Red, White and yummm- Perfect last minute (and easy) 4th Of July dishes

Happy 4th Of July!  

If you live in America you know all about one of our favorite (and most important) holidays and you also know it is definitely a day to celebrate.

We love the 4th of July!

 But sometimes (like us) you leave plans to the last minute and are left scrambling for things to bring to that BBQ you are invited to or what to make for that group that's about to show up at your door happy and hungry. And how can you possibly celebrate when you are running around stressed out?  

So we have put together a few quick, delicious and festive ways to celebrate...you're welcome.

PS leave the chips and dips to someone else...we are about to get all Pinterest up in here!

We love this fruit salad!  Just cut up strawberries, watermelon and apple.  Add in blueberries and voila!  4th of July perfection.

Oh and if you want extra pinterest points go ahead and cut some of the fruit in star shapes.  

Pinterest

Pinterest

 

Remember these???  We had our fair share this past spring on a Washington DC trip and they are every bit amazing as we remembered.  

Time to make your own..only fancy style.  And by fancy we mean easy.

Go here for the recipe!

Eating Well

Eating Well

 

Oh and don't think we forgot all about you!  If you are over beer for the 4th just throw a few blueberries and raspberries or strawberries in your champagne and voila!  Instant celebration!

 

This next one just has the word party written all over it.  And that's because it's called Party Popcorn.  SO easy, so fun, so insanely delicious. Recipe here!

She Wears Many Hats

She Wears Many Hats

 

Oops you have left over fruit and your best friend brought over champagne?!?  That calls for some patriotic sangria.  Darn left overs ;)

Kdhamptons.com 1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine (works with vodka too!) Zest of one lemon 1 pint blueberries 1 pint raspberries 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup mint Juice of one lemon Fresh mint leaves for garnish Simmer 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup mint, and the juice of one lemon until sugar has dissolved. Let cool for 20 minutes, strain out the mint leaves, then combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and serve over ice. Garnish with a few mint sprigs.

Kdhamptons.com

1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine (works with vodka too!)

Zest of one lemon

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup mint

Juice of one lemon

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Simmer 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup mint, and the juice of one lemon until sugar has dissolved. Let cool for 20 minutes, strain out the mint leaves, then combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and serve over ice. Garnish with a few mint sprigs.

Have a safe and happy holiday!  Don't drink and drive...please!  

xoxo TWH

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Is that a banana in your....ice cream?

Ok this is not a lesson in "hiding" your fruits and veggies in your kids food...ok..ok maybe it is but these recipes are sooo mind blowingly amazing you might hide them from your kids and eat them yourselves.

Whats even more mean about these recipes is the fruits are hidden in their favorite desserts!  And even worse than that cruel joke, they are packed with vitamins and Omegas.  *Cue evil laughter*

I can picture it now...Them-"Mom can I have pudding?"

Me- "OF course!

Them- Utter confusion

**Now I am lucky that my girls love some veggies and eat them daily so I dont have to teach them to love them but like every kid (and me) they love sweet things so I can give them these and feel WAY less guilty. And a bigger plus?  I have the big one make these with me so she can see how great it is to have fruits and veggies in her desserts**

My favorite of favorites-  Banana Ice Cream that doesn't taste like banana ice cream.  It takes only 3 ingredients (I add cinnamon so mine is 4) and your kids will be begging for it.  This one saves me when ever I am trying to slim up those love handles but can't keep the ice cream out of my mouth.

Banana Ice Cream

2 -4 Frozen bananas (peel and slice them before you freeze them)

3 tablespoons nut butter (i use salted peanut)

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

a dash of cinnamon

Blend all in a cuisenart.  Taste test and add any more nut butter or cocoa to your taste.  Freeze in a freezable container and Voila!  

 

I'm a little bit in LOVE with the woman that posted this next one.  Nom Yourself's avocado pudding is just unreal.  Like I will eat the entire serving unreal and the rest of the family searches high and low for it while I hide in the corner with pudding covering my mouth.  Mary is not only gorgeous but insanely talented.  We have her book and I am obsessed.  

