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Lemons make such a great subject for my photos. They seem to hold a promise for me, as we are both a product of the sun, I being born in August and lemons being born in and of the sun. Around my birthday I do a little checking in with myself. Am I living how I want to be living? Have I been the person I want to be in my relationships? Have I been honoring the people who are dear to me, including myself? Am I voicing the thoughts that weigh on my mind? Will I follow through on the things that I know I need as a human to keep me connected to the world? If I were to die tomorrow, can I embrace what comes without saying, ‘I just wish I would have…” Tough questions, tough answers, but again, the questions themselves help me keep it real.

This week I actually did some entertaining in my tiny apartment. My friends came in with their baby and could not believe that I do all of my cooking in a kitchen as crooked and tiny as mine. They were shocked. And I was shocked because they came with a baby. New life. A little person from a person I already know and love. Can you imagine that? I know babies are born every day, but not to people who I consider almost a part of myself. It’s tough to imagine. And yet, there it is.

In order to entertain all of us drink-wise, I decided to make this lemonade. It’s a grownup version of the sugary impostor I used to drink as a kid. This one uses agave nectar, which has a much lower glycemic index than sugar so it’s good for kids, and us. It’s a versatile drink. Add more sweet for the little one, spike ours with vodka. I also threw in some herbs for nuance (mint/basil/cilantro) and one half a jalapeno, seeds removed and pulled it out after letting it sit overnight. This is a lemonade with a kick that will wake you up. It keeps your eyes open and forces you to focus on what you’re drinking. It’s also a cool refreshing break from the hot sun and will give you strength to try to answer those questions honestly.

Also, I can’t close without thanking Lindy and all those who left such kind comments, for unknowingly making my birthday by providing me with a beautiful quote that actually very much embodies who I am. To be described by someone in such a real way by a person you’ve never actually seen is indescribable.

I’ve been very busy in the kitchen and have some real goodies coming up for you featuring summer’s bounty, clafoutis, rillettes, blueberry cakes, fish, salads etc. Until then, make this lemonade. Keep it in your fridge then make it again. It will bring you a smile. I promise.

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Jalapeño Lemonade w/ Basil and Mint

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 6 lemons
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • handful basil
  • handful mint
  • 3-6 shots vodka optional (no more than one per cup, come on now, who’s gonna look after the kids?)
  • other herbs optional

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 Directions:

Squeeze the juice out of 6 lemons, halved, using your hand or a strainer to catch the seeds. You might want to roll them around before cutting them to release the juices. Add 6 cups of water. Add the agave nectar. Add the herbs and muddle them on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the half jalapeno pepper and refrigerate overnight. Remove the pepper in the morning. Spike whenever in the process you’d like.

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