Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Alex's Lemonade Stand & Sparkling Lemonade Fruit Pops

I know I have been MIA for quite awhile but whenever I’m given the opportunity to help a charity or fundraiser via my blog, I always try to make an extra effort to set aside some time to help. I myself do not have children yet but after seeing how my amazing mother and grandmother raised me, I can only imagine how difficult yet rewarding being a parent can be. You can hope that your raise your kids to become intelligent, courageous, compassionate, and hardworking adults.   

Alexandra “Alex” Scott had those qualities at the age of 4. The young founder of this foundation decided that after she got out of the hospital after a battle with cancer, she wanted to help other kids and their families by having a lemonade stand to raise funds. At the age of 8, Alex lost her battle with cancer but her dream continues on with this annual event.


Event info: This lemonade stand is the biggest fundraiser in California and one of the top ten Alex's Lemonade Stands in the country. Since its inception, Alex's Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million for childhood cancer, and has funded more than 450 research projects at 94 institutions. They also help families struggling with childhood cancer by providing a Travel Fund and an annual Educational Symposium.   Come join us for our 9th annual Alex's Lemonade Stand in Normal Heights on Adams!  The grand stand offers lemonade, a silent auction, opportunity drawing, kids’ activities, and live music.  

If you can’t attend, click here to donate. Your donation of $50 funds one hour of research. Let’s help the Miller Tribe reach their goal of $15,000 this year, getting them to $100,000 for the nine years they’ve been running.

San Diego Food Bloggers Lemonade Challenge, sponsored by Melissa’s Produce
More than a dozen San Diego Food Bloggers will be cooking with lemons in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Check out their lemony recipes online between July 21-28, and make a donation to the Stand through links on their blogs.

I had to stare at my Melissa’s Produce box for awhile to figure out what I wanted to make. I felt like a “Chopped” contestant for a minute! To get inspired, I sampled everything in the box and I’m not even joking, this had to be some of the best produce I have ever tasted. Sweet juicy plums, two varieties of grapes popping with flavor, bright green key limes, and of course two types of lemons. It’s been hot and humid in San Diego and I wanted to make something that would reflect the season, highlight the fruit, and not be too heavy in the hot weather. I was inspired by the lemonade stand so I started with a lemonade base which turned into a non-alcoholic sangria which then turned into the final product: Sparkling Lemonade Fruit Pops!  

Sparkling Lemonade Fruit Pops  

1 cup lemon juice
2.5 cups sparkling juice, such as Welch’s Sparkling Mango Passionfruit
3 cups water (still)
1 cup grapes, sliced in half
1 cup of sliced plums 2-3 key limes, cut into thin wheel slices
2 tsp of sugar (optional)  

1) In a pitcher, stir together water and juices. Add sugar if you’d like if your juices tend to be on the tart side. Add fruit & limes to the pitcher and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the fruit to “marinate.”
2)Spoon the fruit into the bottom of a popsicle mold. Add liquid. Drop in a couple of lime wheels. These will float and add a fun twist to your popsicle.
3) Due to the carbonated juice, these popsicles will take longer to freeze. I recommend freezing overnight.      

Sueshine Notes
Have fun with these pops! Experiment with different fruits and sparkling juices. You can also control the amount of sugar that is added to the pops. Sparkling juices already have added sugar so adjust the mixture to your taste.  

Aren’t the colors pretty! Since my poor older AC unit couldn’t keep up, it was a little over 80 degrees in my house and the pops started to melt really fast. Not a problem! The cold, tart pops were so refreshing and the melting liquid running down my fingers reminded me of summers in my childhood.  

Thanks to all the partners of this fundraiser
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Adams Avenue Business Association
Blind Lady Ale House
FM 94.9, broadcasting live all day
Melissa’s Produce

Special thanks to Stephanie Weaver, The Recipe Renovator, for coordinating the challenge! We hope to see you on Saturday!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Return of Spring...and Lil Ms Sueshine

No one told me food blogging was going to be hard.
It's time consuming. Most of the time it's expensive. It's frustrating when the sun goes down before the perfect picture can be taken. Sometimes the cake doesn't look as pretty as it did in your imagination or taste as good as it sounded even though you've tested that new recipe for the 4th time. What food blogging most certainly does is make you doubt your abilities. If a food blogger tells you otherwise, they're probably lying.
I hit my blogging terrible twos in 2013 and by summer, my blog suffered even more when I started a new position at my daytime job. Longer hours kept me away from my oven and by the time I got home, I was too tired to even think about starting a baking project, let alone take pictures in my dark kitchen and write about it. Precious weekend time was spent with my husband who works two jobs and has even less free time than I do. Before I knew it, the holidays were fast approaching and although I was baking A LOT, I just didn't have time to blog. Don't get me wrong, my blog was always on my mind but I also started to doubt myself as more and more time passed from my last post. Was anyone even reading my blog? There are so many food bloggers out there! How does my tiny little blog even compare? Do I even want to continue blogging?
I think we all get lost sometimes and we need to step away for a bit to realize what we really want to do with ourselves. After a lot of time to gather my thoughts, the answer to that last question is YES, I want to continue blogging. I enjoy blogging and sharing my adventures, frustrations, and successes in baking with my readers. I get excited to share a recipe when it finally works out or when my cake picture turns out just the way I wanted it. (You don't even know half the struggles I had with my blogaversary cake above. I was a little more than frustrated with that cake.) I'm lucky to have had the unique opportunity to be invited to food events and to go behind the scenes with other local food bloggers. I especially love participating in charity events and making a small difference with my little section of the web. Why would I want to give all that up?
So here I am again, celebrating my 3rd blogaversary with all of you. I have a lot of tasty recipes coming up, some visits to a few local bakeries that I'm a fan of, and great (personal) news regarding my favorite event, the annual Food Blogger Bake Sale. With the return of Spring comes the return of some Sunshine :)
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