championships and sausage dip

I am a pure-bred Alabama Crimson Tide football fan.

When I mean fan, I mean devoted fan, as in Bama flags and emblem on the car, wearing houndstooth and crimson most every day during the fall (ok, all year) and swearing that Heaven resembles the quad in Tuscaloosa.

I didn't choose to be this way. It was by divine intervention and stamped on my forehead at birth. That's the way it is in Alabama. When a new baby comes in to the world their identification bracelet in the hospital has a Tiger or an Elephant. Look closely next time...

Some of my first words were "Roll Tide" and my Dad always drove a red truck (not by coincidence either). To this day I can tell you which of my school mates "pulled" for Auburn or Alabama. The rivalry was that intense and that much a part of our daily life. It's what defined us other than our gender. Boys on one side, girls on the other, Auburn fans on one side, Bama on the other. It's still that way. It isn't said aloud, but it's there.

When Bear Bryant died I took the day off work. I was in the crowd that attended his funeral. Not sure anyone will ever quite equal The Bear. And not sure during which championship us Alabamians decided he was a Saint, but it happened.

We don't take our football lightly in the south, but that topic has been overdone in the past. I think the world knows by now that we have no common sense when it comes to our home team dedication. Whether it is high school or college (not so much NFL-if you get paid to play ball it's just a j-o-b), there is little in our culture that gets that much attention and dedication as football with the exception of Mamas and vegetable gardens.

Last night was the BCS Championship and our team won it's 15th title. We watched the game at home in the living room with the same anticipation that we would have if we were on the 50 yard line. I didn't have to throw the remote in to the fireplace this time (yes, it happened during a loss to LSU last year). It's a sign that 2013 will be a good year. Roll Tide and pass the dip.

Hot Sausage Dip: a tailgating must have

1 package (16 oz.) Jimmy Dean Regular Flavor Pork Sausage

1 large onion chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, chopped

2 pkgs. (8 ounces each) cream cheese, cubed

1 large tomato, seeded, chopped

½ cup hot yellow banana peppers, drained, seeded, chopped

⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Tortilla chips

1. Cook sausage, onion, red pepper and jalapeno peppers in large skillet over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Drain sausage mixture; return to skillet.

2. Reduce heat to medium; stir in cream cheese. Cook and stir 5-8 minutes or until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Stir in tomato, banana peppers and cilantro; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

3. Serve with chips. Yum!


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