Wednesday, June 19

Star Spangle Hammered

What's America's favorite thing to do on this special holiday most holidays?? We all LOVE to get hammered. If America isn't doing one thing or another, you can probably find us drinking. Eh, it's not something to be bragging about (trust me, I'm not bragging) but it is something we're good at.

I wanted to share a few quick ideas for your Independence bash that would be sure to bring a good time.

1 The first alcoholic drink, any alcoholic drink. Just think in terms of red, white, and blue to keep up with your holiday theme. Rather than showing you three different drinks, I found one that I'm actually going to try this year.

My husband and I aren't much into beer. Don't tell me we're not American. Yada yada. We've heard it before. BUT, I found this recipe that looks so tempting and I can't just not try it. The recipe is pretty much BEER + SNOW CONES. Tell me that isn't a genius idea?!!

Betty Crocker's website tells us that all you need is 2 12oz bottles or cans of beer, chilled, and syrup (I'll show you those recipes below). Pour the beer into a 9 in. glass baking dish and freeze for 45 minutes. Ice crystals should form around the edges and once you see that, begin gently mixing it with a fork. Freeze for another 3 hours, stirring every 45 minutes or so. By that point it should be a granita texture (semi-frozen). Now they are ready to serve!

For the syrups, here are three flavors that could stand in your holiday theme.

Red Raspberry-Lemon Syrup: In a 1 qt. saucepan, mix 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Remove the peel of the lemon and add those peels to the saucepan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and add that and 1 cup of fresh or frozen red raspberries to the pan. Heat all of that to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove it from the heat and set aside to cool for about an hour. Strain the syrup into a jar and throw away the junk that was left over. Cover the jar and stick it in the fridge until you need it. 

Blueberry-Lime Syrup: This will have the same process except you'll replace the raspberries with blueberries and the lemon with a lime.

Orange Syrup: This will also have the same process except that when it comes time to squeeze the fruit juice (like with the lemon and lime), you'll squeeze juice from 6 medium oranges.

Pour these flavored syrups over the beer ice mentioned above. The syrups stay good for two weeks. And since we're not proficient in the beer world, I'm sure there are certain ones that taste better than others so you can learn each time you make these.

2 The second is alcohol-soaked (or not), star-shaped watermelon bites on a stick.

This is super easy. Cut your watermelon in slices. Use a star shaped cookie cutter and punch the watermelon slice as many times as it will give you the shape. If you have a mini melon baller, you can use it in the middle of the watermelon star. I found it easy to just push my finger through it and was able to get the blueberry to stick. The blueberries are optional so it's up to you if you want to add any more flavor. And if you want to get really festive, purchase striped lollipop sticks and you won't have to get your hands dirty. But to me, I love watermelon and I don't think I'm going to be so delicate when it's time to eat them. I would rather have the stars on a plate and I'll just dig in as soon as I see them!

For adults ONLY: I had a friend that soaked fruit in vodka last summer and it was to die for! You just need to prep a little differently if you choose to do this. Before you cut the slices, cut a small circle from the top of the watermelon and pull it out. Gradually pour a 12.6 oz bottle of vodka inside the watermelon. If it seems that it will overflow, wait, because the fruit will soak it in. The entire bottle needs to be emptied. After this has been done, plug the watermelon back up with that piece you cut out and cover the whole thing with foil or plastic or whatever you have handy. It could take up to two days to properly soak. After this has been completed, you can now follow the steps from above and cut your watermelon into star shapes.

3 The third is a red,white, and blue trifle in mason jars.

And without getting too fancy, I'll keep this one simple. You can use angel food cake for the bottom layer, blueberries or blackberries on the next layer, whipped cream on the next, and raspberries or strawberries on the next. Keep layering until you reach the top of your bowl. Top it with whipped cream and a couple of the fruits used. To make it even more moist, you could put vanilla pudding in layers of this trifle and only use whipped cream on top. You can make them in mason jars or just whatever you have around the house. This is a light and not very fattening treat to have during your Independence celebration. 

To make it adult-friendly, just soak your angel food cake in a liquor that was sweeter like rum. And you don't need any prep time for soaking. It can be done as the trifle is being put together.

I hope you all enjoy your 4th of July. Go out and celebrate our freedom with your family. And why no get star spangled hammered?!!!

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