Fourth of July Recipes: Festive & Family-Friendly 4th of July Treats!


fourth of july recipes

Independence Day will be here before we know it, and I’ve been on the lookout for Fourth of July recipes that my kids and my friends’ little ones will like. I want to make some simple red, white and blue treats to help my kids celebrate the 4th of July!

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Here are five kid-friendly Fourth of July recipes and treats that are as delicious as they are easy to prepare!

Fourth of July Recipes:


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Red, White & Blueberry Skewers


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Red, White & Blue Parfaits


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Pretzel Americana


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Fireworks Cookies


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Star-Spangled Stained Glass Jello


Not feeling like getting crafty in the kitchen on a holiday? You could always fill up an apothecary jar with red, white and blue gumballs and call it a day:

baby deals Will you be making any fun, patriotic treats for the Fourth? I’d love to hear your Fourth of July recipes and ideas!

Easy Appetizer Recipes with Olives

easy appetizer recipes with olivesOlives are a funny food for me. I love eating a few if they’re right in front of me, but I totally forget about them if they’re out of my sight.

Another weird thing? I never even think about cooking or preparing food with olives as an ingredient. I guess I’m inadvertently an olive purist!

easy appetizer recipes with olives

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like recipes, especially easy recipes, with olives. Now that I know olives are a good source for vitamin E, fiber and iron, I think I’m on my way to changing that!

For high-quality olives, make sure you turn over the jar or tin and look for the Olives from Spain logo.

I love reading recipes, and I’m always saving easy appetizer recipes. Once I knew I wanted a recipe with Olives from Spain, I started keeping an eye out for easy appetizer recipes with olives.

easy appetizer recipes with olives

When I couldn’t find any perfect easy appetizer recipes with olives I came up with my own: Cilantro Lime Hummus with Black Olives.

This easy appetizer takes about 5 minutes to make, and just a few extra minutes to chop up veggies and slice some bread to serve with it!

2 Easy Appetizer Recipes with Olives

Cilantro Lime Hummus Recipe


1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced black ripe olives
Paprika (optional)


  1. Put garbanzo beans, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and lime juice in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add reserved liquid from the garbanzo beans and blend again. I add 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s the desired consistency.
  4. Sprinkle sliced black ripe olives over the finished hummus.
  5. Garnish with paprika and additional cilantro leaves, if desired.

Another one of those easy appetizer recipes with olives was provided by Olives from Spain: marinated olives. I love that these can be served on their own or with a variety of breads and crackers.

easy appetizer recipes with olives

Marinated Olives Recipe


1 cup pitted green olives of your choice, drained
1 cup pitted Spanish green olives, drained
1 cup pitted black olives, drained
1 cup pitted pimento stuffed olives
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ounces Sherry vinegar
2 ounces balsamic vinegar
8 ounces olive oil
2 lemons, peeled & juiced
Salt, to taste


  1. Combine garlic, sugar, oregano and crushed red pepper in a bowl.
  2. Add the vinegars, lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Fold the olives into the mixture and gently add the lemon peel and bay leaves.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.

This month, Olives from Spain is heading to Miami for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. If you’re also going to be one of the 18,000 attendees at this festival, stop by the Olives from Spain station to sample some tasty bites!

Follow the #OlivesFromSpain hashtag for more details and easy appetizer recipes with olives! Stay connected with Olives from Spain on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Olives from Spain via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Olives from Spain or Momtrends.

Easy Applewood Bacon BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

applewood bacon bbq chickenHaving a dinner backup plan is something that gives me a little sense of peace. I’m already terrible at meal planning, so knowing I have everything ready to feed my family for at least one upcoming meal makes me feel a little more prepared than usual.

