I knew there was going to be another load of snow overnight, I had heard about it days ago. I was reminded of it last night. I knew it was coming. Yet for some reason, when I heard the big city trucks go by clearing the roadways – I was still surprised. Hello, earth to Shanna. It’s winter. It snows.
It is actually stunningly beautiful, the perfect snow for snowmen. Not so perfect for trying to walk around in, seeing as it just keeps on coming and no one has a chance to shovel their walks fast enough. Beautiful none the less.
A beautiful snowfall, means while it gets brighter and brighter… seeming to hit the cap on cloudy brightness at around noon, I do a lot of window gazing. Especially when it’s big flakes of snow, the kind that flutter down sorta slow. Dancing on the crisp air. Taking their time before they meet their friends on the ground. Gorgeous. Magical.
The perfect accompaniment to wintery window gazing, is a hot cup and some fuzzy slippers. Perhaps a kitty cuddling, lazily watching the day go by. Sounds like a great Friday morning to me! One I was fortunate enough to enjoy for hours. My hot cup of choice this morning was a fresh brewed chaga tea, mixed and infused with chai spices. Beautiful aromatics, creamy on the tongue, perfection. Healthy, too!
Making chai from whole spices is the way to go, for sure. It allows total control on what flavors are most desired, makes room for personal flare, and whole spices keep their flavors and aromatics wayyy longer than ground spices. Constructing a chai completely from scratch also allows for a deeper tea taste as well as an individual choice on which tea is used, not as much sweetener, you name it. In my opinion, chai is the ultimate comforting warming drink of winter. Ginger heating from the core, clove warming from the tip of the tongue straight into the belly, creamy swirls of coconut and a big hug from black peppercorns. It’s great!
2 Cups Strong Hot Chaga Tea
1 Cup Almond Milk
2 Tsp Coconut Cream
1 Tsp Coconut Oil
1 Cinnamon Stick
3-4 Allspice Berries
7 Cardamom Pods
6 Black Peppercorns
1-2 Star Anise
1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger
Pinch of Nutmeg Powder
Pinch of Vanilla Powder
Pinch of Himalayan Salt
1 Tbsp Raw Honey
Crushed Dried Rosebuds (optional)
In a medium sized pan, toast the cinnamon stick, allspice berries, cardamom pods and peppercorns over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a small pot, adding the clove, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Cover with a splash of almond milk, set aside to infuse for ten minutes. Once infused, add the coconut oil and the hot chaga tea, turning up the heat on the burner to allow the tea to simmer gently and the oil to melt. Once the oil has melted, strain the spices out, add the rest of the almond milk and remove from the heat. Stir in the raw honey, then divide between two mugs. Top each mug off with a teaspoon of coconut cream and crushed rosebuds. Serve with an cinnamon (stir) stick if desired!