Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Red Velvet with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm sure this recipe can be made from scratch but I'm not ready to go that far.  (Not with all of the projects I have going on at the moment.)  This recipe is a much simpler version...Cupcakes!!!  I included the original recipe but I use apple sauce instead of diet soda.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
1 (18.25 oz) box of red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
1 can of diet soda (I used Diet Pepsi)
2 egg whites
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
¾ t peppermint extract
3 full sized candy canes, crushed


Directions:
1.    Preheat oven per directions on cake mix box.
2.    Line cupcake pan(s) with 24 cupcake liners or use cooking spray to lightly coat 24 spots.
3.    Combine the cake mix, soda and egg whites in a large bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer until thoroughly mixed. Pour mixture evenly into cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
4.    Bake according to directions on cake mix box. Let cool completely.
5.    In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, vanilla extract, peppermint extract and the sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and then use to frost the cupcakes. Sprinkle frosted cupcakes with crushed candy cane pieces.


Yields 24 servings.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Meatless on Monday #3

I'm ready for another busy week so I'll just get to the recipe!  I'm sharing my meatless meal for you today and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  I found the recipe from the Meatless Monday website.  *I saved myself a bit of time and made Texas Caviar ahead of time and used this mixture for my Tostadas*

Black Bean Tostadas
serves 6

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can black beans
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
6 whole-wheat tortillas
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
4 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 lime

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine black beans, garlic salt and chili powder. Divide the bean mixture into two parts.

Brush both sides of tortillas with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Top three of the tortillas with cheese and half the seasoned beans and leave the other three tortillas with just olive oil. Set the other half of the beans aside. Heat tortillas in the oven for about 10 minutes.

While the tostadas are heating, in a large mixing bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, avocados, scallions and lime juice. Divide the corn relish into two parts. Combine one part of the corn relish with the reserved beans.
*Since I used Texas Caviar, I topped my tostadas with the mixture then added the tomatoes and avocado on top of that.*

When tortillas and beans are thoroughly heated, remove them from the oven. Cut the plain tortillas into bite sized strips to eat dipped in the seasoned bean corn relish. Finish the bean and cheese topped tortillas with the reserved corn relish and enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Harvest Recipe: Pumpkin

This delicious recipe only requires 10 minutes in the oven and then into the freezer it goes.


Pumpkin Mousse
Makes 10 servings

Crust
30 small gingersnap cookies 

(about 7 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon canola oil


Filling
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (or homemade)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.

To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.

Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No-Bake Recipe #8

You could probably use regular couscous (not from a box)  but I had a box lying around from the last time they went on sale (plus a coupon) so it was pretty cheap.  Mint however, is something that I am not growing in my garden at the moment.  Basil on the other hand I have an abundance of so I used Purple Opal Basil instead.

Minty Chickpea Salad With Couscous

Ingredients
1  10-ounce box couscous
1  15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2  teaspoons  grated orange zest
2  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
2  pounds  beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2  small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4  cup  fresh mint, torn
1/4  cup  (2 ounces) roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Directions
Place the couscous in a medium bowl, pour 1 ½ cups hot tap water over the top, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Stir in the chickpeas, orange zest, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, mint, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the remaining oil.

Spoon the couscous and tomato mixture onto a platter and sprinkle with the almonds.

YUM!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No Bake Recipe #7...Dessert!

I just wouldn't be happy making all of these no-bake recipes without including a few desserts here and there.  Would you believe this recipe is healthy?  Well, it is and it's low-fat!

I need to be perfectly honest here.  
The first time I made this it sucked! 
(And I don't normally say that about anything food related) 

I accidentally bought 90% dark chocolate instead of 70% and it was super bitter.  I didn't have half-and-half but I had heavy whipping cream left over from another creation.  To make matters worse, I left the chocolate in the microwave a bit too long.

I'm not one to let a little no-bake recipe get the better of me so off to the store I went to pick up more ingredients.  The second time around was much better!  I used milk chocolate and half-and-half this time and it was delicious!

