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CELEBRATING THE #FOURTH of JULY with #PINTEREST-SPIRATION

I’m a summer girl and LOVE the Fourth of July! 

Bring on the heat, the cocktails, the grills and let the fireworks begin!! I poked around  PINTEREST PIN Pinterest today to find great recipes and entertaining ideas for your own fireworks celebration!

For an appetizer or a side course, check this out!

 PINTEREST PIN Patriotic Taco Salad from Taste of Home and Pinterest.

c2aa11e74bf7f575a29d0022cea89239Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups water
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 envelope taco seasoning
6 cups tortilla or corn chips
4 to 5 cups shredded lettuce
9 to 10 pitted large olives, sliced lengthwise
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions
In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water, tomato paste and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Place chips in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Spread beef mixture evenly over the top. Cover with lettuce. For each star, arrange five olive slices together in the upper left corner. To form stripes, add cheese and tomatoes in alternating rows. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

For the signature Cocktail, try the Watermelon Summer Splash!

1.5 CUPS SMIRNOFF WATERMELON

3 CUPS TONIC (serves 8)6eebe614537afca01e44bfc913287270Incredibly delicious Beer and Honey BBQ Chicken Skewers  were chosen for the main event! (found from Jo Cooks on Pinterest!)

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3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup beer
⅓ cup honey
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
cilantro for garnish

Cut chicken in small pieces, about 1½ inch cubes.
In a medium bowl whisk all the ingredients together. Add chicken, there should be enough marinade to cover the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours to 24 hours.
Fire up the grill.
Thread chicken on skewers, about 5 pieces per skewer. Do not throw away the leftover marinade.
Place chicken skewers on grill and turn every couple minutes or so, at the same time brushing some of the leftover marinade over the chicken. Grill until chicken is cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro and serve.

On the side, try the 

Grilled Ranch Potatoes! (from Creme de la Crumb on Pinterest)

5e08db3c4eddf3ee8c1ad748e867fc322 pounds baby red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil (or other oil)
1 packet ranch seasoning

Wash, pat dry, and quarter potatoes (for larger ones you may need to chop into slightly smaller pieces, about 1 inch pieces).
Place chopped potatoes in a large resealable bag. Drizzle olive oil into the bag, seal, and toss to coat the potatoes.
Open the bag, sprinkle in half of the ranch seasoning, seal, toss to coat, then repeat with remaining seasoning.
Thread potatoes on skewers. Grill over low heat for 10-20 minutes (depending on your grill and the size of your potatoes) turning throughout to ensure even cooking. When fork-tender, remove from grill and serve warm with cold ranch dressing if desired. Enjoy!

Dinner wouldn’t be complete without this

 Watermelon Arugula Salad with Jicama and Blueberries! (from Two Peas and their Pod on Pinterest)

33f51fda44201e7ea3fdb940441b04bf6 cups baby arugula
2 cups cubed watermelon, 1-inch cubes
1 cup blueberries
1 cup thin jicama strips
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the Honey Lime Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 large limes
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Pinch of sea salt

 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST……(drum roll, please)

Fourth of July Trifle! (from The Girl Who Ate Everything on Pinterest)

189e85ee355ff5c114bc3998a2d12eb9Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup white sugar
2 cups milk
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant cheesecake pudding mix
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup sour cream
2 (10.75 ounce) packages prepared pound cake
2 (16 ounce) carton strawberries, sliced
strawberries for garnish
blueberries for garnish
Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine cream and white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside. You want a stiffer whipped cream for trifle so that it holds up over time.
In another bowl beat cheesecake pudding mixes with milk for 2 minutes or until thick. Mix in sour cream and lemon juice. Fold in one cup of the sweetened whipped cream.
Slice pound cake into one inch cubes.
In a trifle bowl, start by layering ¼ of the pound cake on the bottom of the trifle bowl (A large glass bowl can be used if you don’t have a trifle bowl). Next, layer ¼ of the pudding mixture followed by a layer of ¼ of the strawberries. To make trifle look presentable make sure each layer is distinct and separate especially on the sides of the bowl. Repeat layers four times or until bowl is almost full.
Garnish the top of the trifle with the remaining whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries.
Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/05/patriotic-trifle-and-giveaway.html#BpEK3bPAKYpVuu9j.99

SUPER CUTE SERVING SUGGESTIONS INSPIRED BY PINTEREST

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My featured image is a cool 4th of July custom cut Patriotic scrapbooking available on Ebay

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Thanks so much for visiting today, and I hope that you have a wonderful and memorable Fourth of July Celebration!

