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iced chai tea

hello my friends.

As usual, I’ve been missing in action.  There’s been so much going on and life seems crazy all of a sudden.

 

And here we are, summer 2016 😜

 

It it no secret that summer is my least favorite season of the year, but for all that annoys me about it, there are a few things I actually really like.

 

Like Iced Chai tea.

 

I’ll order it out now and then, but it’s kind of pricey for what it is.  Plus, so many of them that you order are actually just mixes that have chemicals in them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still drink them, but I went on a mission to make one at home that could rival one from a popular coffee shop.

I started with This recipe, then played around with it just a bit.

I played around with a few recipes and tweaked them until I came up with one that I am throughly enjoying.

Iced chai ingredients

 

iced chai tea

2.5 cups water

1 cup fat free milk

1 cinnamon stick

3 cardamom pods, pierced with a pairing knife

3 nobs candied ginger

a few gratings of fresh nutmeg

3 whole cloves

5 whole peppercorns

1/3 cup of organic sugar

3 black tea bags

 

start by adding everything except for the tea bags to a pot, and slowly heat up, making sure you don’t bring it to a boil

( or else the milk will boil over and you’ll have yourself a big ol mess.  Or so I’ve heard 😂😂😂)

 

ChaiLet simmer for 10 minutes on low

imageAdd tea bags’ cover and let brew for 5- 7 minutes, off heat.

 

  • I doubled this batch which is why there’s more than 3 tea bags, start with the original recipe, then if you like it, it doubles easily 😊*

imageThis is an excellent time to play fetch with your pup.  That little nugget in the background is my newest grand-puppy, Varly. More on her later 😉🐾💜

imageOnce it’s brewed to your liking, strain with a fine mesh sieve

image* I did not discard this, I have been saving it in a Baggie and reusing it for a second batch *

 

imageLet the mixture cool.

Now, I don’t have it pictured, but I froze some of this in ice cube trays in the freezer so that if you simply cannot wait for it to cool, you can use those cubes to have some immediately without having it water down from the hot chai melting the normal ice cubes.

 

 

I happened to to stumble across this at good old Target 🎯

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This is a step that you can skip, but I was in a playful mood so I had fun with it 😁

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Sprinkle some chai sugar on a plate

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Dip the top of a glass, margarita-style into a bit of the cooled chai

then roll in the sugar

 

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Fill glass with ice

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Pour chilled chai over ice and enjoy!

 

I changed it up a bit with the batch I made yesterday.  I added a whole vanilla bean and agave syrup in place of syrup.

It also came out fantastic!

I’ve been making a double batch, storing in mason jars and I’m finding that it’ll last and still taste as good as fresh for about 4 days in the fridge.

I didn’t bother pricing out this recipe vs. buying one out, but I’d venture to guess that a large batch of this would cost  a fraction of even one large drink purchased out.

 

let me know if you try this! I’m at that point where I can’t seem to get enough of this drink!  And it’s making the heat and stickiness of summer *almost* bearable for me

 

ciao bellas!

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greetings from cape cod

Well… This is all really happening. In fact we are smack dab in the middle of it ! Our home in Plymouth is no longer ours. The new owners are very nice. They came over the day before we closed and met Ali and I.

They have 2 kids .. A boy and a girl.. Both very close to how old Ryan and Ali were back when we moved in.

Both kids go to sacred heart, the same school that Ali just graduated from!

The little girl who is now living in Ali’s room told her mom that she wanted to set the room up as a classroom for her American girl dolls.. Which was Exactly what Ali did way back when!!

Our stuff is on a big truck and was packed by 2 awesome guys, Vance and James . The relo company also sent me a helper, Karen , who was a godsend. It was like having 2 of me. Simply awesome!

I actually have talked to her about getting a job like that for myself. She flies around the country and assists in relocation moves. Making sure all goes smoothly. She was going to talk to her boss about me 🙂

Our stuff has arrived in Denver and is being held in storage until we get there next week.

The boys have had the couch delivered so at least they have something other than the folding chairs to sit on ( I had a whole post about the chairs and the reason bend that bottle of wine and lost it 😦 I may retype in the next day or two.. I love that story)

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See miss Fenway laying there so comfy wondering where her deadbeat mom is

Ali found this….

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How adorable!!

We were looking for a place to stay so that we could be here for lexies graduation ( tomorrow) and friends of ours offered us their summer cottage on the cape.

It’s funny.. I’ve lived on the cape for much of my adult life but its so different being here but not living here. We are so grateful for this. We would have hated to miss Alexis’ graduation.

I’ve never really been a beach girl .. I like it and all.. But really just for short bits of time.

I’ve tried a few watersports .. Once Scott and hid dad took me waterskiing.