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse
BHG
Adapted from BHG

Ingredients
6 ounces dark or milk chocolate, chopped
*I liked it better with milk chocolate*
1 -15 ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Raspberries or small strawberries (optional)
Mint leaves (optional)

Directions
Place chopped chocolate in a 2-cup glass measure or small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on 70% power (medium-high) for 1 minute; stir. Microwave on 70% power for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until chocolate is melted, stirring every 15 seconds.

In a food processor bowl combine cheese, half-and-half, and vanilla. Cover and process until combined. Add melted chocolate while food processor is running. Process until well combined. Spoon into demitasse cups or small bowls. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for up to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Meatless on Monday #2

This is a great recipe for those of us who grow our own sprouts!  Growing sprouts is SO MUCH EASIER than growing a full sized tomato or zucchini plant and you can do it in a house, with a mouse, on a train or in the rain...Especially for you apartment dwellers! 

Check out Back to the Basics for sprouting instructions.

Smashed White Bean and Avocado Club
Homegrown Mung Bean sprouts!
Adapted from Real Simple
4 servings

Ingredients
1  15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
black pepper to taste
8  slices multigrain bread
1  small red onion, thinly sliced
1  cucumber, thinly sliced (peeled, if desired)
1  5-ounce container sprouts (such as alfalfa, radish, broccoli, mung bean or a combination)
**Or use homegrown sprouts**
avocados, pitted and thinly sliced

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the beans, oil, salt, and pepper. Roughly mash the mixture with the back of a fork.

Place 4 of the bread slices on a work surface. Divide the mashed beans among them. Top with the onion, cucumber, sprouts, and avocado. 


 Here's where the recipe get's interesting.  You can complete the sandwich one of 3 ways.

1.  Top with remaining slices of bread (plain).
2.  Spread mayo or spicy mustard over remaining slices of bread.
3.  Eat open faced (only using 4 pieces of bread instead of 8).

Now, you have a delicious, nutritious meal using homegrown sprouts! (I was so excited to eat this amazing creation that I didn't take a picture.)  Enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

No-Bake # 6 and a Party!

Happy Friday everyone!  I am so excited today because I'm a guest hostess at Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby's Sweet Saturday link party (below).  I love Friday!

Today I've got a doosey of a healthy treat for you.  Enjoy!

Pina Colada Smoothie
2 servings

Ingredients:
1 stalk of celery, washed and chopped
1 cup pineapple, canned or fresh
1/4 cup shredded coconut
or 1/2 cup coconut milk (or both)
1 banana
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup water (or pineapple juice)
Ice
Optional additions: cinnamon and protein powder

Directions:
Add all of the ingredients into your blender, except for the ice.  Blend until smooth.  Add ice and blend for 1-2 minutes.  Enjoy!
YUM!

And now for the Party!  Welcome to Sweet Saturday!

1. Link up something sweet to really WOW us all- your blog, Etsy store, Pinterest, Facebook, whatever you want! 
2. Link-up as much as you want and please follow me and the hostess, Jessica at Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby. Leave us a comment if you are a new follower so we can follow you back!
3. Hop around and say hi. 
4. Share my button to get more people to join us (not required, but it would be nice!)



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Thursday, July 19, 2012

No-Bake Recipe #5

I love new recipes!  My hubby on the other hand is always a bit suspicious of new concoctions.  This was a bit hit even though he really doesn't like coleslaw.

Chipotle Coleslaw
from BHG

Ingredients
1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
3 cups shredded green cabbage
3/4 cup whole kernel corn, thawed if frozen
3/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Directions
In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, lime juice, honey, cumin, and chipotle chile pepper. In a large bowl combine cabbage, corn, sweet pepper, onion, and cilantro. Pour mayonnaise mixture over cabbage mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

No-Bake Recipe #4

I said I'd give you a recipe for slow cooker leftovers right?  Wraps are one of my favorite recipes for leftovers.  Feel free to throw in a little of this or a little of that!

Spicy Chicken Wraps

Ingredients:
Leftover Chicken (or beef)
1/2 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Salsa
6 -10 inches red, green, and/or plain flour tortillas
3 cups shredded spinach leaves
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled

Directions
Mix cream cheese and salsa in a small bowl. 

