Homemade chai tea latte for a warm winter treat

This week in Kentucky the winter weather has swept in appropriately with the winter solstice on Dec 21, 2012.  Now, officially it is winter.  The nights are long, days are short and we are lucky if typical grey skies will instead let the sun shine through for even mere minutes of the day. Dry, crisp air outside and in…Especially in this old home where I type now.  The secret to my productive work day is the space heater near my legs.  The warmest part of the house is now against my legs, under the desk.  There ya go! That’s my productive winter work day-

A favorite luscious treat of mine for the winter days is homemade chai lattes, and really it’s an innocent pleasure.  This warm drink has favorite flavors of pungent heat with savory sweetness AND caffeine!  Keep it your style by choosing the style of milk from whole to skim to coconut or other milk alternative.  The best chai comes from Happy Cows raised and milked humanely.  Same goes for the coconut, hemp or whatever milk you enjoy 😉

Today’s chai recipe comes from Himalayan Institute. Two weeks ago I traveled to the Honesdale, Pennsylvania campus to complete my Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist training with Kathryn Templeton.  I think HI’s chai is now my favorite because of the ginger with vanilla. Check it out.  All your friends will force you to make this for parties and brunch get together occasions.  P.S. I totally recommend making the jump over to Himalayan Institute in Honesdale to experience the yoga and meditation programming regularly conducted at the ashram. Thanks to HI for sharing this masterpiece.

HI Style Chai Tea Latte!

2 steps, First make a 8-12 ounces of black tea and add ginger root.  Let steep.

Second, after starting the black tea, take a saucepan to pour about 3 cups of milk into over medium heat on the stove. Add sugar or jaggery* with whole cardamom, whole cloves and either 2 vanilla beans or a “spec” of quality vanilla extract.

Then, turn up the heat and stir into a soft boil.  Then remove from heat and add the black tea, removing the ginger root.  You can strain all of this through mesh, or cheesecloth.

Traditionally, chai teas are sweet so continue to sweeten to your own taste with the jaggery, or raw honey.  Only add raw honey once the milk or tea is no longer cooking.

This is delicious!  It’s great with no black tea, as well, for a decaffeinated warm, drink.

In the next post over the Christmas holiday I’ll offer recipe and instructions for nighttime rasayana, or “yummy sleep inducer” as I like to call it at home.  It will be milk, ghee and spicy sweet fest you’ll look forward to!!

*Jaggery “Gur” or whole brown sugar is a pure, wholesome, traditional, unrefined, raw & whole form of sugar made with from fresh sugar cane juice with whole molasses intact and has a much better Glycemic Index.

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Milk from happy cow

Milk from happy cow!

Cardamom for chai!

Cardamom for chai!

Clove

Clove

 

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

 

Boosting Joy and Finding Balance This Holiday Season

Boosting Joy and Finding Balance This Holiday Season

by Lauren Lichenstein

During the holidays, the energetic space and charge that is before us is incredibly big and bright! Sometimes that space is so vast and open armed, we perceive that we are unable to fill those big shoes that the holiday offers to us (resulting in stress, anxiety, moodiness). How do we balance the abundance of energy, celebration, peace, and harmonious experience that is energetically within us and externally outside of us? Here are a few tips to keep you grounded and stable in preparation for the joyous flight which unites us with the flock of peace doves that adorn the universal holiday spirit.

To begin your day, practice a breathing exercise that balances the right and left side of the body. If you shower in the morning, take a towel and place of few drops of lunar-energized lavender oil on it. Sit in the shower and place your thumb and ring finger over the nose. Plug the left nostril while you sip in air through the right nostril. Do this slowly and feel the pause at the top of the breath. Switch nostrils to exhale and inhale from the same side. Follow this ten to twenty rounds of breath. You will be able to notice if you are exhaling more than you are inhaling or vice versa, which will lead to the natural, self-healing power to bring balance what you are giving and receiving. It’s a beautiful way to begin the day.

Keep a clear, open mind. Don’t get hung on how you think the holidays are supposed to feel, look, and move. By letting go of expectations, you can be readily available to live presently and fully. Keep the holiday spirit alive by letting it run free instead of containing it in one perfectly wrapped gift box that your mind has manufactured. Thankfully, every day is different, every holiday is different, and these diverse experiences create the rich tapestry that we call life. Decorate it well!

Traditions are so important when bringing friends and family together. But why not try something new? In addition to the beautiful comforts of the thread that mends the holidays together year after year, inspire a fresh perspective of togetherness. Instead of a gift exchange, ask to give the energy to a charitable organization such as a toy drive or spend time together by volunteering at a soup kitchen. Maybe give the oven a break and prepare a new and exciting raw dessert for the family to try. A little adventure inserted into tradition can bring you all closer than you realize. By unleashing a new experience, you will drench yourselves in new celebratory expressions. There’s some holiday spirit!!

Let white lights of joy invade your holiday season!

Let white lights of joy invade your holiday season!

Lastly, there is no perfect offering, there is no perfect gift. Everything has a crack in it, everyone a flaw; and that is how our Light gets in and out. Be bright and send positive vibrations to each other no matter how near or far you are during the holiday season. One drop of rain resonates into the ocean, just as one drop of your positivity resonates into the universal spirit. That will direct all of us to find the true balance of joyous and harmonious holiday spirit.

Comments preferred via AYL Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/AyurvedaYogaLife

About guest blogger and experienced yoga teacher, Lauren Lichenstein:
Lauren, in service, shares the articulation of her authentic voice that is found between her heart and mind to lead harmonious yoga classes in Cincinnati, Ohio. Everyday, her vision of uniting the Cinicinnati yoga community grows, by holding space in the city’s finest and most integrity-drenched yoga studios. Lauren teaches yoga in exotic locations resort guests with Fit Bodies, Inc. teaching vacation company 😉

Who doesn't love a cute dog pic?!  Talk about joy for our furriest friends!

Who doesn’t love a cute dog pic?! Talk about joy for our furriest friends!