Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Look at him. Isn't he just the cutest?! And so patriotic too!

So many say Happy 4th of July, but in honor of my friend, I will greet you with Happy Independence Day. It really does give meaning to what the day is instead of just what date it falls on. (Although the argument could be said that the 4th of July congers up the same thoughts anyways.)

I also know that this particular holiday isn't just about BBQs and fireworks, but I do know that when gathering together with family to remember this special day, food is always nice. I just decided to supply my families (yes, that's right, in-laws included), with the dessert variety.

First we'll start with the cast of characters for the snack stash.

My initial idea was to find cone-shaped paper holders that are used to throw petals at weddings. After stopping at my two local craft stores plus Wal-Mart, none were to be found. I had originally wanted to punch a hole in the bottom of the cone; pull string up and over the cone to create a handle for the snack. The second idea was to use snow cone cups with the same concept, but yet again, none were to be found. Funny how I could find the syrups and the snow cone maker though. On to plan C- plastic cellophane like bags used to store chocolate dipped pretzels and some vase shaped bags.

I started by mixing Target's yummy organic kettle corn with plain M&Ms. Next time, I'll pick through the bag and just use the red and blue ones for more effect. I scooped the mixture into the the pretzels bags and tied them off with red, white and blue ribbon. As my kindergartners would say, "Easy peasy."
Yes, I purposely adjusted the color to red. Is it working for ya'?

Then came the even more fun part. Oh, if only I had Candylicious candy store in my backyard because I was brimming with ideas. I just had to contain them to what we mostly had leftover from Gavin's birthday party and some last minute items I picked up. The first being the blue-centered Oreos I spotted at the grocery store check out line. Then as I was hunting through our pantry more ideas kept coming which resulted in the following:

And yes, this picture is supposed to have a blue hue. Get the patriotic pattern? I think my favorite are the bags with red and blue M&Ms with mini marshmallows. I also used the blue filling Oreos with mini marshmallows and red Skittles. When I ran out of red Skittles I resorted to some Fireballs. The possibilities are endless with the right color combination of candy. The trick is to kind of pinch the bag as you add the next ingredient or else the red Skittles fall down to the bottom of the bag and mix with the Oreos and so forth.

The last treat for the snack attack bowl was the fruit and marshmallow combination. It was simply cut up strawberries layered with the large marshmallows and then blueberries all held in the vase-shaped bags. I made sure to dry the fruit really good after washing or else I think I may have ended up with purple marshmallows and that just wouldn't be very patriotic would it? Hey hunny- aren't you proud that I know red and blue make purple. I just might be a budding artist!

I put all of my snack bags in a big 4th of July bowl and threw in some flags and a festive garland decoration. The fruit snack bags are still in my refrigerator. I'm going to leave them there overnight so they will be fresh tomorrow.

So, what to do with all of the leftover fruit. Hmmmm.... another dessert, perhaps? Maybe some that look like these.

Here's their mug shot.

I don't really have names for these since I came up with them. Maybe a Berry Red Abbey (which is what I will be if I don't put on sunscreen at the pool tomorrow) instead of Apple Brown Betty. I may need to keep working on that one. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

I washed blueberries and cut up strawberries, then left them to dry while I took care of the other steps. I cheated a little and bought an already made plain New York style cheesecake which I proceeded to cut up in small squares. If you really want to cheat, you can buy already cut up cheesecake bites. I won't tell anyone. However, I think I made up for the store bought cheesecake by making my own whipping cream using sugar and Heavy Whipping cream. You just beat it together until it has a stiff consistency.

Once that's made, it should be time to assemble everything. The first thing is to make a layer of the cheesecake bites. The top it with the strawberries and blueberries. After that comes the whipped topping. On one of my desserts, I was able to repeat the steps, but my other dish was to shallow. Lastly, you just let those creative (or tired) wheels turn and decorate with the remaining berries. I did pipe some of the heavy whipping cream as an added touch, but it will be interesting to see if the shape holds until tomorrow.

All you have to do now, is sit back, prop a red table cloth across some chairs and try to take pictures without getting the wall or highchair in view. It's easy, I promise.

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