It took me forever to get up and ski.
Which I did for maybe a minute?

Then I fell… But here’s the thing… No one ever told me to let go of the ropes . I was dragged for about 5 minutes ( felt like 20) with my face being pounded against the water.

Funny now.. But back then it wasn’t

This is what I’ve spent my time doing here

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I’m addicted to my little hexagons… They have to be sewn by hand, which I find very therapeutic 😉

Let me know if you want a tutorial.. They are very easy and you don’t really need to know how to sew to get started.

I just love the 1930 s reproduction fabric
)

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East coast friends… Ill be back in 2 weeks for alis pc orientation. Let me know if you’d like to get together. I’m free 27th- 30th. Just let me know 🙂

Ok.. Time to stretch and get more tea …

Oxox

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jax love

happy sunday , friends.

 

Scott and I were headed out for a walk when a good friend of mine happened to call at the exact time I was turning the key in the engine to inform me of a marathon running right by my house.

 

Back inside we went.

 

So last month, life unexpectedly had me take a last minute trip to go to Jacksonville, Fla to be with my daugther in law, Amanda… you may remember her  from THIS POST

 

while I was there to help her through some medical issues ( my Son is still on deployment until NEXT WEEK!!!)  She and were able to spend a bit of time doing silly things that we both enjoy ….

(not a great pic of either of us, but we were having a blast)

Health Food Shopping!!!!  For about a year now, Amanda has educated herself on non-gmo foods and how to eat a healthy, balanced diet and has lost 30 pounds!!  Let’s here it for how amazing that is!!!

No lie, over my 2 1/2 day visit with her, we hit 5 health food stores !  silly silly fun ❤

 

And of course… we found time for food.

 

hold on to your hats here… even thought I posted pictures when I was Colorado about going  out for frozen yogurt.. But that was only for Scott and Ali.

 

*I* still had not caught onto the ‘fro yo’ craze…

 

until jax.

 

Amanda  has 2 places that she wanted me to visit with her. One was 

 

YOBE!!!

 

yum 🙂  in the event that I am NOT the last person on earth who has not got out for for yo.. I will share..

 

 

Here, we went to a wall o fun……  you serve yourself whatever flavors ( go wild with your combinations..) into your cup

* our favorite was Fat Free ‘taro’  made from a tropical asian plant that has similar nutritional values to spinach… trust me.. this was AWESOME!!!!!*

then you head over to the toppings bar

 

and go WILD!

 

 

 

 

yum 🙂

 

the other place that we went was called COZY TEA

Amanda had told me a few weeks back that when I ever got to jax again that we both must go. ( she loves tea as much as I do)  Neither of us had dreamed that I would actually be there so soon…..

 

but I was… so we went..

 

and it was a phenominal experience!

 

nestled in an amongst other shops in an older part of Jacksonville, it this darling tea shop.

 

 

the room is beautifuly eclectic…. with mis matched dishes, and linens and even chairs, it has all the feeling of a very special living room…

 

you begin by picking your tea..

 

 

so many to chose from ! it was hard to make the choice ( so hard in fact that I  bought some loose tea to bring home with me 😉

 

 

I chose the lemon grass  Chai. I forget what Amanda chose….  I think it was fruity..

 

 

 

 

the food is all home made and without a doubt some of the best that I’ve ever had…

 

 

 

everything is home made and the chef-owners were right there in the kitchen… a delight to to talk to.

 

 

 

 

and when your tea is done, there are so many hand made truffles to chose from!  Of course I brought a bunch home.

She and I also each picked out a freshly baked scone with cream and jam to bring back for after dinner that night

 

 

 

we headed back to her house to hang with the pups, Bruin & Kallie and to just hang out and relax. Relaxing was much needed 😉

 

we ended the night by toasting to Jason, knowing he’s be home soon..

 

 

I did a little cooking while I was there.. I’ll share that in the next post….

 

aren’t they adorable?? she looks a lot like her little sister in this picture :0

 

so pretty !

 

on a final note.. I finally have my own suitcase.  This may sound silly to some, but it has me feeling all grown up.  With all of the traveling that I have been doing recently, as well as much more to come, I’ve gotten pretty good at the packing thing and have discovered some handy tips that I will be sharing soon.

 

I feel like such a big girl when I am maneuvering through the airport..

 

ya know.. a big girl who still takes her blankie with her at 42 years old 🙂

 

smooches friends.

 

enjoy your Sunday ❤

watermelon times three

Ya’ll may have given up on me posting tonight.. I mean it’s almost 9 pm .. where the heck has she been?

Training for a race, that’s where 🙂 🙂 🙂

So let’s talk watermelon. It’s a melon. It’s made of water. Lots and lots of water.

