Saturday, May 19, 2018

Instant Pot Vegan Tofu Lettuce Wraps

A Vegan friendly version of Lettuce Wraps; this Instant Pot recipe is SUPER yum, easy and great for two or a crowd! 

Do you LOVE lettuce wraps? Looking for an easy way to make them at home? Plus a vegetarian version that is super yummy? Bring out you Instant Pot and make a batch right away! 

I have been a fan of lettuce wraps for a while. Having tried it at various restaurants I have a few things I like about them as a dish: A super yummy saucy appetizer that everyone on the table likes, the truckload of lettuce I consume not realizing how 'boring' I thought salad was, the simplest appetizer to pull of for a party that can be made in advance and the guests do a DIY serving them!

Given all these advantages I like to make a BIG lot of the tofu and mushroom filling and use it several times in the week. The biggest problem with that happened to be how uneven the tofu cooks in regular woks. I thought my instant pot would cook it all evenly and YES, that actually happened! I made the dish with diced tofu instead of crumbled and the result was fabulous! I have been using my IP to do this ever since, bye bye wok! 

My love story with the dish has been rather strange. The FIRST time we ordered this at a restaurant I was thinking they would serve it like Vietnamese Spring Rolls. But when the platter came to the table it was JUST a bowl full of tofu, a stack of lettuce leaves and dipping sauce! I was so surprised that it was a DIY that I was not sure I like it. 

However, it tasted SO good that now this dish makes an appearance in my parties, for weeknight dinner and restaurant visits! And with me wanting to perfect the recipe using the IP, I made it SO MANY TIMES! But who's complaining? We ate more lettuce with this recipe than ever before!  


Coming to the recipe, I have made a few changes from the regular wrap recipes. First, this has diced tofu and not crumbled. Next I pressure cooked the entire batch to get that PERFECT melt in the mouth tofu. I added mushrooms for a meaty texture and they work really well. Not a fan? Just skip them and make the recipe. If using, I recommend using the brown ones. They are super good, I promise! 

The sauce I used is from peanut butter. It is not one of the jarred ones. It is purely crushed peanuts in a food processor till they are almost perfectly smooth. I use that in my recipes as both of us are not very big fans of the bottled ones. 

You can make the same recipe using your favorite meat too. I want to try it using paneer or seitan once! If you are a tofu fan like me, here are some more recipes that you will love: 

Do not have an Instant Pot?

While I must say this is my favorite gadget, if you are not on the bandwagon yet, do not worry. Make the same recipe in a wok and cook covered for 10-12 minutes on medium flame. If you like your tofu pieces browned up, increase the flame a little bit. 

I have made the same recipe in the wok several times before I got the Instant Pot and it does work pretty well! 

Have an Instant Pot?

If you are looking for more IP recipes, here are a few from my blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I like posting about them! 

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For the Wraps

Firm Tofu 1 block (14 oz)
Brown Mushrooms 7-8, diced
Peanut butter 2 tbsp
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Ginger 1 piece grated
Spring Onion whites 1/4 cup, chopped
Tamari (Soy Sauce for non vegan) 1 tbsp
Rice Vinegar 1 tsp
Chilli sauce/ Sriracha 1/2 tsp
Vegetable/Sesame Oil 1 tsp
Chilli oil 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp
Lettuce leaves a bunch
Spring Onion Greens and cilantro to top 
Sesame seeds as required

For the dipping sauce

Peanut Butter 2 tbsp
Vinegar 1/4 tsp
Chilli sauce 1/2 tsp
Tamari (Soy Sauce for non vegan) 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp


Press the firm tofu between paper towels and remove all the water. Dice into small cubes. Set aside. 

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients under the wrap; soy sauce, chilli sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, salt and sugar. 

In the base of the Instant Pot add vegetable oil and chilli oil. Set the mode to Saute and Normal. Add garlic and ginger, mix well. Saute for a couple of minutes till the garlic is flavorful.

Add the spring onion whites and mushrooms. Saute for a minute. Add the diced tofu and mix well. 

