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    The Ultimate 4th of July Party Guide

    July 2, 2013

    4th of July is in just a couple days and we have a few more last minute ideas to make this Independence Day a memorable one. From games to DIY decorations to new barbeque recipes, below you'll find a complete guide for your next 4th of July party. Check them out!

    Games
    Games are a great way to get people engaged and put the party in full swing. Below are a few ideas that are great for all ages and big groups alike.

    Balloon Brigade Relay Race


    1. This game requires only balloons and a whistle and enough people to form teams. Put each team in a single file line with the first player of each line holding a balloon. To be festive, make sure the balloon colors are red, white, and blue.

    2. Put someone in charge of blowing the whistle which starts the relay.

    3. Each lead player passes the balloon between his or her legs to the next person in line. The receiver then passes the balloon to the next person overhead. This continues over and under until the balloon reaches the last player. The last player then takes the balloon with them to the front of the line and starts over.

    4. The first team to have everyone be the head of the line wins!


    5.  


    Water Balloon Dodgeball
     


    1. Put all your guests into two equal teams. Use the same rules as dodgeball, line up all the water balloons on an line in the middle of the yard or field.

    2. When the game begins, everyone runs to the center to grab a balloon and throws the balloons at the opposing team.

    3. If you get hit, you are out of the game. The last child standing is the water balloon dodgeball winner! If you like, you can have a 4th of July themed prize for your winner.


    4.  


    Fourth of July Jar

    Fourth of July Jar is a guessing game to see how many red, white and blue objects are in a jar. You can use anything, from beads to Jelly Beans, or M&Ms.

     

     


    1. Count the amount of each red, white, and blue object and put objects in the jar.

    2. Let each player guess how many of each color is in the jar, not the jar as a whole.

    3. The one who most accurately guesses the number of each colored item wins the game and the jar!


    4.  


    Food
    As with any summer barbeque, a 4th of July party wouldn't be complete without a great selection of food for your guests, and we've got some great recipes to get you going. From healthy summer salads to classic grilling recipes, try these items at your party and your guests will thank you for it!

     

     

    Black Bean and Couscous Salad

    Ingredients
    1 cup uncooked couscous
    1 1/4 cups chicken broth
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    8 green onions, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
    2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preparation


    1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar and cumin. Add green onions, red pepper, cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat.

    3. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.


    4.  


    Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Salad
     

    Ingredients
    1 1/2 cups wild rice, rinsed and drained
    1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
    1 lime, zested and juiced
    1 orange, zested and juiced
    Small handful fresh dill, finely chopped
    Small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
    1 bunch chives, finely chopped
    1 cucumber, diced
    1 red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
    1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
    1/2 cup sliced almonds
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1 teaspoon powedered cumin
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation


    1. Cook the rice: Heat 4 1/2 cups of salted water to boiling. Add the wild rice and cover. Turn the heat to low and cook the rice for about 45 minutes or until the grains are tender and puffed. Pour the rice into a large bowl. Heat two cups of salted water to boiling and add the brown rice. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Let stand for five minutes, then fluff with a fork and toss with the wild rice.

    2. Toss the rice with the lime and orange zest, and the herbs. Toss with the cucumbers, red peppers, dates and almonds.

    3. Whisk together the olive oil and the lime and orange juice. Toss with the rice, then stir in the cumin powder. Taste and season if necessary with salt and pepper.


    4.  


    Creamy Potato Salad 

    Ingredients
    6 medium potatoes (2 pounds)
    1/2 lb bacon, prepared as in Homemade Fresh Bacon Bits
    1 cup thinly sliced celery
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
    1 1/4 cups mayonnaise or 1 1/4 cups salad dressing
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 teaspoons celery seeds
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    2 teaspoons prepared mustard
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 hardboiled egg, coarsely chopped

    Preparation


    1. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender.

