A Nice Tall Glass of Lemonade (freshly squeezed and sugar free!)

homemade sugar free lemonade

One of the many things I love about summer are all the cool summer treats to enjoy, such as popsicles, ice cream and a nice tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. There’s nothing like sitting out on the patio in the summer heat enjoying an iced cold drink (and maybe the company of friends if they’re available).

It’s such a pleasure to just sit and enjoy after working or playing outside. Often times my neighbor Sheila and I would be out working in our yards, perhaps stop to chat for a bit and then agree to hook up later on one deck or the other to pause for a drink, rest and a chat. My mouth is just watering thinking about it! It’s nice, it gives me pause in my day, some social time and something to look forward to. And to me it definitely terms the “Lazy Days of Summer”.

I used to buy the Minute Maid frozen lemonade mix where you just add water; but now that we are sugar free, I am no longer do that. So the other day I got inspired. I had always heard of people making their own fresh lemonade and knew it was fairly easy to do. I also knew that it required a lot of white sugar, but I wondered, is there a recipe out there that I can sweeten my lemonade with something else? Stevia is the sweetener that came to mind so I hopped on Google to find out.

Sure enough many of the recipes I found required this sugar syrup, but once I narrowed my search actually using the word ‘stevia’ (ha ha) I found some recipes that fit what I wanted. I found this recipe on the Nourishing Gourmet by Kim Harris, and is the one that I recently tested out.

I set out to the store ready to buy fresh lemons, excited to make lemonade that afternoon. And would you believe that Superstore had no lemons that morning? Not a single one in sight, I guess maybe the rest of the world decided to make fresh lemonade as well and had decided to stock up 🙂 No worries we made a quick stop at Sobeys, where they were actually on sale (see there was a reason) and got what I needed.

I used my juicer to juice the lemons which though I find can be just as much work as juicing them by hand; because you have to peel them before putting them into the juicer whereas by hand I would not have to – I seem to get more juice using the juicer.

Chloe and Luke were waiting patiently for their lemonade, climbing up onto the counter to see what I was doing. Asking periodically if it was ready yet. Once I had the lemon juice I added the water and then the stevia. The original recipe calls for 1/2 -1 tsp. but I found the lemonade to be quite tart with only this amount, so I ended up putting in 5 times that amount, 2 1/2 tsp. to get it to the taste that we like. I had used the stevia powder but am going to try using the drops next time as I was having trouble with the powder dissolving and mixing in. Which may have been why it took so much. I never even thought of using the drops until I read it in the comments on another website. I’ll try it out and let you know.

Luke, Chloe and Matthew all tested and enjoyed the lemonade, confirming that it was sweet enough. Especially Matthew who had taste tested a less sweeter version when I was adding sweetener. And the twins kept asking for more and more. In fact, I think they would have drank a less sweet version without any problems. Regardless we enjoyed it, it was easy to make and is good for us!

So if you’re looking for a nice tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day and you have a few lemons kicking around, try out this recipe. Not only will you get a nice vitamin C kick but you won’t have to worry about any sugar rushes for yourself or the kids! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to head out onto the patio…

Freshly Squeezed Homemade Sugar Free Lemonade

1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)

1/2 -1 tsp. stevia powder (or more to taste)*

6 c. water

Mix all ingredients together in pitcher. Add stevia to taste, start with less and add more as desired. Pour into a glass and enjoy! May serve chilled or over ice.

*may use 8-10 stevia drops in place of powder

Want to make your lemonade a little more exciting or add a different flavor? Try adding essential oils. Here are some suggestions and the benefits:

  • 2 drops of Lavender essential oil– floral flavour and calming
  • Slices of nectarines and 2 drops Spearmint or Peppermint essential oil – refreshing and energizing
  • A handful of blackberries and a couple of drops of Basil essential oil – sophisticated and soothes digestion improves focus.
  • Slices of cucumbers and two drops of Grapefruit essential oil – refreshing and curbs your sweet tooth.
  • One drop of Cinnamon Bark essential oil and a dash of vanilla powder or a vanilla bean – Energizing spicy mix that kick-starts digestion.

Other essential oils you could try in your lemonade: lime, ginger, orange, cilantro, cardamom, thyme…

*note: not all essential oil brands are created equally. Due to the lack of regulations on how to produce essential oils currently 95% of essential oil brands on the market  have synthetics and fillers in them and are not safe to ingest. Ensure that you are using a brand that is 100% pure and safe to ingest. doTERRA essential oils are a brand that is 100% pure and safe for internal consumption.

Summer Treats -Grasshopper Popsicles

Sharing their first popsicle

Summer time is a great time of year when the days are long and lazy, the kids are off and you are often out playing and enjoying the summer sunshine. With summer comes all the summer treats that we enjoy like ice cream and popsicles.

Luke and Chloe had their first popsicle the other day and loved it! They shared it. It was so cute to watch them licking and biting it, getting it all over their faces and clothes, even though I did have the forethought to put bibs on them.

Anticipating her next bite

I have always made my own popsicles but now with our need to be sugar and dairy free it is even more important for us to do so. I have found the challenge with this change has been to still provide the ‘treats’ that kids are used to and enjoy without the sugar in them. Many store bought brands are full of sugar, artificial colors and flavorings, so in order to enjoy popsicles we have to make them ourselves. Traditionally I have made popsicles using apple or orange juice, or even sometimes juice from the juicer; but I have recently discovered some new, healthy and really yummy recipes for popsicles. The favorite, and the one that Luke and Chloe thoroughly enjoyed the other day, is Grasshopper popsicles. They have banana, blackberries and spinach in them. Yes spinach! What a great way to get those greens in.

I discovered this recipe when I bought my Vitamix this winter. The Vitamix came with a recipe book full of all kinds of sauces, beverages, dips, etc. that I could make with raw organic and sugar free ingredients.

Making your own popsicles is very easy. You can buy popsicle molds at most stores and they are fairly inexpensive. Choosing whatever ‘flavour’ you want you just fill them up, put in the stick and put them in the freezer. Voila! Cool yummy treat!

All done!

So as we enjoy our warm sunny days, where popsicles will become more in demand, I would suggest giving this recipe a whirl. It’s fast and easy -and if you don’t tell your kids what is in it, they probably won’t ask or know the difference. Even when they do find out what is in it, it doesn’t matter to them because they ate it and enjoyed it!

Grasshopper Popsicles – Vitamix

1 c. watergrasshopper popsicles

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 pitted medjool dates

2 c. spinach

2 c. fresh or frozen blackberries

2 bananas, peeled

Place all ingredients in the Vitamix in the order listed. Select variable 1. Turn the machine on slowly increasing the speed to 10 and then to High. Blend for 30-45 seconds using the tamper if needed to press ingredients into the blades. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.