Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Chai. Gluten-free. Vegan.

In the past year, I've removed coffee from my diet. This has been a mixed bag: I loooove the smell of coffee, and the feeling of holding a steaming cup in my hands, and pouring lots of hazelnut milk into the dark liquid and then drinking it. Ahhh...those things I definitely miss. What I don't miss, however, are the strange headaches I began getting on a regular basis. These felt like someone (or something?) was drilling a strange device into my head, but wouldn't stop when there was resistance. I also realized that I stopped eating during the days when I would drink up to two pots of coffee, leaving me completely wired but ravenous by nightful and absolutely unable to sleep. Obviously, these were problems I had to deal with, and getting rid of coffee has greatly reduced them. I still suffer from migraines periodically, unfortunately, but the strange drilling headaches are no more.

Enter: tea. The great and mighty tea leaf has become my best friend. D has also removed coffee from his drinking arsenal, so we have amassed quite a collection of fine teas from all over town. Not only do we call Portland a coffee-centric city, but the tea scene here is VERY prestigious. You know Stash and Tazo? Both started by the same guy, and both originated here in Portland. Steven Smith teas (as the founder's company is now called) aren't the only delicious ones in town, though, and D and I are quite happy to drink our way through all the lovely tea houses we can find.

Drinking tea on the run can be expensive, though, and although I won't find offending ingredients in simple loose leaf, ordering a chai or other mixed tea beverage can have varying results. That's why, in the best of times, I prefer to just make myself a humble mug of tea at home.

Pumpkin Spiced Chai Tea (Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free)
Serves 1

1 black chai tea bag
1/2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. coconut cream (taken from the top of a can of refrigerated full-fat coconut milk)
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1 t. pumpkin pie spice (or more, to taste)
2 T. evaporated cane juice (or other sweetener, to taste)

  1. Steep the tea bag in small bowl with boiling water. Set aside and make the other part of the recipe. 
  2. In a small stovetop pan, mix together the remaining ingredients. Heat at medium-low heat until just bubbling, mixing periodically. 
  3. When it is boiling, remove from heat, pour strongly-steeped tea into the coconut cream mixture and stir. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

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