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I am bumping a previously scheduled post to bring you this chai-riffic recipe on this cold and blustery day. If you haven’t had chai, which is what we Americans call spiced tea, you are in for a treat. This beverage has none of the bitterness of coffee, and more flavor than bagged teas. You can find powdered and prepared chai on some grocery shelves, and you can pay $5 per cup at your favorite coffee shop, but after trying this, you won’t want either of those.
Making one batch of this can save you time and money compared to stopping at your coffee shop.
I’ve spent the last several weeks adjusting this recipe to make a whole batch at a time. There’s just no getting around the fact that it has to be cooked, but by making a good sized batch, I have a cup ready to go each morning for a week.
- 4 cups water
- 12 oz can of evaporated milk
- ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ tsp anise seed
- 2 whole anise stars
- 1 Tbsp fresh diced ginger*
- ¼ tsp whole black peppercorns*
- ¼ tsp whole cloves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp real vanilla extract
- 2 tea bags
- In a medium saucepan, combine water, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and all spices.
- Bring to boil on medium heat.
- Reduce heat to simmer, add tea bags, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Before straining, squeeze tea bags a couple of times in the liquid.
- Strain the liquid through a fine wire strainer into a jug or jars with lids.
- Store for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Garnish with whipped cream if desired.
This recipe replaces sweet with spicy. I don't add any sugar or sweetener, and I prefer it to coffee and tea that I tend to load up with cream and sugar. You just don't need it here.
Just a few helpful hints as you are preparing this. I’ve already noted in the recipe that you should absolutely use fresh ginger and whole peppercorns, neither of which are part of my normal shopping list. Fresh ginger is in the produce aisle of most regular grocery stores, and you don’t need to peel it since it gets strained out; just finely dice it. Whole peppercorns are in a jar in the spice aisle. I’ve only used black pepper so far, so I’d love to hear if you have a specialty peppercorn that would make this even better.
Giving a shout out to Whole Foods, I recently learned that they have bulk spices that you can buy in very small quantities, as small as just a teaspoon at a time. Some of the spices that I don’t normally have on hand, including anise and anise stars, cost next to nothing in small doses. This is a HUGE cost savings over buying whole jars, which would take me forever to use and would normally be very pricey, if you can even find them.
I’ll be the first to admit that the process of straining the cooked chai is a little bit of a pain, but it’s a worthwhile trade for me. Prep this recipe one day a week and have this yummy treat on hand to warm up in the microwave on cold mornings. (That’s the organizing tip for today.)
Did you know that you can use cinnamon sticks more than once? Fish out the cinnamon stick you just used, rinse it and dry it. Then store it to use for next week’s batch, and save even more money.
You can use milk instead of evaporated milk, but I don’t often have milk in the fridge. It’s great to know everything I need for this drink is in the pantry and ready to make a batch anytime.
This drink is also refreshing cooled and blended with ice. Yum!
I’ve made this recipe using as much as 6 cups of water to start (keeping all other ingredients at the same amounts) and it still tastes spiced and full-bodied. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your personal taste.
Chai Latte Recipe Flourish
One last nugget. True story, if I were ordering this at the coffee house, I wouldn’t pass up the whipped cream garnish, but I never add it at home. What would you do?
Most modern freezers have on big drawer at the bottom of the refrigerator, which is a pain in the keister to keep organized. It’s the same problem you have in the sock drawer, but bigger and colder. (And if you find socks in your freezer, that’s an entirely different problem!) Here’s how I finally organized my freezer drawer.
Organizing your freezer might be especially helpful as we head into the holidays and you want to save money or space for all those yummy holiday dinners.
Does this jumble in the freezer look familiar?
I pretty much know what’s in my freezer, so I didn’t have to do the whole “sort-and-purge” thing that we always start with. But maybe your freezer is a bit more of a mystery. If it is, definitely take a minute to see if you can find a few categories in there.
On a whim, I purchased 2 plastic freezer bins from the Container Store, but they are an inch too large, and they’ll have to go back.
Not to be deterred, I scoured the house until I found these metal bins, originally purchased for the kid’s hideaway play space. Since they’ve been empty for the last year, they were fair game for repurposing.
That’s possibly the best organizing advice ever: don’t buy something new to organize until you’ve exhausted all possible options that you may already own.
I used these bins to sort and repack items back into the freezer, but they needed labels so everyone else can help me keep it organized. I mean, can you imagine what’s going to happen if I don’t label these bins? How would anyone else know what’s what? They won’t. So labels it is…
Or, more accurately, large-print labels on these cute coasters from IKEA. Tied on with a bit of bakers twine and secured from the back with electrical tape, these should do the trick.
I got a kick out of my little one this morning when she was packing her lunch. She said, “Whoa, mom. It looks really decorated in here!” She can’t read the labels yet, but she already knew that at least one of the labels probably said “veggies”.
Such a simple, no cost trick can help a mom out. Yes, it took a few minutes to make it happen. But I love that I can see what I’ve got now, and it makes meal planning so much easier. It turns out that I had two bags of fish filets on hand as well as hash browns and corn. Looks like I’ll be making fish corn chowder this week.
What do you think of this organized freezer?
Too much? Too little? Who cares? I’d love to know.
There are many, many different ways to store medical records. There are some very good planner systems that you can buy. And there are options to keep your medical records in the cloud, which can be very handy. But sometimes it’s just best to keep it simple.
A friend of mine was concerned that her medical paperwork always seemed to be all over her counter. She is older and has a heart condition, so she sees a quite few doctors, and just wanted to have a neat place to store her papers. She already has a filing cabinet, and it already holds bills and things like the Medicare Reference book that she receives every year. This is really for holding her notes about her visits to her doctors, easy reference for doctor’s office addresses and phone numbers, and things she wants to discuss with her doctors at her next appointment.
We customized this very simple system for her in a small file storage box that she already owned, which is small enough that she can put the lid on and take it to her next appointment. It’s also something that she can tell her family to grab if she needs to head to the hospital in a hurry.
The first folder is where she keeps a list of her current medications and doses, along with any prescriptions that she hasn’t yet filled. It is in a red file so it’s easy to see. I can tell you from experience as an EMT that having a legible list of current meds and doses is super helpful in emergency situations.
The second folder is called “Discuss with Dr,” and it holds her own notes and questions she wants to ask at upcoming appointments, as well as articles that she wants to discuss with her doctor.
The next few folders all relate to specific doctors, and they are in alphabetical order:
- Eye Dr
- Primary Care
The last folder is the health history that she keeps for herself. This includes notes she’s been keeping on her conditions as well as a few important test results and hospital records. She’s actually got several notebooks that’s she’s filled over the years, but only the most recent summary or notebooks stay in this little tote box.
That’s it. The point is to keep it simple and not overwhelming. By keeping the bills elsewhere (in her file cabinet drawer), this health file is really about her health. It’s easy to access, and she’ll be able to find and follow doctor’s orders more easily.