So you’ve probably heard about the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, right? Well, if you haven’t, let me explain. Quicken Loans, along with Yahoo! Sports, will give you a billion (yes, billion with a “B”) dollars if you pick a perfect bracket during the men’s college basketball tournament this year. Now, in case you don’t have experience filling out brackets or aren’t even sure what a bracket is, the Quicken Loans Zing Blog is we’re here to give you a quick lesson in “bracketology.”
Can’t head up to the lake this year for the Fourth of July? Tired of eating the overcooked burgers at your neighborhood’s block party? Don’t let your lack of options rain on your Fourth of July parade. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate the good old USA other than conventional BBQs and lake parties. Check out these alternative Fourth of July food, entertainment and drink ideas to put your own twist on an Independence Day celebration! Boats and grills totally optional.
Food: Patriotic Potluck
No grill? No problem! Have a potluck where all the guests bring a dish that is red, white, blue or all three! It will be a festive way to celebrate being an American without worrying about burning the hotdogs or running out of ketchup. Here are some options for each color.
- Roasted sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries are a colorful and healthy alternative to a great American favorite. These will be a perfect side or summery snack for the patriotic potluck.
- Strawberry frozen yogurt. Looking for a refreshing alternative to your average strawberry dessert? This five-minute fro-yo will keep you cool and satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Baked mac and cheese. This dish is an undeniable crowd-pleaser. Using a whiter cheese will ensure that this dish fits the patriotic color scheme.
- Coconut bars. Prepare yourself for a slice of coconut heaven! These mouth-watering coconut bars only have four ingredients!
- Homemade blueberry jam. Impress your friends and family by taking the time to make your own jam instead of picking it up from the store. With this easy blueberry jam recipe, there’s no need to be overwhelmed by the process. Serve it on bread, crackers or even straight from the jar!
- Blueberry coconut dreamsicles. This creative and refreshing treat will surely wow the other guests. This popsicle’s creamy coconut base is sprinkled with fresh blueberries and infused with a hint of lemon.
Entertainment: America-Themed Karaoke Party
Who needs to watch fireworks when you can watch your crazy Uncle Bill make a fool of himself while belting out songs about America? All you need is a karaoke machine and probably a couple Budweisers too. Here are some patriotic song choices.
“American Pie” by Don McLean
With an unforgettable chorus, this great American classic will surely have the whole party joining in.
“Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood
If you’re looking to inspire the crowd and get everyone pumped up, this American favorite is bound to work.
“Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen
Bring it back to the 80s with this famous Springsteen hit. Belting out this tune will undoubtedly bring some nostalgia to the group and get everyone in the patriotic spirit!
“Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus
Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Miley can make one heck of a catchy song. So swallow your pride, grab the microphone and get everyone inspired to let loose in this great country of ours.
Drinks: Red, White and Blueberry Cocktails
If the karaoke was a little much for you, it may be time to sit back and enjoy a patriotic cocktail. Check out these festive recipes that will surely brighten your mood and bring out your true American patriotism.
Mix together lemon-lime soda, blueberry vodka, grenadine, fresh strawberries and blueberries. Then, coat the rim with pop rocks for the full sparkler effect!
Mix together pinot grigio or sparkling wine, coconut rum and sprite, and add fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and ice cubes. Sit back and enjoy the refreshing patriotic buzz!
By dressing up this tropical favorite with whipped cream and blueberries, an average summery cocktail becomes a dutiful celebration of America the beautiful.
So don’t get caught up in the stereotypical Fourth of July routine. Try something a little different, and let this year’s celebration be a memorable one!