How To Make Sunbutter

There are two bouquets of flowers in my house currently. One is on our dining table, soaking up some rays and looking oh so beautiful. The other is brightly sitting right next to me while I type. It’s like having a piece of sunshine. The reason behind these flowers though is much more significant than the blooms themselves.

Sometimes I need a physical reminder that I am loved. It’s something I know down deep, but I’m human. Constantly needing a little more than a feeling to go by. My husband is one of the most loving people you’ll ever meet. He loves well. Part of what makes him good at this, is he gets creative about how to love. Years ago when we were first married, I told him I was the kind of girl who needed flowers once in a while. Not in a demanding diva sort of way, but more of a “you should know this about me” way.

He’s never forgotten, and is king of being sporadic enough that I feel genuinely loved. There have definitely days he brought home “I’m sorry” flowers, but that hasn’t happened in a really long time.

I’m of the opinion that everyone needs lovin’. Whether it’s between friends, family or the stranger behind you in line for coffee. There are so many ways to love.

This week my son and I chose to love a child in his class. We’ve never met him or her. A note came home from school stating a child at school has a peanut allergy and all children are asked to keep everything peanut at home. My son has devastated. Nuts and seeds are big part of our family’s diet. It’s one of his favorite ways to eat carrots and apples. Instead of allowing the focus to go towards my son suddenly feeling without – we got creative.

I’ve loved sunbutter for a few years now, but the cost has kept me from buying it regularly. Now I have a big reason for having this as a staple in our kitchen. To the girl or boy in my son’s class, I pray this allergy doesn’t keep you from anything you want to do. I hope you feel loved as your class is making a way for you to enjoy the cafeteria and not have to be afraid of certain foods. And if you ever need any sunbutter, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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Raspberry Swirl Zucchini Bread

Zucchini, zucchini everywhere – and way too much to eat. Summer in Northern California means vegetable gardens exploding with huge over-ripe food. In a world full of zucchini, where’s a girl to go?

My family loves zucchini – but during this time of year I start to get this, “If you grill zucchini for dinner one more time….😠” sort of look from them. I hate wasting food, so I get creative. 

The Zucchini Warehouse

Here is a list of all zucchini related recipes on Sweetest Lemonade. It’s such a diverse vegetable. More are sure to come!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Your Kids Will Eat. Seriously, this one’s to die for. My oldest (now nine) asked me to make this recipe into cupcakes for his class when it was his birthday!

Time Saving Pasta Sauce. Ever heard of zoodles? Here’s a bomb sauce we love with zoodles.

Honey Sesame Pork Chops are not just amazing, but surreal with some fresh zucchini added to the sauce!

Savory Chicken Veggie Soup is ready for you as fall starts to appear!

And last but not least, our newest recipe 👇

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Yes this bread is gluten free and dairy free. You should know this about me by now! Unless specified otherwise, you’ll find we bake this way regularly. We like to use alternative sugars as well. This one features coconut sugar!




Homemade Jerky

Have you ever heard the saying, “time is money and money is time”? It’s a wise mantra when trying to prioritize. You can save time or money, not both. My issue is quality. There are some things in life that are worth the time and the money for the sake of quality. Food is one of them. While I’m all for a great deal, I want the food my family takes in to be what they need. Nutritious, full of vitamins and ridiculously tasty.

I’ve gradually incorporated more and more homemade foods into our diets as I’m always learning more and more about what foods have processed ingredients in them and which ones are still safe to purchase. Jerky is one that I thought I was good on for a while. I was buying a high-end quality jerky that the whole family enjoyed. The only problem was how quickly we ran out of it. That, and no matter what the sugar levels were kind of crazy for dried meat.

We purchase a 1/4 of a cow seasonally and store it in our deep freezer. This last time I spoke to the butcher and asked if he could do some jerky cuts for me. While I can cut my own jerky slices from steaks (and I have before) I’m not very good at getting the slices as thin as they need to be. Also, why not save a step?

This jerky was so easy to set up that I made homemade yogurt, homemade jello and granola bars that same day. Talk about being set on snacks for a while!

We made this with our homemade teriyaki sauce, but I’ve since found one at Trader Joe’s that has clean ingredients if you want to save even more time.

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Pomegranate Blueberry Overnight Oats

I’ll be the first to admit it. As a kid, oatmeal was not exactly on my request list for breakfast. Ever. If my mom made it, I ate it. That was it. Now as an adult and mom, it’s fun to get creative and find ways to make healthy food taste good. Oats are amazing for our bodies and a great filler when headed out for a big day. I now have 3 different ways my kids enjoy -that’s right enjoy- oatmeal.

