Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4

Holidays at my parents' house is always fun — lots of family, friends dropping in and out, and in the summer, pool time.

Poolside, baby. No, I'm not posting a pic of me in a bikini (ha).

 Today was over 100 degrees in St. Louis, but when you are jumping in and out of the pool, sipping on Budweiser Limaritas (Mom picked those out) and snacking on potato salad, cookies 'n cream cake, and pork steaks (it's an STL thing) the heat is more than bearable.

The cookies 'n cream cake was ooey gooey chocolatey goodness. It's the perfect summertime dessert — surprisingly light and cool.

Whipping cream for the cookie cake

My favorite apron - I wore this for 8 hours straight yesterday while preparing all the food :)

For this Independence Day my mother wanted me to make all the sides. This meant that I showed up with 4 sides (green beans, potato salad, corn off the cob and mixed greens), while Mom made deviled eggs, 3 types of meat, and pasta salad. A family member brought green bean casserole. All together we had 3 desserts. That's 13 dishes.

For 13 people.
Mmmm cookies layered with chocolate cream. 

Good ol' red white and blue.

We had way too much food. So many leftovers.
Leftover tater salad.

But in a way, isn't that precisely what America is all about?

All kidding aside, it was a great holiday. Happy secession from the redcoats, everyone!

Cookies n' Cream Cake
{Printable Recipe}
  • 2 boxes of store-bought chocolate chip cookies (I used Keebler's Original)
  • 1 container Cool whip
  • 3 cans coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar (or Stevia)
  • Strawberries & Blue Sprinkles (for a little flair)
  • This recipe is a do-ahead by necessity if you want to use coconut milk. You can skip coconut flavored filling if you want, just use double the Cool Whip. If you want coconut cream, start 3 days before the event. 
  • Open the cans of coconut milk. Let them sit uncovered in the cans in the fridge overnight. The next morning the cream will have separated from the coconut water. Skim the cream off the top, leaving the water underneath. Save the coconut water to drink as is, or in a smoothie!
  • In a stand mixer, plop to coconut cream with the cocoa powder, and the sugar. Whip it on high speed for 5 minutes until thick.
  • Fold in 2/3 of the Cool Whip. Taste it to see if you like it, and add more chocolate/sugar if needed.
  • Using a springform pan, first put a layer down of cookies. If there are big spaces, break up a couple cookies to fill in the holes. It doesn't need to be perfect at all.
  • Spread a layer of the chocolate cream (a big dollop or two — just enough to cover the cookies). 
  • Add another layer of cookies. Repeat the cookie-cream layering until you reach the top of the pan. On the last layer of cookies, put down a layer of PLAIN Cool Whip so that you have a pretty white topping. 
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let this sit in the fridge overnight so that the cookies soak up the cream and the cream sets.

Serves 8-12

Perfect Potato Salad
{Printable Recipe}
  • 5 lbs potatoes (too much? Scale down if you need to!)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups mayo
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sweet relish
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Peel potatoes. Set them in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Add 3 cloves of peeled garlic and the bay leaves. Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Drain off the taters and let them cool for a bit. Chop them up into bite-sized chunks.
  • In a big bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, Dijon, relish, vinegar and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste. Always taste things like this as you go, and add more of this and more of that until it tastes good to you (who knows, maybe I like more vinegar than you do!)
  • Add the potatoes while their still warm and mix the salad. Let it sit in the fridge until you're ready to eat — a total do-ahead!
Serves infinity (or maybe like 20 people).


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