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Adding pizazz to Crystal Light drink mixes

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Old 03-15-2010, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default Adding pizazz to Crystal Light drink mixes

I collect exchange plan cookbooks, and in a Joanny Lund cookbook I found a recipe for a lemon-shakeup style lemonade. In a blender or food processor, you grind up 1/4 of lemon, with skin and seeds (with a little water if it doesn't grind up easily). You pour the paste into a pitcher, add water and sugar free drink mix (like Crystal Light) to make 2 quarts of lemonade.


The pulp and pulverized lemon peel/seeds, settle to the bottom (even though I stir or shake before pouring a glass).

I was really skeptical, but this does truly taste like lemon-shakeups at the fair, and it's really good. It does create a sludge in the bottom of the pitcher, but the lemonade is wonderful.

You can also do this with oranges too, but not limes or grapefruit. The peel gets so bitter it's horrendous and gets worse and worse as it sits in the pitcher. You can use the fruit of grapefruit and limes, but not the skin (sometimes I mix a whole lemon with a peeled lime or a few segments of grapefruit).


I like this so much that I found a shortcut. I use the food processor to grind the fruit, and then freeze the paste in ice cube trays (when they're frozen, I put them into a ziploc bag).

Then when I make lemonade or other drink mixes, I add one of the the frozen citrus cubes.

Right now I have lemon cubes, and lemon lime cubes in the freezer (the lime cubes are 1/4 of a whole lemon, 1 lime (peel removed), and a little bit of the lime zest that I grated into the food processor, making sure not to get any of the bitter (white) part of the peel.

Tonight I made cherry limeade using a lemon-lime cube and a tub of Walmart's cherry limeade (half the price of Crystal Light and just as good).
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:19 PM   #2
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Cool! Thanks. I am having a lemonade slushy right now. This is what I do:

Squeeze fresh lemon into a magic bullet. I dunno 1/4 cup or so. Add 4-5 ice cubes. and a 1/4 cup or so water. Then sweeten with splenda to taste. Run magic bullet until thick but slushy.....Enjoy. This is an easy way to get water into diet without many calories or anything!
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:38 PM   #3
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You all are making my mouth water! Speaking of the Wal Mart sugar free drink mixes, have any of you tried the peach flavor? Not the tea, just the peach flavored punch? It is delicious and my kids like it, too.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:12 AM   #4
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YES! I love the peach flavor. I've even made "fuzzy navel" by mixing one tub of peach, one tub of orange in a gallon pitcher.

I often do that - mix two different flavors in a gallon pitcher.

cherry and lemonade
cherry-lime and lemondade
peach and lemonade
peach and peach tea (for extra peachy tea)
raspberry ice and lemonade
raspberry ice and peach (for peach melba)
lemonade and Crystal Light cherry pomegranate (it's the only flavor I'll pay Crystal Light prices for)
cherry and punch
punch and lemonade
cranberry and lemonade
cranberry and apple
ruby red grapefruit (Crystal Light I bought on sale at a Big Lots) and cherry (tastes like sweet tarts)
orange and cherry also tastes like a candy, but one I can't identify (it's driving me crazy, so if anyone can identify it, let me know).
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:16 AM   #5
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Cool! Thanks. I am having a lemonade slushy right now. This is what I do:

Squeeze fresh lemon into a magic bullet. I dunno 1/4 cup or so. Add 4-5 ice cubes. and a 1/4 cup or so water. Then sweeten with splenda to taste. Run magic bullet until thick but slushy.....Enjoy. This is an easy way to get water into diet without many calories or anything!
I'm getting one of those magic bullet blenders for my birthday! A little over a month ago, I was telling mom that I was going to order it from QVC, and she offered to buy it for me for my birthday, and so I said "that would be great," and waiting has been killing me, ever since.

It's like I'm 10 years old, it's been bugging me so bad. Every day, I think of something I could make with the blender if I had it already.

We're leaving on Thursday to visit my folks.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:52 AM   #6
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Kaplods, try adding raspberries or strawberries to the lemonade Crystal Light (a great use for frozen ones)--they tastes like the fancy lemonades they serve at restaurants. I don't blend them, just bruise them in the glass and pour the lemonade over and stir. Mmmm.

Really, any fruit would be good mixed with a complimentary drink mix and some ice in the magic bullet.

You may also like the Ocean Spray drink powders (same idea) for a treat, I like the white peach and I think there is a pomegranate that is good as well (I get the singles on sale). I try not to shop at Wal-Mart (personal decision) so I haven't tried their mix, and I don't like any flavor that tastes anything like "medicine" (ie cherry, strawberry), and I've grounded my kids from "red drinks upstairs" so we tend to have just lemonade and orange (and the singles for in bottles and making icees in our magic bullet).

Also, it's probably the pith (the white stuff) of the lime/grapefruit that goes bitter - you may be able to zest just the peel into your drink and get a wonderful flavor (and put the segments in as you have been doing).
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:16 AM   #7
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Yes, it's definitely the pith (so I do exactly as you say. Either using a grater or a paring knift to make sure the skin, but not the pith gets into the food processor).

I do add other fruit to lemonade too. I like tossing frozen berries into drinks instead of ice cubes. It reminds me of being a kid and my parents making us "Kiddie Cocktails," at home with diet sprite and marashino cherry juice (and a couple cherries in the bottom).


