Happy Birthday USA!

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

I can't believe we are about to celebrate July 4th!?*%#@!! Barely had a chance to start summer entertaining...and the holiday is already here! Nothing says summer to me more than 4th of July and there is no better time for a good old fashioned BBQ.


I have some great entertaining tips for you.

Check out our tablescape and menu suggestions for 4th of July below.


All the beautiful pictures are from Hechler Photography.


I found some amazing merchandise to create a beautiful 4th of July tablescape. I love this whole look with some new items I found at Current Home. The melamine plates are perfect for the 4th of July look and outdoor entertaining. They work perfectly with my acrylic wine glasses from Pottery Barn.


These placemats from Mozaiko are fantastic for summer entertaining. They are acrylic as well and easy to use outdoors and clean up is easy after a BBQ meal.



I just love the tie dye napkins and napkin rings from Kim Seybert that I found at Current Home. I have these napkins rings in another color combo as well. Feels like jewelry on your table! I have always been a "tie dye" fan so I am crazy about this combo! I just added simple red and white flowers to these gorgeous blue ceramic vases from Current Home for the center of the table.


It feels automatic to plan BBQ for 4th of July! Lots of grilled items, desserts with berries and lots of red, white and blue decor.

As many people know, I'm from Memphis, Tennessee. Well, I guess you can take the girl out of the south, but you can't really take the southern out of the girl! I have lived in New York for 28 years now, but I have never found BBQ anywhere that is better than Memphis BBQ!


My personal favorite is Corky's BBQ. Their sauce is the sweet and saucy kind. I'm not a big meat eater so I most often order the chicken when I am visiting there, but I have to say the few times I indulge in ribs, theirs are DELICIOUS. If you like the taste of a dry rub there is the another famous Memphis institution, The Rendezvous that has great BBQ too! While I visit Memphis often, I literally make it a plan to stop in the airport kiosk and grab a few bottles of sauce from both of them before my plane back to NY each time. Not many people know this tho- they DO ship anywhere. (there's this little company also in Memphis called FedEX) The ribs and sauce come on dry ice and they are really fantastic. I used them many times during my catering days and we just had a batch flown to NY last week. I highly reccomend ordering for your summer entertaining. Half the cooking and lots of prep is done for you and your guests will love it!


Way back when I was a fan of the Bobby Flay restaurant Mesa Grill. They had this delicious BBQ salmon and I got his cookbook a million years ago and started making the salmon during my catering days. I still make the sauce routinely and use it on anything! For 4th of July I plan to use it on grilled shrimp. It is really quite simple to make and sometimes I make a BIG batch and freeze some so I always have some on hand for summer entertaining, but honestly I enjoy it all year long!


Here is the BBQ sauce recipe from Bobby Flay that I have been using for over 25 years!


Mesa Grill BBQ Sauce

INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp. unsalted butter ( or can use canola oil) 1/2 red onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped

6 plum tomatoes, chopped 1/2 cup ketchup 2 tbsp. dijon mustard 2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. honey 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. cayenne 2 tbsp. ancho chile powder 1 tsp. sweet Spanish paprika

DIRECTIONS Heat the butter (or oil) over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium nonreactive saucepan. Add the onion and cook until 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.Add the mustard, Worcestershire, chipotle chile, ancho chile powder, paprika, brown sugar, honey, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 10 minutes, or until thickened.Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. The sauce will keep for 1 week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.



I'm not sure if I love the look and color of a raspberry salad or the light taste for summer. I think it is both! SO many ready & available dressings in the store these days are good. This is such a simple, but impressive way to brighten up your salad.

I just sprinkle goat cheese and a few berries over mixed greens and I love the sweet and spicy nuts from Trader Joes. This is also delicious as an entree with grilled chicken on top.

If you have a few extra berries make margaritas!! We used strawberries but raspberries would work just as well. So refreshing and perfect for a BBQ.

Here is a Strawberry Margarita Recipe so easy and delicious.

Ingredients

2 cups frozen strawberries

1 tbsp sugar

¼ cup water4 oz tequila

3 oz triple sec

2 limes, juiced

ice

salt

fresh strawberries


Directions

Combine the frozen strawberries, sugar and water in a small pot over low/medium heat. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook on low for about 30 minutes until strawberries have broken down and mixture is thick. Remove from the stove, pour into a Tupperware container or glass jar and refrigerate until chilled.

To make the margaritas, add about a third cup of the strawberry syrup to a cocktail shaker (you be the judge according to how sweet you like your margaritas). Follow with the tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice. Shake margaritas well then pour into two glasses, rimmed with salt if you like. Garnish cocktails with fresh strawberries and serve.


We might be overdoing it a bit with the strawberries, but shortcake is the perfect way to end a BBQ meal.

I think baking is my therapy. I can never decide what to make so I seem to just make it all!@&#!?? If you are not a baker or cook have no fear. So many amazing ready to eat/ready to buy foods and desserts are out there. To be honest I think it would actually be cheaper if I just bought my desserts at Whole Foods! By the time I buy all the ingredients and make it all it would be much easier to just go there or order online!

Literally everything I made can be found at many tried and true places like Whole Foods, Trader Joes and all the best local bakeries have delicious cookies, small sweets and pies.

I did find these mini strawberry shortcakes below at Whole Foods.

They are adorable and delicious too.


How cute are these cocktail glasses??

I just love these Apres Beach rocks glasses for our strawberry margaritas from Current Home.

Whether you celebrate the holidays at the beach, in the city or the country... I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend shared with friends, family and lots of love all around!




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Carolyn Bender 
info@cbealifestyle.com

914-722-9094