Food, Freedom and Festivities: 4th of July

Food, Freedom and Festivities

 

I love the 4th of July!

I don’t remember exactly when I decided it was my favorite, or really why it was my favorite.

Maybe it’s the summertime and sunshine, or flag blowing in the wind.  Could be just the Freedom and Fireworks with friends and family.

No matter what the reason be, I just know I love the feeling I get on the 4th!

I love to make goodies for the BBQ’s and Picnics and crafts to decorate the house.

This year we spent the 4th at friends house having a BBQ/Pool Party.  I wanted to make it special for the family who invited us.  I always find it a treat to be invited to holiday’s and I want sure I impress to be invited again!

For the BBQ, I chose to make Freedom Frost Spritzer, Patriotic Mini Apple Pies, and Freedom Sprinkle Sugar Cookies (Y’all, all 4th of July goodies have to be named).

The hostess was more than happy to turn over the dessert making to me, but I wanted to make sure that since it was a Pool Party, the desserts were easy to grab and eat.

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First up is the Freedom Frost Spritzer.

Here is Arkansas, it is super HOT, and the humidity makes you sweat buckets after being outside for even 5 minutes.  Because of that, it is super important to stay hydrated.  This drink is cool and refreshing, as well as, great to help you stay replenished because it contains electrolytes.

I’ll be honest with you.  I’m not a huge fan of gatorade, but adding in the lemon-lime soda and the ginger-ale, completely changes the flavor and I really love it.

Go all out if you feel like it and add whole cherries or a few strawberry slices for a more festive look.

Ingredients:

1 32 oz bottle of Frost Glacier Freeze Gatorade

1 20 oz lemon-lime drink

1 20 oz ginger-ale

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How to make it:

1) Freeze your bottles of drinks until slushy (If you don’t have time to wait til they are slushy, just add ice to your drink dispenser)

2) Add your gatorade, lemon-lime drink and ginger-ale together

3) Add any fruit that you like

4) Serve

So quick and easy!

 

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For one of the desserts I decided on Patriotic Mini Apple Pies.

I LOVE making these!  They are so cute and easy.  You really can’t mess them up.

So if you are frightened of your pie looking like it was made by preschoolers, then this is definitely the way to go.

And who doesn’t like bite size apple pie? Right!  I think my husby consumed 6 in a matter of 5 minutes!

 

What you need:

1 package of pre-made Pie Crusts

(or click on picture for Pie Crust Recipe)

1 Can of Apple Filling

1 tbsp of Cinnamon or sugar crystals

1 tbsp of Butter

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Now let’s begin:

1) Start with making your pie crusts.

If you are not a pie making person, then use the ready made pie crusts out of the dairy section of your local grocer.

Simplify!  There is no shame in using a pre-made crust (:

My favorite recipe is The Pioneer Woman’s Pie Crust.  If you don’t have a favorite recipe, then by all means try this one!

 

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Click on picture for Pie Crust Recipe

 

Don’t you just love old pastry cutters?  I do!  I love cutting the butter into the flour! Makes me think of simplier times.  Sigh

2) After you crust is complete and rolled, cut out 4 inch circles.  I use a lid of a canister that I have because it is perfect size.  Anything you have will work.  Don’t panic if its not the exact size.  I promise the pie will go on.

3) Use a cupcake/muffin pan and cut 3-4 inch long strips of parchment paper appx 1 inch wide.  Enough for all slots in your pan.

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The parchment paper will make it so much easier to lift pies out of pan after they have cooked.

4) Take your crust circles and place in cupcake holes.  I try to make pleads in my crust as much as I can for a little extra character.

5) Fill your pie crusts will apple filling.  I used can apples for these and used appx 2 apples and a little filling in each pie.

**Check back soon for my post on Homemade Apple Filling! (The Apples are just now ready to pick)

6) Save enough dough to cut out mini stars.

This star cutter was actually from a Christmas Mini Cookie Cutter Set I got for super cheap after the holidays!  Hey works for me!

7) I then added a tiny bit of butter on top of the stars and sprinkled cinnamon.  YUM!

 

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If you will notice in the picture above, these are sprinkled with red sugar crystals.  My husby thought some of the stars should be red!  If it makes him happy, then yes I will add red sugar crystals to half of my pies!

8) Bake at 350 for appx 20 mins, checking your pies along the way.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do.  And with the parchment paper as tabs, they should be really easy to lift out of the pan.

 

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Can you really have a Holiday without Sugar Cookies?   Are they not a staple of days gone by?  I decided for this 4th of July I would make Freedom Sprinkle Sugar Cookies, which is your basic sugar cookies with festive sprinkles.

I love making sugar cookies, but what I love more is letting the kiddos decorate them!  This has been a tradition in our house since the kids could walk.  Don’t you just love traditions? No matter if it’s Easter, Christmas or the 4th, we need decorated sugar cookies!

