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4th of July

4th of July/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES

8 Crowd-Pleasing and Easy 4th of July Potluck Recipes

bowl of fruit salad for 4th of July potluck

I love a good potluck, and the 4th of July is a great time to make one happen!

Listed below are some of our family’s favorite potluck recipes, my go-to recipes to share with a crowd. They are easy-to-make, aesthetically pleasing and appealing to all ages!


8 Crowd-Pleasing and Easy 4th of July Potluck Recipes

bowl of pasta salad with broccoli, carrots and tomoates



This  Only Pasta Salad You Really Need  is a great potluck crowd-pleaser, can be made ahead of time, and tastes even better after sitting a day. Makes a LOT and is easy to double for even larger crowds. Red wine vinegar is the secret ingredient that makes this salad taste super special!


cupcakes with strawberries and blueberries



Blueberries, strawberries, and chocolate are 3 must-haves in our family for the 4th of July weekend, and these Chocolate Berry 4th Of July Cupcakes have all 3! Cupcakes are always a great thing to make to share with a crowd or display on a table at a potluck.


bowl of ice cream with chocolate fudge sauce



This 5 Minute Chocolate Sauce Heaven is a family recipe that we have been making for years. It is so much better than that stuff in the brown squeeze bottle!

It uses ingredients we usually have on hand and is a breeze to make. I am planning on bringing this and some fresh strawberries to top my Mother-in-Law’s homemade ice cream to our family 4th of July party.

I bought her an ice cream maker for Christmas, and we are all enjoying having her use that gift!


kale salad with dried cranberries and coconut bacon



This Kale & Lentil Salad with Cranberries & Coconut Bacon is really delicious & reminds me of something you could order at an upscale vegetarian restaurant. This kale salad is full of beauty.

It has gorgeous color from the cranberries & the kale itself. The texture is great with curly kale, chewy dried cranberries & crunchy coconut bacon. The cranberries are a nice sweet touch while the coconut bacon adds an amazing smokey & salty flavor. It is a crowd pleaser for sure, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!


Loaf of bread with lemon and raspberries



This Raspberry Lemon Loaf is made super moist and tasty with the addition of lemon yogurt. Lemon and raspberry are so fresh tasting and the perfect summer combination. Double the recipe for a large group, or to keep one for yourself to freeze.


strawberries stuffed with cheesecake filling



Do you know what July and February have in common? The 4th of July & Valentine’s day both give us an excuse to eat lots and lots of  STRAWBERRIES! Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries are a super great way to celebrate a holiday.  They are special, beautiful, and a nice change from chocolate-covered strawberries.  Can’t give your Chocolate Covered Strawberries up? Then mix the 2 on a beautiful platter and get ready for the oooo’s & ahhhh’s!


fruit salad with honey lime glaze



This Honey Lime Glaze is the perfect go-to recipe to make your fruit shine–literally!  I love taking a fresh fruit salad to a potluck, and this glaze keeps it just sweet enough and moistened.  It allows the fruit to show off its beautiful texture, color, and flavor.


chocolate no bake balls



These Chocolate Mudballs just hit the spot!  They are great when you are wanting a bit of a chocolate treat, but use ingredients like wheat germ and oats to make them a treat that has some health benefits! You can whip them up in minutes, and they will please palates young and old.

What are YOUR plans for the 4th of July?

Do you attend a potluck style party?

What is your favorite dish to bring to a potluck?

4th of July/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES/ Sweets/ Valentine's Day

Cheesecake- Stuffed Strawberries


Do you know what July and February have in common?

The 4th of July & Valentine’s day both give us an excuse to eat lots and lots of  STRAWBERRIES!

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries are a super great way to celebrate a holiday.  They are special, beautiful, and a nice change from chocolate-covered strawberries.  Can’t give your Chocolate Covered Strawberries up? Then mix the 2 on a beautiful platter and get ready for the oooo’s& ahhhh’s !