Pour in the mixed sauce and 1/2 cup water. Mix the sauce well. 

Press cancel on the Instant Pot. Set mode to pressure cook or manual. Set pressure level to low and time to 3 minutes. Set the vent to sealing and let the tofu cook. 

While the mixture cooks, make the dipping sauce. To do so mix together the ingredients of the dipping sauce in a bowl. Dilute with 3-4 tbsp of water. Set aside. If you like it spicy, drizzle some chilli oil in it.

Once the Instant Pot timer is done, do a quick release. Open the pot and add cilantro, spring onion greens and sesame seeds. Mix well.

To serve, separate the leaves from your favorite type of lettuce and keep them in ice cold water for 10-15 minutes. Add a couple of spoons of the tofu mixture and drizzle some sauce. Fold and enjoy the wrap! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Crispy Tea Time Milk Rusk

Milk rusk; an amazing tea time snack can now be made at home using this recipe. Dunk one in Masala Chai and you WILL finish a dozen I promise! 

Have you tried Milk rusk yet? These toasts have an amazing vanilla flavor; are soft due to the milk and have the great fragrance and taste from the cardamom seeds. If you have not tasted these yet; I bet you are missing out something super delicious! 

Crisp toasts that have a hint of sweetness are PERFECT with Chai or even otherwise. These toasts are sold at local bakeries and in stores as a packet. However, making them at home is the BEST! 

For a very long time I missed the toasts from the bakery in US. Though stores carry the packaged version, I would love a plate full of the bakery ones. So I ended up making a BIG lot myself. Though I must say I overdid it by making about 6 dozens of toasts in one go; but I do not regret it any more. 

Now each time I am making these, I make them in a 9 inch pan and end up with 6 dozens! And I store them in an airtight container for up to a week. The airtight bit is REALLY important else they will become soggy and will need to be rebaked.

If you search for rusk recipes you will be able to find a TON of recipes online; each one made with a slightly different method. Some bake the bread with baking sods, some with yeast and some add milk powder. 

From all the recipes I have tried and tasted; I like the one with fresh milk and yeast the best. They taste just like the ones from the bakery and easily available ingredients and are super easy to make. If you make milk bread or sandwich bread at home; this is just ONE extra step to make! 

If you are a Chai addict like me; here is a great Masala Chai recipe for you. Plus, here are some tea time snacks that are on my list ALL the time:

Coming to the recipe; this rusk recipe needs just 9 ingredients and can be made really easily. I make a big batch and enjoy them over the week. These toasts make a great tea party side and taste awesome with tea. Once you make them; I am sure you will make them again and again. So wait no further and head straight to the recipe! 


I made the bread in a square pan that made them about 1.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches length. However, if you have sandwich bread pan, use that to make the bread for the rusk. Just the shape might be slightly different but the taste will still be the same. 

If you like tutti-frutti; add some of those in the dough. They make the bread slightly sweet and colorful. When baked again, the toasts studded with tutti-frutti are super awesome! Just make sure you do not bite into a hot one; the tutti-frutti might burn you!

If you would like to make the rusk with wheat flour; replace all purpose flour with wheat flour and essential wheat gluten. They will help make a soft bread that can be used to make perfect rusks. 


All Purpose Flour 3 cups
Milk 1/2 cup
Water 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup
RapidRise Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp) 
Cardamom Seeds 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 3 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter 3 tbsp (Room Temperature)

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In a bowl add milk and 1/4 cup water. To that add  1 tsp sugar and salt. Mix and heat to warm. When the water milk mixture is warm, add the yeast, mix and rest covered in a warm place. The yeast will bloom in 10 minutes or so.

In a mixing bowl or the base of the stand mixer add the flour, remaining su
gar and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add the unsalted butter, cardamom seeds and bloomed yeast. Mix and make a dough adding warm water as required. Knead it to a smooth dough and keep working on it till soft. Once done, coat with oil or butter and rest covered for an hour in a warm place. 

Meanwhile, line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or spray non stick spray. Set aside. After an hour or once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead again for 5-7 minutes. Roll the dough out to a square of 9 inches. Place the dough in the bread pan and cover it. Rest for an hour. 

