I hope you guys have some fun plans for the 4th. If you’re not going to someone’s party, chances are you’ve got your own bbq or picnic planned.

Still not sure what to make? I’ve got you covered for both the main meal and the dessert!

If you want something savory, these first recipes will make you the hit of any 4th of July party:

Brad’s Salsa– seriously so good you don’t even need chips



Tomato Corn Salad – sweet summer corn steals the show in this one.

Corn and tomato salad with basil


Veggie TexMex Pasta Salad– I brought this to last year’s 4th festivities! It’s got no mayo so it can sit out without worries of food poisoning.

Tex mex pasta salad


Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Feta, Capers and Chickpeas– a great cold pasta salad to serve alongside burgers and hotdogs.

Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Feta, Capers,and Chickpeas 2 ~ ElephantEats.com


Wheatberry Salad– something a little different and healthier for your 4th. Great served warm or cold.Warm Wheatberry, Brussels Sprout Salad with Feta and Crispy Tofu ~ ElephantEats.com


Marinated Broccoli Salad – best made the day before, so get on it!Broccoli Salad


Tabouli – classic summer salad taking advantage of all the fresh veggies available!



Cilantro Lime Hummus– the most refreshing hummus you’ve ever tasted, and a recipe that gets pinned ALL the time.

Cilantro Lime Hummus


Now, if you’re looking for something sweet, I’ve totally got you covered:

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp– with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s summer dessert perfection!

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp


Toffee Blondies– Sturdy and perfectly portable for whever you need to bring them. Also, have you seen the photo below?! I wish I had one now.

Toffee Blondies ~ ElephantEats.com


Cookies ‘n Cream Bars – this recipe is crazy good. Tastes like Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream in a convenient little bar.

Cookies and Cream Bars


No-Bake Chocolate-covered Peanut Butter Crispy Bars  – a great recipe for when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. Though these are best served indoors in the A/C so the chocolate doesn’t get too melty.

Crispy Peanut Butter Bars


and finally for a little something to liven up your party while keeping you cool:

Frozen Lemon Mojito– SOOOO good and so refreshing! Can easily be made without the alcohol. Just add more water.

Frozen Lemon Mojito


Happy 4th everyone!!!


Pasta Salad with Broccoli, Feta, Capers and Chickpeas

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I don’t know about what the weather is like in other parts of the country (or in other countries like some of my readers), but here in New York the last few days have been disgustingly hot. I really shouldn’t even say that since I know it’s only going to get worse as July and then, worst-of-all August, approach.

But the best thing about hot days is that you have an excuse to eat ice cream…for dinner. Or at least that’s how I roll. Plus, it takes some of the guilt out of eating this full-fat deliciousness when you just make it your meal (and adding hot fudge doesn’t count). I mean, ice cream has protein and fat so it will probably keep you full for an hour or two.

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I based this off of Sunset Magazine’s recipe (via SmittenKitchen) but altered the dairy products I used based on what I had already bought. I’m still learning the ins and outs of ice cream making so I haven’t quite gotten down the ratios you need. I tried making ice cream with just whole milk and learned that you definitely need more fat in there.

My substitutions in this recipe, however, were absolutely perfect. In fact I think that if I had followed the original recipe exactly, it would have been waaaay too rich for me, since this already tasted richer than Haagan Daas.

The custard base for this is so so good. I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls before I got it into the fridge to chill out. It had this rich, buttery butterscotch flavor. Oh man.

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I was slightly disappointed that after being frozen, it tasted more like a very rich vanilla. If you close your eyes and really concentrate on the flavor, you can definitely get hints of the butterscotch, but it wasn’t as pronounced as I would have liked. I think maybe I didn’t cook the sugar/butter mixture long enough because I was so worried I was going to burn it. So make sure you cook it until it it’s bubbly.

That being said, I would make this again regardless. Next time I might play around with some things I could add into it to make it extra special.

Now go put this on your dinner menu for tomorrow…i’m sure the kids won’t mind a bit ;)

Butterscotch Ice Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Butterscotch Ice Cream

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Print this recipe!

Makes 1 quart

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 tsp spiced rum (optional but recommended to keep the texture soft)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks

In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, stir brown sugar and butter until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and mixture is bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream until smooth; remove butterscotch mixture from heat. Add vanilla and rum, if using.

In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine remaining 1 1/2 cup heavy cream and the whole milk; bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat egg yolks to blend. Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture into egg yolks, then pour egg yolk mixture into pan with cream. Stir constantly over low heat just until mixture is slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.

Pour through a fine strainer into a clean bowl and whisk in butterscotch mixture. Chill until cold, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours; or cover and chill up to 1 day.

Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve softly frozen, or transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

There are so many senses that bring back memories: sights, smells, tastes. Seasons bring back memories for me too. When the weather gets warm I immeditately think back to the summers of my childhood on Martha’s Vineyard.

Unfortunately, I have to work during the summer now and I don’t have long sunny days filled with going to the beach, running around outside, and farmer’s markets. But even so, as soon as I walk out of the office and the warm breeze hits my face, it brings me that feeling of calm and happiness that I used to feel back in my carefree Vineyard days.

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

There were certain recipes that, for some reason, we only made during these summers. Maybe it’s because they’re warm weather foods, but maybe it’s because we wanted them to be forever associated with our wonderful summers.

