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Archive for Holidays & Occasions

TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Ice Cream

Red White & Blue Ice Cream
[1] Mix in sprinkles for holiday-themed ice cream, like this patriotic flavor from OddFellows Ice Cream.

Red White & Blue Ice Cream Cones

[2] Make matching cones. Here’s the recipe from Sweet Estelle.

 

You can create special ice cream for any special occasion, using store-bought vanilla ice cream and mix-ins in holiday colors.

The easiest way is to buy sprinkles, confetti and confetti shapes (hearts, pumpkins, stars, etc.—photo #2).

For example:

  • July 4th, Labor Day & Memorial Day: red and blue sprinkles.
  • Halloween: orange and black sprinkles.
  • Thanksgiving: orange, red and yellow sprinkles.
  • Christmas: red and green sprinkles.
  • Valentine’s Day: red and pink sprinkles.
  • St. Patrick’s Day: dark and light green sprinkles.
  • Easter: pastel sprinkles.
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    Preparation

    1. SET the container on the counter until the ice cream is soft enough to mix in the decorations.

    2. RETURN to the freezer until ready to serve.

    TIPS: It’s easier to mix two separate pints than a quart or larger container. And it’s even easier than that to dip the edges of ice cream sandwiches into the sprinkles.
     
     
    JULY 4TH TRIVIA

  • The first independence Day. The Declaration of Independence was formalized on July 2, 1776, when Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved, and the document was published. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. While John Adams wanted it to be July 2nd, Congress agreed on July 4th for the holiday.
  • The term “Independence Day” was not used until 1791.
  • The first description of how the holiday would be celebrated was in a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail, on July 3, 1776. He described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States.
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  • If July 4th falls on a weekend, the celebration is moved: to Friday, if the date falls on a Saturday; to Monday, if it falls on a Sunday. The date was maneuvered to provide federal employees (and subsequently, most of us) with a three-day weekend.
  • The Liberty Bell, housed in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, hasn’t rung in 171 years. Instead, it is tapped 13 times every July 4 by descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was ordered from England by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly (part of the state’s colonial government) to hang in its new State House (later known as Independence Hall). In arrived in 1751 and cracked at its first ringing—as had two prior bells tested in England. In 1846, when Philadelphia’s mayor requested that it be rung on George Washington’s birthday, attempts were made to repair an existing fracture and the bell reportedly tolled loud and clear at first, but then cracked beyond repair.
  • Calvin Coolidge, our 30th president, was born on July 4th, and three presidents died on it. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of the holiday, in 1829; James Monroe died on July 4, 1831.
  • The annual July 4th hot dog eating contest, sponsored by Nathan’s Famous, began as a disagreement among four immigrants at Coney Island, Brooklyn, on July 4th, 1916. The fight was over who was more patriotic. They were overheard by Nathan Handwerker, an immigrant with a hot dog cart, who offered them a challenge: Whomever could devour the most hot dogs would win the argument. The winner was an Irish immigrant named Jim Mullen who consumed 13 hot dogs in 12 minutes (it is not noted whether Nathan donated the hot dog or if the challengers paid the going rate, five cents apiece). In 2016, Joey Chestnut devoured 70 hot dogs and rolls in 10 minutes—–watched by some 30,000 fans at Coney Island and millions around the world on ESPN.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Jello Firecrackers, Red White & Blue Fruit Desserts

    Our mom made apple pie and brownies; but our favorite desserts for patriotic holiday weekends are red, white and blue.

    We present three recipes with photos, plus another 18 links below. Recipes #2 and #3 can be pulled together in just 10 minutes.

    RECIPE #1: JELL-O FIRECRACKERS OR SHOTS

    To celebrate July 4th, Kraft Recipes has developed this fun snack and dessert.

    You can make it for any special occasion (Chanukah, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving…) by varying the colors.

    And…you can turn the recipe into Jell-O shots by adding vodka or tequila.

    Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • 1-1/3 cups boiling water, divided
  • 1 package (3 ounces) Berry Blue Jell-O
  • 1 package (3 ounces) Cherry Jell-O
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 20 maraschino cherries with stems, well drained, patted dry
  • 20 plastic shot glasses or 1-ounce paper drinking cups
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Optional: vodka or tequila
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    Preparation

    To make the alcoholic shots, see Variation, below.

