Independence Day

I have decided the real reason we celebrate our independence in July is because our founding fathers had foresight to know that we would love a good outdoor party with family and friends celebrating not only freedom but the wonderful summer weather. I couldn’t imagine doing anything indoors on July 4th. Really . . . when you think of July 4th do you picture reading a book in a quiet corner, baking or putting together a puzzle in a basement room? Didn’t think so—you probably imagine someone grilling, running through the sprinklers, napping on a hammock or licking an ice cream cone. Guess what; I plan on doing as much of that as I can and I think everyone else should do the same.

Here are my top 5 musts for a great Independence Day this coming Monday. What would you add to the list?

  1. Fireworks are a must. Whether you set them off yourself or you watch them on a much grander scale; you need to have fireworks. Here are some options for me this coming Monday. Fireworks over the Willamette River which can be seen at multiple places but I might try one of the bridges this year. Or I might head out to the beach to enjoy fireworks over the ocean in Lincoln City
  2. I can see the benefit of awesomely cold watermelon. I have been eating a ton of it lately because it is super juicy, refreshing and cold but I definitely want to make this Peanut Butter Oreo Icebox Cake from Something Swanky. I can’t help it. I love ice cream and the best time to eat it is when it is hot outside.
  3. There are three smells during the summer that bring back all summer memories I have stored. These three smells can bring a quick smile to my face and a sigh of happiness—fresh cut grass, campfires, and food cooking on the grill. So in honor of summer smells; let’s stoke up the grill! To make sure everyone has a great recipe to try this weekend in case you want to do something different than hot dogs and hamburgers; try this one from Feasting at Home: Nicoise Salad with Grilled Fish
  4. Since it will most likely be hot during the day—and you can only eat so much ice cream before you really do have to account for the calories—you might have to get wet somehow. Usual remedies include sprinklers, kiddie pools, full-size pools, rivers, lakes and oceans. I am thinking something along the lines of Hagg Lake
  5. I like a good sweater but for the most part I don’t want to be bundled up all the time. I prefer loose-fitting cool clothes which means it needs to be warm outside so I don’t freeze. I have been spending a lot of time looking at my closet lately and realized that I have more sweaters than anything else so I think it is time that I splurged and got myself something new and exciting for the summer season. I think I would be okay with this or this . What do you think?

Everyone Needs to Eat

The post is a day late . . . what?

Okay, so I realized that I hadn’t yet published my post for Friday until right before midnight last night. But you have to understand what was going on.

I prepared for interviews and had one in Seattle yesterday evening. 🙂


I had a baby to take care of and even resorted to driving him around between the 11 and midnight hour so he would finally stop fighting the urge to just fall asleep. 😦

So how was everyone’s 4th of July weekend? We had a lot of fun just hanging out as a family and doing nothing in particular. I even had my 7 year old niece help me with taking pictures at the firework show we went to at Thanksgiving Point. I thought she did an excellent job!

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What I did do was a lot of cooking. So here are 5 of the things that I made. I have attached the links to the original recipes that I worked from but below are pictures and helpful hints on how I made it.


Pretzel S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • Line your pan with foil . . . really . . . it make cutting them a lot easier
  • Don’t try cutting them 2 minutes after you take them out of the oven they are very gooey at first but will setup


California Breakfast Casserole

  • Make sure you really thaw your frozen hash browns and place them between paper towel to try and get the excess moisture out of them
  • I used turkey sausage links that I cut in half length-wise


Three-Cheese Potato & Rosemary Tarts

  • I only used two cheeses because I couldn’t find bocconcini in a store close to me
  • Make sure you use a mandolin to cut the potatoes so they are consistently the same width. The thinner the better.
  • We had extra after dinner so the next morning we scrambled eggs, reheated the tarts, topped them with the eggs and salsa and it was a very hearty breakfast dish.
  • Side note: To my American friends; don’t be afraid of the metric measurements. Consult the internet or your Betty Crocker Cookbook to see the conversions.


Baby Kale & Blackberry Salad

  • I have a person living with me that has a sulfur allergy so we couldn’t use the kale. I substituted with red leaf  and romaine lettuce.
  • I also substituted goat cheese for the ricotta salata
  • I made extra of the Rosemary Honeyed Almonds at the request of my mother. She has been snacking on them for a week but they need to be stored in an air tight container and when you have just finished coating them and they are soft, spread them out on a piece of parchment paper to cool so they won’t stick to your pan.


Watermelon Soda

  • Keep in mind that the sweeter the watermelon the less sugar you need to add and vice versa.
  • We used sparkling water and the adults loved it but the kids wanted it sweeter and we could have used ginger ale for them.