Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Staying Warm

It's a balmy 18º here right now (at the height of the day's warmth), with a brutal wind chill to go along with it. I've been spending plenty of time right next to the fire place, but I have a couple of other tricks as well. Church Ladies can't quite live by tea alone (pots and pots of it), so I've been trying to mix it up a bit with recipes like this:

Chai Concentrate
(adapted from this source)
  • 4 1/2 cups water 
  • 1 stick cinnamon 
  • 1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 10 whole cardamom pods 
  • 2 whole star anise pods 
  • 10 whole cloves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 
  • zest of one orange 
  • 10 bags of black tea 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 
Bring the water to a boil, add the spices, tea, and orange zest and remove from heat. Allow to steep for half an hour (more if you like). Strain the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, honey and the vanilla, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture into a quart jar and store in the refrigerator. To serve, mix equal parts concentrate and milk and heat.

Yield: 1 quart jar full, plus enough to have a cup right away.

If you save the strained spices (discard the tea bags) and return them to the pot or a small slow cooker with a generous amount of water, you can set them to simmer for a lovely air freshener that also humidifies.

Also pictured above: Spatterdash Wristwarmers in KnitPicks Palette in Marble Heather. I added a pattern repeat so that they cover my arms even when I'm wearing ¾ sleeves.

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