Watermelon is my life

You probably already know that.  But just in case you don’t, here’s the scoop – I love watermelon season.  Hubby keeps those small seedless round watermelons for me all during the season for my snacking.  And for my breakfast, and even sometimes for my lunch.

I ran across a recipe somewhere that I am not sure where, for watermelon-basil lemonade.  Since I grow fresh basil, this was one I wanted to try.  and I am so glad I did!  So refreshing!  I will keep a pitcher of this on hand during the hot days of summer along with my sliced watermelon!

And believe me, I will have more recipes to share that involves watermelon!

Watermelon-basil Lemonade

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (and if you are not a fan of basil just leave this step out)

4 cups boiling water

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve lemon rinds)

1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (I used Splenda sugar)

3 cups pureed watermelon

watermelon wedges and lemon slices

In a 4-quart heatproof bowl (I actually just use the pitcher I am going to use) bruise basil leaves with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add boiling water, lemon juice and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar.   Stir in pureed watermelon and the reserved lemon rinds. (I slice a few of the lemon halves in to slices and throw in to the pitcher – this gives the drink added flavor).  Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  Remove and discard the lemon rinds.

Strain the watermelon/lemon mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher (well mine is already in a large pitcher and I didn’t strain mine! But it does make it a lot clearer of a drink and takes the pulp out of it – your call.) Garnish with watermelon wedges and lemon slices (these slices can be from a lemon you didn’t squeeze the jouce out of!)  Stir before serving.

Strain or not strain – that’s your call.  I guess if I were serving to guests I would strain but for me it is fine like it is.

Have a great week and enjoy the melon season this year!

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Feeling a little “punchy?”

I had a question about recipes for punch. There are so many recipes out there that it can get confusing. I have several basic and good recipes that we have used at my previous church that are so good and versatile and appropriate for weddings, receptions, baby showers, and family get-togethers. If you have one to share with a request, post your favorite punch recipe below! We all could use a new punch recipe!

A good basic recipe is ginger ale and sprite. Then add whatever color/flavor sherbet you want. Makes a great simple punch for any kind of a gathering.

Here are a few recipes.

Strawberry Punch
1 large can pineapple juice
2 pkg pink lemonade kool aid (regular packages)
1 gallon water
1 small frozen lemonade undiluted
1 pint frozen strawberries
4 cups sugar

Blend thawed strawberries in a blender. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Freeze. Remove from freezer several hours before use. Will be a slushly punch.
Makes 2 gallons and serves 40-50 people.

Fruit Punch (yellow)
1 large can pineapple can pineapple juice
3 small cans frozen orange juice (add water as directed on can -or i substitute for 72 oz of juice)
2 quts water
1/2 cup frozen lemon juice or 1/2 dozen lemons, juiced
1 (6 oz) pkg lemonade mix (dry)
2 1/2 cups sugar
mix well and freeze. Makes 1 1/2 gallons. serves 40-50 people. Remove from freezer, let thaw at least 3 hours. Before serving, add 1 qt ginger ale.

Passion Tea (this would be great for a bridal tea)
3 cups water-bring to a boil – add 4 family size tea bags – cut off burner and steep for 30 minutes.
Add:
1 1/2 cups sugar and stir until dissolved
then add 1 large frozen lemonade, thawed and
1 6-oz. can pineapple juice

stir – garnish with orange or lemon slices – serve over ice.

So… If you have one to share, let’s hear it! Have a great week, y’all.

Hot Chocolate for the Holidays

Don’t just make this stuff – make it as fast as you can gather the ingredients. I have to get this stuff out of my house as fast as I can as this stuff is so good you will find yourself eating this out of the jar!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix. That is all.
When I came across this recipe, and I don’t even remember where I found this one at, I had to try it.
Addictive. Delicious. A tad bit salty. A bit caramel flavor. And tiny, tiny, bits of ground up chocolate bars that melt into that cup of deliciousness. Have I sold you yet? Make it. That’s all I can say.

this will be the best drink of the Season. Top with some homemade (yes, i said homemade) marshmallows and what a treat.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix
2 1/2 cups white sugar (you use this to make your caramel – read and forge ahead! it’s worth it)
3 Tbs. vanilla
1 cup dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (do like me and use Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate Cocoa that comes in a bag – you won’t be sorry for this)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. coarse sea salt
7-10 oz. of chocolate bars – mix them up – I used a 4 oz. Hershey’s milk chocolate bar and a 4 oz. Ghiradelli bitter-sweet chocolate bar because that’s what I had on hand (you have these on hand all the time, too, don’t you?!)

Now – the fun part!
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, foil or a Silpat and set aside. Put the 2 1/2 cups granulated white sugar in a saucepan with a heavy bottom or a skillet. Cook the sugar over medium-high heat until it starts melting. I stirred it during this time constantly to speed up the melting process and to keep it from burning. Don’t worry if it looks like it is clumping, as it will all melt together into a beautiful dark amber, caramel color. As soon as it all melts together, to that color, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla but be careful as it will sizzle and swell up a bit – don’t let it pop on your hand – burn city! Pour onto the prepared lined cookie sheet and allow to cool and harden. After an hour or so, (mine only took about 30 minutes) you can take the handle of a knife and bang it lightly to break it up into smaller pieces. Place these pieces into a food processor or blender (I used my food processor) and pulverize them into a powder. Add all the other ingredients and process until thoroughly mixed. Add the chocolate bars (I chopped mine up somewhat before adding) and pulse to chop them up pretty fine (some tiny pieces of chocolate is fine). That’s it. Serve by mixing 2 to 3 Tbsp (depends on your tastes) with hot water or hot milk (yummy!) and enjoy.

IMG_1179
Just look at those tiny bits of chocolate in that spoon.
Let me tell you, I repeat, that this stuff is so good you will find yourself eating this stuff out of the jar! I hope you will try this and it becomes a favorite in your house.

Another one bites the dust….

We have another grandkiddo to graduate this year – high school – which puts 4 of our grandkiddos in college – in the fall of 2014 we will have in college a senior, a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman.  Stepping stones!   And to celebrate we always gather together and partake of some bodacious viddles.   This year we are mixing things up like I previously said and brunch will abound.  Another recipe we will have will be one we will be drinking – Applewood Julep! If you have ever been to the mountains of Tennessee, you may  have enjoyed this at the Apple Barn Restaurant.   This is so good and refreshing.   And just right for breakfast or brunch.  Make some this weekend and sit out on the veranda (or your back porch or stoop) and enjoy the birds!

Applewood Julep

1 quart unsweetened apple juice, chilled

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled

1 cup orange juice, chilled

1/4 cup lemon juice, chilled

fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients with ice cubes, mix well.  Garnish servings with mint if desired.   Makes about 6 1/4 cups.  

Lemonade….. 25 cents a cup

Did you have a lemonade stand when you were little?  If you didn’t, you missed out on fun with either your siblings, cousins, or best friend!  It didn’t matter whether you sold any lemonade or not, because while you sat there together, you solved all the world’s problems, or what games to play when you finished that task!  Fun lazy, summer days, spent outside! I’m afraid those are no longer the case now.  

I saw this recipe somewhere on line, maybe on Pinterest, and will be making it at an upcoming family gathering.  It sounds good, cool, and refreshing!  

Make some soon, and get outside!

Best Lemonade

1 cup lemonade mix (I will be using Crystal Light and figuring out the ratio amount)

2 cups cold water

1 can chilled (46 ounce) pineapple juice 

2 cans chilled Sprite (I will be using diet Sprite)

Mix and enjoy!    

Let me know if you make some and how yours was!  Happy Spring!