In the Junkyard Tales story “Junkyard Valentine's Day,” the Junkyard animals celebrate their love and appreciation for each other with their traditional Valentine's Day gift exchange. Everyone draws one name from a hat to learn who will receive their gift. But when Ben Thompson, clever cat, picks the name of Georgia Bean, the kindly rat, he panics. Georgia Bean is like a mother to all the animals! There’s no one better at being kind, caring, and generous. What could he possibly give her?
Partly for the same reason that Ben panics when he has to think of a gift for Georgia Bean, our family has started the tradition of having milkshakes on Valentine's Day instead of giving gifts. Sometimes we make them at home, sometimes we go out. (Part of the joy is that it's easy to scale up or scale down depending on what day of the week Valentine's Day falls on.) It's a sweet, just-special-enough way to celebrate.
This year, rather than making just one flavor, I'm playing with the idea of setting up a milkshake bar and letting the kids personalize their milkshakes. I'm probably over-thinking it, but I like the idea of showing them love by making up a creation that's as unique as they are.
We don't have a large blender, so I also decided to experiment with shaking our milkshakes by hand. The novelty of it was actually a blast, so I'm sharing our method with you today.
I've listed our exact ingredients below, but you should absolutely substitute flavors and toppings to make your milkshakes specific to you and yours. Whether you'd like to start your own Valentine's milkshake tradition or just whip up something fun on a Saturday afternoon, have a sweet time giving these milkshakes a try.
(makes 2, 8-ounce shakes)
1 pint vanilla ice cream
About ⅓ cup milk
A few tablespoons each of your favorite toppings and mix-ins (We used diced frozen strawberries, Skittles, and pink sprinkles.)
About 15 minutes before you plan to make your milkshakes, set the ice cream out on the counter to soften just a bit.
When the ice cream is ready, scoop about half of it into a large, lidded container. (No need to get fussy about exact measurements for this one. Just eyeball it.)
Pour over about half the milk, and add whatever toppings you'd like.
Now, put the lid on your container, making sure it's nice and tight. Then, shake it, shake it, shake it! We traded off shaking ours for 2-3 minutes until the ice cream and milk were fully combined.
Once that's done — and you've gotten your arm workout for the day — pour the milkshake into an 8-ounce glass. Top it with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of additional toppings. Repeat the process with the other half of your ingredients.
While you could get some fancy straws to go with these, as with any milkshake, the straw gets clogged pretty quickly with the toppings. My advice: skip the frustration and just go at it with a spoon. Happy Valentine's Day!
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.