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Celebrating the holiday and going to see Fourth of July fireworks is a much-beloved tradition. If you find you’re in charge of the food and some fun, we have a fabulous menu of recipes and a terrific easy craft that will emit oohs and aahs galore!


Craft project: Balloon Fireworks

While dazzling visuals are all part of the fun, these confetti balloons explode with all the acoustic force of the real thing.

Satisfyingly loud and sparkly, these confetti-filled balloons are a fun alternative to fireworks. And unlike the real ones, kids can set these off – but, we strongly suggest to take this outdoors and of course, consider that this may not be suitable for a young child.   To make a Balloon Firework, pull a balloon over the long end of a funnel. Pour in confetti and sparkles until the balloon is a quarter full; inflate with a hand pump and tie off. Make a big pile of these and distribute so everyone can join in. Use a sharpened pencil for popping and celebrate in style!

Safety note: Be sure to supervise!! Kids under 8 should never handle un-inflated balloons or broken balloon pieces, or sharp objects.


Barbecue Deviled Eggs

Two Southern favorites come together to make one out-of-this-world finger food. Mix smoked pork or shaved chicken from your barbecue into classic deviled eggs, or substitute liquid smoke, or crumbled bacon for a similar barbecue flavor. Since the traditional filling for deviled eggs is made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and optional hot sauce—any additional mix-ins are up to you. We got creative and added chopped olives for that tapenade taste, as well as the pork and chicken we previously mentioned.  We like to garnish our deviled eggs with paprika, but you can skip if it’s not your thing. Consider these deviled eggs completely customizable. Be sure to keep these eggs refrigerated until serving—eggs and mayo are no match for 4th of July heat!


Orzo Salad

Such an easy and wonderful accompaniment to any meal no matter what you are cooking up!


  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups halved red and yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

5 ounces crumbled feta cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender yet still firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain into a colander and let cool. Whisk together the Dijon, olive oil, and lemon juice in a large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooled orzo, cherry tomatoes, almonds, red onion, green onions, basil, mint, and feta. Toss together and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve.


Mustard-Glazed Mushroom Burger

Okay, once in a while a tasty hamburger is a great dinner option- especially on July 4th!


2 pounds ground beef (85-percent lean)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces chopped baby bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 buns


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Form the beef into 6 burgers; sprinkle with salt and pepper. To make the glaze, mix together the mustard, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Grill the burgers until desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, brushing the burgers with the glaze about halfway through. A minute before removing the burgers from the grill, top with the cheese. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the mushrooms until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic; cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes more. Season w/salt & pepper. Toast the buns and serve the burgers with the mushroom topping.


Star-Studded Shortcakes

Celebrate Independence Day with a star-studded explosion of berries and cream.


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus for dusting

8 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 ½) sticks butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

3 cups heavy cream

½ cup whole milk

medium sanding sugar, for sprinkling tops of shortcakes

1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise

½ pint blueberries

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest


  1. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (French nonstick baking mat), and set aside. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together flour, 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Add butter and zest, and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 2 minutes. Combine 1 cup cream with the milk, and add to the mixer bowl. Mix until the dough comes together. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface, and shape into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a 3-inch star-shaped cutter; cut out 12 stars from the dough. Place stars on prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with heavy cream, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until the shortcakes are barely brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer shortcakes to a rack to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine berries; sprinkle berries with orange juice and remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat the remaining 2 cups cream with the confectioners’ sugar using a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Using a serrated knife, split the cakes in half horizontally. Place each bottom half on a plate, and cover with a dollop of whipped cream; top with berries and another dollop of whipped cream. Cover with top shortcake halves, and serve.



http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/; http://marthastewart.com