I have been one of those lucky people who, up until now, has coasted through life without many major life-altering events. With more positives to count than negatives. I am so grateful for that, but I always knew in the back of my mind that the day would come that I would have to face something that I didn't really want to face. That day when I would get a phone call that would change everything.
Well, about two weeks ago, I got that phone call. My mom was being rushed to the hospital. You don't really know how strong you are until you are tested. I never thought I would be able to survive that day ….. and what I learned is that not only did I survive, but a new side of me came out that I never knew I had, but has probably been there all along. This kind of super power strength and resilience that I've admired in others just decided to show up that day and take over. I like this side a lot, I hope it sticks around.
My past few weeks have been filled with long days at the hospital, talking with doctors and trying to keep her spirits up. As you can imagine, I quickly got sick of eating hospital cafeteria food, so I decided to start bringing my shakes and lunches for myself every day. I even pack an extra one for my mom so that she gets a little break from the terrible hospital food they've been feeding her. Food, once again, has found it's way to being a connector, even in this situation. My smoothies have brought a smile to my mom's face and have added a little brightness to her day. They've also become a conversation piece with the nurses who like to talk about food as much as I do. Food is bringing me moments of happiness, peace and normalcy …. which is exactly what I need right now.
In an effort to keep this my positive, happy place, I will spare you all the in-between details and the sad moments and skip to the part where I will tell you that my mom is going to be okay, and she is going to get better soon. We both survived, and my outer skin is a little thicker now.
So when things are looking down, the best way to cheery them up? MILKSHAKES. And, if things are extra extra tough, then you add rhubarb to the milkshake. I promise, it will add instant brightness to your day.
(and …. if your day is really really really rough and you want to sneak some booze to your milkshake, no judgements here what-so-ever)
This recipe may yield more rhubarb than you need for the milkshake. Extra rhubarb is hardly a bad thing. I saved my extras and served them over some coconut ice cream for dessert one night. I would encourage you to do the same.
If you cannot find fresh rhubarb, you can always try and look for some in the frozen section. Strawberries, which are making their way around again soon, would also make an excellent substitute.
rhubarb milkshake | vegan
1 large / 2 small milkshakes
5-6 rhubarb stalks, trimmed and diced (add in a couple more if you want extras)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
a pinch of sea salt
2+ cups of nut milk (homemake almond milk is best)
1 banana (frozen, preferably)
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch or two of nutmeg
a handful or two of ice
optional (if you want to make this more of a sweet treat or dessert): a scoop or two of non-dairy ice cream, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut
Pre-heat the oven to 400º
Place the diced rhubarb on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss with the maple syrup and vanilla. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the rhubarb is very tender and broken down. Set aside in a small container, and allow to cool.
Add the nut milk, banana, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the blender. Add in 1/4 cup of the rhubarb. If you have extra rhubarb, you are welcome to add it to the milkshake or you can save it in an air-tight container in the fridge and use it over ice cream or toast or any other way you choose.
Blend on high until smooth. Add in the ice and blend again until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, and feel free to add more milk if you want a thinner consistency.
Pour into a tall glass and (if you like) finish with a small scoop of vanilla non-dairy milk and a sprinkle of coconut and nutmeg (if you choose). Enjoy.