Well, it’s VBS week around here. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Vacation Bible School, it’s a full week of crazy fun for kids of all ages and a LOT of planning for a LOT of adults. IMG_4165[1]

For us, that means we wanted to keep our first Silly Ninja cooking challenge a little simple. Since we’re at the start of summer 2016, we figured making fresh lemonade would be a simple and fun way to embark on our cooking adventure. Before the squeezing and tasting began, however, I needed a little caffeinated beverage to get me through the project (we’re introverts around here and we usually nap in the afternoons of VBS week!)

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My “very fancy” afternoon coffee drink consists of leftover morning coffee with a splash of coconut milk. 

My idea of what lemonade means has changed in recent years. I’ve always been a fan of the sweet and sour beverage (Chik-fil-A’s version is hard to beat) and during both my pregnancies it was my most common craving. But my world changed in 2013 when our family entered the mission field in Bolivia. We went to a small restaurant and ordered a “limonada”, and what we received changed the way we will always think of this summer drink. It was thick and frothy, and very sweet, but with just enough sour to make it taste refreshing. This was like nothing we’d ever had, and we were ruined forever.

When we chose lemonade for our first Silly Ninja challenge, I knew we had to recreate this delicious concoction. So after doing a little research, this is what we came up with:

First of all, this lemonade is made with limes, not lemons. Now, when I asked some Bolivian locals about this, they assured me that they were not limes, but green lemons. This could very well have been a misunderstanding due to the language barrier, but since we don’t have green lemons in the US and the recipe  I found called for limes, we went with it.

The first step is to cut the limes (after thoroughly washing them, of course) into eighths.

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This process allowed the boys to practice their knife skills. They are both doing great with the sharp knives, but the lime was a little harder to cut so I left this one to Mark, who is a little stronger.

Next, all the chunks of lime were put into the blender with simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water).

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My Ninja blender was thinking, “What? Sugar water? Where’s the kale?!”
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Mark did a great job making the simple syrup.

Next, we pulsed the lime/syrup mixture until it was frothy, and strained it into a container.

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Then comes the really decadent part…. we added sweetened condensed milk. (Yep.)

We put it back in the blender to make it nice and frothy, and it was time to taste.

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The verdict: so, so good. I can’t say it was EXACTLY like the heaven in a glass we had in Bolivia, and it’s possible it needs just a little more sour to balance the sweet. But it’s truly like nothing you’ve ever had (unless you’ve had limonada in South America!)

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If you haven’t had enough of lemonade adventures (gosh, thanks for reading this far!), we also decided to experiment with another variety of lemonade: honey lemonade.

This one more closely resembles your standard lemonade recipe, but instead of using simple syrup with sugar, we used one made with raw, local honey. The honey is dissolved in water, and added to fresh squeezed lemon juice.

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We had to squeeze about eight lemons, and this was a very tedious process with my little lemon squeezer. But it taught the boys how to use a new tool (and it taught them some patience, as well).

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The honey lemonade was great, although after doubling the honey in the recipe, it was still a little sour. As you can see, we experimented with a few other flavors:

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If you’re interested in making the recipes in this post, these are the ones we used:

Bolivian Lemonade: http://playzwithfood.com/home/brazilian-lemonade/

Honey Lemonade: https://www.naturenates.com/honey-recipes/honeylemonadewithberryminticecubes

Thanks so much for joining the Ninjas and I! We’re excited to have you along on the adventure. If you decide to cook along, please let us know how it goes!

Until next week…

-Johanna, Mark and Chase

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7 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons…

  1. I enjoyed reading this and enjoyed the photos best of all because of personally knowing the Ninjas. I have to say that the coffee beverage looks like the only one I would actually drink, though. I am not into sugar in my drinks… unless maybe it is a port wine or a Bailey’s Irish Cream once in awhile.

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  2. So the Bolivian version needs to be in my life! What a unique recipe, I love the creaminess factor! Thanks for sharing both recipes with all of us. By the way, I love your writing style. Super excited to follow your blog 🙂

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    1. Let me know if you try it, Sammi! Just a footnote: since then, we tried the same recipe but zested and juiced the limes rather than cutting them up. The hubs thought it tasted more authentic… But since I did all the zesting and juicing, I would repeat the original 😉

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