There’s something to be said about putting yourself out there. If I’m being honest, it’s almost exclusively how the best things in my life have happened to me. I “met” Shelly a couple of years ago when I accidentally stumbled upon her utterly inspiring blog, Vegetarian Ventures. Throughout the years, I’ve watched in awe as Shelly seems to make everything around her more beautiful and inspiring. When I reached out to Shelly about doing a guest post, I was like a fan writing a celebrity crush. We hadn’t had a lot of previous contact, unlike my other guest-posters, so it was a ballsy move and I was certain that she would say no. But to my surprise, Shelly enthusiastically agreed to help me out. To say that I am honoured for Shelly to be here today is an understatement. It’s an act of kindness and generosity to create a blog post for someone else. (Thank you Shelly. I’m so grateful.) Also, incase you don’t already know, she totally rocks when it comes to make delicious creations look beautiful. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean. But don’t stop there! Head on over to Vegetarian Ventures to show Shelly some love. I guarantee you’ll feel inspired, too.Hey new friends! My name is Shelly and I usually blog over at Vegetarian ‘Ventures. I am so excited to be hanging around 80twenty for the day and share this new recipe with all of you! Kris is such a wonderful blog friend and I’m so glad to be a part of her food community! There have been a lot of food trends that have come and gone within the past few years and it is safe to say that “alternative” milk is one of them. I love the nutty taste of non-dairy milk. Unfortunately, the lengthy ingredient list that comes with most grocery store nut milks is daunting and I find it hard to believe that those long lists of ingredients are better for you than milk from your local farmer. About a year back, I finally got into the routine of making my own almond milk; I’d make a small batch every Sunday and it would last me through the following Wednesday or Thursday. It was delicious and satisfying and worked great in oatmeal, coffee, and baked goods. It was relatively easy to whip up but the problem was the cost: organic almonds are not native to Midwest America and I was paying around $15 a week for organic almonds to make my nut milk (that is one expensive gallon of milk!). I’ve since moved to making a weekly batch of coconut milk and haven’t looked back. Whipping up coconut milk is not only easier but it’s ridiculously inexpensive (I can purchase two cups of organic coconut flakes in the bulk section at my grocery for under two dollars).
Coconut milk works great in oatmeal, with cereal, and in smoothies but my favorite way to enjoy it this time of year is in a warm cup of chai tea. It has been a very very chilly February and this chai drink is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Both the milk and chai concentrate can be stored in airtight containers, in the fridge, for up to three days after making. Separation is common with both so make sure to give them a good stir before using.
Homemade Coconut Chai Latte
For a printable version, click here.
Makes about 6 Servings worth
For the coconut milk:
2 cups shredded & unsweetened coconut
4 cups water
For the chai concentrate:
4 cinnamon sticks
10 cardamon pods
9 whole cloves
2 vanilla beans, split open
2 star anise
6 black peppercorns
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey
3 black tea bags (or 5 teaspoons loose leaf tea)
For the coconut milk: Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat, and let cool for two minutes. Add warm water and the shredded coconut to a blender and blend for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and milky colored. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard any leftover coconut. Transfer to a sealable jar. Milk will keep for up to three days in the fridge.
For the chai concentrate: Place everything but the black tea in a small saucepan with 3 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add tea bags, and let sit for five minutes.
Strain into a sealable glass jar and keep in your fridge for up to three days. When ready to use, warm 1 part coconut milk with 1 part concentrate.