My 11- year- old Avery is quite the pastry chef and loves any excuse to get her pastry bag out and do some filling or decorating.  She made these beauties for her sister’s birthday which is at the end of January, and we loved them so much we are going to make them again for Valentines Day.

I love recipes that have a bit of natural, healthy goodness along with a sweet.  This recipe is just that.  Nature’s goodness with a creamy sweet addition.



Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

2 lbs. fresh strawberries

8oz cream cheese

1 tbsp sour cream

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


Wash the strawberries and pat dry with a paper towel.  Use a melon baller to remove the stems and create a small hole in the strawberries for the cheesecake to sit.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth and combined.  Place cheesecake mixture into a piping bag or

zip close bag, with the corner snipped off.

Squeeze a bit of the cheesecake mixture into each strawberry.  Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet when done and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Place on a pretty tray to serve.

4th of July/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Chocolate Berry 4th Of July Cupcakes


Blueberries, strawberries, and chocolate are 3 must-haves in our family for the 4th of July weekend, and these Chocolate Berry 4th Of July Cupcakes have all 3!

Yesterday our dear friends from Chicago–who we are to this day amazed that they are still here on this earth— stopped in to visit on their way to a family event. It was a brief overnight visit, but boy, did we pack in a whole bunch of beautiful life moments in those 15 hours!

We both have 3 children, around the same age (teens and preteens) so it was a lively and eventful visit.  We started the evening out with pre-dinner cocktails for the adults.  They were delicious Amerretto Sours –I will be posting the recipe soon.  We then got to work visiting & making dinner together.  We had these amazing cupcakes as a dessert, and they were perfect as it was July dear friend Sharon’s birthday!


I was sure I had birthday candles on hand, but as we all gathered to sing, I couldn’t find them. Not even one.  We had to make do with what I could find in the moment, and of course my friend Sharon was a great sport about pretending to blow out a cheesy plastic candle.


Isn’t she just full of life? Doesn’t she look great?  Despite our sweet birthday treat, she embraces a healthy lifestyle & is New Nostalgia’s new Health and Wellness Contributor.  I can just hear her laugh while looking at these pics and miss her already.  She is a ball of fun and we have had many, many laughs together.  She is a friend of my heart and we have had many tears together, too.  She is the one who came to take care of me the week after my mastectomy, and was everything I needed during that fragile time & more.  I was so happy to celebrate the woman she is yesterday, even if it was with a plastic candle!


We finished up our dessert and headed out to my in- laws pool house for an evening swim.  We stopped at my favorite local coffee shop and Sharon’s husband Porter treated us all to yummy beverages…lattes & toddy’s for the adults, granites for the kids.

After swimming we headed back home and made a fire to make apple s’mores.  We sat out by the fire and our friends shared pictures of their recent family mission trip to Uganda.  It was amazing to see what they did as a family there!  We then went inside and watched a few old movies of our 15 year old girl meeting their 15 year old boy when they were just 6 months old.  Needless to say, we laughed A LOT!

We got the kids settled down, the hubbies started dozing on the couches and Sharon and I girl talked.  The hubs eventually went to bed but not us girls!  Oh no, we stayed up gabbing until 2:45 am!

We woke up and I set up a ‘make your own waffle’ bar. It was a hit and I will write about it soon. The teens went for a run together while we packed up the car.  They were on the road by 9:30 am.  A quick but super fun and meaningful trip.

Back to the cupcakes, they were really delicious.  I cannot take credit for them, as my little baker girl, Avery, made them.  We found a simple chocolate cupcake & white frosting recipe online, and she whipped them up, frosted them, cut up all the fruit and decorated them.  She amazes me–she is quite talented for 11 years old!

These cupcakes were moist and are made from ingredients most can find in their cupboards.

The frosting was a perfect pairing, and the touch of fruit added color and a great fruity & festive finish.  I will be keeping this recipe as a simple go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, and pulling it out on all types of occasions, not just the 4th of July!


Berry Chocolate 4th of July Cupcakes

{recipe source}

10 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (we used wheat flour)

White Frosting (recipe below)

Chopped strawberries & fresh blueberries


In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with a mixer for 1 minute.