    2. Drain well.

    3. Peel and cube potatoes.

    4. Transfer to a large bowl.

    5. Add celery, onion, sweet relish and bacon bits.

    6. Combine mayo, sugar, celery seed, vinegar, mustard, and salt.

    7. Add mayo mixture to potatoes.

    8. Toss lightly to coat potato mixture.

    9. Carefully fold in the chopped eggs.

    10. Cover and chill thoroughly.

    11. Bacon bit tip: Partially freeze your package of bacon. Use a sharp knife and cut the frozen bacon into long strips about 1/4 inch wide. Turn the bacon and cut the strips into pieces also about 1/4 in wide. You now have perfect raw bacon pieces to fast fry. No need to separate. They will separate during cooking. Perfect bacon bits.


    12.  


    Barbecued Salmon with Lemon and Herbs

    Ingredients
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    2 lemons, juiced
    2 tablespoons small capers, drained, chopped
    1/3 cup dill leaves, finely chopped
    1 bunch lemon thyme, roughly chopped
    sea salt
    12 x 180g atlantic salmon fillets, skin on
    lemon wedges, to serve

    Preparation


    1. Combine oil, garlic, 1/3 cup lemon juice, capers, dill and lemon thyme in a large jug. Season with sea salt and pepper. Place salmon, in a single layer, in a large ceramic dish. Pour over half the marinade. Turn salmon over and pour over remaining marinade. Cover. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to marinate. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

    2. Preheat a greased barbecue plate on medium-high heat. Barbecue salmon, skin side up, for 3 minutes. Turn and barbecue, brushing occasionally with marinade, for 4 to 6 minutes (depending on thickness) or until just cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges.


    3.  


    Hawaiian BBQ Chicken
     

    Ingredients
    6 chicken thighs
    1 cup pineapple juice
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon fresh ginger

    Preparation


    1. Marinate the chicken thighs with the rest of the ingredients for 30 minutes. Place them on the grill over medium heat. Grill thighs until juices run clear.


    2.  


    Barbecued Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze
     

    Ingredients
    1 cup(s) peach preserves or jam
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
    1 tablespoon(s) soy sauce
    1 teaspoon(s) soy sauce
    1 tablespoon(s) dry mustard
    1/4 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon(s) salt, plus more to taste
    1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
    4 (1 1/4 pounds each) chicken breasts, split
    4 ripe peaches, cut in half and pitted

    Preparation


    1. Preheat grill to medium hot. In a medium mixing bowl, combine preserves, garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, and mix well to combine.

    2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with additional salt and pepper, and place, skin side down, on the grill. Cook the chicken about 10 minutes on each side before brushing the upturned side with glaze. Continue cooking chicken for another 10 to 12 minutes, turning it every 3 to 5 minutes and brushing each upturned side with glaze every time, until the chicken is cooked through. Move chicken to the oven or a cooler part of grill if it gets too dark before it is cooked through.

    3. Place peach halves on the grill, cut side down, and grill 2 minutes. Turn, and brush the tops with glaze. Grill 3 to 4 minutes more, until the peaches are soft and the cavities fill with juices. Transfer the cooked chicken and peaches to a serving platter.


    4.  


    Décor

     

    It wouldn't be a 4th of July party without some festive decorations, like stars and stripes and some red, white, and blue. Here are a few decorative ideas to make your 4th of July party truly come alive.

    4th of July Water Bottles
     

    This is a great DIY decoration that is super easy to pull off. Keep your guests hydrated in the summer heat in true 4th of July style by simply wrapping small flags around water bottles. Cheap plastic or fabric flags work best, don't use paper as condensation would destroy it.

    Red, White, and Blue Mason Jars

    Simply spray paint your very own mason jars red, white, and blue and you have decorative accents throughout your party! Fill them with flowers as a centerpiece or use them for something more functional like silverware; a rustic and elegant touch to your 4th of July party!

    Bandana Flags

    Use red, white, and blue bandanas to easily create a banner! Cut up the bandana into four squares, fold each square into a triangle (iron to get nice creases), and attach the triangles to a ribbon. Hang around your party both inside and out for a truly festive, 4th of July feel.

    Happy 4th of July everyone! Try any of these ideas? Let us know your opinion in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. For more ideas, visit our posts on 4th of July pool party venues and barbeque recipes!