A few weeks ago I talked about making the best chipotle tacos thanks to McCormick Skillet Sauces. Last night, I tried out a different variety, the Smoky Applewood BBQ Chicken with Bacon Skillet Sauce.

mccormick skillet sauce reviewThe instructions for this sauce state to brown boneless skinless chicken with sliced onion in a skillet, then add the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

I actually already had a good amount precooked, cubed chicken breasts in my freezer, so I decided to make our meal even easier than originally planned.

I skipped the onion because I knew I’d be scooping the chicken out around it when I served it to my family.Instead, I just put the frozen chicken in the skillet over medium heat until it was nearly thawed. Then I added the Smoky Applewood BBQ Chicken with Bacon Skillet Sauce to the pan, reduced the heat to low and let it simmer for five minutes.

I served up the barbeque chicken on homemade hamburger buns and let the family have at it. Here’s how they responded:

  • I’m not a huge fan of anything barbeque, but I’ll eat it. I thought the Smoky Applewood BBQ Chicken with Bacon Skillet Sauce was honestly some of the best tasting barbecue sauce I’ve had!
  • My husband loved the chicken and the sauce. He thought it was perfect.
  • Haiden, 6, ate his bbq chicken sandwich, then asked for another plain bun. I was happy with that ☺
  • Piper, 5, once again took one bite and stated that the chicken was “too spicy.” Again, I would never serve my kids anything even remotely spicy. I’m beginning to think she doesn’t even know what spicy means. I’m convinced it’s becoming her standard argument for not finishing anything she doesn’t want to eat! Because of that, don’t believe her. I’m starting not to ☺

McCormick Skillet Sauces come in a variety of flavors. Over the past few weeks, we’ve tried more than a few. In addition to the Tacos with Chipotle & Garlic and the Smoky Applewood BBQ Chicken with Bacon, we’ve had Fire Roasted Garlic Chili Skillet Sauce, Sicilian Chicken with Tomato, Basil and Garlic and the Sweet & Smoky Sloppy Joes Skillet Sauce. Each one has been just as easy as promised, and they’ve been delicious!

Which McCormick Skillet Sauce would you like to try? 

Disclosure: This blog post provided by McCormick. Incentives and samples were provided to facilitate the article. 

Quick and Delicious Chipotle Tacos Recipe

best chipotle tacos recipe

One of my goals for the new year is to get better at making dinner for my family. No one in our house ever actually goes hungry, but our suppers are usually thrown together at the last minute. That means lots of our meals are breakfast foods, pasta, grilled cheese and other old standbys that don’t require much preparation.

mccormick skillet sauces reviewMcCormick certainly had good timing when they sent me a package with all of their new McCormick Skillet Sauces a few days ago. Since they’re all created to help people like me make a home cooked, fresh tasting meal in “no time” they’re a great way to transition from quick, boring dinners to real meals that my family will appreciate.

The first meal I made from my selection of sauces were the Tacos with Chipotle and Garlic. 

My husband and I both love tacos, but I really overthink it when it comes to cooking them. I make myself believe we need a ton of fresh produce, sour cream, fancy salsa and other toppings in order to have “good tacos.”

As it turns out, the only topping I associate with tacos that we didn’t have was shredded lettuce. My husband reminded me that I don’t even like iceberg lettuce and insisted we could do without it. So we did!

The instructions on the package for the McCormick tacos with chipotle and garlic are a little silly in their simplicity:

1. Brown ground beef in skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.
2. Stir in Sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute or until heated through.
3. Spoon into taco shells. Serve with desired toppings.

It took less than 10 minutes to get from raw ground beef to taco meat that was ready to be served. While the meat cooked I sliced some cherry tomatoes, heated up some yellow corn and rice and warmed a stack of flour tortillas.

By the time the beef was ready, I had salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese on the table. I spooned the meat onto the tortillas and then let everyone decide what else they wanted on their tacos.

mccormick skillet sauce reviewI’m going to be 100% honest: My husband and I loved the flavor and texture of the McCormick Skillet Sauce tacos. Honestly, they were fantastic. Our picky-eating kids, however, each had a different opinion:

Haiden, 6, thought it was “ok.” He ate a taco with just meat and a ton of cheese, and had rice and corn on the side.

