Lavender Lemonade

lemonade

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Well, it’s not quite summer, but a girl can dream, right? For those of you reading from cold places, I’m sorry. You should try moving to Atlanta. Winter here is lovely!

However, regardless of whether you are reading from cold weather or hot weather, and regardless of whether what you really need is hot cocoa or lemonade, this drink is delicious, and incredibly refreshing, and you should try it!

Maybe, just maybe, if we start sipping on homemade lemonade, the sun will want to linger a little longer. Fingers crossed!

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Lavender Week

Day One- Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

Day Two- Roasted Yukon Potatoes with Lavender

Day Three- Lemon Lavender Loaf

Day Four- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts and Lavender

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (or less, depending on how tart you like your lemonade!)
  • Juice from 8- 10 lemons
  • 6- 7 cups water
  • 3-4 lavender buds
  • 1 Lemon- sliced
  • Red/blue food coloring (if desired for purple coloring)

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to boil in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and then add 3-4 organic lavender buds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, juice the lemons.
  2. Strain the lavender from the simple sugar. Combine the lemon juice, simple sugar, and 4-5 cups of cold water into a pitcher. Stir.
  3. Garnish with fresh slices of lemon and a drop of blue and red food coloring if desired.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Adapted from: Centsational Girl
  • Like this recipe? Try these other refreshing beverages from A Rented Kitchen! (Links found below):

Homemade Ginger Ale & Variations

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It’s nearing the end of the semester, which means I’m getting really good at productive procrastination. Thus, I bring you another homemade recipe from my little rented kitchen, as opposed to my completed homework assignments. Gooooood.

Anyhow, this recipe has a little story behind it. You’ll be proud to know that I was at a coffee shop, studying like a good little student, when I tried the store’s homemade Ginger Ale. The drink was delicious, but expensive (no surprise there!). After finishing my expensive and petite store bought ginger ale, I became convinced that I could make my own version just as easily, save myself some money, and share this refreshing treat with friends! Win-win-win.

SO, no surprise to you all, but that’s exactly what I did. Story time over. It brewed, we drank, and all were happy.

I bring you my new favorite drink recipe- Homemade Ginger Ale. Sip up! Summer will be here before we know it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped peeled ginger (7 ounces)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 1 quart chilled seltzer or club soda
  • ~ 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Optional variations: lemon juice, lemon slice, strawberry slices, frozen blackberries, peach slices

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the chopped ginger and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer with the pot partially covered for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to steep, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Once steeped, strain the liquid through a sieve into another bowl, pressing on the ginger the get all the liquid out. Discard the ginger.
  4. Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Heat the liquid over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  5. Chill the syrup in a covered jar until cold.
  6. To assemble the drinks: Combine ¼ cup ginger concentrate with ¾ cup seltzer water and 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice. Adjust flavors as desired by adding additional ingredients.

To spice up your drink even more, add one or a combination of the following fruits, starting with a base of ginger concentrate, seltzer water, and either lime or lemon juice.

  • Frozen blackberries
  • Chopped strawberries
  • Lemon/lime slices
  • Peach slices
  • Any combination of the above

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Epicurious
  • Have fun adding your favorite alcohol or fruits to this recipe! The variations make this drink extra versatile and crowd-pleasing!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other treats from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’ (Recipe links found below pictures):

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

 

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It’s the day after Christmas.

I have a lot to be grateful for.

We all know the movie scenes where families are gathered around the fire, singing songs, the Christmas tree is perfect, and the snow is fresh.  We also know however, that there are too many people who spend Christmas in a hospital, or who are grieving their first Christmas without a loved one. We all know that there are too may people without a home on Christmas, without a meal, or who experience more violence than love inside their walls.

We all know those painful realities exist, those realities that challenge our ideal image of Christmas. To those stories and people, I want to say I have not forgotten you. As I sat around the Christmas tree this year, sipping on my hot chocolate, I was overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have a loving home to spend this holiday in.

I wish it was possible for me to share my experiences with those who were lonely or cold on that holy day. I wish it was possible for me to invite every hurting person into my kitchen and to share with them a piping hot cup of hot chocolate and the hope of a better day.  Unfortunately, from my little rented kitchen, that is not possible.

However, to those of you reading this, I hope you try this delicious hot chocolate recipe- because life is full of beautiful moments and treats, and I am a firm believer in celebrating those moments. And as you sip on your hot chocolate, I hope you slow down for a minute and count your blessings.  We all have something to be grateful for, and many of us have everything to be grateful for.

It’s a beautiful time of the year. And I have a lot to be grateful for.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*
  • 2 Tablespoon Brown sugar
  • Optional: Whipped cream or marshmallows for topping!

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the milk.
  2. Add the pumpkin, seasonings, and sugar to the milk- whisk until smooth.
  3. Once smooth, add the chocolate to the milk and stir for a few minutes until melted and mixed in.
  4. Pour into your favorite mug, and garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows as desired!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Source: Laura’s Sweet Spot
  • If you do not have semi-sweet chocolate chunks, chocolate chips will also work and will easily melt into your milk!
  • This hot chocolate recipe is the first of a series! Stay Tuned for more delicious hot chocolate recipes to come!
  • Vegan? Substitute the milk and chocoalte chips for soy milk and vegan chocolate chips! It will be equally delicious 🙂

One Week of Summer Treats to Beat the Heat: Mint Lemonade

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Hello dear readers! Can you believe it’s already almost July?! Summer definitely seems to be in full swing, bringing on the heat and the long days. My landlord finally fixed our air conditioner, so now my tiny rented kitchen is much more bearable when using the oven. (Thank goodness!) Regardless of the beautiful AC that I am soo grateful for, it’s pretty hard to ignore the severe heat indexes sweeping the country. Thus, in honor of this hot hot summer I am going to post a recipe for a summer treat to beat the heat everyday this week- starting today! Get excited, check back frequently, and make sure you don’t melt in between today and tomorrow. I have another recipe comin’ your way!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice from 8- 10 lemons
  • 6- 7 cups water
  • 10+ mint leaves
  • 20 blueberries (give or take)

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar to boil in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved then remove from heat and cool. (This is known as Simple Syrup)
  2. While cooling, juice the lemons.
  3. Pour the lemon juice, simple sugar, and 4- 5 cups of cold water into a pitcher. Stir. Add blueberries and mint leaves as desired. Cool and serve over ice.

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Notes:

  • Source: A Rented Kitchen