Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's the Little Things

So, we are dealing with The Chief being unemployed for the next little while. Hopefully a very little while, but in this economy, who knows?

And the worst thing about this for me is not the big stuff, like how the hell are we going to make the mortgage payment--which is big, but between severance benefits, savings, and retirement funds, I think we've got that covered for a while--but the little things. The things that impact my day-to-day existence.

Like that I probably shouldn't be paying $4 a box for chai concentrate. Which, at 5 servings a box, is definitely a luxury...but which I really enjoy having every morning when I sit down for a few minutes and revel in the peace after the kids have taken all their teen angst and drama out the door and off to school.

Rather than give that up, I decided that I was going to have to figure out how to make it myself. How hard can it be? It's just tea and spices. Reading the back of the box to find out what spices, and checking some recipes online gave me a starting point, and I played with amounts over the first half a dozen batches until I got something I like. One of my knitting buddies says I should share, so here is my recipe for chai concentrate:

Jazz's Chai Concentrate
3 C water
8-12 tea bags*
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp whole cloves
15 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, boil the water. Add the tea bags and spices and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the sugar and simmer another five minutes. Strain through a wire sieve or cheesecloth, and squeeze excess liquid from tea bags. Add vanilla. Pour into a mason jar and store in the fridge. This makes about 18 oz. I usually make it up 3 oz concentrate:8 oz milk or for a real treat, vanilla soy milk (yum!), so I get six servings out of a batch.

*depending on how much caffeine you want and how much tea taste. I've been using 12 Tetley tea bags, which are pretty strong.