12 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids or Adults

12 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids or Adults that are simple, wholesome, and meatless – no sandwiches included!

School started last week for my kids, and I’m equal parts sad to have them gone all day and excited to get back into a routine and have a little more structure in my week. Getting organized at back to school time includes meal planning, recommitting to eating wholesome food (which is needed after a summer of fun/travel/vacations/parties/reunions), and figuring out school lunch box ideas again.

I LOVE school lunch box packing and I thought I’d share yet another post this year with new ideas to help get a great lunch in the box in no time flat. We all need more ideas when it comes to school lunches, but these also work great as lunch box ideas for adults to take to work. Just up the portion if you need to!

12 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Kids or Adults that are simple, wholesome, and meatless - no sandwiches included! These are perfect for back-to-school!

Aren’t they pretty? I can’t wait to share some of the details about how to make all 12 of these lunch box ideas today.

Tips and Tricks for the Lunch Box Ideas:

  • I have been using Easy Lunch Boxes for 4 school years now (heading into our 5th year!), and I still love them. I bought them when my oldest went to Kindergarten and just got a second set! They are a great size, easy to clean, and the kids can get the lids on and off themselves. Plus, I just saw they now sell them at Target! They also make great little snack trays for movie night (popcorn in the big spot, candies in the little ones!)
  • If you have little kids below school age, it’s nice to make their lunch box (and yours!) in the morning when you are making the other lunches. I just stick the little boys’ lunches in the fridge and then lunch is done for everyone, even the ones at home!
  • Have your kids help you decide what they want for lunch and get them involved in the prep/packing. When my kids have a little say in their lunch, they are much more likely to eat it.
  • If you have a nut-free school (ours is not), try sun butter (made from sunflower seeds) in place of peanut butter, and omit any nuts.
  • To cut down on morning prep time, make a veggie box and have the kids take from it for their lunches.

Lunch Box Ideas - Boiled Egg Lunch Box

Boiled Egg Lunch Box

  • Boiled eggs
  • Seeded crackers
  • Veggies (tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, broccoli)
  • Almonds + chocolate chips
  • Grapes

First up, the forever easy boiled egg. Feel free to peel them ahead of time for your kids if they need the help, but my kids like do to it themselves. You just can’t go wrong boiled eggs in my book. They are a well-rounded fat/protein source and my kids love them for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Lunch Box Ideas - Pancake Sandwich Lunch Box

Pancake “Sandwich” Lunch Box

  • Mini pancakes with nut butter + banana slices inside to make a sandwich
  • Cucumbers
  • Fresh berries
  • Almonds + chocolate chips
  • Mandarin orange

I know I promised you sandwich-free lunch box ideas, but I don’t think pancake sandwiches count. My kids love it when I make little sandwiches out of peanut butter, banana, and pancakes. They are the perfect little finger food that’s fun to eat. I just make a double batch of whole wheat pancakes one morning and use half of it to make mini pancakes for lunches. Easy, fun, and always a win in the school lunch department.

Lunch Box Ideas - Burrito Bowl Lunch Box

Burrito Bowl Lunch Box

  • Rice + black beans + roasted sweet potatoes + fresh salsa
  • Almonds + chocolate chips
  • Grapes

Long live the burrito bowl! You can really play with this idea to fit your needs and your child’s preferences. I cook up the rice and roast my sweet potatoes on my meal prep day and then just open a can of black beans as needed. I like to mix in a little salt, cumin, and chili powder with the black beans so that they taste more like taco filling. A little fresh salsa on top brings it all together. Sometimes my kids like cheese, lettuce, or ranch dressing on this too. A wedge of lime in the box to squeeze before serving is always fun too.

Lunch Box Ideas - Pesto Pasta Lunch Box

Easy Pesto Pasta Salad Lunch Box

  • Cooked pasta + pesto + chopped tomato
  • Chocolate chips + almonds
  • Blueberries

This super simple pasta salad can be made easily in the morning because it’s only three ingredients. You can use leftover pasta if you have it, or you can cook some up while the kids eat breakfast. I normally just cook it the morning of because I’m standing at the stove making a hot breakfast most mornings anyhow. If that won’t work for your schedule, cook the pasta up ahead of time or simply prepare extra when you are cooking pasta for dinner and save some for lunches. Just stir the pasta with some prepared pesto and top with tomatoes. It’s simple, but it’s always a hit at my house.

Lunch Box Ideas - Corn and Bean Chip Dip Lunch Box

Corn and Bean Chip Dip Lunch Box

  • Corn and Bean Salad
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla chips
  • Mixed berries

Corn and Bean Salad/Chip Dip is super easy to make and my kids love it. Just add canned corn, rinsed black beans, and chopped tomato to a small bowl and season with salt, pepper, and lime juice. Sometimes I’ll mix in cilantro or some pico de gallo if I have it. Simple, simple, simple, but so fun to dip corn chips into. Add a side of salsa and some fruit, and you are ready to roll.

