Lavender Lemonade Recipes

Lavender lemonade recipe for summer picnics and parties.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLavender lemonade!  How refreshing does that sound?!  It has been in my head since before school was out and I finally decided to make some.  I’m not usually a big fan of lemonade.  It can’t be made from a powder and it certainly can’t be too sweet.  I did tons of research on how to make it before I started.  And then had to research a little more when I finally came across food grade dried lavender.  I mentioned I was making this to several people and they all looked at me funny.  I guess lavender lemonade recipes are not something that a lot of people are looking for.  I get that there is a fear that whatever the lavender is in might end up tasting a little soapy since that is how we know lavender.  I love me some lavender soap and lotion.  But I adore the herbal quality to it and thought it would bring a really cool “flava” to lemonade.  And I just tried to turn lavender “street.”

Lavender lemonade for your next picnic!  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLavender lemonade is the perfect thing to bring to a summer picnic.  I also brought it along on our duffy boat trip through Newport Harbor.  I mean, you can’t JUST drink wine.  That would be uncivilized.  And if you actually drank it and didn’t forget that you brought it with you, it would probably prevent you from getting a severe hang over the next day.  Not that I did…

Dried lavender can be found in your local health focused market in the herbs section.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo, I headed straight towards Mother’s Market (hippie town) looking for a lavender plant.  In most of the lavender lemonade posts, people have these beautiful sprigs of lavender (see above photo.  spoiler alert, I finally found some beautiful sprigs!) that I am guessing they fuss and fiddle with in order to make an infused simple syrup of some kind.  Well, there were no beautiful plants to be found that day.  Wait, I’m a liar.  They had one plant that they brought out for me from the back that they “were trying to save” that they let me buy.  But hold the phone, it didn’t look at all like the sprigs I had seen.  Apparently there are different varieties of lavender plants.  And we weren’t sure that it was food grade.  Luckily they also sold the dried leaves in the spice section.  You guys! 

Lemons and limes.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou’ll also need a crap load of lemons.  And maybe some limes.  I freaking love limes.  Like, I love limes like I used to love the California raisins (not the fruit just the characters).  I got one of those hand squeezer juicer things and it’s AWESOME!  It makes juicing citrus super easy and you get the more out of the fruit than if you are doing it by hand.  If you don’t have one, and you want to make lemonade, or margaritas, go get one (but not at Target.  Apparently Target thinks these squeezer things are a luxury item and wants to charge you $12 for one.  Uh, no.  My grocery store had it for about $6.  Come on Target, be cool.)

Make lavender "tea" to add to your lavender lemonade. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut these photos are a little misleading.  Because if you are using the dried lavender, you really need to start this process the day before you want to make the lemonade.  I know!  What a pain!  But worth it.  Now, if you ARE making a simple syrup with the pretty sprigs, then you can do that the same day.  I don’t like simple syrup.  I think it makes everything too sweet.  And I like really bold flavors so when you infuse the simple syrup, it is hard to get the flavor I like, without it turning too sweet.  That and the fact that I still hadn’t found those dumb supermodel sprigs yet. 

But I digress.  So lavender “tea”.  I took about 1 cup of water and 1 TBSP of dried lavender and put it in a mason jar.  Then I shook it up a little and left it at room temperature overnight.  In the morning, you’ve got lavender “tea”.

Strain the lavender tea for use in delicious summer beverages.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAll you have to do is strain it through a coffee filter.  And you are left with this fantastic amber-ish water.  Which smells awesome.  

Natural lavender lemonade recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd THEN you are ready to make your lavender lemonade.  So you need fresh squeezed citrus, lavender “tea,” raw honey and water.  The sprigs above are purely decorative at this point. BTW I found the pretty sprigs at Trader Joe’s.  But there was no telling if they were food grade or not.  I’m wasn’t going to take any chances.  I didn’t want my tombstone to say “She died, super relaxed, drinking lavender lemonade.”  How much cooler if it said something like “She died valiantly while trying to defend the world from evil clowns.”

A great blend of lavender, citrus and raw honey for the perfect summer treat.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo a pitcher, add all the things.  

Raw honey is great for mixing in to drinks. Just whisk it until it dissolves.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI was worried that the raw honey wouldn’t be a great choice for mixing in to liquids.  But it worked great, actually.  I just used a whisk and whisked for a short time and it blended right in.  I also thought it might harden back into a solid when I put it in the fridge, but it didn’t.  I’m a fan. 