When the hour is almost up, preheat oven to 400 F/ 210 C. Once the loaf rises till the top of the pan, place it in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the top is nice and golden. Once it is, remove and cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Slice the bread into equal sized slices. I divided the bread into half to get two loaves of 4 1/2 inches length. Then I sliced the loaves into 1/4 inch slices.

Place the slices on a baking tray and bake them in an oven preheated to 400 F/ 210 C. Make sure you turn them over every 7-10 minutes to ensure even baking and prevent burning. 

Remove once the toasts are golden brown and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with some HOT Masala Chai

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Starbucks Banana Nut Bread

A warm slice of bread full of banana, walnuts and pecans; straight from Starbucks to your table. Are you ready to bake this one for breakfast or quick snack?

Who does not like the Banana and Nut bread at Starbucks? The thick slice of warm bread that is full of banana, walnuts and spices? If this is on your list of favorites, this recipe has you covered! 

I tried a couple of banana bread recipes in the past, but THIS one is just like the one from Starbucks! With the aroma of spices, crunch from the nuts and moisture from bananas, this recipe is MY favorite and I HAD to share it here! This recipe is addictive, yet super easy to make I promise. 

With exactly TWELVE ingredients, 10 minutes to put together; this recipe has just one challenge; waiting for an hour for the bread to bake slowly to get all the flavors together! This bread is now my favorite and I make so often. This bread is the reason I keep all the bananas out to ripen. Such a treat to enjoy a slice of this bake slathered  with butter and a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. 

This recipe is good for one loaf. But if you take my word, you need to double the recipe and make two loaves at a time. They disappear in no time if your family likes bananas. Honestly, I believe bananas were made with the intent if them going in a rich loaf! This bread is one the most amazing nut and fruit combination and should be made more than once a month. 

Breakfast can be sorted for days with these two loaves. Plus, with Summer just around the corner, this bread makes a great picnic treat. Take along the loaf and some butter; it makes a mess free treat for kids and adults alike. I sometimes add some chocolate chips to make it kids favorites; but this version with just nuts is a winner too. 

So look no further and make sure you make a batch right away! If you have to wait for the bananas to ripen, do that NOW! Because the bread does require the bananas to be perfectly ripe and soft.

Love bananas? Try one of these recipes:


I made the bread in a rectangular pan. However, making single serve bread bites in a muffin pan is a great idea too. The result is single serve breads that make a great way to serve it for parties. Or make the same bread in a round pan. The shape does not really matter! 

For the nuts, I used pecans and walnuts. However you can choose the ones you like and use them. All nuts are great in the bread. Plus, you can also add chocolate chips if you like them. They do make the bread a tad bit sweeter so adjust the sugar accordingly. 

This version of the bread contains eggs. However, to replace the egg just whisk together 1 tbsp flax seed powder with 3 tbsp water. Let it stand for a while and add it to the batter. This works great in all bakes. 

Pin for Later


All purpose Flour 2 cups
Sugar 1 cup
Mashed Banana 3-4 medium
Walnuts 1/2 cup
Pecans 1/2 cup
Vegetable Oil 1/2 cup
Milk 2 tbsp
Egg 1 medium, room temperature
Cinnamon Powder 2 tsp
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Baking Soda 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp


Grease a 9 inch bread pan with non stick spray or parchment paper. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 325 F/ 170 C. Mash the bananas and add vanilla extract to them. Mix well.

In the base of a stand mixer or a bowl egg, sugar and vegetable oil. Beat till combined. 

In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mix well and then add in milk and mashed banana mixture. 

Beat once again till combined; fold in half the walnuts and the pecans. 

Transfer the batter to the greased pan and top with remaining pecans and walnuts.

Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes; till a skewer comes out clean from the center. 

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Instant Pot Peanut Tofu Curry with Rice

An easy to make Thai Curry with tofu; this Peanut based sauce is super yummy and easy to make. Plus the recipe makes the curry and rice together in UNDER 30 minutes!