On one tortilla spread the cheese mixture, leaving 1-inch border around the edges. Top with a layer of spinach. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons almonds and about 1/4 cup chicken. Add Avocado slices.  Roll up tightly. Secure with a party pick, if necessary, to prevent unrolling. 

Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese mixture, spinach, almonds, avocado and chicken.

This recipe is similar to the Shrimp Pinwheels but you don't cut them up and you can use just about any combination inside your wrap. 

Stop back Friday for Sweet Saturday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No-Bake Recipe #3

Just because I'm not using the oven doesn't mean I'm not cooking.  I am however trying to make things simple.  Time to fire up the slow cooker for a very easy chicken recipe.

Just a tip:  Meatless on Monday #2 will include Sprouts!  Find out how to grow your own at Back to the Basics and save $$. Check out the Health Benefits of Sprouts!

Slow Cooker Spicy Chicken

It's so easy!
Ingredients:
8 Chicken Breasts, bone-in with skin removed
1 Jar of pasta sauce ( I use one with garlic)
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 cups water

Directions:
Add all of your ingredients to your slow cooker.  Cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.  Yum!

Serve over rice or pasta with a Spinach Salad.

I like to save the sauce for spicy chicken noodle soup.  Leftovers?  Stay tuned because tomorrow I'm making slow cooker chicken wraps

Monday, July 16, 2012

Meatless on Monday #1

I mentioned on Saturday that we are going Meatless on Monday.  That means in between my No-Bake series I'll be posting meatless recipes which may or may not require baking.

Why Meatless on Monday?  I'm glad you asked!  I found a ton of useful info at MeatlessMonday.com about the health and environmental benefits of going meatless one day a week.  While we don't eat meat every day, this is a great opportunity to plan out my week of meals (SO much more on that later).

According to meatlessmonday.com
"Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
Read about these benefits below. But keep in mind that just going meatless is not enough. That’s why we give you the information you need to add healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives to your diet each week. Further, if you do eat meat on other days, we strongly recommend grass-fed, hormone-free, locally-raised options whenever possible."

If you are looking for a healthier meat, check out Midlife Farmwife at South Pork Ranch.

On to the recipes!  I chose an oldie but a goodie for day 1 plus a bonus new recipe for "dessert."

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 -8.8 ounce package dried pappardelle (wide egg noodles)
1 1/2 pounds sliced mushrooms, such as button, cremini, and/or shiitake
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 -8 ounce carton light sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 cup vegetable broth
Snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (optional)

Directions
1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.
2. In extra-large skillet cook mushrooms and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat 5 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. (Reduce heat if mushrooms brown quickly.) Remove with slotted spoon; cover to keep warm.
3. For sauce, in bowl combine sour cream, flour, paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in broth until smooth. Add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 1 minute more. Serve mushroom mixture and sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley.

Easy Tropical Fruit Salad
8 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups  seedless red grapes or cherries
1 large  orange, sectioned
1 banana, sliced
1 can  (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup  miniature marshmallows
8 oz low-fat or fat-free  Sour Cream
¼ cup  Coconut flakes, toasted

Directions
Mix all ingredients and cover.
REFRIGERATE 2 to 3 hours.
**I didn't have grapes so I used cherries (remove the seeds) and I didn't have an orange so I used 1 large can of mandarin oranges**

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No-Bake Recipe #2

Sundays are usually laid back in our house.  Hubby and I make our weekly trip to the farmer's market and we hit the gym around 3pm.  Salads and protein shakes are a staple for us, along with delicious desserts!  Since I'm on a No-Bake kick, today I'm using up the last of the leftover grilled chicken on a bed of greens.

Mary's Super Sunday Salad
2 servings

Ingredients:
Salad Greens
2 boiled eggs
Chicken, cooked and shredded
Cucumber, halved and sliced
Blue Cheese, crumbled
Candied Pecans
White Raisins
Dressing:  I prefer Apple-Cider Viniagrette

Directions:
Add your greens into 2 bowls.  Top with chicken and cucumber slices.
Peel the boiled eggs and prepare using an egg slicer.  Add eggs to salad.
Add all of the yummy toppings, salad dressing and Serve!

