#FoodieExtravaganza: Lemonade

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Happy August, everyone! August is a great month, although there aren’t any legal holidays to get you a day or two off of work. August is the final month of summer, the month when most people are taking family vacations, and the month that holds my birthday!

August also has some of the best foodie holidays. It’s National Brownies At Brunch Month (say, whaaat?!), National S’mores Day is the 10th, and the last day of the month is Eat Outdoors Day (what a fun family tradition to start!). Two years ago #FoodieExtravaganza celebrated waffles and last year potatoes.

The Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient or theme into recipes to share with you. We take turns hosting and this month, it’s my turn! I decided on Lemonade Day, which falls on the 20th. Why? Because lemonade is one of my favorite summertime treats. I make a minimum of 2 homemade lemonades once summer hits. (You can read more about my citrus juicing love here.)

I decided to take a different approach with this year’s new lemonade. No sugar! Instead, this lemonade gets its sweetness from honey. You can alter how cloyingly sweet you want your beverage to be by playing around with different honey varieties. (About.com has a great resource for describing the different flavor profiles of each type of honey.)

Honey Mint Lemonade  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Honey Mint Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 3 lb lemons)
  • 9 C water, divided use
  • 1/4 C honey (any variety of your choosing)
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint
  • sparkling water for serving (optional)

Steps:

  1. Microwave 1 C water for 1 minute, or until hot but not boiling. Stir honey into hot water until dissolved. Add mint and steep 5 minutes. Remove mint and discard.
  2. Combine honey mixture, lemon juice, and remaining 8 C water in a pitcher.
  3. Option to add a splash of sparkling water to serve.

*This recipe was inspired by SkinnyMs at http://skinnyms.com/homemade-honey-lemonade-with-fresh-mint-recipe/*

Honey Mint Lemonade for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other lemonades:

Dairy-Free Frosted Lemonade by Cookaholic Wife

Frosty Raw Strawberry Lemonade by Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Lemony White Sangria by Hardly A Goddess

Papaya Lemonade (or cocktail!) by Caroline’s Cooking

Passion Tea Lemonade by Making Miracles

Peachy Lemonade by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Pineapple Pink Lemonade Shaved Ice by Food Lust People Love

Shikanji (Indian Lemonade) by Tara’s Multicultural Table

Sparkling Apple and Watermelon Lemonade Spritzers by Sneha’s Recipe

Sparkling Blue Basil Lemonade by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Sparkling Milk Lemonade by Our Good Life

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

SRC: Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie

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It’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day! In the Secret Recipe Club, each participating blogger is assigned a blog from another participating blogger and secretly searches their site for something to recreate. The accompanying blog post then goes live on reveal day! So while I was immersed in my assigned blog, someone else was picking through mine! I’m so excited to be part of this group, to see what on my blog peaks other’s interests and to stumble upon new blogs and new recipes.

This month I was in a mad scramble to make something from my assigned blog, The Avid Appetite. While I’ve had my assignment for a month, it’s been one heck of a month between my husband going on his first work trip since the boys have been born, finally getting internet, and traveling for my brother’s wedding it’s been hard to get into a rhythm that supports my hobby!

Rachel is the mastermind behind The Avid Appetite. Rachel has been sharing her culinary adventures for over five years! She’s a wife, mother, and brand licensing professional living in NJ. Sounds busy to me. She shares family stories on Tuesdays (hey, me too, with my Tuesday Tattles series!), consider yourself pre-warned for some adorable Penelope cuteness overload.

Her recipe index left me with 15 items to consider for today’s reveal! From those 15, real consideration was given to a Chicken and Pineapple dish and a Baked Oatmeal. Had I been assigned her blog two months ago when I was in my blood orange obsession there’s no question that I would be sharing this Loaf Cake or these Shortcakes. And I will be revisiting her Caramelized Potato Parsnip Tart next week, too.

Due to my {self imposed} shortened time table I settled on a smoothie. Her sweet daughter sold me on the Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie. Precious. Well, that and the fact that I had some farmers market strawberries in my freezer. It’s as if it were meant to be because the amount called for in her recipe was the exact amount I had saved! I did substitute plain Greek yogurt for the vanilla so I doubled the amount of vanilla extract. I can’t believe I’ve never thought to put extracts in my smoothies. That quality of sweetness can’t come from anywhere else. I felt like I was drinking a smoothie from a smoothie place, not my own kitchen. It reminded me very much of a smoothie I used to get in between classes back at Auburn. Amazing how something so simple can bring back memories over 6 years old.

This smoothie recipe will make two servings. I saved one glass (aka what Firecracker didn’t finish) for the next day and it was still perfect!

Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie for Secret Recipe Club from Sew You Think You Can Cook (kid approved)

Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C frozen sliced strawberries
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. Place ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth.

*This recipe is modified from Rachel at http://www.theavidappetite.com/home/2016/1/31/strawberry-vanilla-smoothie*

Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie for Secret Recipe Club from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in The Secret Recipe Club this month click here:

Triple Berry Spinach Smoothie

We have been in a “picky eating” stage of toddler-hood for a few months now and it’s been a little less than frustrating on a daily basis. Baby food jars and pouches seemed to be the only way to get him to eat his vegetables and I’m happy to report that version of feeding is definitely on its way out. (Though squeeze applesauces are still a great snack.) The only downfall of not spending oodles of money on baby food is that I can’t figure out how to give Firecracker his veggies!

