Sunday, May 13, 2012


Mommies are wonderful.  I say this with some authority, seeing as I have spent the last week visiting the two newest mommies I know.  And three weeks into the lifetime job, they are wonderful too.  I also hear that mommies, especially new ones, are tired a lot.  So obviously, for all the wonderful mothers in my life, both new and experience, both tired and well, tired, I made Chai tea.  From scratch.  And it made my kitchen smell amazing.  We'll get to that in a second, because I'm not quite done talking about how wonderful a mom can be.

My mother, to be specific.  She is wonderful and quite honestly amazing past the point of belief.  It is an almost daily occurring that right before I plop down on the couch to be lazy, eat yogurt and watch yet another rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond, I spy the dishes piled high in the sink or the ever growing pile of clothes to be washed or the bed that gets made about once a month and I think "How does she do it?"  I am just one person.  It's not like I make large messes or an outrageous amount of dishes, and I barely have the energy for that.  How do you do it for two people, full time?  Or two people and a baby??  And holy crap, how did my mother have a job, have dinner on the table nearly every night, all the while keeping a family of 5 dressed in clean clothes?  And when did she sleep?

This is one of the harder posts I've written.  Mostly because I know exactly the sentiment I want to get across, yet the words to form it just aren't cooperating.  The idea was to try and explain how amazing my mom is.  How she always let me help in the kitchen, even when I mistook the baking powder for baking soda when making cookies for my sister's birthday.  How excited she was for me when I got into Notre Dame, and supporting it, regardless of the fact that it was 17 states away and a shit ton of money.  How she always talked to me when I felt all alone in McAllen and how she never gets annoyed when I call her to ask "what temperature do I bake chicken breasts in?"

I guess what it all boils down to is this: Thank you Mom for being amazing.  For showing me how a family dinner makes things better, even if you're the only part of your family in that state.  For being excited about this blog and emailing it to all your friends.  For always making me milk rice when I felt sad or sick.  For showing me how to fold a fitted sheet and do hospital corners on the bed.  Thank you for everything you have done for me.  I love you.

Homemade Chai Tea
Adapted from theKitchn 

At first, I was going to make a batch for my mom (the recipe below is for one batch).  Then I doubled it to include my sister.  And then decided, what the heck, might as well quadruple it and earn some brownie points with Ben's mom and sister.  Now I wish I had made more.  It scales very easily.  Bonus.  Plus, the smell of the spices roasting in your oven will have you swooning, so it's hard to beat that.

We made a pot at Ben's mom's house in Washington.  I used a little less than the 2:1 ratio of milk suggested, but that's a personal preference.  Also, if you use 1 tablespoon of tea, 5 minutes of steeping is probably enough.  We used less and it needed to steep longer.  Just pay attention to it, then serve it up nice and fancy to your mom with a hug!

12 green cardamom pods
3/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
3/4 tsp. whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, ~4 inches
1 1/2 Tbsp. candied ginger, chopped
1/2 c. loose black tea

Prefect oven to 350 degrees.  Using a sharp paring knife, split cardamom pods in half.  Using your hands, break cinnamon stick into a few pieces.

In rimmed baking sheet, evenly spread out cardamom pods, peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and broken cinnamon stick.  Roast in 350 degree oven 4-5 minutes (a little longer if scaling up recipe), or until spices are very fragrant.  Careful to watch for burning.  Remove and let cool until they are cool enough to handle.

Using a mortar and pestle (or rolling pin, or mallet), crush spices.  Do not crush too finely, since you are brewing in a tea bag/ball.  You want sizable bits of spice (it will distribute better in the black tea as well.  Spices ground too small will fall to the bottom while you are mixing).

In large bowl, toss crushed spices, chopped candied ginger and black tea until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Store in dark, cool place in resealable glass jar or tea tin (or similar vessel).

Brewing instructions, lifted almost verbatim from theKitchn:

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of Chai Mix
Sugar, honey, to taste

Put Chai mix in tea bag/ball.  Bring water to a boil and add teabag. Turn off heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Add milk, turn on the flame and reheat until hot. Remove from heat, discard teabag, sweeten to taste and enjoy!


  1. What a beautiful page, and the chai masala sounds delicious. I've learned to make chai by by boiling the spices and sweetener first, then adding the tea to steep. I'll try it both ways. (I followed your link on Happy to find you!)

    1. Thank you Susan! Be sure to let me know which way you prefer. Most recipes I saw described a method similar to yours. I wanted to make an all-in-one kind of gift though, so I dug until I found a recipe that would work. I'd be interested in taking the longer (and I believe more traditional...) method. Any suggestions?


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