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  • Pumpkin (Muffins) Mandatory, Footballs Optional

    Oct 14, 2015 CATEGORIES: Food, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Tailgating, Tailgating

    For tailgates and watch parties, I prefer bit-size everything. It’s easier for the grab-and-gab tendencies of tailgaters and serious fans alike.

    Because it isn’t fall (or September or October) without pumpkin everything, here is a semi-healthy pumpkin treat for your next game day dish.

    Pumpkin Muffins (Footballs Optional)

    3/4 Cups of granulated sugar

    2 cups of all purpose flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 cup vegetable oil

    4 eggs

    1 29 oz can pumpkin (or two smaller 16 oz cans)

    1 jar of Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all liquids (pumpkin, eggs, oil and sugar) in large bowl, using an electric mixer until smooth and airy.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, baking soda, cinnamon).  Fold in dry ingredients and then use electric mixer to combine all ingredients until batter is smooth. 

    Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray (or if you’re using muffin papers, spray those as well).  Fill each section 3/4 full of mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (Keep an eye on these and set a timer!)

    Apply Pillsbury cream cheese icing liberally once muffins are cool.  Place pre-bought football shapes on top of iced muffins for game day festivities.

    For a heartier muffin, add one cup of chopped walnuts and or half cup of raisins.

  • What’s a dip without sausage and cream cheese?

    Feb 1, 2012 CATEGORIES: Food, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Super Bowl Dip Recipes

    I want to hate it, but I love it...

    There seems to be no shortage of cream cheese or sausage on game days in Dixie.  Us Southerners are nothing if we don’t know how to get things to stick to the ribs of our beloveds. Here are two recipes where cream cheese and sausage marry once again.  You tell me if they are crowd pleasers!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


    O-Line Sausage Dip Sent in by: Arkansas fan Matthew

    1 package Jimmy Dean Extra Sage sausage

    8 oz cream cheese

    1 can extra chunky Rotel



    Brown sausage in a frying pan. Drain grease from skillet. Drain Rotel can, add to skillet. With heat still on, add cream cheese and stir thoroughly. Once melted, pour into dish, serve warm with Tostitos or Fritos. Really, people will eat this with a spoon.


    Tennessee Crack Dip Sent in by Tennessee fan Lindsay

    2 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese

    1 lb of maple flavored sausage

    1 can of hot Rotel



    Brown the sausage and strain grease.  Drain can of Rotel.  In a crockpot, combine cream cheese, Rotel and browned sausage. Stir together. Serve with Frito Scoops when warm.


  • Dip, baby, dip!

    Jan 31, 2012 CATEGORIES: Food, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Women, Super Bowl Dip Recipes

    Super Bowl Sunday is all about the dips.

    At least  that’s what my grandmother, the woman who taught me all about football, told me yesterday. “We’re having a Super Bowl party at my house. I’m fixing two types of chili and a lot of dips. You know, the Super Bowl is all about dips, sweetheart.”

    And so it is; the big game for NFL fans is all about dips.  We SEC fans know that every game is a game started with a full spread of decadent dips. Thankfully, during this season’s tour, I’ve had the opportunity to taste my fair share of the talented chefs across Dixie!

    This week, I’ll be posting some of the dips that you have graciously sent my way for my next project. Before they are printed, however, I’ll need them tested and rated– which is where you come in!  Please try out the recipes that I post this week and let me know what you think (Is it tasty? Was it easy? Is it a crowd pleaser? Would you give it to another Gridiron Belle?).

    If you have any recipes that you want tested or used in the next Gridiron Belles project, please send them in and I’ll try out your recipe at my Super Bowl dip party!

    Thanks for all of your helps, I’m looking forward to receiving all of your gridiron masterpieces!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

    Nanette’s (LSU) Tiger Corn Dip:

    3 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, drained

    1 cup mayonnaise

    1 cup sour cream

    1 bunch green onions, chopped

    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    1 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded

    1 pack taco seasoning

    1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste 1 pinch salt


    In a large serving bowl, stir together the corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, Cheddar cheese and lime juice. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir to blend in seasonings, then refrigerate until chilled before serving.

    We always share this dip with fans from opposing schools in an effort to help soothe their impending loss! We’ve met more fun people from other schools over food and drinks. Some have even returned each year to tailgate with us!



  • Tennessee’s Second Chapter

    Oct 10, 2011 CATEGORIES: Food, Gridiron Belles Tour, SEC Football, SEC Stadium Tour, Southern Belles, Southern Women, Tennessee

    How can I put so much fun into just one blog?  I can’t, so stay tuned for more stories from my trip to Knoxville throughout the week. For now, let’s just say that I’m glad there is a second book in the works; I have gathered a plethora of information for UT’s second chapter in book two!

    Looks like the book is for Gents AND Belles!

    Let’s start with downtown Knoxville.  Sure, an SEC is centered around the university, the available tailgate spots and legendary stadium– but there is so much more.