One of my best friends met this battle, too, when her son was this age and their solution was smoothies. It took a little more time, but then a miracle happened and smoothies definitely were the answer. He gets a great hit of protein from Greek yogurt and milk as well as a generous handful or two of spinach or kale. I’m definitely open to trying more veggie-fied smoothie recipes, maybe some with carrot? (Speaking of, I’m about to make a batch of muffins with carrots in them after naptime! You’ll see them in next month’s #MuffinMonday assuming they’re a success.) If you have any great healthy smoothie recipes to share, leave me a comment below!

Triple Berry Spinach Smoothie (toddler)  Sew You Think You Can Cook

I’m not an expert in smoothie making and always struggle to get the perfect consistency, but making 2-3 smoothies a week has definitely improved my game! I decided to write down my proportions and this smoothie was a hit enough to create a post from it!

I used an individual serving size container of blueberry Greek yogurt that Firecracker tricked me into wanting to eat. Added frozen fruit, spinach,  and finished it with some milk. You’d never know there was spinach in it and with no added sugar it’s definitely a healthy smoothie.

This recipe makes 1 serving.

An Original Recipe

Triple Berry Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 container (5.3 oz) blueberry Greek yogurt
  • 4 frozen whole strawberries
  • 20 frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 C baby spinach
  • 1/2 C milk

Steps:

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add 1-2 tbsp more milk if needed.

Triple Berry Spinach Smoothie  Sew You Think You Can Cook

#FreshTastyValentines: Roshambo

LogoWelcome to day one of #FreshTastyValentines, a blogging event headed up by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. To kick off the week I’ve made a cocktail perfect for your Valentine’s Day brunch (and a bonus recipe for pancakes).

When UncommonGoods signed on as one of our event sponsors I knew I wanted to make a cocktail because they have an incredible selection of gifts to keep any home bar and kitchen uniquely equipped (here). UncommonGoods (www.uncommongoods.com) is a web-based marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. One of the incredible prizes to win during this week’s event is a $150 gift certificate at their site. With your shopping spree you can find incredible glassware in which to enjoy my Roshambo cocktail or your favorite bottle of wine (here) or discover ways keep your drinks cool without watering them down (here).

Because we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this week I limited my cocktail recipe search to red or pink beverages. With a big move approaching in the Spring I also added another restriction so as to not buy any new liquor. The discovery of the Roshambo couldn’t have been more perfect. It is a sparkling wine based cocktail which fits in beautifully with Valentine’s Day. This cocktail is a beautiful accompaniment to your Valentine’s breakfast.

This recipe makes two servings.

Roshambo

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 C apple juice
  • 1/2 C cranberry juice
  • prosecco or champagne

Steps:

  1. Place sugar, water, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow simple syrup to cool completely. Remove cinnamon stick.
  2. In a small pitcher combine 1/4 C cinnamon simply syrup with the juices. Keep cold until ready to serve.
  3. Pour juice mixture into glasses and top with prosecco.

*This recipe is adapted from Eva at http://1bigbite.com/2013/11/roshambo/*

Roshambo for #FreshTastyValentines from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more Valentine’s recipes today:

Thank you to #FreshTastyValentines sponsors for providing bloggers with samples and products to use for #FreshTastyValentines recipe development without additional compensation. All opinions stated are those of the bloggers.

This blog post also comes with a bonus recipe for pancakes!

Cinnamon Sour Cream Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 C milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, and melted butter.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. On a hot buttered griddle drop 1/2 C of batter into pancakes. Flip pancakes when batter starts to set and bubble form in the center of the pancake. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

*This recipe is modified from Kelley at http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2015/11/creme-fraiche-pancakes/*

 

Blogger CLUE: Homemade Gingerale

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Come August most people (although I’m not one of them) are ready for fall to arrive and bring cooler weather. To help cope with the late summer sun Blogger Clue is on a mission to bring you recipes to “Beat the Heat!”

This month I was assigned the blog Taking on Magazines written by Christiane aka “The Mom Chef.” I absolutely love the concept behind her blog! Like most of us, we make a recipe and mentally (or if we’re on top of it, physically) make a note as to what we liked and didn’t like in case we made the recipe again. (I have post-it notes in my cookbooks with our reviews and comments.) Christiane took this idea and created a beautiful blog from it. She cooks recipes from magazines, displays the recipe as is, gives a detail on the process, then gives her opinions on what she’d do differently the next time, and finally indicates “the verdict.” Brilliant! Definitely one of those “why didn’t I think of that?!” moments.

Given our task to “beat the heat” I limited myself to searching through beverages and salads, although she does have a wonderful selection for ice creams too! (There are a fair amount of sweets being handled in my kitchen right now so I stayed away.) The Grapefruit-Mint Salad sounded like a contender as did the Citrus Dressing and while the Arnold Palmer Slushie was definitely tempting, I couldn’t get my mind off of her Homemade Gingerale!