       

    Jello Firecrackers

    Berry Blue Jello Package

    [1] and [2] Make fun Jell-O “firecrackers” for kids, or add vodka for Jell-O shots. Photos courtesy Kraft.

     
     
    1. ADD 2/3 cup boiling water to the berry gelatin powder in small bowl; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Repeat with the cherry gelatin powder. Allow to cool. Meanwhile…

    2. SPRINKLE the unflavored gelatin over 1/4 cup milk in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Bring the remaining milk to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and vanilla, and add to plain gelatin mixture. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool for 10 minutes.

    3. SPOON the berry gelatin into 20 (1-ounce) plastic shot glasses sprayed lightly with cooking spray, adding 2 teaspoons to each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set but not firm.

    4. TOP with the unflavored gelatin mixture, adding 2 teaspoons to each cup. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Insert a cherry, stem end up, into the white gelatin layer. Refrigerate for 2 minutes.

    5. COVER with the cherry gelatin, adding 2 teaspoons to each cup. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the cups before serving on a platter or individual plates.

    Variation With Alcohol: Prepare as directed, reducing the boiling water to 1 cup and dissolving the berry and cherry gelatin mixes in 1/2 cup boiling water each. Stir 1/4 cup vodka into each flavor of gelatin, then continue as directed.

    Infuse the maraschino cherries in a glass jar. Add 1/2 cup vodka and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Then drain, pat dry and use as directed. (Yes, you can drink the alcohol you’ve drained.)

    Variation Without Maraschino Cherries: Substitute small strawberries or blackberries for the cherries.
     
     
    GELATIN VS. GELATINE: THE DIFFERENCE

    It’s the same product. Gelatine is the British spelling and pronunciation (jell-a-TEEN in the U.K. versus jell-a-TIN in the U.S.).
     
     
    EASY FRUIT DESSERTS

    If you’d like to celebrate with fruit, bring home some a watermelon, some blueberries and your choice of creamy topping: Cool Whip, vanilla yogurt, yogurt or sour cream (the latter two sweetened as desired).

    Both recipes are super-quick and easy and low in calories.

     

    Red White & Blue Fruit Salad

    Watermelon Star Cake

    Two super-easy, red-white-and-blue fruit desserts: [3] fruit cup and [4] star “cake” (photos courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board).

     

    RECIPE #2: RED, WHITE & BLUE FRUIT CUP

    Ingredients

  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries and/or blackberries
  • Optional: Starfruit (carambola)
  • Creamy topping and/or shredded coconut
  • Optional: red, white and blue sprinkles or stars
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    Preparation

    1. SCOOP watermelon balls into a glass serving bowl. Add the berries and sliced starfruit and toss with your hands to disperse. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use. To serve…

    2. ADD the topping(s) or serve them on the side.
     
     
    RECIPE #3: WATERMELON STAR “CAKE”

    Ingredients

  • Whole or half watermelon of desired diameter
  • Creamy topping of choice
  • Garnish: blueberries and raspberries
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    Preparation

    1. CUT a circle from the center of the melon, five inches thick or as desired.

    2. REMOVE the rind and cut the fruit into a star shape. Cover in plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    3. ASSEMBLE: Frost the top and garnish with berries. As desired, pipe additional cream around the base, as shown in the photo.

     
    MORE RED, WHITE & BLUE DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2, recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
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    JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Greek Yogurt Pops & New Chobani Smooth Yogurt

    Why buy yogurt pops when it’s so easy to make these (photo #1), with a recipe from Chobani?

    You can use any berries you like, plus nonfat/0% fat Greek yogurt (photo #2). Blueberries and strawberries are brighter in color for red, white and blue pops.

    But vary the berries or use stone fruits (cherries, peaches, plums, etc.) and enjoy your favorite fruits, frozen on a stick, all summer long.

    RECIPE: BERRY-GREEK YOGURT POPS

  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups plain 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt
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    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a food processor or blender. Transfer into a small bowl.

    2. RINSE the bowl of the food processor/blender and add the yogurt and the other tablespoon sugar. Blend and pour the yogurt mixture into the ice pop molds, filling them halfway. Add the strawberry slices and top off with the blueberry mixture. Repeat.

    3. Place the molds in freezer to harden; consume within 2 days. Running molds under warm water can help release the pops from the molds.
     
