It’s the 4th and it’s time to celebrate this great country’s birthday! Why not do it in style with the layered cocktail the 4th of July? It’s perfect for sipping while watching the fireworks show.

To make this drink you will need the following:

1/2 oz. of Grenadine
1 oz. Blue Curacao
1 1/2 oz. of chilled Vodka

When making this drink it is important to remember to pour the ingredients in order. First you will add your 1/2 oz or Grenadine. Next, with a spoon turned over so that the round side is up, slowly pour your Blue Curacao over the spoon into the glass. It will be approximately 1 oz. or the same width as your 1/2 or Grenadine. Finally, pour your chilled Vodka, the same way you did the Curacao, into the glass. This will be approximately 1 1/2 oz. or the same width as your Curacao. And there you have it, The 4th of July Cocktail!

It’s almost here! It’s almost here!

We love Independence Day. It’s a birthday party for our country and we celebrate in style. Fireworks are legal and available here. Everyone up and down our street has been shopping and we all anxiously anticipate sundown.

Finally dusk arrives. Cookouts wrap up and fireworks come out. All the neighbors set up chairs in our driveways for the show. For hours we watch the colors light up the sky, hear the bangs and pops, and smell the cordite.

But the tastes? Those are my domain. I love to bake, that’s no secret, but Fourth of July is an especially fun time for preparing desserts because of all the ripe, juicy berries available this time of year. Many of my desserts feature them.

Just before sundown on Independence Day I set up the kitchen island with desserts. Kids and adults alike are in and out of the house all night long. Some of these will be offered this year:

1.) Patriotic Pavlova

2.) Strawberry Shortcake, Nacho Style

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - 8 Delicious Fourth of July Desserts

3.) S’More and Strawberry Skewers

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - 8 Delicious Fourth of July Desserts

4.) Peanut Butter and Jelly Dessert Pizza

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - 8 Delicious Fourth of July Desserts

5.) Firecracker Red White and Blue Cake

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - 8 Delicious Fourth of July Desserts

6.) White Chocolate Peppermint Cake

7.) Butterfingers Brownies

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 11.33.07 AM

8.) Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka - 8 Delicious Fourth of July Desserts

I think we can all agree that I am not a domestic goddess.

I would like to be a woman who can clean and cook and make holiday decorations out of a used milk carton and a couple of pipe cleaners, but the reality is that my talents lie in other arenas (I’m not sure exactly which arenas those are, but I must have some talents…right?). It surprised me, therefore, that I enjoy packing a lunch for the Muffin Man every day.

I know, it’s shocking, especially since the last thing I “cooked” was a vodka martini with extra olives.

I admit that the idea of packing a lunch initially stressed me out. Before school even started my anxiety about having to prepare a delicious lunch that my kid would actually eat led me down a Pinterest black hole in which I found myself pinning images of flower-shaped lunch meats and bananas sculpted to look like characters from Frozen.

If you are creative enough to sculpt Disney characters out of produce, I salute you, but for those of us living in the real world – the ones who have all of five minutes to throw something together during the morning rush – I prefer a more practical approach to packing lunches.

1. Leftovers are your lunch time friend.

Whatever my kid doesn’t eat for dinner is destined for his lunch the following day. Obviously, this rule doesn’t hold if he didn’t like what we had for dinner and he refused to eat it, but we do our best to prepare something he will eat at every meal.

2. I’m not above subterfuge.

Getting Noah to eat protein, especially meat, is a major challenge. He used to eat everything, but his current preferred diet includes cheese and bread and bread and cheese. Since I know he’ll always eat a grilled cheese, I sneak in some shredded chicken and he’s none the wiser.

3. Play favorites.

If your kids will eat it, put it in their lunch. I don’t particularly like to eat the same thing every day, but Noah would be happy to eat bagels with cream cheese for every meal. I’ve found that when I include at least one thing Noah really loves, he’s more willing to try something new.

4. Wow Butter wins.

Noah’s preschool is peanut-free, but most of the schools here in the city of concrete and broken dreams are completely nut free. Wow Butter is made from toasted soy, so it’s school approved. It also happens to be totally delicious. It’s a fantastic way to get your kid to eat protein without endangering the lives of the kids with nut allergies.

5. Don’t despair.

Honestly, not every lunch is a win. Sometimes, Noah is just too excited to play with his friends to sit down and focus on eating. I’ve found that if I offer him the rest of his lunch to eat in the car on the way home, he often finishes whatever is left. If all else fails, remind yourself that it’s not how much your kid eats in a day, but how much he consumes in a week; then pour yourself a glass of wine and toast your lunchtime efforts.

