Sparkling Lavender Lemonade

Photos by: Gabrielle Touchette Photography, Florals by: Petal & Pine Florals, Styling by: Josée Trudeau

It’s spring here in Winnipeg but it really doesn’t seem like it. Time to start acting like it is with this refreshing sparkling lavender lemonade recipe! Perfect for brunch, Mother’s Day, by the glass by yourself or in a pitcher for a crowd.

Making drink syrups

I learned to make drink syrups when I took a Mocktails Workshop at Pineridge Hollow with Getty Stewart. Getty is a master of all things gardening and using seasonal ingredients. She took us through the orchard at Pineridge Hollow and we picked fresh herbs and fruit to concoct our drink syrups.

You start with equal parts of sugar and water, then you can pretty much add any fruit and herbs you like. I like to experiment with different combinations based on herbs we have in our garden in the summer . This syrup is a simple syrup, but we also learned to make shrubs in that workshop. I’ll come up with a summer shrub to share with you soon!

Lavender Lemonade Simple Syrup

This recipe really is simple! Add all the ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves and remove from the heat to cool completely. Once the lavender lemonade syrup has cooled, strain it into a mason jar and store it in the fridge.

Mixing a drink

Simply add two tablespoons of drink syrup to one cup of lemon flavored sparkling water, top with ice and enjoy. To make a pitcher, add the whole batch of syrup to 8 cups of sparkling water. You can definitely add some vodka to this if you’d like to make it cocktail!

Other combinations

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try to come up with your own drink syrup combinations. If you aren’t using citrus fruit that you can zest, mash up a bit of the fruit into the sugar before you add the water or squeeze out the juice and top it up with water to make one cup of liquid. Strawberry basil, Cucumber mint and Grapefruit rosemary are great combinations to try.

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade

This lavender-lemon syrup pairs with lemon sparkling water for a fizzy, refreshing drink!

Course Drinks
Keyword lavender, lemon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 glasses

Ingredients

Lavender Lemon Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. dried lavender
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

Lemonade

  • 2 Tbsp lavender lemon syrup
  • 1 cup Lemon flavored sparkling water

Instructions

Lavender Lemon Syrup

  1. Add all syrup ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil.

  2. Boil until sugar is dissolved.

  3. Remove from heat and cool completely.

  4. Strain and transfer to a mason jar.

Lavender Lemonade

  1. Combine 2 Tbsp syrup with 1 cup lemon flavored sparkling water.

  2. Stir to combine. Add ice.

Recipe Notes

To make a pitcher, add one batch of lavender lemon syrup to 8 cups of sparkling water. 

Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Parmigiana

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Chicken parmesan beside noodles, zucchini and salad on a round plate.

Did you know that March is nutrition month? This Baked Chicken Parmigiana from Manitoba Chicken Producers More Cooking with Manitoba Chicken cookbook checks all the boxes for me in the nutrition department:

  • It covers all four food groups
  • It`s a lean source of protein
  • It`s baked instead of fried

This recipe is also amazing for meal prep:

  • It`s a virtually hands-free recipe
  • You can use store-bought shortcuts to save time
  • Your kids can help prepare this recipe
  • You can serve it with a variety of sides
  • You can serve it in a few different ways
  • It’s also a take-out fake-out recipe so you can save some money on dining out
A recipe book beside a board of ingredients in small bowls.

Baked Chicken Parmigiana Components

The main components of this recipe are breaded chicken, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Traditionally it is fried, but you can achieve the same result by baking it.  A few tips to ensure that the breaded chicken stays crispy are to bread it just before cooking and to ensure that your chicken breasts are well-spaced out on the baking sheet. This allows the breading to crisp up instead of steaming, which results in a soggy breading.

Food waste/Money-saving tip: Make your own breadcrumbs! Save bread ends and leftover buns in a freezer bag.  Once the bag is full, dry them out in the oven at 300°F. Drying time will depend on the size of the pieces. Let cool completely, then grind in a food processor. Store extra breadcrumbs in the freezer.

Meal Prep Strategies

I love this breaded chicken parmesan because I can combine the breadcrumbs, herbs and spices beforehand to save a few minutes. Add the parmesan cheese to the breadcrumb mixture and you can store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it! 

Baking it in the oven is a hands-free cooking technique that allows me to do other things while it`s cooking, like reading with my kids, emptying the dishwasher or prepping a future meal. Using some store-bought shortcuts like jarred marinara and shredded mozzarella also saves prep time, which is great for busy weeknights.

Two glass rectangular dishes side by side containing ingredients.

Cooking Chicken

Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. Boneless and bone-in pieces, as well as ground chicken patties are fully cooked when a probe inserted in the thickest part of the piece reads 165°F or 74°C. Download this card to keep in your kitchen for quick reference.

