• 88°

Show your true colors with holiday favorites

Today’s Special

Here’s to all things red, white and blue. There’s just something very special about these colors, especially right now.  So, in honor of America’s 245th birthday we’re celebrating in Today’s Special with red, white and blue recipes for the 3-day holiday weekend.

Starting with breakfast. These yogurt breakfast parfaits are great for making ahead and packing in a cooler to take camping, hiking, boating or swimming; or just to have at home for a light breakfast before a day full of eating and celebrating. And for a really cool snack in the backyard or at the lake try the 4th Berry Smoothie, it will certainly cool you off on a steamy summer’s day.

The colorful corn salad ranks high for being the best of the best in side dishes, regardless of what else is on the menu. Everybody at the party will enjoy a creamy salsa dip, red and delicious with tortilla chips, also good on the side of anything.  And for something white make the old standby fruit dip to go with a bowl full of fresh fruits of the season…blueberries, strawberries and watermelon. Everyone will want to come to your celebration.

Have something for everyone, like these cucumber sandwiches on white bread. They’re way too good to be reserved for bridal showers. Use fresh cucumbers from the garden or farmer’s market to make them extra tasty!

After the grill has cooled off, as the daylight fades and the fireworks gear up bring out the homemade ice cream and chocolate cake for a slam bang finish to a really great day…and boom!!!!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Hail to the red, white and blue!

Recipes for the 4th of July

Blueberry Breakfast Parfait

For the blueberry Sauce: stir 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water together in a small bowl. In a small saucepan gently heat 2 cups blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar,2 tablespoons lemon juice and a pinch of fine sea salt for 2 minutes or until the berries release their juice and the sugar dissolves. Strain and press the berry mixture through a strainer. Reheat the juice in the saucepan, stir in cornstarch slurry, mixing well.  Add to the berry juice, cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens.  Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

For the parfait: spoon 2 tablespoons blueberry sauce into four 8–ounce containers with screw on lids. Top each with ½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. Place 2 tablespoons fresh blueberries on top, seal the containers.  Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.  Add favorite toppings: toasted nuts, raisins, granola, and/or mini-chocolate chips right before serving.  Finish with a splash of whipped cream if desired.

Red, White & Blue Smoothie

2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced

¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries

2 tablespoons sugar

½ cup cranberry juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Ice cubes

Process first 7 ingredients in food processor or blender.  Process with enough ice cubes to make 4 ½-cups. Continue until smooth, scrape down sides at least once. Pour into cold parfait glasses or solo-cups and serve immediately.  Makes about four 1-cup servings.

Colorful Corn Salad

2 cans white shoe peg corn, drained

¼ cup red, yellow or green bell pepper, diced

1 white onion, finely chopped

1 large fresh red tomato, diced and seeded, drained on paper towel

Remove featured image½ tablespoon beef bouillon granules

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 pound bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled

¼ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper, or to taste

Mix first four ingredients. Mix bouillon granules in vinegar until it dissolves. Add sour cream, bacon and mayonnaise to corn mixture. Toss to mix. Add bouillon/vinegar mixture; mix well. Add red pepper as desired.  Chill, serve cold.

Salsa Dip

Beat 8 ounces softened cream cheese until smooth. Stir in ½ cup sour cream and 1 ½ cups chunky-style salsa.  Cover and refrigerate 4 hours before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Fruit Dip

Blend 8 ounces softened cream cheese (regular or low-fat best) with 7 ounces marshmallow crème. Chill, serve with fresh fruit.

Cucumber Sandwiches

Spread a good tasting mayonnaise on each slice of white bread. Layer on garden fresh sliced cucumbers, sprinkled with chopped fresh basil or parsley and coarsely ground black pepper as desired.  Top each with another slice of white bread.  Make as many as needed! Who can resist!

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 ⅓ cups sugar

4 cups milk

2 cups half-and-half

¼ teaspoon salt

2 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract

3 cups whipping cream

Combine eggs, sugar and the 4 cups of milk in large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly 25 – 30 minutes or until mixture thickens; cover, chill 2 – 4 hours, stirring a few times. Stir in half-and-half and remaining ingredients; pour into 5-quart freezer. Freeze according to instructions. Serve ASAP; or spoon into an airtight container and freeze until firm. Makes 3 ½ quarts.

Stargazer Chocolate Cake

½ cup unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 4-ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix

½ cup whole milk

Powdered sugar

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs, beat until light and fluffy. Blend in chocolate and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt, stir in pudding mix.  Add to butter-egg mixture, alternately with sour cream. Gently stir in the ½ cup milk. Pour batter into greased/floured 8-inch springform pan or heart shaped pan. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, using a star stencil to make stars on top if desired. *Optional: make a chocolate glaze to pour over cooled cake. Serve with homemade ice cream.