Lunch Box Ideas - Apple Sandwich Lunch Box

Apple Sandwich Lunch Box

Apple sandwiches are always hit in our house. You just cut an apple horizontally into slices, top with nut butter, and add another slice. My kids don’t mind if the apple is brown at lunch, but if yours do you might want to give them a dunk in some lemon water before adding the nut butter (the nut butter doesn’t stick to wet apples though, so you’ll want to dry them off with a paper towel first). You can also add chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, a little Nutella, or granola to your apple sandwich. I used to cut out the core but my kids either eat it all or nibble around it, so do what’s best for you.

Lunch Box Ideas - Yogurt Parfait Lunch Box

Yogurt Parfait Lunch Box

  • Yogurt (store bought or homemade)
  • Mixed berries
  • Strawberries + almonds
  • Granola (store bought or homemade)

So easy! You are going to love this simple yogurt bar idea because it takes no time to put together. If I’m sending homemade yogurt I normally put it in my favorite one cup (half pint) little canning jars with a lid. I use these all the time, and they are perfect for sending homemade yogurt to school. Or if you buy your yogurt in a big tub, they are great for sending a smaller serving in – they don’t leak but kids can get the lids off. Win!

Lunch Box Ideas - DIY Pizza Kit Lunch Box

DIY Pizza Kit Lunch Box

  • Pita
  • Tomatoes + mushrooms + bell peppers
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Dried pineapple + grapes

My kids love this meal (even though “pizza” like this isn’t my jam) and they are always happy to have it. I get my pita bread from Costco and it’s really good (plus it freezes well so it’s easy to keep on hand). You can chop up the veggies a bit so that they can be pizza toppings or the kids can just eat them on the side. My two oldest dip their veggies in the tomato sauce and eat them, how weird is that. Pizza is always a hit and this easy pizza kit is a simple way to get those kids some pizza.

Lunch Box Ideas - Banana Sushi Lunch Box

Banana “Sushi” Lunch Box

  • Banana Sushi
  • Carrots + tomatoes + cucumber + cauliflower and/or broccoli
  • Chocolate chips + almonds

To make banana sushi, simply spread nut butter on a tortilla, place a banana on one edge and roll it up. Slice it with a sharp knife into rolls or “sushi” pieces. This is also the world’s easiest toddler snack and we make it often. Why is banana and peanut butter so good?

Lunch Box Ideas - Hummus Lunch Box

Hummus Lunch Box

  • Hummus
  • Curry roasted chickpeas
  • Pita
  • Veggies such as peppers, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, and/or cauliflower
  • Dried pineapple

This is a dip-all-the-things in hummus lunch box and it’s a lot of fun to eat. Have you made roasted chickpeas yet?! My kids love them and they are cheap and easy to make. You can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to serve them. Sometimes my kids will make little sandwiches with hummus and roasted chickpeas on the pitas, but most of the time they just eat this like a happy little finger food lunch.

Lunch Box Ideas - Breakfast for Lunch Box

Breakfast for Lunch Box

  • Mini whole wheat pancakes
  • Maple syrup
  • Blackberries + raspberries + blueberries
  • Yogurt (store bought or homemade)

Long live breakfast for lunch! Again, I just make a double batch of pancakes one morning and make half of them into mini pancakes for lunch. They store well in the fridge and my kids think its fun to have breakfast for lunch.

Ta-da! There you have a dozen new lunch box ideas to get your school year started off with a bang. Those lunch boxes were all meatless and not one included a traditional sandwich. I hope you find them helpful. You got this mama!

PS. Don’t forget to tag a picture #blessthismesseats on Instagram. I love to see your lunch box ideas in action!

PSS. If you need even more lunch box ideas this lunch box idea post is similar and super popular but with 8 more awesome, easy, healthy lunches.

Lunch Box Ideas

Fruit Pizza Cookies and a Trip to the Farm!

Festive fruit pizza sugar cookies are made with super soft sour cream sugar cookies and a simple cream cheese frosting, and then piled high with seasonal fruit.

Today I’m working with Organic Valley, and I have so much to share with you! This post shares my experience visiting one of their organic dairy farms just outside of Portland, Oregon, as well as a recipe for delicious fruit pizza sugar cookies. I’m excited to share both of them with you today.

I have to start by saying that the trip to Cloud-Cap Farms was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. The cool thing is, the day I visited the farm it was open to the public, so anyone could come. Organic Valley products are something I’ve used and loved for awhile now, but I knew very little about Organic Valley’s origin story and mission before going. I’m excited to share more about this really unique company with you.

