorite serving dish.
  • Pull a couple strings of string cheese and lay on top to make the laces of the football.
  • Serve with crackers and enjoy!
http://foodmarriage.com/2016/02/football-shaped-pimento-cheese-ball-recipe.html

This Football Shaped Pimento Cheese Ball will be a great addition to this year’s Super Bowl Sunday Spread! If you make it, let me know how it turns out for you!

Love pimentos? Me too! Check out these other Pimento recipes deep from the archives of Food Marriage!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Why I Didn’t Monetize My Blog in the Beginning

Tip Tuesday Blog Post Header for FoodMarriage.com - a Philadelphia area blog about being married, having fun, loving life and loving food.

As a mom who spends 40 hours a week working outside the home along with 10 to 15 hours a week commuting, I’m always looking for different ways to make money. I have known for a while now that bloggers can make significant income, but didn’t realize the true potential until I discovered bloggers who disclose their income. The best example I have found of this is by the blog,  Pinch of Yum. They started trying to make money blogging in September 2011 (Eek! Just a month before I started Food Marriage!) and they have grown exponentially since then! Pinch of Yum’s Monthly Income reports are not only for their own tracking purposes, but also to help and inspire other bloggers that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible!

When I look back at my own blogging experience, I often wonder to myself, “What if I had monetized my blog early on?” I actually didn’t start to try to make money until December 2015, a good 4+ years after I began my blogging journey. Why didn’t I monetize early on? There are several reasons why I didn’t monetize my blog in the beginning.

Reasons for Not Monetizing a Blog | FoodMarriage.com

My Reasons for not monetizing a blog in the beginning:

  • I started Food Marriage for fun!

    This blog has always been about being married, having fun, loving life, and loving food! I have kept that theme present from the very first moment I started blogging on October 3, 2011. I have always loved to cook and saw it as a great platform not only to share recipes with friends, but also to document and save some great family recipes! I’ve been able to share some of my wedding and party-planning ideas. And as our marriage has evolved and we are now parents, I incorporate some of that into the blog. Food Marriage always has and always will be a space for sharing and personal expression for me. I do it because I enjoy it, not just to make money. If it turns out that it can bring me an income in the future, that will be an added plus!

  • I was focused on building content.

    Looking back at Food Marriage’s Blog archives, it was surprising to see and remember that for the first three month’s of the blog’s life, I was posting almost every day! Granted, it wasn’t always the best content or the best photography in the beginning, and I certainly wasn’t sharing it out on social media at that point. But the effort to be consistent and really build up a good base of information was there. Currently, at this point in my life with a 1 year old, I’m lucky if I even get the chance to make a grilled cheese at the end of the night for myself, but back then in the newlywed stage, I spent a lot of time cooking for myself and my husband, learning to blog, and sharing that content out for everyone to see.

  • I had a Bad First Experience with Ads

    I remember installing Google Adsense when I first started blogging. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing and thought that maybe it would make me some money, but I was thinking in terms of nickels and dimes. As soon as I installed the ads, I saw an ad for something divorce-related on my blog. I had assumed they picked up the keyword of “marriage” and somehow thought a divorce ad was appropriate. It definitely did NOT fit with what my blog represented. At the time, I didn’t understand that you could actually have some control over the ads and filter certain things out, so I completely uninstalled the whole thing. It wasn’t until several years later that I actually took the time to sit down and learn more about different advertising networks and what control a blogger can have with the ads on their site.

My Advice to Other Bloggers

My advice to other bloggers is to NOT start a blog with the sole intention of making money. If you do, it has the potential to come off as forced or not genuine. I believe to build a blog and to gain a following, you have to have passion for what you do. The love and passion you have will really shine through and be what makes your blog special and memorable. Once you have that, I think looking at monetization is a great idea! Why not start to make money from something you love!?

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Top 5 Travel Tips for Flying with Baby

Mom Monday Blog Title Header Food Marriage

I recently took my daughter on her first plane ride.  I took her to Chicago to celebrate her Uncle Matthew’s Graduation from Chiropractic School and also to meet her GREAT Grandparents for the first time. My husband wasn’t able to make the trip due to work and school commitments, so I was traveling alone. People thought I was crazy for flying alone with her. I almost didn’t book the trip because of so many fears! But in the end I decided to do it! And guess what? Flying with a baby wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be!

We flew when she was about 7 months old, so I was able to keep her on my lap the entire time (talk about cost saving!) Most airlines allow you to have a child on your lap up until they reach 2 years of age. Overall, we had a great trip and I was so glad to have taken the opportunity to go on a trip where we could spend quality time with family that we do not get to see often.

Top 5 Travel Tips for Flying with a Baby via Airplane | FoodMarriage.com

 Here are my Top 5 Tips for Flying with a Baby:

1. Do Not Read Negative Articles Before You Go – this will only stress you out.  A couple weeks before we left, I read an article about a woman being kicked off a plane because her child was crying uncontrollably before takeoff. This happened to be the same airline that I had already booked. Everyone was trash talking the airline in the comments section and basically said if you have kids, steer clear of that particular airline. Of course, I freaked out after reading this but it was too late to change flights at that point. We kept our flight and I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone we encountered on the airline was extremely friendly and helpful. We could not have had a better experience.

2. Do Not Care What Other People Think – this will also stress you out. My biggest fear was sitting down next to another passenger and getting “the look” – you know the one where they are thinking in their heads “I cannot believe this person brought a baby on a plane.” What I found was that most strangers were happy to make silly goofy faces at my daughter and make her laugh and giggle. How could you not love a smiling bright blue eyed little babe!?

