Peach Lemonade. Blueberry Lemonade.

I love soda. When I was growing up, we never had soda in our house. Mostly because my mom is smart and realized early on how truly horrible it is for the human body — rots your insides and all that. But telling a kid they can’t have something is a surefire way to make sure they crave it. My grandma drank Pepsi like it was going out of style, so going to her house and stealing sips of her Pepsi behind my mom’s back was always my favorite challenge. It was one of the only ways I was able to get soda.

Finally! I was in college and on my own and I had soda at my fingertips, whenever I wanted it. Well, whenever my meager college earnings would allow it. And then I was done with college and I was a working woman. My slightly larger, post-college earnings called for a 32-ounce a day, while I sat in my office chair for hours on end. It was unhealthy at best. I felt disgusting every time I got to the last drop. Hmm, weird… my mom was right about the soda thing. Who knew. So at the end of 2011, on New Year’s Eve, with a final can of Dr. Pepper, I made a commitment to stop drinking soda. (And I did! For a year and a half, until one hot summer day not too long ago when I rediscovered Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Curse you, Sonic! But I digress.)

In the midst of that whole not-drinking-soda thing, I found that water just wasn’t cutting it. Cue my love for lemonade! I’m borderline obsessed. I know the sugar content leaves something to be desired as far as being healthy goes, but something about lemonade seemed just slightly healthier than drinking soda. And so, because we at OUO are givers, today I am sharing two of my favorite homemade lemonade recipes.  A peach lemonade and a blueberry lemonade. Both are fairly simple (I mean, I can make them). Both are summery and refreshing. Both are just delightful.

peachblueberry

*Note: You can use either still or sparkling water in either of these recipes. They’re delicious either way!

Summer Sipper – Mom’s Tropical Vacation

My favorite part of vacation is the food. I always feel like it is the perfect time to go a little overboard and order desserts, appetizers and fancy beverages. Ben and I have been known to plan our vacations around the restaurants where we want to eat. Last time we went to Disneyland with our friends Sam and Anya, Anya asked, “Where are we eating?”

Unfortunately, with the demands of jobs and families, we can’t always be on vacation. As most parents know, even when you are on vacation, you aren’t completely on vacation because you have your kids with you.

Today’s summer sipper is in honor of the vacation that you can’t always take. The times when you think “I kinda just want to go to a hotel, pretend like I’m on vacation, sleep all night long without someone yelling, ‘Mom/Dad?! You sleep with me?’, and eat lots of delicious food.” This beverage is icy, sweet and tropical. It is enough to make you temporarily forget about the sink full of dishes, the lawn turning into a jungle and children fighting over the Little People school bus.

Cream of Coconut

Note: This recipe calls for coconut cream.  Not coconut milk, not cococnut water. This is what is looks like. It is usually in the mixer section by the alcohol.

Mom's Vacation

Summer Sippers – Mint Julep and GIVEAWAY WINNER

Giveaway WinnerFirst of all, thank you so much to all of you who entered our Summer Sipper Giveaway. We are SUPER excited to announce the winner of our very first giveaway. Congratulation Aubrey!  You should have an email in your inbox with the information!  Enjoy your sippers!

When our son saw this photo today he said, "That is mom and dad with no mustache.  How old were you?"
When our son saw this photo today he said, “That is mom and dad with no mustache. How old were you?”

Waaaaaaay back in 2006, Ben and I went to Disneyland on our honeymoon. I had been there many, many times growing up but on this trip I made a very important discovery.

The Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square.

While you can’t see it, I’m holding my very favorite Disneyland beverage in this photo. Disney’s non-alcoholic Mint Julep. You can, however, see how much younger and well-rested we were at this point in our lives. It might be time for a child-free vacation for Ben and me.

Nine Disney trips later, this is still a drink I have to have every time we are in Disneyland. There is nothing quite like drinking it in Disneyland on the train as you ride around the park, or while sitting on a bench with a little plate of beignets (if you don’t know what these are, Let Me Google That For You immediately) watching the fireworks. However, thanks to the interwebs, it is also a drink I can make in my very own kitchen whenever I please.

