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When a child gives you lemons…

I’ve recently accepted a part-time position as a coach at the District Gymnastics Academy. Ryley is loving gymnastics, and I’m loving doing something great for kids while I get back in shape. Of course, supervising and bartending on top of coaching is definitely wearing me out. Ryley goes to her grandma’s house or various babysitters when Jeremiah and I are both working, and the other night she had a surprise for me when I went to pick her up. Two huge bags of lemons and oranges that she had picked herself!IMG_2593IMG_2589

I have so many things I want to make with the lemons, and already after only a few days later, they are getting ready to go bad. Even though I’ve been exhausted (and still working) this weekend, I needed to use at least a good chunk of the citrus, but didn’t feel like doing any majorly complicated dishes. I decided to go with a simple, tried and true proverb, “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Now I know lemonade has lemons, water, and sugar – that’s obvious. But I didn’t want to spend lots of energy trying to guess the quantities of each. The Pampered Chef has a great website where many of their kitchen-tested recipes are available to anyone with an internet connection. I searched “lemon” and found the Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade recipe. Perfect for our unusually warm winter weather too!IMG_2588

To have the bonus of quality mother-daughter time, I cut and zested the lemons, and Ryley got to help with the rest! She loves being in the kitchen, but can’t do some of the riskier tasks yet, so it’s great when we find a recipe she CAN do. It was great watching my 6 year old use Pampered Chef tools and be totally able to “make stuff with mommy!” With the Juicer, she very easily squeezed every last bit of the juice and pulp, and I was quite impressed at how much juice came from just a few lemons. We had to double the recipe simply because we had so much, in fact. I made the mistake of cutting them and letting her squeeze the halves before I had gotten the amount of lemon zest I needed, so unfortunately I had to zest empty rinds with extreme caution. The second time I made lemonade (tonight, with a twist), I was careful to remember to use the Zester first before juicing.IMG_2594IMG_2619

I also got creative this time and added some freshly muddled chocolate mint (one of the herbs we’re growing) and strawberries that I had bought from the Farmer’s Market this morning. The strawberry mint lemonade is even more delicious, and I have had quite a few glasses already. If I didn’t have so much to do this week, I’d add vodka (perhaps a citrus or berry vodka) and some club soda to turn it into an amazing cocktail. Overall, an excellent start to my coming week full of lemon recipes. That’s right, I’m on a citron mission to avoid wasting my special gift. And I figured out the second half of the lesser known proverb, “when a child gives you lemons, make it a special moment.” Hope you find ways to make special moments with your friends and family this week, too!IMG_2595

Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade

Ingredients:
6 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
3-4 medium lemons

Directions:
Place water and sugar in Quick-Stir® Pitcher. Mix well with plunger until sugar is dissolved. Zest lemons to measure 1 tablespoon zest. Juice lemons using Juicer to measure 1/2 cup juice. Add zest and juice to Pitcher. Mix well with plunger. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint and slice of lemon.

Yield: 7 (1-cup) servings

copyright 2013 The Pampered Chef, Ltd.

**and my playful version with slightly less precision and planning…
IMG_2622

Strawberry Mint Lemonade

Ingredients:
8 cups water
1 cup sugar
4-5 lemons
3 large strawberries
2 sprigs fresh mint

Directions:
In Prep Bowl muddle strawberries and mint. Place water and sugar in Quick-Stir Pitcher. Mix well with plunger until sugar is dissolved. Zest lemons to measure 1 tablespoon zest. Juice lemons in Juicer to measure 1 cup juice. Add zest, juice, strawberries and mint to Pitcher. Mix well with plunger, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve over ice and garnish with mint or slice of strawberry.

Yield: Approx. 9 (1 cup) servings

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