Thanks to the worldwide and nationwide struggle with the Coronavirus, 4th of July celebrations will have a different tone this year. Most of the public fireworks displays in our area have either been cancelled or switched to virtual, online displays.

We are not sure how incredible fireworks will look over a Zoom call and it’s sad that such an essential part of celebrating the United States’ birthday since they were first used in 1777 will be largely silent this year.

Thankfully, while Governor DeSantis has limited alcohol sales across the state, we are still free to celebrate in our own backyards with family and friends. Since our skies won’t be lighting up, how about some interesting new patriotic sights and flavors to go with our grilled burgers and dogs?

Patriotic Fruit Kabobs  

We’ll start with the easiest and work our way up. The nice thing about these is they use a lot of our fun Florida fruit flavors for style and taste.

For the kabobs, start with wooden skewers, a pint of strawberries, and an angel food cake.

Slice the strawberries roughly into quarters and cut the angel food cake into one inch cubes.

You can just string everything together, alternating between a strawberry piece, angel food cake and blueberries. Or for a fun decorative look, you can make the skewers into an American flag. Start with 6 blueberries on the first 4-6 skewers, followed by cake, then a strawberry piece. And repeat. Then for the rest of the skewers, start with strawberry, then cake, and alternate for the rest of the stick. Lay them out like an American flag and let everyone dig in!

It’s also fun to have some fruit dips on the side – cream cheese, strawberry, chocolate, or even chocolate hummus!

(Courtesy of T.Marzetti)

S’mores Dip

Yes, you read that right. Instead of, or in addition to, traditional s’mores, you’ll want to try this festive version.

You’ll need to start with nineteen regular size marshmallows. Use a toothpick to dip the marshmallow in water, then into red, white or blue sprinkles. You’ll want 5 blue, 6 red and 8 white sprinkled marshmallows.

While they’re drying, take four full-size Hershey bars and use them to line a square glass pan.

Now carefully cut each marshmallow in half, placing the cut side down (sprinkles up!) over the chocolate bars. Start with blue in the top left corner and build an American flag inspired arrangement.

Bake in an oven at 450-degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let them sit – but just for a minute! Then serve with halved graham crackers for dipping. A great sweet treat without being too heavy.

(Courtesy of Delish)

4th of July Brie

For your fancier Fourth of July festivities, try this creamy cheese dip great for snacking before the grill is lit or as the evening wears on.

The original recipe we found on Delish was for a large, crowd-pleasing, 35-oz brie. That’s a lot of expensive cheese. However, it’s easy to adjust down for the size of the crowd or your pocketbook.

Start with a wheel of brie. Cut around and remove the top rind of the cheese and place it in skillet roughly the same size or a little larger and bake it for 15 minutes at 350-degrees. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s bubbling and totally melted throughout.

While it’s baking, cut up about 6 strawberries – remove the tops, then slice top to bottom. Splash a ¼-cup of orange juice and a teaspoon or so of honey. In another bowl, do the same with a half cup of fresh blueberries.

When you pull the brie out of the oven, use the blueberries as stars and strawberry slices as red stripes. Voilà! You have another American flag styled treat. Serve immediately with graham crackers for dipping.

So, add strawberries, blueberries, brie, marshmallows and graham crackers to your shopping list. Of course, we know you’ve already ordered your No Bite Zones bag to keep the biting mosquitoes out of the backyard. We’ll be closed on Friday for the holiday, but back in the office on Monday, the 6th. Have a great day celebrating our nation’s 244th birthday!

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