healthy living

Dirty Chai Lattes and Study Breaks

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Dear friends,

Have you missed me? Did you think I gave up on blogging altogether?

A funny thing happened. I started checking things off my bucket list. And one of those things was to enroll in graduate school. Interestingly enough, I started college as a teen mom, and had both my girls before graduating, so I have some experience as a mom-in-school. Having said that, my experience as a mom-in-school came ten years ago, and involved a much-younger me, with two fewer kids and an awful lot more energy. My professor said to our class at the beginning of the semester, “You can do this, people, but you can’t do anything else.” Y’all, he wasn’t lying. Only because I have no class on Monday am I able to take a little breather and write this little snippet of the creative whirlwind that’s running through my brain.

So what am I doing in school right now? Well, I’m pursuing a master’s level program in Holistic Reproductive Health Education, with a goal of being a certified doula, childbirth educator, and sexual health educator. Why? Because I’m a stay-at-home-mom with a need for an outlet and an opportunity to save the world, one mother-baby/mother-daughter/woman-in-need at a time. And thankfully, because my husband indulges these whims and is willing to finance the operation and rush home to keep the kids so I can dash off to class two nights a week. I am such a lucky girl.

I also freely admit that I am utterly exhausted. My brain needs stimulation from studying and interacting with people who ask deep questions and leave without finding all the answers, but my body says “dear God, woman, give us a break!” So I have to have some sort of fuel when my tank is on empty. And I loathe Starbucks. Actually, to be fair, I fully love a dirty chai latte with organic soy from Starbucks (that’s a chai latte made with organic soy milk and a shot of espresso), but I hate the amount of sugar in it. Some day I’ll post my overall rage against Starbucks and the fact that it is a special kind of marketing genius, making Americans both broke and obese with its $5 a cup coffee-laced sugar potions, but that won’t be today. No, no, today I’m just going to share with you how I make my Spiced Chai concentrate at home, so I can have all the delicious Dirty Chais I want without spending a fortune or developing Type 2 diabetes. So here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 4 one inch slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 2-inch slice of orange
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • a handful each of:
    • black peppercorns
    • whole cloves
    • whole cardamom
    • sliced fresh turmeric
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 black tea bags

Bring the water and all previous ingredients to a boil, stirring slowly. Add up to 2 Tbsp honey to sweeten, if you like that (I like it without it). Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add tea bags, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and pour into mason jars and cool on the counter, storing in refrigerator when cool.

That’s it you guys. This concentrate is perfect for a 50/50 tea:milk or tea:milk-alternative ratio, and for an extra pick-me-up, I like to add a shot of espresso (that is, 4 oz. of really strong coffee). It is sooooo delicious, and the bonus is that the ginger and turmeric have amazing antioxidant powers, and the black pepper improves the body’s absorption of the turmeric. You know, the combination of stress and lack of sleep can do a number on the immune system, so it doesn’t hurt to throw some extra immunity-power in where you can. I also love drinking this latte over ice, and the spiciness of it keeps any sniffles and summer colds at bay. Totes amaze.

Now I’ve got to fix one of these and get back to my studies/prep for a lab midterm, but I promise to be back later for more mischief 🙂

xoxo~ LWH

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