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Cool dishes are perfect company for July 4 menu

It’s Friday the Fourth of July!  Fireworks, food, family, fun, flags waving, and most of all freedom dear… we have reasons to celebrate.  And, as usual it’s a hot steamy summertime day.  Unless you’re an expatriate celebrating your homeland’s birthday somewhere like northern Poland and reading The Panolian via an e-subscription (Happy Independence Day, Molly!) or maybe living in our nation’s northern-most 49th state, you’re far from frozen today.   

But so what? On with the cooking, grilling, picnicking, visiting, and fireworks!  Ninety-degree plus temps never stopped a good Fourth of July celebration around here.  

Temperatures are going to rise if you’re cooking today.  Maybe you’re grilling all American burgers for your gang, or smoking Boston butts in the backyard, or even heating up the grease for a cooker full of Mississippi catfish for your clan.  

I’m savoring Uncle Fred’s famous smoked ribs with the Tennessee in view.  And we’re all serving up sides piled high with locally grown fresh produce and the likes of stuffed eggs, potato salad, and baked beans.  Then all it will take to cool us down is something frozen.  I have a few cool suggestions to add to your celebration and keep the party going!

I’m thankful for the freedom to enjoy ourselves.  Happy 238th Birthday America…..and many more!

Shortbread Truffles

So easy, you’ll wonder why you haven’t thought of it before now.

  Use any cookie and any flavor of ice cream combination you like.

1 pint vanilla ice cream

About 21 shortbread cookies

Let ice cream soften at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in freezer.  Process cookies in a food processor 1 minute or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Pour cookie crumbs into a shallow dish.  Scoop ice cream into 1 ¼-inch balls.  Roll each ball in cookie crumbs.  Arrange on frozen, lined baking sheet.  Freeze truffles at least 30 minutes before serving and keep frozen.  Makes about 22 truffles. 

Cherry Vanilla Ice cream

Freedom from oppressive heat in a bowl!

3 cans sweetened condensed milk

24 ounces evaporated milk

1 pint whipping cream

 1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries, chopped with juice

3 tablespoons vanilla flavoring

Whole milk

Combine all the ingredients except whole milk.  Stir.  Pour into canister of a 6-quart ice cream freezer.  Add enough whole milk to fill.  Stir; freeze according to freezer instructions.

Dreamsicle Cake

Tastes just like the orange push-up you remember from summers ago!

1/3 cup oil

1 ¼ cups water

3 eggs

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 box orange cake mix

1 3-ounce box orange gelatin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans or one 9x13 inch sheet pan.   Mix liquid ingredients until blended.  Stir in cake mix and gelatin.  Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down sides mixing until smooth.   Bake layers for 20 – 25 minutes or 30 – 35 minutes for sheet cake.

For icing:   Mix 1 ¼ cups sugar and ½ cup orange juice, stir until sugar is dissolved.  Blend in 8 ounces sour cream.  Next, fold in 8 ounces frozen whipped topping. Spread icing between layers and on top or spread all over sheet cake.  Refrigerate.  Serve cold.

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