Breaded chicken pieces on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Deconstructing this Recipe for Kids

For kids who aren’t foods touching each other (chicken + sauce +cheese) simply deconstruct it and serve all of the components separately. They might also enjoy dipping the chicken in the sauce and sprinkling the cheese on themselves.

A spoonful of marinara sauce over a fried chicken breast.

How to Serve Baked Chicken Parmigiana

My favorite way to serve this is with browned butter noodles and a side Caesar salad. You can really make any side that you like.  Spaghetti with extra marinara, garden salad, roasted broccoli…Anything goes here!

Another fun way to serve this is to make a chicken parmesan sandwich! Toast up some ciabatta buns, butter them with garlic butter and top them with the saucy, cheesy chicken and eat it sandwich-style. I have also tried making this as a burger using ground chicken.  Form some patties and bread them, then bake them! 

Do you want to try this recipe? Download a PDF version of More Cooking with Manitoba Chicken here for 5 easy recipes or email ConsumerRelations@chicken.mb.ca with your mailing address and we will mail you a booklet!

Roasted Cauliflower Farro Bowls

This roasted cauliflower farro bowl recipe makes 2 large or 3 medium bowls that are perfect for lunch.

Cooking farro

Farro is a whole grain that cooks like rice or quinoa. I find that even using the ratios recommended on the package, I always have to drain excess water once it is cooked. For this recipe, you will cook the farro and prepare the bowl, then reheat slightly before serving. If you can’t find farro at your local grocery store, you can use quinoa instead. I usually find farro at Bulk Barn. The texture is a bit chewy, unlike a fluffy rice or quinoa.

Roasting cauliflower

Roasting the cauliflower adds a nice toasty flavor to your bowl. Simply cut it into florets, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings and roast at 425 F. for about 20 minutes. When I make this bowl, I usually alternate the seasonings from week to week. My favorite are lemon pepper and Jay’s Spice.

If you don’t want to use cauliflower, try broccoli or sweet potato.

Dressing the bowl

I like to use simple dressings for lunch bowls, so that I can assemble them quickly. This bowl uses a squeeze of half of a lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a dollop of tahini. I assemble the bowls with the farro, cauliflower and dressing so that I can warm it up before eating. This allows the tahini to melt in to the bowl and create a creamy sauce. Then I prep some additional toppings to add just before serving.

Additional toppings

There is one topping that requires a little more effort, but is well worth it, and it’s crispy breadcrumbs. I was inspired to try this after having the Roasted Broccoli and Farro salad at Juneberry. The breadcrumbs add a pleasing crisp to the bowl. Simply melt some butter in a skillet, add the breadcrumbs and a pinch of garlic powder, and stir until the breadcrumbs are toasted. As for other toppings, I like fresh parsely, crumbled feta and salted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

Serving this bowl

As I mentioned previously, I like to serve this bowl warm (not hot), then add in the feta, seeds, breadcrumbs and parsley just before serving. This achieves a combination of textures and fresh and warm flavors.

This bamboo utensil kit is from Zero Waste MVMT. I keep it in my lunch kit and wash with soap and water when I’m finished eating. Use my code TBL10, to get 10% off your order.

Roasted Cauliflower & Farro Bowls

This is a hearty lunch that can be prepped ahead of time and assembled right before eating.

Course Main Course, Salad
Keyword cauliflower, farro, feta, lemon, roasted cauliflower, tahini
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro, uncooked
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup salted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, divided

Crispy breadcrumbs

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Dressing

  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cups olive oil, divided
  • 4 Tbsp tahihi, divided

Instructions

  1. Cook farro according to package directions. Make sure to drain out excess water.

  2. While the farro is cooking, preheat the oven to 425F.

  3. Chop cauliflower, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with lemon pepper and spread out on a sheet pan.

  4. Roast caulflower for 20 minutes.

  5. Split farro into two lunch-sized containers.

  6. Place cooked cauliflower on top of the farro.

  7. Add fresh parsley.

  8. Squeeze one lemon over each portion and add 1/4 cup oil and 2 Tbsp tahini to each portion as well.

Crispy breadcrumbs

  1. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in skillet and add the breadcrumbs and garlic powder.

  2. Toss until breadcrumbs are toasted and crispy.

  3. Set aside to cool.

  4. Once cooled, divide into to small containers or jars.

Toppings

  1. Fill four small jars or containers with crumbled feta and seeds.

  2. To assemble the salad, warm the farro and cauliflower bowls for 2 minutes in the microwave.

  3. Shake to spread the dressing around, then add feta, seeds and breadcrubms.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can also be made with quinoa instead of farro.

You can also use roasted sweet potato or broccoli instead of cauliflower.