Fun Festive Ideas for July 4th Celebrations

Cupcakes

Star Spangled Cupcakes are fun for Independence Day parties.

I love getting together with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July.  Any excuse for good food and great company is fine by me!

Since the holiday occurs in the summer, there are so many fresh red, white, and blue fruits available to make easy, but beautiful and tasty, desserts.

So read on for a few ideas I gathered together to help you celebrate Independence Day in patriotic style!… 

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Stay Cool with Super Salads!

Watermelon

Add goat cheese and mint to fresh watermelon for an easy summery salad!

Looking for a little oven-free meal inspiration? Summer is a great time to get creative with salads. There are so many fruits and vegetables in top form that it’s hard to go wrong.

Salads can be quick and easy, super healthy and filling, yet light to enjoy on a summer’s day or night. Plus: No oven required!

Fill up on refreshing salads that will satisfy your hunger for fewer calories than you think. Read on for 5 fresh salad ideas!… 

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How to Prepare for Last-Minute Guests

Empanadas

Check your freezer for easy last minute appetizers like our Mini Empanadas

Last-minute, your husband calls to tell you he just invited his boss over for dinner. Or that time when your friend from out of town shows up unannounced, and of course hungry, at your door.

We’ve all been there… So, how do you make sure you can take the news in stride and have something worthwhile to serve your guest du jour?

Just follow these easy steps to feed your guests in no time!:… 

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The Ins and Outs of Cherries

Cherry

It's Cherry Season!

I don’t think there is a more visually appealing fruit than fresh cherries, and their versatility and rich flavor make them the perfect stone fruit.

In a salad, fresh off a tree, topping a cake, flavoring tea—the juicy fruit makes me positively Seuss-like.

My childhood friend had a cherry tree in her backyard, and one warm summer afternoon, we both filled our bowls and ate enough cherries to fill a pie. Our fingers were stained red and the pits formed a small mountain, but when her mother made fresh cherry pierogies later, we had some of those too. That’s the thing about cherries—there are never enough! So as soon as the season’s first cherries came in, I ordered a bag of red and a bag of Rainier and went wild…. 

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Father’s Day Burger Inspiration

Burgers and Dad

Burgers and Dad

When I visit my family in Upstate, NY, I love when my dad fires up the grill and makes my favorites.

There’s his famous lemon steak (extra-thin slices of steak marinated in lots of lemon juice and oregano, and charred perfectly on the grill), and on my most recent visit, I had my perfect burger—a soft bun, gooey cheese, a juicy beef patty, ketchup, and mayo.

Back at my apartment in Brooklyn, I used a grill pan to replicate the burger, but since I can’t get that same grill flavor, I tried different proteins and added fun toppings that remind me of home. Here are my burger creations in honor of Father’s Day:… 

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What’s Your Favorite Burger Topping?

Chicken Wings

Burgers

I remember growing up there were several summers where my dad would grill burgers by the pool.

My brother and I would race to see who would pick toppings first. I’d toss to Dad some cheese (yellow American) so he could melt mine right on the burger itself, then I’d assemble the rest of the toppings on the bun.

My brother didn’t care – he was off building a mountain of goodies, complete with stacks of onions, tomato, lettuce and mustard, which he used to refer to as “the glue,” between each layer.

Ahh, memory lane. As we head full swing into summer, I thought I’d ask some colleagues at FreshDirect what toppings they like on their burgers. Sure enough, whenever I stopped to ask one person, others perked up. Apparently, toppings are a topic of interest.

Here are some office favorites:… 

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Smarter Ways to Build a Better Burger

Better Burger

Our nutritionist developed this black bean-quinoa burger!

Want the satisfaction of a burger without throwing away your health or your waistline? Love saving time in the kitchen? Well, you’re in luck! I spent last weekend coming up with two fantastic burgers that are both quick to make and healthy for you too.

The first is a better-for-you beef burger (for those of you who agree that a burger means beef). And for the adventurous types, the second is a lovely vegan quinoa-black bean burger spiked with apple cider vinegar (trust me, it does something nice with the earthy base notes), prepped in the pan with heart-healthy walnut oil. What makes them health-smart? Sane portion sizes, fewer calories, and more whole grains and veggies! Each burger was prepped and plated in well under 30 minutes…. 

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Dining al fresco: It’s Picnic season!

Picnic

Grab a basket with fresh fruits and head outdoors for a picnic meal!

Forget cramped restaurants, crowded sidewalk bistros, and hoping to score a reservation.

Instead, this summer take “eating out” at its worth — grab a basket, fresh fruits, and head out for a savory do-it-yourself adventure, picnic-style.

Not sure where to start? Here are some quick ways to build a picnic basket:… 

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