    I arrived on Friday afternoon to Market Square in the heart of downtown Knoxville.  I met with a sweet UT reporter, Laura, at Café 4 and then shimmied over to be a part of “Live at 5 at 4” before picking up the prefect hostess gift at Bliss Boutique.   Just a brisk walk two blocks over I set up for a signing at Mast General Store.  Market Square was another side of Knoxville I had never seen.  It was full of lively and kind people out enjoying their Friday night before enjoying their Tennessee Saturday.

    Molly and Marty on top of House Mountain

    Saturday morning started off with a run with my host, Molly, with a Smokey Mountain backdrop before heading to a signing at M.S. McClellans.  ( I’ll be doing a full spot on McClellans later this week because that place is AMAZING).  After a successful signing at McClellan’s, Swoozies and I met up to hit the tailgating scenes on UT’s campus.

    Darsi, LeaAnne and friends!

    What a perfect day for college football. Not a cloud in the sky and a delightful 79 degrees made our tailgate hopping a cinch without a single threat of a glisten. We stopped by Volunteer Village, walked through Circle Park, ran into some KD Ladies on the sidewalk and visited fans in the 23B lot off of Andy Holt Boulevard.   How very hospitable Darsi and her friends were! Not to mention, Mr. UT made the best French fries I’ve ever tasted. Now that’s skill to do at a tailgate!

    KD ladies with koozies from Swoozies and a copy of Gridiron Belles

    I was eager to get down to the River.  Last time I was in town, the VOL Navy was disappointingly out of town.  This time, I was determined to hang out at Calhouns and see some of the water mansions decked out in checkered orange.  But not before stopping by Figi Island where Amy and I were offered, and accepted, the most delicious grilled bologna sandwiched with cole slaw.  Can you say “entry” for the Gridiron Belle cookbook due out soon?

    The talented French fryer

    Hands down the best sandwich I have ever eaten at a tailgate. Anywhere.

    It’s a good thing campus is covered with hills because after French fries and bbq’d bologna (I promise it was DELICIOUS!), I needed some cardio on our way to the South’s most perfect deck overlooking the Tennessee River .  What a sight!



    Short on time and koozies from Swoozies, we climbed another hill, through the G10 lot and to the entrance of Neyland Stadium.   What happened next will be another entry for another day, but let’s just say, thanks to a well connected KD, Molly and I were able to see Neyland Stadium from the field!

    If you can't win 'em all on the field, win 'em all on the water

    It wasn’t exactly a pretty game for the VOLS but it sure was a beautiful day of  being a part of Tennessee football.

    Stay tuned for more stories about wearing orange…

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    PS-  this is possibly my favorite photo of the season so far. Rivalries start young… really young.

    These mini Gridiron Belles are having a great time at the tailgate. Except the one in the middle. The Florida fan. She's less than thrilled to be so close to Tennessee fans.


  • My Old Kentucky Football Home

    Sep 27, 2011 CATEGORIES: Food, Gridiron Belles Tour, Kentucky Football, SEC, SEC Football, SEC Stadium Tour, Southern Belles

    Commonwealth Stadium-- My view from the Red Lot

    There is something to be said about tailgating in a parking lot.

    Fortunate to have friends with a pass in the Red lot, Gridiron Belles was able to set up shop 4 cars away from the entrance to Commonwealth Stadium.   Of course, the short walk into our seats was a huge plus, but what I learned to appreciate more was the ability to pack our car full of tables, platters, delicacies, chairs and people and unload right at our spot.  No lugging from miles away. No drop off and pick up systems. No glistening from manual labor in a sundress. Could this be my new favorite way to tailgate?

    The woman who started it all... my grandmother, "Momo"

    It could be possible that I am slightly biased toward my Old Kentucky Home, but after an afternoon relaxing with CAT fans I’m realizing it may not be all bad to be a Kentucky fan.  Unless of course, you like winning.

    Everyone was wearing blue but I couldn't tell if this was spring break or a tailgate...

    Top 5 must haves for a Kentucky Tailgate:

    • Parking spot in the Blue or Red Lot
    • Ale 8 ( A Kentucky brewed ginerale)
    • Bourbon Brownies (KY people will put bourbon in anything)

      Only in Kentucky would eating bourbon brownies require a cautionary request to eat responsibly... these puppies were soaked in bourbon!

    • A bright blue “CATS” t-shirt (Unless you’re with the fraternities and then a dress is required)

      Bluegrass Belles

    • Hope… hope that basketball season will hurry up and get here!

    Can't go wrong with Sigma Chi gents on game day

    Thanks, Kentucky for a great week of signings, tailgates and hype about basketball season.  It was so lovely to be home!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

  • Life is hard. Tailgating should not be.

    Dec 20, 2010 CATEGORIES: Food, LSU

    Straight from the Louisiana bayou, Kristin Preau and her father, have made it simple for you to cook up something delicious for your tailgate. They have created just the team spirited iron pot for the job.

    CookMeSomethingMister is a family-run, jambalaya package producing, New Orleans company that got its start as a fundraiser for Katrina. What began as a way to raise money for displaced families and university students has turned into a tailgating industry.

