Saturday, June 1, 2013

Part 2 - 4th of July Event Planning

How to have a smashing star spangled summer party!
Author Sherry Sparks for Desi DJ Productions

In part 1 we went over invitations, planning for weather & pest prevention outdoors, as well as giving you several links to DIY decorations and entertainment. Now we bring you part 2, food and beverage recipes with a red, white & blue theme!

Favorite Red White & Blue Food and Beverages

A collection of some crowd pleasing fare to help you plan your menu or inspire you to create your own festive recipes.


Red, White & Blue Trifle

Raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream all layered
deliciously in a trifle dish and finished with a sprig of mint. Yes please!

Celebration Pretzel Sticks
from Lady Behind the Curtain

These colorful and playful pretzel sticks look just as fun to make as they will be to eat. 

Pretzel rods decorated with candy melts and sprinkles  can be altered for other holidays. This blog website is full of 4th of July ideas.

Click to view a list of cleverness: Show me more!

Cheesecake Pops

These little darlings are a bakers challenge Recipe Girl Lori Lange created - the decoration can be altered for other holidays or themes. If you find baking from scratch difficult, this idea can be recreated using ready made cheesecake, but it won't be as tasty!

More RW&B recipes from Recipe Girl: Show me more!

Fireworks Push-It-Up Cakes

Blogger Mandy Heaston from Gourmet Mom On-The-Go shares a favorite recipe with Betty Crocker. These delightful treats layers super moist colored mini cupcakes, frosting, and sprinkled with popping rock candy for a sparkling finish!

Betty Crocker has a great list of other 4th of July ideas.

Celebration Cupcakes
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

This recipe was originally posted by Julia Rutland,  JULY 2011 - Cupcake batter is colored and layered inside the cupcakes. Garnished with sprinkles and topped with star cookies that are also decorated. 

Get more 4th of July recipes from my recipes here!

Appetizers & Main Menu Items

Red White & Blue Nachos

These yummy nachos use all blue corn, a combination of real queso and white cheddar cheese, and are garnished with salsa and sour creme.

Lots more 4th of of July recipes at Tastey Kitchen!

Blue Corn Muffins 
(Serve with Cream Cheese & Raspberry Preserves)

This blue corn muffin recipe can be served with raspberry preserves and whipped cream cheese.

Filet Mignon with Blue Cheese Butter 
& Red Wine Reduction Sauce

This recipe is for the pepper crusted filet and port wine reduction sauce only.

Click here for a great blue cheese butter recipe!

Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad

A mix of red, white and blue potatoes tossed in herbs and vinaigrette.  A delicious and colorful side dish for your 4th of July festivities!

Get more 4th of July recipes from my recipes here!

The All American Hot Dog
(with or without onions)

Decorate your favorite dogs resting in white buns with ketchup and blue pickle sauce drizzled from condiment bottles (pickle sauce recipe to follow) - mustard and onions can be served on the side.

2 cups water
1 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 ½  tablespoons corn starch
¼ tsp dry dill weed (finely ground)
¼ tsp dry prepared mustard (use chinese mustard for a little kick)
8-10 drops of blue food coloring

In a sauce pan combine all ingredients with a whisk. Turn heat to medium low and heat until a slow boil begins while stirring often. Liquid will begin to thicken as the slow boil begins, but will thicken more as it cools. Place in to a condiment bottle (available at restaurant supplies) with a narrow tip, and do the same for the ketchup. Place cooked dogs (grilled/boiled/steamed/broiled or baked) on a bun (preferably lightly toasted/grilled). Drizzle the blue and red sauces making sure to include the bun in the drizzle - the blue will be slightly transparent and not show up on the hot dog as well as it will on the bun.

Patriotic Cocktails 

Red Fizz
Makes 2 servings

1 cup passion fruit vodka
1 cup cranberry juice
Fresh cranberries 

Shake vodka and cranberry juice together with ice until chilled. Strain mixture into a champagne glass about 3/4 of the way full. Top with a splash of Champagne and a few berries.

White Sangria
Makes 1 pitcher

Ginger Ale

Combine equal amounts vodka and Malibu in a large pitcher. Add in the fruit and let it soak in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. To serve, pour fruit mixture into chilled glasses and top with a splash of ginger ale.

Blue Margarita
Makes 1 serving

1 ounce white tequila
1 ounce Blue Curacao
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Salt for garnish 

Shake tequila with Blue Curacao and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Dip rim of margarita glass in water then in salt. Pour drink in salt-rimmed glass and serve. You can also serve this drink frozen by pureeing in a blender with ice.

