If you’ve never tried limonana, you’re missing out on an amazing drink! The traditional thirst-quencher is made by mixing lemonade with lots of fresh mint and ice – for a refreshing summer treat.
But you know me – I can never just do classic. OK, maybe I can – but I still love putting my own twist on things. That’s how my strawberry limonana happened.
This year, I decided to try using my new herb obsession – basil! I’m putting it in salads, stuffing it into sandwiches, and now, even drinks! Strawberry-basil is a classic combination, but it works amazing with cherries too!
I love the idea of adding fresh fruit to my lemonade, but if you’re not fond of having bits of cherries in your drink – check out my variation for an infused version instead!
Cherry Basil Limonana
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c maple syrup
15 basil leaves
1 heaping cup pitted fresh cherries (about 20)
1 c water
2-3 cups ice
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until slushy.
VARIATION: If you don’t like having the pieces of cherries in this smoothie/slush hybrid, you can boil the cherries with maple syrup and water until the cherries are soft. Puree the mixture in the blender with basil leaves and pour through a strainer. Blend the cherry-basil infused syrup with the lemon juice and ice.
I’m always so inspired when I see people posting pics of their green detox smoothies and drinks. It makes me want to go out and buy a juicer. Today, my sister in law took me to an amazing smoothie bar on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. They make a mixture called Thank God Juice which includes a combination of spinach, kale, collard greens, parsley, celery, fennel and romaine. You can add Thank G-d juice to any other juice flavors, or drink it straight-up. I’m the type that needs to hide the greens in my smoothies so I added apple, beet and carrot juice.
Since I don’t yet have a juicer, blended smoothies are all I can make – but they can be just as healthy and delicious! I love adding oats to my smoothies – they turn a fruity drink into an all out breakfast. Ginger adds great flavor and brightness, not to mention various health benefits.
What are some of your favorite juice or smoothie combinations? Share it with me in the comments below!
Pear Ginger & Oat Smoothie
1 ripe bartlett pear, cored
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or, to taste)
Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
There’s nothing like an ice cold cup of lemon or limeade to cool you off on a hot summer’s day. Summer, or winter, I’m a huge fan of citrus drinks, but all too often, I find that they are overly sweet. This lightly sweetened watermelon-limeade is reminiscent of agua fresca, a refreshing fruit-infused water drink popularized in Mexico . Aqua fresca is a terrific thirst quencher for summer picnics and barbeques.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been wanting to set up a lemonade stand for my kids. So when I was testing this recipe for the blog, I knew just what to do with my pitcher full of limeade. My girls couldn’t be more excited about their reenactment of one of their favorite books “Pinkalicious and The Pink Drink,” while my son stood by asking for continuous refills. I set my kids to work designing a sign for our table (isn’t it adorable?!) while I put together all the necessities. Since we used tiny little cups, we set our price at just 5 cents, a total steal for today’s economy!
We live on a very quiet block, with not much foot traffic, so my little ones grew increasingly sad as they waited for someone, ANYONE to buy a cup. With construction going on directly across the street, we were lucky enough to have the contractor buy a round for all of his workers. He generously gave my kids more than 20 cups worth of pay. After that, traffic picked up and thanks to the generosity of strangers and friends my elated children netted $6.51. That’s a whole lot of profit when you’re asking for a meager 5 cents a cup.
I’ll never forget the excitement and smiles on the faces of my children, and the pride they showed in their first business venture. Our pink lemonade wasn’t just a thirst-quencher. For two little girls in Brooklyn, it made a favorite book come alive and wishes and dreams come true.
1/4 watermelon, or 3.5 lbs
3 cups water
1/4 c sugar dissolved in 1/2 c boiling hot water
juice of 2 limes
2 limes, sliced
sliced limes, for garnish
Peel and chop watermelon Add the watermelon to a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Pour the watermelon juice through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, squeezing to release all the juice. Discard watermelon pulp. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil and add 1/4 cup sugar. Mix until sugar is completely dissolved and set aside to cool. Add the watermelon juice, water, cooled sugar syrup, lime juice, sliced limes and ice cubes to a pitcher. Pour into glasses and garnish with sliced limes.
