One Last Taste of Summer | Beet Lemonade

Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe

Hi friends! As I mentioned, I bought a juicer! Finally. After months of humming and hawing, and lots of helpful advice from friends and fellow bloggers, I bit the bullet and went for it. And I’m in love.

For reals. I can’t get enough juice! I have to admit, I was a bit worried at first. For one thing, up until this month, there wasn’t a single fresh juice bar around these parts. So going out and buying a fresh kale, cucumber, and apple juice to test the waters was not an option. However, I was looking for a way to get more fruits, and more specifically, vegetables into my diet. And crap! You can squeeze a lot of vegetables into a glass of juice!

Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe

After much deliberation, I bought this juicer from Amazon. It fit my budget and had good reviews. I’ve been very happy with it so far. Definitely a great juicer to start with. Green juices are my favorite – it’s amazing how much an apple can sweeten things up! Plus, when something is this green, I feel like I’m healthier just looking at it!

Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe

With Fall knockin’ at the door (Hip hip hooray! Boots! Scarves! Sweaters! Pumpkin everything!), I am trying to find ways to enjoy these last days of Summer. It’s been gorgeous here with hot temperatures that practically demand a refreshing beverage. I would drink beer all the live-a-long day, but unfortunately…well, you know. The solution? A healthy cocktail with fresh juice. Yep, I’m totally putting beets in your lemonade. Let’s do it!

Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe   Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe

Lemon juice gets a little sweetness kick from beet juice and honey syrup, and gin brings some fun to the party. Gin kinda has a reputation for that, doesn’t it? This lil’ cocktail is pretty tasty, folks. So why not juice up a little health, add a shot of booze, and call it even? Now that’s some Summer winning!

Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe

Beet Lemonade

This drink was inspired by an article I read in a local food magazine. The original recipe used a roasted beet puree in place of the fresh beet juice. If you’d like to make beet lemonade to serve a crowd, simply multiply the amounts listed below by the number of people you wish to serve and add to a pitcher of ice.

2 ounces fresh beet juice

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

1 ounce honey syrup*

2 ounces gin

Sparkling water (optional)

*To make the honey syrup, combine equal parts honey and boiling water, and allow to cool. (For example: for one ounce, combine 1 TBSP. honey and 1 TBSP. boiling water). Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over ice. Feel free to add more honey syrup if the lemonade is too tart for your liking. As the end result is rather…beety – adding sparkling water will cut the intensity a bit, if needed. Enjoy!

Beet Lemonade | Once Upon a Recipe

How are you spending the last days of Summer?

Creamy and Dreamy Amore | Beet Risotto

I wish I could tell you that the beets used in this recipe came from my garden. That I planted them, nourished them to grow, gave them my love, and harvested them myself. But you see, where I live, we are still shoveling snow. Snow that fell on April 14 to be exact. All 10 cm of it. There ain’t no vegetables growin’ round these parts. But I want you to know, that if I lived in a climate that was more conducive to growing anything for more than a few months out of the year, I definitely would have grown these myself.

Well…I would have tried to grow them myself. But unfortunately, I have a black thumb, the deathly version of it’s lively counterpart, the green thumb. I have a curse. I cannot keep plants or flowers alive. They wither as soon as they set root or stem on my property. I will never have the pleasure of telling people that the delicious vegetables they are tasting came from my garden. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets, or else I would be forever destined for a life of tasteless grocery store produce! Depressing eh?

Honey’s lovely sister (and fellow foodie) emailed me a few weeks ago with this recipe for beet risotto. I knew I had to try it as soon as possible when she described it as tasting like “f—ing amazing creamy lovestyle italian amore.” Whoa. Yes please.

So last night, with fingers stained red with beet juice, I tasted this heavenly dish, and totally echoed her sentiments. And added in a hell yeah. Now I don’t want to be pushy, but you might want to go to the store right now (or your garden, if you don’t live in Santa’s backyard or have a black thumb like me), and buy these ingredients, and make this for dinner. Tonight.

Because we can all use a little extra amore.

Beet Risotto

2 beets (about 3″ in diameter), peeled and diced small

1 onion, chopped small

1/4 cup butter

1 cup arborio rice

3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 TBSP. balsamic vinegar

1/4-1/2 cup goat cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the beets and onion, and cook for 8 minutes (stir to allow the onion to caramelize). Mix in the rice, broth, and balsamic vinegar. Increase the heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy (like amore, as honey’s sister says), stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the goat cheese. If you are not a goat cheese fan, you could substitute feta cheese, but trust me, the goat cheese really enhances the flavor of the beets. Enjoy!
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