As kids get older they become aware of lots of things you probably wish they wouldn't. For example, I’m sure we can all remember the first time our little ones took note of the inviting cartoon faces on the sides of sugar cereal boxes at the supermarket. The more tuned in kids become, the more they will start to ask you for things you want them to stay way clear of.
Recently, to my dismay, my kids have become transfixed by the delicious fruit based juices at our local Farmers’ Market. Every weekend, lined up on the tables of the prepared food stands sit enormous glass jars filled with a rainbow of flavored lemonades, watermelon fruit juice and a creamy, milky drink called Horchata. Kenya has started regularly begging for a horchata to accompany his weekly Farmers’ Market pupusa. I was fine with it the first couple of times, but he’s now addicted to them and there’s just way too much refined sugar in all of these juice drinks for me to let it become a regular thing. But not wanting to deprive Kenya of something he loves, I decided to come up with my own recipe.
There are different varieties of horchatas from Spain to Latin America, but the inspiration for this one comes from Mexico, where rice is used as the base for the drink. Even though this drink looks just like a cup of milk, it's not made using any milk at all. The whitish tan color comes from the starch of the rice that gets ground, strained and mixed with the other ingredients. My recipe is a bit different because it contains a lot less sugar then most pre-made horchatas, but it's still unbelievably delicious. Instead of white sugar I let the kids squeeze in some honey or agave until we think the flavor is just right. They also have fun getting to toss the cinnamon stick in the blender.
Even though it’s still tough dissuading Kenya from wanting to have a big cup of horchata at the market, the excitement of waiting to get home and make our own ultimately wins out and is certainly worth it's weight in fun!