I guess I'm lucky I never had cherry medicine, because cherry is my favorite flavor (I hate strawberry, grape, and bubblegum because those are the flavors I associate with medicine).

I love strawberries and grapes, even concord grapes, but hate artificial strawberry and concord grape flavors.

I was a Weight Watcher's member at 8, and I think maraschino cherries and the juice were the first calorie counts I learned by heart. I remember being taught that I couldn't just count the cherry calories, I had to measure and count the liquid. But cherry juice in diet Sprite was my absolute favorite thing in the world, and I measured out that cherry liquid like a chemist (rationing out the portion not only with calories in mind, but also to get as many servings out of the little jar as possible). I remember that one kiddie cocktail had less than 25 calories. Every Thanksgiving my mom made a jello salad that used a jar of maraschino cherries and the cherry liquid was always saved for me.

It was off-limits to my younger brother. He was skinny and he was allowed more treats than I was, but the maraschino cherry liquid was all mine, unless I chose to share. I usually made him a kiddie cocktail along with mine - but only the first time (the rest were all mine).
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:06 PM   #8
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But cherry juice in diet Sprite was my absolute favorite thing in the world, and I measured out that cherry liquid like a chemist (rationing out the portion not only with calories in mind, but also to get as many servings out of the little jar as possible). I remember that one kiddie cocktail had less than 25 calories. Every Thanksgiving my mom made a jello salad that used a jar of maraschino cherries and the cherry liquid was always saved for me.
Mmmmm...that sounds awesome! So it's just diet Sprike combined with what exactly? I would love to try this. Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:52 PM   #9
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[quote=5factorgirl;3203654]Mmmmm...that sounds awesome! So it's just diet Sprike combined with what exactly? QUOTE]

The liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries or you can buy it as "cherry juice," or "cherry syrup," or "cherry cocktail mix," in the liquor departments in some grocery and liquor stores. The main ingredient is high fructose corn syrup (which is listed even before water).

One brand is Jero the bottle reads "Naturally & Artificially Flavored Cherry Cocktail Mix" and lists the calorie count as 45 calories per fluid ounce. Which makes sense, because I remember measuring out 1 tablespoon.

A while back, we bought a bottle of the cocktail mix for a party, and when the bottle was empty, I made my own sugar free syrup and keep it in the bottle in the fridge. When it's empty I rinse the bottle and refill (I've also used the Crystal Light cherry pomegranate, which tastes like a combination of cherry syrup and grenadine, which is pomegranate syrup) I used a funnel to pour in 2 tubs of sugar free cherry drink mix, and then fill the bottle with water.

When using the sugar free "syrup" I always put the syrup and ice in the glass first, because the artificial sweetner tends to make diet soda foam a bit, especially if the soda is warm.

I've added it to diet coke, diet Sprite or 7-up, diet Mountain Dew, and even diet orange soda. I'm a cherry addict.
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:14 PM   #10
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I Googled "lemon shakeup": I never miss going to the Minnesota State Fair but I don't think I've ever heard of it or seen it there. Sounds yummy at any rate. Of course next time I go to the fair I'll probably see them everywhere! (If you value your appetite, don't even THINK of checking out how Urban Dictionary defines "lemon shakeup"! Warning, it's dirty!)
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:28 PM   #11
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I Googled "lemon shakeup": I never miss going to the Minnesota State Fair but I don't think I've ever heard of it or seen it there. Sounds yummy at any rate. Of course next time I go to the fair I'll probably see them everywhere! (If you value your appetite, don't even THINK of checking out how Urban Dictionary defines "lemon shakeup"! Warning, it's dirty!)
Is it time for the Fair yet?!? It's one of my favorite things to do every summer! Everything on a stick, yum!
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:36 PM   #12
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Hmmm...gonna try the crystal light version. I don't really want to ruin my diet with that much sugar
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:53 PM   #13
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funny, now that you mention it I love cherry sodas.

On the subject of syrups, the sugar free syrups made to go in coffees are very good, starbucks sells them quite cheaply ($6-7 for maybe 750ml?) and there are all sorts of flavors including the one that they make their skinny cinnamon dolce latte with (which is $3.50 for one drink!). I think the brand name of the syrup might be Toriani but I may be off on that. All you have to do is ask at the counter if they can sell you a bottle of the SF syrup (and they have all kinds). It's good for drizzling over apple slices, your plan's pancakes, oatmeal, coffee, yumm. They have many different flavors, including vanilla, cinnamon, raspberry and other fruits.

It might be fun to add to diet sprite or coke (not all of them, but some!)
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:44 PM   #14
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Hubby and I just got home from visiting my family in Illinois, and there are a couple very nice health food and gourmet shops, and I bought a bottle (750 ml) of sugar free lime syrup (Torani).

It was somewhere between $5 and $9 for the bottle. There were at least a dozen sugar free flavors, I had a hard time deciding, but I settled on the lime.

I also bought a pomegranate berry balsamic vinegar, and walnut oil for salad dressings.

I love walnut and other nut oils in salad dressings, and because they're rather expensive (and not easy to find locally), I tend to be very, very stingy with them so they last longer and make for lower calorie salads.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:39 PM   #15
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Mmmmm...that sounds wonderful. I should try to find some nut oils. I got a Torani one in white chocolate and another one I can't remember but didn't really like it. How do you use the syrups?
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