Its that football, soccer and back-to-school gatherings. Neatsmart’s Carrie Peebles and I are sharing some great tips and yummy treats to kick off the season!

Organizing Tip: Plan ahead! Plan out your menu so you know what serving pieces you’ll need. Write the menu down and who is bringing what if you’re tailgating with multiple people. Throw in an extra roll of paper towels, grocery bags, and a few hand towels as well.

If you can skewer it… you can make it fun, yummy and a little better-for-you! Plus this is a super easy way to bring a dish that’s beautiful. Just wait for the oohs and ahhs…

Party Skewers

  • 1 Cup Pitted Olives (look for pretty colors)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Artichoke Hearts, defrosted
  • 1 Cup Hearts of Palm in 1” pieces
  • ! Cup Sliced or Chunked Cucumber
  • 1 Pkg Grape Tomatoes (look for great colors – halve them if necessary)
  • 1 Pkg Mozzarella Balls, cut in half or quarters if necessary OR squares of cheese
  • Shrimp or Smoked Salmon or Prosciutto – any meaty thing that can go on the skewer
  • Basil, Parsley of Cilantro chopped for garnish
  • 1 Recipe Simple Vinaigrette

Skewer ingredients like olives, grape tomatoes or artichoke hearts on fun skewers like bamboo. Pile them on a big platter and sprinkle with chopped herbs and drizzle with Simple Vinaigrette.

Organizing Tip 2:  Label everything! You can use a label maker for individual serving pieces but white duct tape and sharpies work well for plastic dishes or containers. Oil paint pens can be used for plastic dishes as well. Label the cooler lids with the contest so you’re not constantly lifting lids looking for the right beverage.

Simple Vinaigrette

  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 TB Balsamic Vinegar (or any vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • ½ tsp Honey (optional)
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Shake all ingredients together in small jar.

Decadent Deep Dark Fudge Brownies
(with a Secret)

  • 1 ½ Cups Cooked Black Beans OR (15.5 OZ) Can Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • 4 OZ Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 2 TB Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, divided
  • 4 Large Egg Whites
  • 1½ Cup Raw Sugar
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • ¼ Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2 TB Instant Espresso Powder
  • ½ Tsp Cayenne
  • ½ Cup Chocolate Chunks (made from chunking up at least 70% chocolate bar)
  • ½ Cup Chopped Toasted Pecans

Step One

Preheat the oven to 350F. Create a sling with aluminum foil for a 9×12″ baking pan. Spray with nonstick spray.

Step Two

Melt the chocolate and butter together and set aside.

Step Three

In food processor or blender, combine the drained beans and 2 eggs. Blend until smooth.

Step Four

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the bean puree, sugar, flour, espresso powder, cayenne and the remaining egg whites. Beat until well combined. Mix in melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the chocolate and the nuts.

Step Five

Pour the brownie mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until brownies began to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.

Organizing Tip 3: Plastic bins are great for packing and transporting food and supplies. Locking lids are especially helpful (Target) and give you a little extra grip. Use plastic bins in your garage for storing these items off season.

And just in case the wines intrigued you:


As a kickoff wine: Navaran Cava Rose 2014 About $14 – Smyrna Liquors

With the Skewers: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Village About $14- Costco
With the Brownies: Cinzano Braccetto d’ Aqui About $18 – Smyrna Liquors
All three are widely distributed, so you should be able to find them in lots of stores!

Join us on OCTOBER 3rd at 2 PM EST for another Facebook Live: Drink Wine and Get Organized!


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