Friday, June 28, 2013

favorite things friday | fourth of july recipes

Today, I thought I'd do a Fourth of July recipe roundup.  I'm sad to be missing out on Fourth of July with my parents.  They live in Kansas at one of the historical seats of the real Wild West.  Custer was stationed there, Buffalo Bill lived there, and Wild Bill Hickok was the sheriff! 

With such an exciting historical pedigree, the town knows how to celebrate their American roots.  Every year, they have a huge wild west festival, bringing out musical artists such as the Charlie Daniels Band, 38 Special, Billy Currington, and my favorite, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  For just $10, you get access to a week's full of outdoor concerts - just bring a lawn chair and enjoy!  There's delicious food, like BBQ sandwiches and cheesecake on a stick, and then of course a huge fireworks show on the 4th of July.  We have always gathered on top of a small hill at the old fort to watch the 20 minutes of fireworks set to music played on one of the local radio stations.  The fireworks go off right above a field of buffalo - it's hilarious to watch the buffalo run around to the beat of the songs! :)

Because of the fun festivities back home, I've loved and looked forward to the 4th of July for many years.  Not only has it been a time of great fun, but also of great food.

We generally start the day off with something quick and easy that we can grab and eat on our way to the town parade.  These blueberry banana muffins are perfect!

Lunch is when we really get down to business.  We often bust out the grill and have a nice cookout (as long as the Kansas wind doesn't stop us).  Salads like this blueberry tossed salad are the perfect accompaniment to any picnic or cookout.  Fresh blueberries are in season and look so patriotic!

My mama's potato salad is simply the best ever.  It's got bacon in it, so you know it's a must-have.

Cookie Bandit loves saying the word "succotash" (I think it's from his days watching old cartoons...."suffering succotash!").  This creamed succotash is a fun way to get some veggies (and fiber) into our picnic fare.

Ever since I created these bacon ranch beans, they've been a staple whenever we've eaten hamburgers and hot dogs.  I've never met anyone who didn't like them! 

If the winds get in our way and shut down the grill, fried catfish is a perfect substitute.  With hush puppies and a can of Pepsi, they make the perfect meal.

Or, we might whip up some of this delicious sweet and savory pulled pork.  Everyone who has tried it raves about it.  Since it slow cooks in a delicious homemade marinade, you won't need much extra barbecue sauce.  It's delicious!

However, usually the weather treats us right and the grill is fired up.  These are delicious spicy marinated burgers - they've got so much flavor, I can get by with using a leaner meat!

These chicken-apple sliders have become a newer favorite at my house, and it's no wonder why.  The flavor combination is out of this world!

And what would the 4th of July be without dessert?  Blueberries are so plentiful now that I love turning them into a festive pie.  This blueberry vanilla pie is a favorite of both Cookie Bandit and my little sister.

For the chocolate lovers, I enjoy serving up this beautiful pie.  It's especially fun because I don't tell them about the secret ingredient until they've already lopped up a slice - avocado!  You won't find a creamier chocolate pie in the world. :)


And finally, the best dessert of them all...homemade ice cream.  We would make our ice cream on the afternoon of the 4th and then take it with us to watch the fireworks.  Mom always had it packed so well in the cooler that it never melted!  My favorite way to serve it is with Butterfinger mixed good.  My sister likes it with fresh fruit - not nearly as exciting (to me, anyway), but it definitely looks patriotic!  It's the perfect end to such a fun-filled day.

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