Independence Day is almost here, and for most Americans that means two things: 1) kale, and 2) being upstaged by the shirtless guy next door setting off fireworks in his driveway. But why play it safe with your eighth kale-themed Fourth of July when it’s just as easy and delicious to take risks! I’m here to guide you with hot, no-kale entertaining tips that will take your guests from ‘WTF’ to ‘Y-U-M!’

1. The Art of Cooking Without Kale

It may be difficult to imagine any respectable three-course holiday menu without kale,but trust me: no one wants a party where everyone dives for the kale burger and they’re gone before half the guests arrive! Mix it up with a more balanced selection of hot dogs,hamburgers, and veggie burgers (non-kale). If you find yourself sneaking even a single kale leaf into your grandma’s hearty potato salad, take a long hard look at the American flag and think about what the founding fathers would want: to save bountiful organic kale for the 1% while everyone else chows down on hot garbage.

2. No-Kale Cocktails

Instead of dazzling your guests with a home-brew made from fermented kale, try a summer sangria with prosecco and stone fruit! I know it can be hard when the word ‘mixology’ gets you ready to rev up the kale blender, but there is a world of drinks that are just as indulgent — and although the kids may be begging for a virgin kale smoothie, trust me, they’ll love lemonade just as much!

3. Hors D'oeuvres Sans Kale

You might be asking yourself: what appetizers are even possible without kale? Well, everyone loves a cheese plate, and they’ll love it even more when the cheese is dairy-based instead of kale-based! I usually find that just three or four different kinds of cheese are enough for a small group, and although guests are shocked when I don’t add a smear of blanched kale, I say: ‘So what!’ If there are too many cheeses, OR too much kale (any number of pieces greater than zero), your guests’ palates will be overwhelmed. Try some sprigs of rosemary or basil instead for surprising pop of color that reminds everyone of kale but is just a little different.

4. Kale-Free Place Settings For All

Step away from the usual ‘silverware wrapped in a kale leaf’ hum-drum you’re used to and spice up place settings with colorful napkins and seasonal straws. For a centerpiece, get the kids involved in some red-white-and-blue crafts! Pinterest can be a great resource — just remember to not spell ‘K-A-L-E’ anywhere in the search bar.

5. Soundtrack feat. No Kale

Set aside that podcast of a local performance artist masturbating with a kale leaf and try a playlist that’s lively and upbeat. Katy Perry is great for this occasion — I love the song where she sings about horses (so original!) — but if you’re feeling retro you can never go wrong with Bruce Springsteen, who — if you can believe it — hasn’t sung about kale a single time (yet)!

6. A Fun Photo Booth Without Kale

There’s nothing to liven up the hour before the fireworks show like a fun and festive photo booth with some quirky DIY props! Resist the temptation to stock your prop basket with large leaves of kale that guests can use to flirtatiously slap each other with, and instead opt for playful American flag hats or mustaches. They’re not as fun, but you’ll be happy with your choice when you check Facebook the morning after!

7. Gift Bags You Won’t Be-Leaf!

When I think of the perfect gift bag, I usually think of a mountain of kale stuffed in a burlap sack. But sometimes giving an extravagant gift can make your guests feel inadequate, so it’s best to avoid kale altogether. Set yourself apart with some red, white, and blue sparklers, chocolates, and streamers — who isn’t gifting kale these days anyway?!