Lavender lemonade recipe for your summer bbq or picnic.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd there it is.  A delicious lavender lemonade.  Everyone drinks their lemonade differently so modify any of these recipes to suit your tastes!  I think I may have put a little bit too much lime in mine.  It was quite bitter.  Which I didn’t hate, but it also wasn’t the taste I was going for.

Take a look at these recipes and find one that works for you!

via Home Cooking Adventure
via A House in the Hills
via Amy’s Lavender Lemonade via AllRecipes.com
via Small Footprint Family
via They Call Me Oyster Girl

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Summer Picnics are #NaturallyAmazing

*This post is sponsored by French’s, a #NaturallyAmazing product.  All opinions are mine.

A clean eating dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids ask for a dinner picnic almost every single night during summer.  And fall.  And spring.  So we try to have them as much as possible.  There is something absolutely magical about sitting outside as the sun turns golden.  Eating outside brings an entirely different energy to dinner time.  It is much more casual and playful.  And the food is always kept simple and fresh.  This picnic set up shared through out this post, however, is a dream scenario.  In our real dinner picnics, the blanket gets all wrinkled, plates get kicked over and there is grass.  Lots of grass.  Everywhere.  This is what summer picnics would look like if my kids were robots that I could control with a remote control.

Lavender lemonade is the perfect drink to bring to a picnic or potluck.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy robot children would willingly try all the wonderful and delicious foods that I love.  They would not be afraid of things that sound a little bit different.  They wouldn’t turn their noses up at lavender lemonade.  They would drink it and be instantly transformed in to a wonderfully relaxed state of mind.  They would never ask for soda even though they know they only drink it very rarely.

Fresh veggies and a tangy mustard based dip are a great dish to bring to a picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am very lucky that my kids do, in fact, like vegetables.  They don’t hesitate to grab them off a buffet table and never complain when I send them in their lunches.  Up until a little while ago, my oldest son couldn’t eat anything with milk in it so he never really had anything to dip them in.  We are very fortunate that he seems to have outgrown that allergy.  For this picnic I made a delicious mustard dip.  French’s mustard is, and always has been a natural food.  What I love about it is that is adds SO much flavor.  And it is an absolute essential for summer grilling.  It is perfect with hamburgers and hotdogs but also delicious grilled veggie sandwiches.  It also sort of inspired the color palette as well.  You normally don’t think of mustard yellow as a summer color but I think these rich colors are perfect for the time just before sunset.  French’s wants you to get inspired also.  They have a new Pinterest page and it features other great ideas for #naturallyamazing entertaining and recipes for any occasion: graduation celebrations, picnics, summer BBQs, light lunches and more!  You can follow them by clicking the image below!

French's is now on Pinterest!

Cabbage salad for a delicious and easy dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy real family has recently started eating more salads.  I’ve always loved salads so this has made me so happy.  However, only my robot children would eat this cabbage salad.  While the cabbage is really mild in flavor, the herbs would totally throw my kids off.  I loved the bright flavors of the mint, basil and cilantro.  And the lime sesame dressing had a touch of sweetness that paired with it really nicely.  Robot children are the best, aren’t they?

A vintage blanket works perfectly for a summer picnic.  #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd only my robot children would be able to eat on this vintage blanket with a mustard dip…

Wooden cutlery for a summer dinner outdoors. #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchfoods // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI decided to keep the elements of this picnic really natural.  I mixed wooden utensils with wooden plates and platters and recyclable paper containers for easy clean up.  But since this was for pretend children who don’t break things, I used my fave blue glasses for a pop of color.  In a real scenario I would probably use some clear plastic cups, nothing colored as I wouldn’t want to compete with this gorgeous blanket.

Succulents transport well and are really great for decorating picnics.  Also, wine.  You should always serve wine.  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSucculents are a great thing to bring as decorations when entertaining out of the house.  They are a really hearty plant and look great.  I also like to use bright-colored fruits because they double as part of the meal and decoration.  My robot and real children love cherries.

Mustard is all natural and a great way to add flavor to summer picnic dishes!  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEating healthier, more clean, doesn’t have to be boring.  I look for ways to add in flavor to keep me the meals from tasting the same.  I use a lot of fresh ground black pepper, fresh citrus juices and French’s mustard to add a wonderful savory tang.

vintage-blanket-and-grass-picnicThis has been a tale of my robot children and this fantastical picnic we all enjoyed together.  All the tips still hold true, just maybe not as a family picnic.  Maybe your picnic won’t be as fancy as this one but French’s and I encourage you to bring some fresh tastes to your table this summer!  Don’t forget to follow French’s for time-saving hacks and useful cooking tips as well as memorable meal ideas!