Mint-Julep-2

A Disney Mint Julep is a lemon/lime/mint flavored drink. In the interest of full disclosure, not every one loves this drink. Ben isn’t really a fan. However, those who love it, luuuuuuuuurve it. The recipe I’m sharing today makes about twelve 8 oz. servings. So if you haven’t had it before, maybe make a batch when you have a lot of people around to help you drink it. A tasting party, if you will.

A couple of notes before you get started.

  1. There is prep time involved. You have to make your syrup and let it completely cool before mixing up a batch. 
  2. The recipe calls for creme de menthe. While I’m sure you could use the alcoholic version, they mean the non-alcoholic version. Disneyland only serves alcohol at their private club, Club 33 (California Adventure has alcohol in a couple of places) so the stuff you get at Disneyland is the booze-free version. I had to search far and wide to find mint syrup. I ended up buying the Monin Green Mint at Spec’s, a local liquor store here in Austin. I know that Torani sells a version on their website and you can get it on Amazon. Maybe just call around.
  3. The color is going to be disturbingly green. That’s ok.
  4. I personally think this beverage is best served with a whole lotta ice. Mint. Lime. Lemon. Ice. Mmmmmmm.
  5. I store my syrup in a large mason jar in the fridge and then make single servings as I desire. I recommend using a 1/8 measuring cup to divvy out single portions. Quantities are listed below.

Enjoy!

 

Summer Sippers – Frozen Apple Juice AND A Giveaway!

We have two orders of business today. First up, the “Summer Sipper” of the week based on a refreshing Disneyland treat. Second, our very first giveaway. If you want to know more about it, you are either going to have to read my rambling or just scroll down to the giveaway part.

Cool? Cool.

Last fall, our family took a trip with some friends to Disneyland. We have found that our 4.5 yr old is really hard to feed on vacation. He eats a limited menu and is about the pickiest child you have ever met. However, he loooooooooves apple juice. He’d drink the stuff by the gallon. So imagine my excitement when near the backdoor that leads (Sam Earl, you know the one.) from Fantasyland to Adventureland we found a stand that sells “100% Frozen Apple” Juice. I thought that I had just scored mommy gold and my little guy was going to be THRILLED by this amazing treat I found him. I proudly purchased one and marched up to my son just waiting to be the most beloved mother in Disneyland, if not the world.

Yeah, he wouldn’t drink it.

So what does a mother do who just spent $4.19 (I looked up the price) on a beverage that her child doesn’t want? Why, she drinks it herself. And loves every sip of it. And attempts to recreate it at home.

At least that’s what this mom does.

Frozen-Apple-juice

Frozen Apple Juice

Here’s what you are going to need.

  • An ice cream maker. The type with the frozen bowl/canister/thingy. Mine is a Cuisinart and one of the best wedding gifts Ben and I received. 
  • A can of frozen apple juice concentrate.
  • A bottle of club soda. A bottle of lemon lime soda will also work. As will water. I just like the little kick carbonation adds.

Are you ready for this? It’s super hard. And by hard, I mean ridiculously easy. My 4.5 yr old could make this drink. Not that he would drink it . . .

  1. Freeze your ice cream canister according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mine needs at least 24 hours. Otherwise you are just going to get apple juice.
  2. Pour one can of concentrate into the bowl. My juice called for 3 cans of liquid so that is what I added. In the form of club soda. Stir is up a little.
  3. Turn on you machine and let it go until you achieve the desired slushiness. This will depend on your personal taste and how cold your canister is. Mine takes about 25 minutes. Just watch it.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. Oh, and add a splash of Torani Vanilla. You thought I forgot didn’t you.

Now onto the part you’ve all been waiting for . . .