Try her pudding filled with Omegas, good fats and vitamins and you will never eat Jello pudding again!  Your family will have no idea how healthy this is. 

Avocado Pudding

2 large ripe avocados peeled and pitted

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/3 non dairy milk (unsweetened)

2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

1/4 maple syrup (real grade A or B)

Dash of cinnamon and sea salt

Mix in blender or cuisenart until smooth and try not to eat it all!

These black bean brownies are from my newest find on Instagram!  The minimalist baker.  Most of her recipes are GF and V but everyone of them is out of control delicious!

Black Bean Brownies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15 oz. can (~ 1 3/4 cups) black beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 large flax eggs
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted (or sub other oil of choice)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (the higher quality the better)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/2 cup raw sugar, slightly ground or pulsed in a food processor or coffee grinder for refined texture
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional toppings: crush walnuts, pecans or semisweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 12-slot standard size muffin pan (not mini). Make sure you've rinsed and thoroughly drained your black beans at this point.
  3. Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a couple times and then let rest for a few minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (besides walnuts or other toppings) and puree - about 3 minutes - scraping down sides as needed. You want it pretty smooth.
  5. If the batter appears too thick, add a Tbsp or two of water and pulse again. It should be slightly less thick than chocolate frosting but nowhere close to runny.
  6. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips.
  8. Bake for 20-26 minutes or until the tops are dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides. I found mine took about 25.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently with a fork. The insides are meant to be very fudgy, so don't be concerned if they seem too moist - that's the point. Plus, they're vegan so it doesn't really matter.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Refrigerate to keep longer.

We promise you if you make these recipes, they will devour them!  Let us know your faves and pass this post to everyone with a sweet tooth!  

xoxo things we heart

Sunny Day Salads

When the weather gets warm... Like it SHOULD be today, sometimes all you want to eat are light cool salads. 

Here are some of our favorite, ad usually the kids like them too. 

 

Watermelon, mint & lime-

We just love a delicious bowl of watermelon chunks sprinkled with mint and drenched in fresh lime juice. The simplest and easiest thing to make. We also love this recipe from girlmakesfood.com for a watermelon, lime and mint smoothie, although we may add some vodka. Just saying'. 

We have ever met a corn salad we didn't like and this corn, basil & tomato salad is our new best friend! Also from the talented girlmakesfood.com , go check out her site, she has so many fun and beautiful recipes. 

This delicious looking salad from Beard+Bonnet.com is just so stunning. We have yet to try it, but if its as delicious as it is pretty then we are sold. 

Another can't go wrong, easy to throw together salad is a spinach, strawberry, nuts and balsamic glaze salad... Add feta cheese or not depending on your diet.

This beauty from Wholefoodrepublic.com is our top choice. 

Is it obvious we can't wait for summer to arrive? Sunshine, lazy days and no packing school luches sounds pretty dreamy to us! 

XOXO- Things We Heart



The only baking post you will ever need! Seriously

Consider us your sugar fairy... the kind that sprinkles love and glitter in the form of delicious goods.  Or you may say devil since your mouth is about to water and stomach growl in anger... sorry!!!  

Now let us be clear... we love a macaron and Momofuku as much as the next but we are all about what works best for us.  We don't have hours and hours on end to create art pieces that are as delicious as they are beautiful... we wish we did because its so relaxing and rewarding..and tasty.

The stunningly beautiful Momofuku Birthday Cake

The stunningly beautiful Momofuku Birthday Cake

And these recipes are probably the best ones you will ever sink your gorgeous teeth into,  the best part?  There are no animal products in them!  Nope...gone are the days where Vegan is a bad word for tasteless.  The following recipes even have friends that swear they would never be able to not eat dairy or eggs BEG me to make these for them! Which I do...happily.  

I first made this birthday cake for my daughters 2nd birthday when I became vegan. I was a little nervous but I made it and it was instantly a hit!  I have made it for every birthday and unbirthday since!  And if you are concerned,  not a single person will ever guess it was vegan and they will probably beg you for more.