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

So as soon as the temperatures reach the 70s and the air gets sticky and hot, I bring out my mom’s recipe boxes and pull out our usual summer rotation of recipes: Brad’s Salsa, Michigan Blueberry Pie (I’ll have to make that soon and post it!), and especially her Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp- the epitome of a summer dessert.

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

This dessert is best served with a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream that melts into it. There’s really no better way to end a warm weather meal! When I take a bit of this and close my eyes, I’m instantly transported to our deck in Martha’s Vineyard, bathing suit still damp, covered in sand, sleepy from a long day in the sun and a belly full my mom’s best summer recipes.

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

Print this recipe!

Serves 6-8


4 cups sliced rhubarb
4 cups whole, stemmed strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups flour, separated
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup regular oats
3/4 cup chopped nuts (any kind)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, in small pieces

Preheat oven to 275. Butter a baking/casserole dish (9×13 is fine).

Combine fruits, sugar, 1/3 cup flour, cinnamon. Put in dish.

Combine 1 cup flour and rest of ingredients with fingers until crumbs form. Sprinkle over fruit.

Bake 35-45 minutes.

I’ve had this recipe sitting in my blog drafts for a while now. But now that it’s September, and corn season is almost over, I figured I’d better get my butt in gear!

This, my friends, is one of the tastiest ways I’ve ever enjoyed corn. Now, I will say that I love a good ear of corn in the summer, and when it’s really good I like it simply steamed or grilled with a tad of butter and some salt. I almost hate to cut it off the cob and mix it with stuff, because then you can’t taste the delicious, sweet corn flavor.

Therefore my advice to you is to only make this when you happen to cook up some corn, nibble on it a bit, and find that it’s sub-par. This will prevent any bouts of “corn guilt.” So if you happen to have corn that’s starchy and bland, then this recipe will turn your corn disappointments around. Or, if you happen to live in a corn field and have ample corn at your disposal, then this will suit you as well.

Either way, you should definitely find a way to make this before September ends. It’s creamy, tangy, rich, fresh, and delicious and you will not be sorry…even if you happen to use the last of your good corn.

Roasted Corn with Lime, Parmesan and Chili
From food52(You can print this recipe from the food52 site :))

Serves 2


3 medium ears corn
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sour cream, at room temperature
¼ cup milk, at room temperature
Juice of 1 large lime, plus wedges for serving
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Generous pinch of cayenne

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Shuck the corn and cut the kernels from the cobs, tossing them in a bowl with the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper.

Spread the kernels evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, scraping and turning over the kernels once or twice, until they’re tender and lightly caramelized.

Put the corn back into the bowl and stir in the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, lime juice, Parmesan and cayenne. Taste and adjust any of the flavorings, including salt and pepper, if necessary. (If the corn is at all sticky, just add some more milk.)

Serve immediately, with lime wedges, while still warm.

I usually like to keep our apartment stocked with at least something home-baked, whether it be breakfast goodies or dessert. But since moving, I haven’t really done any baking.

Because Nate likes to have dessert after dinner every night, we always have an assortment of cookies in the house. He runs 4 days a week (5 when he’s training for a marathon), and I feel like he doesn’t eat enough to support all the exercise he gets. So I encourage his dessert habit nightly. However, he hasn’t really been in the “mood” for the cookies lately, so I knew I had to bake him something good so he doesn’t whither away to nothing. I only wish I had to eat dessert every night to maintain my figure!

Anyway, it’s been so hot out that I wanted to give him something refreshing. That’s when i decided on ice cream sandwiches. I asked him some flavor cookie/ice cream combos he likes and he said chocolate cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream, so that’s what i gave him!

You wouldn’t think it would be so hard to find a chocolate cookie recipe, but it was. I ended up just looking for chocolate chip cookie recipes and figured i could just add cocoa powder.

However, because this was a last-minute idea, I needed one that didn’t require softening the butter ahead of time. I searched for ones with oil instead of butter. The only one I could find that didn’t need softened butter used melted butter instead.

So I guessed how much cocoa powder to flour I’d need. The batter was really wet and I crossed my fingers as I slid the first batch into the oven. But you know what? They were PERFECT! I shoved a couple in the freezer to cool them off and made Nate one tasty ice cream sandwich. Nate certainly didn’t refuse dessert that night :)

Chocolate Cookies with White and Dark Chocolate Chips

Recipe by Me

Print this recipe!

Makes about 18 large cookies

1.75  cups all purpose flour
.5 cups dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbl (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter – melt & cool it until warm
1 cup packed lt or dk brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 lg egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325 degrees and have racks on upper & lower middle positions. Put parchment paper on 2 oversized cookie sheets (or do it in batches with smaller cookie sheets).

Whisk together flour, salt & baking soda in medium size bowl. Set aside.

Mix butter & sugars until thoroughly blended by hand or with electric mixer. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined.

Add flour, cocoa powder, salt & baking soda mixture to butter, sugar, egg & vanilla mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in chips to taste.

Roll scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Put ball on cookie sheet leaving 2.5 inches between each ball.

Bake about 15 – 18 minutes, switching sheets halfway through reversing sheets front to back and top to bottom. cookies should be light golden brown and outer edges should start to harden, but centers are soft & puffy. Cool cookies on cookie sheets. When cool, peel from parchment.

Make into an ice cream sandwich!