Thursday, July 21, 2016

vanilla bean lemonade . . .

Lemonade will always hold a special place in my heart.

It's reminds me of long, leisurely walks through the local Farmer's Market in my home-town.

The Farmer's Market has been a part of my life since my early twenties.

For more than a decade,  I visited weekly. It was . . . and still is . . . a great source of inspiration for me.

Before I got married and moved South to a new county, I would venture to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning with my sister.

There was a Lemonade Stand that offered a variety of amazing fresh lemonades . . . blueberry, strawberry, lime, and watermelon.

We would arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat; and even with our arms full of flowers and fresh fruits and vegetables, we always found room to carry a large cup of lemonade.

There's really nothing like the taste of fresh, home-made lemonade.

It's nothing like the lemon-flavored beverages you order in restaurants. Instead, home-made lemonade actually tastes (and smells) like real lemons. It's sweet and a little tart . . . and refreshing, especially on a hot Summer day.

Although our local Farmer's Market doesn't have a Lemonade Stand like the one in my home-town, it doesn't mean that I can't enjoy fresh lemonade at home.

One of my favorite Summer activities to do with my little ones is make lemonade.

We've made several flavors over the years, including blueberryblackberry mint, peach & thyme, cucumber mint, and strawberry.

With strawberry season in full swing here, we're looking forward to making Strawberry Lemonade the week after my six-AND-seven-year-old are on Summer break . . . 7 days and counting down (smile!).

While at our kids' Open House a few weeks ago, we were invited to pick more lemons from the tree on campus. It was an offer I/we couldn't turn down (smile!). I still can't believe how many lemons were on that tree! So we filled a bag and headed home with thoughts of what we were going to do with them. 

We thought it would be fun to make vanilla bean lemonade for our seven-year-old's class to thank them for sharing so many lemons with us over the last several weeks. 

You can see a photo of the lemonade basket I dropped off at Charley's class on my Instagram, here. I was so happy to hear that the lemonade was a hit! Yay!

vanilla bean lemon simple syrup
Do you see the vanilla beans?
((recipe below))

Have you ever had Vanilla Lemonade? It's so unique! 

It's sweet & tart . . . with a warm & smooth finish.  It might sound a little strange . . . but it's so good! 

I like to prepare the vanilla bean simple syrup a few days in advance, so that the vanilla beans have a chance to infuse all its warm flavor into the sweet syrup.

My little ones take turns squeezing the lemons, using the same glass lemon squeezer from my childhood (smile!); then we add just the right amount of water to make the lemon base for our lemonade; and finally, we add the vanilla bean lemon syrup. Voila! 

With the right lemon juice : water : vanilla lemon syrup ratio (see recipe below) . . . you, too, can enjoy Vanilla Bean Lemonade at home, which is sure to be a hit with your family and friends!

And stay tuned for my Strawberry Lemonade recipe . . . just in time for your Fourth of July picnic or gathering.

Have a great weekend!

for the vanilla bean lemon simple syrup
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
2 cup sugar
2 cup water
6 slices of lemon peel
2 vanilla bean, seeded
1 generous pinch of salt
Cheesecloth, to strain syrup
*For a stronger vanilla flavor, prepare one day in advance.
     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     
for the lemonade
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
juice of 6-8 lemons, strained
8 cups of water
1+ cups of vanilla/lemon simple syrup
lemon slices to garnish
    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     

Slice the vanilla bean in half and with the back of your knife scrape out all the seeds.

Bring sugar, water, vanilla beans and pod, lemon peels and salt to boil on your stove.

After sugar dissolves I gently simmer mine 5-10 minutes to really get the lemon peel flavor in there.

Remove from heat, strain through a few layers of cheesecloth set over a large measuring cup and cool. *For a stronger vanilla flavor, prepare (and refrigerate) one day in advance.

Once the syrup has cooled; add it to a large pitcher along with the 8-10 cups of water and strained lemon juice. Stir well. Garnish with a few lemon slices.

