Fitness Friday: Staying Healthy All Summer Long

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BFLogo-Horizontal-TealB IT’S FITNESS FRIDAY
presented by Barre Fitness!

Hopefully you’ll join me once a month here on VIA and be motivated to get fit! I’ll be sharing recipes, exercises, class and workshop plans, ideas and tips, and much much more.
There is so much available at our fingertips in this beautiful city of ours, to keep us active and motivated! If there is anything you want to learn more about or think we should feature, send me a tweet, or write us on Facebook, and maybe that will be our next topic!

Summer is upon us. Seriously, it feels like it outside, and it’s a week until the solstice! The urge to sit on a patio, deck, beach, what have you and drink all day in the sunshine is at a yearly high.

I decided to have a little deck party myself this past weekend and decided to try out a few summer cocktails that were on the healthier side, most of which included fresh ingredients from the market. Check it out below:

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Sparkling Wine with Elderflower
(source)

Ingredients:
– 1TBLS Elderflower Concentrate (or syrup) (*I found this at Whole Foods)
– 1/4 cup of champagne
– top off with approx 1/4 cup of seltzer
– garnish with mint sprigs

*combine*

Notes: Elderflower is popular in European drinks (it’s sold in syrup form at Ikea!) and is thought to aid in cold and fever fighting. Champagne is a great lower-calorie option for alcohol esp. as it’s used in lower quantities in many cocktails. Enjoy!

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Rosemary Infused Cucumber Lemonade Cocktail
(source)

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
– 3 large cucumbers
– rosemary (1tbsp chopped and 4 sprigs for garnish)
– 1 cup cold water
– 1/2 cup lemon juice
– 3 tbsp agave syrup

Steps:
– Cut 12 slices of cucumber for garnish
– Peel and chop the rest of the cucumber
– Place in blender with chopped rosemary and puree
– Pour puree through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, pressing the puree to release the juice
– Add water, lemon juice, and agave and combine until agave is dissolved
– Divide over ice filled glasses and garnish with cucumber and rosemary

Notes: This was amazing on it’s own. Kind of like the cucumber water you get at Nuba, but a little more intense. The recipe I found didn’t state what alcohol to pair with it, but I went with vodka as I didn’t want to take anything away from the fresh taste. So great.

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Salty Chihuahua
(source)

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
– coarse salt for glass rim
– 4oz tequila
– 2oz Cointreau
– 3 cups grapefruit juice
– 4 grapefruit slices for garnish

Steps:
– Wet rims of glasses and coat with coarse salt (optional)
– Fill glasses with ice
– Pour 1oz tequila and 1/2oz Cointreau
– Top with grapefruit juice (approx 3/4 cup) and stir
– Garnish with grapefruit slive

Notes: I made this with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and I think that was the way to go…nothing added, sugar-wise, just pure goodness and vitamin C!

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Rhubarb Ginger Shrub Cocktail

(source)

Serves: 1 (excess ingredients for more/can keep)

Ingredients:
-1  oz rhubarb shrub *see below
– ½ – ¾ oz ginger-infused gin *see below
– 1 oz simple syrup
– 8 oz (1 cup) soda water
– Thin stalk of rhubarb for garnish, optional

Steps:
– Put several ice cubes into a tumbler.
– Pour in the cold-pressed rhubarb shrub
– Add ginger-infused gin
– Add simple syrup, and soda water.
– Stir to combine.
– Garnish with a thin rhubarb stalk.

Notes: Rhubarb is in season RIGHT NOW! and is very good for you (full of Vitamin C). So you can eat local, in season, and enjoy a cocktail at the same time.

*This drink takes a little more prep either the day/night before or a few days before to infuse the gin and make the ‘shrub’. See steps for both below.*

Cold-Pressed Rhubarb Shrub
-1 cup rhubarb, sliced into ½-inch pieces
-1 cup organic sugar
-1 cup red-wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
Mix the fruit with the sugar.
Stir to combine, cover, and place in the fridge overnight or until the juice is released. (This could take a day or two.)
You will be left with a syrupy, pink liquid.
Pour -the mixture through a fine mess strainer and into a bowl, pressing on the fruit to release the remaining juices.
Add the vinegar and stir to combine.
Store in a tightly-sealed mason jar in the fridge.

Ginger-Infused Gin
-2-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
-2 ounces of gin
Place the ginger and gin in a mason jar and muddle the ginger with a muddler or back end of a wooden spoon.
You want to gently break up the ginger to release its juices.
Set aside on the counter for a minimum of 15 minutes, or up to a week to infuse. (This recipe can easily be multiplied.)

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Fresh Cherry Lemonade
(source)

Ingredients:
– 2 cups sweet cherries (pitted, plus several for garnish)
–  1/2 cup lemon juice
– 1/3  cup sugar
– 2.5 cups cold water

Steps:
– Combine cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in blender
– Puree until smooth
– Strain through fine-mesh strainer into bowl
– Transfer to pitcher
– Add water and stir
– Serve over ice with cherry garnish

Notes: Cherry season is at a high in July and August, so I’d save this lemonade for the hotter months. Again, the recipe I found didn’t state a good pairing for alcohol, so dealers choice!

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I thought I’d throw in a bonus recipe for this delicious summer salad that I made for the party as well. I had some feta cheese leftover from another meal so I went looking for a fresh summery salad to put it in and found this (note: I forgot the avocado…silly me.)

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
(source)

Ingredients:

Salad:
– 6 cups baby spinache
– 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
– 1 avocado diced (or two avocados if you desire)
– 4oz feta cheese (or gorgonzola, or blue cheese!)
– 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
– Poppy Seed Dressing *see recipe

Combine and toss. Serve.

Poppy Seed Dressing:
– 1/2 cup avocado oil (or olive oil)
– 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 2 tbsp honey
– 1 tbsp poppy seeds
– pinch dry mustard
– salt and pepper

Whisk ingredient until combined.

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There you have it, a few homemade summer cocktails to enjoy, with fresh ingredients that you can get in season, or even grow yourself!

What is you favourite healthy summer drink? Do you have a recipe? Tell us on Facebook or Tweet Us a link! See you in July!

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Christine McAvoy is a freelance photographer living and working in Vancouver, BC. She received her B.F.A. from Ryerson University and her work has been published across Canada. Her portfolio can be found here: http://www.mcavoy.ca