On Secret Recipes . . .

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

Have you read our GUEST POST on Ashley's blog today? If not, you're missing out -- we share some of our tasty, but thrifty kitchen staples. You know, those foods that give us the most bang for our buck both in flavor AND nutrition. If you haven't, be sure to check it out at some point today!

Now, I'm not a coffee drinker. In fact, I rarely touch the stuff. My warm beverage of choice is herbal tea, more often than not. When the cooler months come around, chai tops the list. So, when I started feeling fall-ish this weekend, I craved -- you guessed it! -- chai. Problem is, one mug of the stuff costs almost $5 out. Make it with soy? You're asking for at least a $6 bill.

I mean. C'mon! What's IN this stuff?

A trip to the grocery store only yielded a carton of condensed/sweetened mix that cost, again, nearly $5. Of course, that carton boasts many more servings than a measly single one. Still, I thought, I could do better.

Homemade is always best -- am I right? Why not make my own batch? Yes! Why not?! And thus begins the story of why I drank 8 tall mugs of chai yesterday.

You see . . . broken into its component parts, chai is nothing more than black tea mixed with several spices. There are many different mixes I've consumed over the years -- some sweeter, some bolder, some garden-variety -- so when I set out to make my own, I also set out to make my VERY own.

A unique chai blend. A secret recipe, because I have only a mere few.

Today, my dear readers, I won't be sharing my secret recipe for maple-cocoa chai -- a mix that goes perfectly well with almond milk. Warms the body and spirit. But if you're just dying to make your own, here's a basic recipe that'll get the job done. From there, you can let your imagination (and taste-buds) go wild!


What you'll need . . .
  • 3/4 cup dry black tea (I just cut up some black tea bags we had around the house)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Almond milk (or other)
  • Agave or honey

Method . . .
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Put in a bag or other container to store.
  2. Use 1 teaspoon tea mix per 3/4 cup water (or so, depending on your preference). We used a French press to make ours -- I think it's the easiest method.
  3. Again, this part's all about preference, but I like to fill my glass about 2/3 full with tea, 1/3 with milk, and add a bit of sweetener. Mix. Enjoy.

It took me mug after mug to get this recipe to meet my specific tastes. But it's well worth the effort. We're talking probably less than 50 cents a mug versus almost $5. Plus, it's cool to make something that you love . . . that's specifically catered to your unique tastes. If you like your tea spicy, consider cayenne pepper and more ginger/cloves. More tame? Maybe some more cinnamon and sugar.

For me, THIS was the winning combo. It has it all -- spice, sweetness, AND a hint of chocolate . . .

Whatever you do: Don't share absolutely all your best recipes. Keep some sacred. Secret. Because as much as I love sharing with all of you (and I really, really do), there should be at least a few foods/drinks that I'm best at making -- right? :)

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