Hello November. And welcome Autumn! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your return. I hope you can settle in and stay awhile, for I do so enjoy your company. I adore your seasonal sensations above all others, you know. Your cool, crisp air kissing my cheeks, the golden glow of your color palette, those wonderful spices of yours that tickle my tastebuds and the warmth of your cozy embrace. Oh, do stay…please? And join me for a cup of tea?
And so it goes. Flirting with Fall again, the big tease. I do believe this particular season quite enjoys his game of taunting me. He comes and goes, tantalizing me with his sensorial delights only to snatch them back just as I begin to believe that I have them in my grasp, at last. It has been a long summer season around these parts, it happens every year. Usually by October, I find myself begging and pleading with Summer to take her awful heat and scram, make way for Fall, his time here is so short after all. Then just as she begins to acquiesce, step aside to make way for that long-awaited transition, Fall begins this taunting game of hide-and-seek. Now you see me, now you don’t, catch me if you can, hehe! He has been reluctant to linger. Here we are in November already and he is just now beginning to settle in…I think. I dare say, it was downright chilly the other day, with a little rain, some wind and storm clouds, too. It was cold enough to warrant pulling out the down comforter and cozy socks! I find this sudden change in weather so refreshing and I feel a celebration is in order. I do believe the occasion calls for a warm cup of homemade chai tea. And a down comforter, of course. And don’t forget the cozy socks.
I love the flavors of chai spice, especially this time of year. Cozy, warming and paired with a little milk and honey in a hot cup of tea, it is absolutely lovely on a cool autumn afternoon. Although I do adore the flavor, I have one little problem with many “chai” products, liked the boxed tea you buy at the grocery store or the prepared latte from your favorite coffee shop. They are most often a bit too spicy for me to truly enjoy, but I am unusually sensitive that way. I think it’s the black pepper. Once in a while, I like to mix up a jar of spices to have on hand for homemade chai tea or treats or something seasonal and sweet for breakfast on those chilly, autumn stay-home-Sundays. Preparing your own spice mixes allows you to customize and control the flavors, tailoring them to your own particular taste. Besides which, making your own mix can have an economical advantage over purchasing those expensive jars found in the spice aisle of the grocery store. My chai spice line up includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves and a little bit of nutmeg. I suppose a proper mix should include a bit of black pepper, too, but seeming as we don’t get along, I just leave him out of it.
Homemade Chai Spice
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cardomom
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients and store in a jar in your spice cupboard to have conveniently available for any seasonal occasion that might call for chai spice.
Nothing says autumn to me like a hot cup of tea with the flavors of cinnamon, spice and all things nice. I have always been particularly fond of warm chai tea lattes and I like mine creamy and sweet. Lately, I have been wanting to try making this thing called “golden milk”, a warm milk beverage made with turmeric. So, I thought why not combine the two? Turmeric is supposed to be a good natural anti-infammory and dealing with a stubborn injury lately, my poor muscles and joints would probably appreciate a little love from Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet. Turmeric is also said to be good for healthy hair and beautiful skin. Heaven knows I could use a little beauty boost these days! The thing about turmeric, they say, is that it is not easily absorbed by the body in a simple powder form. I have read that making a paste and adding black pepper helps in making it more bioavailable, increasing absorption. Of course it would be the black pepper. I intentionally left it out of my chai spice, only to add it my turmeric paste. Oh well…all in the name of natural healing, I suppose.
Look at that color. Certainly you can see why turmeric paste is otherwise known as “golden paste” (and why it stains the countertops and cutting boards…watch out for that, by-the-way). To make a paste, I simply used about 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup organic turmeric powder (I like this brand). After stirring those together over low heat for a few minutes, long enough to allow the mixture to thicken into a paste-like consistency, I added about a tablespoon and a half of coconut oil. And, reluctantly, a teaspoon and a half of black pepper. Now, I know this is not a proper recipe, I just kind of put things into a pot, which tends to be my way. But if that doesn’t work for you, a quick search on the internet will yield a plenitude of recipes for turmeric paste. This paste is very simple to make and keeping a jar of it in the fridge will allow for easy Chai-Spiced Turmeric Milk preparation to enjoy on a daily basis. And since my hubby and I discovered that this delightfully delicious beverage makes the perfect after-dinner treat, we will probably need to have a jar of turmeric paste on hand at all times from this day forward. Made with unsweetened almond milk (or coconut or cashew, whatever works for you), turmeric paste, chai spice and honey, the creamy sweetness of this golden milk satisfies that ever-nagging urge to undo your healthy evening meal by indulging in a decadent dessert. And since this chai latte is not actually prepared with tea, it lacks the caffeine that may keep you awake late into the night.
Chai-Spiced Turmeric Milk
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond, coconut or other nut milk
- 1 teaspoon prepared turmeric paste
- 1 teaspoon chai spice powder
- 1-2 teaspoons honey, agave (or you can use a little stevia instead)
Simply heat your favorite milk or milk alternative in a saucepan on the stove. Add turmeric paste and chai spice and whisk to combine. Stir until the milk is gently heated, not boiling, and add enough sweetener to satisfy your own personal sweet tooth.
My little encounter with Autumn spawned a seasonal culinary affair that included a chai-spiced pumpkin pie, the raw and vegan version. It needs some refining, a few minor adjustments, but paired with a hot cup of sweet chai-spiced tea…well, this is seasonal bliss! While it is not exactly a hot cup of tea, this chai-spiced turmeric milk turned out to be a most fitting way to celebrate the settling in of Autumn. May he stay for a while, entice us with those spices and keep us warm in his cozy embrace.
Pull out your comforter and cozy socks. Settle in, enjoy the sensations of the season.