4th of July Milkshakes Recipe

Today I’m sharing the perfect patriotic treat for 4th of July. Red, white & blue milkshakes made with a layer of vanilla milkshake, strawberry slushy, and fresh blueberries. Not only are these milkshakes adorable, but they are delicious and cold. The perfect way to cool down after grilling out and fireworks this Independence Day!

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4th of July Milkshakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 Tbsp Honey or sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:
1. Make red layer. Put frozen strawberries, honey (or sugar) and water into the blender and blend until thick slushy consistency. Transfer to another container and store in freezer while you prepare the white layer. 2. Make white layer. Put 3 cups ice cream and 1/4 cup milk into the blender and blend until smooth. You want the milkshake layer to be very thick. 3. Carefully pour vanilla milkshake into a clear glass and top with strawberry slushy and fresh blueberries.

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To make a real impact, serve these icy treats in festive personalized mason jars with paper straws on a personalized Stars and Stripes tray. Both of these can be purchased at Personal Creations. They have a variety of cute home decor items that can be personalized for any holiday!

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Holiday Party Idea: Eggnog Soda Bar

One of my favorite things about the holidays is figuring out what new party I will throw! This year we will be hosting a few parties: gingerbread house decorating for the kids, holiday brunch, and a holiday open house. I am already planning out the themes, decor, and menu for each. One thing that I like to do for parties is to set up a self-serve beverage station. It’s a lot of fun for the guests and allows me to relax instead of having to serve everyone a drink. We’ve done everything from a cocktail station with a signature drink, a hot cocoa bar complete with all the toppings and a homemade soda bar that includes a variety of SodaStream soda flavors. This year we are putting a twist on the homemade soda bar by offering a holiday-inspired Eggnog Soda Bar.

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For our festive Eggnog Soda Bar we made root beer, cola, and ginger ale. And of course, we had plenty of egg nog.

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Plus, a few seasonal toppings. Whipped cream (which I wrapped in a piece of cardstock and added a cute chalkboard label to make it look nicer), cinnamon, nutmeg, and candy canes. You could even include sprinkles, cherries, shaved chocolate, and more.

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A cute chalkboard sign lets guests know how to make their festive drink. Make sure to tell your guests to pour their soda in before the eggnog or else it will fizz too much.

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The result? Delicious! These kind of taste like a root beer float with a twist!

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Setting the Eggnog Soda Bar up was very easy with the SodaStream Play! We have been using a SodaStream for years now and love it. It’s a much healthier alternative to store-bought soda. It has less sugar and little-to-no caffeine (depending on the flavor). Over the years, Sodastream has also added a huge variety of soda flavors and they even offer natural sodas made with pure cane sugar. Both the kids and adults love it!

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Another cool feature? The SodaStream Play now has removable skins in a variety of colors, patterns, and even designs to match your personality, home decor or party theme. I chose red for the holidays! Putting the skin is effortless as it is vinyl and is easy to lift up and reposition if you don’t get it lined up correctly. Right now you can get a code for a FREE skin when you purchase a SodaStream Play.

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As you can see from the video below, using the SodaStream Play is so simple!

Additional Info:

The SodaStream Play would make a fantastic gift for the holidays. It would be perfect to give to a family, a foodie, cook, or anyone who wants a healthier way to enjoy soda. For additional information on the SodaStream Play, please visit SodaStreamUSA.com.

Five Dishes On Our Thanksgiving Table

Disclosure 1

We have been hosting Thanksgiving for our family for almost a decade now. While it is definitely a lot of work, it is also one of our favorite holidays to host. We have family from both mine and Mike’s side of the family join us. There’s typically 30+ people, including kids. Mike and I spend days before cleaning and cooking and cooking some more lol. Even Lucas joins in to help and there’s usually holiday music playing in the background. It’s a lot of fun! Over the years, we have had some food hits and misses so today I thought it would be helpful to share five dishes (besides the turkey, of course) that always make it onto our Thanksgiving table.

Thanksgiving Dishes

1. Cheese Board: We used to make fancy appetizers for Thanksgiving, but we quickly learned that with all of the cooking you have to do for the main meal – the appetizers are a great opportunity to lessen your load and buy something pre-made. We always set out a cheese board complete with a variety of cheeses, hard salami and thin water crackers.

