This vegan strawberry coconut cream smoothie is a frosty, creamy, tropical, refreshing drink. A yummy and guilt free summer treat!
Happiness is a glass full of frosty, creamy, tropical vegan strawberry coconut cream smoothie.
Sipping this reminded me of my childhood summers. Back then my favorite frozen treat was a strawberry shake from the local Dairy Queen. To me, nothing tasted sweeter, or cooled me off better (well, maybe jumping in the local swimming pool) on a hot and sticky day.
I grew up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, a small historic town where kids grew up free range. As soon as my friends and I were old enough to tell time we were allowed to ride our bikes to the swimming pool, to Rexall’s to buy penny candy, to the Chocolate Factory (if we were in the mood for an ice cream sundae), to the Rivoli movie theater to take in a double feature, to the small waterfall near the old mill (according to my brother we surfed it to the river below, I don’t remember that), and to the Dairy Queen for a strawberry shake.
Growing up in that charming town was like being part of a Norman Rockwell painting. There were parades down Washington Avenue (the main street of the town) on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day – I twirled the baton in the majorette club for every one of them in my pre-teen years.
And as if this idyllic little city didn’t have enough ingredients of the American dream, it was also the home of the county fairgrounds. Think of a week of tilt-a-whirling, funnel caking, hanging with friends bliss.
Even winter time was magic in Cedarburg. We went ice skating on the river that ran through the town, went sledding on the local hill, and built some of the most bad ass snow forts you’ve ever seen. All without parental supervision.
One of my fondest memories of growing up in Cedarburg – besides strawberry shakes, snow forts, and the freedom to be a kid – was Christmas time. One year in particular stands out in my memory like it was yesterday. I was about thirteen years old and my dad asked me if I would go to Armbruster Jewelers to pick out a necklace for my mom’s Christmas present. It was at that moment that I went from feeling like a little kid, to believing that I was all grown up. From that moment on I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. I had to make my dad proud and my mom happy. For some kids this might have been too much pressure, but it wasn’t for me. I was born to take care of people, and this task was a gift to me too, and my dad knew that.
That day seemed like the longest day of my life. I couldn’t concentrate in school, in fact I think I got called out by a few teachers that day for my lack of attention. It didn’t matter though, because I was going to buy jewelry for my mother, all by myself.
As soon as the last bell rang I put my coat and hat on and ran out of the school towards town. When I reached the jewelry store fifteen minutes later, I put my hand on the heavy wood and glass door, took a deep breath, and went inside. The old wood floors squeaked as I walked toward the glass jewelry case that held the gold necklaces. The building had a musky smell that had a calming effect on my jittery nerves. I was so overwhelmed by the idea of talking to the jeweler, and I worried if my voice would work when I had to speak.
Like most small towns, everyone knew everyone, and this wasn’t an exception. I’m sure that my dad called ahead to tell them that I was coming, but I didn’t know that then, and I wasn’t sure if they’d sell me anything because I was too young. But my anxiety was for nothing because the woman who helped me choose the delicate gold chain that I bought for my mother that day went out of her way to make me feel so grown up. After what seemed like an hour of carefully choosing the perfect necklace for my mom, I left the store with a beautifully wrapped box tucked into a small bag, and I began walking home.
It would be hard to verbalize how joyous I felt that December afternoon. My father had entrusted me to buy my mother expensive jewelry, Christmas was only days away, and that meant no school for two weeks, and I had just taken a leap into adulthood.
The walk home was cold, the sun was setting, and if on cue, it started to snow. The street was empty and silent and the spirit of Christmas filled my thirteen year old heart, so I started singing carols out loud. When I look back at that time and I can feel the love and joy that I had for my family, my home town, and my life. It’s one of the places I go when I’m feeling ungrateful or overwhelmed.
If you’re still reading this I’m sure you’re wondering, what does that story have to do with a strawberry coconut cream smoothie? Everything.
Food connects us to our past. Tasting the sweet strawberries and the creamy texture of this smoothie took me back to Cedarburg. It reminded me of the carefree days of being a kid, and how much I loved strawberry shakes from the Dairy Queen, which took me back to my sweetest childhood memory. It’s all intertwined and beautiful, food and memories.
I haven’t thought about my love of strawberry shakes in a long time, because Dairy Queen has been off of my radar for years. But it only took one sip of this vegan strawberry coconut cream smoothie for my mind to flash back to a skinny, freckle faced girl on a ten speed bike, riding no hands while sipping on a strawberry shake.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
What foods trigger your happy memories?