The Giveaway

Giveaway

We are just so excited for this, you guys! An epic moment in blogging history for Our Unqualified Opinion. Our very first giveaway. Theme: Summer Sippers. How appropriate, right? We think so! This giveaway will help you kickstart any summer gathering you may be having. Or, if you’re not having a gathering, just enjoy all the wonderfully cute, summery items yourself! No one’s going to blame you or call you selfish… we think.

Should you win this giveaway, you will receive two tiki tumblers (alliteration was on purpose) in which to put your summer sipper beverage—because just look at them! You will also receive an ice tray which will produce star-shaped ice to keep your summer sipper cool. Finish off your summer sipper with one of three flavors of Torani syrup (with or without sugar), because, well, why not? Sip your beverage through an adorable straw with attached umbrella. Yeah, you read that right. Just, yes. And as a bonus, enjoy some popcorn in the super bright, super cute popcorn containers. And finally, totally adorable napkins to clean it all up.

Unfortunately, the basket from the picture is not included.

To enter the giveaway, you just need to be following our blog via email or bloglovin’. Our bloglovin’ button is in the contact info to the right, as is the place to input your email address. To verify you’ve done that, you will need to enter your email address or bloglovin’ name into Rafflecopter below. Once you do that step, you will have the opportunity to receive 7 more entries, for a total of 10 entries. The giveaway will run for one week. We will announce the winner next Wednesday, July 3. Thanks for participating, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Summer Sippers – Dirty Soda (aka Mixed Sodas)

Rumor on the interwebs is that there is a little spot in St. George Utah called “Swig” that makes mixed sodas

My parents are both from Southern Utah so I understand the love of soda that permeates that part of the country. And the idea of mixed sodas? Saaaaayyyyy whaaaa??? Recently, I made Erika stop while driving to California, and check the joint out. She basically told me we need to open one.

Swig became a blip on my radar when I heard they serve a drink called a Dirty Dr. Pepper.

(Screeeeeech . . . ) Wha? A Dirty Dr. Pepper you say?!

The “dirty” is coconut. You better believe I immediately jumped in the car and headed to Sonic to get myself one.

It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more.

Now, mixed sodas aren’t a new concept. Flavor syrups and soda go together like cookies and milk.  They are, however, a concept that deserves some attention. I’ve been adding cherry and vanilla to sodas for years. Erika is a huge fan of Vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic. When I was prego with my youngest, I drank Vanilla Fanta Orange every day.  Until I got gestational diabetes! Stinking ‘betes.

However, adding coconut?  Oh, this is a treat.

But wait. There’s more. Torani makes SUGAR-FREE coconut. Diet Dr. Pepper with sugar-free coconut? This is the salvation of dieters everywhere, peeps.

I may or may not have gotten “Hey Megan” addicted to the stuff as well. So addicted that she contemplates stopping by my house just to get a shot of sugar-free coconut for her Diet Coke. When you develop an unhealthy habit, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The key to mixing soda and syrup is finding your preferred ratio.  I personally like 1 ounce of syrup to every 8 ounces of soda.  Sometimes a little more.  In case you are wondering, an ounce is either 1/8 cup or 3 squirts using the Torani pump.  Yeah, I make the little beauties a lot.

In the interest of convincing you to buy only three syrups, I’ve put together the following guide to help you get your dirty soda on. Each flavor comes in regular and sugar-free. Each soda also has a diet version. Do what feels right. But do it. Quick.

Also, be sure to check out the final combo. This combo popped up all over Google and while I haven’t tried it yet, I’m about to go hit Sonic. That’s right, I love you all so much I’m willing to go get a ridiculous soda. Happy sipping!

Here are some of our favorite mixed soda recipes.
Mixed Sodas

Dirty Little Secrets — Movie Loves

 

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, yes. Yes we did just begin a post with a definition. Probably every English teacher in America is cringing and all the greats of writing are turning over in their graves right now. But, second of all, don’t judge us for it: we did it because it’s important to our cause this week. Or rather, it’s our theme. This week, we are discussing all things “dirty”. Now, before you go and get your panties in a bunch, let us assure you… this is still a “family-friendly” blog. And all our topics will be such. And trust us, they are great topics — you won’t want to miss a single post!