3. Do Not Forget Hand Sanitizing Wipes – Notice I did not say “Do Not Let Child Touch Any Surfaces” because let’s face it, that is nearly impossible to do.  Let your little one play and be curious – it is a fun and new experience for them and they are exploring the world around them! Just be sure to be quick with the wipes before they put their hands in their mouth!

4. Do Not Be Afraid of Making Friends – I usually keep to myself when traveling, reading a book or minding my own business. I rarely talk to other passengers. I found that having a baby in your arms invites conversation. Don’t be afraid of it! I found myself giving tips on baby carriers to a pregnant woman and having conversations with a group of young adults on their way to Basic Training in the Navy. It actually made the trip fun and go by quickly!

5. DO ENJOY EVERY MOMENT – as we all know, our children are only little once. As a working mom who works full time outside of the home, this time I spent with my baby girl was precious. This was the first Mother/Daughter trip that we took together, and I hope there are many more to come. Try to look at the world through your child’s eyes and see what an incredible adventure you are on!

Hoping that these tips can ease some of your travel anxiety if you are planning your first trip with your little one! Best of luck!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

How to Make a Baby Ladybug Halloween Costume!

Mom Monday Blog Title Header Food Marriage

For my daughter’s first halloween, I knew I wanted to make hand make her costume! Nothing against store bought costumes, but I was just itching to do something creative! I originally wanted her to be a baby bumble bee after I saw this No Sew Bee Costume from Sugar Bee Crafts, However, when I went to the craft store, there was no bright yellow tulle to be seen. I saw bright red tulle and was sold on the idea of a little ladybug! I started right away on making Little M’s ladybug halloween costume!

How to make a homemade baby ladybug halloween costume for your little girl, complete with a ladybug painted pumpkin, red antennae headband, matching handmade mommy and me infinity scarves, and little ladybug wings | FoodMarriage.com

With less than a week until Halloween, you can still make this easy costume if you want to! I paced myself by doing one piece of the costume each day until it was finished. Here’s what you’ll need to create this adorable baby halloween costume:

  1. Basic Black Clothes and Red Socks – Any plain black shirt and black leggings will do (Tip: Wal-Mart carries Garanimals brand clothing for babies and toddlers with mix and match separates – you can get exactly what you need at a great price – under $4 a piece!) I also picked up fuzzy red socks from Carter’s.
  2. Ladybug Wings – I was going to get red felt and then cut out black circles and glue them on, but I got lucky and found red felt that already had black dots on it the craft store. Score! I bought two pieces of felt, used a bowl from the kitchen to cut them into half-circles and then glued them together at the top with Tacky Glue. Once it was dry I used red thread and hand stitched the wings to the top of the black shirt.
  3. Tutu – I got black elastic, black tulle, and red tulle.  I followed the general idea from Sugar Bee Crafts of just hand-tying the tulle to the elastic band.  I did NOT use glitter tulle as I thought that was not a good idea for a 9-month old. I used regular matte tulle and bought one roll in each color (I used the 3-inch wide kind).
  4. Antennae Headband – Using leftover elastic that I had from the tutu waist band, I tied it in a little knot in the back to make a headband. I then took little red pom poms and stitched them on to the top with red thread.
  5. Mommy & Me Matching Red Infinity Scarves – I used to crochet a long time ago, but haven’t done it in years. I watched this Easy Crochet Infinity Scarf Tutorial on YouTube by Melanie Ham, and it came right back to me!! Her tutorial was just what I needed to get back in the swing of things and learn how to do an infinity scarf, which I had never done before. I made our scarves much smaller but the general pattern was the same with a half double crochet stitch. I wore a black shirt with my scarf to match my little one!
  6. A Pumpkin with Red & Black Acrylic Paint – We spent one night painting our pumpkin red with acrylic paint.  The next day, we painted the top black and added black polka dots with a round sponge brush.

Hand Painted Ladybug Pumpkin for Halloween with red and black acrylic paint. The perfect compliment to your little girl's costume or to your home decor. | FoodMarriage.com

We were happy to get our little girl all dressed up for a party this past weekend. And we are even more excited to get two uses out of her costume this coming weekend for Halloween!

 

xoxo, Food Marriage

Recipe: Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons

Recipe Header - Food Marriage Blog

My personal pumpkin obsession lasts from about the beginning of August every year until about Thanksgiving. Anything I can get my hands on pumpkin, I will try it! This fall, I decided to create my own new pumpkin recipe (for behind the scenes photos of my recipe creation, follow @FoodMarriage on Instagram).

The idea for my recipe came from an Ina Garten themed dinner party I threw for my mom’s birthday a couple years ago. That night, I made the most delicious coconut macaroons from Ina Garten’s cookbook – Barefoot Contessa Family Style. I decided to revisit this cookbook to add my own fall twist on these classic cookies.

Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons Recipe - Delicious dessert recipe | FoodMarriage.com

The Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons turned out so delicious!  I definitely kept some for myself, but I also decided to put some in a cute glass jar and deliver them to my mom as a birthday present for this year! She loved them!  They were absolutely perfect the first day they were made. However, when I stored them in an airtight container for another day, they got very sticky. (I didn’t mind the sticky because they tasted so good, but they were a little messy).  Any suggestions on how to make them not as sticky are greatly appreciated!

Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons

Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients

  • 14 oz shredded coconut
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpin pie spice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Mix the coconut, pumpkin, condensed milk, salt, and pumpkin pie spice together.
  • Whip the egg whites in a mixer with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes.
  • Fold the egg whites into the rest of the mixture.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using a large cookie scoop, drop the cookies onto the parchment paper.
  • Bake in 350° oven for 45 minutes.
  • Remove and cool on wire racks.
http://foodmarriage.com/2015/10/pumpkin-coconut-macaroons-recipe.html

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten.
 

xoxo, Food Marriage