Sunday, August 3, 2014

4th of July at My House!


This is 4th of July at my house!

This Starts a couple of weeks ahead for us, starting with my Pinterest boards, then I make a secret board for my final working list. Then weeks ahead I start purchasing supplies so when I'm ready I can start my make ahead items. After that I start making as I have time, some days more often than others.

 Make Ahead starts weeks ahead of the 4th of July which includes baking cake layers for a round flag cake, baking cupcakes for a flag made of cupcakes. You can't see it & I don't think I took a photo, these are tri-colored cupcakes inside, blue on the bottom, white in the center, & red on the top. 

The Firecracker Bark can be made ahead & frozen, wrap tightly! This involves melting white chocolate, coloring the blue rock pops (if you want them this color), sprinkling red & blue pop rocks over the white chocolate & gently pressing the pop rocks onto the chocolate.

Ice Cream Cones can be dipped about a week or two ahead of time. I bought 3 kinds of ice cream cones (yes I tend to go overboard!), Standard plain ice cream cones, sugar cones, & chocolate waffle cones, they were delicious! We melted 3 colors of chocolate & dipped them, painted them, etc. to cover the first 1-2 inch on each cone, then sprinkled them over a small cup that could catch the excess sprinkles. Placed the ice cream cones on waxed paper to dry & then placed in Ziploc bags.

 This next one was a make ahead about 2 days before, you'll need more of the same colored white chocolate melted, large marshmallows, sprinkles, & long sucker sticks. We dipped some completely in one color, others in 2 colors about 1/3 up each marshmallows. When dipping do one color at a time, it is much easier. When doing a tri-color marshmallow dip the top 1/3 in say red, if sprinkles are desired sprinkle them now over a bowl that can catch the excess, then place on wax paper to dry, then when it is dry place the stick in the dipped end & dip the opposite end in the second color, in this instance blue would be the second color.

This Taco Salad American Flag can be partially made ahead, I cook my meat with taco seasoning & freeze it all the time so I just used one of my make ahead bags of meat. On the day of the party I placed the taco meat in the bottom, topped it with heated refried beans, covered that with lettuce (we used Kale from the garden actually), then topped with shredded cheddar cheese, placed rows of grape tomatoes & a "star section" of olives at the top left corner, then served with a bag of blue corn tortilla chips on the side.

This was a fun treat this year, it is called Stained Glass Jell-O. I made the Jell-O a day ahead I guess it could be done 2 days before, I am NOT a Jell-O expert by any means! I made a blue Jell-O pan & a red (Cherry) Jell-O pan in 9x14 pans using the Jell-O Jiggler recipe, easier to cut & move for the 2nd setting. After these were completely set I cut the Jell-O into about 1 1/2 inch squares more or less. Then you take all of the cut pieces & place them again in a 9x14 pan alternating the colors & setting them not directly next to each other, lots of breathing space. Then I mixed the Sweetened Condensed Milk, Knox plain gelatin & I'm not sure what else, the recipe is out there on my Pinterest board. Then I poured the white mixture over all of the red & blue Jell-O so that it was at the same height in the pan as the already set Jell-O, placed in the fridge to set again. After it was all set I cut into squares or rectangles & placed on a serving dish. This was my oldest son (22 years old) item on the table, he wanted to clean the pan & purchase more ingredients & have me teach him how to make this! Mom chalks that up as a MAJOR Success!!!

Okay  you can obviously boil your eggs ahead of time, I learned a new way to do my eggs this year that I have really liked. You bring your eggs to a boil, put a lid on the pan & turn off the stove, let sit for 15 minutes on the stove. Come back & remove the hot water, replace with cold water & ice until the eggs are covered at least 1 inch over the top of the eggs. They are cooked just right, haven't had that green circle in them & they are much easier to peel! After peeling I cut them in half lengthwise, remove the yolks, place 1/3 of the egg whites in a cup of cold water, blue food coloring, & a teaspoon of vinegar (we didn't taste the vinegar later), then do the same with another 1/3 in red food coloring & vinegar in water, then I mix my deviled eggs recipe (I use 1/2 butter & 1/2 mayo/miracle whip & curry powder to season, a few other things, those make any recipe better from what I have tried over the years). Then I spoon or squeeze the mixture back into the egg halves. Sprinkle a bit of Paprika on top of all of the eggs & chill.

This is another Jell-O recipe, Verigated Jell-O that can be made ahead a day or two before you are using it, I suggest making it when you have plenty of uninterrupted time, not an hour or so before the 3rd of July Kids parade! (Did that on the first time I ever made it, not my brightest idea!). This involves making a red batch of Jell-O, a red batch, & a white batch. Next time I will make the blue, set the first layer in the pan (spray it with cooking spray to make it easier to remove later), then make the white batch & start to mix the lighter blue layers. Each layer will set faster than the previous so be prepared for that! Don't forget to add each ingredient as directed, if not then adding it later does not work at all, yes so distracted with my time constraint I did just that, UGH!!! As you get the white divided into it's separate bowls then make the red batch, & mix with the white as needed for each layer, 9 layers in all. I am going to do an orange & purple version of this for Halloween, orange & red versions for Thanksgiving, red & green for Christmas, maybe red & purple for Valentines (pink would be odd I think), yellow & green for St. Patrick's Day, not sure on Easter I may do something totally different.

For this Fruit Salad I made the Red, White, & Blue Fruit Dip the day ahead it is a mix of spreadable strawberry cream cheese, plain cream cheese, & blueberry cream cheese each was individually mixed with marshmallow cream cheese & some food coloring (red with strawberry, blue with blueberry). I tipped the bowl & placed the red in first, then layered the white on top of that, the blue on the other end of the bowl. The fruit salad I made on the 4th of July using Strawberry Slices, Chopped Red Apples, & Blueberries.

This is a fruit trifle that I made with cake leftover from a few of my cake desserts and a mixture of fruits, strawberries & blueberries along with cool whip. It was really easy to make & used up some leftovers which was great!

Now we like Movie Night at our house, on the night of July 3rd we hosted a late night movie projected onto the side of our house which was a blast! Of course we had to have treats! I made a ton of popcorn for my patriotic popcorn recipe I had found, the white chocolate came out really well, the Jell-O popcorn was okay, not the flavor I would prefer though so from now on I will make this with red, white, & blue white chocolate. I also found that the "savings" on purchasing generic popcorn is not worth it, I tried that & then PopSecret & there is a HUGE difference! Since I wasn't sure what 9 Cups of Popcorn looked like, the amount that was needed
for the white chocolate & Jell-O recipe I made far too much so what was leftover I made Taco Seasoned Popcorn since we had a large group coming over. We wrapped it up after the movie & set it out again with our 4th of July Spread.
This was an easy one the I make just before we serve everything it is red bell pepper sliced into sticks, jicama sliced into sticks, and a bowl of olives, I have also served it with blue corn tortilla chips, it is simple & gives a healthy choice. I also serve it with a vegetable dip made of sour cream & Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix or you can use sour cream and ranch dip mix.

Last shots of the Table, it was a LOT of FUN!!!!

No comments: