4th of July Watermelon-Mint Coolers

Photo by Better Homes & Gardens©

Enjoy this refreshing beverage during your 4th of July picnic! (Photo by Better Homes & Gardens©)

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 lbs.seedless watermelon, chopped (5 cups)
  • 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2c .fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon aromatic bitters
  • 4-5c. ginger ale, chilled
  • Mint sprigs

 

 

Directions

  1. In a blender container place watermelon; puree until smooth. In a small heatproof bowl, use a wooden spoon to mash mint leaves and 1/4 cup of the sugar; add 1/4 cup of the water. Microwave on high until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mint leaves to blender, leaving sugar in bowl. Blend until chopped.
  2. To bowl of sugar mixture add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Microwave until sugar dissolves into a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and chill.
  3. To serve, strain watermelon mixture into an ice-filled pitcher or jar. Stir in syrup, lime juice, and bitters. Divide watermelon mixture among ice-filled glasses; top with ginger ale. garnish with mint sprigs.

Nutrition Facts (Watermelon-Mint Coolers)

Per serving: 125 kcal cal.,0 g fat (0 g sat. fat, 0 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 g monounsatured fat), 0 mg chol., 12 mg sodium, 32 g carb., 1 g fiber, 29 g sugar,1 g pro.Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

 

From the Test Kitchen

ALCOHOLIC VERSION:

Add 2 cups white rum with the mint before chilling for 8 hours. Add club soda or sparkling water in place of ginger ale.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 212 calories, 1 g protein, 22 g carbohydrate, 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 19 g total sugar, 11% Vitamin A, 21% Vitamin C, 28 mg sodium, 2% calcium, 4% iron

 

Potato-Cauliflower Salad

Yield: 8 Servings

Potato-Cauliflower Salad.

Photo by Better Homes & Gardens™

Ingredients:

  • 12 small fingerling or round new potatoes, scrubbed
  • medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • tablespoons water
  • small onion, chopped
  • stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/3cup sour cream and chives dip
  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • tablespoons salad oil
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2s lices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
  • crisp breadsticks, broken
  • Sea salt or salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on clean white paper towels in the microwave. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 5 minutes. Turn potatoes; microwave on high about 3 minutes more or until tender.
  2. Place cauliflower and the water in a 1-1/2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave on high for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring once. Drain. Cool slightly.
  3. In a large serving bowl combine potatoes, cauliflower, onion, and celery. In a small bowl stir together dip, lemon juice, and salad oil; gently toss with potato mixture and fold in blue cheese. Chill for 1 to 24 hours. Just before serving, top with parsley, bacon, breadsticks, sea salt, and pepper.

 

Watch this video on How to Make Potato Salad

 

Nutrition Facts (Potato-Cauliflower Salad)

Per serving: 152 kcal cal., 7 g fat (2 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat,3 g monounsatured fat), 12 mg chol., 299 mg sodium, 18 g carb., 3 g fiber,3 g sugar, 5 g pro.Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Hawaiian Burger from BH&G™

Recipe by Better Homes and Gardens

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2pounds lean ground beef
  • 1cup crumbled blue cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1cup finely chopped onion
  • 18 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 12.8 ounce package cooked bacon pieces
  • teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder
  • slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • hamburger buns or plain bagel thins
  • Leaf lettuce (optional)
  • medium tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • medium sweet onion, sliced (optional)

Directions

  1. In a very large bowl combine beef, blue cheese, onion, pineapple, ham, bacon pieces, pepper, and garlic powder; mix well. Shape meat mixture into eight 1-inch-thick patties.
  2. For a charcoal grill, place patties on the grill rack directly over medium coals. Grill, covered, for 12 to 14 minutes or until done (160 degrees F to 165 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling. Top burgers with cheddar cheese. Continue to grill, covered, for 2 minutes more or until cheese is melted. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place patties on grill rack over heat. Cover; grill as directed.) Serve burgers on buns. If desired, top with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

 

Nutrition Facts (Hawaiian Burger)

Per serving: 596 kcal cal., 32 g fat (15 g sat. fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 8 g monounsatured fat), 137 mg chol., 951 mg sodium, 27 g carb.,2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 46 g pro. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Pet Care – 4th of July Safety Tips

Patriotic Pets - cat and dog

More pets are lost during 4th of July than another occasion.

For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.Puppy warns of Firework Safety
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

July is Ice Cream Month

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe.

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

vanilla ice cream

Everyone screams for ice cream!

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Directions:   

  1. Combine cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and stir in to the cream mixture just before removing from the heat.
  3. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bath until completely cool.
  4. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, check out this post from TheKitchn on how to make ice cream without one.)
  5. Store in an air tight container and freeze for an additional 2 hours.

For more recipes, click here at Real Simple.com

Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe

Always a picnic favorite, this recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call this my Kentucky Fried Chicken! —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 broiler/fryer chickens (3-1/2 to 4 pounds each), cut up
  • Oil for deep-fat frying

Directions:

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 2-2/3 cups flour, garlic salt, paprika, 2-1/2 teaspoons pepper and poultry seasoning. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and water; add salt and the remaining flour and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then place in the bag, a few pieces at a time. Seal bag and shake to coat.
  2. In a deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry chicken, several pieces at a time, for 5-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and juices run clear. Drain on paper towels.

Nutritional Facts

2 pieces: 469 calories, 14g fat (4g saturated fat), 130mg cholesterol, 1738mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 2g fiber), 33g protein.