Very Lemony Raspberry Lemonade

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When I posted my Lemon Raspberry Muffins recipe recently, I promised you I’d share the recipe for the Raspberry Lemonade I made to go with them…well, here it is!

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It’s very, very lemony! And the frozen raspberries that are mixed in with it give this lemonade a rosy pink color. A perfect beverage to make in the spring and summer…or how about Easter weekend?

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I used a new favorite pitcher of mine to serve the lemonade in–and one thing I love about this pitcher is that it has a chalkboard decal, so you can write the name of the beverage you’re serving right on the pitcher! As I mentioned in my muffin post, this pitcher is part of the Daily Grace Collection by (in)courage  (sold at DaySpring.com) and each piece has some inspiring words about gratefulness and God’s grace in the design–so nice to look at when you’re enjoying a meal or snack at your table!

Like I said, this lemonade is very lemony, so if you’d like it a little less lemony you can just use 3 cups of lemon juice–or add more water (and maybe a little more sugar) to the mixture. You can easily adjust the amounts to suit your taste. Hope you get a chance to try it out!

VERY LEMONY RASPBERRY LEMONADE by NancyCreative, adapted from FoodNetwork.com and Ree Drummond

Makes about 12 to 13 cups

  • 4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (it takes about 7 to 8 lemons to yield 1 cup of lemon juice, so you will need 28 to 32 lemons! Or you could use 2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 2 cups bottled lemon juice)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 7 to 8 cups water, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen raspberries
  • 3 lemons, sliced into thin slices
  • ice cubes for pitcher and glasses

Squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into a pitcher. Mix together the sugar with 2 cups of water and stir to dissolve to make a syrup. add the syrup to the lemon juice and top it up with 5 to 6 cups of water. If this is too lemony for you, add another cup of water–you may also need to add a little extra sugar to taste. Then add the frozen raspberries. Mix the lemonade together and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. Just before serving, add about 1 lemon’s worth of slices to the pitcher and stir (use the rest of the lemon slices in the glasses). Fill glasses or mason jars with ice cubes and a lemon slice; pour in the lemonade and serve.

You can halve this recipe, too, if you want to make a smaller amount. I also have a recipe for Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, if you want to try that out. Do you have a favorite lemonade recipe?

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Pear Lime Kiwifruit Water

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I thought I’d try a flavored water with a green theme, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! But of course, this water is great any time of the year. You mostly taste the lime in this, but the kiwifruit and pear slices make the pitcher of water look so nice! :) I think this water tastes best the same day you make it, but you’ll want to refrigerate it a few hours before serving so the water has more flavor. Use organic produce if you can when making this.

PEAR, LIME, KIWIFRUIT WATER by NancyCreative

Makes a large pitcher (half gallon) of flavored water

  • 8 cups of water (I used 2 cups of sparkling water mixed in with 6 cups of regular water to give it a slight fizziness–see note below*)
  • 1 large organic pear, cut into thin slices
  • 2 limes, cut into thin slices
  • 2 kiwifruit, cut into thin slices

Fill pitcher with 8 cups of water. Add slices of pear, lime, and kiwifruit, and stir all ingredients together in the pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (the slices of kiwifruit tend to settle at the bottom, so you will need to stir before serving to mix all the fruit evenly). When ready to serve, add ice cubes to pitcher and stir or add ice to individual glasses and pour the flavored water over the ice.

*For a fizzy water drink, use Seltzer water or natural sparkling water (like Perrier) instead of regular water, or use some of each (do not use Club Soda or Tonic Water, as one is high in sodium and the other is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup).

Have you tried making any uniquely-flavored water lately?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Very Strawberry Coconut Cream Soda

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When I saw that this soda was made with coconut milk, that got my attention. Fresh strawberries and coconut milk sounded pretty good! The original recipe that I found at Food.com also has sugar in it, but I substituted honey for the sugar. I also added extra strawberries.

This soda is creamy and fruity–a healthy way to enjoy a soda! This recipe is for a single serving, so if you need more servings, just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you want to make.

VERY STRAWBERRY COCONUT CREAM SODA by NancyCreative, adapted from Food.com

Makes 1 (8-ounce) serving

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons refrigerated coconut milk
  • Ice cubes
  • Club soda or carbonated water, chilled

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries and honey, stirring so strawberries are coated with the honey. Then use a pastry blender to mash the strawberries. You’ll have about 2/3 cup of the mashed strawberry-honey mixture. Stir in the coconut milk and blend everything well.