Here’s what Noah ate for lunch last week:

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#1
Blanched green beans (leftover from dinner), Trader Joe’s organic hummus, Food Should Taste Good rice crackers, Lucky Cow teriyaki jerky, goat cheese, apple and almond butter crescents.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#2
Grilled cheese with shredded chicken (leftover from dinner), organic edamame, baby sweet red peppers, grapes and yellow plums.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#3
Sesame bagel with cream cheese and lox, Weelicious sweet potato muffin (adapted to be gluten free), Trader Joe’s organic hummus, red bell pepper, cantaloupe balls & yellow plum.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#4
Weelicious turkey & cucumber roll-ups, corn on the cob (leftover from dinner), Food Should Taste Good rice crackers, trail mix, watermelon balls & Asian pear.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Lunch#5
Apple and Wow Butter “sandwiches”, Trader Joe’s gluten free pretzels, edamame, Pad Thai noodles (leftover from dinner), sweet baby peppers.

I’d show you a picture of what I ate for lunch yesterday, but the crusts of bread and half-chewed meatball I snagged from Rose’s highchair weren’t all that photogenic.

This post was originally featured on Anna Lane’s blog, Misadventures in Motherhood. Featured image via.

Just because summer is long gone doesn’t mean you have to drink like it is! Enjoy this delicious and spicy margarita recipe even on the most blustery of winter days! Bring a little bit of the beach into your home, cozy up, and enjoy!

Recipe/Instructions:

Lime
Chile Powder
Jalapeños

Muddle!

Add ice

Add spicy lime margarita mix

Stir

Garnish

Enjoy!

Do you have a Thanksgiving recipe that is sacrosanct, one that your family will not let you waver from, or — perish the thought — omit from the menu? In my family it’s a festive jello mold that is the heralded star of the show.

“Jello mold?” You ask with a raised eyebrow. That ghastly relic of which surely no one on the Food Network would dare speak? A hideous affront to gourmands of all persuasions? The slut of 50’s cuisine, if you will — indiscriminate, always available, and dolled up with mini marshmallows, canned peaches or Maraschino cherries, whispering, “Take me, I’m easy.”

But wait. Our Thanksgiving favorite deserves some respect. Made with cherry jello and studded with fresh cranberries, chopped walnuts and celery, it can be made way in advance and forgotten about until the turkey is being carved. With just the right balance of sweet, tart, and crunchy, it is a perfect accompaniment to the meal. I usually double the recipe to serve 12-14.

I don’t know what age I was when my mother first made this dish. But I can totally imagine my gastronomical rapture upon tasting the first forkful. Henceforth known as Leenzil’s Thanksgiving Salad, it has been on my family’s table ever since.

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Weird Thanksgiving Staple
My mother submitted Leenzil’s Thanksgiving Salad to our synagogue’s cookbook under my name years ago. This is a photo of that page.

Oh, and the Leenzil part? That was my dad’s nickname for me.

Happy Thanksgiving, and bon appetit!

This post was originally featured on Helene’s blog, Books Is Wonderful. Featured image via

Making lunches is a lot of work.

Well, making lunches, breakfast, and dinner is a lot of work.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack – so much time preparing food. And then there’s the clean up. My knees are developing arthritis from the amount of time I’m spending at the kitchen counter. I might invest in orthotic indoor shoes.

Let’s not even start in about the grocery budget.

So where does every parent go when they are looking for meal ideas for their family? Pinterest, of course. But what I found there was not time-saving lunch ideas. Nooooo. Instead I discovered a cornucopia of pins dedicated to sandwiches cut into fun shapes, fruit kabobs, and smiley faced vegetables. Um, I was looking to do less preparation. Who are these people?

As a public service, I decided to share my own great tips for Easy Lunches On A Budget. Here’s my first installment.

Easy Mac and Cheese Your Kids Will Love

1. Get two boxes– you don’t want to run short. Your kids are counting on you.

2. Prepare as directed. But why not go with 5% cream? It adds just that hint of decadence your family craves.

3. Serve. But not in those plastic bowls from IKEA. The real dishes, mom. Because nothing says “you’re worth it” like breakable dishware

4. Here’s a secret I debated about posting. But it’s too good not to share. Fresh-ground paper for a gourmet twist.

This post was originally featured on Jan Moyer’s blog, Tough Bananas. Featured photo via.

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