Stir in eggs and vanilla and beat.

Slowly add in cocoa powder and baking powder and mix until just combined.

While still mixing, alternate adding milk and flour into bowl until blended.

Evenly distribute batter into lined muffin tins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Top with white frosting (recipe below) and fresh berries.

Yield: 24 cupcakes


White Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat butter with a mixer at medium-high speed until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar until smooth.  Beat in vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk if necessary for desired consistency.

4th of July/ DIY/Crafts/ FUN/DIY

A 4th of July Greeting + 4th of July Treat Holders Written by AveryBowman, Age 9

I hope you are all having a wonderful 4th of July day.  Our day has consisted of lots of swimming, great food and wonderful family time.  I feel full in every way, and incredibly thankful for my freedom and health!  Happy 4th of July!

firecracker crafts made out of toilet paper rolls

***photos by Avery Bowman (my 9-year-old)

My Avery girl is always up to something crafty.  She loves searching my Pinterest boards for crafty ideas and then making her own versions of what inspires her.

I woke up this morning and she was in her room at her desk, putting the finishing touches on these cute little 4th of July treat holders.  Her desk looked like a firework full of glitter and paint exploded on it, and the creative mess made me smile, especially when I saw the July calendar she made. I love that she marked church on Sundays and family nights on Fridays. So sweet.

I handed her my phone and asked if she would take some photos of her work.  She did such a good job.  I think it is only appropriate that SHE is the one who tells who how she made these cute little Fourth Of July Treat Holders.



Hi Everyone!

It is Avery here.

Thanks for reading my post. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is what you need to make Fourth Of July TP Treat Holders.

*Toilet paper roll

*Red, white, and blue paint

*Glitter (optional)




*Plastic bag, tissue paper or wax paper


*Last but not least, Candy!!!

First, what you do is take the toilet paper roll and paint it however you want.

After that sprinkle, a little glitter over it before the paint tries so it sticks.

Then cut the plastic bag or tissue paper into a rectangle

Add tape to the bottom of the paper.

Tape the paper to the end of the roll, then twist and tie with string.

Fill with any type of treat or candy.  Could also fill with confetti.

Tape the bottom of the TP roll closed.

I used Starburst candy and the cool thing about it is that if you think of the word, it has the word “star” in it, which is good for the 4th of July!

I can’t wait to see the look on my family’s faces when they see what I made for them.  Hopefully my sisters won’t see this post before I give it to them!

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

4th of July

Favorite 4th Of July Ideas

Fun fourth of July ideas and crafts.
2. Fruit Punch (no directions, just stock image)
3. Patriotic Mason Jars (linked to pin, no instructions)
6. Star Braid (linked to pin, no instructions)
8. DIY Paper Snack Bowls (uses paper plate + rubber band)
10. Flag Cupcakes (pic only, no instructions)

All of these great ideas were pinned on my 4th of July board at Pinterest.  I could not find the original post of some of them, which is frustrating, but still wanted to share the ideas with you!  
For more, visit my pinboards and scroll down to Holidays: 4th of July…or just click here.
4th of July ideas on Pinterest.

4th of July/ Drinks/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ RECIPES

2 Ingredient Sparkling Lemonade

This is the easiest beverage to make, and tastes great!  I have used it for 2 parties in the last 2 weeks, and I got positive feedback both times.  Both kids and adults love this.  
All you have to do is buy frozen lemonade concentrate, and in place of water, use sparkling water!  
That is it!  The sparkling water adds fizz and sparkle, but does not over-sweeten like adding a lemon-lime soda would.  It is delicious and super refreshing!

I love to use Lemonade Concentrate from Trader Joes.  It is the only brand I can find that does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  The brand of sparkling water really does not matter.  Add a slice of lemon to each glass for pretty!

Sparkling Lemonade
1 can Lemonade Concentrate
Sparkling Water

Make lemonade according to directions on can, using sparkling water instead of regular water.  Add a slice of lemon if desired to each glass. Serve over ice & enjoy!