Friday, August 26, 2011

Chai Tea & Hot Cocoa

Is it wrong to be talking about these things in August?

Here on the east coast, we are gearing up for quite a weekend. Please be gentle with us Hurricane Irene!
I've got some things planned for the stormy days ahead - a few art projects, recipe card filling out (I really do enjoy that sort of thing), cinnamon roll making... and of course the usual preparations in the likely event we lose power.
It gets me into camping mode as far as food is concerned.
Things need to be simple, require very little fuel to prepare, and be the sort of foods that we look forward to. 
Instantly prepared mixes are not always as nutritious as the at home counterparts. Chai Tea and Hot Cocoa are both made differently for us at home. Honey in place of sugar, real milk and whole tea leaves instead of powdered, you get the idea. But on the trail (or when preparing for a hurricane), a little convenience goes a long way. 
Today I'll share two recipes from our camping kitchen. Whether you are heading off with your backpack, preparing for a power outage, or simply thinking of the cooler months ahead - you just might like to make a little hot beverage mix.

Chai Mix
  • 2 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice crystals(sucanat can be used, but it has a stronger flavor)
  • 3 cups powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 cups instant tea-unsweetened (some natural food stores are carrying a variety of this now)
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. clove
  • 1 1/4 tsp cardamom
Combine the mix. I run it in batches through the blender to get it really good and powdery, dissolves nicer. Add 2 rounded TBS. mix to 8 oz. hot (not boiling) H2O. Put your feet up and sip away.

Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 16 cups powdered milk (if you can find non-dairy creamer without hydrogenated oils in it, use 1/2 creamer-1/2 milk, much creamier)
  • 2 cups cocoa powder
  • 5 cups evaporated cane juice crystals
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt-not course
Mix in a large bowl well. I also run this through the blender in batches to make it very fine and powdery. Not an essential step, but nice to do. Use 1/3 cup mix with 8 oz. of hot H2O.

Feeling up for a little outdoor inspiration? Check out National Geographic's film about the Appalachian Trail. You can stream it instantly on Netflix. 

"For more than half of the US population, the Appalachian Trail is less than a day's drive away. But precious few know it's splendor, or understand it's power."

Enjoy yourself this weekend, and stay safe my fellow east coasters!


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