July 4th Weekend

July 4th has always been a big holiday in my family. We gather, we eat, we celebrate and we revel in the sweetness of summer and all that it entails. Up in Utah July 4th marks the true, we don’t have to worry about frost or waking up to a late spring snowstorm, start of summer. This year was an especially hard, cold and snowy winter so we are truly grateful for the longer days filled with suntans and outdoor activities this July has brought us. 

It was a relatively quiet 4th this year since my sister and her family couldn’t make the trip and my dad is going to visit us while I’m filming in LA instead of taking his annual summer vacation in Utah. Only my best friend Cheyenne joined us for the weekend making it a more low key and intimate affair. Since I didn’t need to prepare my home for an onslaught of guests, and only had to add one more place setting to my dinner table I decided to embrace the idea of ease and plan the weekend with my own enjoyment in mind, as well as everybody else’s.

This 4th we enjoyed several meals out in Park City saving me from prepping, cooking and cleaning up. My mother graciously hosted a dinner at her house saving me another night of kitchen duty. When I was on kitchen duty, I chose simple dishes for lazy lunches by the pool that I was able to make in advance and only had to plate and serve day of.  For our dinner on the 4th I decided to do a New England Clam bake that was an easy crowd pleaser and once finished only required us to roll up the paper we covered the table with and throw it all away. There was no silverware to wash, only a few bowls to clean and no leftovers to store making it the perfect meal for a host who just wanted to sit and enjoy the party with everybody else!

All in all it was a wonderful holiday weekend spent reveling in the sun, laughing with family and friends, celebrating our great country and eating our faces off!


Breakfast: In the Nook

Berry Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

Lunch: Picnic By the Pool

Pistachio Cinnamon Chicken Salad

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup

Vinegar Shrubs and Sparkling Water

Dinner: At Mom’s

Porterhouse Steak with Herbed Butter

Spicy Coleslaw

German Potato Salad (I’ll do a separate post on this recipe so stay tuned!)

Peach Pie


Brunch: At Stein Eriksen Lodge


Dinner: Munchies

Cheese and Charcuterie board

Sliced Cucumbers with Hummus

Leftover Pistachio Cinnamon Chicken Salad with Toast


Breakfast: Mirror Lake in Kamas Utah

Lunch: By the Pool

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Chilled Melon Soup

Cucumber Buttermilk Soup

Toast Three Ways

Dinner: On the Patio

New England Clambake

Herb Butter

Sourdough Loaf

Basil Lime Cookies

Heavenly Strawberry Roll

Perfect Picnic by the Pool!
Vinegar Shrubs make everything taste better.

Dinner at my mother’s on Saturday was a relaxing family and friends affair. She herself had some out of town friends visiting and they’re a great fun couple that Josh and I love too. Kathy and Mark Davis are truly wonderful people and we know them through the animal advocacy world. Kathy not only ran the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation for a while, she managed to bring the shelters in Texas down from high kill to 90% kill free! Since we rarely get to see them these days we figured Saturday was the perfect evening to get everybody together for a big family style meal.

My mother's beautiful table with a pretty impressive view.
Radishes from our garden on the ranch and my mother's Daffodil Dip.

Sunday we headed over to Glitretind Restaurant at the Stein Ericksen Lodge in Deer valley for their incredible brunch buffet. It’s truly one of those amazing buffets where the food is plentiful, delicious and all you can eat. Since everybody had at least two helpings we decided that dinner could be on the lighter side and Cheyenne put together the most beautiful cheese and charcuterie board with sliced cucumbers and apples, hummus, chicken salad, toasted bread and crackers. Being the perfect house guest that she is, she even cleaned it all up after! This is why she’s always invited back!

The girls getting ready for Sunday brunch with Aunty Chey.

Monday was our day to just chill at home and relax by the pool until the evening meal and festivities began. We had an adults only breakfast at a local spot in our little town and then headed home to suit up, slather on sunscreen and hit the pool. I had made the cold soups a few days earlier so they were nice and chilled for lunch that afternoon. I accompanied the soups with slices of toasted bread, three different flavored goat cheese spreads, fresh avocados, hard boiled eggs, sliced radishes, chopped scallions and hot pepper flakes. I put it all on my trusty bar cart and wheeled it down to the pool so everyone could nibble at their leisure. By late afternoon we were all a little (or in Josh’s case a lot) sunburned and water logged so we headed in to shower and clean up for dinner.

