Fourth of July

Firecracker Cupcakes

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by Cathy Pollak

firecrackercupcakesYep, the kids have elevated me to the likes of Albert Einstein. Up until yesterday they thought of me as dull, boring, blah. I couldn't be more of a plain Jane to them.

But when I made these FIRECRACKER CUPCAKES and sprinkled POP ROCKS all over them you would have thought I just invited the circus over to perform. I instantaneously became the coolest, hippest and craziest Mom evah. The hooligans couldn't have been more pleased.

What makes me mad is I didn't think of it first. It's so simple. I saw it in the newspaper as a fun way to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday. Brilliant I thought. A firework show in their mouths.

As the kids ate away, their mouths were exploding with candy and their noses and cheeks were covered in whipped cream. Their day could not have been better.

The trick is to pour the POP ROCKS on just before serving or better yet, give each person their own pack. If you are stingy with the POP ROCKS the full effect of this dessert will not be realized. Be generous!

Adults would like them too. It was fun eating the cupcake and having tiny explosions going off in my mouth and throat. A nice reminder of childhood.

An Email from a Friend

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by Lisa Demberg

While eating at a pretty divey but good bbq joint in the industrial section of town, I was missing you terribly and smiling because I kept hearing an old conversation of ours in my head...

bbqsign.jpg

AMY
I'm starving.  What should we eat?

LISA
Something light, I think. 
I'm only slightly hungry.

AMY
Ok.  How about BBQ?

LISA
That's your idea of something light?

AMY
Oh, you know me.

LISA
Yep.

Wish you were here with me. 
Hope all is well.
Love, Lisa

101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics

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by Mark Bittman

From the New York Times 

picnic.jpg There is something both innocent and exciting about a picnic, even if you are only packing a few things at the last minute and heading down the street to the park. It may be nothing fancier than bologna or tuna salad on white bread, but you’re still likely to have a good time, which is probably why many of us remain devoted to the same picnic foods we’ve eaten all our lives.

But at some point, you may get the urge to vary the menu a bit. With that in mind, I’d like to make a few — or, actually, 101 — suggestions, ranging from snacks to dessert. With a little shopping, a little effort, and 20 minutes or less for assembly, you can create the kind of carry-out food that will put the local prepared food shops to shame while saving you a small fortune. No matter how faithful you are to your old favorites, I’ll bet you will find something intriguing here.

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Red, White and Blue Sangria

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by J.M. Hirsch

From the DallasNews.com 

0617sangria.jpg Traditional sangrias are luscious, bold blends of fruits, wine and spirits, often served in pitchers or punch bowls. But this wonderfully refreshing summer drink from Spain and Portugal leaves plenty of room for improvisation.

Beverage consultant Kim Haasarud offers dozens of riffs on sangria in her recent "101 Sangrias and Pitcher Drinks," including a New Zealand Kiwi Sangria, which combines sauvignon blanc, melon liqueur, kiwis and pineapple.

In her book, Haasarud also offers tips for speeding up sangria, which tastes best when allowed to infuse at least several hours. If you're short on time, she suggests lightly mashing some of the fruit, which releases the juices.

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