Cook Fast, Live Young: 4th of July Desserts to Save Money and Calories
Image by WhosThisValGirl via Flickr
For most of us, 4th of July eating is all about decadence: juicy burgers and hot dogs from the grill, potato and macaroni salad, chips and drinks in a dozen varieties. But because money and calories can add up quick, I wanted to offer some dessert choices that will still let you show your patriotism with your stomach without making you regret it the next day, because all those pre-made treats at your local grocery can really add up!
For our twist on this old patriotic favorite, we suggest foregoing the usual cake with fruit topping and making the flag completely out of fruit! The amount of fruit you'll need depends on the size of the flag you want, but blackberries will make up the top left blue corner of the flag, and strawberry halves on top of banana slices form the stripes, to give the illusion of white and red. Use toothpicks to enjoy it as-is or provide light whipped cream or yogurt to dip the fruit in. Yum!
Red and blue juices, vanilla yogurt, and light whipped cream make up this frozen delight that's sure to please every one. Using popsicle trays or disposable plastic cups, partially freeze one of the juices (it doesn't matter which, but make sure you stay consistent!
). Next you want to mix the yogurt and whipped cream together and freeze that on top of the first juice to make a white stripe, making sure to put your popsicle stick in at this point. Finally, add the last juice after the rest of the popsicle is frozen, and when you pull it out, you'll have a delicious--and patriotic--frozen treat!
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches
At first glance, these might not seem like they could be healthy, but that's the power of making your own dessert. Best of all, these are incredibly simple to make! Find light or fat-free varieties of your favorite flavor of ice cream, then do the same for cookies. If you want to get really industrious, you can even bake fresh cookies for this, but it's not necessary. Once you have the ingredients, scoop about ¼ cup of ice cream out and wedge it between two cookies, then flatten to make a sandwich and freeze. Generally speaking, each sandwich will be less than 300 calories and 10 grams of fat-- not too shabby.
Easy, healthy, and inexpensive, all you'll need is red and blue Jell-O, light whipped cream, a star-shaped cookie cutter, and typical Jell-O cooking supplies. Cook and chill each color of gelatin separately until solid, then remove from the refrigerator and use the cookie cutter to cut out Jell-O stars. Stack red and blue stars on top of each other with whipped cream in-between for a fun, festive snack.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine PinkRaygun.com, a contributor to the career blog at Resumark.com, and owner of the food blog CookFastLiveYoung.blogspot.com. Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at WeissRoessler.com.