Red, White, and BOOM!





How is it Fourth of July weekend already??? Summer is flyyyyying by! I love this weekend though. Cookouts, time with family and friends, fireworks, and three days off of work……what’s not to love? I still really enjoy going to see fireworks too. To me it’s not summer without Fourth of July fireworks. And this weekend I ended up getting three nights of fireworks! It was amazing 🙂 The Fourth of July celebration actually began on Friday, July 2, with Columbus’s Red White and Boom fireworks show. (I apologize for the quality of pictures above. I desperately need a new camera.) We cooked out with friends and instead of fighting the crowds we went to a place close to our house to take in the fireworks. Sorry for no pictures of our great cookout ( I forgot my camera at that point), but we had a wonderful meal with grilled garden burgers, grilled veggies and grilled corn on the cob. It was delicious 😀

Saturday was a laid back summer day filled with cornhole games, a long bike ride in the park and more fireworks! This time we were able to enjoy the fireworks from the comfort of Chris’s parents house and play with sparklers, which always brings out the kid in me 😉
Sunday, finally the real 4th of July day, was a day spent with my family as they always have a big cookout. We drove up for a visit and enjoyed a great day of visiting with family and eating good food. Then, if you can believe it, we saw more fireworks Sunday night. The neighbors behind my parents house always buy a ton of fireworks and put on a great show for the neighborhood. It was better than most fireworks shows! This was such a good weekend and I am glad to have today off work to relax and get ready for the week after all the festivities.

I know I promised great recipes from this weekend, but I was slacking on my picture taking. I did make these really great cupcakes for the cookout at my parents house though. They are Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and Vegan Vanilla-Almond Cupcakes with a Vegan Buttercream Frosting. So wonderful! The recipe came from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I have to say, the frosting needs some tweaking. It turned a little melty and didn’t hold up as I would have liked. I recommend refrigerating the cupcakes to help the frosting set.

Fourth of July Vegan Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS (chocolate)

* 1 cup soy milk
* 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup canola oil
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup whole wheat flour
* 1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS (vanilla-almond)
*1 cup soy milk
*1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
*1¼ cups all-purpose flour
*2 Tbsp. cornstarch
*¾ tsp. baking powder
*½ tsp. baking soda
*¼ tsp. salt
*½ cup canola oil
*¾ cup sugar
*2 tsp. vanilla extract
*¼ tsp. almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).
3. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

INGREDIENTS (vegan buttercream frosting)

½ cup nonhydrogenated shortening
½ cup nonhydrogenated margarine
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup plain soy milk or soy creamer


1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well-combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend! I’m off to relax for the evening with a movie 🙂


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