Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two posts in one day!

Someone take me here now, please.
I love all drinks served warm that contain caffiene. I am usually just a plain coffee or tea type of girl, but every once in a while I like to spice things up with some chai. Now I'm not talking about that gross powder that you mix into milk after you heat it up in the microwave, or the super-sweet syrupy concoctions they make at Starbucks. I'm talking about the spicy chai tea that you steep and add milk and honey to. Like most young, post-college, newly-weds, Mike and I try and save money wherever we can. Due to my love of food and cooking (as mentioned previously), our grocery bill can sometimes already be outrageously high, so I have started to make my own chai tea mix. And I have to say... I think I am on to something here. I am going to give you the basic formula, but play around with it! I won't give away my secret additions... any good cook has to have a few tricks up her sleeve!

Basic Chai

3/4 cup dry black tea
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
milk (regular, almond, soy, whatever floats your boat)

Mix dry ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Use one teaspoon mix per 3/4 cup of water. Steep tea as normal. Fill glass 2/3 with tea, 1/3 with milk, and add sweetener to taste.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Simple things make me happy

I love a lot of things:
Ice cream
Old houses
My mom's monogram necklace
Coffee (especially when drinking in good company)
The color yellow

Two things I also really love: cookbooks and Ball jars.

I love love love cookbooks. I would have a whole library full of them if money, space, and Mike allowed. I love food, I love to cook, and I love to read, and this is where cookbooks come in. My perfect quiet evening would involve a stack of cookbooks, my recipe notebook, and a cup of tea. Also, a cookie. I love them all; old and new. I love the ones passed down from family members or bought used- the pages are stained and bent, notes written in the margins. I can imagine the love that went into the meals and treats that were made from that book. Old church cookbooks have the best dessert recipes- those ladies know how to bake! I love getting new cookbooks, flipping through the glossy pages, lusting over the beautiful food photography, planning out hundreds of meals that probably will never be made. There is something even better than cookbooks: old recipe boxes. I will boast that my grandmother and my mom were not only the best women I have had the privledge to love, but also the best cooks I know. There is nothing like lifting the lid on my mom's big wooden recipe box, flipping through the cards in her handwritting, and recognizing all of the meals she made throughout my childhood. I have a strong connection between food and emotions, and I think that is where my love for cookbooks comes in. There is something so comforting and relaxing about them for me.

There is also a soft place in my heart for glass Ball jars. You know, the ones that you find when your grandma asks you to clean out her kitchen cupboards. Yes, odd, I know. But they are so charming! And so practical! Need a glass for juice in the morning? How about a vase to put those daisies your sweet husband just brought you in? Want the perfect container to store your flour/sugar/coffe/rice/anything in? Grab a jar! The same as with cookbooks, if space and Mike allowed, I would fill my house with glass jars. My very favorite jar is tinted green and holds my button collection.

I guess I am a simple girl, and simple things like books and glass jars make my day.