Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade [and learning slowness]

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade

I don’t really want to go slow. I daydream about slow evenings on a front porch (a front porch I don’t currently have, but would love someday) sipping ice-cold lemonade. But let’s be honest. It makes me anxious. Slow means fewer check marks. It’s unsatisfying and even painful. There’s no instant gratification.

I grew up playing card games like Nertz and Dutch Blitz. Speed is essential in those games. The hustle and the quickness required to win outweighs the importance of accuracy. If you’re fast enough, you can even get away without a few mistakes (or intentional “misdirection”). But that pace is unsustainable.

When I was in eighth grade, my science teacher had us stand on our chairs as we repeated Newton’s laws of motion. There’s something about putting our bodies in a different posture that makes a lesson stick. To this day, I can picture standing up on my chair reciting how an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force (and other science-y things I’ve since forgotten).

I view life a little too much like the laws of motion sometimes. I fear once I stop, I may never start again. If I rest, will I stay there forever? Will I become stagnant? So I keep going. Inertia will do its part, and I’ll be able to keep on keepin’ on, right? Moving feels more comfortable, more satisfying—for a while at least. And then I realize I’m moving in the wrong direction, or I slam headfirst into a wall called burnout or sickness or whatever else. I’ve hit that wall enough times in the past to know I’m bound to smack my face again.

I’ve been thinking on Psalm 131 lately, especially verse 2 that says, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

My soul is more often like a loud, screaming toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed. It’s like a kid who doesn’t want to let go of what their doing even though the slowing and stopping is needed and even enjoyable.

What would it take to quiet my soul?
What does it mean to rest, despite what’s going on around us and all that needs to be done?
What if I didn’t have to go so fast and then slam on the breaks to avoid catastrophe?
What if I lived my life with a soul and body that were slow, calm, quiet, rested, and refueled?
And what if, instead of trying to wriggle free, I found complete comfort, contentment, and peace in the arms of God?

I don’t have a five-step plan or an easy answer. But I’m dwelling on the questions. In our harried and hurried world, I think we’d do well to practice the art of slowness—maybe even stillness. I’m (slowly) learning what it looks like for me, and even that’s bound to change with the seasons of life.

It can be scary practice. As we calm and quiet our bodies, we start to see the unrest of our souls. Slowing down forces us to stop hiding our inner chaos behind a wall of to-dos. But I think that’s when we really start to learn slowness and stillness. Our bodies no longer run like a machine but as a sacred gift that points us to an infinite, tireless, omnipotent Giver. As as we rest in him, our souls become calm, our spirits quiet. And like a weaned child with its mother, we get to know the slowness, stillness, and complete peace that comes from being in the arms of our God.

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade | Sarah J. Hauser #drinks #summer #lemonade

Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade
Yields about 8 servings

2 ½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (fresh really does make a difference!)
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger*
6-8+ cups sparkling water**
Ice

To make the base of the lemonade, add the lemon juice, sugar, honey, and ginger to a small saucepan. Turn on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, and the mix comes to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Strain to remove the pieces of ginger. (If you prefer, you can skip this step so the ginger continues to infuse flavor in the lemonade.)

Refrigerate the lemonade base until cold, up to a couple days in advance.

When you’re ready to serve, transfer the lemonade base to a pitcher or individual glasses filled with ice. Top with sparkling water to taste, and stir gently. If you’d like to make it a cocktail, add a splash of vodka or top off each glass with prosecco. Enjoy!

*This gives a subtle ginger taste, but feel free to add more if you want it stronger.

**You can adjust the amount of sparkling water to make the lemonade the strength you prefer. I usually prefer a bit more sparkling water, but adjust it to your taste. You can also use regular water for a non-carbonated lemonade.


Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda [featuring FreshGround Roasting]

Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda | Sarah J. Hauser

My three kids actually napped simultaneously yesterday. It was glorious. I don’t think that’s happened in at least six months, because my twins have dropped their nap for the most part—and it came back to bite us last night when they weren’t asleep until 10pm. But for one afternoon, I savored the quietness while my kiddos slept. And by savored, I mean that I didn’t do anything “productive” and read a book the entire time. I sat with my book (If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey!) for over two hours, and I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it.

