Here we are, in the dog days of summer, and in Virginia it is HOT and HUMID. Not a surprise, really, but it does become nearly unbearable for a person who grew up in Minnesota. We spend a lot of time either inside or at the pool these days.
To stay cool and hydrated, I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day. It's good for you, and I rarely have juices or sodas in the house (we never had them in the house as a kid, so I don't really think to buy them). But sometimes a person wants a little flavor, you know what I mean? Water is just so...watery. Most of the time, that's enough, but every once in a while I need a little more, and a measly lemon slice just won't cut it. Unfortunately, I'm also trying to limit sugar and prepared foods, so what's a girl to do?
Enter Sassy Water. This is a recipe I got from the Flat Belly Diet Book, but I've changed it up a little, using limes sometimes instead of lemons and adding more ginger, and thinly slicing the ginger, rather than grating it. The pitcher I use has a built-in strainer at the spout, but the grated ginger sneaks through and (for me, anyway) is too strong, plus the ginger pulp gives the water a little extra texture that I don't prefer.
You might want to spring for organic ingredients in this case, because everything's sitting in the water, infusing it with their flavors, which means any residues left even after washing them will also be leaching into the water as well. Just something to think about, but it's not like I'll be checking up on you or anything. For the record, this time I did not use organic, 'cause sometimes I like living on the edge. :-)
For those of you paying close attention, you'll probably notice that the ginger is in chunks, more than slices. Sometimes I'll do it in long, thin-ish slices as well. The best way to get this all done quickly is if you have a mandoline to get the slices nice and thin, but sometimes I just can't be bothered to drag the thing out, so there you go. And look at me, trying to get fancy with garnishes and such. Unfortunately, it looks pretty weak. Sigh. It tastes really good, though, so let's focus on that!
The Flat Belly Diet's Sassy Water Recipe
2 liters of water (about 8.5 cups)
1 inch (or 2 inches if you can spare it) fresh ginger, sliced thinly
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced (the original recipe has you peeling the cucumber, but I didn't see the point, really, especially if you have organic)
1 medium lemon or lime, thinly sliced
12 mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, chill in the refrigerator, and let flavors blend overnight. I can usually get two pitchers-full out of the ingredients (filling the pitcher back up once the first batch of water is gone, but you have to drink it within 3 days, otherwise everything gets a little too water-logged.
The version I made, shown in the pictures here, is just lime, cucumber and ginger. Feel free to change things up, depending on your taste and availability of ingredients.