July 4th is quickly approaching and that means it’s red, white and blue time! Well, for me it always starts with my face turning red when I realize that I have 50 people coming to my home, then the eyes go back leaving only the whites showing followed by my lips turning blue ‘cause I just started holding my breath. Yes, I do it to myself every time. I love having people over but I always have a little anxiety right before. And I always seem to fully realize that I have people coming about 24 hours in advance of the party. Great!
So what I need and rely on are quick and easy ideas for holiday parties. What I love about July 4th is that it is easy to find items that everyone looks forward to having on that day and it’s believe it or not it’s actually easy to bring in a theme and make it look like you spent hours cooking, decorating and preparing for the party.
On July 4th I always base my decorations in red first. The choice of red tablecloths, chargers, cups, bowls and plates is a strategic one because these bad boys are coming out again at Christmas. I try to think of how I can re-purpose items for use during other holidays and having a solid base that you can bring other colors of the holiday into is a great way to start. A quick trip to the dollar store usually helps me to round out my displays. I pick up flags, centerpieces, banners, pinwheels, bows and napkins to bring in the holiday colors.
The star of almost every party however is the food. What’s great about July 4th is that you can be a novice in the kitchen and still prepare items or even bring an item to a party that requires little to no cooking. The best way to jazz up your July 4th food offerings is with fruit. July 4th fruit selections that you want to pick up are watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple and bananas. Items that can complete a July 4th dish are cubed cheese, marshmallows, dipping chocolate and assorted or blue sprinkles.
My favorite item to prepare on July 4th that looks like you spent a ton of money or a ton of time in the kitchen are chocolate covered strawberries. Take your clean and dry strawberries and dip them three quarter ways in white dipping chocolate. Baker’s makes a great dipping chocolate that only requires microwaving the chocolate for about a minute and stirring until smooth. In a separate bowl place blue sprinkles. Dip the strawberry with chocolate in the blue sprinkles bowl until the bottom quarter of the strawberry is covered. Voila. You have a decorative and delicious July 4th items. You can even get fancy and adding items such as sprinkling shaved coconut on the white area of the dipping chocolate.
A super simple idea is to simple cut up strawberries with small thin slices, cut up pineapple in cube form and place on a serving tray in rows like the flag. In the upper left hand corner of the tray place a small tray or cup of blueberries and you have a healthy flag dish. You can substitute items here as well such as using cubed cheese instead of pineapples.
A favorite for kids and adults alike are skewers. Skewer a tray of strawberries, bananas and blue berries. Simply cut up the strawberries in half and cut the banana in small chunks. Complete several rows of simply strawberries and alternating bananas. To complete the last few rows of your tray to the top of about six skewers add blue berries and ensure these skewers are placed in the upper left hand corner of your tray.
Another simple yet decorative idea is to skewer strawberries, blueberries and marshmallows. You can even stand these up in a decorative tin, container or cup to make a centerpiece that probably won’t last long.
And is there ever a time when we don’t ask ourselves what are we going to wear? I find that the hostess with the mostess is usually running around during the party and constantly serving. So what tends to get noticed more than your outfit is your hands. July 4th inspired nails are easy ways to get into the holiday spirit and to complete a simple look. July 4th nails can be as simple as using red, white and blue. Use any of those colors as a base and use the remaining colors to add dots, stripes and if you are fancy stars. The holiday sweater sometimes gets a bad rap but wearing a flag sweater, t-shirt or sweatshirt is occasion appropriate and done right a fashionable item that you can wear throughout the summer season.