Who doesn’t love July 4th? It’s typically a happy day spent with family and/or friends for the sole purpose of being together and celebrating our country and our independence – oh and for eating fabulous summertime food of course!

We spent this year’s Independence Day in North Carolina at our cabin that’s been in the family for 80 years. Going there brings back a flood of happy memories, and I thank God for my family and my time spent there my entire life.

We began our dinner party (that included family and wonderful neighbors) with specialty drinks (See below called JUNALUSKA JUICE) and appetizers of popcorn while we visited and caught up.

Here’s what we served THIS July 4th:

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

Pork Ribs

Dill Potato Salad

Corn Tomato Salad

Best Strawberry Blueberry Shortcake EVER

Junaluska Juice


I doubled the recipe here for my group. These are so so good – I make them all the time. Love the fact that there’s fresh lemons and oregano and that you don’t need any utensils to eat them.

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice 
2 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh oregano 
2 garlic cloves, pressed 
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil 
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt 
1 tsp finely grated lemon peel 
8 chicken drumsticks 

Whisk first 6 ingredients in small bowl. 

Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour marinade into 1-gallon resealable plastic bag or large container; add chicken and seal. Turn bag to coat chicken.

Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or in refrigerator up to 2 days, turning occasionally. 

Prepare grill (medium-high heat). Place chicken, with some marinade still clinging, on grill rack; grill chicken until cooked through and golden brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 30 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.


We absolutely love these ribs! (montgomeryinn.com) I think these are just about the best ribs out there! They are out of Cincinnati, OH, and I order them frequently for parties.  You can grill them or just pop them in the oven.  Then cover them with their amazing (I think the best) BBQ sauce, cut them up; and you have finger food that your guests will love you for serving. These are AH-MAH-ZING!

(Adapted from Ina Garten)

3 lbs small white potatoes (or large ones cut into bite-sized pieces)

Kosher salt

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

2 TBSP whole-grain mustard

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped red onion

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water.

Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Set aside.When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.


12 ears of corn, husked
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, large leaves torn 1/3 cup (or more)
fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

 Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Rub corn with 1 Tbsp. oil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl.

Corn can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Place onion in a strainer and rinse with cold water to mellow its flavor. Drain well. Mix onion, remaining 5 Tbsp. oil, basil, 1/3 cup lime juice, and thyme.

Then stir into corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired. Add tomatoes JUST before serving.

DO AHEAD: Salad can be assembled 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


(Adapted from Southern Living)

Oh my goodness! My daughter made THE most delicious Shortcake recipe I’ve ever tasted! Moist, sweet and tangy at the same time! 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 TBSP lemon zest plus 2 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon)

1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP granulated sugar, divided

4 cups flour, plus more for work surface and kneading

1 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk

2 cups plus 2 TBSP cold heavy cream, divided 

1 TBSP sanding sugar (or coarse sugar)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 vanilla bean pod, split (or use 1 tsp vanilla)

1 pint blueberries

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or use fingertips) until mixture resembles peas. Add buttermilk, and stir gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until well combined and shaggy. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently until dough just comes together, 2 to 3 times. Pat dough with lightly floured palms to 1 1⁄2-inch thickness (do not use a rolling pin). Cut out biscuits using a 2 1⁄2-inch round cutter, gathering and patting scraps once more to make 12 biscuits.

Place biscuits about 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Brush tops of biscuits with 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes.

Place powdered sugar in bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Scrape vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) into powdered sugar; add remaining 2 cups heavy cream. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir together strawberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1⁄2 cup of the granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Cover; refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Split biscuits; place on plates or a large platter. Spoon strawberry mixture onto bottom halves of biscuits. Dollop with whipped cream; cover with biscuit tops, a dollop more of whipped cream then sprinkle with blueberries. HAPPY JULY 4TH!!!


1 Cup Natural Apple Juice
1 Cup Cranberry Juice
1/4 cup Vodka
Ginger Ale
Lime wedges Ice

For 4 drinks: Put apple juice, cranberry juice and vodka into a blender and pulse until frothy. Pour into a large serving jug, top with 1 cup ginger ale and a good handful of ice. Pour into glasses (or mason jars like I did) and top with a lime wedge.

Hope your 4th was a happy one!!

Ours was, well, A BLAST!