Organic dairy farm tour!

Here are some Organic Valley facts that I didn’t know before (you might find them interesting, too!):

  • Organic Valley is a co-op, which means that the farms who supply the products that are sold are the owners of the business. Learn more about their impressive business model here.
  • Organic Valley puts a huge emphasis on helping small family farms work (and be successful), and I love that. Being a small business owner in a rural community has changed my life; giving that opportunity to others is a gift I think is worth sharing.
  • They have a farmer-funded grant program that supports organic research, education, and advocacy projects across the country.
  • Is organic really better for you? I think it is, and that’s why I choose to grow and produce as much of my own food as I can. That being said, I can’t produce everything I need, and I bet you are in the same boat. It was so refreshing to go and see a successful farm that cares about the health of the land and animals while still turning a profit. These folks are smart and informed, and they are making mindful decisions. You can read more about what organic is and why it is important here.
  • Organic Valley had a pretty cool start, just a group of farmers in the Midwest who were told to “get big or get out,” and they didn’t want to. You can read about their humble start here.

Organic dairy farm tour!

Friends, I feel like this trip lit a fire under me, in a good way! I’ve always had a passion for good food. I know how important it is to feed my family well (and I try to share my best tips, tricks, and recipes here so that you can feed your family well, too). Once in a while, though, I feel really discouraged with the food systems in the United States. I feel like if I don’t take charge and make/grow/raise/produce/bottle it myself, then my family shouldn’t be eating it. Organic Valley has literally renewed my hope in the future of American food production; it’s a company I’m truly proud to support.

Going out to the farm and meeting employees, farmers, and even cows was inspiring.

At the event they had all kinds of stations set up with people explaining how things worked. I visited the milking parlor (they have a “cow shower” that is essentially little sprinklers on the floor that wash the cows as they walk in, such a fun idea!), the barn (where the cows can come in from the pasture to enjoy other free-choice foods and some shade on warm afternoons), the calves (so cute), the tents set up with samples of Organic Valley products (their grass-fed cheese is amazing), the shake-and-make-your-own-butter stations, and the station for learning about pastures. They also served an organic lunch (I’m moving to the PNW just for the berries).

Organic dairy farm tour!

The guys in the picture above were at the pasture station, and it was one of my favorites. I learned SO much and I have big dreams of properly grazing our own land in the future. Steve Pierson, on the left, owns an organic dairy farm a few hours away and is part of the Organic Valley co-op. He and the owners of Cloud-Cap transitioned to organic farming from commercial in the mid 2000’s, so they had some great insight because they know both commercial and organic farming. Dr. Greg Brikner (center) is a veterinarian that travels throughout the country visiting Organic Valley’s 2000+ farms and helping farmers troubleshoot issues and checking on animals. Jake Shmitz, right, visits farms he thinks might be a good fit for Organic Valley and tells them about the co-op (that sounds like a fun job if you ask me).

Organic dairy farm tour!

Steve was so much fun to listen to, I actually sent him an email when I got home to get some more information. These men talked a lot about pasture health and how it relates to the health of the animals. They talked about organic farming as an interesting cycle: the grass, gut health of the cow, and the healthy micro-organisms that go back to the grass via the cow manure. They also talked about the health benefits of organic milk (because the animals have good gut health and have less stress), plus other exciting things like how much they have benefited from moving from commercial to the Organic Valley co-op. I might write a whole other post about how neat and sustainable organic dairy is.

The cool thing about this farm discovery day is that YOU can go to one, too. They are happening at Organic Valley farms all over the country. Check out more info here to see if there is a farm tour near you. I’d highly recommend taking the whole family for a day at the farm – you’ll love it as much as I did. Heck, I’m thinking about planning next summer’s vacation around a farm tour because I had such a great time!

Organic dairy farm tour!

Cloud-Cap Farms is a 5th generation dairy farm. Andy and Melissa Collman run the farm with Melissa’s parents, Gary and Connie Moore (Andy is pictured above). I got to interview Melissa, and she was so much fun to talk to. She’s a smart business owner who knows a thing or two about raising dairy cows; you can see our live interview here and follow Organic Valley on Facebook here.  We talked all things dairy farming, our favorite Organic Valley products, what we like to cook (spoiler alert: Melissa likes to make pie!), and more. If you have a minute, definitely take a look. Here’s a picture of on of their fields with Mount Hood in the background. Gorgeous!

Organic dairy farm tour!

In conjunction with an organic dairy farm visit, I thought my famous fruit pizza cookies recipe would be a fun one for you today.