While you're at it, you might want to distract the curious kitten or you'll end up needing a little first aid like I did.  Have you ever had a kitten attach themselves to the back of your leg while you're wearing shorts?
Doesn't she look so sweet and innocent?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No-Bake Recipe Day #1

I probably don't even have to mention this but IT'S HOT!  Of course South Florida is always hot!  I even have the wunderground app on my phone (thanks honey!) just to let me know how brutally hot it is outside.

Okay, I'll quit complaining and get to the good stuff!  I'm trying to conserve gas/electricity by not using the oven and heating up the house so for the next few days (maybe weeks) I'll be posting no-bake recipes.  AND if that wasn't enough for you, we have decided to go meatless on Mondays.  We don't eat meat every day but this will give me a better way to plan our meals.  On to the recipe!

Shrimp Pinwheels
From BHG

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and peeled
1/2 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
6 -10 inches red, green, and/or plain flour tortillas
3 cups shredded spinach leaves
2/3 cup smoked almonds, chopped
10 ounces peeled and deveined cooked shrimp, chopped
Party picks (optional)

Directions
In a medium bowl mash avocado with a fork. Add cheese; stir until smooth. Stir in catsup, horseradish, lemon peel, lemon juice, and chili powder.

On one tortilla spread 1/4 cup of the avocado mixture, leaving 1-inch border around the edges. Top with a layer of spinach. Sprinkle with a scant 2 tablespoons almonds and about 1/4 cup shrimp. Roll up tightly. Secure with a party pick, if necessary, to prevent unrolling. Repeat with remaining tortillas, avocado mixture, spinach, almonds, and shrimp.

Place rolled tortillas on a tray or platter. Cover and chill up to 4 hours before serving. To serve, cut each rolled tortilla into 1-inch slices, discarding ends. Secure with party picks, if necessary. Arrange slices on a serving platter. Makes about 36 slices.

**We don't eat shrimp.  I love this recipe with shredded chicken**

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More Cupcakes! Bear Paws...

Since I was on a roll making Polar Bear Cupcakes last weekend I decided to try my hand and Paw Cupcakes.  I had all of the necessary tools since I went crazy at the grocery store buying everything I might need (and then some)!

You'll need:
Cupcakes
white frosting
Reese's pieces (orange/yellow/brown)
Decorator bag OR DIY using a ziploc bag

I won't bore you with the details of making cupcakes or frosting.  Normally I would make everything from scratch but as usual I was running late!  First, frost the cupcakes with vanilla or white frosting.  Don't be shy, slather it on!

Next, load your chocolate frosting into your decorator bag, or in my case your handy-dandy ziploc bag.  Make the larger circle with chocolate frosting and fill it in.  Now add three brown reese's pieces to complete the paws.  

Don't forget to eat a few as you go.  YUM!
*Update* You can reverse the colors by using chocolate frosting first then marshmallows for the paw. Use small and large marshmallows just like when we made Polar Bear Cupcakes. Cut the end off the large marshmallow and there you have it!

Here's another version from My Creating Spot but they have coconut.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Polar Bear Cupcakes!

I had a special request from a special someone.  For her birthday she wanted Polar Bear cupcakes.  How could I say no?  Sure I can make those!  Right?  Um...A google search followed and I found over a hundred pictures of polar bear cupcakes.  
photo from Cupcake Recipes
photo from My Cake Hobby
But here's the catch...She doesn't like coconut! On to another search!  I found a great picture but no tutorial.  I'm going to attempt to show you how to make polar bear cupcakes!  Because I was short on time I used packages cupcakes and pre-made frosting.  Feel free to make these from scratch!

You'll need:
Cupcakes
White Frosting
large and small marshmallows
black decorating or chocolate frosting with decorator bag
Clean scissors

DIY decorator bag:  Take a ziploc baggie, fill the corner with frosting and snip of the tip.