I noticed as I unloaded my groceries that I accidentally bought orange flavored seltzer water. I decided to run with it and use a little fresh squeezed orange juice in the syrup! Honestly, I couldn’t tell; the gingerale syrup is spot on.

Christiane noted that the original ratio of syrup to setzer was too syrupy for her taste and I thought I’d agree. I found the perfect formula (at least for me) to be 3 tbsp of syrup to 1 1/2 C of seltzer.

Also, I probably broke about fifty parenting rules (please read this as if I were Hermione about to make Polyjuice Potion) and let my 1 year old try a sip. To say he liked it was an understatement!

Homemade Gingerale

Ingredients:

  • 1 4-5″ piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 C sugar
  • juice 1 lime
  • juice 1 orange
  • seltzer water

Steps:

  1. Place ginger and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the ginger is finely ground.
  2. Place ginger sugar in a saucepan with 2 C water. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer 30-40 minutes until syrupy. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool 20 minutes. Strain and place in a jar. Syrup can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks.
  3. To serve: Put 3 tbsp of syrup in a large glass with ice and 1 1/2 C seltzer.

*This recipe is adapted from Christiane at http://www.takingonmagazines.com/homemade-ginger-ale-from-all-you-magazine/*

Homemade Gingerale for Blogger CLUE from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here’s a list of the other players of Blogger CLUE this month:

CIC: Pineapple and Rosemary

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I was so happy when the votes were in for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge. It was a close battle but pineapple edged out zucchini.

CIC ingredientsI know I already made a lemonade this year, but can you really have too many flavor options for summer’s perfect beverage!? I decided to make a simple syrup with the rosemary, puree some fresh pineapple, and add in freshly squeezed lemon juice.

I actually didn’t make the simple syrup strong enough which is why you see 2-4 sprigs listed in my ingredients; I used 2 sprigs but would venture to say you could double that amount. To get more rosemary flavor in my lemonade I served fresh sprigs in the glasses, because if you smell the rosemary while you drink it you still get that flavor. I then threw in a few more sprigs in the pitcher in the fridge and after just a few hours the rosemary flavor was there.

An Original Recipe

Pineapple Rosemary Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 4 C water, divided use
  • 2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 – 2 1/2 C fresh cubed pineapple
  • 1 C fresh lemon juice (from 7-8 lemons)

Steps:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat dissolve sugar in 1 C water with the fresh rosemary sprigs. Remove from heat once sugar is dissolved and let cool. Remove rosemary.
  2. Place pineapple in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the pineapple puree (this takes time). You should get 3/4 C pineapple juice (measure from the liquid line, not the foam line).
  3. Return pineapple juice to the blender along with the simple syrup, lemon juice, and 3 C water. Blend just to combine. Serve cold with additional rosemary sprigs for garnish.

Pineapple Rosemary Lemonade | Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

#HotSummerEats: Frozen Cherry Lemonade

Every summer I make lemonade. I enjoy juicing the lemons as it always reminds me of juicing limes with my dad from the tree in the backyard. HotSummerEatsLet me tell you, I would love to have citrus trees when we finally settle in somewhere – limes are expensive!

But this post isn’t about limes. It’s about lemons! And cherries. And #HotSummerEats – the awesome blogging event going on right now headed up by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.

While one of our sponsors, Casabella, offered a citrus reamer to participating bloggers, I opted for their cherry pitter as I already have a reamer in my cabinet. It’s not as awesome as theirs though – I love how the juice flows into a see-through canister with measurements on it! The cherry pitter is equally useful. pitting cherriesI was never sure if they were a helpful kitchen gadget or a gimmick. The answer: helpful! My least favorite part about cherries is the pits and that’s part of why I simply never eat them. Now, I can pit some cherries and have an easy to grab snack. It also makes quick work when cherries are needed for a recipe. I did learn two tricks as I worked with this product for the first time: (1) place the cherry in the pitter so it is on it’s short side and (2) don’t be gentle.

I’ve had my cherry pitter in my drawer for months semi-patiently waiting for cherries to be in season. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy to see cherries in the grocery store before! It’s definitely that time of year to start making homemade lemonade and this frozen cherry version is a beautifully, tart way to start your summer off right.

Before I get to the recipe I have a couple of notes: separation is normal and it is recommended to blend the lemonade right before serving. If you don’t use all of the lemonade immediately keep the leftovers in the fridge and re-blend before enjoying. Even after the ice has melted this lemonade is refreshing, you could always add a little more ice if you wanted.

making cherry lemonade

Frozen Cherry Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 C water
  • 36 cherries, pitted
  • 7 lemons, juice (approx 1 C of juice)
  • 5 C ice

Steps:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat dissolve sugar in water. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. In a blender combine cherries, lemon juice, simple syrup from step 1, and ice.

*This recipe is adapted from Tina at http://www.justputzing.com/2014/06/thirsty-thursdays-frozen-cherry-lemonade.html*

Frozen Cherry Lemonade for #HotSummerEats from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more summertime recipes today:

Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds, Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Chef for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation. All opinions are my own.