My family loves fruit pizza sugar cookies because they are extra light, fluffy, and soft, but they also keep their shape well. A good sugar cookie recipe is always nice to have on hand for holidays and weekend treats. Enjoy these with a glass of Organic Valley milk, and you’ll really be in cookie heaven.

Festive fruit pizza cookies are made with super soft sour cream sugar cookies & a simple cream cheese frosting, & then piled high with seasonal fruit.

Tips and Tricks for making Fruit Pizza Cookies

  • You can’t skip chilling the dough. This is a must-do to get the cookies to roll out well and keep their shape. The great part is that you can chill them for 4 to 36 hours. It’s super easy to get these cookies to work with your schedule.
  • The secret to their super soft texture is Organic Valley sour cream.  Don’t use reduced fat or fat-free products here, though – full fat is best.
  • I love this set of stainless steel biscuit/cookie cutters and used them for this recipe.
  • You can use just about any fruit that you’d like on top. Strawberries and cherries in the spring, berries all summer long, and orange segments and pomegranate bits in the winter. Use what you like and what is in season.

Craving more? Subscribe to Bless this Mess to get new recipes, meal plans, and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Leave a comment, pin it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #blessthismesseats on Instagram. I love to see your kitchen skills in action!

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Fruit Pizza Cookies and a Trip to the Farm!

Festive fruit pizza cookies are made with super soft sour cream sugar cookies and a simple cream cheese frosting, and then piled high with seasonal fruit.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 4 hr, 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 50 minute
  • Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookies

For the Frosting

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. You can use a stand mixer, an electric hand mixer, or a fork and some elbow grease to do this. It’s up to you.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until very smooth.
  3. Add the sour cream and stir until combined.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir until well-combined. The dough will be sticky.
  5. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 36 hours.
  6. When you are ready to bake the dough, remove it from the fridge, unwrap, and divide it into 2 pieces. Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick on a well-floured surface and cut into shapes (I used a 3-inch circle cookie cutter). Place the cut out cookies on a parchment- or baking-mat-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes. The tops of the cookies will be light, but the bottom should be lightly brown.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. To make the frosting, add the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, 1 tablespoon of cream, and the dash of salt to a large bowl and beat until fluffy, about a minute (a stand or hand mixer works well for this). Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add the additional tablespoon of cream or milk and beat again.
  9. When the cookies are completely cooled, add a generous helping of frosting and top with seasonal fruit that has been cut into bite-sized pieces.

Festive fruit pizza cookies are made with super soft sour cream sugar cookies & a simple cream cheese frosting, & then piled high with seasonal fruit.

So delicious! I can’t wait for you to make a batch of these.

Thank you for enjoying a recap of my trip to Organic Valley and Cloud-Cap Farms, and these fun and simple fruit pizza cookies. It was a pleasure to write about them both. Organic Valley is really fun to follow on Instagram if you are interested in cute animal/farm pictures, FYI.

PS. Wondering where you can get some delicious Organic Valley products of your own? To find Organic Valley products at a store near you, use their product locator tool: http://ov.coop/findov

Fruit Pizza Cookies

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Organic Valley. Thank you for supporting the brands that I truly love and that help make Bless this Mess possible. The opinions and text are all mine.

How to Make Homemade Cherry Juice with a Steam Juicer

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

As I mentioned before we had a bumper crop of cherries this year. I dried some, made preserves and jelly with others, but still had gallons and gallons left. An easy way to use all the cherries was to juice them. There is very little work involved with steam juicing; you don’t even have to remove the pit! The juicer is totally worth the monetary investment if you own a cherry tree or grape vines. We love making homemade cherry juice and homemade grape juice with out steam juicer each year.

I first used a steam juicer a few years ago when I borrowed one from a friend to make grape juice. I’ve used hers for years and now that we’ve moved hours from her, it was time to buy one of my own.

If you’ve never seen or used one, then I’ll enlighten you. They are amazing things that are easy to use, clean, and a great way to use lots of fruit.>We bought a Victoria steam juicer for around $70 from Ace Hardware (I know IFA and other places that sell canning supplies have them). You can also buy them on Amazon. The stainless steel juicers have really come down in price and you can buy a stainless steel version for not much more. I’d get the stainless steel if you can, it’s supposed to last a lot longer and there’s some interesting reading on how the use of aluminum in cooking might affect your health. That’s my two cents, but I have used both aluminum and stainless steel and they both work great.

Here is what it looks like:

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

And this explains how it works. Boiling water on the bottom comes up through a hole and then goes through lots of little holes in the basket the fruit sits in. The steam releases the juice that collects (where #3 is pointed) and it runs out a tube.

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.
Grandma’s Bing (red) and Queen Anne (pink) cherries ready to juice.

