Star Spangled Celebration

Recipe and Photos By Jessi Hampton
Photos by Erin Hixson Photography and Jessi Hampton
Styling by Stephanie Hoey


Summer celebrations are here and what better way to say, “Happy Birthday America,” than to have a star spangled celebration with an outdoor patriotic party! We are not only celebrating with red, white, and blue but also embracing the stars and stripes. From festive tablescapes to flavorful summer recipes, here are some excellent ideas sure to impress.

Outdoor parties are supposed to be simple and easy but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be loaded with detail! This festive BBQ included a smokin’ blue burger packed with flavor, a patriotic-themed grazing platter, star shaped hand pies, and a special watermelon drink dispenser. All simple, but with a little pop of wow! Enhance your decor by layering different tones of reds and blues along with a variety of patterns and textures. I like to add fresh flowers for the perfect finishing touch and did so here with gorgeous blue and white hydrangeas from my yard, adorned with American flags.

Happy Independence Day!


Using a 3.5 inch star cookie cutter


  • 1 package of 9 inch  pie crusts—thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 5 oz vanilla melting wafers
  • red sprinkles

Blueberry Filling

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 oz envelope of unflavored gelatin


In a saucepan, heat, blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until boiling. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10–15 minutes or until the blueberries break down and mash thickens.

Using a mesh strainer, strain liquid from blueberry mash without pushing the mixture through. Let liquid drip out on its own.

In a bowl, mix the blueberry mash, vanilla extract and gelatin until well combined. Refrigerate to cool.

On a lightly floured work surface rollout thawed pie dough. Using the star cookie cutter cut dough into stars. Place stars onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Lightly brush egg and water mixture on to half of the dough stars. Spoon 1 teaspoon of cooled blueberry mash onto stars. Top with remaining stars and slightly press down corners. Use a fork to press indentations around the edge of the stars.

Brush the tops of the stars with the egg mixture and poke a hole into each star allowing air to escape while baking.

Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown at 425°.

Drizzle each pie with the melted wafers and top with red sprinkles.

Grazing Board


Grazing Board

Hues of Red, White, and Blue Inspiration: Pick a few of your favorites and position in patterns.


Cherries, strawberries, salami, prosciutto, radishes, red licorice, watermelon


Yogurt covered pretzels, brie, camembert, white cheddar, rice crackers


Blue corn tortilla chips, cranberry covered goat cheese, kalamata olives, blue gum drops, blueberries


  • Arrange on a large platter or plate to share

Watermelon Keg Margarita


  • 1 large seedless watermelon— more circular than oval
  • 3 cups tequila
  • 2 cups cointreau
  • 3 1/2 cups margarita mix
  • 1 cup fresh watermelon juice
  • drink dispenser spigot


Using a cake stand flipped to its top, adjust your watermelon on the cake stand base where it will be sturdy and balanced. Using a small knife mark where your spigot will be ensuring not to cut fully in to the watermelon. Also mark where your top will be cut to ensure a straight cut.

Remove the watermelon from the cake stand. Cut top off of the watermelon. Scoop out flesh leaving a thin layer of red.

Cube and freeze half of the watermelon flesh. Puree the remaining watermelon flesh and strain the pulp and seeds using a mesh strainer. Keep the strained watermelon juice.

Using an apple corer, remove the portion of the watermelon where your spigot will be inserted. If the rubber gasket will not fit, thin the wall of the watermelon a little bit at a time until it fits. Avoid making it too thin as the wall of the watermelon may collapse. Refrigerate empty watermelon upside down in colander until needed.

In a large pitcher, combine tequila, triple sec, margarita mix, and watermelon juice. Refrigerate until needed.

When ready to serve, ensure the spigot is in the off position and slowly pour margarita mix into watermelon keg. Add frozen watermelon cubes.

Garnish options: salt rim glass, jalapeño slice, and or fresh lime wedge.