dessert · Fourth of July · Main dish. · summertime

Fourth of July Favorite Foods

With Fourth of July coming up next weekend,  I thought I’d pull some of my favorite menu items from my blog and make a few suggestions for your cookout, just in case you’re looking for some new ideas!

Let’s start with the main course:

You can’t beat a hamburger on the grill, and this Herb and Cheese Stuffed Burger is one of the best!  It takes the term “Cheeseburger” to a whole new level!  The cheese is inside the burger, and it’s not just some cheese-flavored slab, this is an herb cream cheese, friends!

Herb & Cheese Stuffed Burgers

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
I1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
4 rolls, split

In a small bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, parsley and 1 teaspoon mustard; set aside.
In another bowl, combine the onions, bread crumbs, ketchup, salt, rosemary, sage and remaining mustard. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.
Shape into eight thin patties. Spoon cheese mixture onto center of four patties; top with remaining patties and press edges firmly to seal.
Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Serve on rolls with lettuce and tomato if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
Lettuce leaves and tomato slices, optional

If you’re going to grill steaks, use a great marinade to make them even more flavorful!  Here’s my go-to recipe:

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tbl molasses
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp dry mustard
3 cloves, garlic, minced

Mix well, then marinate meat at least one hour.

Oh, and if you need a side for either the burgers or the steak, the Onion Rings pictured above are some of the best!

Golden Onion Rings
Combine 1 cup plus 2 tbl all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 slightly beaten egg, 1 cup milk, and 2 tbl salad oil. Beat together just till dry ingredients are well moistened. Coat onion rings with batter. (I prefer a vidalia onion) Fry a few at a time in deep hot oil (375 degrees), stirring once to separate rings. when onions are golden, drain on paper towels. Just before serving, sprinkle with salt.

Now, let’s finish with a refreshing dessert!

Strawberry Pizza

1 C flour
1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 C butter

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 C fresh strawberries, mashed
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
8 – 10 strawberries sliced.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and butter.
Form into a ball with hands and press into a 14 inch ungreased pizza pan (I used my Pampered Chef pizza stone) I floured my fingertips to keep it from sticking and I pressed it out with my hands.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and lemon juice.
Spread on cooled crust.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries, sugar and cornstarch.
Simmer until thick and glossy. Cool.

Spread on top of cream cheese filling.  Cut fresh strawberries crosswise to make rounds that resemble pepperoni, place on pizza and serve.

I hope that inspires you to plan ahead for a fun and delicious 4th Of July menu!  

Anyone have a traditional recipe that you always fix for your family cook-outs?

Happy Independence Day!

Fourth of July · seasonal decor · Uncategorized

July 4th Decor

I love adding seasonal decor to my home. Fourth of July happens to fit in with my decor pretty nicely, so I put little splashes in several areas of the living room/kitchen, and then outside as well.  Here’s a peek at the inside…






We just added little flags to the landscape and pots outside…








We’re looking forward to some fun family time today!  I hope you have a great holiday! God bless the USA!

Denise Signature 150 px



entertaining · Home decor · organization · summertime

A Look Through My Lens

It’s unreal how much activity goes on in one week, isn’t it?  I look through my photos on my camera and am shocked at how much we did in the last seven days!  Let me give you a look through my lens:

On Friday night we hosted our church teen group at our home.  They are led by Alli’s husband, Andrew who does a great job!  The teens love both Alli and Andrew, and it was fun to see them interact that evening.  They played volleyball, and a new version of football.  Oh, and they ate. A LOT! Which means they loved it, and that makes me happy!Their meal was a simple one of grilled hot dogs and the fixings, but I can’t wait to tell you about the dessert we served.  Here’s a little peek, but I’ll share the details with you on Monday.



On Saturday I hosted a baby shower for a sweet young mom, expecting her first baby.  You can tell by the pictures that she’s expecting a girl!


A friend at church did the food, and it was amazing.


Another gal does the cupcakes for our church showers.  These are White Chocolate Raspberry.  Oh my goodness!!  The little size makes it completely safe to try without feeling too guilty!  Also check out the waffle bowls filled with fresh fruit; those were so good!


Saturday night my husband and I went with Alli and Andrew to Carter’s Fold to hear Fiddlin’ Carson Peters, a talented 12 year-old who plays fiddle with his father and two other instrumentalists.  It was such a fun night!  The music was great, the setting was country and perfect!


Sunday morning we had the blessing of seeing two little girls who recently accepted Christ as their Savior get baptized, or as one of them called it, “Bap-ti-tized!”  It always brings tears to my eyes to see these young ones trust Christ, then declare their devotion to follow Him all their lives!

It also always makes me so thankful to be married to the pastor who gets the privilege of baptizing, and pouring into their lives the Truth of God’s Word.  He always gives a personal challenge to each one, and it’s so sweet.



Sunday evening we did not have services at church.  My husband and I took special care to spend time together and also to rest.  We sat on our front porch rockers and played Farkle while several of our neighbors put on quite a firework display.

We had front row seats and never had to leave home!



Even Liza got to enjoy some time outside.  That’s a great treat for this indoor kitty!


Monday’s Fourth of July celebrations took us to Cherokee Lake to friends’ home.  We had a wonderful time.  It included a feast of picnic foods, a boat ride, and fellowship with new friends.


This barn was on the dead end road that took us to the lake house.  What is it about old barns that makes them so beautiful?


My pantry got some further organization when I finally found a couple of Lazy Susans at TJ Maxx.  These will make finding my canned goods so much easier!


Lastly, I harvested some of my herbs a few weeks ago and had them drying in small bundles in our hot, dry garage.  This week I pulled the leaves off and got them stored in small jars.  They’re so fragrant and I can’t wait to use all three – Thyme, Dill and Oregano.


God is good to give sweet blessings that we get to enjoy each day.  He also gives grace for the difficult things that come, but God is always good!

How have you seen God’s goodness to you this week?  Do you have a favorite photo from this post?

Stay refreshed,