You guys, I have been so excited about today’s post because I love love (love) American holidays and all that goes with them! Living outside of the States for the past 10 years, Independence day and Thanksgiving have been my two days every year to celebrate all things American. Nationality and identity are complex, but no matter how long I’ve lived abroad, I always feel very American. Speaking of very American: can we please just take a moment to enjoy this red-white-and-blue bouquet of flowers that I found at my local grocery store!? Talk about patriotic flowers!!
Today’s post is a round-up of some of my favorite things that might help you celebrate the July 4th holiday, followed by two of my absolute all-time favorite Summer entertaining recipes: homemade BBQ sauce, and cranberry & raspberry champagne cocktails.
This weekend is triple exciting for me as my in-laws are in town visiting from Paris for the first time since we moved to London, and one of my good friends is also in town with her beau. Family + friends + Independence Day = BBQ party!
I knew I wanted to post a summer entertaining + July 4th recipe, but couldn’t decide on the recipe to choose because there are just so many great ones (potato salad, baked beans, BBQ beef ribs, coleslaw, some kind of summery drinks…). So, I ended up choosing two recipes 🙂
I am also super excited to announced that I have teamed up with a few other bloggers to share even more fabulous summer entertaining ideas with you. So please check out their posts for more summer-inspired recipe ideas!
- Renee @ joyineveryseason.com has started off the series with her fabulous baked beans recipe (plus some gorgeous red, white & blue decorations), so please check that out on her website here: http://www.joyineveryseason.com/side-dishes/the-best-baked-beans4th-of-july-decor/
- Phoebe @ theolivetreekitchen.com followed-up with her delightfully refreshing and fruity summer ice and drinks, here: http://theolivetreekitchen.com/2015/07/02/summer-ices-and-bbq-drinks/
- Sam @ itdoesnttastelikechicken.com has contributed her classic black bean burger recipe, here: http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/2015/05/14/jerk-sweet-potato-black-bean-burgers
As for me, keep reading for not one but two recipes: both super simple and great for summer entertaining!
It’s pretty impossible to select just one recipe to post, but my main priority was to keep it simple. Sometimes I start writing recipes and realize, about 18 ingredients in and 26 steps later, that ain’t nobody got time for that! Summer entertaining is really about taking it easy, kicking back and enjoying life with friends and family… not spending hours slaving in the kitchen on elaborate recipes.
And that’s exactly what I did this July 4th: enjoyed our terrace for the first time this year with actual sunshine, with Hubby, his parents, and one of my best friends and her cheri. Absolute perfection.
If you’re curious, this is what I served at our 4th of July BBQ:
- Grilled chicken w/homemade BBQ sauce
- Grilled corn on the cob
- Oven-roasted asparagus
- Mac n cheese
- Decomposed Greek salad (fancy way of saying: each ingredient was served in separate bowls, to accommodate picky eaters…Jonathan).
- Dessert: Greek yogurt & raspberry parfaits
So, on to the good stuff: the first recipe is for my homemade BBQ sauce. It’s so easy and it scores pretty high on my OMGTHISISAMAZING-ometer! I couldn’t stop dipping veggies into the sauce to taste it, and literally couldn’t even wait long enough to take decent pictures before slathering it on the chicken. This stuff is the bomb diggity and is heaps better than anything store-bought. Trust me.
- 1 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
Instructions: combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, cooking on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Slather on your favorite meat and grill (or bake) your little heart out!
The second recipe is actually a cocktail, and is one of my favorites because they can be made in advance. A practical and semi-fancy party drink for a crowd, that can be made in advance…. um, yes, please!
These cranbery & raspberry champagne cocktails bring just enough fancy to your summer entertaining menu, without being too much of a hassle to prepare. These are great if you don’t want to go the classic punch bowl route, but also don’t want to be stuck whipping up cocktails for your guests all day. Because again, nobody has time for that!
I’ve been creeping these vintage glass bottles for a while on Amazon, and recently decided to just go ahead and order them, and I’m so glad that I did! They’re adorbs, and perfect for these make-ahead cocktails because they come with lids!!!! I got the 200ml bottles, but you can get any size you want. Ikea also sells a similar product, which is a bit bigger (though no lids).
Cranberry & raspberry (fancy pants) champagne cocktails
Ingredients (per cocktail):
- 3-4 raspberries
- 100ml of Cranberry juice
- 75ml of Champagne (or any sparkling wine)
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup
- Add your raspberries to your bottles (or glasses if you prefer and will serve right away)
- Then add the following in this order: simple syrup, cranberry juice and champagne
- Tightly close the lids, and store in the fridge until ready to serve (to get maximum fizz from the champaign, you should serve within the next 4-5 hours).
I decorated my little bottles of champaign cocktails with little twine bows, and served with straws. This is the only recipe where drinking champagne from a straw is allowed 😉
Happy 4th of July, y’all!