Friday, July 2, 2010
The Long Weekend
In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States. (Wikipedia)
As Americans, it's important to know our history of such commemorative holidays. Individually, this observance can mean different things for everybody. We should never lose sight of what this holiday is really about. This year, I encourage you to dig a little deeper for yourself: why not think about what independence and freedom mean for you? What have you freed yourself from this year; what liberated you? How have you grown in your own independence? For some its the decision to go natural; for others it's getting rid of physical and emotional baggage. Sometimes it could mean finally getting rid of the junk and clutter in your living space. Take some small (or big) part of the day to applaud your own freedom and make new goals for liberation and/or independence.
Black Girl's Think Tank
If you're planning a party, BBQ or get-together, you're gonna need some theme music! A mix of house, r&b, neo-soul, pop, and smooth jazz, this mix is sure to fit in perfectly at any gathering. In honor of Independence Day, I've compiled some of my favorite independence/freedom themed songs for a ready-made playlist!
Freedom (Make It Funky) Black Magic 10 Years of Strictly Rhythm: 1989-1999
Freedom (Theme From Panther) (The Black Bag Mix) Various Artists Panther (The original motion picture soundtrack)
Free Deneice Williams
Someday We'll All Be Free Donny Hathaway
Free Your Mind En Vogue Funky Divas
Free-Prelude Jill Scott Experience: Jill Scott 826+ [Live] (Disc 2)
Set You Free Kem Album II
Soul Free Rahsaan Patterson
Miss Independent Ne-Yo
Independent Women Part 1 Destiny's Child #1's
Naps, Mishaps and Product Caps
If you became a naturalista this year, celebrate your independence from the creamy crack! I heard that this year's natural girl theme is "Afro Independence Day". There is an official logo (above) and everything! Check out my girl L. Michelle's blog for more info. I'll be rocking my HUGE afro and I'm gonna try to rock the shirt as well! You can make your own using the logo! Let the whole world know that you are free and your hair shows it this Sunday!
Tales of a Foodie
Planning a picnic in the park? Here are a couple of recipes that will keep well in a ice-packed cooler and light on the food-drama scale.
Chicken Salad Sandwiches (serves 4)
- A small rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded into pieces OR
3 to 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked (preferably boiled to retain moisture)
- 1 cup of mayonnaise or plain yogurt (I prefer mayonnaise, but it's not the healthier choice)
- 3/4 cup of pecans
- 1 cup of chopped celery
- 3/4 cup of golden raisins
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 seven-grain wheat bread slices
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until just mixed. Add more mayonnaise or yogurt if you'd like a creamier salad. You can make sandwiches ahead of time, or pack the chicken salad in a container and tightly wrap the bread slices for constructing them on site.
4th of July Shortcake
- a already made or store-bought pound cake, cut into thin slices
- 1 half pint of heavy cream
- 1 tsp. almond extract or Amaretto liqueur
- 1 cup each of raspberries and blueberries
- 2 Tbs butter, room temperature
Lightly butter the pound cake slices. In a small skillet or griddle, lightly brown the pound cake slices over medium heat. (*doing this will help the pound cake hold up better to travel and hold toppings). Wrap cake slices in wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, pour the heavy cream in and add the extract. Whip with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, but not stiff. Transfer to a container with a lid for travelling. Rinse the berries and blot them with a paper towel, then transfer to a container with a lid. Pack everything in the cooler. When ready to eat, layer the cake slice with fresh whipped cream and berries. Double the layers if you like!
Kiss My Glass
As delicious as watermelon is in the summer, it can get very messy. Here's an idea to get the great flavor to drink instead.
Cut the flesh of seedless watermelon into chunks, and puree' in batches in a blender. Strain the fruit through a sieve; chill before serving. A 12 lb watermelon yields about 5 1/2 quarts of juice that will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
If you're having a party and serving a punch, why not give it "fireworks" with fancy ice. Try this:
Thinly slice lemons, limes and oranges; remove seeds, and layer slices in the cups of a muffin tin.
Fill each cup halfway with water, fruit juice, or non-alcoholic punch, and freeze.
Prepare punch in a serving bowl, leaving enough room at the top to accommodate the ice. Just before serving, remove ice from muffin cups, and set afloat in the bowl.
And one last tip: Instead of placing room temperature bottles into an ice bucket and waiting an hour or so for it to chill properly, fill the bucket partially with cold water and ice before adding the bottles. This will speed up the chilling process to about 20 minutes because more surface area gets covered.
I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!