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It’s been a long time since I have graced my kitchen, folks. While I have been feeding lots of mouths all day, every day, I haven’t been INSPIRED. Our family has survived on frozen pizzas, dinners that come from a box, and plates with piles of things: cheese cubes, meat, fruit slices, a piece of bread. It has been pretty lame around here. Until I got inspired by the idea of a summer classic with a twist: Iced Tea Granitas with Candied Lemon Slices. YUM!!!
I really stopped making great food in January, right after we lost Rob’s mom to cancer and my kids’ preschool closed. Those two things completely changed the course of my year, leaving me grieving and also super busy, respectively. I think I’ve been on a weird sort of stressed-out autopilot ever since.
But this weekend, I got my groove back. I found my happy place, my stress-free place, my ME place— unwinding through the art of making GOOD FOOD.
You see, I love the kitchen, but not when I have little people underfoot. Not when people are calling Mommy-Mommy-Mommy or making dramatic statements about how if they don’t eat right now they will DIE. So I took the kitchen back during nap-time.
Summer is all about cool, so I created some cool chicken lettuce wraps (recipe coming soon!) and a Snapple Iced Tea Granita with Candied Lemon Slices. Does anything sound more summer than that??
A granita is a fancy word for a slush. Okay, a granita is fancier than that and comes from Italy, so Italians probably hate me for saying that. But it IS a drink made from ice, sugar, and various flavorings. So: fancy slush. I don’t even need to give you a recipe for this part. I blended the Sorta Sweet Snapple Iced Tea with ice and a bit of honey. I didn’t want it to get too watered down so I added less ice, but you can go all out for a real frozen summery drink!
Iced tea doesn’t seem complete without lemon, does it? This drink made me think of candied lemon, not unlike the candied ginger and orange peels on my Champagne Cupcakes. The lemons turned out soft and sticky-sweet—the perfect adornment for a mason jar full of Snapple Iced Tea Granita! Doesn’t that look so refreshing?
Candied lemons are also super easy. Three ingredients and a little drying time. BOOM! They are sweet, tart, and wonderfully sticky. You’ll be licking your fingers after garnishing the glasses, I can assure you. Two might NOT be enough.
- 3 small lemons, sliced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Slice your lemons to about 1/8 of an inch. (I don't use a ruler. Not too thin and not too thick, okay?) Remove seeds, but try to keep the slices from getting mangled.
- Stir the sugar into the water in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the lemon slices. Let the liquid begin to simmer and bubble, turning the heat down a bit if it starts to caramelize and brown. Turn the lemon slices and stir occasionally for 12 minutes.
- Remove the lemons and let dry on wax or parchment paper for at least an hour. Store in the fridge.
- You've got a kind of lemon simple syrup left over in the saucepan. You should probably make something with that!!
If you’re at Walmart picking up your Snapple, I found easy access up front near the checkout lanes. Get in and get out so you can enjoy your me-moment. I was hoping to find the Lady LiberTEA in the aisle (a blend of delicious black tea with RED raspberry, WHITE peach and BLUEberry flavors, available in stores between May 1st through July 4th in 16oz singles and 6 packs—get it while it lasts!). But alas, no LiterTEA for me! (You should check your store for sales now that the 4th is over. You might get lucky!) Speaking of sales, 18.5 oz Straight-Up Tea and Premium Glass items will be on rollback for $1 as of July 3rd. Even more reason to try a granita! I picked up some Fruit Punch for a fruit infused cocktail. (Don’t worry, I’ll share that too!)
I had forgotten what a relaxing place the kitchen is for me, but I’m so happy that I got this kickstart to what I hope will be a return to feeling peaceful and rested in the kitchen. That means more recipes for you! Yay!!! As long as I can find someone else to do the dishes, that is…. Anyone? Bueller?
Snapple helped get me back in the kitchen to unwind through the culinary arts. What’s helping YOU cool down and unwind this summer? Share your secrets in the comments.