Getting Patriotic!

I took my youngest son out today to “test run” my ideas for my 4th of July mini sessions next weekend, and let’s just say I’m feeling pretty patriotic! This little guy was the perfect model and it was some great one-on-one time. I may be biased, but I think he rocks red white and blue.

Food on the Fourth of July

My husband’s birthday is July 4th, and every year his mom and stepdad throw a big party for him and his twin brother. I helped to make a couple of dishes – a 7 layer Mexican dip and what started out as a Blueberry Angel Food Delight (and ended up much closer to a blueberry and strawberry cheesecake).

Of all the parties I’ve had and of all the appetizers I’ve made, I have never made a cold 7 layer Mexican dip! For whatever reason I was craving the fresh lettuce and tomato on top, and so I did a quick Pinterest search and took some ideas from a couple of recipes to arrive at this beauty…

7 Layer Mexican Dip

7 Layer Mexican Dip

2 cans refried beans
16 oz sour cream
1 package of Mexican seasoning (or homemade)
2 cups prepared guacamole
16 oz fresh salsa, drained (I like Publix’s deli salsa)
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Grape tomatoes, diced
Green onions, sliced
Mexican cheese blend, shredded

1) Spread beans in the bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish.
2) Mix Mexican seasoning with the sour cream and spread on top of beans.
3) For the remaining layers, add ingredients in this order: guacamole, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, green onion and cheese.
4) Chill, serve and enjoy!

Upon further review, looks like this was an 8 layer dip… but who’s counting!

Blueberry and Strawberry Angel Food Delight

My mother-in-law found this recipe through a feature on her local news. I have re-named it to be more fitting of what we actually prepared. Our first variation on the recipe came from us not having any blueberry pie filling on hand (this was okay with me, because I personally prefer to make as much from scratch as possible).  We had fresh blueberries, so I attempted to make homemade pie filling, with a little consultation from the hubs.

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I started by rinsing the blueberries and removing all of the stems. I then placed them in a saucepan, added sugar and turned the heat to medium-high.

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After about 15 minutes, the blueberries had cooked down really nicely.  They were not quite the right consistency for pie filling, so we added some cornstarch to thicken them up a little.

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At this point, we realized that we did not have enough blueberries to substitute for 2 21-oz cans of pie filing, so we decided to add some fresh strawberries we had on hand. I removed the blueberries and added strawberries to the pan.

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I mixed all the berries together and moved on to the next step, mixing softened cream cheese and powdered sugar.

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Next I took a pre-made Angel Food Cake and cut it into 1-inch cubes.

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I added the cubed cake to the cream cheese and powdered sugar and stirred until it was coated well. I poured it into a casserole dish and spread evenly. (This is where, despite the fact that we thawed the cool whip and had it ready on the counter, I forgot to add it.)

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Pour the berries on top, chill and serve!

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Leaving out the cool whip made the bottom layer taste a lot like cheesecake, and it was yummy! Next time I make it, I may attempt to make some homemade whipped cream and add it to the cream cheese mixture, but you will not be disappointed eating it like this!

Blueberry and Strawberry Angel Food Delight

1 dry pint of blueberries, stems removed
1 lb of strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with a little cold water to make a slurry
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 prepared angel food cake (14 oz) cut or torn into 1″ cubes

1)  In a medium saucepan, add berries and sugar. Cook on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. Pour in the cornstarch slurry and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
2)  In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar.  Fold in the cake cubes until well coated.
3)  Spread mix evenly into an un-greased  9×13″ dish and top with pie filling.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

adapted from Blueberry Angel Food Delight