Want to throw a great party this Fourth of July? Here are five tips to help you in your quest.
We all know how it is: You wake up the day of your 4th of July party and you feel as if nothing is done, nothing is ready and nothing is going to be ready by the time your guests start arriving. This is why the Boy Scouts know the best tip of all - be prepared! There are many things that can be done before the actual day of the party. If you have any food prep, do it the day before and refridgerate. Marinate your meats and chickens overnight for a great taste and less stress in the morning. If you're getting a keg, order it ahead of time so it's waiting for you when you get to the store. Pick up any other alcohol and do any other shopping (plates, bowls, snacks, etc) in the days leading up to the party. If you have a pool, keep up with the maintenance so you're not stuck vacuuming it at 9:00am on the day of. You may be the one throwing the party, but you don't have to miss it!
2. Throw yourself into the theme.
Hey, this is America, right? Land of the free? So free yourself! You don't have to have the same old party bowls for your chips - how about making it into a fun project and painting them red, white and blue ahead of time? Give your games up to theme too. You can give away sparklers to the kids who do well playing volleyball or you can make special drinks for the adults playing horseshoes. (For more on my signature special drink for the 4th, see #4) You can even pick songs like "America" by John Cougar, "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen or "Kids in America" by Kim Wilde and make mix cds or playlists to play throughout your 4th of July party.
3. Get a good chef!
Chances are, you're probably grilling at this 4th of July party. And if that's true, you're going to want to get someone to help out who knows his/her way around the grill. This is something else you can take care of ahead of time - ask your friends and family for volunteers and then narrow it down to someone you think can multitask but who also will not get frustrated standing at the grill for long periods of time. You can also pick a few different people, if they're available, and have them take shifts so that everyone gets to enjoy your fabulous 4th of July party. Also, on the same note, if you think you'll need a bartender, get one! Many college students with experience are looking for summer work and will offer reasonable rates. Craig's List is often a good resource for this kind of search.
4. Have recipes that are different but still American and 4th of July ready.
Hey, you might really like a dirty martini, but how many of those do you think you'll be serving on the 4th of July? Make it fun! Below, find three full proof, 4th of July recipes - one for dinner, one for dessert and one for drinks!
The Red, White and Blue Margarita
Sugar the rim of a glass or a cup with red sugar. (You can do this by dipping the rim in lime juice and then in the sugar to make it stick). Make frozen margaritas - 2 oz tequila, 1/2 oz triple sec for each one, fill with sour mix and ice and blend. Split the frozen margarita into three cups. Blend one third with strawberries to make red. Pour it into the bottom of the glass. Layer another third (plain, white margarita) on top of the red. Then blend the final third with blueberries or just color with 1/2 oz of Blue Curacao and layer the blue on top. You now have a red, white and blue margarita! (This one is my own personal recipe).
The Brew Burger
1-1/2 lb ground beef
4 slices sweet onion
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 crusty white or whole wheat rolls, split lettuce
1/4 C beer
1/4 C prepared steak sauce
In 1-cup glass measure, combine sauce ingredients. Cover and microwave on HIGH 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until bubbly; set aside (you could alternately heat ingredients on a stove top).
Lightly shape ground Beef into four 3/4"-thick patties. Place patties and onion on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 13 to 15 minutes or until centers of patties are no longer pink and onions are tender, turning occasionally. Season burgers with salt if desired, after turning.
Approximately 2 minutes before burgers are done, brush generously with sauce and top with cheese.
Easy Flag Cake
2 pints of strawberries
1 recipe of your favorite white or yellow cake (mix or from scratch, your choice)
1 1/3 C of blueberries
1 tub of whipped topping
ix up and bake your favorite cake mix or recipe. Let cool.
Slice 1 cup of strawberries, set aside. Halve remaining strawberries, set aside.
Top cake (in pan) with 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup blueberries and all of the whipped topping. Arrange remaining strawberry halves and blueberries on whipped topping to create a flag design. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
5. Finally, find some good fireworks!
It can't be that hard to find fireworks on the 4th of July - they're pretty much everywhere. If there are 4th of July fireworks in your local area, consider moving the party to the site and giving everyone a great ending to their 4th. If you live in a state where fireworks are legal for residents, try getting a few friends to help you stage a show of your own. And if you don't want to leave and fireworks are illegal in your state, use technology! Shows the Macy's fireworks display on a big screen TV or the Disney fireworks on a projection screen in your backyard.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to enjoy your own 4th of July while helping others to as well. Remember, the most important part is to celebrate America, have fun on a day off from work, and enjoy a lovely summer day!