One Pot meals are always on my mind. From recipes that make a rice with add ins to pasta and soups. I love them all! They save me a LOT of time, effort and yet make a satisfying meal. 

Since I bought my Instant Pot, I have been using it for MANY recipes that come together in a jiffy. Most of the recipes I have on the blog using the Instant Pot are made using just the base. This is the FIRST recipe that makes a complete meal using the pot-in-pot method. And I am in LOVE with this. Getting together a meal in under 30 minutes is always a great idea, especially on weeknights. 

Tofu is the protein of choice in our house and we enjoy it in all cuisines. From Indian to Mexican and Thai to other Asian cuisines; we love tofu in ALL these! I have a ton of tofu recipes on the blog that you can check out:

Coming to the recipe, this is a variation of a Thai classic. I used peanut butter to make make a thick and creamy curry for the tofu. With the addition of Red Curry paste and sriracha, I got the perfect orange color I was looking for and the great taste too. 

The first time I made this recipe I used the smooth peanut butter and was not particularly fan of the texture. So this time I bought myself a small amount of freshly ground peanut butter that was not smooth. The curry turned out just like I wanted. However the choice of smoothness depends on your personal preference. 

To complete the meal I made a bowl full of steamed white rice. I just used the regular rice but brown or jasmine rice tastes awesome too. The time taken for cooking the rice and the curry is just FOUR minutes, except the time taken to saute the vegetables. I love how the entire meal comes together in 30 minutes. 

When I bough the Instant Pot I was not sure what I wanted to make in it. I started off with a few recipes that came in the book with the pot and once I had a hang of how to deal with the settings, I experimented other recipes. Now I love my Instant Pot so much, that I use it for dinner atleast 3-4 times a week! I customize recipes to make in the pot, I use it for fermenting batter and for yogurt. Here are some of my favorite IP recipes:

If you are a fan of Thai food, this recipe is going to be on your favorites in no time. I have used ingredients that are super easy to find and make this cheat recipe in no time. And the result is ALWAYS perfect using this one. 


I made the curry with just tofu pieces. However, the same can be made using vegetables or your choice of protein. It works well with all these. 

To make the curry I used a Curry paste from the store. You can make your own too. Plus if you like extra basil or lemongrass flavor, go ahead and add more. They can become overpowering so make sure you go slow! 

The Pot-in-pot method helps to make the rice along with the curry. However, you can also make the rice separate. Mix and match the recipe with brown rice, jasmine rice or even quinoa. They all taste perfect with this curry. 

Last, I used crunchy peanut butter but you can use either that or the smooth one. Only change would be in the consistency of the final curry. So look no further and make your version today! Hope you enjoy the meal! 


For the Curry
Firm Tofu 1 block (14 oz)
Onion 1/4 medium, diced
Pepper 1/2 medium, diced
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Peanut Butter 2 tbsp
Red Curry Paste 2 tbsp
Coconut Milk 1 cup
Cashew nuts 6-7
Chilli Oil 1 tsp
Vegetable Oil 2 tsp
Sriracha Garlic Sauce 1 tsp
Soy Sauce 1 tsp (tamari for Vegan)
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp
Lime juice to taste
Spring Onion and cilantro to top

For the Rice
White Rice 1 cup
Water 1 cup and 2 tbsp
Oil 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp

Pin for Later


Press the tofu between a couple of paper napkins and place a heavy pan on it. Keep aside for 20 minutes. Then, make even sized cubes and keep ready.

In a bowl mix together peanut butter with 1/4 cup water. Add in soy sauce, sriracha sauce, salt and sugar. Mix well. 

In the base of the instant pot add the vegetable oil and chili oil. Set the mode to sauté and medium. Once hot, add minced garlic and sauté till fragrant. Add in onion, peppers and cashews. Mix and sauté for a couple of minutes. 

Add Thai curry paste and sauté for a minute. Add the peanut butter mixture, and coconut milk. Add more water if desired. Mix well, add the tofu cubes and let it bubble. 

