i’m a sleep early/wake early kind of girl. granted, my life doesn’t always happen this way. but if i can get myself into a routine and make it happen, i’m balanced, i’m cheerful, and way more fun to be around. i like rising early enough so that my dogs aren’t wiggling balls of excitement as soon as my feet hit the floor. instead, i prefer that they barely lift their furry heads when i tiptoe out of bed.
on mornings like these, it’s easier to put the kettle on the stove and roll out my yoga mat. it’s delicious to sit, sleep still in my bones, wrapped in my meditation shawl for my daily practice. on mornings like these, even though i might have to go to work early, it feels like i’ve managed to stretch the hours somehow.
summertime or not, warm homemade chai tea just does it for me. it’s comforting and cozy, and makes me feel like i’m taking care of myself. i prefer making it from scratch rather than buying a blend – that way i can put just the right amount of spices and honeyed sweetness.
chai typically refers to black tea steeped with a spice blend, and originates from india.
the word “chai” itself means tea. shortened - “cha” - it’s the word for tea in both china and japan.
here, i’m sharing the recipe not only for the chai i’ve been drinking at least three times a week lately, but also for a chai-spiced oatmeal that will bring about the same kind of coziness.
chai, plain & simple.
1 black tea bag (i like english breakfast, but for less caffeine, green tea works too)
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cardamom pod, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
¼ tsp ginger, freshly grated (ground ginger works too)
raw honey (or maple syrup) to taste
in a pot, combine all ingredients, except for honey and bring to a boil. boil for 2 – 3 minutes (make sure you watch the pot just in case the milk boils over). let sit for another minute or two to cool slightly, then add the honey. according to ayurveda, honey turns toxic when exposed to high heat, which is why i don’t add it until later. using a mesh strainer to strain the spices and tea bag, pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
depending on your palate, you can add more or reduce the different spices used. this recipe is pretty mild compared to some others i’ve tried. when i’m in the mood, i add whole black peppercorns and up the ginger. you can also add vanilla or use unsweetened vanilla almond milk for a special treat. :)
in a rush? boil almond milk and tea with a shake of ground ginger and ground cinnamon and you’ll be good to go!
now, for the next recipe…
chai spiced oatmeal with chia.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup water
2 tbsp dried fruit like raisins, apricots or mulberries if you can get them!
1-2 tbsp chia seeds (if you don’t have chia, ground flax works well in this recipe too)
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
over medium high heat, add spices to a pot and stir frequently until slightly fragrant. this will really bring out the flavors. add oats and almond milk and simmer for 5 – 7 minutes, or until oats are cooked to your liking. top with fresh fruits and nuts and seeds for some crunch or if you need it, simply sweeten with a dollop of honey or maple syrup.
a great source of protein, chia is a superfood that adds omega-3 fatty acids and a slew of other vitamins and minerals, not to mention soluble fiber, to the mix. because chia doubles, maybe even triples, in size due to the gel it forms around itself when soaked in liquid, adding it to your oatmeal with keep you fuller longer.
need a faster meal? combine ½ a cup of rolled oats and 1 tablespoon of chia in a to-go container with some almond milk and fresh fruit. finish getting ready for work or take it with you. by the time you’re ready to eat, it will be done soaking!