    It took the Preau family, and some outside help, years upon years to perfect the most amazing Jambalaya recipe in the Big Easy. It took even longer to perfect the iron pots that have an LSU logo proudly painted on the cover. But the day finally came and the Preau family has been traveling the southeastern states delivering their coveted jambalaya in their famous purple and gold pots.

    CookMeSomethingMister offers a small but influential line of products for your gameday: different size bags of Jambalaya mix, your entire tailgating cookware needs to whip up said jambalaya, and precise instructions that tell exactly how to make it perfect. “Let the rice cook for about two beers… that’s about 30 minutes. Then, when it’s done, yell, ‘yum yum come get you some’ and you’re all set for a fun tailgate!”

    With instructions that are that simple and fun what’s not to enjoy about the quintessential LSU tailgating dish that has taken out the hard work for you?!

    Visit for more information, stocking stuffers or to stock up on next season’s tailgate needs.  Be sure to tell the “Yum Yum Girl” that the Gridiron Belle sent you!

  • “Aint nothing like’em nowhere!”

    Dec 10, 2010 CATEGORIES: Alabama, Food, SEC Championship

    Until last weekend, Dreamland BBQ only lived in story books. At least it didn’t yet live in my book. I had heard that no trip through Alabama was complete without a detour to fill up on ribs and sweet tea, so I made the stop.

    Dreamland BBQ is a rib-icon in the world of BAMA fans. As an Auburn fan who went to school in the notorious BBQ haven of Memphis, TN and who has a best friend who continually wins contests for his BBQing skills, you could say I was a tad skeptical of the famed Rib shop.

    The original Dreamland is in Tuscaloosa, AL but there is one of equal grandeur (license plate and neon sign décor) in Birmingham. Which is where I visited after the SEC Championship still wearing my AU face tattoo.

    The service was fast and friendly. The patrons were full and smiling. The ribs were meaty and delectable. Splitting a full slab was the perfect amount, but the secret was in the sauce.

    I may have eaten the ribs, finished the Brunswick Stew and enjoyed the vinegar slaw, but there was absolutely nothing better on the menu than the white wonder bread dipped in the left over sauce on the rib plate.

    If you don’t live in Tuscaloosa and don’t have an award winning BBQing friend nearby, have no fear. Dreamland sends their culinary talent wherever UPS delivers. Who says a loaf of Wonderbread and Dreamland sauce isn’t a complete meal? (

    Auburn fan at Dreamland BBQ, “I guess something good did come out of Tuscaloosa after all.” Lesson here? Even after beating Alabama and winning the SEC Championship, never pass up a chance to take a dig at Alabama. (Even though Alabama has 13 SEC Champs to Auburn’s 6)

  • Eat Drink and be Southern

    Oct 19, 2010 CATEGORIES: Arkansas, Auburn, Food, LSU, South Carolina

    My gameday ritual is fairly nonnegotiable: A nice morning run, a trip to the grocery story for gridiron grub and the paper, getting ready in front of Game Day with Kirk, Lee , Chris and Des, cooking during the first half of the 12 o’clock game ( none of my teams have had to play that early), and then sitting down ( if at home) or heading to tailgate( if attending a game) to prepare for kick off.

    Don’t even think about asking me to be social unless it’s in front of a flat screen or in a stadium and includes incessantly discussing the games in play, rankings or upsets.

    This weekend was no exception, except I actually got my exercise in. Times three.

    The Auburn v Arkansas game started my day off on the right foot minus an obvious lack of defense. The Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson show was quite entertaining—for reasons other than watching my dog scamper under the table when I cheered. I was pacing, yelling and clapping for four quarters. (Pretty sure that’s cardio, weights AND practicing healthy lung care). Between the rushing Cam Newton was doing and the tackling Nick Fairley was executing, I was burning calories through osmosis. Thanks boys!

    Finally, I thought, an evening of seemingly one sided match ups. I prepared to sit and relax while  watching (unlike my pacing and dog-scaring from earlier).
    Thanks to the drive of the KY Wildcats upsetting Steve Spurrier, Coach Mullen transforming from the grasshopper to the professor (enter Karate Kid reference), and LSU only soundly beating McNeese State in the 3rd and 4th quarters, I was left getting my calisthenics in the form of nervous twits (no, not tweets… who has time for that during a game?), excessive pacing and high-rep-squats (sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up—repeat—for hours).

    When the last second ticked off the clock, I was exhausted and ready to celebrate. Auburn was still undefeated, Mississippi State and Coach Mullen got the big win they deserved and the anxiety of UK coming back to beat South Carolina was now over.

    How do Southerner’s celebrate best? Food, bourbon and more food.

    Thanks to the mentioned cardio sessions, I indulged in an Arkansas staple of sausage and cream cheese and a Mississippi staple of marinated cheese. Did I mention the nice glass of Woodford that got poured for the KY victory? Well, that was probably going to be poured regardless…

    So Belles, next time you think you need to take a pass on the carbs and sausage or stick with light beer, realize that you’re a true fan. You’ve done your exercise. Finish out your Southern duties and enjoy the fine delicatessens and spirits of our heritage!

    If you have any favorite gameday recipes, for celebrating or commiserating, please send them my way!