Coco's 2nd birthday cake

Coco's 2nd birthday cake

Our World (Almost) Famous Birthday Cake-  adapted from the Cutest Chef Chloe  (PS she won the Cupcake wars with her vegan cupcakes)

Vanilla Cake

3 cups all purpose flour                   1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk        

2 cups sugar                                        1 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons baking soda                 1/4 apple cider vinegar (or white)

1 teaspoon salt                                    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat Oven to 350 and lighty grease two 9 inch round cakes or one 9x13 inch pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.  In separate bowl, whisk together nondairy milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Pour the wet into the dry and mix slowly until just combined.  Over mixing will be a more dense chewy cake (not as good).

Fill each pan and bake for 26-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanish.  Cool the cakes completely before assembly.

"Buttercream" frosting

Mix together with a stand or hand mixer the following (feel free to add more of these ingredients to taste)

3/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (we like the Spectrum)

1/4 cup Earths Balance butter stick                   3 cups organic powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract                          2-5 tablespoons non dairy milk

dash of sea salt

*For pink frosting slowly add drops of pink food color gel until you get the right pink :)

Now for the cake that inspired this post-  The chocolate S'more layer birthday cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.

My Famous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Smore Birthday cake made for the divine, Jessica Neuman.

My Famous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Smore Birthday cake made for the divine, Jessica Neuman.

We used Chef Chloe's chocolate layer cake recipe and adapted it a bit to make it gluten free and a bit fudgier by adding a bit of coconut oil and extra melted chocolate to the batter...shhh. Oh and then we threw in Dandies marshmallows (did you know that regular old marshmallows contain gelatin?  i.e. Cow, horse and fish bones?) in between the layers and on top before baking for good measure.  Then it was topped with our recipe for Vanilla Buttercream...yup....insanity.  

Peanut Butter Chocolate GF Cookies-  We dare you to find a better PB cookie...especially one with out flour.  We got this from one of our fave lifestyle blogs, AHITH and dream about it day and night and everything in between.  Plus its incredibly easy to make!  

A house in the Hills

A house in the Hills

They last forever since there is no flour to dry them out but you will never find that out because they will be eaten instantly.  Recipe on AHITH here!

Insanely fudge fudge chocolate chip brownies from the Goddess of all that is stunning and insanely delectable, Fran Costigan.  Her book is so informative, so imaginable, glamorous and drool inducing you will want to make everything in it.  You will never make any other brownie recipe ever again!

Recipe adapted from Fran's Book

Makes One 8 X 8-Inch Square Pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic whole cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
  • 1/4 cup any nondairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon chocolate or coffee  extract (optional)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or mini chunks
  • 1/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts or mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

 

Preparation

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Oil an 8 x 8-inch square pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Do not oil the paper.

Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, whole cane sugar, arrowroot or cornstarch, baking powder, and salt to the strainer and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.

Whisk the oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla, and chocolate extract, if using, in a separate medium bowl until completely combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula until the batter, which will be thick, is smooth. Allow the batter to rest for ten minutes.

Stir the chocolate chips and nuts, if using, into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and spread into an even layer with a metal spatula.

Bake for 23 minutes until the top is set and dry and the sides have pulled just slightly away from the pan.

Remove the pan from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Immediately insert a wooden tester diagonally into the brownies. The tester will be coated with batter, but not wet. If necessary, bake for another minute.

Cool to room temperature. The middle of the cake will sink as it cools; don’t worry. Once cold you can push the sides down to level the cake if you like. Refrigerate until very cold before cutting into squares.

Ok last thing...we actually wanted to give you a personal challenge... If you are daring enough,  make the brownie the 1st layer (or middle) for your cake and put frosting on top of it then the cake layer and frost that. Or do a cake-brownie-cake layer cake!   Don't think its good?... Just ask the divinely talented Beauty Exorcist Team of Steve Erle and Gregory Arlt.  As a thank you for being so...well...generous, talented, sweet, lovely, funny, kind, rad and magical I made them one of those and lets just say... it was not appropriate. 

Love you guys for loving Things We Heart!  Happy Baking!  Send us photos.   Hope this helped Silverstarmakeup!

xoxo twh

pass us on to your friends & family...we are like tinker bell...the more happiness we spread the stronger we feel!