vanilla berry lemonadeI am sitting on my couch, going through my DVR, and catching up on shows that I have missed being away from home for most of the summer. I am pretty happy to not be in the car. Yesterday, we unpacked our bags, slept in our own beds, and it felt amazing. I love being home. We had the best summer, saw tons of family and friends, had big adventures, and visited new places. Even with all of the fun, I am looking forward to fall. I love the promise of a new school year. We clean out closets, organize the toys and books, and have one of our twice yearly purges. I love a good purge. I love buying school supplies and making our back to school dinner. My brain is almost ready to wrap itself around watching football, homework, and pumpkins.

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I love these three pictures of my children on the beach. My favorite smell in the world is them after a day on the beach. Sunshine, sunscreen, and salt water. Heaven. Can someone please bottle that smell? Thanks, I’ll take a case.

longport beach 2013Even though summer is coming to an end, we can still remember it with homemade lemonade. Thankfully, lemonade can be a year-round summertime treat. When it is cold and blistery outside, I say instead of hot apple cider, we drink lemonade. What do you think? Reverse psychology? Or just an excuse to drink sweet and tart lemonade? Whatever the reason, lemonade just tastes better when you make it yourself. It is not difficult, but you do need to juice the lemons yourself. No bottled juice here. It makes all of the difference in the world. I fancied mine up a little with vanilla bean. After I made it, I realized that I had a lot of berries in my fridge that needed a good home. Add a few berries while the syrup is still warm, and it will add a beautiful pink hue. Perfect for a baby or wedding shower. It is also a delicious adult beverage, just add some vodka.

vanilla berry lemonade recipe1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, seeded and split
8 to 10 lemons
5 cups water
2 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

vanilla berry lemonade recipeCombine the water, sugar, and vanilla beans in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and let cool.
vanilla berry lemonade recipeJuice lemons until you have 1 1/2 cups of juice.
vanilla berry lemonade recipeStrain out pulp and seeds.

vanilla berry lemonade recipeAdd 3/4 of the sugar mixture to a large pitcher.

vanilla berry lemonade recipeAdd lemon juice.
vanilla berry lemonade recipeAdd water. Check for sweetness. Add more vanilla syrup if needed. I love this canning funnel, I use it for so many things.

vanilla berry lemonade recipeAdd berries. Let chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving. Pour over ice and garnish with more berries and lemon slices.

Vanilla Berry Lemonade
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans, seeded and split
  • 8 to 10 lemons
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
Instructions
  1. Combine the water, sugar, and vanilla beans in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Juice lemons until you have 1½ cups of juice. Strain out pulp and seeds.
  3. Add ¾ of the sugar mixture to a large pitcher. Add lemon juice. Add water. Check for sweetness. Add more vanilla syrup if needed. Add berries. Let chill in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.
  4. Pour over ice and garnish with more berries and lemon slices.