Tuesday, June 28, 2011

4th of July-Part 3

Good morning everyone!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Ours was nice.  We went swimming at the Grand Sierra, which is a casino/hotel here in Reno.  You can use their pool even if you aren’t staying there…which is pretty awesome.  They have a huge pool, sand, cabanas, a pool bar, food, music, etc.  I tried to pretend I was whooping it up in Cabo or something…but my kids kept cramping my style;)  Actually, we all had a great time, especially the kids.  Paisley spent the majority of the time in the spa, and Addy practiced her swimming.  If you live in Reno, you should check it out!
So less than a week till the 4th of July!  I am assuming that everyone has their plans made by now?  Ours have been set for months.  I’m totally kidding.  We are still kind of up in the air about what we will do during the day.  Whatever….at least my menu is set;)
As promised….today I am going to finish up my 4th menu with dessert and a fun drink.  Let’s start with the drink, which is Cherry Limeade.  I will show you the kiddie version, and you can booze it up however you like.
I used a carton of limeade, a small jar of maraschino cherries, and a super small can of 7-up (8 ounces).
 The limeade is 64 ounces.  And yes, I know you can buy a pre-made Cherry Limeade, but this one is better;) 
The jar of cherries is 8 ounces.  I drained the cherries and reserved the juice.  I placed the cherries on a tray and popped them in the freezer overnight.  These will serve as “ice cubes” in the drink.  The cherry juice will sweeten the limeade, and give it a really pretty pink color.
Basically this drink is the whole carton of limeade, the reserved cherry juice and the small can of 7-up for fizz.  Do you see the cherries floating in there?  Too cute, and delicious!  And suuuuuper refreshing, which is great because the 4th of July is always like 1000 degrees.
I would add vodka for the grown-ups, but rum would be amazing too;)
We at the Barnes’ house love a good S’more.  Doesn’t everyone?  I thought a cute idea would be a S’more “bar”.  That way everyone can put together their own, and get creative!  Or, they can stick with the original.  There are so many things that are delicious in a S’more, the possibilities are endless.  I will show you what I used.
I set out a few types of chocolate…..milk, white and Nestle Crunch.  You can also see my graham crackers.  Can’t have a S’more without a graham cracker.  You could also set out dark chocolate, mint chocolate, orange chocolate, raspberry chocolate, etc.
I don’t know if you have paid attention in the marshmallow aisle lately, but there are a bazillion different kinds.  Seriously, tons of flavors.  I chose red, white and blue stars and flat white marshmallows.  The flat ones are supposed to work better in S’mores. 
I also set out sliced strawberries, sliced bananas and peanut butter.  Other ideas would be Nutella, sliced apples, berries, sliced almonds, fruit spreads, honey, etc.  Really, what wouldn’t be good in a S’more?
When we did our practice run, I took the easy way out and didn’t cook the marshmallows on a stick.  We wrapped up our little sandwiches in foil and placed them on the grill.
This method makes the marshmallows and chocolate all melty and gooey.  True, you don’t get the charred taste that cooking a marshmallow over an open flame gives you, but this method is safer, faster and less messy;)
See how melty the marshmallow is?  Yum!
My last 4th of July treat is Oreo Truffles on a stick.  I know that you have probably seen this recipe everywhere.  They are a popular treat.  I just saw a recipe for the truffles on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Facebook page yesterday.  Mine are a bit different because I use peanut butter Oreos and some peanut butter.  I also put mine on a stick;)
Have you ever had an Oreo truffle?  They have a creamy, chocolatey center and a crunchy coating.  So, so good.
The filling for the truffles is super easy.  It is one pack of Peanut Butter Oreos, 8 ounces softened cream cheese and about ½ cup of peanut butter.  Could not be easier.
The whole pack of Oreos goes into a food processor.  I blended the cookies into crumbs.  Filling and all…..
This is what it will look like after you add the cream cheese and peanut butter….and blend.  Then, I popped the mixture into the fridge for a couple of hours, just to harden it a bit.
Once the mixture is chilled, it will be super easy to roll the mixture into balls.  You can make your balls any size you want.  And yes, every time I said “balls”, I giggled.  Chill your balls, roll your balls, dip your balls, etc.  Ha!
The coating for these balls (tee-hee), is melted chocolate or candy coating.  I used a bag of red candy melts.  I dipped each stick that I planned on using into the melted candy coating before I pushed it into a ball.  This is what will hold the ball on the stick.
Once each ball got a stick, I put the balls on sticks back in the fridge for about an hour.  I know, I know….this is a lot of steps….but it will be worth it.
Once the balls hardened on the sticks, I dipped them in the candy coating.  I am sure you are wondering what I have my sticks poked into.  I used green florist foam.  This will hold the sticks up so that the balls can harden.  You could also place them upside down on waxed paper to harden.  These will harden pretty quickly, but it is best to put them in the fridge….again.
I made mine pretty and patriotic by tying blue ribbons around each stick. 
Aren’t these cute?  They are seriously one of the best things that will ever go into your mouth too.  I think these are a really cute treat for the 4th of July!
If you don’t want to mess with sticks, serving them “truffle” style is cute too;)
I hope that this 4th of July menu inspires you!  Even if you are going to someone else’s house and just have to bring one thing….I hope you find that “one thing” here.  Take lots of pictures!

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