Before I discovered I was a lactard, I had a daily regimen of chai lattes. Once I learned that milk was my enemy and soy milk was insulting, I scoured grocery stores, looking for chai tea that I could sip sans lactose. Guess what, it’s all concentrated and over sweetened. So, any attempt to drink a delicious spiced tea ended up with $6 poured down the kitchen sink. What did I do? I made my own. You would never believe it, but it’s really easy and makes the whole house smell glorious with all the different spices. Very wintery and comforting. I used to make a huge batch every week. Doing this saved my tummy but also my wallet. Take that, Starbucks!
Not only is homemade chai an amazing moneysaver, it’s also good for your health. Black tea, the base ingredient in chai tea, contains antioxidants which can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The small amount of caffeine in black tea promotes a healthy heart and increases alertness. Ginger helps to ease sore throats, along with cold and flu symptoms, and it can also calm an upset stomach. Cloves have traditionally been used as an invigorating spice, and they may promote circulation as well. Cinnamon is a common stimulant, while cardamom eases indigestion. Pepper and fennel also promote healthy digestion.
So, put that coffee on the back burner. Make some chai!
Spiced Chai Tea
- 1 tablespoon each of fennel seed, green cardamom pods, whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 half inch piece ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 gallon water (8 cups)
- 3 tablespoons or 3 bags Black Tea (Assam Tea is delicious. Get it at your Indian deli. Darjeeling tea would work, too.)
Throw all your spices and water in a large pot. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and steep for 10 minutes. Add the tea and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the whole concoction steep for 10 more minutes. Strain all spices and tea leaves. Pour your tea in cups, add honey or agave for desired sweetness and a splash of milk if you’d like. Sip and amaze yourself.
I’m telling you…I’m gonna make a pot as soon as I’m done writing this. Yum.
p.s. I’m sure you all have gotten your share of Happy New Year wishes but let me be the first to tell you that 2011 will be the year of greatness. It’s not just a feeling, it’s the knowledge and confidence that success and happiness follow from years of hard work. Best wishes to you and yours in what will be a transforming year. xo
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