Place the mashed strawberry-honey-coconut milk mixture in an 8-ounce glass. Fill the glass with ice, up to 1″ below the top rim of the glass. Then pour in the club soda, filling the glass to the top. Stir the cream soda with a straw or iced teaspoon, blending the club soda in with the other ingredients, and serve immediately. Serve with a straw and spoon, since the mashed-up strawberries clog up the straw occasionally!

I just had to make this before the end of summer, which is coming up soon! Even though I like autumn, I’m kind of sad to see summer end. How about you?

Lemon Curd Berry Cake

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I had some lemon curd I needed to use, and I came across this recipe from Good Housekeeping that looked so good! A lemony cake with lots of fresh berries–yum! And I could just imagine how good the lemon flavor would be with the lemon curd. I thought I would make it even more lemony by using lemon extract instead of vanilla and using more lemon zest. Add I added a dash of fresh lemon juice, too. The original recipe suggests using a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries. I just had blueberries, so that’s all I used. I also made a glaze topping to go over the cake, but you could serve it with whipped cream and fresh berries like the original recipe suggests.

If you like lemon-flavored treats, this would be a great recipe for you to try!

LEMON CURD BERRY CAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Good Housekeeping

Makes 1 bundt cake with a 12-cup pan (about 12 servings)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/3 cup finely ground toasted slivered or sliced almonds (they work fine untoasted, too)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (from the zested lemon)
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd (you’ll need about an 8 to 10-ounce jar of lemon curd for the cake and the glaze, and you’ll have some left over; I used this brand)
  • 2 cups mixed fresh berries–blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries (or if you just have one kind of berry, use that–I used all blueberries)
  • Lemon Curd Glaze (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

PREPARE CAKE: In medium bowl, whisk flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar 4 minutes or until light and fluffy (or you can beat by hand). Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then reduce speed to low, if using a mixer, and beat in lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until combined. Beat in lemon curd until just combined. Fold in berries.

Spoon batter into prepared pan; lightly tap pan on counter to remove any air pockets. Bake, in center of oven, 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. After cake has completely cooled, top with Lemon Curd Glaze.

LEMON CURD GLAZE

  • 5 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared lemon curd (if the lemon curd is very thick, heat it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it more stirable)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • additional berries for garnish

In medium bowl, blend the whipping cream, lemon curd, and lemon juice, blending well. Add confectioner’s sugar and blend well. Spoon glaze over cake, let glaze set, top with additional berries, if desired, and serve. There’s plenty of glaze, so you can drizzle some extra glaze from the cake plate onto each slice with a spoon–it tastes great that way!

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Note: The original recipe says to serve the cake with Lemon Cream (instead of glaze), so that’s another option you may want to try…

LEMON CREAM

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup prepared lemon curd
  • 1 Tablespoon sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • Additional confectioner’s sugar to lightly dust the cake, optional
  • Mixed berries (or one kind of berry) for garnish

In medium bowl, beat cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low; beat in lemon curd and confectioner’s sugar until combined.

Serve cake with Lemon Cream and berries. You can give the cake a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar before serving with the cream and berries if you like,

If you like making your own lemon curd, I’m sure it would be fantastic in this cake recipe! I used store-bought lemon curd, but one of these days I want to try making my own!

Do you have any great recipes that use lemon curd as an ingredient?

Watermelon-Cucumber-Tomato Salad with Feta

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Throughout the summer, I love eating slices of juicy watermelon, but I thought I’d try something different with it for a change. I found a Watermelon-Cucumber Salad with Feta recipe at Food.com, and it sounded like the perfect thing to try! I omitted some ingredients and added some others, and I really like the slightly sweet and savory combination of tastes this salad has! It’s a great way to use your garden veggies if you’re growing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, too!

WATERMELON-CUCUMBER -TOMATO SALAD WITH FETA by NancyCreative, adapted from Food.com

Makes 6 servings

  • 6 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled or unpeeled and thinly sliced or cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced or chopped (chop the green stems and the white part of the onions)
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • I/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or you can use a whole 4-ounce container if you want to have extra cheese in your salad)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Combine watermelon, English cucumber, green onions, olives, and cherry tomatoes in a large salad bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, honey, and olive oil.

Add lime juice mixture to watermelon and other ingredients in large bowl; toss gently to coat.

Sprinkle with feta and chopped fresh mint, if using; toss gently again and serve.

