GOD Bless the USA ~ Happy 4th of July ~ Celebrate with Coconut Cupcakes and a VIDEO

Coconut Cupcakes

Happy Birthday America!

Happy Forth of July!

Today, July 4, 2013, is Independence Day. America celebrates July 4, which is also known as “The Fourth of July”. It’s the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776.

America celebrates this patriotic holiday with picnics, and barbecues, with an emphasis on the American tradition of political freedom. The American flag is displayed at homes and buildings.

Ron's Flag

Credit: photo of American Flag by Ron Doke – Flickr Name: Rdoke

Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States since 1782.

Credit photo: Bad Eagle by Richard Cleis –Flickr Name: itchhhh

excerpt from timeanddate.com

“In 1775, people in New England began fighting the British for their independence. On July 2, 1776, the Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was first published two days later on July 4, 1776.

The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. In 1870, Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees. In 1941, it became a paid holiday for them.

The first description of how Independence Day would be celebrated was in a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. He described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States. However, the term “Independence Day” was not used until 1791.

Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and presidents of the United States, died on July 4, 1826 – exactly 50 years after the adoption of the declaration. It is also important to note that Native Americans lived in the country and each tribe had its own nation and government prior to the European settlers.”

A Special “THANK YOU” to the

National Guard
Air Force
Navy Seals
Coast Guard

and to Americans serving this great country, both past and present.

United States Army Veteran - Ron Doke

Credit: photo by Ron Doke – flickr name: rdoke
Ron Doke is a U.S. Army Veteran.

Communities arrange fireworks often accompanied by patriotic music.
Here is a beautiful song by Lee Greenwood.

GOD Bless the USA

Music and Lyrics by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I’d worked for all my life
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife

I’d thank my lucky stars
to be livin’ here today
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can’t take that away

And I’m proud to be an American
where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up
next to you and defend her still today
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA

From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea

From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.
Well there’s pride in every American heart
and its time we stand and say


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I produced a video to the song, GOD Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood.
This is a tribute to America and to America’s military and all who serve,
both past and present.

A note of ‘Thanks’ to Lee Greenwood, for creating
such a beautiful song, GOD Bless the USA.

A special “THANK YOU” to Ron Doke (a U.S. Army veteran), who shared his photos
and helped me in the search for military related photos.

A heart-felt “THANK YOU” to those who shared their photos to make this video happen.

I am very proud of Matt Tolliver, who is in the Coast Guard,
and fiancé to my niece, Jenni Caso.

Matt Tolliver - Coast Guard-photo by Paul Duddy

Credit: photo by Paul Duddy

Matt Tolliver & Jenni Caso-photo by Paul Duddy

Credit: photo by Paul Duddy

Enjoy the music video, “GOD Bless the USA”.

Contributors’ photos listed in order of appearance in the video.

1 mountain – flickr name: dvidshub
2 eagle – by richard cleis –flickr name: itchhhh
3 honor guard – flickr name: dvidshub
4 world trade center 9/12/01-by andrew stamer – dvidshub.net
5 world trade center 9/11/10 – by becca – flickr name:becca
6 family – flickr name: dvidshub
7 cap and flag stars – by ron doke– flickr name: rdoke
8 american flag – by ron doke – flickr name: rdoke
9 georgia national guard – flickr name: georgia national guard
10 us army national guard – by staff sgt. Osvaldo equite – dvidshub.net
11 fireworks – by ron doke – flickr name: rdoke
12 air force one – flickr name: dvidshub
13 us air force aircraft – by karol franks – flickr name: karol franks
14 army – flickr name: dvidshub
15 gravesite – by beverly – flickr name: beverly & pack
16 dog tags – by ron doke – flickr name: rdoke
17 yellow rose – by beverly – flickr name: beverly & pack
18 purple heart cap – by ron doke – flickr name: rdoke
19 toddlers in pink sneakers – flickr name: dvidshub
20 flag – flickr name: dvidshub
21 flags – by ron doke – flickr name: rdoke
22 overwatch position – flickr name: the u.s. Army
23 airmen jump out of aircraft – flickr name: official u.s. Air force
24 homecoming embrace – flickr name: dvidshub
25 minnesota – by j. J. Sikkila – flickr name: john sikkila
26 tennessee hills – by mike – flickr name: mike_tn
27 texas plains – by vittorio ferrari – flickr name:victorfe
28 east coast, sea – by linda livingston – flickr name: leliv-linda
29 west coast, sea – by amparo – flickr name: r.e.~
30 detroit – by bob – flickr name: Mr. History
31 houston – by kymberlie mcguire – flickr name: kymberlie r mcguire
32 ny-statue of liberty – by thomas matthews – flickr name: thomas j. Matthews
33 la california – by chris and steve – flickr name: chris&steve
34 my daddy’s home t-shirt – flickr name: south dakota national guard
35 salute – u.s. President obama – flickr name: dvidshub
36 marines grip their rifles – flickr name: dvidshub
37 fireworks – by ron doke – flickr name: rdoke
38 marines – flickr name: dvidshub
39 marine honors fallen brother – flickr name: dvidshub
40 marines facing lady liberty – flickr name: dvidshub
41 marines firing weapons – flickr name: dvidshub
42 washington d.c. – flickr name: dvidshub
43 marines in san francisco – flickr name: dvidshub
44 marine and daughter with stuffed animal – flickr name: dvidshub
45 fleet week flag detail – flickr name: dvidshub
46 fireworks – flickr name: dvidshub
47 saluting the pilot – flickr name: dvidshub
48 navy – flickr name: dvidshub
49 burial at sea – flickr name: dvidshub
50 coast guard ceremony – by petty officer 1st class brandyn hill – dvidshub.net
51 coast guard, matt tolliver – by paul duddy – flickr name: paul duddy1
52 knight hawk helicopter – flickr name: dvidshub
53 father and son – flickr name: dvidshub
54 flag – by carmen ortiz – flickr name: baking is my zen
55 matt tolliver and jenni caso – by paul duddy, seen on flickr: baking is my zen
56 coconut cupcake – by carmen ortiz – flickr name: baking is my zen

CELEBRATE JULY 4TH with Coconut Cupcakes. . .


Happy Birthday America-celebrate with a coconut cupcake
by Ina Garten – The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, The FoodNetwork
Adapted by Carmen Ortiz

Prep Time: 1 hr
Inactive Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 18 to 20 cupcakes

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

1 pound (16 oz) cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds (approx 6 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS for batter:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

ADD THE EGGS, 1 at a time, with the mixer on low speed, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

EXTRACTS. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. M ix.

DRY INGREDIENTS. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

MIX DRY & WET INGREDIENTS. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut. (my note: I don’t add coconut to the batter. I like plain cake.)

CUPCAKE LINERS. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

ADD BATTER TO LINERS. Fill each liner to the top with batter.

BAKE for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

COOL in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

FROSTING DIRECTIONS: (my note: make this day before baking cupcakes)

CREAM TOGETHER the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed.

CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR. Measure out the confectioners’ sugar. Sift it. Then add the sifted confectioners’ sugar in the mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.

FROST THE CUPCAKES using an offset spatula.

COCONUT. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.

Enjoy your cupcakes and the Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday America

Peace in Baking,


Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul

Photography by Carmen Ortiz ~All Rights Reserved.
Not to be used without permission.

About Baking is my Zen

Love to bake...it is my peaceful time. ~ Baking is my Zen ~
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