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

Trips and tricks for making cherry juice at home with a steam juicer:

  • Canning is so fun, rewarding, cost savvy, and messy! If you are new to it, get a book! I recommend the Ball Blue Book; it is an all-inclusive master on the topic and only costs about $6. It’s not hard to learn and most older folks that you know will be more than willing to let you borrow some of their supplies if you want to try it out. This post isn’t all you need to can the juice (if you have never done a hot water bath), but the library will have all that info, so go find it!
  • Adjust the time you process your juice according to your altitude.
  • If you don’t want to can/bottle your juice, it freezes well too.
  • When you are ready to use your juice, sugar can be added to the juice to make it sweeter; just add to taste. Sometimes we like to mix the juice with lemon-lime soda pop for a fun (and pretty) punch for parties or popcorn and movie nights.
  •  I used the juice to make cherry jelly and cherry syrup! Both are delicious.
  • I made a tart cherry juice a few times too using tart cherries and it’s also great for all of the above recipes/ideas. I like to use it in my smoothies in the morning too as it has great anti-inflammatory properties.

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

Fresh hot cherry juice collecting in a pot.

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

Craving more? Subscribe to Bless this Mess to get new recipes, meal plans, and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Leave a comment, pin it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #blessthismesseats on Instagram. I love to see your kitchen skills in action!

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Homemade Cherry Juice Recipe

Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

  • Author:

Ingredients

  • Lots of cherries
  • Steam juicer

Instructions

  1. Wash and sort your cherries, no need to pit of remove stems. I do like to pick out the ones that are rotten and any leaves that might get mixed in.
  2. Get the steam juicer washed and set up according to instructions. Fill the hopper with your cherries. If you are using more than one type, mix them as you add them.
  3. Let them steam for an hour, making sure the bottom doesn’t run out of water. The hopper full of cherries produces about four quarts of juice. If you have more cherries to do, throw out (compost or feed it to your chickens) the steamed cherries before doing your next batch.
  4. Process the juice in a hot water bath for 15 minutes (for quarts) for us high elevations and 10 minutes for you low-lyers.

Notes

  • Sugar can be added to the juice to make it sweeter; just do that to taste.
  • I used the juice for jelly and cherry syrup! Recipes to come.
  • This juice is so good with lemon-lime pop (just when we are splurging)
Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.
Quick and easy tutorial on how to make homemade cherry juice with a steam juicer. We love homemade cherry juice and use it all winter long.

 

See! It’s not hard to make homemade cherry juice in your own kitchen. With a load of cherries, the right supplies, and a little time, you’ll have more than enough cherry juice to last all winter long. Nothing tastes better than opening a bottle of summer in the cold of winter!

The recipe was originally published in July 2012. It was updated, rewritten, and republished for your enjoyment in July 2017.

8 Different Homemade Lemonade Recipes

8 different homemade lemonade recipes all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

Homemade lemonade is my jam and I’ve been dreaming about this post for years now. In previous years, I’ve made fresh made-to-order lemonades at our local farmers market in addition to selling fruit and vegetables I grew, homemade baked goods, and handmade aprons. I’d try a few new flavor variations each week and I had so much fun seeing peoples faces when you offered them choices like strawberry rhubarb, tropical, and even watermelon lemonade. Some people wanted to be adventurous and some people wanted to stick with favorite classics like traditional, strawberry, or raspberry.

No matter what your favorite homemade lemonade is, I have you covered.

8 different homemade lemonade recipe all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

Tips and Tricks for Making Homemade Lemonade

  • Fresh lemon juice or bottled? Fresh lemon juice is much better tasting and I’m going to strongly recommend it. It’s going to take about 6 average-sized lemons to make a cup of lemon juice. If you are in a pinch and really need some lemonade you can use bottled lemon juice. Costco sells this Organic Italian Volcano lemon juice (it’s about $8 for 2 big bottles) and it’s the best when it comes to bottled lemon juice. Some of the other brands are a little bitter and have an after taste (though I’ve still used them in a pinch – when you need some lemonade, you just need some lemonade!).
  • Adjust the ratios of sugar, lemon juice, and water to your liking. I have made these homemade lemonade recipes pretty standard, but if you like your lemonade more tart, add more lemon juice or reduce the amount of sugar. Play with it a little!
  • You can use fresh or frozen fruit for these recipes. Because you are boiling most of the fruit, it won’t matter either way! That makes the recipes super convenient in my book.
  • If you are making any of the fruit varieties, you are going to need a fine mesh strainer and a bowl to strain into. I used a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup and it worked great (I love that it has a handle, too!).
  • You can make all of the syrups and things ahead of time. These recipes also scale up easily if you want to make them for a crowd. Looking to scale the recipes down? Check out my single-serve lemonade post.
  • If you’d like to add herbs, you can add them when making the simple syrup or you can just add a sprig or two to each cup and muddle them (crush to release the flavor and oils) after adding your lemonade. I love fresh mint in my lemonade!