Meanwhile, wash the rice till the water runs clean. Add to a steel bowl and pour in water. Add salt and oil and mix.

Place a trivet in the Instant Pot and place the rice bowl on it. Close the lid. Press cancel and then press Pressure Cook and High pressure. Set vent to sealing and time to 4 minutes. 

Once the time is up, do a quick release. Remove the rice bowl and fluff using a fork. 

Add in lime juice to the curry and mix well. Top with spring onions and cilantro and serve with the rice. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Movie Night Popcorn Snack Mix

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Quinn Snacks and I have been compensated. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Movie time delight; a mix of sweet and savory popcorn with snacks and nuts! This FIVE minute recipe is great for parties and beyond! 

The days are finally warming up and we are getting ready for multiple events. From Spring parties and beach picnics to watching movies at home and in the park.

All these parties are coming up and we have ONE favorite recipe that works for all of them; popcorn. I cannot believe I NEVER put a popcorn recipe on the blog yet. So when I got my box full of Quinn Popcorn bags; I was sure I was making an addictive popcorn mix for the blog.

I have had a TON of popcorn while watching all kinds of games and movies. From microwaveable popcorn to those made from kernels in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker and from packaged popped corn to the freshly made popcorn at the theatre; I have had it all. From all these popcorn types, I have one thing that I like the most. It is the popcorn that is popped first and seasoned later. 

That style of seasoning ensures the butter or oil is not cooked while popping the corn kernels. When I realized my bag of Quinn Popcorn came with just the corn in the bag and the seasoning separate, I was SO happy! I made a bag of it and gobbled it all while binge watching Netflix. Get your favorite flavor here

The bags I made for this post were the ones with Real Butter & Sea Salt. Combining that seasoning with some sugar and cinnamon; I made a sweet and salty popcorn blend that was super yum.

Just to add in variety, I mixed the bag with a snacking mix, chocolate covered grapes and almonds. With a perfect blend of sweet and savory, this mix is SO good to enjoy. Plus, if you are having this with your favorite soda or juice, it completes the movie menu! 

This snack goes a long way for all kinds of parties. It is easy to make, can be made in advance and served, easy to scale up because the popcorn comes together in under 5 minutes and can be customized based on preferences and allergies (if any). Make a nut-free combination or spice it with some Mexican spice blend, do it all and enjoy your time! 


I used the Real Butter & Sea Salt flavor from my box of Quinn Popcorn bags. However, you can choose your favorite flavor from Just Sea Salt, Vermont Maple Kettle Corn, White Cheddar, Parmesan & Rosemary, Real Butter Tastes Better Original,  Real Butter Tastes Better Truffle Butter or Real Butter Tastes Better Movie Night Extra Butter.

To enjoy a sweet and salty snack I mixed in cinnamon and sugar. But if you are not a fan of the flavors combined, skip the sugar. You can also add in other seasonings like Mexican Taco Seasoning or Italian seasoning.

The final mixture had a mix of add-ins; both sweet and salty. I skipped marshmallows and cookie bites, but they taste great. Adding other nuts is always a great idea too. 


Quinn Popcorn bags 2 (freshly popped)
Quinn Pretzel sticks 1 packet
Snack Mix 1 cup
Chocolate covered grapes/almonds 1/4 cup
Almonds 1/4 cup
Cinnamon Powder 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp


Pop the Quinn popcorn bags as per the instructions on the package. In each of the bag add the oil and seasoning. Also add in cinnamon powder and sugar. Mix well. 

Transfer to a big bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients, mix well and serve in popcorn bags or bowls. Enjoy with your favorite movie or game! 

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

25 Refreshing Summer Drink Recipes

A collection of 25 BEST drink recipes for the entire family. This post is a keeper for the entire season and beyond! 

The cold days are gone and we are getting ready for warmer days ahead. With barbecue recipes, beach party prep and ice creams; I have a list of TWENTY FIVE drinks that you need to try this Summer. 

