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A Memorial Day Gathering

Memorial Day is also the day that we honor and give a special thanks to our men and women in the military. In addition, no matter what the climate is in your part of the country, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season. We are pretty much straining at the bit to break out the grills and take our celebrations outside. So letís put on some flip flops and sunscreen and celebrate the holiday outside.

The color palette for Memorial Day and 4th of July are pretty much one in the same. This means that you wonít have to buy more decorations for your Independence Day celebration unless you really want to.

Stick with the red, white, and blue theme by all means. However for a change of pace and style, use a different pattern other than stripes. Consider chevron, polka dots or a paisley print thatís typically used for bandanas. If youíre using a pattern, stick with solid colors for plates, cups, napkins, cutlery and table cloths.

Set off yard bug defoggers the day before and the morning of your outside celebration. Also use citronella candles and tiki torches to help keep bugs at bay.

Hang red-white and blue lanterns from trees and string clear lights in any space that you can.

Designate and decorate an area in your yard to lighting approved fireworks and sparklers. It goes without saying that this activity should be manned by an adult.

Freeze Tag
Flag Football
Sack Races
Balloon Stomp
Face Painting

BBQ Pork Tenderloin
Mango Salsa
Black Eyed Pea Salad
Grilled Bruschetta
Stuffed Cucumbers
Sweet Tea
Grilled Banana Splits

Here are a few recipes to get you started!

Stuffed Cucumbers
4 cucumbers, scored lengthwise and cut into 3 large chunks
Spinach dip

Wash and dry cucumbers and then score lengthwise with a fork. Cut each cucumber horizontally into 3 chunks. Scoop out the seeds and some of the insides taking care to know remove too much of the pulp. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill for an hour. Remove from refrigerator and fill each chunk with spinach dip and return to refrigerator until serving time. Garnish with sprigs of dill if desired.

Grilled Banana Splits
3 bananas peeled and quartered
ľ chopped nuts, roasted
6 fresh or canned and drained pineapple slices
1 pt each of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream
Jarred fudge and caramel topping, warmed
Whipped cream and maraschino cherries for garnish, optional

Coat bananas with cooking spray, this will delay the browning. Grill pineapple slices with the lid lowered for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Then with the lid open grill banana halves for 1-2 minutes on each side until barely browned. A charcoal grill will burn hotter than a gas grill so watch carefully. Roughly chop the pineapple and bananas after theyíre cooled. Build your layers beginning with the bananas, ice cream, pineapple, ice cream, bananas and ice cream all the way to the top. Sprinkle top of each split with nuts and drizzle with the jarred toppings. Garnish with cherries and or whipped cream.

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