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12 Football-Shaped Foods for Your Super Bowl Party

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Traditions have grown up around the annual Super Bowl football game, such as the halftime show scandal, the ad critiques, and of course, the food. The game itself begins in the evening, after hours of pre-game discussion, and parties often go all day long. News stories about a chicken wing shortage just before Super Bowl Sunday have some party hosts nervous. The supply is only 1% short of what was consumed last year, so there will be wings, although they will cost more. But chicken wings aren't the only staple of Super Bowl parties -there's always chili, hot dogs, pizza, nachos, and, of course, the other parts of those chickens. The only critical things to remember about Super Bowl party food are to make sure its delicious, and make sure there is plenty of it. On the other hand, this weekend is an opportunity to have fun and show off your artistic side -which is why there are so many recipes for snacks shaped like footballs that you can add to the menu.    

1. Football Zucchini Fritters

A Turkish recipe called Mücver contains zucchini, potatoes, carrot, and onion, so it will fill any requirements for vegetables on Super Bowl Sunday. Beth at Hungry Happenings turned the fried fritters into footballs! They can be made ahead of time and warmed before serving, then the football laces are added by piping Greek yogurt on top.  

2. Football Pepperoni Pizza

This pepperoni pizza made by Angie McGowan at The Family Kitchen is appropriately decorated with a football of pepperoni slices and laces of Swiss cheese. You can make your own homemade pizza with her recipe, or recreate the look with a frozen pizza by rearranging the toppings -before you bake it, of course.  

3. Football Salami

A football-shaped salami is beyond the capabilities of most kitchens. This salami is sold by Norm Thompson. It's too late to get one for this year (they're sold out), but you can save the idea and order yours early for next year.  

4. Football Deviled Eggs

These spicy sweet deviled eggs look like footballs when you add laces made of chives. Better make a lot of them!

5. Football Bites

Ali Ebright at Gimme Some Oven has a simple clever method for cutting salami slices and cheese into perfect football shapes for these hors d'oeuvres. You can layer them on any crackers, but my favorite (Town House) is already somewhat football-shaped. The laces that add the finishing touch are made with ranch dressing piped from a ziplock bag.  

6. Peanut Butter Football Dip

I never thought of peanut butter and chocolate as a dip -but with pretzels, it works! Dorothy at Crazy for Crust made a football shape with peanut butter and chocolate chips, then covered the whole thing in chocolate sprinkles. "Just cover it in something that makes it look like a football." I would guess the laces are bit of icing. Serve with plenty of pretzels.

7. Nutella Brownie Footballs

Also from Dorothy Kern, these brownies are stacked from a layer of peanut butter cookie crust with Nutella brownies on top! A cookie cutter makes them into footballs, with a touch of icing for the laces. Attached to the recipe at Crazy for Crust is a link to a recipe for iced football cookies.

8. Football Cake Pops

Made by Jamie at Love + Butter, the cake pops are made of chocolate cake crumbs and frosting shaped into footballs, then glued onto sticks with melted chocolate -which also coats them! The instructions appear to make a lot of them, which you will need. No one will stop at just one!  

9. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Footballs

Jackie at Domestic Fits lives in California, where strawberries are always in season. She shows us how to dip strawberries in chocolate and decorate with white chocolate to make tasty little fruit footballs.

10. Football Cupcake Eggs

It looks like a football, but it's an egg. But it's not an egg, it's just an eggshell (although one that resembles a football) that has chocolate cake inside. Got it? Pull off this project, and the response at your Super Bowl party will surely be, "Oh, you went to a lot of trouble for these, didn't you?" Yes, indeed. Get complete directions to make your own at The Cupcake Project.

11. Football Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies go by different names and slightly different recipes depending on where you are. Basically, it's two soft cookies sandwiched with cream in the middle -like Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies. Laura at Make Merry used a pumpkin cake recipe, slightly altered, to make her footballs. The creme in the middle is made of sugar, butter, marshmallow creme, and maple extract. The laces are piped icing. So are these cookies, cakes, or pies? Does it really matter?

12. Football Barbecue Cupcakes

The cupcake is a work of art. Susan S at Diamonds for Dessert created it as an entry in a "Manly Cupcakes" contest in 2010. How manly is it? Beside the decorations of a football and barbecue grill (aflame!), one of the ingredients is beer. Once you put the flame out, all the decorations are edible. The entire recipe and directions are posted in case you want to try it yourself. Good luck!

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Pop Culture
The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before being called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior in 1980 to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song, “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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20 Things You Might Not Have Known About Firefly
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© 2002 Twentieth Century Fox

As any diehard fan will be quick to tell you, Firefly's run was far, far too short. Despite its truncated run, the show still offers a wealth of fun facts and hidden Easter eggs. On the 15th anniversary of the series' premiere, we're looking back at the sci-fi series that kickstarted a Browncoat revolution.

1. A CIVIL WAR NOVEL INSPIRED THE FIREFLY UNIVERSE.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels from author Michael Shaara was Joss Whedon’s inspiration for creating Firefly. It follows Union and Confederate soldiers during four days at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Whedon modeled the series and world on the Reconstruction Era, but set in the future.