     
    NEW FROM CHOBANI: NON-GREEK CHOBANI SMOOTH

    Chobani, the nation’s top Greek yogurt maker, has just launched Chobani Smooth, a blended, 1% milkfat yogurt in five flavors:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Peach
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
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    red-white-blue-yogurt-pops-chobani--230

    Chobani Plain 32 Ounce Container

    [1] and [2] Make red, white and blue yogurt pops with Chobani’s plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt (photos courtesy Chobani).

     

    Chobani Smooth Strawberry Cup

    Chobani Smooth Cartons

    [3] and [4] Meet Chobani Smooth, “American-style” yogurt in five flavors (photos courtesy Chobani).

     

    Each cup (photo #3) has about 11 grams of protein and 120 calories. A two-pack of 5.3-ounce cups (photo #4) retails for a SRP of $1.79.

    Chobani calls their new Smooth Yogurt line, “American-style,” but it’s actually European style. See our Yogurt Glossary for the different types of yogurt, including Australia-style, custard style (a.k.a. French style and Swiss style), Greek-style (a.k.a. strained yogurt) and sundae style.

    The majority of blended yogurts in the U.S. are made with artificial ingredients, says the company. Those that aren’t are the more expensive “premium” brands.

    The mission of Chobani Smooth is to offer the other segment of consumers—those who don’t like the tanginess of Greek yogurt—an option that has:

  • No artificial ingredients (plus no GMOs and no rBST).
  • Twice the protein of tradition yogurts and 25% less sugar.
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    CHOBANI GREEK VS. CHOBANI SMOOTH

    If Chobani became the #2 yogurt seller in the U.S. by selling Greek yogurt, why enter the European-style space?

    To attract the other half of the market!

    Greek yogurt is made like regular yogurt, but the liquid whey is strained out. The result is thicker and tangier, with more protein and fewer carbohydrates.

     
    Chobani Smooth is more fluid than Greek yogurt, and not tangy. It is a blended-style yogurt with the fruit blended into a smooth “custard.” Chobani further adds some small pieces of fruit for texture and eye appeal.

    Finally, Chobani Greek is available in 0%, 2% and 5% (whole milk) milkfat. The Chobani Smooth line is 1%.

    Greek yogurt accounts for about half of all cup and carton sales of yogurt. Given that Chobani is America’s largest Greek-style yogurt maker, will Chobani Smooth propel the company to become the largest yogurt maker, period?

    That’s the plan!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lady Liberty Lemonade, Sangria Or Cocktail

    Here’s a very quick, yet very high-impact, trio of drinks for July 4th weekend. One has no alcohol, one is lightly alcoholic and one is full-cocktail.

    Call them Lady Liberty Lemonade or Lady Liberty Sangria; or add gin, tequila or vodka for a Lady Liberty Cocktail.

    Even if you have time for nothing else, you can make this!

    The amounts needed will vary depending on the size of your pitcher.

     
    RECIPE #1: LADY LIBERTY LEMONADE

    Ingredients

  • 1-2 cans frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 2 large apples
  • Star cookie cutter
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    Preparation

    To serve with ice cubes, prepare a can of lemonade and freeze it in ice cube trays, five hours in advance or overnight. This keeps the drink ice-cold without diluting it.

    1. PREPARE the lemonade according to package instructions.

    2. WASH the fruit. Slice the apples, cut the slices into stars, and add all the fruit to the pitcher of lemonade. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

    RECIPE #2: LADY LIBERTY SANGRIA

    Club soda added to this recipe serves two purposes: to add fizz to a still wine sangria, or to dilute the drink to a lower-alcohol, lower-calorie spritzer.

    Ingredients

  • 1-2 bottles of Prosecco or still, light white wine (see list below)
  • 1 cup white cranberry juice (plus extra if desired for ice cubes)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup triple sec (clear orange liqueur)
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed and halved
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed
  • 2 large apples, washed
  • Star cookie cutter
  • Optional: club soda
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    Preparation

     

    Lady Liberty Lemonade
    [1] The addition of red, white and blue fruits makes this drink a celebration.

    Mionetto Prosecco

    [2] For sparkling sangria, use Prosecco, an Italian bubbly.

     
    To serve with ice cubes, freeze white cranberry juice in ice cube trays in advance.

    1. SLICE the apples, cut the slices into stars, and add all the fruit to a pitcher. Top with the wine, liqueur and juice, and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. FILL glasses and top off with club soda.
     
