When life gives you lemons, you squeeze them and make something good.
I have a list of recipes to work on and post for the remainder of the summer. I’ve never had a list like this before. Planning ahead is totally unlike me, but my brain capacity seems to be diminishing by the day. And ideas come to me as quickly as they fade. Lemonade was not on the list for this summer. Until last week, when we found a pile of lemons on our doorstep.
Last Sunday, we got back from our babymoon. It left us with bittersweet emotions—pure excitement to hold this little girl in our arms with a very large side of mourning the loss of it being just the two of us. Monday came too quickly as it always does, requiring a chocolate croissant and a strong cup of coffee. But along with Monday came an unfortunate email and a pile of lemons on our doorstep.
We were informed that our apartment building was in foreclosure and the bank was asking us to move out … in one months time. The bank offered us moving assistance (thankfully) which took a full week of nail biting negotiations. We scoured Craiglist for a new place forgetting we live in a college town with most apartments, especially the goods ones, already booked up for the next school year. There were tears, arguments, and late nights awake wondering if we’d find a place. Not just any old place, but a place we felt comfortable bringing our little nugget home to.
Most days our home is fairly mellow. We laugh a lot and try not to get upset or rattled by much, but last week did us in. By the end of the week, with hair frazzled and dark circles under my eyes, I decided to pick up the box of lemons. Squeeze them—as hard as I could. And make something good. Something really, really good.
When I was little, my mom always said I played the best soccer when I was mad. I guess the same is true in the kitchen. This lemonade is good—really good. And unlike last week, it’s incredibly easy and refreshing. I like it even better with strawberries and basil. But I’ll let you decide how to doctor up your lemonade.
As I finish typing this post, we just got word we have an apartment! A good one—a really good one. The little lady will even get her own room. Sometimes life gives you lemons. But it’s what you do with them that counts. Even if it means making a good glass of lemonade.
This lemonade is sweetened by sugar and agave nectar yielding a very smooth result. It makes a great base for fruit or herbal lemonade. If I could drink a margarita right now, I’d swap the lemons out for limes and add a little tequila and grand marnier.
1 c. water
1/2 c. pure cane sugar
2 tbsp. agave nectar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 6 lemons)
4 c. chilled water, purified
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and sugar. Heat on medium-high until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and stir in agave nectar.
Meanwhile, juice lemons. To extract more juice from the lemon, cut a small slit in the lemon and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Into a pitcher, combine the sugar solution (simple syrup), lemon juice, and chilled water. Stir to combine.
Refrigerate and serve cold. If too sweet for your liking, dilute with water.
•To make herbal lemonade, add a couple sprigs of herbs (basil, thyme, mint) to the simple syrup while cooling. Continue making recipe as follows. Leave sprig in for a more pronounced flavor.
•To make fruit lemonade, puree one cup of fruit (strawberry, watermelon, cherry) with one cup of water and 2 tablespoons of agave nectar. Pour through a fine mesh sieve and stir into lemonade.
•To make an Arnold Palmer, mix equal parts lemonade and prepared tea.