French's Mustard is #NaturallyAmazing #sponsored

 

Thank you for supporting the companies, like French’s, that sponsor my posts and allow me to create.  My robot children appreciate it also.

How to Make Iced Tea with Lipton K Cups

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Lipton, but all my opinions are my own. #bemoretea #pmedia  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

The perfect way to relax in summer: iced tea, magazines and music in the shade #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThere are just two days of school left until my kids are out for the summer.  Isn’t that crazy late?!  I sure think so.  And they are moving up when school starts in the fall so this year we have a fairly short summer break.  That just means that we have to pack in as much fun and relaxing as possible.  For my kids that means swimming, playing with friends and lots of ice cream.  For me though, it means finding some “me” time to chill outside in the late afternoon.  My favorite thing to do is grab some music, some magazines and a nice tall glass of iced tea.  Ahhh, can you feel that?  That’s what Mom Oasis feels like.

The best iced tea now comes in three varieties for the Keurig!  #PMedia @BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comGrowing up, we drank milk every night with dinner.  I didn’t love it.  So I loved when summer rolled around.  On the weekends, we got to drink Lipton iced tea instead.  I would get so excited when I would see my mom preparing to make sun tea on Saturday mornings.  She’d fill the glass jar, with a bright yellow summery design, with water, and then add about 9 tea bags and screw on the top.  The sun tea would sit outside in the hot sun until the early afternoon when it had finally finished steeping.  And at dinner I would get a glass of perfect iced tea, no sugar.  Fast forward to now, I’m pretty much an iced tea addict.  There is nothing more refreshing to me.  And Lipton is the standard to which I hold all other teas.  How do you make iced tea that is perfect for summer?  With Lipton K-Cups?!  The Lipton K-Cups come in 3 varieties including Iced Tea Lemonade, Refresh Iced Sweet Tea and my personal favorite, the Classic Unsweetened Iced Tea (some things never change) and can be found at your local grocery store or other larger retailers and also online.  So pick some up and get to relaxing. 

Classic Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea for the Keurig  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com

How to Make Iced Tea

I am beyond grateful to whoever invented the Keurig!  It is the easiest way to make a perfect glass of iced tea in no time at all.  We’re going to ignore all those coffee grounds that I forgot to clean off before I took this picture and just focus on the fact that all you have to do is grab a 16 oz non-glass cup, fill it with ice and then brew the tea over it.  And when you think about it, making sun tea is kind of gross.  I know we didn’t get sick from it growing up but it makes me think of bacteria baking in the sun and growing in to super germs.  

Mom oasis.  A little spot to relax that my husband made me for Mother's Day. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis is “mooooom oooooaaaaaaassiiiisssssssssss” and it was gifted to me this M0ther’s Day (and that is how my husband and two boys said it in unison once they had it set up that morning).  I had been asking for a comfortable place to hang out in the back yard and my husband listened.  My husband made the chair and ottoman, picked out the rug and got an umbrella to create this little sanctuary for me to retreat to with my iced tea and magazines.  I LOVE it!  For some reason when I sit out here, they really do leave me alone!  It’s magical! 

magazines and iced tea.  the perfect way to relax in summer.  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakes and cutlery.comI sip my iced tea (often with fresh herbs muddled or even just as a garnish – the scent gets me to an extra tranquil place) and read leisurely as though there aren’t 4 loads of laundry that need folding or lunches to make.  And since it is summer, that means that I can usually get my husband to grill dinner leaving much less dinner prep for me than usual.  Amen. 

Relaxing with iced tea   // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI try really hard to have everything I could possibly need with me, in Mom Oasis, when I first sit down.  Because if I get up, someone steals my spot.  Both of my kids like iced tea which kind of surprises me especially since I don’t drink it with sugar and a lot of people find that to be too bitter.  They are the apples and I am the tree. 

Fresh fruit snack. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEven the snacks aren’t safe.  He’ll come out under the guise of making sure I’m enjoying myself.  But really I think he’s trying to see if maybe he can get a turn in Mom Oasis. 

