A Tale of Two Birthdays

Hi friends! This post may be a little different, and I’ve had to decide exactly how I wanted to write today. Of course I want to share Fourth of July festivities, but July 4th is also very important to me for a more personal reason. July 4th is my beautiful grandmother’s birthday, and this is our first year celebrating without her.

So, I decided I can celebrate both today, and share with you a little bit about two very important birthdays. My family and I celebrated both with lots of fun, family time, and food.

I’ll be perfectly honest and say these recipes were spread out over the whole weekend because there’s only so much eating you can do in one day. My mom and I had three full days of trying out new, summery recipes for the whole family.

On Thursday, we decided on the all-American classic of hotdogs for dinner. Instead of the classic mustard and ketchup topping, we decided to spice it up with several options like chili and kraut.

I’m a huge fan of a healthy helping of spicy mustard and kraut!
My mom went wild with mustard, ketchup, kraut, and some crunchy potato chips on top!
My brother loves a classic chili dog with cheese & onions!

We kept our sides super simple and easy; pasta salad and cucumber-tomato salad are classic Posey family favorites. For pasta salad, we love to just buy a box of the bacon and ranch Suddenly Salad (it’s so quick and my little sister loves to make it).

For the cucumber-tomato salad, I chopped up some mini cucumbers from Trader Joe’s, several colorful tomatoes straight from our garden, and a little bit of leftover sweet onion. Splash in a little white vinegar, Olive Garden (or just plain Italian) dressing, and some salt and pepper and you have one of my all time favorite summer sides.

On Friday we were a little more laid back. I had a slow morning, and was able to take my time to make the prettiest little Patriotic smoothie bowl.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I LOVE a good smoothie bowl!

For the smoothie itself, I used one ripe banana, and a handful or so of frozen mixed berries. I added just a splash of unsweetened almond milk so that it would blend, but not too much so it would stay thick. You can also add maple syrup or honey to sweeten, but I find it sweet enough with just the fruit.

My favorite part of smoothie bowls are the toppings. I of course wanted this one to be red, white, & blue themed, so I dug around in our pantry and fridge until I was satisfied with my finds. For the red, I sliced up some fresh strawberries and sprinkled in some fresh raspberries. For the blue, I grabbed blueberries (duh) that we got from a friend’s garden. And lastly, for the white I used my fav unsweetened coconut flakes from Trader Joe’s. I finished off with some super cute star sprinkles (because we always have baking supplies at my house).

Friday afternoon we spent swimming and soaking up some sun, a much-needed little retreat.

I’m not much of a soda drinker, but every once in a while a glass-bottle Coke just hits different 🙂

My cute little red fringe bikini is from Target, linked here.

On the actual holiday, we went all out for lunch with Guac Burger Sliders (YUM).

Our sliders consisted of Publix Bakery dinner rolls, my mom’s homemade burger patties, melty Colby jack cheese, and simple homemade guac. They were delicious!

Even though the burgers were heavenly, I almost have to say our sides were the stars of the plate!

Since today (the 4th) is my grandma’s birthday, my mom wanted to make her cherished recipe for potato salad. I’ve never had a potato salad quite like my grandmother’s; she always used a healthy amount of mayo and a splash of dill pickle juice and it was always amazing.

I threw together a warm corn salad on a whim, and it was SOOO good! I made it up on the spot so you’ll have to forgive the vague recipe. First I cut the kernels off of five ears of fresh sweet corn and sautéed them in olive oil for about 15 or so minutes. Once the corn started to brown, I put it into a big bowl with some fresh basil, tomatoes, and a mild jalapeno all from our garden. I finished it off with a generous helping of lime juice and Tony’s Cajun seasoning, and all I can say is I’ll definitely be making it again!

Lastly, we broke out a jar of pickled green beans, another family favorite.

Don’t you just love our over-the-top flag plates? 🙂

For our final patriotic treat, my mom and I undertook the endeavor of crafting our very own “monster shake.” If you’ve been on Instagram or Pinterest within the last two years, I’m sure you’ve seen the huge milkshakes with towers of candy, cookies, or even donuts on top. I’ve had one once before, and I wanted to try to make my own this time, in patriotic colors nonetheless.

A firework show in shake form!

We filled up the glass with vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries and blueberries and topped it all off with homemade whipped cream and a mountain of candies, fresh fruit, and sugared marshmallows. It was absolutely amazing, and was plenty to share with my siblings too 🙂

To finish out this post, I just want to say a few words to honor another very special birthday on this day.

This is our first year celebrating without the beautiful Barbara Jean Ward. I have never met another that is quite the firecracker she was. She taught her fierceness and adventure to my siblings and I from a young age and I am forever grateful. She never missed a chance to celebrate our creativity. I will continue to bring her spirit everywhere with me, and hope make her stories known.

Thank you all so very much for reading, and I hope you had a fabulous holiday weekend! I have enjoyed sharing with you all a little look into my fourth festivities as well as why this date is very near and dear to my heart. Please reach out to me on my social media and let me know how you celebrated the fourth and if you decided to give any of my fun summery recipes a go!

Stay Sweet, Sophia ❤

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