Roasted Strawberry Milkshake // Not Without Salt

This story has nothing and yet everything to do with roasted strawberry milkshakes. Regardless, I’m going to tell it if for the only reason that I can’t get it out of my head until I get it onto paper (or the screen as the case may be).

Gabe and I sat down to a simple meal – a sort of unintended date night. The kids were already in bed and we hadn’t eaten yet, so I stumbled into the kitchen to make us some dinner.

At the edge of the table I set out a cloth napkin and placed the hot cast iron skillet on top. In it tomatoes danced around long-simmered poblano peppers and onions with a few just-set eggs in the middle of it all. Next to the skillet I laid out some homemade bread – too dense, too wheaty and yet, homemade so it really wasn’t too bad.

Our plates sat by the hot pan and I lifted my phone above the scene just enough so that the bread, the skillet and our plates were in view. As I studied the image I noticed that a few random papers made their way into the corner of the frame. I pushed them just out of view and tried for another shot. This time a few of our computer cables cluttered the top right of the image and I shoved them aside and tried again.

Three-quarters of our table was a mess of papers, books, spiderman coloring pages, hello kitty stickers, coffee cups and clumps of oatmeal from the morning. I opted to only shoot the last quarter of our table that showed a simple, yet beautiful meal. I paused that moment which showed two people about to sit down together, after a long day, to enjoy dinner and one another.

For some reason this scene grabbed my attention. For a moment I asked myself, am I being deceitful? It’s not really the whole picture. The reality is the table was a disaster and we were relegated to a fraction of it, tucked deep into the corner because the mess from the day still showed.

But then an even louder voice shuddered the shame and told me, this is what it looks like to have eyes for joy. To be able to focus on the fraction that isn’t messy, that shows beauty and truth and a gift rather than concentrate on the mess.

I hold Ivy tightly on the couch, our legs intertwined. She nestles into my chest as if she’s a part of me. I alternate between kissing the top of her head and smelling it. Breathing in the moment, I count it as joy.

Roasted Strawberry Milkshake // Not Without Salt

Roasted Strawberry Milkshake // Not Without Salt

Baron’s words move faster than I can listen as he spouts of the plan for his clan in his new favorite game, Clash of Clans. He’s bursting to boast of his scheme and we listen intently not because we’re so thrilled by his stockpile of gold but because he’s so happy. I squeeze his cheeks together so his lips pucker and his eyes squish against the weight of my hands just as they did when I squished his baby cheeks together. I kiss him regardless of disgusted groans. His smirk doesn’t hide the fact that he still loves my squeezes. This moment is joy.

Gabe came home from the grocery store and before he even made it into the kitchen I could smell the sweet earthy scent radiating from the flat of strawberries he brought home. The kids and I eagerly descended upon the box and immediately stained our fingers with their sweet and vibrant juice. One bite and I had visions of ducking into the rows of berries to pick pounds and pounds to get us through the winter. That taste, so simple and familiar, is joy.

These moments are tucked in between the spilled milk, a relentless pile of laundry, a sink full of dirty dishes, bandaging a scraped knee and a word that falls painfully on my heart. I can choose to go through my day and see only the things that need to be done and the things that I’m not doing but I want a life that recognizes the spurts and bursts of joy that interject our days. I want to laugh as infectiously as the Car Talk brothers and be the source of someone else’s smile. I want to hold my kids tight in this moment not longing for the past or fretting about what’s next but enjoying this moment. I want to sit at the end of a table with my husband and talk to him about his day while ignoring the mess on the other side. I want to pause in the middle of drinking my milkshake and take in its sweetness and soft vanilla scent wading through the pink straw and recognize it for the gift it really is.

I’m still new at this. It is a habit I’m developing. When I’m present to my day even the laundry pile is a reminder of how fortunate we are. The scraped knee is a reminder to be thankful for our bodies that move, grow and heal. It’s not some sort of sappy, false happiness, it’s much greater than that. It’s so much easier for me to let things pile on and feel burdened and distraught but what a better way to live – to present to the joy and recognize its presence all around.

Roasted Strawberry Milkshake // Not Without Salt

Roasted Strawberry Milkshake // Not Without Salt


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Roasted Strawberry Milkshake

A hot oven never ceases to amaze me. I sit in awe in front of the oven window watching butter, flour and water turn into flaky pastry and now I’ve turned to the oven to transform fresh berries into a sweet, tart and jammy mix that makes a simple strawberry milkshake into something pretty damn magical.