New Lipton Iced Tea K-Cups.  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPretty soon, my tea is empty.  The empty glass is sort of like my timer letting me know that the relaxing is over and it’s time to get back to reality.  So I gather up my things and head back to momming. All week long I think about my time in Mom Oasis and what I will read next.  Thank goodness I can drink the Classic Iced Tea all week long.  

K-Cups with Lipton Iced Tea!  Summer can happen now.  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThank you to Lipton for bringing a little bit of my childhood to my summer and for making my favorite Iced Tea.  Follow Lipton on Twitter and Facebook.  (You have to go to their Facebook page to check out these really great videos featuring Carl and Stu and Lipton’s really great summer promotion where they are giving people more Sun in their Day!)

*Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery able to do what I love to do!  I heart Lipton and I’m literally drinking a glass right now while I type this.

Fruit Desserts for Summer and a Giveaway!

*This post is sponsored by Rich Products as part of their Give Bakery Because program.  A grocer’s bakery is the convenient and ideal location to purchase delicious baked goods that can be customized for any gift giving occasion.  Rich’s and I encourage you to head to your local in-store bakery the next time you need delicious, sweet treats – or just because.  But all these opinions are mine.

Summer entertaining made easy with fresh fruit and store-bought cookies for dessert. #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow is 4th of July in a little over a week?!  Life is moving too quickly for my taste.  I think we all just need to slow it down and make sure we are taking time to enjoy life and spending it with the ones we love.  I’m really looking forward to our annual block party on Independence Day.  It starts with a city-wide parade where the kids participate by riding their decorated bikes and throwing (and subsequently picking up) lots of candy.  Then we chill for a few hours and then head down the street to hang with the neighbors and a HUGE bounce house/ water slide/ ER-visit-inducing contraption.  Everyone is supposed to bring items to share.  I hate just bringing chips.  I always feel so lazy setting those down when the cute gals from around the neighborhood show up with crazy delicious homemade brownies and cookies, etc.  And while I want to step up my potluck game, I still don’t want to spend a lot of time on it.  The perfect solution is starting with a store-bought base and then adding my own touches.  This year I’ll be bringing a berry, basil dessert bruschetta (served on the perfect store-bought sugar cookies).  Boom.  Fruit desserts are perfect for summer.

Fresh fruit and store bought cookies makes a super easy treat for your summer parties. #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou only need a few ingredients for this dessert and they are so yummy!  I also love that you don’t really need any serving utensils for this and they are super easy to grab.  Start by cleaning your fresh berries (for this I used strawberries and blueberries but of course you can add others – raspberry seeds freak me out and their color is not patriotic enough for me but if you want to use them, I guess YOU can) and rinse your basil (Mint would be another good option but use your favorite fresh herb.  I find that the fresh herb helps to cut the sweetness of the berries and cookies a smidge).

Fresh fruit and herbs make this sugar cookie and fruit bruschetta perfect for 4th of July and summer entertaining. #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI chopped my strawberries and put them in a bowl.  I decided to keep the blueberries whole for their color and have you seen the insides of a blueberry?  Off putting.  It makes me think of zombies.  Which is not super appetizing in terms of dessert presentation.

Fruit bruschetta with basil will delight your party guests. And it's so easy to make with store bought cookies! #givebakery #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOnce your fruit is prepared, and you have added your chopped herbs (mine are chiffonaded because I’m fancy like that.  I also make up tenses of words) toss it altogether and grab your store-bought cookies.  In this case, I added some store-bought whipped cream to the cookie first and then piled on the berries.  If these are going to sit out at all, though, you might want to let guests add the whipped cream themselves as it can melt.  These could easily be set out as a “station” so people could make them themselves.  For a do-it-yourself bar, I would put the bowl of berries on top of a bowl of ice and keep the whipped cream in a wine chiller.  Then set the cookies and a spoon and your job is done. [Read more...]

Patio Decor Ideas

Colorful patio decor  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe weather in sunny southern California allows us to pretty much sit outside year round.  And it’s killing me that my family doesn’t have a ridiculously cool outdoor set up to chill out in.  Next week I’m sharing my little outdoor oasis that my husband put together for me for Mother’s Day, but my dream fresh air experience has tons of bright patio decor.  In my opinion, you can’t have too many colors.  I’d take my wine, magazines and a patio playlist to my al fresco living space and relax all weekend long.  Here are some more great patio decor ideas for my dream patio:

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