Have you made any unique watermelon recipes this summer?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Shell Decor Ideas

I have always loved seashells and going to the beach! They add such a light summery touch to rooms! But I also like displaying shells year round, to help remind me of summer and the good times I had at the beach. So I keep my eyes open for new ways to do that. I found some ideas at several different sites that I really liked–If you went on a beach vacation this summer and collected some shells, maybe you’ll see some ideas here that will work in your home!

Take a look at the many containers you can display shells in…

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Above, from Pinterest, a large round basket

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Stoneware and pottery ideas from Stone Gable

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Glass container ideas, like this fishbowl, from Coastal Living, with a candle nestled into some white sand, shells, and sea glass…

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Or a rimmed glass cake plate shown on Roses and Rust

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Glass canisters of different shapes and sizes found on Pinterest

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Glass vases, simple or elegant from Pottery Barn and shown on Habitually Chic

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Or crystal goblets and vases, for an elegant look, featured in House & Home

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Simple vintage glass jars seen on Better Homes and Gardens always make great decorative containers…

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As well as pretty bottles, from Country Living, filled with sand and shells from your vacation and labeled if you like, so you’ll remember what beach they’re from!

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Here’s a very creative way to display shells–fill a bird bath and cover with glass for a striking side table, from Completely Coastal.

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And a very practical way to use shells–as a soap dish! From Martha Stewart.

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These shells glued to candle jars are really pretty, shown on homedit.

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Other ways to use shells in decorating…I love this wreath featured on Coastal Style

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And this shell garland from Better Homes and Gardens–the wreath and garland make great decorations year round as well as for Christmas!

That’s a pretty good start for some shell decor tips!

Are you a shell collector? How do you display shells in your home?

S’mores Popcorn from The S’mores Cookbook and a Giveaway!

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bildeWhen I think of summer treats, I think of S’mores around a campfire. But when I looked through my review copy of The S’mores Cookbook  by Susan Whetzel, I realized that you can enjoy the great taste of S’mores all year round in lots of different ways! This hardcover book is filled with lots of wonderful full-color photos of the many recipes you can make. And the publisher, Adams Media, has offered to send a giveaway copy directly to the winning commentor on this post! See the end of the post for details.

So S’mores are not just for summer anymore…you can make a great S’mores dessert whenever you crave it! And actually, S’mores are not just for dessert anymore, because this book also includes breakfast recipes, too! Some treats from this book that I’d like to try out are:

  • S’mores Stuffed French Toast
  • S’mores Popovers
  • Mini Dark Chocolate S’mores Muffins
  • S’mores Coffee Cake
  • Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie
  • S’mores Mousse Cups
  • S’mores Dip
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • S’mores Chocolate Chunksters

I decided to make the S’mores Popcorn first because it’s been really hot and humid lately, and I wanted to do a no-bake recipe. Plus, this is a great recipe to give as a food gift, packaged in a cellophane bag–and with Christmas just 4 months away, I’m on the lookout for some tasty and easy food gift ideas! :) It’s really kind of addicting, so you’ll want to either have lots of people help you eat it up or share with your friends! The two kinds of chocolate mixed with the caramel corn and marshmallows make a really rich and yummy treat! It’s also a great snack to make in the fall if you’re having a tailgate party or watching the games at home. Store-bought caramel corn works great in this, or you can use homemade if you like.

When I melted the chocolate, I added just a little bit of coconut oil, about 1 teaspoon per cup, to make the chocolate a  little smoother for drizzling. If you do this, the chocolate will take a little longer to dry or set, and it may not package as well since the chocolate will be a little gooier, so it’s definitely an optional thing. If you decide to add some oil when melting the chocolate and if you’ve used an extra large sheet pan to spread your popcorn mix on,* you can put your pan of S’mores popcorn in the fridge, after everything is mixed together, for at least a half hour or until chocolate is set.

Here’s the recipe…

S’MORES POPCORN BAGS from The S’mores Cookbook

Yields: 10 gift bags

Feel free to make your own caramel popcorn for this amazing treat, but store-bought works amazingly well and tends to hold up and look nicer in the gift bags. Either way, it’s a win-win situation!–Susan Whetzel

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (Note: I used an extra 1/4 cup later in the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 cups caramel popcorn
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 10 cellophane gift bags
  • Ribbon, to tie bags, as needed

Cover the counter with parchment paper (*I lined an extra large sheet pan with parchment paper instead). Drizzle the parchment with melted semisweet chocolate and immediately sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and popcorn, making as even a layer as possible.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn; allow to dry. (NOTE: I melted an additional 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and drizzled this over the popcorn, too, for an extra chocolatey taste). Once chocolate is dry, pour the popcorn from the parchment into a large bowl; add marshmallows.

