Sunday, June 9, 2013

The #SundaySupper Free-for-All...Featuring Sugar-Free Strawberry Meyer Lemonade

This week, the #SundaySupper theme is Free for All...where we're sharing recipes that are fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, get my drift! We're being hosted by Beate at The Not So Cheesy Kitchen. Michael and I don't have any health issues that require us to eat a special diet, so I had to think a bit to come up with a recipe to share here today. We do have family members who are diabetic and watching their sugar intake, so I used that for my starting point. Then, an idea hit me: other than a glass of wine, I try not to drink calories. Lord knows being a food writer means I eat plenty of need to drink them too! 

I try to limit my intake of diet sodas and the like, but I do enjoy a Diet Dr. Pepper. One of Michael's favorite Summertime beverages is lemonade, so I decided to make a fun and tasty sugar-free lemonade featuring in-season strawberries and Meyer lemons. What I came up with was perfectly sweet-tart Sugar-Free Meyer Lemonade.

Nothing is better on a hot day than a tall glass of lemonade. Add in some juicy strawberries, and it's even better! I used a combination of regular lemons and Meyer lemons, because I had some Meyer lemons in my kitchen. They are less acidic than regular lemons, which makes for a very smooth lemony flavor. I sweetened my lemonade with Splenda, but feel free to use Equal or Stevia instead if that's the sweetener that you prefer. Just keep the ratio of sweetener to lemon juice and water the same. Wait until you hear my two secret ingredients for making this lemonade really POP with flavor!

Sugar-Free Strawberry Meyer Lemonade
adapted from Food Network's website

Step 1: Cut 1 pint of strawberries into quarters. You can puree them in your blender of food processor, but what I do is put the berries in the bottom of my pitcher and use my immersion blender to puree them. It's less messy and really easy! Feel free to push the blended berries through a fine sieve if you want, but I don't...I like the texture that it brings to this lemonade. This is what it looked like after I used the immersion blender to liquefy the strawberries.

Step 2: Add the following ingredients to the strawberries in the pitcher: the juice of two (2) large lemons and two (2) Meyer lemons, 1 cup Splenda that measures like sugar (comes in a large bag), 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste of vanilla extract, and 5 cups cold water. Stir well to combine, until the sweetener dissolves. Serve in glasses...straws are optional, but fun!

Man, is this lemonade a winner! There's no artificial aftertaste, and the ratio of sweet and sour is perfect. In case you missed it, my secret ingredient is a bit of vanilla bean paste. I love how vanilla matches with berries, and it worked really well here. It was very subtle, but I liked the background flavor. This is such a fruity and refreshing drink, and the color is absolutely gorgeous. 

Now for my other top-secret tip: to keep this lemonade from getting watered down by melting ice, I place 4-5 frozen strawberries in each glass before pouring the lemonade.  By the time the lemonade is gone, the berries have mostly thawed...leaving you with a strawberries to eat at the end! They look really pretty floating in the glass too...and a strawberry added to the rim of each glass lets your guests know why your lemonade is bright red.

I hope you'll give my sugar-free strawberry lemonade a try very soon. The only calories in this drink come from the lemon juice and the strawberry puree. I love it when something tastes fabulous, but doesn't make my waistline expand. To see what other "free" recipes the #SundaySupper participants are sharing today, click on the links below. Be sure to join us at 600 CST for our weekly Twitter chat. It's always fun and hope you can make it!

  • Dairy, Egg, Gluten, Nut & Soy Free Brown Rice Breakfast Pudding by girlichef
  • Dairy & Nut and Sugar Free Blueberry Tangerine Muffins byVintage Kitchen
  • Dairy, Egg, Gluten, Nut, and Soy Free Homemade Mango Jam Recipe by Masala Herb
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