Well, friends, we made it... The official kick-off to summer,
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us!
To many this holiday weekend is the ending of the school year and the beginning of beach days and summer fun. But let us not all forget to remember the veterans and the soldiers who have given so much to defend and fight for our country's freedom. A gift for sure. And, if you are related to, or heck, see a veteran this weekend- stop, and say thanks! They need to be recognized and loved! :)
I recently bought a stevia herb plant at my local farmer's market. I do not know why it took me so long to actually buy or plant one. Craziness! Anyways, it is a beautiful, full green plant with sweet leaves that you can juts pick off and chew or eat. Quite a fun and spectacular treat. I learned a little bit more about stevia from a blog friend- Kelley at the Spunky Coconut. It is an all-natural herb people. So nothing to be scared of- it's a PLANT and it's free of sugar too. It is just naturally sweet-like and so it has been used for hundreds of years as a sweetener supplement. I just recently started getting excited about it, and love having it in plant form too. There are a few ways to buy it: plant, dried, ticture liquid, dry powder, and I am sure there are other ways I don't even know about.
So, I have some springs sitting on my counter, while my plant is enjoying the outdoor sun. And decided that this holiday weekend (and 'forecasted' almost 90 degree weather) deserved some fresh stevia sweetened lemonade. Wouldn't you agree?!
Stevia Sweetened Lemonade
8 cups of pure water
2 ts. of ground stevia powder (I used Sweet Leaf brand) add more/less if you desire...
1/4 cup fresh stevia herb leaves chopped (optional addition)
6 lemons squeezed fresh or about 1 cup of lemon juice
In a large water pitcher, or pot if you prefer for mixing. Mix together the water, lemons and ground stevia powder. Mix well and taste to see if you prefer more sweetness or more lemon. Add more if you desire. Then lastly add some fresh chopped green stevia leaves for added color and touch of fresh sweetness. Also a great addition to this lemonade would be a few springs of some fresh mint. Also, you can use limes if you prefer, just make sure you have about the same amount of lime juice as you would use lemon juice.
I have to say, stevia makes the PERFECT lemonade. Perfect pair. But, if you do not have any or prefer other sweeteners, honey, agave and maple syrup could be good as well. Also, I have added fresh squeezed or crushed berries into my lemonade's as well....raspberries, bluberries, and strawberries.... you get the idea. :)
Serve fresh from your pitcher with ice cubes, fresh lemon slices and mint or stevia leaf. This recipe will serve anywhere from 4-8 people.
Stay cool, and ENJOY!
Now, to some ideas for holiday-cookout-summer goodness:
Some fun snacky-munchy appetizers...
Coconut Cashew Cream Fruit Dip with your favorite variety of seasonal fruit
Family Salsa Recipe with your favorite organic corn chips, and add some avocado or guac as well
Fudge-Dipped Frozen Banana Bites (could also serve as dessert treat)
Some fresh, main dish ideas or could be sides as well...
Some after dinner sweet treats...
Strawberry Sauce over your favorite dairy-free ice cream (So Delicious Coconut Vanilla Bean ice cream)