Clearly, I'm going through another one of my many food phases. The Hello, My Name Is Kimberly and I'm Four Years Old phase.
The other day I was assembling my favorite little breakfast sandwich to take with me to work, when I was hit hard with the strawberry milk craving. Not being the type to have things like Nestlé Quik around the house, that quick fix was out of the question. And without any fresh strawberries on hand, I couldn't even make real strawberry milk from scratch!
A quick peek in the freezer resulted in finding berries of another kind: the very last of my blueberries from my berry-picking expedition earlier this summer. At first I was a little bummed (because I was secretly hoping I'd find a forgotten stash of frozen strawberries), but as I stared at my little bag of frozen blues, I began to wonder how blueberry milk would turn out. It made sense, considering its distant cousin, the strawberry, gets its own "milk"; but for a brief moment, it seemed a little too odd, a little crazy, almost a little wrong.
Turns out it is and it should be consumed often because it is GOOD. It's incredibly easy to make and much better for you & your family than the powdered drinks. It also looks kinda cool, once you get over the fact that you're drinking a lavender beverage. But if lavender food can be a good thing, so can a lavender (or periwinkle, come to think of it...) drink.
You can make this with any type of milk that works best for you & your family. I love nonfat milk so that's what I used for mine, but if you have dairy allergies you can certainly prepare this with soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, etc. I also like to use real sugar (not the processed refined junk) to sweeten my berries, but I know some folks prefer to use alternative sweeteners. If you do use something other than real sugar, I'd recommend sticking with something with a neutral flavor profile, like agave nectar. Honey is lovely and I use it often, but its distinct flavor would definitely change the finished product.
I hope you & your kids enjoy this as much as my inner four-year-old did! It's tasty & different, and a refreshing change from the usual kid-friendly drinks out there. It's a great way to use up those last few berry stragglers out there, too, if you haven't already used them all in jams & pies.
And did I mention it pairs beautifully with homemade chicken tenders? Who says adults get to have all the fun? ;)
Blueberry Milk (makes about 1 quart; total cost: $2.75)
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries
2 T sugar
1 t lemon juice
3-4 c well-chilled nonfat milk (or soy milk, almond milk, etc.)
1. Combine the blueberries, sugar & lemon juice in a small bowl and toss together. Cover and let stand for about 15-20 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have released their juices.
2. Using a hand blender (or regular blender if you have it), puree the berry mixture until smooth. Pour the blueberry puree into a pitcher, add the chilled milk, and give it a couple of pulses to mix everything together. Check for flavor & adjust according to taste.
3. Serve ice cold with a bendy straw (or a crazy straw if they still make those... do they?!), and enjoy!