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Delicious + kid-friendly recipes for the 4th of July weekend

Bring on the fireworks and good food!

kid-friendly recipes

The summer season means it's officially grilling season and with the 4th of July on the horizon, it's only right that we rounded up our favorite backyard recipes. And don't feel like you have to host a gathering to make yummy dishes for the holiday. These kid-friendly meals and sides are great for the entire family. Just be sure to make enough—these meals go fast. Enjoy!

Here are our favorite recipes to prepare on Independence day weekend:

1. Watermelon feta salad

Parker Feierbach

Serves: 4

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cup cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup medium cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mint
  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt.
  2. In a large serving bowl, combine watermelon, cucumber, feta, red onion and mint. Pour over dressing, tossing to combine.
  3. Garnish with more mint and flaky sea salt.

Recipe by Delish

2. Grilled guacamole

Taste of Home

Serves: 12

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 3 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Tortilla chips

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine onion, tomatoes, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil; gently toss to coat. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat or broil 4 in. from heat 6-8 minutes or until tender and charred, turning occasionally. Brush avocados with remaining oil. Grill or broil avocados, cut side down, 4-6 minutes or until charred. Cool vegetables completely.
  2. Chop onion, tomatoes and pepper; set aside. Peel avocados; transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in vegetables, cilantro, lime juice, cumin and salt. Serve immediately with chips.

Recipe by TasteofHome

3. Pasta salad

Ayesha Firdaus on Unsplash

Serves: 8

Total time: 35 minutes

Instructions:

  • 12 ounces fun-shaped pasta, such as radiatore
  • 8 slices thin bacon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash sugar, optional
  • 10 ounces grape tomatoes (yellow and red), halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound Cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Ground black pepper
  • 24 whole basil leaves, chiffonade

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Then drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.
  2. Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and throw into a large skillet. Saute until slightly crisp, and then remove to a paper-towel-lined-plate.
  3. For the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt and sugar if using in a small bowl.
  4. Stir together the pasta, dressing, tomatoes, bacon, Cheddar and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Stir in the basil at the end.

Recipe by FoodNetwork

4. Shrimp rolls

Joslyn Blair

Serves: 4

Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • kosher salt
  • 8 hot dog buns, preferably split top, toasted
  • Scallions, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Boil shrimp in salted boiling water until opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a cutting board to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, and paprika and season with salt.
  3. Chop shrimp and add to mayo mixture. Spoon shrimp mixture into toasted buns and garnish with scallions.

Recipe by Delish

5. Beer bratwurst

The Spruce

Serves: 6

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (or butter, divided)
  • 6 bratwurst
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 6 ounces beer

Instructions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter.
  2. Brown the bratwurst until they're a deep golden brown. Do not puncture the sausages or they will become dry. Remove to a platter.
  3. To the drippings, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil or butter and the sweet onion rings. Toss the onions to coat them with the oil.
  4. Cook, stirring often until onions are limp and golden, but not brown. Return the bratwurst to the onions and add the beer.
  5. Cook over medium heat, turning midway through until the beer has cooked down to a syrup, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Bratwurst may be served on buns with the onions or as an entrée.
Recipe by ThespruceEats

6. Easy strawberry tart

Delish

Serves: 10

Total time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 tbsp strawberry or raspberry preserves

Instructions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and stir until dough forms. Press mixture into a 10" or 11" tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing until dough is smooth. Prick all over with a fork and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form, 7 minutes. In another large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Fold in whipped cream, then spoon into cooled crust and smooth top.
  3. Starting on the outside, arrange strawberries on top of tart in a circle until entire tart is covered.
  4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat together preserves and 2 teaspoons water until warmed, 30 seconds. Brush over tart and refrigerate until well chilled, 2 hours.

Recipe by Delish

7. Tomato-basil salad

Food Network

Serves: 6 to 8

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more if needed
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute and removing from the heat before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden).
  2. Pour it into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add the tomatoes, balsamic, basil and some salt and pepper to the bowl.
  4. Toss to combine, and then taste and add more basil if needed, and more salt if needed.

Recipe by FoodNetwork





This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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