All of this is very adaptable. Add sugar or not, add more berries or less, add a shot of liqueur or leave it out.


8 cups halved strawberries

1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.


Place strawberries on a parchment lined sheet tray and sprinkle with sugar. Toss the strawberries with the sugar and vanilla seeds and place the vanilla bean on the tray with the berries too.

Roast for 30-40 minutes until some of the edges of the strawberries have crisped, the berries have softened and a pool of ruby red juice covers the pan.


For the milkshake:


Place a good amount, about a pint, of vanilla ice cream into a blender or food processor along with a cup, or so, of cooled roasted berries and their juice. Blend or pulse until smooth.

Pour into cups and serve with whipped cream.


56 Responses to “Roasted Strawberry Milkshake”

  1. Preeti

    This looks totally delicious!!! Going to try this weekend.
    Your words are so simple and heart touching. Have a great day. 🙂

  2. Kankana

    That’s the beauty of life, finding joy in living with people you love. It’s such a beautiful post and I love roasted strawberries more than the plain ones. It gets sweeter and more flavorful!

  3. Kathryn

    Oh Ashley, this post is exactly what I needed to read this morning. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the routine and minutiae of every day life and to get stuck there, feeling like you’re waiting for time to pass rather than embracing it. Thank you.

    Also, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend and your son could spend hour after hour talking about Clash of Clans…

  4. hannah

    Oh, your words! Just what I needed to hear. I often think about this very thing – am I being deceitful to only show the pretty bits of life? No. It’s what I see. It’s what speaks to me. It’s what I want to share with the world. You’ve got to cultivate that joy and wonder. Thanks so much for writing about it.


    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Hannah – Thanks for commenting. I think this is what I love about photography – and I’ve only recently discovered this – with the camera around my neck I’m constantly seeking for the beautiful moments. And often they lurk where I least expect them – in a freshly washed leek, a frizzled head of fennel, a bowl of creamed butter and sugar – each snap is a moment of joy. What a gift it is to carry a camera and seek those moments. And YOU seek them so beautifully, my friend.

  5. Hannah

    I want to see the pics you WERE taking too! Who’s with me on that? And, I want to make the “milkshake” with greek yogurt!

  6. Trina

    I just finished a book called 1000 blessings by Ann voskamp and it so reminded me of this post! Seeing the joy and blessings all around us throughout the day, cultivating a heart of thankfulness and living in joy in the midst of whatever circumstances. This is such a precious post, thankful for your honesty even just about little things like your messy table! Takes away any temptation for me to romanticize and feel guilty for times when life doesn’t look as pretty as your pictures. Grateful for your authenticity..and that milkshake..ohmygoodness!!

  7. sandra

    I can relate. I am always moving toys and papers away from a shot to make it look more artful, simple, clean… but the mess of life with children is beautiful too.

  8. Ashlae

    I’ve been staring at my laundry pile for days, annoyed by it/hoping it would magically clean itself.. but you’re right – it’s a reminder of how fortunate we are. To have clothes on our backs. And a laundry room – even if it is out the front door and down the hall – to make the cleaning process much easier than it is for a lot of people in this world.

    I like you, lady. And this milkshake.

  9. Mark

    Wow this post really hit home. As a father of twins, blogger and personal chef I know this feeling. Everything is chaos and yet beauty at the same time. This wonderful organized chaos is what defines us. Keep up the great work. I am making this shake as I text…

  10. amy

    I so get it… with three young boys and an adolescent dog (!)… it can get chaotic. We are “that family” 🙂 It’s with a deliberate purpose that I must choose joy, choose to overlook the laundry pile, and enjoy the moment of these crazy days. Because I know someday I’ll miss the chaos. (probably) 😉

  11. Nettie Croy

    LOVE, LOVE, this post. You have to be conscious every day and choose joy. Everyday you have to choose again. Thank you for saying it in beautiful words. Love your blog.

  12. sara forte

    love to hear (read?) this from you. Makes me so happy. SO HAPPY! Keep seeking it, seeing it and being filled from finding all the tiny things it is obvious as well as hidden in. xo

  13. A

    I don’t typically comment on blogs, but this post put into words thoughts and feelings that have been mulling about in my heart. You are right it is a gift to be able to find and focus on the joy and beauty around us! It is a blessing to find things that give us joy and beauty in our day, and hold them in a moment and treasure those small moments in our days. This is where I find happiness, in those moments of either created or spontaneous joy. Joy, beauty, happiness deserve our rapt attention. Thank you for your blog – I always look forward to your posts and your recipes are awesome!