Begin by frosting you cupcakes with white frosting.  Take a large marshmallow and cut in half for the nose. Place the marshmallows on the cupcake before you draw the nose.  Use the black decorating gel or chocolate frosting and draw the nose.  Use the small marshmallows for the ears.  I cut those in half also so they didn't stick out so far.

Use the black decorating gel or chocolate frosting again to make eyes for the bear.

This one looks a little angry!
That's it!  If I can do it so can you!  While I was in cupcake mode I made a few other funky cupcakes which I'll share throughout the week.  Enjoy!
Polar Bear Cupcakes
 Featured at:







Saturday, July 7, 2012

Watermelon Margaritas!

Yes, it IS 5 o'clock somewhere!  I'm not sure why but I really wanted to make margaritas and I had half a watermelon left so here goes.  I sorta just threw everything together and then found a recipe online to share. I don't use salt so feel free to add that to your directions if you are so inclined.  This delicious concoction is a spectacular summer treat.  Enjoy!

Watermelon Margaritas
(Serves 2):
1 1/2 C watermelon, chilled, seeded and cut into pieces
1/4 C lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 C silver (white) tequila
1/4 C Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
8 large ice cubes

Add all of the ingredients except for the ice into the blender and blend for a minute or two.  Add Ice and blend for another minute.  Serve!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Simple Basil Lemonade

My garden is currently a disaster!  We adopted a 5 week old kitten almost 3 weeks ago and it's been almost 100 degrees every day for the last 2...maybe 4 weeks.  We try to stay close to home (or just not leave the house) on the 4th.  Traffic is crazy, people get drunk and I worry about fireworks frightening our children (the feline variety).

Where was I going with this?  Right...I had this great idea yesterday!  
I finally made it out to the garden and realized my basil plants were in serious need of a trim.



What do you do when life gives you extra Basil?
Make Basil Lemonade!  I didn't use a recipe and I didn't use much sugar.  This is a great recipe to use any extra basil cuttings or even basil flowers.  I'm going to include my instructions plus an additional recipe for something a bit sweeter.

Basil Lemonade
I like things simple!  I have a variety of jars but for this recipe I used large, wide-mouth Ball jars (quart size) and empty Mason jars (24 ounce?) from pasta sauce. 
2 jars have Purple Opal Basil and 2 have Fine Verde Basil.

Ingredients:
Basil: 3 long sprigs per jar
Lemons: 1/2 a sliced lemon per jar
Sugar: 1-2 tablespoon per jar (or use stevia)
Water

Directions:
Place appropriate amount of water in a large pot and boil.  While you wait, add the Basil, Lemons and Sugar to each jar.

Once your water has boiled, pour into filled jars.  Let the jars cool until you can handle them.  Screw the tops onto your jars and place in the fridge.  Wait about an hour and shake up the jars then put back into the fridge.  Lemonade should be ready in 6-12 hours depending on how strong you like it.

Check me out at Deborah Jean's Dandelion House

And now for something slightly different!
Basil Lemonade
from Alaska from Scratch

Ingredients

For the Simple Syrup:
1c sugar
1c water

For the Lemonade:
1 recipe simple syrup
1c freshly squeezed lemon juice
4c cold water
4 basil leaves, chiffonade
lemon slices

Instructions

To make the Simple Syrup:
In a saucepan, cook water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is a clear syrup. Set aside.

To a pitcher, add lemon juice, simple syrup, and cold water. Stir and taste. If too sweet (every batch is different according to your lemons), add more cold water until desired sweetness is reached. Add basil, lemon rounds and ice just before serving. Stir and serve.

Notes

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

A cross-post from Back to the Basics!

Taken from  History.com :  "Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues."

It's not all about barbecues and fireworks! It's about Freedom and Independence, something many people take for granted.
 
The History Channel has a few great videos which we have found very informative.  Even Netflix has a PBS series that's worth watching called Liberty.


A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.   ~Thomas Jefferson 

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.   ~Thomas Jefferson

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.  ~George Washington 

Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.    
~George Washington 
 
Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.   ~John Adams 

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.   
~John Adams 

Have a Happy and Safe INDEPENDENCE Day!