hellllllo, summer!

I'm fairly certain it's safe to say that summer is here. No more cranking the heat back on at night--it's time for boating, barbecue, and the beach! I kicked things off early last week with a trip to Assateague Island, cooking lots of tasty foods, and starting a deliciously challenging 108 day Ultimate Yogi program. It's tough, but I already feel like a champion! I've decided that besides improved health and strength being goals in this journey, I'll be exploring and pushing myself to create more. 

Alongside this picture + art upload, I'm also posting this to share one of the most refreshing drinks I've ever cooked up--cranberry mint lemonade. Enjoy the pictures, and I hope you'll whip up my guilt-free concoction to enjoy out in the sunshine.

beautiful day on the beach || ocean city, maryland

crescent moon setting on cox creek || chester, maryland

these are all...

...within a stones throw...

...of my house!

I was originally just setting a goal to doodle for about 15 minutes every day, but I've decided to slow down to working on one piece over the course of two days as well as learning + incorporating sanskrit words. This first one is पूरक, which is the inhaling portion of alternate nostril pranayama breathing.

Ohhh, that Vitamin D feels so good! Cannot get enough sunshine lately...

I cannot wait for these babies to be ready! I've got an amazing recipe for stuffed figs that y'all will love.

So, dear reader, you'll recall the guilt free bit about my lemonade, yes? The reason why this lemonade is such a low calorie/sugar drink is because it uses stevia extract as it's sweetener, rather than sugar or another substitute. Never heard of stevia? You're not alone, so lemme throw some quick info at you:

Stevia is a plant in the sunflower family that is grown in the subtropical regions of North + South America. It's been used for centuries by our buddies to the South, both for it's medicinal properties and as a sweetener. Stevia not only about 300 times sweeter than sugar and generally has less than one gram of carbs per serving, it has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels. Recent studies have even shown stevia to promote insulin sensitivity and production--how cool is that?!

this is liquid stevia, but you can also get it in a powdered form!

But Mary! That sounds amazing, and therefore too good to be true. What's the downside? The only one I'm aware of is that Stevia can have an aftertaste, but generally when it's diluted and paired with other flavors, it's impossible to notice. There are also tons of recipes available for baking! I highly suggest giving it a whirl, just make sure you're getting real stevia extract (there are a fair few sweeteners out on the market that are made from stevia, but that aren't the real deal). 

Anyways, as promised, this is a very quick + easy recipe, so y'all are going to get a lot more on the photo end than the written one. On to the lemonade! 

cranberry mint lemonade

  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 ounces of unsweetened cranberry concentrate
  • Two sprigs of mint
  • Liquid or powdered stevia extract
  • Ice, as needed
  • one quart container

Wash and muddle half of your mint leaves. Place them in your quart container. Detach the leaves from the other spring 

Cut your citrus in half, and then cut a slice for garnish. Juice citrus fruit in to a bowl and pour in to container (or in to your quart container if the opening is large enough).

Add two ounces of cranberry juice (roughly the equivalent of two shots) as well as 10-20 drops of stevia to the container. I'd suggest starting low, mixing up your drink and tasting before you over-sweeten.

Fill container halfway with ice, then all the way with water. Shake or stir (depending on whether or not you want to make a bad James Bond joke...). Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes in order for the mint flavor to intensify a little.

Pour in to a glass, garnish with your sliced citrus, and enjoy the refreshingly tangy chill this drink brings. Cheers!

Oh. And here's my p.s. for the entry: have an epic mullet! Why? Because it's Friday and because I have to go to work with this fool every day. Have a great weekend everyone!