8 different homemade lemonade recipe all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

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Traditional Homemade Lemonade

8 different homemade lemonade recipes all in one place! This recipe is for traditional lemonade made with two different methods.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon

Ingredients

For the simple syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

For the lemonade

  • simple syrup
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups water
  • ice (at least 2 cups)
  • sliced lemon for serving, optional

Instructions

Traditional Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, heat the 2 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar for the simple syrup over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir it often. The mixture doesn’t need to boil but it will be steamy and hot. Place the simple syrup in a heat-resistance container (a mason jar with a lid works well for this) and refrigerate until chilled.
  • In a large pitcher, add the simple syrup, lemon juice, and 5 cups of water. Stir to combine well. Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon.

Quick Instructions

  • In a large pitcher, add 2 cups of hot tap water. Add the cup of sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the lemon juice, 4-5 cups of cold water, and 2 cups of ice. Stir well to combine. Serve right away.

Notes

The lemonade will be a little strong, so be sure to serve it over at least a 1/2 cup of ice. If you aren’t serving it over ice, be sure to chill the lemonade well before serving and add 1 to 2 cups more water to suit your taste. You can make the traditional recipe or the quick version, both work well.

8 different homemade lemonade recipe all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

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Strawberry, Peach, Tropical, Raspberry, or Blackberry Lemonade Recipes

8 different homemade lemonade recipes all in one place! This recipe is for making fruit-infused lemonades like strawberry lemonade, peach lemonade, and raspberry lemonade.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon

Ingredients

For the Fruit Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (such as raspberries, peaches, strawberries, blackberries, or a tropical mix)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

For the Lemonade

  • Fruit simple syrup
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 cups water
  • Ice (at least 2 cups)
  • Sliced lemon or additional fruit for serving, optional

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 cups of water, 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, and 1 cup of sugar for the simple syrup over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir it often. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 3-6 minutes until the fruit is soft.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Use a potato masher to crush the fruit. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes while the fruit steeps in the hot water.
  • Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium-sized bowl (a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup works well for this) and pour the hot fruit simple syrup through the strainer. Use the back of a spoon to press the fruit against the strainer to remove all of the extra juice. Discard the pulp or seeds (or feed it to your chickens!).
  • Place the fruit simple syrup in a heat-resistant container (a mason jar with a lid works well for this) and then let it chill in the fridge.
  • In a large pitcher, add the simple syrup, lemon juice, and 3-4 cups of water. Stir to combine well. Serve over ice and garnish with sliced lemon and/or additional fruit.

Notes

  • The lemonade will be a little strong, so be sure to serve it over at least a 1/2 cup of ice. If you aren’t serving it over ice, be sure to chill the lemonade well before serving and add 1 to 2 cups more water to suit your taste.
  • If you don’t want to wait for the simple syrup to chill, you can make the lemonade as directed but instead of adding water, add ice. Let some of the ice melt then taste it before adding more ice or water.
  • If your fruit isn’t very sweet, you might want to add an additional half cup of fruit to your simple syrup (I find that strawberries and the tropical fruit mix often need that extra 1/2 cup).
  • You can find a tropical fruit mix in most frozen sections. It should have pineapple, mango, and strawberry in it (and maybe even papaya).

8 different homemade lemonade recipe all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

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Watermelon Lemonade Recipe

8 different homemade lemonade recipes all in one place! This recipe is for quick and simple watermelon lemonade.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon

Ingredients

For the watermelon puree

  • 2 cups cubed watermelon, seeds and rind removed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the lemonade

  • watermelon puree
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 cups water
  • ice
  • sliced lemon for serving, optional

Instructions

  • In a blender, combine the watermelon, water, and sugar. Blend on high for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar.
  • Pour the watermelon puree through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Add the watermelon puree to a large pitcher, add the lemon juice and additional water, and stir well to combine.
  • Serve over ice with sliced lemon as a garnish.

Notes

Don’t skip the straining part here, watermelon tends to feel a little gritty in your mouth when it’s pureed.

8 different homemade lemonade recipe all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade Recipe

8 different homemade lemonade recipes all in one place! This recipe is for sweet and tart strawberry rhubarb lemonade.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 1 pint strawberries, stems removed and cut in half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
  • 3-4 cups ice

Instructions

  • In a medium pot, add the water, rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar. Heat over medium high heat, stirring often until the mixture starts to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and roughly crush the berries and rhubarb with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of a spoon to firmly press the solids against the strainer to get as much liquid out of them as you can. Discard the solids (or feed them to your chickens) and refrigerate the liquid until it is cool.
  • When you are ready to serve, add the cold strawberry rhubarb liquid and lemon juice to a large pitcher and stir together. Add the ice and stir again. Serve right away. Garnish with lemon slices and/or sliced strawberries if you’d like.

