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Recipe: Masala Chai (Tea)

I am addicted to Chai Tea.
It is seriously my Prozac.
Now, I’m of course talking about my homemade from scratch chai not the little packets you buy in the store.

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There are probably 5 million of these recipes floating around Pinterest, but they aren’t as good as mine (ok there are probably like 4 or 5 but not that many). Why? Because I had mine passed on to me by a dear friend then I spent many years perfecting it. Not to mention, it is made with whole spices not ground spices (Bleh).

Masala Chai (Tea) Recipe
6 cups water
3 sticks cinnamon
15 all spice berries
10 black pepper corns
10 cloves
5 slices of fresh ginger
5 star anise
8-10 cardamom pods
2 grates of nutmeg
6 bags or 4-6 Tbsps. black tea
1/3 cup organic sugar cane
1 tap vanilla

Add spices to water. Bring to a boil, set heat on low and simmer with lid on pan for 20 minutes to 3 hours. Strain out spices. Bring spiced water back to a boil. Take off heat and add black tea (do not boil the tea). Steep for 5 minutes. Strain out black tea. Add sugar and vanilla and stir till dissolved.

Heat ½ cup chai tea mixture with ½ cup milk for a lovely drink. Or mix with milk and enjoy cold.

“Each batch of Chai has its own Karma” -Joanna

Usually when I make chai, I just eye ball the spices. Sometimes, I crack the spices with a mortal ands pestle to help them steep better but most times I don’t.
By using whole spices, it gives me the ability to add a little more cardamom or ginger or less clove or allspice and tweak the taste till I have found a blend that is perfect for my taste buds, hence why I think my recipe is the best. I also like to experiment with using different teas: green, oolong, or rooibos (although black is my favorite).

If you want to make real authentic chai, then boil the spices and tea with water and milk, but if you do this, you have to drink it right away. I like to make two quarts of the chai then mix with milk whenever I want a cup.

Since I use quality spices, I usually get two batches out of one set of spices. After I strain out spiced liquid (before I add the tea), I add more water to the spices and put them back on the heat to simmer. Usually this second batch is simmered longer than the first. I even turn off the heat and just let it sit all night. This second batch can be weaker, but still makes a nice brew.

Usually I pick up my spices from Penzey’s Spices or Whole foods.

Although, I am a severe critic of chai tea brews, here is one that is also positively smashing as well.

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Clarke Clan: The Legend of Matt Burke

*This is a post I wrote in the Summer of 2013 but forgot to post*

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What you’ve never heard of Matt Burke!? Well, he is a veritable legend around our house. About on par with Santa Clause (if Santa Clause was an organic farmer with a slightly Amish beard).

But if you are 2 year-old Honora Jane, Matt Burke can give you anything not just organic eggs from happy hens who have been tucked into bed each night and sung a lullabies until they fall asleep, but anything your little heart might desire. As per this conversation.

Honora: “Mommy, I need tea.”
Me: “What kind of tea?”
Honora: “Chai tea from Matt Burke.”
Me: Honora, I make my own Chai from scratch. It’s pretty delish, and I do not get it from Matt Burke.

Like I said, even though Matt Burke grows and sells a delicious variety of fruits, veggies, chickens, and eggs, we mainly just get nutritious eggs from him. Sometimes Ryan picks up our eggs before work. How Honora knows this is beyond me, but she does. Here is just one of our morning conversations as I get her out of bed.

Honora: “Papa is gone.”
Me: “Yup, he went to work.”
Honora: “He went to get Eggs from Matt Burke.”
Me: “Yes, Honora, yes he did.”

And so that is how Matt Burke has reached the realm of “legend” (at least in the Clarke home), and I think that’s how it should be because Honora is learning that real food is grown by real people and doesn’t magically appear in a box on a shelf. And let’s all admit it, growing real food (that you can actually sell to other people) does take just a tiny bit of magic.

So if you like tasty food, go hug a farmer or at the very least buy some zucchini or eggs from him.

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Thursday Meditation: Quote by George MacDonald

This has been my prayer this weekend while I was dreadfully sick.

“If I felt my heat as hard as stone; if I did not love God, or man, or woman, or little child, I would yet say to God in my heart, ‘O God, see how I trust Thee, because Thou are perfect, and not changeable like me. I do not love Thee. I love nobody. I am not even sorry for it. Thou sees how much I need Thee to come close to me, to put Thy arm round me, to say to me ‘my child’: for the worse my state, the greater my need of my Father who loves me. Come to me, and my days will dawn; my love will come back, and, oh! how I shall love Thee, my God! and know that my love is Thy love, my blessedness Thy being.‘ ” -George MacDonald*

I think of my little daughter crying over a hurt or offense, and her father kindly calming her down and listening to her, hugging her, kissing her, and speaking truth to her. Sometimes she goes away happy other times she still sulks, but she is secure.

Oh to be that vulnerable with my heavenly Father! To rest in His grace as it renews my heart. This prayer by George MacDonald is my new prayer in time of suffering be it small or large.

Honors sitting in a basket while Ryan sleeps on the floor.

Honors sitting in a basket while Ryan sleeps on the floor.

*qtd in Elizabeth Elliot’s Keeping a Quiet Heart by Revell (bold text my own)

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Clarke Clan: April Fools or Parent’s Day to Pull Tricks on Kids 2014

Today we celebrated April Fool’s Day. Yes, two days late but late is better than never.
I decided to make a fun meal that consisted of cupcakes, fruit salad, and juice.

Honora is a HUGE fan of cupcakes. Nothing gets her more excited than cupcakes. She even enjoys watching Cupcakes Wars with me and runs around says 5 more minutes, Folks.

So for our meal, I decided to serve dessert first and of course those were cupcakes.

Meat and Potato Cupcakes

Meat and Potato Cupcakes

I cut up a cupcake and served it to here. Here is a picture montage of her reaction to my April Fool’s cupcake.

Anticipation

Anticipation

First bite

First bite

Something is wrong

Something is wrong

What is this?

What is this?

Not cupcake

Not cupcake

I have been fooled!

I have been fooled!

I basically died laughing. And after I told her what the cupcakes consisted of, she happily ate them up.

It may not be cupcake, but it is tasty.

It may not be cupcake, but it is tasty.

Second course was fruit salad: Avocado, chocolate pudding

Cupcakes, fruit salad, and juice

Cupcakes, fruit salad, and juice

Avocado and chocolate are fruits.
This was also a success.

Next was a refreshing fruit drink to finish off the meal. Honora loves straws so she instantly started sucking the stuff down.
She decided it was too silly and wanted a spoon instead of a straw.

Eating juice jello

Eating juice jello

April Fool’s Day is way better with kids.

Unfortunately Rosalyn was not impressed.

Rosalyn was not impressed.

Rosalyn was not impressed.