Today, we are talking about our dirty-little-secret movie loves. We each have picked two movies to keep it “short”, but rest assured that our lists are impossibly long — there are just so many amazing movies available for viewing. We love us some good cinematic adventures.

MovieLoves

Tracey’s Dirty-Secret Movies

1) 17 Again — So I should probably start off by saying that the cast alone is enough to make me love this movie. Zac Efron, Matthew Perry AND Scarlett Mann? Yup, I’m going to love it. Second,  it is a do-over movie in that Matthew Perry’s character gets to be 17 again and reassess his life. Who doesn’t love a do-over/live-in-the-future movie?! This category includes some of my other guilty pleasure movies including Big, Freaky Friday, 13 Going on 30, The Kid, Back to the Future and Never Been Kissed. Plus, the soundtrack includes “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins. Talk about the perfect movie song.

2) Sweet Home Alabama — If this movie is on, you better believe I’m going to stop and watch it. Reese Witherspoon is at her absolute cutest in this movie. Every time I watch it I think I need to cut my hair short. It is cheesy and predictable, but it delivers everything anyone desires in a chick-flick: comedy, romance, and a happy ending. Not to mention, this movie has the greatest quote of all time. “Look at you, you have a baby… in a bar.”

Tracey’s Honorable Mentions:
Runaway Bride
The Fast and the Furios
One Fine Day
Grease 2
Sky High
Miss Congeniality
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion
Bad Boys
Independence Day
Twister
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Mean Girls
Freaky Friday
Never Been Kissed
50 First Dates

Sarah’s Dirty-Secret Movies

1) Stepsister from Planet Weird — I gotta be honest: I looked up the Wikipedia page for Disney Channel Original Movies, and I more than kinda want to do an entire post dedicated to them. Sure, everybody knows/loves/hates High School Musical. But remember Zenon?! And how everyone in the future was supposed to be driving Volkswagen Beetles? I could hardly pick which one was my pleasantest of guilty pleasures; Suzy Q had the Pink Ranger after all, and Wish Upon a Star is everything late-90s fashion should be. And while I love Smart House – but who doesn’t? That nonsense is dope – I had to come back to my perennial favorite: Stepsister from Planet Weird. There’s next to no plot – something about saving a bubble planet and a wedding – but there is plenty of corny melodrama, cute boys with odd accents, and the argument that Earth is a great place because it has “fully 18 flavors of potato chips”. Classic. Classic.

PS –  If you feel the same way I do, or rather, if you are my sister, have I got a gem for you. There’s a Henry Feagins fan club you can join! He’s in the movie (one of his four IMDB credits, FYI). The fan site is hosted by none other than angelfire, and it has had exactly 757 visitors.  F’reals. It’s like traveling back in time to visit my 11 year old self. Check it: http://www.angelfire.com/movies/henryfeaginsfanclub/

2) Kal Ho Naa Ho — Bollywood. That’s all that needs to be said here. But don’t worry, I’m about to say more, because this one has a little back story. While in college, I happened to be reading a forum discussion about great songs to dance to. The song “Maahi Ve” was suggested, and I looked it up right quick (and you can too, just follow the link!) It wasn’t long before my roommates and I were bopping around our apartment to it at just about every “study” break.  We knew very little about the movie that the song was from, and just as little about Bollywood movies in general, but eventually curiosity got the better of us and we bought a copy, because those were the dark days before Netflix came into my life. And guess what we found out? This movie is THREE HOURS long. Apparently, this is typical for Bollywood flicks. Intimidated, we set it aside until a very, very late night of (Mormon) revelry. We figured we could start it and pause it when we got too tired. Guess who stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, crying and laughing and yelling at the television and shaking our white girl shoulders to the music? It’s like that moment when you realize you’ve just eaten an extra large order of fries by yourself; Kal Ho Naa Ho just packs in so much entertainment you barely notice the time passing.

