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
Lunch: Picnic By the Pool
Dinner: At Mom’s
German Potato Salad (I’ll do a separate post on this recipe so stay tuned!)
Brunch: At Stein Eriksen Lodge
Cheese and Charcuterie board
Sliced Cucumbers with Hummus
Leftover Pistachio Cinnamon Chicken Salad with Toast
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!