Tasty Summer Fun

With the summer season in full swing, it seems like the social occasions are never ending – weddings, backyard bbq’s, potlucks, and family reunions… The list is never ending. And now, as we head into 4th of July celebrations, it’s time to break out your patriotic décor and festive spirit to boot.

To help make sure hosting 4th of July is just as much fun as attending the shindig, we’ve complied our top tips for the easiest party ideas, ever!

Decorations:

There’s no need to spend a lot of money prepping your house with festive flair for the 4th of July holiday. You don’t even need to have a knack for crafts. In these times, it’s best to look to the masters of DIY entertaining such as Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens, or when all else fails, Amazon has everything you could possibly think of in red, white and blue.

Party Activities:

Going to see Fourth of July fireworks is a much-beloved tradition, but making it to the show with your extended guest list is not going to be viable, we’re sorry!… Instead, break out the slip & slide or water sprinkler, board games, festive tunes, and if you have a big screen – have the fireworks on repeat in the background. Voila!

Party Favors:

Don’t spend your precious pre-party time sweating it out in the kitchen. It’s summer, it’s too hot to be slaving over the stove or oven. Rather, pull out your wonderbag and treat everyone to a gift bag with a sweet center, such as a slice of wonderbag’s Salted Caramel Banana Pudding. 

 Salted Caramel Banana Pudding

Makes 8 servings 

Short-Cut Salted Caramel

2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

1 (8-ounce) jar dulce de leche

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Custard and Pudding

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups whole milk

4 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 small ripe, firm bananas, cut into thin rounds (4 cups)

7 ounces Biscoff cookies

1/3 cup toffee bits

1.    Make the salted caramel: Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the dulce de leche. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously until smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and let cool.

2.    Make the custard:  Whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Whisking continuously, add the milk is a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the custard bubbles around the edges and thickly coats the spatula, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and stir until it melts. Stir in the vanilla. Press a piece of plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming and let cool.

3.    Assemble the pudding: Cover the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish or serving bowl with cookies, breaking them as needed. Pour in half of the custard. Arrange cookies around the side of the dish. (The custard will help hold them upright.) Spread half of the bananas over the custard. Pour in the salted caramel. Top with the remaining bananas. Pour in the rest of the custard. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

4.    Transfer to Wonderbag to remain chilled for up to 4 hours.

5.    Just before serving, sprinkle toffee bits over the top.

NB: Top slices with toffee bits, then cut evenly and insert into a plastic throw away container before placing into your gorgeous, festive party favor bags.

Get Your DIY On:

Take a look around the home and reinvent household items as functional entertainment equipment. For instance, clean up the spice rack or shoe rack to create a makeshift glassware and mixer stand. Grab the wheelbarrow for a fun change and pack it with ice for chilling drinks. Another handy idea is to pick up a few hay bales and drape them with throw rugs colored red, white and blue for a DIY seating option.

Festive Food:

You can’t go wrong with the crowd pleasing Tangy Italian Beef Subs, made using the wonderbag, of course, which means you get to spend more time with your guests enjoying the festivities and oh, prosecco too, always! What's a party without bubbly, especially when we are toasting our nation's great birthday?

Tangy Italian Beef Subs

Makes 8 servings

4 pounds well-trimmed beef chuck roast

1 cup canned beef consommé

1 packet dry Italian salad dressing mix

1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend

1 tablespoon granulated onion

1 tablespoon granulate garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup hot sliced banana peppers, drained

1 cup pepperoncini peppers, drained

Serve with: sub or hoagie rolls, provolone cheese, and giardiniera vegetables

1.    Heat the oven to 325°F.

2.    Place the roast in a pot. Whisk together the consommé, dressing mix, herb blend, granulated onion, granulated garlic and salt; pour over the meat.

3.    Scatter the banana and pepperoncini peppers over the meat. Cover tightly and roast for 1 hour.

4.    Transfer to Wonderbag for 5 hours.

5.    Remove the roast from the pot and shred with two forks, discarding any large lumps of fat or gristle.

6.    Moisten the meat the pan juices. Serve warm on the rolls, topped with provolone and a generous spoonful of drained giardiniera. Serve the remaining meat juices on the side for dipping.

Have Fun!