Sarah’s Honorable Mentions:
Take a Chance
Drive Me Crazy
The Cave
Pretty much everything Tyler Perry has presented
Dumb and Dumber

Erika’s Dirty-Secret Movies

1) Stick It — I want to start with a bit of a disclaimer that when it comes to movies, I am an open book. I can’t think of any movies that I’m ashamed to claim to love. So this particular blog post for me isn’t so much about my “secret” movie loves, but more about movies that I luuuhve that I think are severely underrated. And Stick It is just that. If you haven’t seen it, you are really missing out. I am a firm believer that the sign of a really great movie is how many one-liners you can get out of it (Dumb and Dumber.  I mean.) And Stick It is full of those one-liners. It’s juvenile delinquency and gymnastics and all things sass all rolled into one. PLUS, Jeff Bridges! Need I say more? I think that just about covers it.

2) Calamity Jane — To be honest I haven’t watched this movie since I was just a girl, because I only have it on VHS but no VCR (insert #FirstWorldProblems or #21stCenturyProblems here), but it’s just such a great movie. It’s a classic western, with singing. And dancing. And Doris Day. And I’ve heard (via Google) that it’s loosely based off a real woman, whose claim to fame is for “fightin’ injuns”.  Wow.

Erika’s Honorable Mentions:
Titanic
Wild Hearts Can’t be Broken
Hot Rod
A Little Princess
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The Holiday
Heavyweights
Twister
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Any musical. And I mean, any. Rogers and Hammerstein, really.

Summer Sippers – Dad’s Root Beer Cream Cooler

My dad loves root beer. He traveled a lot while I was growing up and he often brought home variations he came across in his travels. Once, when I was in high school, he had a root beer tasting party. Each root beer was judged based on flavor, scent, color, smoothness (Is that a real word?), and packaging. We cleansed our palates with mini candy bars. My family is fancy like that.

His love of root beer doesn’t stop at just drinking it. Oh, no. We have to make it. Ask my mom about all of the glass coke bottles in her garage waiting to be used to develop Paul’s own special recipe. In the meantime, he makes dry ice root beer. Not long after Ben and I were married, my dad drafted Ben to help prepare a church cookout. They made at least 60 gallons of root beer. It was during this time that they perfected their method. A method that I will share someday when I feel like heading out to buy some dry ice.

So in honor of my dad, the Summer Sipper of the week is “Dad’s Root Beer Cream Cooler”. Think a blended root beer float topped with vanilla whipped cream.

Summer Sippers – Italian Cream Soda Recipe

I love beverages and nothing goes better with summer than an ice-cold cold drink.  I love sodas, Slurpees, smoothies and shaved ice. Pretty much anything that involves ice.

Crushed ice to be specific.

Long, long ago, when I worked at a Super Target, I would go beg the butchers (back when they had butchers—we’re talking 1999) for crushed ice to add to my Pepsi. Obviously, this was back before I cared about calories. No more regular soda for this girl.

Eventually, I had to start getting my fix from Sonic. They used to sell it by the bag but for some reason my local Sonic will only sell it to me by the cup.  Now I just order a soda and two Route 44 cups of ice.  Whatever works people.

To start off our Summer Sipper series we are going to talk about a drink that lives for crushed ice.

Italian-Cream-Soda

Italian Cream Sodas

Erika actually served them at her Utah wedding reception last year and they were a GIANT hit. (She served shaved ice at her Arizona reception—she, too, is a fan of anything ice).  Such a hit that my father-in-law made them for all of the grandchildren at the family 4th of July BBQ. We had red, white and blue flavors.  You can imagine the reception they received.

I use the Torani Syrup.  They have tons of flavors and they are available at Walmart and World Market. You can also do sugar-free which is still pretty tasty. They also sell a variety pack on Amazon. How fun is that?!  You could have a party!  I would be all over attending any event that served Italian Sodas.

So here’s the thing about Italian Sodas.  They are best when made to taste.  Some people (me) prefer them a little bit stronger. That being said, I’m going to give you some guidelines to play around with.