Delegate the Red, White, & Blue

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For this year’s July 4th shoot, I knew I had a treat in store (literally and figuratively) when Katie Jacobs agreed to team up and create the perfect menu for our Independence Day celebrations. Katie is an author, chef, and entertaining expert and her website and book are fabulous resources, especially for those who like to cook! We designed a Fourth of July party for Southern Living in 2019 and it was so fun to revisit the same holiday with new concepts.

There are several elements to this setup: a gorgeous table, ice cream bar, cocktail station, and recipes, so I’ve divided this post into sections so you can easily get to your favorite part. July 4th is one of my favorite days to entertain, and it’s also the perfect holiday to tackle with a buddy. It can be hard to collaborate on holidays like Christmas where family traditions run deep, but the Fourth is more causal. Divide your work in half and co-hostess!


Our table design was inspired by these beautiful bamboo linens from Pomegranate Inc. (paid partnership). I’ve worked with this brand several times now and I’m always blown away by their product. They truly have something for everyone and the quality is great, plus their offering extends beyond linens – think serving pieces, drinkware, home décor, and more. They even offer bridal registries.

The chinoiserie trend is here to stay, so we decided to fully lean in and add some preppy pops of red to reinforce that July 4th spirit. For the place settings, white square plates offered a modern touch. The napkin rings reminded us of chic little fireworks and helped break up some of the blue. The fabulous paper stars are from No One Alike’s Kim Padula, a vendor who specializes in marbled pieces. I like finding accessories like these because you can reuse them year after year in different ways (strung like a garland, scattered down the middle of the table, as place cards). Kim also makes these incredible taper candles (a fab hostess gift, BTW – they come in several colorways). For the cutlery and glassware, we used old favorites that you’ve seen several times before. I love using a bold goblet like this because it can really help anchor a table and makes everything look crisp.

The amazing florals are from LMA Designs. Lauren is a favorite wedding florist in Nashville and if you live in the area, you can sign up for her monthly floral subscription (it’s a great deal). She did a beautiful mix of red and white flowers: hydrangeas, roses, anemones, ranunculus, irises, and some blue accent buds. To replicate this at home, you can easily sub in red and white carnations for some of the harder-to-find blooms and achieve a very similar look.


Who doesn’t love an ice cream bar? It’s the perfect summer dessert and Katie has two incredible “no churn” flavors: Blackberry Lavender and Sea Salt, Honey, & Dark Chocolate Chunk. Do yourself a big favor and try them out (recipes below) – both are completely delicious!

Of course, ice cream can get a little messy so the key is to protect whatever surface you’re using to serve. Here we lined up chic paper placemats “table runner style” to cover the bar cart and catch any overflow. We offered patriotic toppings on a tray to contain spills, and acrylic holders were the perfect way to display and prep cones. They also added height, as did the ice bucket which doubled as a holder for the actual ice cream. If you’re using a two-tier cart like this, don’t forget to add some décor to the bottom. Hydrangeas from my backyard did the trick.


I’ve said it a million times – a beverage station is the best way to keep guests “watered” without you constantly refilling drinks. A pretty self-serve area also doubles as festive décor. For this setup, we offered Katie’s incredible Rosé Tequila Sangria (recipe below). It’s refreshing, delicious, and the color is perfect for the Fourth. Add some bowls of fresh mint and berries + pretty straws for a finishing touch. Tip: if you arrange the straws in a tall glass like this, put some M&Ms from your dessert bar in the bottom of the glass. It elevates the straws and makes them easier to grab.


  • Rosé Tequila Sangria
  • Pulled Pork Sliders with Slaw and White BBQ Sauce
    • Buy the meat from your fave BBQ joint!
  • Veggie Kabobs with Pesto
  • Blackberry Lavender Ice Cream
  • Sea Salt, Honey, & Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

The genius of Katie’s menu is that you can prepare these recipes yourself OR replicate most of these dishes with store-bought substitutes. We all know what I’ll be doing, but I love that these are all simple recipes for those who enjoy cooking. You can also make/prep almost all of these dishes in advance so you’re not stressed the day of your party. Everything was delicious and I love this changeup from the usual burgers and hotdogs. A huge thanks to Katie for sharing these wonderful recipes with us!

Rosé Tequila Sangria (serves approx 10)

  • 1 bottle rosé
  • 1 cup silver tequila
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar 
  • 3 cups fruit of choice (strawberries, peaches, blueberries, cherries, and/or watermelon)
  • 2-3 limes, sliced
  • Original flavored kombucha for topping
  • Mint for garnish

In a large pitcher or beverage dispenser, combine all the ingredients except the kombucha. Stir to combine and add ice to chill.

To serve, fill each glass with ice and pour sangria over the ice. Top with kombucha. Garnish with mint and more fruit.

Walnut and Lime Basil Pesto (drizzled over veggie kabobs, makes approx 1 cup of pesto)

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped garlic (4 cloves)
  • 2.5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the lime juice and olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top (so the basil doesn’t brown). 

Make it ahead: Store in an air-tight container and drizzle top with oil (to prevent browning). You can also freeze pesto in ice cube trays, then store frozen pesto cubes in plastic freezer bags for up to 6 months.

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce (served on the barbecue sliders)

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Transfer to a jar with a tight lid and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week. 

Red Cabbage, Carrot, & Apple Slaw (served on the barbecue sliders)

  • 1 small head red cabbage, shredded
  • 3 large carrots, shredded
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 green apples, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place shredded cabbage, carrots, green onions, apples, and parsley in a large bowl. 

In a separate small bowl, whisk together mustard, garlic, oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey, vanilla, chili powder, salt, and pepper until well combined. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days. 

Blackberry Lavender No Churn Ice Cream (makes 1 quart)

  • 2 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender
  • 2 pints fresh blackberries

Add 1/3 cup of the heavy cream to a small pot and bring to a low boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lavender. Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool completely. Once cool, strain the cream through a fine mesh strainer.

In a separate bowl, mash the blackberries.

Add the lavender cream, the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in the mashed blackberries. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Sea Salt, Honey, & Dark Chocolate Chunk No Churn Ice Cream (makes 1 quart)

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon flakey sea salt
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Add the heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, honey, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form. Stir in the chocolate. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze 4 hours or overnight.

* All images taken by the fabulous Lele Fain Photography *

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