While I loved reading the whole time, what I enjoyed the most was resting without feeling guilty. I’m not good at that. I’ve talked in the past about my need to feel accomplished, but sometimes letting go of my to-do list proves to be an accomplishment in itself. I constantly battle this inner guilt that’s neither helpful nor even true. Rest isn’t all that restful when we sit there feeling bad about it the whole time. When we do let go of that guilt, there’s freedom and joy to be found. It’s like our soul can finally exhale.

Today I’m back to the to-do list. We needed groceries. The house needs to be cleaned. I have to get work done. That’s okay, because there’s been a break, a renewal, a physical and emotional refueling. I can work from the overflow rather than pouring from an empty cup. That is a gift.

Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda | Sarah J. Hauser
Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda | Sarah J. Hauser
Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda | Sarah J. Hauser
Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda | Sarah J. Hauser
Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda | Sarah J. Hauser

Need a little pick-me-up, or want to sip a fun drink while you dive into a favorite book? This Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda is perfect for that! You could also make it with decaf cold brew or add a splash of vodka for the grown-up version. Enjoy!


Cold Brew + Pomegranate Soda
Yields 1 drink

¼ cup pomegranate juice (make sure it’s 100% pomegranate juice)
¼ cup cold brew coffee (such as FreshGround’s Black Ice Brew)
2-4 teaspoons simple syrup
1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup sparkling water
Ice
Lemon slices for serving

Add the pomegranate juice, coffee, 2 teaspoons of simple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass filled with ice. Stir well until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Top with sparkling water to taste. (I use about a ½ cup of sparkling water.) Stir gently, and add more simple syrup or lemon juice if desired. Serve with a lemon slice and enjoy!


This post was created in partnership with FreshGround Roasting. All opinions are 100% my own.


Coffee Mule [cocktail and mocktail versions!]

Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser

Happy New Year! I’m sure almost everyone says this, but I can’t believe it’s already the end of the year. It’s been a good year, a hard year, a whirlwind of a year, and everything in between.

This afternoon, I snuck out and spent a couple hours reflecting. (By the way, I use the Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner to do this. I cannot recommend this tool highly enough!) I jotted down highlights from each month, areas I grew in, and challenges that came up along the way. I leafed through my 2018 planner and wrote down ideas as I looked ahead to 2019. This focused time of reflection has become absolutely essential for me for a number of reasons—the main one being that it’s helped me practice gratitude for how God worked. When I don’t write things down, I don’t remember them, and physically looking back on goals, progress, events, and milestones helped me see growth that happened little by little.

Around this time every year, I feel frazzled and tired. I often feel like the year flew by with little fanfare and minuscule progress. Without taking time to actually reflect on the year, those feelings of weariness and discouragement scream loudly. But God once again showed he’s good. He taught me that “accomplishment” sometimes means getting things checked off a list, but other times it simply means tiny steps of growth that maybe no one else sees. And both the check marks and the baby steps warrant celebration and gratitude.

I’m tired, yes. But I have much to be thankful for. So to close out 2018, here are a few things I’m celebrating:

  • I actually finished writing a book proposal. This was huge, and while I have yet to discover what might happen with it, I’m celebrating that I finished.

  • My twins are potty-trained. This also means I have only one kid in diapers. Having twins first, I never had only one kid in diapers. Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus.

  • My husband and I took a vacation together this summer (sans children). We couldn’t have done this without the incredible sacrifice of family willing to watch our kiddos, and we are so grateful!

  • I made a huge shift in my blogging and writing. If you’ve been around here for a while, maybe you’ve noticed it, but maybe you haven’t. The change has been mostly in my own mind and heart, but I hope you’ve seen a shift in these words, too. There’s a lot more I could say on this, but basically I’m working to be more intentional about what I write and create. In the process, I’ve found greater joy and purpose in my work.

  • I read 18 books. That’s a ton for me in this stage of motherhood. Okay, I’ve actually read 17.25 books, and I plan to frantically read the rest of a book tomorrow so I can hit my goal of 18 books in 2018! I’m hoping to post a roundup of a few favorites, too, and share what I’m planning to read in 2019!