Red, White and Blue Shooter
Makes 1 serving

1/3 ounce grenadine
1/3 ounce peach schnapps
1/3 ounce Blue Curacao Directions:
Pour the grenadine in a shot glass. Float the peach schnapps on top and then the Curacao on top of that -- it will create a layered effect.

Part 1 - 4th of July Event Planning

How to have a smashing star spangled summer party!
Author Sherry Sparks for Desi DJ Productions

Preparation & Decor

So you have hired a DJ, found the perfect outdoor location, and started your guest list for your 4th of July bash. Now what? 

Unless you are a seasoned professional or avid practicing amateur, event planning can often feel like an overwhelming task. There are a lot of event planning articles out there for planning weddings, birthdays, communions and anniversaries - the 4th of July can also be a grand event for patriotic party goers. So let's get the party started!

Invitations the Easy Way

Take advantage of FREE online party invites or use your "Events" feature on your facebook account. This awesome app allows you to keep track of your guest list and gently nudge and remind your guests about their invite. If you still want to do it the old fashioned way, there are many online providers for paper invitations at fantastic prices. Some even allow you to send a list of names and can be pre addressed - then all you have to do is assemble, stamp and send!


Stars & Stripes Forever

Most party supply stores carry a wonderful array of seasonal decor. For do it yourself (DIY) ideas, try some of these links:

Patriotic Pinwheels
So easy even a child could make them! This fabulous and simple project comes from - Patriotic papers combine to make this festive pinwheel.

These beauties found on can be placed on tables or hung from strings. Try using acetate or thick mylar and float them in fountains, pools, or with floating candles in a bowl!

Organize your tables with these amazing ideas from! Make paper cones for snacks and place them in a cupcake holder. Create a clothesline of 4th of july patterned flags to hang or lay on serving tables. Decorate plastic ware.

All we can says is WOW about the these creative party ideas from Hostess with the Mostess ( ! Make Rocket Dogs, Edible Eagles, RW&B Mason Jars, Paper Sparklers and more - Click here to get directions to these fun creations and more.

Playing Around

Parties and events are either fun or boring. Making sure guests are engaged and enjoying themselves is often a daunting chore while attending to the bevy of hosting duties you take on when having a party or event. Hiring a Desi DJ Productions professional will ensure that the party keeps rolling, not only with planned playlists that get people up & on to their feet or swinging in their chairs, but to keep the action going with games geared towards your guests and party theme. Slip 'N Slide, Bingo, Watermelon seed spitting contests, or Hula Hoops challenges, and etc., there is something for every one and every crowd. Having a crafting table/area can entertain children and adults for hours and offers participants something to take home as a souvenir to remind them of the fun they had! Red white & blue beads can be strung to make bracelets or key chains or here are some more crafting ideas and a link to get directions to the following ideas:

Preparing for the Great Outdoors

1. Get them off their feet - Chairs and other seating is important to encourage interaction between your guests. Having areas with larger groups of seating around game or dance floors helps all your guests enjoy the festivities. Having smaller groups of chairs or other furniture helps to promote more intimate conversations. If you are serving alcohol, try having tables and chairs, or even barstools near by to instigate fantastic mingling.

2. Weather or Not - Wind can be an un-welcomed guest. If there is a possibility of gusts occurring, try to have ways to keep serving and decor items weighted down. Most party stores carry balloon weights that can be used to tether things down in a decorative way.  If at all possible, provide an area of shade for guests to cool off. Buckets of iced down water placed here and there around the party will keep them hydrated and refreshed. Place fans about to keep air moving. Install misters if possible, but test them out before your event by running them for the same length of time you think your event will run to be sure they are set to the proper amount of mist flow. No one likes to get soggy and your decor & food can get ruined if misters are not properly placed and fine tuned! Use decorative LED lighting in the darker hours, which are not only energy efficient but can come in a patriotic red, white and blue themes, or have animated 4th of July effects. 

3. Pesky Pests - Depending on your location you can have unwanted party crashers buzzing or crawling about. If possible you may want to have the event area pre-exterminated. Otherwise investing in citronella candles/torches, having bug zappers or subsonic repellants are great deterrents and can most often keep the annoyances at bay. For heavily infested areas, try having a first aid area where guests can apply repellent as needed.