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Celebrating the 4th of July at home!

This is certainly not how I envisioned this 4th of July going! Even when stay-at-home orders were first given in March I never dreamed they would last into July. Needless to say, all festivals and Fourth of July events were cancelled including fireworks shows. Wanting to celebrate with my now one-year-old I got to work with what we had access to to create a visually stimulating experience for my boy, with a California spin on it.

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We went with the 4th of July classic -- hot dogs! (Cue Paulette from Legally Blonde),  even with this simple dish, I made a patriotic colored hot dog bar. Something so simple turned out fun and festive!

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The simple list:

  • Hot dogs (I love Nathan's, all beef and skinless so easy to cut up to be safe for my self-feeding one-year-old!)

  • Buns 

  • Seedless watermelon

  • Star shaped cookie cutter (for cutting watermelon and sliced cheese shapes!)

  • Blue corn chips (I used Herdez brand)

  • Red bell peppers

  • Purple onions

  • White onions or sauerkraut

  • Sliced white cheese (I used pepper jack

  • Strawberries, blueberries

  • Frozen corn (For patriotic elote, see below)

  • Cream cheese

  • Butter

  • Limes for juicing

  • Cotija cheese (optional, dye blue)

  • Hot cheetos (for crumbling, topping corn.)

  • Salsa

  • Guacamole (optional to go with chips and delicious on a hot dog, California style ;))

  • Hot dog condiments

  • Blue Hawaiian punch, lemonade, diet cranberry juice (for red, white, and blue drink, see below.)

  • Patriotic colored dessert

As mentioned a star cookie cutter is a must! Cutting shapes into the cheese and watermelon added such a fun touch. The nice thin star shape was the perfect size for my one-year-old to hold and self-feed his watermelon.

The sliced peppers and onions I sauteed separately to keep the colors separate, then added to a dish for a red, white, and blue hot dog topping.

I had leftover cupcakes and buttercream from my son's small friend party a few days prior, so I just tinted the frosting blue and decorated a couple cupcakes for the display. Perfect for just the three of us to enjoy.

It was such a simple meal, but fun little touches really elevated the experience!

Red, white, and, blue drink

Kid friendly!

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I made us fun alcohol-free (also kid-friendly!) patriotic drinks. The key is to find drinks with different sugar contents, so one of the drinks being diet is a must. I was surprised to find that the lemonade contained the most sugar, so that had to be my bottom layer. If you find a blue drink with more sugar than that, I'm sure you could separate the blue and red with the white lemonade, but this worked!

The second key is to use a TON of ice. It is necessary to keep the layers separate. I filled the glass with large crushed ice and used a spoon over the top to slow my pour. The layers stayed, and I was able to also create the drink in the large dispenser for the food table as shown above! The same steps, and even more ice. This was so cheap and easy to make, yet very fun to sip! 

Red,White, andBlue Elote Cup!

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Perhaps my favorite food of the night was the patriotic elote cup. A California classic, elote or Mexican roasted corn is served here in cup form. I used frozen corn and "roasted" by browning it in my Instant Pot on the saute feature.  

Recipe here.

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Fourth of July was a success! We are fortunate to live in a county that allows sales of "safe and sane" fireworks, so we lit off a few sparklers, fountains, spinners, and smoke bombs. Seeing the bewilderment on my son's face made me feel like we didn't miss out on anything spending the holiday at home. We enjoyed a stroll around the block after dark watching neighbors light off fireworks and seeing the sky light up. All in all it was a perfect evening!

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