  • I noticed God’s goodness more. He’s always been good, right? But as I look back on this year, I feel like I’ve seen it and tasted it more fully than in the past. It’s not been necessarily because of great circumstances or tangible blessings, although we’ve been given more of those than we ever deserve. In many ways, this year has been hard. But I’ve tasted God’s goodness in a way I missed in the past. I pray that’s true in an even deeper way this next year.

  • I asked for help. A lot. I’ve written about this before, but the act of asking for help has been one of the most humbling and important lessons I’ve learned in the last couple years.

  • I quit a lot of things. This may seem odd to put on a list of “accomplishments,” but 2018 was a year when my husband and I stepped back from a few very good things that we loved in order to rest and refuel. We’re praying about what our “reentry” may look like down the road, but letting go of several responsibilities has been so important for our marriage and family.

I could go on with more, but I’ll leave it at that. (I’ll leave you with a cocktail/mocktail recipe, too!) Another year has gone by. God has been faithful and good. Whatever 2019 brings, he’ll be faithful and good then, too.

For that I am thankful…also, coffee.

Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser
Coffee Mule | Sarah J. Hauser

When my brother (Eric from FreshGround Roasting) first told me about this Coffee Mule, I admit I was skeptical. The combination of flavors seemed odd to me, and I couldn’t image how they’d work well together. Wow, was I wrong. This is such a refreshing drink that works well as a cocktail or a mocktail! (You can also use decaf cold brew coffee if you want to avoid the caffeine.) It’s the perfect drink to ring in 2019!

Check out the recipe below, and have a Happy New Year!


Coffee Mule
Yields 1 drink

3 ounces cold brew coffee concentrate (such as FreshGround’s Black Ice Brew)
3 ounces ginger beer
1 ounce Rose’s sweetened lime juice
1 ounce vodka (optional)
Ice
Lime wedges for serving

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the cold brew, lime juice, and vodka (if using). Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds.

Strain into a cocktail glass or copper mug filled with crushed ice. Pour in the ginger beer. Give it a gentle stir and top with a couple lime wedges. Serve and enjoy!

Notes: You can easily adjust the proportions to your liking! If you want it sweeter, add more ginger beer or Rose’s lime juice. If I’m making this with vodka, I usually opt for an extra splash of Rose’s.

While I like this best shaken, if you’re making this for a crowd you can definitely multiply the recipe and stir all the ingredients together in a pitcher.


This post was created in partnership with FreshGround Roasting. All opinions are 100% my own.


Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Well, shortly following my announcement over a week ago on Instagram that "I was back!", the kiddos and I went down for the count for another week. After a nasty stomach flu (which I won't go into too much detail about), a trip to urgent care, more bananas, applesauce, and toast than I care to ever see again for a while, and being quarantined for what felt like months, we are back to normal - which means I'm also craving something different than Pedialyte or water. 

But pregnancy with Baby #3 means it's a season of mocktails for me - which, to be honest, hasn't been all that bad. I've craved sparkling cider the last couple weeks, and there's something special about making a fun drink in a fancy glass...even if it lacks your favorite spirit. 

This mocktail is a combination of sparkling cider, pomegranate juice, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I prefer it on the tart side, but if you like your drinks sweeter, add a splash more cider. It's garnished with a sprig of rosemary, but to get more herb flavor, try muddling a few rosemary leaves in the cocktail shaker before adding the pomegranate and lemon juices. (And of course, if you're not avoiding alcohol feel free to add a shot or two of vodka.)

Cheers!

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Yields 1 drink

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce 100% pomegranate juice
3-5 ounces sparkling apple cider
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Ice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the lemon and pomegranate juices. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. 

Strain into a cocktail glass and top with sparkling cider to taste. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. 

Notes: Want more rosemary flavor? Muddle a few fresh rosemary leaves in the cocktail shaker before adding the lemon and pomegranate juices. 

To serve a crowd, just add 1 part lemon juice, 1 part pomegranate juice, and 3-5 parts sparkling cider to a pitcher with ice. Stir gently, and serve with rosemary sprigs.