Star-spangled snacks

Independence Day celebrations wouldn’t be complete without scrumptious treats to enjoy. Here are some tasty concoctions the kids will love to help prepare and eat.

Patriot Cupcakes

Red, white and blueberry goodness in a fun little cupcake.

1 box strawberry cake mix 1/8 cup red food coloring 1 container prepared white frosting Blueberries for garnish Flag picks for garnish

Step 1: Make cupcakes Mix cake batter according to package instructions, substituting 1/8 cup of red food coloring for

1/8 cup of the water. Bake into cupcakes. Cool to room temperature.

Step 2: Frost and decorate cupcakes Spread desired amount of frosting onto each cupcake; decorate with blueberries and flag picks.

Cook’s note: For extra fun, we like to bake these in flag- and star-decorated cupcake liners.

Rocket Pops

These fun treats are much lower in sugar than their store-bought counterparts, but the kids won’t miss it-neither will the grown-ups.

 1 1/4 cup strawberry yogurt 3/4 cup milk 1 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt 1 1/4 cup blueberry yogurt

Step 1: Mix yogurt. Mix together the strawberry yogurt with ¼ cup milk in a small pitcher; set aside. Mix together the vanilla yogurt with ¼ cup milk in a small pitcher; set aside. Mix together the blueberry yogurt with remaining ¼ cup milk in a small pitcher; set aside.

Step 2: Assemble Rocket Pops Divide strawberry yogurt among six plastic champagne flutes (about 6 ounces). Using a funnel will help to keep the yogurt from getting on the sides of the glasses. Place in the freezer until nearly firm. Divide the vanilla yogurt among the champagne flutes. Cover with a piece of foil; wrap a rubber band around to secure. Poke a wooden craft stick through the foil in the center of each champagne flute; freeze as before. Finish with a layer of blueberry yogurt and freeze until solid, about five hours.

Step 3: Unmold and serve Remove rubber band and foil from each champagne flute. Run hot water around the outside of each glass for a few seconds; invert and gently pull to remove from mold.

Star-Spangled Fruit Kabobs
 Cool and juicy fruit is even more fun to eat when paired with a sweet dipping sauce.

1 cup whipping cream
 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
 1 cup powdered sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 lemon, zested and juiced
 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves, minced
 Milk, as needed
 Watermelon cut into 1/2 inch-thick slices
 Blueberries or blackberries
 2 tsp. lemon juice
 Sprigs of mint for garnish

Step 1: Make dipping sauce Beat whipping cream in a medium bowl until stiff; set aside. Beat cream cheese in another medium bowl until fluffy; beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and mint leaves. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Add milk, as needed, to reach desired thickness. Cover and refrigerate until use.

Step 2: Make watermelon stars Cut watermelon into star shapes using a star-shaped cookie cutter.

Step 3: Cut bananas Peel bananas; cut into 1 1½-inch thick slices. Place in a non-reactive bowl of cool water with lemon juice.

Step 4: Assemble kabobs Skewer fruit onto wooden picks in this order: watermelon, banana, berries, until pick is full.

Step 5: Garnish and serve Place bowl of dipping sauce on a large platter and arrange skewers. Garnish with sprigs of mint and serve.

Besides her two favorite jobs of wife and mom, Michelle Ann Anderson is also a freelance writer, and enjoys public speaking and writing cookbooks.

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