    RECIPE 3: LADY LIBERTY COCKTAIL

    Substitute gin, tequila or vodka for the wine in recipe #2.
     
     
    LIGHT WHITE WINES

    These wines are light enough for the hottest days of summer. Consider picking up varieties that you haven’t had before. Even if they won’t unseat your current favorite to drink as is, they will blend beautifully into the sangria.

  • Albariño
  • Aligote
  • Assyrtiko
  • Chablis
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Cortese/Gavi
  • Gargenega
  • Grenache Blanc
  • Muscadet
  • Picpoul de Pinet
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Soave
  • Verdejo
  • Verdicchio
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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Firecracker Hot Dogs

    Firecracker Hot Dogs

    July 4th Hot Dogs

    Skip the hot dog roll this year, in favor of these fun firecrackers (photos courtesy USA Pan).

     

    Why stick a hot dog in a roll?

    These Hot Dog Firecrackers are an easy recipe to serve over 4th of July weekend, fun for all age.

    You don’t need a roll to hold the ketchup or mustard. You can neatly add them to the “firecracker” via a squeeze bottle or a knife.

    This recipe came to us from USA Pan, makers of fine bakeware.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    You don’t need a grill: These firecrackers are baked in the oven.

    RECIPE: FIRECRACKER HOT DOGS FOR JULY 4TH

    Ingredients For 16 Hot Dogs

  • 1 refrigerated crescent dough sheet
  • 16 hot dogs
  • 16 slices thick slices of cheddar, colby or jack cheese
  • 16 wooden skewers, soaked
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Stick the skewers through the center of the hot dogs until there is an inch and a half of the skewer coming out from the top of each dog.

    2. PLACE the crescent dough on flat surface. With a knife, cut ¾ inch thick strips.

    3. WRAP each hot dog with a strip of dough, leaving a gap between each spiral. Place the hot dogs on a half sheet pan (see below), leaving a small amount of space between each hot dog. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. While the hot dogs are cooking…

    4. CUT stars from the cheese. Assemble on top of the finished hot dogs and serve.

     

    THE HISTORY OF SHEET PANS

    A sheet pan, baking tray or baking sheet is a flat, rectangular metal pan used in an oven. It is typically used for baking bread rolls, pastries and flat products such as cookies, sheet cakes, swiss rolls and pizzas.

    The most basic sheet pan is literally a sheet of metal, hence the name. If you have a cookie sheet with no continuous lip around the edges, you have a sheet pan.

    One or two edges are rolled to enable easy handling in and out of the oven. The open sides allow you to remove the warm cookies without disturbing their shape.

    Modern sheet pans used in commercial kitchens typically are made of aluminum, with a 1 inch lip around the edge.

    The Sheet Pan Evolves

    The next step in the development of the sheet pan was to include a lip on one or more edges, to prevent food from sliding off. Some pans add handles to aid in placing the pan in, and removing it from, the oven.

    A sheet pan that has a continuous lip around all four sides is also called a jelly roll pan. It can be used to make the flat cake layer used for jelly rolls and roulades with other fillings.

    Today, there are specialty sheet pans that include a layer of insulation or air (an “air bake pan”), designed to protect delicate food like macarons from burning.

    Sheet Pan Sizes

    In the U.S.:

  • A full-size sheet pan is 26 by 18 inches—too large for most home ovens.
  • A two-thirds sheet pan (also called a three quarter size sheet pan) is 21 by 15 inches.
  • A half sheet pan, which most of us use in our home ovens, is 18 by 13 inches (photo #2).
  • A jelly roll pan, typically 10½ by 15½ inches, is a smaller version of a half sheet. The proportions produces a layer of cake size that is ideal for rolling.
  • A quarter sheet pan is 9 by 13 inches, and can be used for rectangular, single-layer cakes.
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    Sheet Pans Vs. Cookie Sheets

    Cookie sheets are different from baking pans. Baking pans have rolled edges, and cookie sheets do not.

    Cookie sheets offer the advantage of a large surface area with no edges to impede removing the baked cookies. But their lack of edges limits their uses:

    You can bake cookies in a baking pan, but you can’t cook a roast (or anything else that expels juice) on a cookie sheet.

    Baking pans for roasts, called roasting pans, are deeper, to accommodate the size of the roast plus the juices it emits.
     
      

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