Strawberry Milk

I've always had a deep love for milk. As early as I can remember, I viewed milk as a special treat. It didn't matter that it was always in the fridge or that I drank it at every single meal—it was still special. It was almost like getting dessert before the end of dinner.

When I was in my teens, I could go through a quarter of a gallon in a day. Milk was my water. I was, for all intents and purposes, a milk addict. 2% was my drug of choice. It wasn't until I discovered these dreadful little things called calories did I realize that maybe drinking so much milk wasn't doing myself any favors. About the same time, I realized I could eat more cookies if I drank less milk; a trade off I could definitely consent to.

My sister was just the opposite. You couldn't get her to drink a glass of milk even if you threatened her with no dessert. We told her she wouldn't grow up big and strong. We told her she would never grow tall. We told her these things and she still refused; she meant business. My sister was so drastic that she would refuse to have milk with her cookies. Believe it or not, she would dunk her Oreos in water instead (which she still will do, much to the chagrin of those watching).

Even with so much milk in the house, flavored milks weren't a part of my childhood. Occasionally my mother would buy chocolate milk to serve for dessert, but those occasions were few and far between. It wasn't until I was older and buying my own groceries that I noticed them in the stores. I was always tempted to try them, but with so much sugar, preservatives, and the lack of real fruit, I couldn't bring myself to do it. It wasn't until I saw a post from The Kitchn on making your own strawberry milk did it occur to me that I could make my own. The results were definitely worth sharing with you.

This strawberry milk is subtly refreshing. The milk is lightly sweetened (there is just a hint of sugar), but you could add more sugar to adjust to your own tastes. The strawberries stand out in this drink, making it a perfect substitute for the store bought version. Drink this chilled for breakfast or dessert.

Strawberry Milk
Adapted from The Kitchn

1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen), sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I used 2%, but I imagine you could substitute soy or almond milk)

In a medium saucepan, boil the strawberries, sugar, water, and vanilla extract for 10-12 minutes, or until the strawberries release all their juices and the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve (save the cooked strawberries to put on yogurt, ice cream, or pancakes). Refrigerate the syrup until cool.

Stir together the syrup and milk (if too sweet, you could add 1/2 cup more milk to dilute the flavor) and serve in chilled glasses. Enjoy!