Piper took a bite and declared it “too spicy.” (Let me jump in and say that I would never knowingly give either of my kids anything even remotely spicy. I seriously keep them away from mints and black pepper! Therefore, I completely disagree with Piper’s statement :))  She ended up with a plain cheese quesadilla instead of a taco.

I’m a big believer in having my kids try foods they “don’t like” multiple times-their opinion has certainly changed about a lot of foods since their first taste! All in all, I would definitely make these McCormick Skillet Sauce tacos again, but I might go a little lighter on the sauce for the meat my kids were eating to help introduce them to the flavors.

If you had your choice of McCormick Skillet Sauces, which one would you make first? 

Disclosure: This blog post provided by McCormick. Incentives and samples were provided to facilitate the article. 

Easy Christmas Recipes for Kids: 21 Fun Kid-Friendly Holiday Treats


easy Christmas recipes for kids

We’re having a family baking day tomorrow, so I needed some easy Christmas recipes for kids to make! I’m so happy  I found plenty of cookies and treats that are fun to make with children!

These easy Christmas recipes for kids are fun projects to make with kids, but most (or all!) of these need adult supervision and assistance.

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My #1 tip for baking with kids: Be sure to read the directions thoroughly before you get started. Then decide the steps where your little ones will help or do entirely on their own. That one thing always saves me a lot of stress!

21 Easy Christmas Recipes for Kids

1. Melted Snowman Cookies from Three Pixie Lane

2. Nutella Christmas S’mores from Pint-Sized Treasures

3. Christmas Tree Brownies with Buttercream Frosting from Love to be in the Kitchen

4. Old Fashioned Holiday Cookies from Essentially Eclectic

5. Chocolate Cookies from Simply Stacie

6. Gluten Free Gingerbread 7-Layer Bars from Fearless Dining

7. Rainbow Painted Sugar Cookies from Snappy Gourmet

8. Easy Christmas Peppermint Patties from Mom on Timeout

9. Nutter Butter Santa Cookies: an easy Christmas recipe for kids from Menu Musings

10. Christmas Pudding Balls from Be a Fun Mum

11. Snowmen Cake Pops from 52 Kitchen Adventures

12. Christmas Pretzel Buttons from Sweet Anna’s

13. Candy Cane Hearts from Glorious Treats

14. Rudolph No Bake Cookies a cute and easy Christmas recipe for kids from Emily Reviews

15. Reindeer Cupcakes from With Sprinkles on Top

16. Reeses Cup Rudolph Treats from Hungry Happenings

17. Snowman Donut Pops from Mommy Musings

18. North Pole Dirt Cake Cones from The Sweet Chick

19. Edible Christmas Trees from She Knows

20. Snowball Cookies from Gal on a Mission

21. Rice Krispie Treat Pops from Mess for Less

Which of these easy Christmas recipes for kids do you want to make? 

Quick and Healthy Vanilla Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe

healthy vanilla pumpkin smoothie recipe

I posted this healthy vanilla pumpkin smoothie recipe a few years ago, but it was hidden in a post about yogurt and, well, my bowels.

It’s an interesting thing; I get a lot of traffic to that post from Pinterest from people looking for the recipe. I also get a good amount of traffic from google for people searching for digestion issues after having a baby.

I’m sure the visitors from Pinterest are a little bit surprised to find not only a delicious recipe, but also my personal experiences with postpartum gas and digestive problems!

Now I thought I’d hopefully clean things up a bit and write a post specifically for the smoothie recipe!

Healthy Vanilla Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe



  1. Combine pumpkin, milk, vanilla, yogurt, brown sugar, spices and ice in a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend on high until mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour into 2 glasses, sprinkle a little pumpkin pie spice on top and serve.