“HOT DOG! GET YER HAWWWT DAWWWWG!!!”
I can still hear my favorite vendor with the handlebar mustache tempting us fans back in those days when I was a Wrigley Field regular. I’ve traced my love of hot dogs back to that particular time in my life. Before that, I was never a hot dog fan, but neither was I a hater. However, the traditional Chicago dog , Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, a mom-and-pop hot dog shop around the corner from my place, the street vendors downtown, and all those Cubs games hooked me. I became, not only a fan, but a superfan.
Fast-forward a few years, and I was devastated not to be able to enjoy my new favorite summer treat while pregnant with my first child. I will never forget my sister-in-law texting me that she’d found a hot dog “substitute” that was safe for pregnant women. I dropped what I was doing, dashed to the store, and demanded that my husband grill up a full batch that very night to last me the week.
Hey, no one is going to say no to the pregnant chick, right?
Keep going a few more years, and there was another hiccup—becoming vegetarian. Truth be told, I’ve never been sad, had a craving, or felt like I was missing out on something I wanted since becoming vegetarian. My mom’s famous sausage balls at Christmas breakfast were the only close call, but I made it through just fine!
I won’t lie, though. This first spring of soccer and summer of baseball are testing me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not tempted to have a “real” hot dog, but being at the stadium or at a neighborhood BBQ does make me wish there were a decent veggie alternative. I went on the hunt for something satisfactory, and everything missed the mark. I love me some tofu, but tofu dogs and the other similar offerings out there just didn’t hit the spot.
With the Fourth of July fast approaching, I knew I needed to solve this problem ASAP! What would the Fourth be without a good ole’ All-American hot dog, or at the very least, a newfangled veggie dog? I was hoping to be the first one to find a solution, but it turns out there are many other vegetarians/vegans in the same boat. Lucky for me, one of those sailors discovered the greatness of….wait for it…the CARROT DOG. Which I have renamed the carrHOT DOG.
And as you know, carrots are orange, so I was obviously in.
Whether you’re veggie or not, this is worth checking out. We all know that hot dogs are a little controversial, so this is a fantastic alternative for anyone—especially kiddos. And now, get yer carrHAWWT DAWWG!
Pro Tip: Because I’ve become an ambassador of #reallife and #shithappens around here(!!), don’t hold your Ziploc bag full of marinade too close to the oven, burn a hole in it, and spill it all over your floor, cabinets, and basically the entirety of God’s creation.
And you know I’m not going to let a Fourth of July post go by without something cute, so how about these fun cupcakes that will be the perfect dessert to bring to your potluck block party?
No complicated tutorial here…just grab the following ingredients and use the photos below. These are always a hit everywhere I take them, and I know they won’t disappoint for your event!
– 24 cupcakes, flavor of choice, iced with white frosting
– 48 mini Nilla Wafers
– 12 Hot Tamale candies
– yellow frosting
– 12 Milk Duds candies, flattened a bit
– 4 yellow Starburst candies, heated slightly and sliced thinly into thirds
– coconut flakes, dyed green with food coloring
– sprinkles, if desired
One last fun little element I always try to incorporate into my Independence Day décor and gifting is a nod to the presidents (past and present). In the summertime, places like the Dollar Store and the Target Dollar Spot are filled with summer school/back-to-school items, and without fail there is always a set of flashcards featuring the U.S. Presidents . ALWAYS. For $1, you can’t go wrong. I use these as tags for the cookie baskets we give to neighbors and as accents for our tablescape, but one of the cutest and easiest DIYs is this twine banner with miniature clothespins, flashcards, copies of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and other important historical American documents and assorted stars (hand-cut or die-cut). It is a departure from the expected and, in my opinion, a classy and meaningful way to tie in part of the history of this holiday.
How do you celebrate and decorate for your 4th? Send your photos our way, and let us know if you try the Carrhot Dog this year!
I’m all about making life easier, especially when it comes to party planning or hosting a cookout. So here’s what I suggest for you. Print out my shopping list below (which includes ingredients and materials for ALL of today’s goodies), add any other supplies you’ll need, and take it with you to the store. There’s nothing more annoying than getting home from the store only to realize you forgot to pick up a key ingredient!
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