Lifestyle's Guide to Local Fall Sports 17

Who to Watch, What to Eat and What to Wear

While the rest of the nation goes inside to warm up, we’re cheering on our hometown teams while grilling outside and wearing flip-flops. Welcome to fall in the Valley of the Sun.


Arizona Cardinals

Founded in 1898, the Arizona Cardinals holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously run professional football franchise in the nation. The team was formed in Chicago and persevered through tough times such as the Great Depression and World War II. After almost three decades in St. Louis, the team made their way to Phoenix and officially becoming the Arizona Cardinals in 1994. The Cardinals fans, known as the Birdgang, are loud, fierce and loyal in “protecting the nest,” also known as University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks have called Phoenix home ever since they were officially voted into the National League on January 16, 1997. The D-backs’ first major league game was played against the Colorado Rockies on March 31, 199, at Chase Field. Since their debut, the D-backs have won five National League West titles, one National League Championship pennant and—who can forget— the 2001 World Series. It was the first World Series ever played in Arizona and also the first major professional sports teams from Arizona to win a title.

Phoenix Rising FC

A newer team that is quickly growing in popularity, the Phoenix Rising Football Club was founded in 2014 and is a member of the United Soccer League. In March 2017, the team played their first game of the year at their new soccer complex, which was built on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Loop 202 and McClintock Drive in south Scottsdale. The following month, internationally acclaimed Chelsea and Ivory Coast national team soccer star Didier Drogba was signed to the team and also assumed a role as co-owner of Phoenix Rising FC.


Hosting a watch-party for the big game? Impress your guests with an array of healthy and not-so-healthy game day grub by featuring these recipes straight from the kitchens of local chefs.

Spicy Kale and Avocado Dip

2 bunches of kale, cooked and dry
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 serrano peppers, no seeds
1 ½ avocado
1 small garlic clove
¾ cup of raw blanched almonds
½ bunch of cilantro
Kosher salt
Vegetables and fresh bread to dip

1. Put the kale, serrano peppers, avocado, garlic, almonds, cilantro and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Serve with fresh vegetables and bread.

Recipe courtesy of Paulina Martinez, executive chef of El Panzon y Frida in Old Town Scottsdale.

Cranberry Coconut Blitz Bites

2 cups oatmeal
1 1/3 cups unsulfered, unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup almond butter
1 cup hemp hearts
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of Himalayan pink salt

1. Pour all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix with clean hands and roll into balls.
2. Place in fridge, covered for at least 15-20 minutes for the balls to retain their shape. Set out for a touchdown celebration with your friends!

Recipe courtesy of Lauren McBride, a holistic nutrition, fitness and life coach based in Arcadia.

Sonoran Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fire Roasted Peppers

Makes 4 servings

8 slices of sourdough bread
4 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
Smoked chili aioli
½ pound menonita cheese (substitute Monterey Jack or Danish fontina)
½ cup aged Monterey Jack (substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano)

1. Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees. Lay the bread out on a cutting board and spread each slice with a thin layer of butter on one side. Lay the bread out on the hot griddle, butter side down and cover each piece of bread with a heaping teaspoon of smoked chili aioli.
2. Arrange a slice of menonita cheese on top of the aioli followed by a sprinkling of the aged Monterey Jack. Divide the fire roasted peppers between four slices of bread and griddle until crispy and golden brown.
3. Flip the four slices of plain cheese bread over on top of the peppers pressing down with a spatula. Cut into halves and serve.

Smoked Chili Aioli

½ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chiles)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon lime juice

1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Taste and adjust adobo and lime if necessary.

Fire Roasted Peppers

2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and cut in strips
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and cut in strips
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt to taste

1. Combine the peppers and chiles in a small mixing bowl. Stir in the cilantro, honey and vinegar; season to taste with salt.

Recipe courtesy of Charles Wiley, executive chef of Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows

Chipotle Bacon Caramel Corn

1 cup brown sugar
8 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons kosher salt
1/3 cup white popcorn kernels, unpopped)
½ cup cooked bacon

1. Pop the popcorn. Chop the cooked bacon. Bring brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, honey and salt to a boil. Add bacon. Let cool for a few minutes—this will keep the popcorn from shrinking as much. Toss over the popcorn.
2. Spread out onto a wax paper-lined pan. Sprinkle with spice mix.
3. Bake at 290 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Spice Mix

½ ounces chipotle
½ ounces paprika
½ ounces chili powder
½ ounces cayenne
1 ¼ ounces kosher salt

1. Combine all ingredients.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Dell Morris of Proof restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale.

Burrito Bar

A burrito bar is a simple way to create an impressive buffet with options for everyone. Finish it off with fresh lime wedges, cilantro, smashed avocado and a tray of all different hot sauces. The more you have, the better it will set up!

The Over Easy Breakfast Burrito is a favorite go-to. Roll eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns, pico de gallo and cheese into an easy-to-eat flour tortilla. May’s pro tip: To keep eggs fresh, whip some sour cream into soft scrambled eggs when they come off the heat. It adds a nice flavor and keeps them from oxidizing and developing that sulfur taste.


There’s no better way to root for your hometown teams than by proudly wearing shirts created by hometown boys. State Forty Eight is the brainchild of three Chandler men. They design shirts and accessories that show off pride for the Grand Canyon State’s professional sports teams. Shop your look at