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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Happy Birthday, to the U.S.A.!

By Sherrie Norris

It’s almost time once again to celebrate America’s birthday, and whether some people like to think so or not, we’re still “One nation under God.” Since claiming our independence from Britain on July 4, 1776, thousands have left their native homelands headed to the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” so they, too, can realize the American Dream.

I’m afraid that many of us who were blessed to be born on American soil so often take for granted our heritage, as well as our freedom. It is my hope that during this special time of celebration that each of us will reflect upon our good fortune to be called a native of this great nation —and to think about the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.

Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings. I hope the ideas found in this week’s column will help with your celebration as we prepare to pay tribute to our country.

First of all, let’s have a little fun with a bit of trivia and see if you remember anything from your history class!

Q: What do the colors of the United States Flag represent?

A: Red stands for courage, white for truth and blue for justice.

Q: How many stripes are there on the United States Flag?


Q: Why 13?

A: Each stripe represents one of the 13 original states.

Q: How many stars are there on the flag?

A: There are 50 stars, each representing one of the current states.


Now, on with the goodies!


Patriotic Wraps

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

24 (8-inch)flour or wheat tortillas

6 cups low-fat cottage cheese

12 cups strawberries, stemmed and quartered

Blueberries for garnish

Mix together sugar and cinnamon.

On griddle or in sauté pan, heat 1 tortilla at a time.

Place ¼ cup cottage in center of tortilla, top with ½ cup strawberries. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Fold up bottom third of tortilla, then fold in both sides, leaving top open. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 24 wraps.


Pretzel Sparklers

Long rod pretzels

White chocolate, melted

Sprinkles (red, white and blue) or star cake decorations

Melt the white chocolate. Dip the pretzel rod halfway into the melted chocolate, then add sprinkles over the wet chocolate. Lay on waxed paper or place in a cup to dry.


Fourth of July Jell-O Salad

2 pkg. (3 oz.) raspberry Jell-O

3 c. hot water

1 envelope Knox gelatin

1 c. sugar

1 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

½ cup cold water

½ cup pecans, chopped

6 oz. can blueberries (& juice)

First layer: Dissolve 1 pkg. raspberry Jell-O in 2 cups hot water in 9 x 13 inch pan (or a large Jell-O mold). Refrigerate until set.

Second layer: Heat 1 cup of milk and 2 cups of sugar. Just heat it, don’t boil it. Soften plain gelatin in ½ cup cold water. Add to heated milk. Stir in vanilla, cream cheese and nuts. Let cool and pour over first layer.

Note: If you don’t let second layer cool completely, it will melt the first layer. Put in refrigerator until set)

Third layer: Dissolve 1 pkg. Jell-O in 1 cup hot water and add blueberries with juice. Let cool and pour on second layer.

(Same advice as above on cooling first!)

Place in refrigerator until completely set and ready to serve.


Grand Old Cookie Flag

1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 container vanilla frosting

Blue food color

50 vanilla morsels

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

2 pretzel rods

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9×13-inch 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 color and spread in upper left hand 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 and Blue Fruit Salad

1 pint of fresh blueberries

1 pound of fresh red seedless grapes, strawberries or raspberries

1 (8 oz.) container of fat free sour cream

Sugar or other sweetener to taste.

Wash fruit and pat dry. Mix together. Fold in sour cream and add sweetener to taste. Chill and serve


Star-Spangled Strawberries

Select 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 one tsp. 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.