2. ORIGINALLY, THE SERENITY CREW INCLUDED JUST FIVE MEMBERS.

When Whedon first developed Firefly, he wanted Serenity to only have five crew members. However, throughout development and casting, Whedon increased the cast from five to nine.

3. REBECCA GAYHEART WAS ORIGINALLY CAST TO PLAY INARA.

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Before Morena Baccarin was cast as Inara Serra, Rebecca Gayheart landed the role—but she was fired after one day of shooting because she lacked chemistry with the rest of the cast. Baccarin was cast two days later and started shooting that day.

4. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS WAS ALMOST DR. SIMON TAM.

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Before it went to Sean Maher, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Dr. Simon Tam.

5. JOSS WHEDON WROTE THE THEME SONG.

Whedon wrote the lyrics and music for Firefly’s opening theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity.”

6. STAR WARS SPACECRAFT APPEAR IN FIREFLY.

Star Wars was a big influence on Whedon. Captain Malcolm Reynolds somewhat resembles Han Solo, while Whedon used the Millennium Falcon as inspiration to create Serenity. In fact, you can spot a few spacecraft from George Lucas's magnum opus on the show.

When Inara’s shuttle docks with Serenity in the pilot episode, an Imperial Shuttle can be found flying in the background. In the episode “Shindig,” you can see a Starlight Intruder as the crew lands on the planet Persephone.

7. HAN SOLO FROZEN IN CARBONITE POPS UP THROUGHOUT FIREFLY.

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Nathan Fillion is a big Han Solo fan, so the Firefly prop department made a 12-inch replica of Han Solo encased in Carbonite for the Canadian-born actor. You can see the prop in the background in a number of scenes.

8. ALIEN'S WEYLAND-YUTANI CORPORATION MADE AN APPEARANCE.

In Firefly’s pilot episode, the opening scene features the legendary Battle of Serenity Valley between the Browncoats and The Union of Allied Planets. Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes control of a cannon with a Weyland-Yutani logo inside of its display. Weyland-Yutani is the large conglomerate corporation in the Alien film franchise. (Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection in 1997.)

9. ZAC EFRON'S ACTING DEBUT WAS ON FIREFLY.

A 13-year-old Zac Efron made his acting debut in the episode “Safe” in 2002. He played Young Simon in a flashback.

10. CAPTAIN MALCOLM REYNOLDS'S HORSE IS A WESTERN TROPE.

At its core, Firefly is a sci-fi western—and Malcolm Reynolds rides the same horse on every planet (it's named Fred).

11. FOX AIRED FIREFLY'S EPISODES OUT OF ORDER.

Fox didn’t feel Firefly’s two-hour pilot episode was strong enough to air as its first episode. Instead, “The Train Job” was broadcast first because it featured more action and excitement. The network continued to cherry-pick episodes based on broad appeal rather than story consistency, and eventually aired the pilot as the show’s final episode.

12. THE ALLIANCE'S ORIGINS ARE AMERICAN AND CHINESE.

The full name of The Alliance is The Anglo-Sino Alliance. Whedon envisioned The Alliance as a merger of American and Chinese government and corporate superpowers. The Union of Allied Planets’ flag is a blending of the American and Chinese national flags.

13. THE SERENITY LOUNGE SERVED AS AN ACTUAL LOUNGE.

Between set-ups and shots, the cast would hang out in the lounge on the Serenity set rather than trailers or green rooms.

14. INARA SERRA'S NAME IS MESOPOTAMIAN.

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Inara Serra is named after the Mesopotamian Hittite goddess, the protector of all wild animals.

15. THE CHARACTERS SWORE (JUST NOT IN ENGLISH).

The Firefly universe is a mixture of American and Chinese culture, which made it easy for writers to get around censors by having characters swear in Chinese.

16. THE UNIFORMS ARE RECYCLED FROM STARSHIP TROOPERS.

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The uniforms for Alliance officers and soldiers were the costumes from the 1997 science fiction film Starship Troopers. The same costumes were repurposed again for the Starship Troopers sequel.

17. "SUMMER!" MEANS SOMEONE MESSED UP.

Every time a cast member flubbed one of his or her lines, they would yell Summer Glau’s name. This was a running gag among the cast after Glau forgot her lines in the episode “Objects In Space.”

18. THE SERENITY SPACESHIP WAS BUILT TO SCALE.

The interior of Serenity was built entirely to scale; rooms and sections were completely contiguous. The ship’s interior was split into two stages, one for the upper deck and one for the lower. Whedon showed off the Firefly set in one long take to open the Serenity movie.

19. "THE MESSAGE" SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHOW'S FAREWELL.

Although “The Message” was the twelfth episode, it was the last episode filmed during Firefly’s short run. Composer Greg Edmonson wrote a piece of music for a funeral scene in the episode, which served as a final farewell to the show. Sadly, it was one of three episodes (the other two were “Trash” and “Heart of Gold”) that didn’t air during Firefly’s original broadcast run on Fox.

20. FIREFLY AND SERENITY WERE SENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

American Astronaut Steven Ray Swanson is a big fan of Firefly, so when he was sent to the International Space Station for his first mission (STS-117) in 2007, he brought DVD copies of Firefly and its feature film Serenity aboard with him. The DVDs are now a permanent part of the space station’s library.

This post originally appeared in 2014.

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