Cheers! Laura

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THE SALAD BOWL

Salads are no longer considered ‘rabbit food,’ so I love the creativity in preparing and serving. After the first bite, Steve & I decide if its a ‘keeper!’

Here are a couple of our “KEEPERS!”

shrimp cocktail salad martiniSHRIMP COCKTAIL SALAD

This entre salad is filled with bold flavors and is a switch on the traditional shrimp cocktail appetizer. Combining the tangy vinaigrette with the shrimp, lettuce and tomatoes, makes this a perfect summer meal!shrimp cocktail salad martini

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK TOGETHER & SET ASIDE:

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1 T. ketchup
1/2 C. prepared horseradish
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. Worcestershire saice
1/4 t. kosher salt and black pepper
FOR THE SHRIMP, HEAT:

3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. kosher salt
2 T. Old Bay seasoning
ADD: 2 lb. peeled & deveined large shrimp & cook until pink, 3 min.
Transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water, drain & toss in vinaigrette.
Chill for at lest 1 hour.
TO SERVE: TOSS SHRIMP, TOMATOES & LETTUCE TOGETHER BEFORE SERVING & ENJOY!

TACO SALAD WITH CHIPOTLE CHICKEN (serves 4)

This is an easy and flavorful salad served up with a little heat!

TACO SALAD WITH CHICKENTACO SALAD WITH CHICKEN

First, layer the salad in a platter or individual bowls, and put in the fridge:

1 large head chopped romaine lettuce
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 sliced jalapeno
1 C. halved tri-color grape tomatoes
1 C. sliced scallions
1 avocado cut in thin wedges
1 C. corn kernels (frozen & thawed, or fresh and blanched)
1 lime cut into wedges.

FOR THE CHIPOTLE CHICKEN:

COMBINE & SIMMER OVER MEDIUM HEAT ABOUT 25 MIN.

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2/3 C. diced onion
2 T. chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
1 T. tomato paste
2 T. fresh garlic
1 C. fresh or jarred roasted red peppers
1/2 t. salt, cocoa powder, and cumin
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
Transfer the chicken to a plate, shred, and put back in sauce.
When ready to serve, remove platter or salad bowls from the fridge, top with warm chicken mixture, shredded cheddar cheese & garnish with lime wedges.

When I first started planning this blog,

I wanted to touch upon healthy living and healthy eating for many reasons. As we age, our metabolism slows down, and combined with less physical activity, the pounds creep on, and not in places where its attractive. Healthy eating tops my list; low fat, low carbs, and small portions seems to work. My next blog post: “DIET IS A FOUR LETTER WORD!”,  we’ll grab some great ways to balance nutrition combined with exercise, for a healthy lifestyle. Today’s post focuses on the new main course: Salad!

The old adage: “Lettuce is rabbit food!” is just that: old. Looking at older cookbooks like “Cookin’ For a Cause,” (1995),  which benefitted United Way, I found the salad section which I read with great amusement. Fruit salads, pasta salads, jello salads, and pretzel salads topped the list with ingredients sure to pack on the pounds. What caught my eye in reviewing these older cookbooks was the commonality of ‘plussing’ up the salads. It became evident to me that throughout the years, cooks, both home and professional, have been searching for ways to liven up this dish.

When Steve and I decided to eat a more healthful diet, he, 68 and me…60, we looked at salads as a main meal. The usual tossed, Caesar, Greek & wedge were great at first, but seemed boring day after day, so I went on a search to find & create salad menus that are fresh, colorful and bursting with flavor.  We taste with our eyes first, so it is important to serve salads that are ‘guest worthy.’ Thanks for swinging by today, and I hope you enjoy these delicious salad recipes. Also, if you follow me, you will get regular updates!

Cheers!

Laura

PRODUCTS I LOVE…….

Click the link below the product for purchasing information.

Extra Large Aluminum Hammered Bowl with Stand $59.00 FROM AMAZON

SALAD SERVERS LARGE WOOD

Hand Made Large Olive Wood Salad Server Set – 2 Piece Wooden Salad Tongs Skillfully Designed & Crafted in South Africa $16.99

Elegance Hammered 6-Inch Stainless Steel Bowl $8.39 each from Amazon