Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lavender Lemonade

This is my most favorite thing in the whole wide world! Well, my favorite thing to drink that is.

A few years ago, I tried some lavender lemonade at a ladies luncheon at church that was so good I was thinking about it for weeks. I was determined to make the most delicious lemonade ever. And because I have both lemons and lavender growing in my backyard, I think it was fate.

Here is how I make mine...

1 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup fresh lavender leaves, well rinsed
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4-1/2 cups water, divided
ice (optional)
lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

To make the simple syrup:

  • Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. 
  • Bring mixture to boil for 1 minute or until sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Pour into a 2-quart glass pitcher.
  • Place in refrigerator to cool.

To make lavender water:

  • Bring 1 cup of water to boil in small/medium saucepan.
  • Add 1/4 cup fresh lavender leavers to boiling water.
  • Cover with lid and steep for 1 hour.
  • Strain water and discard leaves.

To make lavender lemonade:

  • Add lavender water to simple syrup in glass pitcher.
  • Stir in lemon juice and remaining water.
  • Place in refrigerator to cool (or add ice and serve).
  • Garnish with lemon slices (optional).


Note: It's important to use only fresh lavender leaves. Using the flowers may give you too strong of a "perfumy" taste.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Chopped Broccoli Salad

I love broccoli. 

I've loved broccoli since I was a toddler. My parents used to ask me, in front of their friends, "Do you want ice cream or broccoli?" And I would always answer enthusiastically, "Broccoli!" Then they would all laugh. I didn't know why that was funny. Now I have little broccoli lovers at my house. When I serve broccoli for dinner my little 2-1/2 year old yells, "Brocky!" It's in the blood.

I used to make broccoli salad regularly. The recipe I had was given to me from a distant cousin on my dad's side of the family. It was basically broccoli, raisins, bacon, sunflower seeds, mayo, sugar, and vinegar. I actually dislike raisins (my kids think I'm nuts) so years ago I started making the same salad with fresh grapes in place of raisins. And now that we are not serving food containing eggs, I have to nix the mayo in recipes. Well, after little variations here and there, this is the way I'm making broccoli salad these days. If you like "brocky" you'll love this simple broccoli salad.

approx 2 lbs of broccoli crowns, chopped  
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup plain yogurt or non-dairy yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on your preference)
1/8 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
salt to taste (optional)

  • Mix broccoli and grapes together in large bowl. 
  • In small bowl combine yogurt, sugar, vinegar, sunflower seeds, and salt (optional) to make dressing.
  • Gradually, stir dressing in broccoli and grape salad. 
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Enjoy!