Coconut Sugar & Raisins

A classic way to eat oatmeal is warm with brown sugar, butter and raisins. We change it up a bit by sprinkling coconut sugar and raising over our oats. We skip the butter entirely. Also, we cook them with water, not milk. This is because dairy broke up with me a couple years ago, and also because it’s not needed with a dish like this. When eating oatmeal, you won’t be leaving the table hungry wishing you had added a fatty ingredient to it. Trust me.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

We add this to our meal prep at least once a month. I simply line up 4-6 jars, add the ingredients and shake! The jars go in the fridge overnight and are ready to go in the morning. Our family likes them cold or warm; pretty much whatever we have time for. This one’s great if you need to eat on the go like my husband does. He grabs it and runs out the door anywhere from 5-6am with a couple hard-boiled eggs. Perfect combo! Click here for the full recipe.

Pomegranate Blueberry Overnight Oats

Now for the newest creation in the Metzger house. This recipe features Skylake Ranch Pomegranate syrup. Believe it or not, pomegranate syrup has less sugar per serving than maple syrup does. Our whole house loves anything pomegranate or blueberry so this dish is a win-win. I added flaxseed and chia seed to really up the nutrition game for this meal. I’m a huge believer that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so start strong!

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Cucumber Salad

So. Many. Towels. Endless swimming, tons of outside activities and quite possibly a gallon of sunscreen. Non-stop snacks. Wet floors from kids who somehow still don’t understand the concept of drying off outside. Let’s not forget the flip-flops. My son owns 5 pairs and the other day we couldn’t find a single match, only one of each⛱  Everyone talks about how great summer is. I agree, but sometimes this momma needs a break!

Have you noticed the multitude of salad recipes happening on Sweetest Lemonade lately? There’s a reason. I decided that if our summer will continue, (successfully) I need to give myself some grace. Eating real food isn’t something I’m willing to compromise on, but I can make it easier on myself.

Salads Saved Summer

  Salads are here to save the day! They are so versatile in flavor and ingredients, yet super simple to throw together! I even had this one for breakfast the other day. Make it a point to enjoy the rest of your summer. Try some salads, or do a quick bbq if it means spending more time with your family. You won’t regret it!

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Asian Cabbage Salad

At this point, summer might not end. We’ve hit the “endless days of summer” mode, but mostly because of the heat; not the quickly arriving school schedules. The next two weeks are projected to be 109° straight on through. I know, not quite the way I wanted to envision my summer either. Northern California has so many perks, but one major downer. The heat is not only long lasting, but incredibly dry.

I’m typically in the kitchen cooking meals, snacks or prepping for the next few days as a normal part of my routine. Lately, I’ve been wanting to hide from the kitchen. The heat is just too much. I’d rather keep the house nice and cool! To avoid heating up the house, we’ve switched over to barbecuing and salads as much as we can.summer salad recipe

Our New Favorite Salad

A new favorite of ours is this Asian Cabbage Salad. I’m a huge fan of cabbage instead of lettuce. First off, cabbage has more vitamin c than an orange. Isn’t that crazy? We hear so many things generalized about fruits and vegetables, when the full truth is so different. Yes, oranges are still good for you, but please don’t eat them solely because of their vitamin c. Another fun tip about cabbage is it stays crispy longer than lettuce. For me this means I can make a salad for dinner and eat it the next day for lunch without getting the soggy salad taste in my mouth.😕 So gross by the way.summer salad recipe

This salad is loads of fun for kids as it’s colorful and full of flavor. All three kids eat it, but I will say two of them still pick some ingredients out. I’m super cool with this because it’s all forward motion to eating real food as a lifestyle. Total honesty here, I’m also that mom who throws the picked out pieces of her kid’s meal back onto her plate. I hate wasting food! You don’t like green onions? Sweet- more for me!

So stay cool and whip up this amazing salad for dinner or bring it along on your next hike! We are going hiking this weekend and I have a feeling this one might come with us😉summer salad recipe

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Caprese Salad

It never fails. My family will always eat more of a meal if I present it well. Setting the table, using real plates, arranging the food in a creative fashion, all of that. “Tablescapes” are a real thing! While there are definitely days I grab the paper plates and throw some chicken and rice on a plate, most of the time we are purposeful with our meals.

This salad is the perfect example of what I’m talking about. If I had coarsely cut the mozzarella, tomatoes & basil only to throw it in a large bowl- my kids would have looked the other way. Instead, I sliced and plated in a way that made everyone at the table go “ooh and ahh”. Even my pickiest friends tried caprese salad!

Layering the mozzarella and the tomato really makes this simple salad ridiculously good looking. (anyone get that reference, anyone??)

For dinner I paired the salad with bbq chicken (click here for the bbq sauce recipe), grilled veggies and watermelon.

We served 9, so portions were pretty big and we even pulled out some pre-cooked brown rice from the night before to give more options. I love having tons of people over for meals. It makes my heart so happy!

