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Healthy Homemade Chai-Spiced Tea

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on March 11, 2012

Healthy Homemade Chai-Spiced Tea:


I've tried so many different chai tea recipes using the regular powdered spices or buying a mix of some sort - nothing tastes like I think it should. That is until I found this recipe where it's made from scratch. Luckily I already had all of these spices as a whole spice because I wanted to try more Indian dishes and have found that spices are so much better when crushed by hand just before adding them to a dish. It's really not difficult - of course a little more time-consuming than just putting a mix in a cup and microwaving it. I made enough so that I can drink 2 cups for 2 days. So, in the long run, it is less time actually. I like it warm, almost hot. It's also very good for you. You can use black tea, green tea, or rooibos (good recommendation) tea - whichever you have or like best. Any "milk" product would work as well. I used non GMO soy milk because I needed a little more protein that day, but any of the nut milks would work great. This is also a great coffee substitute if you're trying to cut down on caffeine.

Chai Spiced Tea:

1 cinnamon stick
8 whole green cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
1 teaspoon dried ginger root (not powder) OR 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly slice
4 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 inch of a vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups filtered water
2 single-serve black tea bags or 1 Tbsp of whichever loose tea you prefer
2 Tablespoons unrefined sugar (I really like the turbinado, but usually use stevia)
1 1/2 cups milk (non-GMO soy or nut milk)

Place cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, peppercorns, vanilla bean or extract in a 1.5 to 2-quart saucepan. 

Add filtered water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, set aside, and let steep for 10 minutes.

Return pot to the heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add tea, cover and set aside to let steep for 3 to 5 minutes.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids. 

Return liquid to the pot and stir in sugar (or stevia*) and milk.

Heat over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until warmed to your liking. Pour into cups and serve. (Also good over ice.) I left the spices in the glass that I stored the tea in (refrigerated it) until I wanted my next cup. By leaving the spice mixture in the leftovers, it made it taste (I do like it sort of strong) even better each time I reheated it.

Serves 2-large mugs or 4-small mugs.

Adapted from one of favorite resources - this is a great website.

Let me know if you try it, or if you have your own recipe that you like.

Thanks for listening!

Gluten-Free Cornbread Squares

By Recipes for a Healthier You Easy Homemade Breads
on February 20, 2012

Cornbread Square Muffins - Gluten-free (easily Vegan)
cornbread square muffins gluten free

This is a recipe that I've tweaked a few times, but I think I've finally GOT IT. We've been sugar-free, gluten-free in our household since November (2011) due to yeast overgrowth issues that resulted in some really bad side effects for Warren. He's lost 45 pounds since then (this is now February 2012 as I write this) and although he needed to lose some weight, this wasn't quite how he nor I had expected it to happen. Regardless, this is one of the recipes that came from my search for FOOD - real food that tasted good and filled us up. This last batch came out light and moist, as good as any, and I think probably better than any cornbread I've made before now - and I learned most of my cooking skills while living in the south where cornbread is an art.

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

3/4 cups organic brown rice flour (the original recipe called for 1-1/4 cup of all purpose flour)
3/4 cups organic coconut flour
3/4 cup yellow corn meal (not all corn meal is gluten free, so check the package if that's important for you)
1 pack of NuStevia (the original recipe called for 1/8 cup of sugar - I've never liked really sweet cornbread, but this was good)
2.5 tsp double acting baking powder (I used Clabber Girl) - probably would use an aluminum free one next time
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup mayonnaise and to make it vegan you can use vegenaise)
1 cup nut or soy milk - I used almond milk
1 egg (when I made it vegan we substituted egg replacer)
1/4 cup olive oil

Add dry ingredients, make a well in the middle and mix the milk, egg and yogurt together and then blend with dry ingredients. Don't overdo the mixing - just until incorporated and lumps are gone. Place in square muffin pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes until slightly brown around the edges.

The picture below is of the Wilton square muffin pan that Warren found at a garage sale for $4.00 - he found 2 of them. They are very  heavy and cook these squares perfectly. You can, of course, cook this recipe in any muffin pan or even square pan, but the muffin squares make serving the cornbread so much easier - no flaking or falling part when you try to cut the cornbread.

 wilton square muffin pan

Note: The last attempt at this recipe I substituted the all purpose flour with a gluten-free flour mix that we found at the grocery store, used Vegenaise and egg replacer. I will say that although good, they were heavy and doughy and not nearly as tasty and light as this batch.

Let me know if you try this, if you make any substitutions and how it worked for you.

Thanks for listening!


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