June 28 2015

Eat Responsibly? (4th of July Dessert Hacks)

How often do you hear ads, PSAs or just people you know telling you to “Drink Responsibly.”? Or, in the words of the state of my soon to be school, “Drink Wisconsinbly.”? (“On Wisconsin” but that’s a story for another blog!).

But has anyone ever told you to “Eat Responsibly.”? Not clean, not vegan, not low carb, not low fat, just responsibly? I can’t ever think of anyone saying that, but really isn’t that what it’s all about? As I think about living away from home and becoming more independent, isn’t that what every one wants us to do generally – to be responsible?

What better time than the week of Independence Day to think about what that actually means (well that and the fact that my mother asked me to write this blog!). I think it means different things to different people.

We all know the zealots – the ones who stick to their no this, no that no matter what. Holidays are just a time to become even more fanatical, eating their twigs and seeds with a look somewhere between pity and moral superiority on their faces while they watch everyone else chow down. Are they responsible? Not in my book.  I think we all spend too much time judging one another for way too many things – food included.  Making someone else feel crappy about what they are eating is actually irresponsible as far as I am concerned.  Eat what you want, but stay out of my plate please!

Then there are your friends who apologize for everything they eat. You know them. “I really shouldn’t be having this doughnut,” but then they have twelve (ok, maybe not twelve, but you get the idea). Are they responsible? Nah, I don’t think so. Just annoying and delusional, and also down a bad road.  The trick I think is to actually consume the food and not let it consume you.  If your whole day is taken up with worrying about what you did or did not eat, that’s no way to live.

My answer?  Somewhere in the middle. I try to eat pretty healthy most of the time, but I think there’s a time and a place for everything including totally over the top desserts. At least for me, I’d rather have a little of something really good than end up later plowing through the fridge looking for something because I really regretted having passed up the thing I really wanted.  The thing I try to do is to make my choices and then live with them.  If I’m going to be independent, I’m going to have to figure out what to put in my own mouth all day every day, and do it in a way that doesn’t leave me totally food obsessed.

So with that, the 4th of July. This 4th of July, I’m responsible for desserts. We have a few of everyone – the zealots, the apologizers and everything in between. So I’m making a few things ranging from very clean to some that should come with their own warning label (in fact, as you will see, one actually does!  Thanks, Mom!).

I’m also all about spending your time with your friends and not trapped in the kitchen, so here are my quick and easy 4th of July dessert hacks!   Enjoy, and hey, “Eat Responsibly.”!


Uncle Sam’s Ice Cream Soda

1/4 cup blue syrup

1 TBS grenadine syrup

1/2 can cherry soda (I like Hansen’s Natural)

2 scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream or non dairy frozen dessert (I like Edy’s)

1 parfait glass

1.  Pour blue syrup into bottom of parfait glass

2.  Add one scoop of vanilla ice cream

3.  Pour cherry soda very slowly aiming for the side of the glass, not the middle

4.  Add a second scoop of ice cream

5.  Drizzle grenadine over the top

6.  Serve with your red, white and blue straws


“Sugar, It’s the 4th of July”

A package frozen sugar cookie dough (I used Pillsbury ready to bake) (Try Immaculate Baking for gluten free)

A star shaped cookie cutter

Red, white & blue sprinkles

Vanilla cake frosting (I like Pillsbury)

Strawberry and blueberry jam  (I like Polaner)

1.  Prepare cookies according to directions, but if you want, you can add sprinkles to the dough, roll into a ball, and bake.  Your finished cookies will then be red, white and blue on the inside.

2.  Allow cookies to cool partially.  When cookies are still soft, cut into stars.

3.   Your choice – either frost and add sprinkles, only add sprinkles, or cut a hole in the center and add 1/4 tsp of each jam.  If you want, you can also add the jam 1/2 way through baking.


I Shot The British (Jello Shots) (contributed by my mom)

My mom is stepping in on this one (seeing how she’s over 21 and all, and I’m not).  One other note, this recipe requires some advance planning.  You won’t miss out on your party because they have to be done the day before, but plan on a lot of work on the 3rd!

3 oz box of red jello

3 oz box of blue jello

1 1/2 cups berry flavored vodka

2 1/2 cups of water

2/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup of milk

2/3 cup vanilla vodka

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 tbs water

1.  Blue Layer – heat 1 1/4 cups water until boiling.  Stir into blue jello until dissolved.  Add vodka.  Let it cool for 5 minutes.  Distribute into jello shot cups, filling 1/3 of the way.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours

2.  White Layer – place powdered gelatin and 1 1/2 tbs water into small bowl and soak for 5 minutes.  In a saucepan, heat cream, milk, sugar and vanilla extract to a simmer.  Remove from heat and add gelatin.  Stir to dissolve.  Add vanilla vodka.  Cool for 15 minutes.  Then pour into jello shot cups on top of blue layer.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3.  Red Layer – follow directions for blue layer but with red jello.  Fill jello shot cups the rest of the way, and refrigerate until your party.

Alcohol should only be consumed by those legally of age to drink. And always drink responsibly.

fruitstarsandstripesYou’re A Berry Grand Old Flag

Sliced strawberry halves


Banana Slices

This is an easy one!  Find a rectangular serving tray.  Arrange fruit into a flag design as shown.


Uncle Sam In A Can?  (This one is way healthier than it looks)

This recipe is really supposed to be made with cupcakes and gobs of frosting, but I changed it up to make it a healthier choice.

4th of July baking cups, mini hat toppers and decorative eyes (all available at Party City)

Sliced strawberries

Fat Free Whipped Cream (I used Reddi-Wip. This stuff is great.  Only 5 calories a serving too!!).

Fill cups with strawberries

Top with whipped cream

Decorate with eyes and hats


4th of July Sparkler Sticks

Pretzel Rods

Dipping Chocolate (I used Baker’s Semi Sweet)

Red, white & blue sprinkles

Prepare dipping chocolate according to instructions.  Dip pretzel rods part way.  Roll in sprinkles and allow to harden.

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