14 Festive 4th of July Dishes and Drinks

Backyard BBQ's are about to be had all over our great country. Bare feet, sprinklers, swimsuits, watermelon, sparklers, American flags, and ice-cream will be the common ground in every town across our nation. I love the 4th of July.  I have always loved it.  Laying in the backyard and watching the fireworks, counting stars, and staying up late.  We lived in our swimsuits from early morning until crawling into bed.  Now that I have four kids, the 4th of July has become even more spectacular.  We have done fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, DC - and there is nothing as patriotic. You don't need to travel to the nation's capitol to celebrate.  A backyard and BBQ grill is enough to bring family and friends together - setting the tone for the rest of summer, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. bbq9 bbq8   But you know what is not fun?  (Other than the July 5th hangover?)  Watching your children eat red, white, and blue dyed foods when you know how it can affect them.  No one should be eating synthetic (read: toxic shit storm of chemicals) dyes.  We all know they should be banned, but yet somehow we are still consuming them. Here's where this post comes in -- I want you to be able to celebrate without worrying about the consequences of what you and your children are consuming.  So let's do it.  Let's plan that 4th of July party menu with plenty of red, white, and blue - but without the crappy food colorings! Oh - and make sure that you are decked out in your red, white, and blue because you are part of the holiday spirit.  And there is absolutely nothing cuter than 4th of July inspired clothing on young children - or grown adults.   bbq7   So, let the griller(s) pick out the main course - and let me help with the rest. bbq11

Appetizers and Side Dishes:

Striped Pizza - homemade white cheese pizza with stripes of pepperoni (or other red topping) going across.  Set a bowl of blueberries next to it for decoration purposes! Chicken Kabobs - alternate chicken and red peppers (and tomatoes) on the skewers.  Add blueberries for decoration after the grilling is done. Patriotic Fruit Pizza bbq   Jalapeno Popper Pull-Apart Bread - This can be the 'firework' appetizer.  Make it as spicy as you want to! Red, White, and Blue Salad Red, white & blue salad with beets, blueberries and goat cheese.   Cheese, Fruit, and Veggie Platter - White cheeses, blueberries, and a mixture or red fruits and veggies arranged in any patriotic layout will work. Patriotic Chips and Salsa - Bought or homemade 'red, white, and blue' veggie chips (beets, potatoes, etc) and red salsa!  

Desserts

There are natural food dyes available for purchase at most natural food grocery chains.  So you can still mix up your colors if you would like! Fruit-Topped Sugar Cookies - soft sugar cookies topped with vanilla frosting and red or blue berries. Stuffed Berries - raspberries and strawberries with their centers gently scooped out and stuffed with cream cheese or frosting and topped with a blueberry. Star Pops - Watermelon, apples, and blueberries are used to make adorable desserts.

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Ice-Cream - Vanilla and strawberry ice-cream topped with blue berries.  (There are a few combinations you can go with this one!)  

Drinks (For the Grown-ups)

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Add frozen fruit to any drink - water, champagne, or wine for a patriotic flare!

Red, White, and Blue Sangria - strawberries, blueberries, and pears -- OH MY!

Red, white and blue lemonade with strawberry, blueberry and pear   Wine Spritzer: "This is a light and refreshing 'be careful because it’s easy to suck down quickly' concoction." bbq4   The Watermelon Sparkler:  So pretty. bbq5
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