July 4, 2017

Fireworks, Cherry Bombs and Sangria!

Happy 4th of July! I am truly grateful this year to celebrate because this week started with literal fireworks of the worst kind. There was a fire at my in-laws' that consumed the garage and the cars inside. We all consider ourselves lucky because we know how much worse it all could have been and we are grateful to the Marblehead Fire and Police departments for their heroic acts and talents!

So in thinking of today's great holiday, America's Independence Day and the 4th of July, I decided that I had to fulfill three priorities:

1) Whatever I made had to be EASY!
2) I had to involve some form of comfort food
3) Alcohol was a must (therapeutically of course, ha ha!)

As a result of my very rigorous criteria, I have three super easy recipes that you can whip up today, or any day where comfort, ease and alcohol are needed. Isn't that every day?
I started with the easiest thing to make first, Pretzels with Hershey Chocolate Kisses with Patriotic M&Ms. The recipe includes only those three ingredients and they take no time to make.

Grab some Bachman Mini pretzels. I ALWAYS use Bachman pretzels when I can because the company belongs to a college friend's family. I remember her arriving on campus with the old family wood-paneled station wagon and the pièce de résistance was her hood ornament, a silver salted pretzel with the salt crystals raised and bumpy. It was sooo cool!

To make these little treats, preheat the oven to 275 degrees
Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or foil and place as many preztels as you can on it without touching.
Unwrap one Hershey Kiss for each pretzel and place it on the twist.
Cook in the oven for approximately 10 minutes until the kiss is shiny and partially melted. Leaving the pretzels on the cookie sheet, carefully press an M&M into the chocolate until it is secure.

Place these into the frig for 20 minutes to harden and then enjoy this sweet & salty combo!
Next up, CHERRY BOMBS! We need fireworks on this holiday after all, and these things are potento!
This is another simple recipe where all you need is:
1 cup of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
1 Cup of Whipped Cream Vodka
2 Jars of Maraschino Cherries with their stems on
1 small bag of white chocolate chips
Colorful sanding sugar for dipping the cherries

Drain the cherries from the jar liquid and then pour over them... 
1 Cup of Fireball and...
1 cup of Whipped Cream-flavored vodka and place the cherries in the frig for approximately an hour so the cherries can absorb all that boozy fabulosity!

When the time is up, drain the cherries from the booze and place them in a paper towel-lined bowl and keep another paper towel handy to dry the cherries even more if they are still wet.
In 20 second intervals, microwave the white chocolate chips, stirring after each time until the chocolate is melted and creamy. Line up the cherries, chocolate and sanding sugar and let the fun begin!
Take the cherry gently by the stem and wipe off any residual wetness with a paper towel. Then dip the cherry 2/3 of the way up into the white chocolate. 
Then dip the base of the cherry into the sugar.
Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and stick them in the frig for 20 minutes to set before eating them (or really drinking them because they are full of so much booze!)
The final recipe to this silly gathering is SANGRIA!
You can use any wine, but I like white sangria and I prefer chardonnay since it has more flavor to me than other wines. Don't worry about getting the most expensive bottle either because you are adding a lot of fruit to this concoction! You can also add any fruit you want, but there are basics to sangria that you should always have. Then you can go crazy adding whatever else you want. And if you are even more adventurous, you can add in shots of your other favorite liquor like gin or rum!

Here's the recipe:
1 750 ml bottle of wine
3 oranges cut into wedges
1 lemon cut into wedges
1 lime cut into wedges
2/3 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of gingerale

Pour the wine into a pitcher and squeeze all the wedges of fruit into the liquid and then throw in the squeezed wedges into the sangria. Remove any seeds if you need to. 
Add the sugar and stir. 
IF you have time (and really who does?) chill this mix overnight. But IF you're like me and always running late, you can mix it all up and serve it over a LOT of ice! But to be honest, as good as it is the rushed way, it would probably taste even better (if that's possible) if it had time to blend overnight.

Before serving, grab your glass and add in any other fun fruits or veggies (some people add in cucumbers). For the 4th, I thought strawberries, blueberries and raspberries would be a nice touch! Pour the gingerale into the pitcher, stir and serve in your ice-filled glasses. Voila!
Happy Fourth!