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I usually pair this spread with some nuts and we’re all set! The other thing I like is that this doesn’t fill you up like a bunch of carbs and allows you to save room for the main event – turkey and all the fixings!

2. Sangria: Along with the appetizer, I like to prepare one large cocktail drink that everyone can enjoy during the evening. Our favorite? Sangria. It’s super simple to make. It’s festive. Everyone loves it!

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I set it out on a table with appetizers, other drinks for the kids, and wine glasses and allow guests to help themselves.

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3. Mashed Potatoes: I’ve tried to make all sorts of fancy variations of potatoes, but we always come back to the classic mashed potatoes. I like to infuse the milk with chopped garlic before mixing with the potatoes and I always add in sour cream and chives.

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One more tip – don’t over whip your potatoes or they will get a glue-like consistency. I actually prefer mine with a lot of texture so I don’t whip them at all and instead use an old school potato masher.

4. Homemade Rolls: If there is ever a time to make your own bread, it’s Thanksgiving. The aroma of homemade bread baking in the oven is instant comfort and your guests will love it!

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The key is to find the right recipe that allows you to make the rolls the day before (see my favorite recipe HERE). I use my bread maker to mix and knead the dough, then roll them by hand, pop them into a dish, and refrigerate until I’m ready to bake. Before baking, you’ll want to pull them out about 1-2 hours before to allow them to rise and come to room temperature before baking.

5. Pecan Pie: I used to not like pecan pie because it was overly sweet. Since it was a classic, I would still typically make one every Thanksgiving. A few years ago though, I started tinkering around with the recipe and created my own WITHOUT corn syrup.

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My pecan pie is made with maple syrup and let me tell you…I now have to make TWO pecan pies every year and there is still never a crumb left over!

Get the Thanksgiving Look Pictured Above!

The personalized serving pieces, glasses, and pitcher pictured above are all from Personal Creations. The stoneware casserole dishes (round and rectangular) and the pie plate were all personalized with Thanksgiving messages rather than names. I think that is such a special touch that really speaks to the season! Plus, wouldn’t you be the best guest ever if the dish or pie you take to your Thanksgiving dinner was presented in one of these? The casserole dish or pie plate would be the hostess gift!

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The cheese board was personalized with our last name and year we were married. I love how the cheeseboard neatly stores all of the cheese knives within itself (see picture above).

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And, my absolute favorite are the personalized glass pitcher and the Chalk It Up wine glasses! These wine glasses have a chalkboard base so that you can write each guests name on the bottom.

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They are also etched with whatever message you’d like. I decided to have them etched with “Cheers” in different languages (i.e. cin cin, salud, salut, kippis, kampai, and more). I got twelve glasses each etched in a different language. These are now one of my favorite things EVER.

 

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Simple Halloween Treat for Kids

Lucas is really into Halloween this year so we’ve already been conjuring up some spooky treats. An easy one that is sure to put a smile on every child’s face is a Milk Ghost!

What You’ll Need:
Clear glasses
Black construction paper
Tape

Instructions: Cut ghost eyes and mouth from black construction paper. Attach to glass with a little tape on the backside of the construction paper. Fill glass with milk and enjoy!

Strawberry Kefir Smoothie (Recipe)

Ever since I discovered kefir a few months ago, I have become hooked on Strawberry Kefir Smoothies. Mike, Lucas, and I drink one almost every day — they are delicious, so good for you, and the best part — so easy to make! If you haven’t tried or heard of kefir, it is basically a fermented milk that is rich in beneficial bacteria and yeast, it cleanses the intestines, provides important vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent source of protein. It has a very refreshing and tangy flavor that is perfect in a smoothie — especially now that the weather is warming up. Recipe below…




Strawberry Kefir Smoothie

Ingredients (shown above)

  • 1 large handful of frozen strawberries 
  • 1 cup of low fat kefir 
  • 1-2 packets of Truvia or other sweetener of your choice 

Directions: Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Serve. Makes 1 serving.

Enjoy!