If you like your lemonade on the sweeter side, then add 1/4 cup more vanilla lemon syrup until you reach desired sweetness.

For a stronger vanilla flavored lemonade, prepare at least one day before serving.
The longer is sits, the stronger the flavors.

LET'S STAY in touch!
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Thank you so much for stopping by!
I love reading your comments and appreciate them so much!


  1. I have never had vanilla in my lemonade, but now I need it!! And a watermelon lemonade at the farmers market? That sounds wonderful!

  2. Gah, your photos are sooooo gorgeous. One of my favorite cocktails is lavender infused vodka with lemonade. I think this would be amazing with that!!! Orrrrr, another one of my faves is vanilla vodka with pink grapefruit juice. You could make vanilla grapefruit juice with this same recipe and use plain vodka. I think this needs to happen this summer, for sure.

  3. I had just finished a cup of Starbucks coffee when I came home and checked my email -- and there you were. I'm always excited when I see a post from Simply Suzanne's AT HOME. As I looked at the beautiful photographs and read the charming narrative I found I was getting parched. My heavens I felt as if I'd run five miles in our 100% humidity. The lemons made my mouth pucker but all I could think of was getting a drink of lemonade. Did you put any kind of suggestive, hidden message in this?? My gosh I feel driven to make lemonade and the one with the cucumbers look so refreshing. Hmmmmm!! Hummmmm!! Thank goodness I have some extra lemons -- certainly not as beautiful as yours but they will have to do. Have a wonderful weekend!! Thank you for the refreshing recipe and beautiful inspiring photos! Big Hugs!!

  4. Such wonderful ideas! I'll have to try them. Jo

  5. Vanilla in lemonade sounds wonderful. I love lemon everything, the scent and taste is so refreshing. I hope to give this a try next week. Our temperatures are spiking so this will be a nice treat. -Carole

  6. Well, I am definitely pinning this recipe. A neighbor is always bringing us fresh lemons.

  7. Lemonade seriously screams Summer doesn't it. This looks incredibly refreshing.

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.

  8. Mmm these sound so good and refreshing! Thanks for all the variations. And thank you for linking up with us at Talented Tuesdays :)

  9. I am going to ave to try this for sure and as always your pictures are just divine!

  10. This lemonade looks delicious Suzanne! Pinning!

  11. This lemonade looks delicious Suzanne! Pinning!

  12. Anonymous6:11 PM

    Definitely want to try this!
    Thanks for sharing on Worthwhile Wednesday

  13. Oh Wow, how refreshing! I could use a glass right now! I've got to try this and the strawberry lemonade! Pinned!

  14. I've never had lemonade with vanilla bean. This sounds amazing! Pinning and hope you can join the Merry Monday Link Party.

  15. I love homemade lemonade in the summer. I have never tried it with the vanilla bean, but I am going to now!

  16. Oh, goodness! This sounds yummy. I'm gonna have to try it this summer.

    By the way, I'd love to have you post on my new blog hop—The Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home ( It begins on Thursday evenings and lasts through the weekend, if you're interested.


  17. Here from Imparting Grace! We keep a pitcher of lemonade in the fridge during the summer months to give us something refreshing to drink. I'll have to give this recipe a try. It seems so simple!

  18. Love this twist on Lemonade. Sounds refreshing. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Imparting Grace.

  19. With our 100 degree weather this week this lemonade would be delicious!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  20. My hubby loves lemonade. It's his favorite drink of all time. I can't wait to make this for him and surprise him with the vanilla bean twist. Great recipe! I'd like to invite you to stop by my blog today and share some of your posts with my Inspiration Thursday link party at
    Hope to see you there! --Lela @ In The New House Designs

  21. Homemade lemonade is the best, I've never had vanilla lemonade, it sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend?!

  22. I have tried this lemonade recipe and it is really amazing. Thanks for sharing this recipe with all of us. Alsi here i have some summer refreshing lemonade. Check out the recipe here:


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