Celebrate: Stars & Stripes

I love the Fourth of July! It's always been one of my favorite holidays since I was a little girl. It's such fun to celebrate the spirit of the country, the bravery of those who fought so valiantly for our freedom, and the beauty of this place that we are blessed to call home. This year, I decided to throw a simple patio party to celebrate. Entertaining at home doesn't have to be tricky, and when it is hot out, it's best to stick to simplistic, refreshing menu items that can be assembled in a flash...just in time to catch the fireworks! ;) 

 A summer salad comes together easily with spinach, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, fresh strawberries, pine nuts, and a generous sprinkle of goat cheese. Whisk up a simple dressing with olive oil, pear-infused vinegar, honey, and a dash of S&P!

Keep guests refreshed with some sparkling water (we like flavored La Croix and San Pellegrino!) or flavored lemonade. A black bean and corn salsa makes for a delightful appetizer that guests can enjoy before the meal. (This particular recipe is so easy and always a hit at parties!) 

1 Can black beans (drained + rinsed)
1 Cup mild salsa
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 large avocado, chopped

Combine all ingredients (aside from avocado) into a bowl and mix well. Fold in avocado last. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips
End the evening on a sweet note with fresh fruit parfaits (yogurt can be swapped for vanilla ice cream, too!) in patriotic colors! 

Happy Fourth of July! How will you be celebrating? 

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