One of my earliest memories of cooking and falling in love with food came from spending a week or two in the summer at my grandparents house.
Each time I would come, my grandpa and I would go grocery shopping together and get a list of ingredients that made some of my favorite meals. (Don’t forget the large box of fudgsicles!) Then every night for dinner, my grandpa and I would cook dinner together. I remember him letting me do all of the cutting, dicing, pouring, mixing, etc. and I loved every second of it! It truly gave me a sense of how cooking can truly bring people together, and establish passion and memories to last a life time.
Something that my grandparents always had in their backyard was a lemon tree, and a lot of times we would go out and pick bags full of lemons. Some to make lemonade, and some to pass out to the neighborhood.
When it came to making lemonade, what I most remember was pressing those lemons on their little electric juicer. It was my favorite part!
I can still remember pressing with all my strength on that little juicer to try and get all the juice out, and continually asking my grandpa, “How many more lemons??”
I also remember adding cups of sugar..Pretty sure more than one.
But more than anything I remember the taste, and going back to the fridge through out the day getting glass..after glass…after glass…
Despite the fact that I probably consumed more sugar in those two weeks than I would in that whole summer, I wouldn’t trade those sweet memories for anything.
Today, I don’t have my grandpa to pick lemons and make lemonade with me, but I definitely can make lemonade and drink it in his honor. All in gratitude for teaching me to love spending time in the kitchen, especially with the ones you love.
To me, the food taste so much sweeter when it’s made that way.
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
1 1/4 c. lemon juice
3/4 c. liquid sweetener (honey or agave work best)
zest of 1 large lemon
1.25 liter sparkling lemon water
3/4 c. strawberry puree
Lemon slices, strawberry slices, ice
1. In a saucepan, heat sweetener and lemon juice until sweetener is dissolved. Let sit to cool. (I put mine in the freezer for a fast cool down!) Once cool, stir in lemon zest.
2. Puree strawberries (if you hadn’t done this already). In a pitcher add sparkling water, pureed strawberries, lemon juice mixture, lemon slices, strawberries, and if needed ice. Stir until combined.
3. Serve cold, or over ice. (Stir every so often, as needed.)
Summer and lemonade go together perfectly.
Throw in loved ones and family into that mixture and it’s what making lifelong summer memories is all about!