Naleigh and I getting our relax on!
Just a girl and her flamingo.
Rough life...
Nothing beats lunch at the pool!
Make your own delicious toast tray.
Avocado toast with radishes and hot pepper flakes. Jalapeño goat cheese toast with green onions.

The clam bake required very little prep and cooked up pretty fast so it was done and on the table in no time. Once it was all devoured, cleaned up and dessert served (courtesy of my mother) we settled back and watched the Oakley Rodeo fireworks that we have the good fortune of being able to see from our back yard. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

I used heirloom potatoes and added snow crab claws.
No utensils required.
Herb butter, regular butter and reduced broth for dipping.
Harvesting strawberries from our ranch for my mother's Heavenly Strawberry Roll.
Perfect summer strawberries from Badlands Ranch.

A huge thank you to Chey for taking time out from our celebrations to capture some wonderful memories on camera and for letting me steal her photographs for this post. Check out Cheyenne Ellis Photography to see her amazing portfolio!

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  • Stacy S

    Love all of these menu items – thanks for sharing! I love doing charcuterie for dinner parties. I think Zoom has the best – what about you? The weather was just perfect in park city this weekend. I love summer so much!

    I’ve made your bolognese twice and it’s now my go-to. It’s perfect. I’ve made zucchini lasagna and regular lasagna with the leftovers and they have both been amazeballs. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta in the lasagna and it was the best ever.

    I saw your hubs at the gym today and wanted to tell him congrats to you both – but I didn’t want to bother him. ;). So congrats – so excited for your family!


    July 7, 2016 at 11:38 pm Reply
  • Jodie Cooper

    Looks like you had such a fun weekend Katherine! Glad you and the girls got some time to relax.

    July 7, 2016 at 11:46 pm Reply
  • Rose

    This look like a fun relaxing holiday and the food looked really good. Your clam bake photos are my favorite I love me some crab.

    July 8, 2016 at 1:17 am Reply
  • Darcy Meyer

    Awesome blog! Love reading about your interests and life, it really does inspire me, thanks for the recipes.

    July 8, 2016 at 1:29 am Reply
  • Melissa W

    My New Favorite Blog! Thank You For The Glimpse Inside Your Life…And For The Recipes 😉

    July 8, 2016 at 1:45 am Reply
  • nelicia ramkissoon

    Wow I really enjoyed reading this!!!!! Looking.g forward to reading more!!!

    July 8, 2016 at 3:29 am Reply
  • Mariacristina

    Very nice post Katherine.
    The view from your house is just awesome.
    It must be so relaxing to just sit and stare outside.

    Love from the UK.

    July 8, 2016 at 12:30 pm Reply
  • Linda Guiffreda- Baker

    I spent part of my 4th of July weekend at me niece’s house in Utah. Your skies are amazing.
    Your menu for the holiday sounded like so much fun—anything you can eat off a newspaper (real English fish and chips, too!) is sooooooo deeee-lious! As I said it before, your blog IS the yellow icing on the cake!!!

    July 8, 2016 at 9:16 pm Reply
  • Damaris

    Amazing blog! Enjoying every word, recipe and picture! So inspiring. Bless you and your beautiful life and family!

    July 9, 2016 at 8:33 pm Reply
  • Carol Mendes

    Yay!! that wonderful days, God bless you and your beautiful family that I love, the girls are getting so big, do not let Josh forget the sunscreen lol
    ooh Madson looks like you!

    July 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    I love your blog and am truly astounded by what a diverse and interesting life you lead. On my summer days off I’m over here like “let’s whatch more greys reruns”.

    July 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm Reply
  • Isabel Acosta

    Loved your blog and the recipes, I really enjoyed the way you share your thoughts and moments with your lovely family. You are a great actress and I hope we can see you soon at any of your entertainment projects!

    July 17, 2016 at 4:59 am Reply
  • Monica

    I just discovered your blog today, I have followed you on FB and saw the link. Love it!! Love the way your eat clean and healthy, very inspirational to me.
    Also love your foundation, being an animal lover and advocate as well as a New Canaan resident.
    Will be so fun to follow your blog.
    Wishing you much health and happiness during your pregnancy!!

    August 2, 2016 at 11:39 pm Reply
  • Cynthia Schmand-Philbrook

    Beautiful! We are from Maine, so I understand that feeling when Summer comes. We moved here to NC about a year and a half ago, and are moving back to Maine in June. I miss my roots, friends, close community, my family, and I miss the seasons. Love your blog by the way and can’t wait to read more!

    March 9, 2017 at 5:08 am Reply
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