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For my sugar cookie recipe you will need:

2 cups of sugar (wouldn’t be sugar cookies without lots of sugar)

2 cups of All-Purpose Flour

1 cup of butter softened (2 sticks)

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt (I love kosher salt)

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla or vanilla paste (I prefer paste, so much more flavor)

1/4 cup of flour for rolling

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This is how I do it:

1) I start with a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

I LOVE parchment paper.

I don’t know how I ever survived without it!

Doesn’t it make life so much simpler?

2) Then I cream together my butter and sugar until it is completely mixed, almost to a mixed stage.

3) Then I add in my egg and vanilla.

4) In a separate bowl, i slightly whisk together my flour, salt and baking powder.

5) I then add the dry ingredients to my sugar/butter/egg mixture.

6) Mix together well.

7) At this point you have 2 options.  You can roll into balls and bake, or you can roll out like pie crusts appx 1/8 inch thick and cut out circles.

I normally roll out and cut into circles with a round cookie/fondant cutter.  you can also use a biscuit cutter (:

If you go for this option, you will need to lay out a piece of parchment paper and use your remainder of flour so your dough does not stick.

8) Lay your circles or dough balls  appx 3 inch apart on cookie sheet.

9) Bake at 350 for 8-10 or until they start to turn slightly brown around edges.

Don’t over bake, they are suppose to be chewy.

Yields appx 20 cookies.

10) After cookies cool then decorate with your favorite icing, sprinkles and sugar crystals.

Enjoy!

cookie platter

Now that the snacks are made, it’s time for a little decorating!  I drive my husby crazy sometimes with all of my decorating for parties, events, holidays and just to make the house more cozy and appealing me me.

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I wanted to do something very simple for the front porch.  We have a super cute wrought iron table on one side and a white porch swing on the other, so just a little something festive was the key.  I chose to decorate the table which sits in front of an old screen door.  I covered the table in a blue star material and added a chalkboard, a rusted star planter, which i added a flag material to, and a patriotic plaid placemat for a center piece.

Nothing fancy but perfect!

4th decor

 

I have several of these white wooden garden chairs.  I have some inside and I leave some outside.  I really enjoy sitting ferns and planters of flowers on the outside chairs.  In this pic I am using the rusted planter with flag print material.  Such a cute idea to sit beside your front steps or on the porch.

Sometimes all you  need is subtle touches.

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This idea is great for a small 4th of July get together or a morning brunch.  I used my table from my porch, added a couple of my garden chairs and make a super cute place sitting with all of the festive food.

Now how easy is that.  Took maybe 5 minutes.

I love having small get togethers and brunches.  This set up is also great for a Tea Party.

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And what kind of Holiday would it be without dressing festive?

My kiddos and I have done several different shirts in the past for the 4Th.  This year we have been on a Tie-Dye kick so we decided 4th Tie-Dye Shirts would be perfect.

We have done several different dyeing in the past.  We have used the regular tie-dye, we have used kool-aid, but I feel the Rit dye works the best for fading.

What we used:

White t-shirts (we chose v-necks for a different look this year)

package of rubber bands

Rit Dye in Cherry Red and Royal Blue

2 large bowls

Newspaper

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How we made them:

1) First wrap rubberbands around your shirt

The awesome thing about tie-dye is that you really can’t mess it up.  Every shirt has its own unique design.

I prefer to wad my shirt up and place rubberbands in random places (:

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2) Add 1/3 bottle of dye to appx 2 gallons of hot water in a large bowl.

I use the same color bowl as dye so it won’t stain.  And yes I use a little more dye, and less water than called for because I want my colors to pop!

3) Place newspapers on floor (or go outside) and set bowls of die on top.

4) Dip one section of your shirt in a color and hold for 3-4 minutes.

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5) Gently wring out using a glove or plastic bag on hand and dip another section in same color or other color dye.

You can do half the shirt one color, the other half another color or sections in each color

6) When shirt is covered in dye, place in plastic bag and let leave for 12 hours so colors will set in.

7) After the 12 hours, remove shirt from bag and rinse with warm water as you start to remove rubberbands.

8) After all bands are removed, rinse shirt in cool water, until water is mostly clear.

9) Hang shirt up to dry part way and then continue drying in clothes dryer.

10) Remove shirt and you are ready to wear!

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After all the drinks, desserts and shirts were made, we were ready for a great night of Food, Freedom and Festivities with friends.

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We ate, and swam, and got ready for fireworks!

 

 

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And after dark we enjoyed playing with a few sparklers.

 

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Overall it was a another wonderful 4Th of July.

I hope you had am amazing day of Food, Freedom and Festivities in your neck of the woods!

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3 thoughts on “Food, Freedom and Festivities: 4th of July

  1. Pingback: Whats Cookin with GraceandGravy:Meal Planning | GraceandGravy with a side of life!

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