It’s fun to eat in the summer. It’s fun to have it drip all over you bbq shirt. it’s a BLAST to spit the seeds. It is summer in a food

It’s PINK!

I have always loved watermelon. As an adult I started to appreciate it back in the early 90s when I read the book Fit for Life .

(anyone else read it? show of hands? oh.. only me.. that’s cool  :))

Anyhoooo… The preface is that your body is made of mostly water so you should eat mostly food made of water. Also, you should never eat a protein and a carb together, never eat fruit with anything other than fruit..  that you get out int the sun and soak up the free vitamin D.. and most importantly, only eat fruit until noon.

And the fruit should have high water content. Like watermelon. Because it’s made of water.

Are you gettin’ where I’m going here?

Are you smelling what I’m cooking?

watermelon is chock full of water.

*ducks* ok. ok. I get it…  you know what I am trying to say..

soooooo our first recipe will blow you away. Or at least it did me. I saw this earlier this summer on the Rachael Ray show and I was like, ” GENUIS!”

*side note.. I was on the Rachael Ray Show last year.. yeah.. I’m famous ~~  :inspects manicure like I’m important)*

So Rach (I can call her, that, we’re buds)was talking about how watermelon was made of….ok.. you get it, I know, I know!!!

do you know where I’m going with this?

Let’s play a game. Let’s look at some pictures.

look liked plain old cubed watermelon, right?

look again

getting cooler warmer?

ok.. I’ll give it to you… I’m nice like that 🙂

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  you have figured it out, haven’t you… you are a genius.. you are… YOU ARE!!   She made watermelon ice cubes!!!!  because #$%^&  melon is made of #%$%^ which freezes! GENUIS! 

so to make these watermelon cubes even better.. I added them to this…
tea that Amanda and I found while she was here..( on clearance!).. although I think that you could use any fruit tea.. truth be told, it was her idea to use this tea with the cubes… she also comes from great jeans genes.

brace yourself..

I’ll give you a minute… I understand…

So the next recipe…. Years ago I came up with a brilliant idea to make a watermelon salsa. I was SOO proud of myself and promptly made some for my mom proclaiming my obvious talent.

And while we were eating it, a chain restaurant advertised on tv their ‘new watermelon salsa’

Really? REALLY?  yeah, really.

But in my heart of hearts,. even if the rest of the world was already doing it, I came up with my own in my kitchen, so I’m ok with that 🙂

Watermelon Salsa

2 Cups cubed seedless watermelon

1 bunch cilantro, rinsed, chopped and soaked like we did for the leeks

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Sea salt & pepper

~ everyone in the pot~

and mix :).. seriously…  you CAN do this!

volia!  done 🙂 I like it if it sits overnight but it is reallllllly hard to do… cause it’s

so

darn

good

You can top grilled chicken with this, tofuTop a salad… or eat it alone. 

Maybe if you live on the wild side like me, you could put it on vanilla ice cream

*note to self.. buy ice cream tomorrow*

here’s a napkin for you 🙂

Okkkeeddookee…. last recipe…

we are going to get smoky.. and sultry.. and tangy

with watermelon?

um. yes.

Grilled Watermelon Salad

1 thick piece of watermelon, about 2×4.. sprinkle with salt & drain on a paper towel ( I tried to use my tofu press, but it didn’t do much) then rinsed after 10  min

1 tomato, sliced, sprinkled with salt, drained on paper towels ~ I did not rinse the salt of these babies ( I chopped the end up for topping)

1 thick slice of red onion

A few chunks of feta cheese

2 wedges of lime

Olive oil & a pastry brush

Grill pan

Sea salt and pepper

start by making sure that everything is as dry as it can be. Then using pastry brush, brush all veggies with olive oil. Preheat he grill pan until it is super hot then place watermelon, tomato and onion in the pan. then let the pan do it’s work.. don’t play with it!  After about 5 minutes, using tongs, carefully flip them. ( my tomatoes didn’t look so purty.. but they did taste good 🙂

Place the watermelon on a plate, pretty side up, then arrange remaining ingredients ( except lime) on the plate..  Squeeze on wedge of lime over the salad and garnish with another.

this recipe is sensory overload. The smokiness from the watermelon with the sweetness of the onions, the depth from the tomatoes and the zing from the lime juice & saltiness of the feta….. I loved this!

Ic ame up with the idea after seing one of the contestants on Hell’s Kitchen the other night ( don’t tell me the winner, I had to DVR it until Scott comes home this weekend )

I saw a similar combo on the show and have obsessed over it since then.

’cause sometimes I do that..

like with watermelon 🙂

night friends…..

I have a kitchen to clean!

oxox

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