Divide evenly into cellophane bags, and tie with decorative ribbon.

This makes a great game snack or food gift and it’s so easy to make, so keep it in mind for football season and gift- giving at the holidays!

bildeThe Giveaway is Now Closed. Congratulations to commentor #8, Linda G., for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway….if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The S’mores Cookbook, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Sunday, September 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! Winner will be chosen ramdomly via Random.org and announced on Monday, September 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me if you make S’mores often or if you’ve made any S’mores-inspired recipes this summer.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following!

Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away–because of spam, I need to approve all the comments before they show up! Hope you all have time to enter, and enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

 

Dill Pickle Tuna Salad

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I like making tuna salad in the warm weather months. It makes such a quick, easy meal and you can make sandwiches, wraps, or put a big scoop of it on top of some salad greens!

I found this recipe at Food.com and made some minor changes. This tuna salad has chopped dill pickles, celery, red onion, garlic powder, and parsley in it. It also has a little lemon juice and dry mustard powder to add to the flavor. If you don’t like your tuna salad real creamy, just use 1/4 cup of mayo–you can always add in more to make it as creamy as you want!

DILL PICKLE TUNA SALAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Food.com

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1 (12-ounce) can tuna, packed in water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles or dill pickle relish (if using relish, drain)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes (or 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves)
  • 1/4  to 1/3 cup mayonnaise, depending on how creamy you like it (start with 1/4 cup and add more if you want it creamier)

Drain tuna well (the original recipe suggests using a colander to drain it), then shred tuna with your fingers or a fork, breaking up any clumps until it has a fine and even texture. NOTE: I did try draining the tuna with a colander, and it worked very well for me–that’s a good tip to keep in mind!

Put tuna in a medium bowl and mix in the lemon juice, pickles, celery, red onion, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, pepper, and parsley until well blended. Fold in the mayonnaise until the mixture is evenly moistened.

Use for sandwiches, wraps, or scoop on some lettuce greens. This tuna salad can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

There are so many different ways you can make tuna salad! What are your favorite add-ins?

Root Beer Float

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You need to make a Root Beer Float at least once during the summer! It’s such a wonderful cool and creamy, foamy and fizzy treat! I drank plenty of Root Beer Floats when I was a kid, so it was fun to enjoy one again recently. I made my float in a vintage glass I found at a flea market and felt like I was right in a soda shop! :) You can chill your glasses in the fridge beforehand if you want them to be extra cool.

ROOT BEER FLOAT by NancyCreative

Makes 1 serving

  • 2 good-sized scoops of Vanilla ice cream
  • Root Beer, well chilled

Slowly pour root beer into a tall glass until it’s about half full. Place one scoop of vanilla ice cream into the glass. Then slowly pour a little more root beer over the ice cream, until glass is about 3/4 full. Let foam settle and add the second scoop of ice cream. Add a little more root beer until the glass is full. Serve immediately.

Did you know the ice cream soda was invented by Robert McCay Green at the sesquicentennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1874? Mr. Green ran out of cream for the flavored sodas he was selling and substituted vanilla ice cream instead…and a new drink was created!

Funny how some of our favorite recipes are created by happy mistakes or changes like that! Have you ever created a favorite recipe of your own substituting a different ingredient?

Peach-Strawberry Salad with Feta

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This fresh and fruity salad was something I discovered at a potluck. I love all the healthy ingredients in it–slices of fresh peaches (or nectarines) and strawberries–with some slivered or sliced almonds added in–all tossed in a slightly sweet-and-tangy vinaigrette. Crumbles of delicious Feta cheese top the salad. It’s a great side dish to enjoy during peach season! I actually like using smooth-skinned nectarines in this salad–you can use either peaches or nectarines, or a combination of both. No fruit-peeling is necessary!

PEACH-STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH FETA slightly adapted from a potluck recipe

Makes about 8 servings

  • 6 peaches or nectarines, sliced or chopped
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups hulled strawberries, sliced or cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Briannas Blush Wine Vinaigrette (or you can use Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette)
  • 2 ounces crumbled Feta cheese, to top the salad (half of a 4-ounce container)
  • addtional slivered or sliced almonds, to top the salad

Place sliced peaches (or nectarines), sliced strawberries, and almonds in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the ingredients and toss until well-coated. Top everything with the crumbled Feta cheese and additional almonds, if desired. Serve immediately.

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The Feta cheese with the fruit is such a great combination! Have you tried out any new fruit salad recipes during this summer season?