With the help of my good friend, Einat from Azan Styling, we created an All American look that married rustic with festive. The idea was to overload the senses with Americana motifs while still keeping the decor clean and coordinated. The best thing about this arrangement? It was completely done on a shoe string budget, with many elements from the Dollar Store and from Amazon.
USE OF MASON JARS AND EMPTY BOTTLES
I love mason jars. They make everything have an air of nostalgia. We used them for lemonade and also as makeshift lanterns. We put a small battery powered tea light in each jar, tied a sisal twine around it, and voila!
We also used bottles with American flags in them and hung them from trees around the yard, which was a great way to repurpose empty bottles and give the decor a little twist.
PAPER NESTING BOXES AND PAPER STRAWS
We repurposed patriotic nesting boxes which doubled as food trays, hosting our Gluten Free chocolate ganache cupcakes as well as our Mediterranean sliders (recipes below.) The colorful paper straws added a kick and further drove home the 4th of July theme.
DON’T FORGET THE FLOWERS
Our beloved white Hydrangeas made a comeback for this photo shoot as well. What can I say? They simply go with everything, and upgrade almost any decor. I love the juxtaposition of the pure white flowers with the massive rustic tin jug we used as a vase.
While the decor was all American, the food was more eclectic. I tried to update traditional 4th of July grub with international influences and cosmopolitan flair.
These sliders were absolutely delicious. You can make them out of ground beef, or combine beef and lamb for an added layer of texture.
- 2.5 lbs ground beef
- 1 large white onion – finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic – minced
- 1/3 cup cilantro – finely chopped
- cumin to taste
- salt and pepper
Simply combine all the ingredients and create your sliders. I usually make them a bit smaller then the palm of my hand because they shrink on the grill.
HONEY AND SOY CHICKEN THIGHS
These thighs were simply heavenly. So moist and delicious they were completely devoured and gone in the blink of an eye!
- 1 pound organic chicken thighs
- 1 cup soy or Tamari sauce if you want to make this Gluten Free
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions
- 1 TBS sesame seeds
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2+ hours. Grill and fall in love!
SKIRT STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
The skirt steak is one of my favorites kinds of steaks. It is delicious by itself. Grilled with some salt and pepper, but the Chimichurri sauce gives it an added layer of flavor.
- 1 cup lightly packed chopped parsley
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons onion – minced
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped. Don’t over do it. Enjoy!
CHERRY TOMATO SALAD
Every time I make this salad I get major brownie points with my guests. Its super refreshing and delicious. It has so many different textures and flavors that you will never get bored eating this!
- 1 pack of cherry tomatoes – cut in half
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil – chopped
- 4 oz black Kalamata olives chopped
- 1/4 cup chives – chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 TBS balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Optional – Feta or Halumi Cheese
- Optional – Pine nuts
WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE AND BERRIES
What better way to celebrate 4th of July, then this scrumptious red, white and blue dessert?
- 8 oz white chocolate (chunks or chips)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 pack raspberries
- 1 pack blueberries
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, using short bursts so it doesn’t get burned (believe me…it can easily get burned so be careful!) Whip the heavy cream until you get a nice, solid texture. Carefully fold in the melted chocolate into the whipped cream. Arrange in nice glass cups, in between a layer of raspberries and a layer of blueberries.
OTHER IMAGES TO ENJOY
Special thanks go to Fresh Frame studios that joined Einat and I for this fun project. Here are a few more of their great photos…