TIP: If you don’t have a citrus squeezer, see my kitchen tips for a great way to juice your limes!
In the spirit of Chodesh Adar, I decided to throw a Sunday Fun Day Party here, with a recipe for delicious light and fruity sangria, and some kick-off-your-shoes music! First things first…the sangria! Sangria is a chilled Spanish drink, typically made using red wine, sugar, juice and seltzer. It is sometimes laced with brandy and/or liquor. It can be made with a range of fruits to soak up all the delicious flavors. I wanted to make something for the ladies out there so I played around with measurements, and this one isn’t too heavy or too sweet, it’s just right!
1 bottle of Matiz Rioja (Spanish table wine) or any fruity dry wine
1/2 cup brandy
1 shot of peach shnapps
1 cup orange juice
2 cups ginger ale
1/4 cup simple syrup – How to make simple syrup
1 mango, diced into small chunks
1 apple, diced into small chunks
1 orange, segmented – How to Segment an Orange 1 cup grapes, halved
Sliced lemons and limes for serving
Sangria requires the use of simple syrup. Simple syrup is a liquid form of sugar which can also be referred to as sugar syrup or sugar water. It’s a sweetening agent used by bars and coffee shops, and is best used when making cold homemade beverages that require a sweetener (since sugar can’t dissolve easily in a cold beverage).
Cut up fruit and add it to the pitcher. Pour wine, brandy, shnapps, orange juice, ginger ale and cooled simple syrup into pitcher. Refrigerate to chill and allow flavors to blend. The longer the Sangria sits, the better it tastes (try refrigerating it for 24 hours!).
To serve, spoon some fruit into a glass. Pour Sangria over fruit and garnish with a sliced lemon in the cup and a lime on the rim. If you choose, you can add the lemons and limes into the pitcher. I prefer not to do this, because if it sits for too long, the bitter rind seeps into the drink and it becomes undrinkable.
Now for the music! Where oh where do I start. It’s Adar and I’m sure you’re all familiar with the phrase “Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’simcha.” I’m not sure how literal I’ve taken that in the past few years (or since I’ve been a teenager). Adar nowadays has me scurrying about for Shalach Manos for family and friends, gifts for teachers, costumes and shalach manos for the kids. When do I ever take a minute to breath and just, I dont know…dance?! Yeah, that’s right, dance! And I’m the type who barely dances at weddings. Someone has to pull me by the hand and drag me into the middle of the circle for that awkward moment when you dance with the kallah, and you have nothing in the world to say to her (you ALL know what I mean!). I’m the one standing outside the circle, trying to look busy, or out searching for a bottle of wine! So, you know what? Being as I’m such a horrible dancer (I once took “wedding dance classes” and when everyone was following the instructor to the right, I was going to the left), the one place I can let loose is at home, where no one over the age of four can see me (and yes, even my four year old dances better than me!).
Now what can get me, the ultimate bad dancer to kick off my shoes and move to the beat? Some unbelievably good music. And that’s what I got! My amazing sister-in-law, Chanie, just bought me the new EIG8TH DAY CD, CHASING PROPHECY. I’m a huge fan of Eighth Day and their eclectic music. It’s bluesy and chassidic all at the same time. And their poetic lyrics are so full of soul! Chasing Prophecy is by far their best CD yet. I love EVERY SINGLE song. I have been listening to it over and over and over again, and I just love it more and more with each time. And yes! It made me kick off my shoes and dance! Like a little girl, I swirled around, and grabbed my kids by the hands. They looked at me like I fell off the moon. Because for once, just once, I let all my inhibitions go, and I danced like a free bird with not a care in the world. And you know what? it felt SO GOOD! As for my kids, they giggled and giggled and are wishing on their lucky Adar stars that these happy months of candy, costumes and dancing mommies never come to an end. And so too, am I. Happy Dancing!