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A Time For Celebrating Our Independence Is Upon Us Just Over A Week Away

Independence Day is a little more than a week away and I think we’re all ready for a little celebrating. I don’t recall a time in my life when I’ve been more  aware  of— or more grateful for —  my freedom as a citizen of the United States of America. 

While I could use this entire column and all the space available to talk about being an American right now, I will focus on food and recipes. But, I do hope that we all take a moment, at least, to reflect upon the foundation of our country, the price that was paid for our freedom and to make a personal vow not to take it for granted. 

With many pandemic-related restrictions lifted in recent months for gatherings, community events and especially parades, I feel sure that most of us are anticipating the coming days with a sense of relief, and yes, freedom.

There’s just something special to see that red, white and blue not only waving in the backdrop of a clear summer day, but also the chance to drag out everything we own that speaks of patriotism and either wear it or display it in some form or fashion.

And, as tradition holds, there is something special about planning a Fourth of July cookout, picnic or other event with family and friends for all to enjoy. 
So here goes for a little help to make it a “sweet” time to remember. More cookout ideas coming next week. 

Patriotic  Cookie

1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 container vanilla frosting

Blue food coloring

50 vanilla morsels

3 cherry or strawberry-flavored chewy snack roll-ups, divided

2 pretzel rods

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place dough in pan, pressing evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool, then remove cookie to large flat platter or cake board if desired. (It will do just fine to leave it in the pan). Mix about ½ cup frosting with food coloring and spread in upper left corner of cookie for background of stars. Frost remaining cookie with remaining vanilla frosting. Arrange vanilla morsels on blue area for stars. For red stripes, cut fruit rolls into strips and place on cookie. Wrap pretzel rods with remaining fruit lengths, place on cookie’s left side for flag pole.

Simple Red White & Blue Pie 

1 graham cracker crust

1 can blueberry pie filling

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

12 oz. Cool Whip

1 can cherry pie filling

Pour blueberry pie filling into graham cracker crust; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.

Fold in whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture over blueberry filling; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread cherry pie filling over cheese mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Star-Spangled Strawberries

Select some large, firm strawberries.  Wash and pat dry. Dip one side of each strawberry in either melted semi-sweet dipping chocolate or vanilla-flavored almond bark. (If using melted chocolate chips, add 1 teaspoon of shortening to thin.) Immediately roll coated side of the strawberry in chopped nuts, coconut, or red, white and blue candy sprinkles. Place on wax paper until chocolate is set. Great as a snack or on top of ice cream, cakes, etc. for a “sparkling” finish. 

All-American Coca Cola Cake

    1 box Devil’s Food cake mix (or any other dark chocolate mix)

    1 small box (3-4 oz.) instant chocolate pudding

    4 eggs

    ½ cup oil

    10 oz. Coca-Cola (regular, not diet)

Combine cake mix and pudding mix. Blend in eggs, oil and cola. Pour cake batter into a greased 9×13 inch-cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°. 

Coca Cola Frosting

    1/2 cup butter, softened

    2 cups powdered sugar

    2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

    1 ½  tsp. vanilla

    2 oz. Coca-Cola

    ¼ tsp. salt

Beat butter on low speed with a hand mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.