All these drinks are alcohol free, best when served cool or ice cold, and are easy to make. No complex ingredients, no crazy methods. Just a few ingredients, kids friendly recipes and most of them scale well for crowds too! Still reading this? You need to pick your favorite recipe NOW :)

Click on each of the recipe names to go to the full list of ingredients and steps to make it. Each one is addictive and perfectly suited for the warm days! 

The PERFECT drink for Summers, this variation to the classic Iced Tea is a treat! Easy to make, needs a few ingredients and tastes awesome too. 

Just what you need to bring back a TON of childhood memories! The cotton candy grew up into such a cool drink to enjoy through the Summers.

If you LOVE pineapples and can grab a bag of frozen cranberries, make this AWESOME drink for everybody. It is a crowd pleaser and super easy to make!

If you have a TON of strawberries that you picked from the farm or got from the Farmer's Market, you need to make this milkshake. A no-fail recipe to give you a thick and wholesome version of the restaurant classic! 

Think of Fall and make a glass of this mocktail! This pumpkin pie drink is such a treat and makes me want another glass! 

A traditional Indian drink enjoyed in Spring and the festival of Holi, have a glass of chilled Thandai through the warm months! It is super satisfying and has some amazing cooling properties.

Who needs ice cubes when you can freeze your drink with popsicles? These kiwi popsicles and lemonade make an awesome drink for any season, plus it needs only a few ingredients and is kids friendly.

Whenever you want a summery drink, Iced tea is the answer. Especially if it is infused with Peach. This peachy delight goes a long way on HOT days! 

Oreo lovers, where art thou? You need to be HERE and make this for summer afternoons. Just like the cookies, this drink is addictive and super yum. 

What is summer without mangoes? This colorful drink is perfect for any day, especially if you are celebrating SUMMER! WE love this grenadine infused mango juice. Have you ever tried it?

Inspired from Indian Falooda, these mini servings of milk, ice cream and rose syrup along with add-ins make a great treat for summers. Plus, it helps in portion control and looks chic too.

Watermelon is THE fruit for Summer. Enjoy this Agua Fresca with your kids. It is super awesome for any party and easy to make even for a LARGE crowd.

Who does not know Thai Iced Tea? This perfect drink is something you need to enjoy through Summers. DIY is always better than restaurant, right?

IF you are a fan of Ice cream soda, this drink is a MUST-TRY. Flavored with fresh Blood Orange juice, this drink recipe is a keeper. Works great with all kinds of citrus and berries. 

The Indian version of Lemonade, this awesome Shikanjvi is a cooler for the warm months. Bold flavors and easy to make recipe! 

The starting point of all drinks Pumpkin, this syrup can be made and stored for several days. Use it to bring in Fall to the Summer days! 

If you are a fan of Betel leaves, this drink is the one you HAVE to try. Super flavorful and easy to make. Make it in shot glasses and have a great party guys! 

Surprise your kids with a naturally colored lemonade. With a small bit of beetroot, this lemonade recipe goes a long way! 

Raw mangoes come together so beautifully in this drink. Aam panna is a traditional Indian summer drink. It has a few ingredients and is always fun to make for a BIG crowd. 

20. Frozen Grape Lime Rickey Slush

A perfect combination of grape and limes, this Slushy drink is a must-have this Summer! Easy THREE ingredient recipe that is super awesome for kids and adults alike! 

21. Unicorn Smoothie

Once a latest fad at Starbucks, this drink is STILL as good. A smoothie that is perfect for summers and all parties that are Unicorn theme, this recipe is AMAZING all year round! 

Orange lovers, here is a recipe you are going to LOVE! Iced Tea flavored with Oranges, this drink is super yummy. Flavors of tea and orange come together perfectly in a chilled glass of this drink! 

Kids friendly virgin version of Pina Colada, this drink needs only four ingredients and comes together so easily. Remembering the beach and a cool drink?? You need this for sure! 

Peaches make the PERFECT drink for picnics and parties. Have you tried a Sparkling Peach Lemonade yet?

For the short time that the citrus is available, make the MOST out of it. This lemonade is not just yum, it looks almost too cute to drink. We love this for our Spring parties, how about you?