Notes

I like to cook the rhubarb in a lot of water because it’s a subtle flavor and I think it’s more apparent when it’s been cooked in more water. This is a great sweet, tart, and cheery drink!

8 different homemade lemonade recipe all in one place! Learn how to make lemonade with fresh lemons or lemon juice in varieties like strawberry lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and even watermelon and tropical lemonade. This post will be your go-to guide for lemonade recipes.

How perfect does homemade lemonade sound on just about every night of the week? I make these recipes for parties, movie nights with popcorn (it makes movie night feel extra special), and roadside lemonade stands, too! Just add the ice to the cups right before serving so that it doesn’t melt into the lemonade before  you want it to. Seriously, who doesn’t love fancy lemonade?! My kids set up shop yesterday after I made and shot these recipes and they walked away with $22. Saving for Legos never tasted so good.

Enjoy all of these fun homemade lemonade recipes from my kitchen to yours. And do tell, which one do you think you’ll make first?!

The Best Strawberry Pancakes (allergy-friendly)

Soft, fluffy strawberry pancakes studded with fresh strawberries and a touch of lemon, drizzled with homemade strawberry syrup are the BEST way to start off your summer morning. Plus, these can feed just about anybody as they’re free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, and tree nuts. They’re vegan and top-8-free too – though you’d never know it!

Soft, fluffy strawberry pancakes drizzled with homemade strawberry syrup; they are allergy friendly, free of: gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut and tree nuts.

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Simple DIY Hummus Platter

This post is brought to you by a Bless This Mess brand Partner

A simple DIY hummus platter is a beautiful addition to any party, or it can be a meal all on its own! And it couldn’t be easier to make!

 

I’ve been majorly into making beautiful boards/platters of really simple things lately, and I’m here to show you one of my favorites: a simple hummus platter!

Here’s what I love about a hummus platter:

  • They are really pretty and so easy to put together.
  • They can easily be adapted to meet dietary needs (perfect for a party!).
  • Adults and kids alike enjoy the variety.
  • You don’t have anything to cook, there’s not much prep besides cutting up a few veggies, and finger foods aren’t fussy.
  • Can be an easy unofficial meal – perfect to munch on when dinner is going to be later, when friends drop by, or for girls’ night in with drinks (I recommend some strawberry rhubarb lemonade) and dessert.

I have been making some version of this same board over and over again the last few months and we just don’t get tired of it. This is the perfect thing to make when you want to have your girlfriends over for a night in (or a mom day-date/play date), when you are invited over to a party (so impressive), or when you have someone pop in unexpectedly and need a little something to munch on (truth be told, I’ve turned my veggie box into a hummus platter in no time when people show up). It’s light, it’s fresh, and it is oh so simple. What’s not to love?!

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Easy Healthy Rainbow Popsicles

Rainbow popsicles are naturally sweet, loaded with real fruit,  and so simple to make that your kids can almost make them by themselves!

We’re heading into popsicle season here in Southern Utah and we aren’t sad about it, at all! Let’s be honest though, my kids eat popsicles pretty much year round and I have no proplem with that. When you start making your own popsicles and you load them up with all kinds of healthy real foods, you start to think of popsicles as frozen healthy smoothie on a stick. I don’t care if my kids eat a frozen smoothie on a stick for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

These beautiful fruity rainbow popsicles are a little different than my normal “smoothie on a stick” kind of popsicles and my kids went bananas for them. They loved making them, couldn’t wait for them to freeze, and ate the whole batch in one afternoon (big family problems, who’s with me?!).

healthy rainbow popsicles - fruit

What I love about these rainbow popsicles is how easy they are to make. You literally just put fresh fruit into a popsicle mold (this is my favorite popsicle mold, FYI) and then fill up the gaps with some light colored juice (I used white grape) or coconut water. The coconut water was infused with all of the delicious fruit flavors, but my kids definitely preferred the sweet juice for their rainbow popsicles. You can pick just about any light colored or clear liquid that you’d like to use though (I think I might try sweetened almond milk next time).

What is it about putting the colors in rainbow order that makes things so much prettier? Rainbow popsicles would be a fun addition to any party, picnic, or stay-at-home date with mom. They look great, taste great, and are full of delicious fruit. Everyone will love these popsicles, adults included.

healthy rainbow popsicles
Craving more? Subscribe to Bless this Mess to get new recipes, meal plans, and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Leave a comment, pin it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #blessthismesseat on Instagram. I love to see your kitchen skills in action!

