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Sweet American treats
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When you say Fourth of July, most people immediately think of fireworks, parades and grilling. Since anything I put on a grill ends up charred on the outside and still quivering and raw on the inside, I have always been a fan of the easier Independence Day fare. Below you will find child-friendly (and super tasty) recipes to help celebrate in style - even if you can't cook a burger on the grill.

S'mores pie
Super nice, super easy and super tasty. This recipe will definitely be a go-to for summer functions from now on.

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons melted butter
7 ounces milk chocolate, broken into chunks
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
Pinch of salt
Bag of marshmallows (any size, but I use minis)

For the crust - Pour melted butter into crumbs and mix until the butter is fully incorporated and the texture is that of wet sand. Butter or oil a 9-inch pie pan and firmly press the graham cracker crumbs against the sides, then against the bottom of the pan. Chill for 30 minutes to avoid crumbling when serving.

While the crust chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the chocolate filling. Put the chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until scalded - do not boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for one minute. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until glossy and smooth. Add a pinch of salt, then crack the egg into the chocolate mixture and whisk to fully incorporate. Pour into chilled crust and bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is set but still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Top pie with a layer of marshmallows. Pop it under the broiler for about 2 minutes - WATCH THE PIE - the last thing you want is an oven full of flaming marshmallows!


July 4th Layered Drinks
This was the first time I tried this drink and my little one was all about it. He thought I was making him a "potion" Harry Potter-style and said it "tastes like magic." What more could you ask for?

CranApple Juice
Sobo Pina Colada flavored drink
G2 Gatorade (in blue)

Fill your glass 1/3 of the way full with CranApple juice. Fill to the top with ice. Slowly pour the remaining drinks directly on top of the ice. Enjoy!

Patriotic Strawberries and Firecracker Pretzel Rods
These are some goodies I make again and again for daycare or functions where there will be lots of children. They love pretzels, strawberries and chocolate - so I'm sure to be the favorite at the functions when I break these treats out. Both are simple. All you do it dip the end of the rod/strawberry into melted white chocolate and then quickly sprinkle with colored sugar.