July 24, 2010

Fourth of July 2010

Only 20 days later. That works for me. We really didn't do anything for the Fourth of July--that is how we do things. . . we just don't. I did want to have a traditional type dinner for the day that we technically "celebrated" on the fifth. In my mind a good Fourth of July meal is grilled hamburgers/hotdogs, macaroni salad, and ice cream. But before the meal came some fun with KLB.

Since it was a day off KLB and I spent the day making decorative balls. I believe that was the first day of three or so that we spent making those damn things. Truthfully, overall they weren't too bad. There were a few however that decreased the enjoyability of the process. The worst one of all was the braided twine balls. If you have never braided LONG pieces of twine. . . DON'T. By LONG I mean like 10 feet or more and by DON'T I mean never, at no time, not under any condition, forget it. I am not even joking about this. Ask KLB. She is NEVER going to braid twine again either. Sure the balls came out nice looking but not sure if the nice-looking factor outweighs the pain-in-the-butt factor. I will post more about the decorative balls another time.

Our day of decorative ball making had a big, bright, fun middle. The bright spot in the day was dinner. PE grilled hamburgers, Carrots with Thyme & Onions, and green beans. I had made Macaroni Salad and then Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for dessert.

The hamburgers were delicious as usual. The carrots and green beans were crisp tender and perfectly done. The macaroni salad totally fulfilled my craving for a creamy, not sweet, relatively plain macaroni salad. The ice cream was a three day process--not a difficult process but a waiting process. I made the custard on day 1 then put it in the refrigerator. I made the ice cream day 2 then put it in the freezer to harden. On day 3 we enjoyed the creamy goodness with Oreos and M&M's.

It was fun to have KLB over for the delicious meal and sad that her sister and dog couldn't join us. Hopefully they will both be able to join us for dinner another time.

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Macaroni Salad
adapted from Food.com (previously Recipezaar)
Print Recipe

2 cups macaroni
3 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup celery
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons dried red pepper
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 cup mayonnaise

Boil the macaroni and the eggs together in the same pot. Let cool. Dice the eggs. Throw it all in the bowl and mix together. Add chicken, tuna or shrimp to turn it from a side dish to a meal.

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Grilled Carrots with Thyme & Onion
from BigOven
Print Recipe

1 lb small carrots
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
4 tsp butter
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
salt and pepper

Divide carrots between two pieces of foil large enough to fold into packets. Sprinkle evenly with onion, butter and thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely wrap foil over vegetables, sealing tightly. Place on grill over medium-high heat; cook, turning once, for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender-crisp. Makes 4 servings

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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Print Recipe

1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 cups half-and-half
2 cups sugar
8 whole (up To 9) large egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream

Heat half-and-half and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over low heat, adding vanilla “caviar” to the mixture. (You can also drop in the scraped vanilla bean, just to extract all the flavor. Make sure to discard the bean before moving to the next step.) Turn off heat when mixture is totally heated. Beat egg yolks by hand or with an electric mixer until yolks are pale yellow and slightly thick. Temper the egg yolks by slowly drizzling into the 1 1/2 cups of hot half-and-half mixture, whisking constantly. After that, pour the egg yolk/half-and-half mixture into the pan containing the rest of the half-and-half mixture. Cook over low to medium-low heat (depending on how hot your stove gets) until quite thick, stirring constantly. Drain custard using a fine mesh strainer, then pour into a bowl with the heavy cream. Stir to combine. Chill mixture completely, then freeze in an ice cream maker until thick. Place container in freezer to harden for at least eight hours. Serve with something chocolate such as M&M’s or Oreos (chopped).

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