Red, White and Blue Spinach Salad

salad meal

I thought I’d throw a little virtual 4th of July party on my blog {this is part one of two posts} to help get you ready for your own real celebrations next week. This salad is a Cooking Light recipe, circa 1998. I’m not sure when I found it, but I was married in 2000 and I’ve been making this salad almost since the beginning of my marriage… it is that good. In this case, I’ve added some blueberries to make it festive for the Fourth {or Memorial Day or Labor Day or any other patriotic gathering you may also celebrate}.

The napkins, paper trays and straw {navy and white striped… it didn’t manage to make it in the picture because I was trying to crop out my messy kitchen in the background} are courtesy of Target and very reasonably priced. The brat is a local brand to me (Gliers here in Cincinnati) and all-natural. The bun is from my Kroger grocery bakery and I fancied it up a bit by grilling it in a little butter, as I would a grilled-cheese sandwich. Ketchup, mustard and fresh onions top this all-American classic. The “Liberty Tortilla Chips” are made by RW Garcia and all-natural as well. I’ve always loved Izze sparkling juice drinks and their cherry lime is the best!

salad up close

My point with this post is this… I live in a generally more messy than picture-perfect home. I try to juggle my family, my friends, my {paying} job and taking care of myself… some days I’m successful, others not so much. I just happen to be passionate about cooking real food most of the time and make it a priority. I enjoy entertaining, but I don’t have hours to spend on the preparation. So this is my way of trying to help others {moms or not} in similar situations.

I’m sharing six great DIY ideas to help make your celebration next week special. Choose one or two ideas from these creative bloggers, make a couple of homemade dishes and count on your guests and your favorite grocer to fill in the rest. Then party-on! {I’ll share the recipes for dessert and a side dish in part two of this post on Saturday}.

4th collage
1. First up is this fantastic {free} printable from the eighteen25 blog.  Fill snack-size Ziploc bags with three bags of snaps each. Trim your printables and staple them to the top of your bags for a snappy favor your guests will probably use up before they even go home! {Click on the picture links to be taken to the blogs I am featuring}

oh snap
2. Next is this simple paper chain that you can get your kids to help assemble. This free printable can be found at the Love the Day blog.
3. This 8×10 Sweet Land of Liberty print comes from A Typical English Home {only slightly ironic}. But seriously, print it and stick in a frame for instant and simple decoration.
4. These Oreo cheescake pops are so cute {and delicious if you have not had the opportunity to try them yet}. Visit Living Locurto for the recipe and printable.
5. I love sparklers just as much as snaps and always have them at my 4th of July gatherings. Visit Almost Makes Perfect for these adorable, vintage-look matchbox covers to use for lighting those sparklers.
6. And last but not least, is this Firecracker Popsicle tea towel DIY project from Hello Lucky. This template could be used to paint on t-shirts or placemats as well. So fun!
And now here’s the recipe for that salad. Don’t forget to check back for a linked recipe for Red, White and Blue Macaroni and Cheese and simple ice cream sandwiches made with my grandma’s recipe for Snickerdoodles!

Red, White and Blue Spinach Salad
Serves 6
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  1. 1/4 c. sugar
  2. 2 T. red or white wine vinegar
  3. 1 1/2 T. olive oil
  4. 1 1/2 t. sesame seeds, toasted
  5. 3/4 t. poppy seeds
  6. 1/4 t. Hungarian sweet paprika
  7. 1/4 t. salt
  8. 6 c. baby spinach (about 1 pound)
  9. 1 c. halved strawberries
  10. 1 c. blueberries
  11. 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  12. 1 (3-ounce) log goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a jar; cover dressing tightly, and shake vigorously.
  2. Combine the spinach, strawberry halves and blueberries in a large bowl, and toss gently. Pour the dressing over the spinach mixture, tossing gently to coat. Spoon 1 cup salad onto each of 6 plates and top with the almonds and crumbled goat cheese to serve.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
Foodtastic Mom