Super bowl appetizers and ads. My kind of party.

Football is fun to watch, but let’s face it, I’m all about the appetizers and ads. This year, the agency I work for had two great spots, NFL and the E*Trade baby. After getting a sneak preview on Thursday, I was super anxious to see the ads live. Maybe it was all the adrenaline from the many passionate Packers fans in the room (like my nephew and his daughter in the pic below)? But despite the randomness of the ads this year, I think our two did fairly well.

I particularly love the nostalgia behind the NFL ad (although I’m obviously biased). Check it out here. There are 180 total alterations to the original footage and lots of surprise details to look out for. For example, did you see the Homer Simpson doll with the Polamalu hair in The Office scene? Or the framed picture of Tom Brady in the shower in the Family Guy bit (a tease to a previous Family Guy episode)? It’s a fun one to watch over again to see what you can pick up on.

Quick Update: So it looks like the NFL ad is getting a lot of press as one of the best, understated ads of the super bowl! It was Ad of the Day yesterday on AdWeek, too. And now there’s a link where you can watch the original footage side by side with the digitally enhanced version. Super cool. Take a look here! Enjoy!

Also, the E*Trade baby (along with baby versions of other well-known sportscasters) had a short cameo on the Fox Pregame show, here it is, in case you missed it.

For a recap and some good reviews of the ads, check out USA Today, the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal or AdAge.

I’m just happy the Packers took the title. Cause how can you possibly want to disappoint this face?

As far as appetizer recipes, you’ll have to forgive me for lack of pictures, but here are two recipes guaranteed to please a crowd (and calm some nerves during the game, too).

Sriracha Party Nuts
adapted from the The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch

I don’t own the cookbook yet, but I cannot wait to buy it and try more recipes. These are crunchy, sweet and they have the perfect amount of kick. If you click on the link above, you can see a video demonstration of the recipe. It’s easy enough to make for a last minute get together and extremely addicting. I just halved the sugar and used turbinado instead of brown sugar so that the crystals would add even more crunch.

1 lb roasted, salted mixed nuts
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
1 heaped tablespoon Sriracha sauce (or more if you like it extra spicy)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. Place the roasted nut mix into a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white, water and Sriracha and add it to the nuts. Stir to incorporate. Add in the 1/2 cup sugar and rosemary. Stir to coat. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and flatten to an even layer. Bake in a center rack for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to make sure it cooks evenly.

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Jalapeno Popper Spread
adapted from allrecipes.com

This dip is delicious and basically a cheesy version of a jalapeno popper, so how can you go wrong? The original recipe uses cream cheese instead of sour cream for a thicker consistency. But I like the addition of pepper jack cheese for extra heat. Using fresh jalapenos also made a big difference, although I still couldn’t resist adding the extra cayenne. Take a look through the long list of comments to the original recipe for some more variations. Clearly, the recipe is a huge hit.

1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayo or veganese
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
6 jalapeno peppers, diced fine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (for extra kick)

for topping:
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix pepper jack, sour cream, mayo, chilies, jalapeno peppers and cayenne. Give it a quick taste to see if you want extra spice. In a separate bowl, stir the panko and parmesan together. Top the cheese dip with the panko, parmesan mixture and bake for 20-30 minutes until melted and crispy on top.

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