  14. Katie Munnik

    Joy and strawberries! Thank you for both and for your wise words. This June is a full and crazy month for us with the end of school and nursery and another baby about to arrive. We’re eyeballs deep in need-to-be-dones and celebrations and the all mess of family. Your story and your milkshakes are just what we need right about now.

  15. Jean |

    Ashley, I’m always trying to slow down my thoughts and be in the moment, fully enjoying the good things as they come, even when they come when I’m “busy.” Of course, it’s easy to slow down for strawberries!

  16. sundiegoeats

    Just looked at the roasted strawberry and toasted coconut popsicles recipe on Joy the Baker and now you’re doing them too! I maintain what I said about how great it is to roast fruits to bring out more flavor before you mix them with a boat load of cream 🙂

  17. Jessica

    Absolutely beautiful pictures, making my mouth water. But besides that, your story of “every-day life” truly warms my heart. This is exactly what life is all about, it what makes us all tick, love that you share between your husband and children is what makes the world go ’round. I truly believe everyone should take a note of your advice and look into their lives and pull out that same joy from every day experiences. It is possible and happening every single day in each of our lives, some others just happen to be so caught up in other negativity that they don’t notice the joy – which is what they are ultimately seeking anyway – crazy life huh : )

    Thank you for your sweet words.

  18. Shanna

    A, You are a gem. Thank you for this post and for being a voice of light and truth over and over again. -s

  19. Laura Dembowski

    Sometimes life is about showing only part of the picture and that’s okay. Parts of life can be messy and complicated but that makes us appreciate the parts that aren’t even more.

    Roasted strawberries have such a great flavor. Try adding a little balsamic for an interesting little twist.

  20. Justin

    This is a great blog! I really think that these milkshakes would be amazing! Anyways, I loved the story you told in it. I also loved how you left how to make these milkshakes ! Thank you so much!

  21. Kiran @

    Beautiful reminder about how much we need to take time to embrace our life, even in the smallest way possible 🙂

    I need this milkshake in my life! YUM!

  22. Steph

    Wow, what a beautifully thoughtful post (not to mention a fine looking milkshake). This is my first time here, and you have a new follower.

  23. Trisha @ Vignette

    I love how simple moments can transcend into powerful and profound realizations about life. Focusing on the beauty in the midst of a mess is such a wonderful outlook to have!

  24. sarah

    I’m so late to responding, but I just loved this post. I’ve been having the same questions about sometimes only showing the ‘pretty’ part of things, and loved your conclusion. So beautiful. (and those shakes looks amazing.)

  25. Jenn Davis

    This was such a great reminder to appreciate the little moments! I have my own collection of moments of joy, only I call them ‘stop me in my tracks’ moments, because they are the times you stop and realize life is about enjoying it, not rushing through it! Love your post and can not wait to make this milkshake!

  26. Dana

    This is a beautiful post Ashley. I appreciate the fact that you always keep it real and you seem to find joy in everyday life. Lovely.

  27. Gina

    What a beautiful article and love the idea of roasted berries in ice cream! I have been on a Quest to create the perfect yogurt pop recipe. Your roasted strawberries has inspired my next recipe!

  28. Robyn Donaldson

    Yummy, I love these sweet homemade treats, especially with strawberries being in season. I never thought to roast them though and use the vanilla bean, nice touch!

  29. Hipolito M. Wiseman

    I just want to mention I’m all new to blogging and definitely loved your page. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You certainly have perfect articles and reviews. Thanks a lot for revealing your website page.

  30. Issy

    This milkshake is thing of dreams.
    From the smell of the strawberries softly roasting perfuming our home, to the heavenly milkshake entire. This makes the world a better place. Thanks x

  31. Kaitlyn

    We are toasting the summer solstice right now with this glorious drink. This is the essence of simple summer goodness. I brought home a flat of strawberries from the Bellevue Farmer’s market yesterday, and my husband said he wanted strawberry milkshakes. I remembered seeing your recipe from two years ago and gave it a whirl tonight. I’ve never tasted roasted strawberries before. They are completely different from any other way I’ve prepared them and definitely essential for such a flavorful end result. Thank you, Ashley, not only for a beautiful recipe that yielded so much enjoyment from so little effort, but also for your thoughts on savoring the moment and letting things go. Milkshakes in lieu of laundry tonight!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Such a lovely comment. Thank you for taking the time to write and encourage me in such a sweet way. Now I want a roasted strawberry milkshake. 🙂