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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.

Source

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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My garden (easy tomato sauce recipe)

My garden

My garden

 

I’m not afraid to try new things, except for gardening that is. Even though I grew up on a farm, every plant I tried to grow, as a kid, was either barren or died. Once again this year gardening season rolled around and I said, “I’ll try it next year.” Besides I was 7 months pregnant and moving to a new house. And then low and behold a friend gives me two heirloom tomato plants, two pepper plants, and a basil plant. How could I just waste two lovely purple, organic, heirloom tomato plants? So I “sowed and I hoed and I watched my [little Italian] garden grow.” And just like in Muncha, Muncha, Muncha* I was convinced that little bunnies would eat my plants.

They didn’t.

There was only one slight problem with my plentiful garden, we don’t like nawrrring on raw tomatoes. So I sauced them. But seriously making tomato sauce isn’t fun. A person has to blanche, and chop and deseed and cook put them through a masher thingy, and then can them.  I don’t have time to shower let alone make tomato sauce.

But my mom saved the day with this little back-woods-Idaho trick. Never mind all that skin and seed removal, just throw all the tomatoes in a blender and the chuck ’em in a jar and your set.

Making and canning tomato sauce

  • Wash tomatoes
  • Chop tomatoes into quarters
  • Blend to a smooth sauce in blender
  • Bring to boil
  • Add herb (or just leave plain)
  • Cook tomato sauce
  • Fill canning jars with  boiling water
  • Pour out water
  • Add boiling tomato sauce
  • Put lid on with ring loosely secured
  • Wait for lid to seal as the jar cools
  • Store

And for you visual people

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Tomatoes

Blender

Blend

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Boil

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Store

Cheers

Note: I did use this sauce in a lasagnas and a pizza; it turned out nice. Also, when you blend it, it will have the consistency of a smoothie, but resist the temptation of watering it down because it looks to thick. The boiling will change the slurry into regular tomato sauce.

*Most of my literary allusions come from Honora’s favorite books since that’s all the literature I read now.

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Recipe: Carrot Pulp Pancakes (GAPS, Vegan)

I’ve been making a lot of fresh carrot juice (in my blender) lately. That creates a lot of carrot pulp. While visiting family, my mom had make these lovely carrot patties for breakfast out of carrot pulp.  I decided to search the web and see if I could find a recipe for carrot patties. I did only all of them called for eggs. Eggs make me sick, literally. So I did what I should have done in the first place, call my mom. Here is the recipe she gave me.

Carrot Pulp Pancakes (GAPS, Vegan)

1 cup Carrot pulp

½ cup almond flour or coconut flour

2 TBSP. peanut butter or almond butter.

Mix ingredients together. Let them sit for 10 minute while you heat up a greased skilled. Form batter into patties and place on hot skillet. Cook until side is brown. Flip. Cook until the other side is brown too. Serve and Enjoy.

 

Now I can enjoy pancakes for breakfast with my husband.

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Recipe: Bavarian Beef with German Mustard

Prep. 25 min.

Cook: Low 8 hrs, High 4 hrs

Makes: 8 Servings

Slow Cooker:

3 1/2 or 4 quart

 

1  2 1/2-3 lb boneless beef chuck pot roast

4 carrots

2  Large onions, chopped

3/4  cup chopped kosher-style dill pickles

2  stalks celery, sliced

1/2  cup dry red wine or beef broth

1/3  cup German style mustard (see below)

1/2  tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

2  bay leaves

1/4  cup beef broth or cold water

Hot cooked spaetzle or cooked noodles (optional)

Chopped  kosher-style dill pickles (optional)

Crisp-cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)

 

1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meet to fit into slow cooker

2. In the slow cooker combine carrots, onions, the 3/4 cup pickles, and the celery. Place meet on top of vegetables.

3. In a small bowl combine wine, mustard, pepper cloves, and bay leaves. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours. Transfer meet to a serving platter. Cover with foil to keep warm.

4. For gravy, transfer vegetables and cooking liquid to a 2 quart saucepan. Skim off fat. Discard bay leaves. In a small bowl stir together broth water and flour. Stir into the mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve gravy with meat and vegetables. If desired, serve with hot cooked spaetzle or noodles and top with additional chopped pickles and bacon. 

This recipe is taken from Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Slow Cooker Recipes Volume 2.

 

Spiced German Mustard

By Olha

Ingredients:

Yield: 1 cup

Directions:

  1. Combine cold water, mustard seed and dry mustard in medium bowl. Cover. Let stand for about 3 hours until mixture thickens to a paste.
  2. Combine next 10 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium high. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until reduced by half. Add to mustard mixture. Stir. Transfer to blender or food processor. Pulse with on/off motion until mustard is slightly thickened but grains are still visible. Pour into small heavy saucepan or top of double boiler. Heat on medium low or over simmering water for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. Add honey. Stir well. Cool. Transfer to small bowl. Cover. Chill for 3 days. Spoon into sterile jar with tight fitting lid. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 year. Makes about 1 cup.

This recipe is from food.com Added December 22, 2005 | Recipe #149090

I served this meal with Roasted Cauliflower in Mustard and Sauerkraut. Then I used the left over mustard to dip my roast in, quite tasty.

Roast Cauliflower

Chopped into pieces

cover bottom of jelly roll pan with oil (I use coconut oil)

roast in oven at 400 F for 30-35 min.

Mix with warmed German Mustard.

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Recipe: Refreshing Raspberry Leaf Tea

image

 

I love tea. I drink it winter and summer except for this summer. Excessive heat/humidity and pregnancy don’t mesh very well. Plus, too much caffeine, the experts say, isn’t best for the babies development.

I tried to compromise by drinking cold red raspberry leaf tea. I thought, it must be great since raspberry tea is my favorite. Unfortunately, red, ripe raspberries are my favorite not green, grassy raspberry leaves. So to beat the heat and get down some of this lovely leafy stuff, I came up with a refreshing blend that really is quite delightful. 

 

two raspberry leaf tea bags (Traditional Medicinals and Alvita are good brands)

two traditional medicinals pregnancy tea bags

one tazo passion tea bag

1/4 cup honey

1 liter water

  Heat up half the water to just under boiling, add tea bags and honey, stir, let brew for 15 minutes or so. Pour in the other half of the water and some ice cubes and enjoy.

 

 

The benefits of red raspberry leaf tea for pregnancy from some tea website

“Brewed as a tea, red raspberry leaf is one of the safest and commonly used tonic herbs for women wanting to get pregnant or for women who are already pregnant. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) tones the uterus, improves contractions and decreases constipation. It also contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and calcium. The alkaloid fragrine is thought to help tone the uterus.”

The pregnancy health center (website I stole the picture from) has more information on the benefits of this tea during the last trimester of pregnancy.