Try this caprese salad, and see if your family likes it presented in a fancy way😉 Top it with this Pomegranate Balsamic Dressing for a real treat![amd-zlrecipe-recipe:95]




Clean Carrot Cake

I love a good challenge. The kind that scares me slightly, makes me question my capabilities and forces me to do my best. It might sound ridiculous, but that’s what this cake did.

I love a good carrot cake, but a good carrot cake is hard to come by! I don’t quite understand it myself, but many carrot cakes turn out very dry. I also want to taste more than just carrots in my cake. There are so many flavors that compliment carrots. A carrot cake should be creative and fun!

I chose ginger and pineapple as my two complimenting flavors. The ginger leaves a tiny bite at the end of each mouthful. The pineapple draws out the natural sweet in the carrots and creates a soft textured “crust” underneath the cake.

This cake can stand alone without frosting. That was really important to me simply because it’s hard to make a cream cheese frosting without cream cheese, and a lot of people have a hard time with dairy (myself included). So while the cake can be frosted, it doesn’t have to be. How neat is that?!?

Biting into this cake, you’ll notice the consistency is spot-on for a regular cake. I love the idea of a cake that can bring people to the light-which is that eating real food doesn’t have to be gross. It can be delicious and nutritious! This cake is gluten free, dairy free and butter/oil free. I used apple sauce instead of any kind of fat. That also helped get the right moisture for a carrot cake. A carrot cake should be moist throughout, but hold itself well while cutting into it.

Invite some friends over, sway them to the dark light side of life and indulge in some carrot cake! This is a great starter dish for those skeptical about a healthy lifestyle. As always, I linked some of the ingredients to Amazon for quick purchasing. Enjoy!

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Pomegranate Sherbet

The heat was horrid. The kids and I were trying to make do, but we’d had enough. Every time the front door opened I could hear myself calling out, “Shut the door, you’re letting the heat in”. My husband was going through 6 gallons of water a day to keep from becoming dehydrated. The water in the pool was so hot we couldn’t even swim!

I did what any mom with 3 melting children would do. I put them in a cold bath and made sherbet.

Sherbet is great because it doesn’t require an ice cream maker. You can simply freeze it! This recipe makes excellent sherbet by freezing in 3 stages. First, you pour the blended liquid into a freezer safe Tupperware container. After an hour, use a fork and whisk it. This keeps the fat from separating with the sugar. In another hour to hour and a half, repeat this process. The sherbet will be mostly thick now, almost a thick milk shake consistency. Let the ice cream freeze for another 2 hours and serve! It scoops nicely right out of the container.

I just love the color of this sorbet too. The pomegranate flavor is cool and refreshing.

Try it yourself! Feel free to use this recipe in an ice cream maker if you have one, or just use your freezer.

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Strawberries in Balsamic Yogurt Sauce

Today I’m celebrating. Coffee in hand, kids at school, and complete silence are my party decorations. Something incredible happened this weekend. Our little family of 5 went hiking.

Hiking by itself is nothing new for my crew; what’s new is how we hiked. Minimal planning, and minimal child-holding on the hike. My kids are now 9, 5 and 2 1/2. As you can imagine, the last few years of parenting have come with lots of planning and LOTS of child-holding in order to maintain the life we love. That hike was magical. Our two boys hiked the whole way with no complaining. Our 2 1/2 year old daughter rode in the hiking back pack and only complained because she wanted to walk too. We let her down whenever we stopped to swim and that made her very happy.

My husband and I have been pretty ruthless in keeping what we love regardless of the kids. Meaning, we haven’t stopped hiking, going to concerts, camping, road-tripping, and all around adventuring. We’ve gone into countless activities with the attitude of “this is going to be even better than last time” as opposed to “we’ll just try to cope because the kids are with us this time”. This has become our life mantra.

Sweetest Lemonade was actually named after our intense focus to make not just lemonade out of lemons, but the sweetest lemonade. Life doesn’t have to be “less than” when kids enter your world. Or even when things start to turn sour for that matter. When life gets hard, you still have the choice to make it the best out of what you have.

Parenting is hard, and complaining about it is the easy way out. I choose to live every day enjoying my kids, my messy house and my knack for cooking.

That brings me to today’s recipe. A simple, surprisingly sweet yogurt balsamic sauce dolloped over strawberries.

Plain Greek yogurt gets a bad rap because of its strong tangy flavor and complete lack of sweet. I wish we weren’t all so addicted to sweet (myself included) and could appreciate foods that have other flavors. But, that topic is for another day.

I love the clear red color of this balsamic!

This twist on yogurt is superb. No one would guess a white pomegranate balsamic and a little bit of honey could transform plain Greek yogurt into a snack even your kids will request!

The best part is, this recipe is only 4 ingredients, and perfect for summer![amd-zlrecipe-recipe:91]