Many of us are hitting the road this weekend to visit family and friends for the July 4th holiday, (though perhaps not as many as last year, according to travel forecasts). Or we'll be playing the host, pulling out the family recipes or hunting for new ones, making lists and grabbing our recycled grocery bags. And at the end of the day the odds are pretty good that we'll take in a few fireworks.
For the Road Warriors
In your haste to get up and go, don’t forget some basic (and important) items before you hit the traffic-packed roads. Parents.com has seven good road-trip tips (for those with or without little ones), such as making sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave. And here are eighteen various tips from blogger Britt Reints – like changing the oil in your car before you go and making sure you have trash bags (and sunglasses!) with you in the car.
For the Gracious Hosts
Looking to add some new recipes to your patriotic party this year? Check out some ideas from Food Network, including black bean burgers and a fruit tart flag. If you want something really easy (and yummy) to take to a party, consider customizing your own layered dip. I have a new fave I’d like to share. Credit goes to ND&P colleague Mo Davis, who recently brought a batch in to the office. (I should also mention Mo seems to have some magical gift with avocados, so don’t skimp on the green layer!). Measurements aren’t exact, allowing each chef to customize to his or her taste, but it’s an easy dish your guests are sure to dig in to:
Mo’s "Make it How You Like it" Layered Dip:
- Start with a medium or large rectangle serving dish.
- Spread two cans of your favorite refried beans in the dish for the bottom layer.
- Combine about 4 peeled/seeded/chopped or mashed avocados, lemon juice, chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and spread over the bean layer.
- Combine approx. 1 cup sour cream, ½ cup mayo, and about ½ package of taco seasoning mix and spread over the avocado layer.
- Rinse and drain a can of black beans, and shake on top of the sour cream layer.
- Dice about three Roma tomatoes and mix with a medium/small jar of your favorite salsa (Mo uses Marie’s Mild) and spoon over the beans.
- Dice a few green onions and sprinkle on next.
- Drain a can of black olives (chop or slice ‘em up if they aren’t already) and add them to your masterpiece.
- And last, top with a layer of shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar.
(serve with red, white and blue corn chips if you're feeling ultra patriotic)
For the Entertainment-Seekers
Many of us will be slathering on some bug repellant and grabbing blankets to head out to local hotspots for a fire-crackin’ evening under the stars. Some will be putting on their own shows. Options for those who prefer their fireworks in HD include (all times are EST):
- PBS brings back A Capitol Fourth at 8 p.m., and viewers might catch actor/comedian/musician Steve Martin in a musical appearance.
- Macy’s annual Fourth of July Fireworks pop onto NBC at 9 and will surely light up the Hudson with performances by the likes of Beyonce.
- Or you can always tune in to ESPN’s 8 p.m.broadcast of the 96th Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. The event record is 68 dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
Just like you, ND&P-ers will be celebrating the holiday in a variety of ways. Embarking on roadtrips where we tell our backseat children to stop taunting each other and we’re almost there. Wondering where we stashed the red, white and blue napkins. Showing off our grill finesse while serving neighbors our famous ooey-gooey-four-cheesy-turkey burgers. Maybe even making REAL lemonade.
And wishing you all a safe and happy Fourth.
(Shaun Amanda Herrmann)