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Easy Healthy Rainbow Popsicles

Rainbow popsicles are naturally sweet, loaded with real fruit, and so simple to make that your kids can almost make them by themselves!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 6-12 rainbow popsicles

Ingredients

  • Red fruit (such as raspberries, strawberries, or pomegranate)
  • Orange fruit (such as mango or mandarin orange segments)
  • Yellow fruit (such as pineapple)
  • Green fruit (such as kiwi or green grapes)
  • Blue fruit (such as blueberries)
  • Purple fruit (such as grapes or blackberries)
  • White grape juice or coconut water
  • Popsicle molds

Instructions

  1. Prepare your fruit by washing it, removing any skin it might have (for things like pineapple, oranges, and mango) and then cut it into small pieces. Cut the pieces as small as you would if you were serving them to a toddler (the chunks will still be in the frozen popsicle, so cut them small enough that they won’t be a choking hazard). I like to arrange the fruit on a plate in a rainbow order so if my kids are helping so they can easily see the color pattern.
  2. Fill (or have your kids help fill) the popsicle mold in rainbow order. You can start at the bottom of the rainbow or at the top, it doesn’t matter. Gently press the fruit into the mold so that it’s full but not so full it’ll be solid fruit.
  3. Carefully fill the rest of the mold with white grape juice or coconut water. Add the popsicle stick and freeze until solid (8 hours to overnight).
  4. To remove the popsicle from the mold, run the outside of the mold under warm water and gently pull on the popsicle stick until the rainbow popsicle is released from the mold.

 

rainbow popsicles

Aren’t those pictures so fun? I have a feeling that these simple fruit-packed rainbow popsicles are ones that you are going to be making over and over again with your little people. I can’t wait to hear how much they enjoy making and eating them with you.

Here’s a collection of popsicle gear, if you are needing to stock up for summer.

Popsicles

1. Star Mold
2. Squeezable Mold with Cap
3. Onyx Mold (I have and love this one)
4. Rocket Mold
5. Ice Cream Mold
6. Standard Mold (I have and love this one too)
7. Umbrella Mold
8. Ring Pop Mold

SO many fun popsicle mold options, right? I love that stainless steel mold and the traditional mold (which makes 10 popsicles – awesome for this mom of 5). They all look so fun, though! Do you have a favorite?

Thank you so much for being here and happy popsicle making!

PS. I’m working on my editorial calendar through the summer. What would you like to see more of here on the blog? I’m all ears!

Rainbow Popsicles

The Best Strawberry Shortcake, Two Ways

Strawberry shortcake two ways – one recipe for a sweet biscuit-like shortcake and one recipe for a cake-like strawberry shortcake, because I aim to please.

 

There are two kinds of people in this world – people who like a cake-like strawberry shortcake and those who like a biscuit-like strawberry shortcake. Which side are you on?

I’m not sure where the distinction comes from, but it seems to be geographically as well as family-of-origin based. I wanted to share with you today my favorite cake-like and biscuit-like strawberry shortcake recipes because I’m here to please everyone.

Strawberry Shortcake - Cake-Like

When I was a kid, we lived a few acres just outside of our little town in Southern Indiana. We road bikes up and down our country road, played basketball in our gravel driveway, and grew the most delicious strawberries in our garden. My dad would grow enough berries for us to eat, make freezer jam with, and even sell to a few passers-by. My siblings and I were in charge of picking the berries in the morning before the sun got too hot. We’d go in for lunch and help mom sort and get the berries into cartons, and then we’d spend the rest of the afternoon with a homemade sign and a card table in front of our house. We’d wave down cars with vigor and before we knew it, we’d have a few dollars in our pencil box and an empty table. Mom and Dad lets us save that money to buy souvenirs when we went on vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama in the summer.

Strawberry Shortcake - Biscuits

We fussed and bickered when it came time to pick the berries some mornings, but looking back, those muggy summer mornings spent in the garden with my siblings are some of my favorite memories. The grass would be heavy with dew, we’d eat strawberries until we were full, and we’d show off the biggest or most perfect berries we found to each other. My brother would catch huge grasshoppers to throw at my little sister, and we’d sing the most current songs we loved. Ideal childhood in my opinion.

I think memories like these are why we are working so hard right now to get our own little piece of land and house – I want this for my kids.

Strawberry Shortcake - Batter

Delicious sun-warmed Indiana strawberries are one of my favorite foods. After dinner, we’d often have strawberry shortcake or homemade ice cream with berries for dessert. I loved my mom’s strawberry shortcake. It was a sweet drop biscuit. My husband grew up with cake for his strawberry shortcake and that’s what he stills loves. I have to admit, I really like them both. So instead of being on Team Sweet Biscuit or on Team Cake, I’m here to let you know that can have the best of both worlds – make them both!

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