Homemade Chai Tea

Sean loves chai. But chai mix that tastes great, and is not too expensive, is a rare find! Our friend Caleb makes his own chai so we asked him how he does it. He approximates his recipe so we developed our own exact measurements as we followed his general directions. It turned out great!

Ingredients:

6 cups of water

2 black tea bags

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)

1 nutmeg chopped in quarters (it’s helpful to use a very sharp knife and have the nutmeg resting on a towel so it doesn’t go flying when you cut it)

1 cup of sugar (can be adjusted according to taste)

~ Bring ingredients to simmer. Simmer until the tea mixture is just a bit stronger than you want. Remove nutmeg, leaves, and cinnamon, then let cool.

Add milk to taste. We used about 4 cups.

1-chai_tea_creativelyus Ingredients. You can use any sort of black tea.

2-chai_tea_creativelyusThe pot with the nutmeg, bay leaves and cinnamon.

3-chai_tea_creativelyus Simmering! It smelled soooo good!

4-chai_tea_creativelyus Make sure you remove the nutmeg, leaves, and cinnamon stick!

5-chai_tea_creativelyus Mixing in the milk.

6-chai_tea_creativelyus

Homemade chai! Sooo good!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I made homemade vanilla extract for my mom, mother-in-law, and myself for Christmas this year. I started it in October since it needs at least two months to age. It takes:

Cheap vodka

Vanilla beans (I used Madagascar vanilla beans) – 3 bean pods per 8 oz of vodka

Clean, sterile bottle(s)

VanillaExtract_1_creativelyus VanillaExtract_2_creativelyus I sliced the vanilla bean pods in half lengthwise then dropped them into the clean bottle.

VanillaExtract_3_creativelyus Next, I poured the vodka in over the vanilla beans. Once that was done I sealed the bottles and let them sit on a shelf in a cool, dark area. About once a week I’d shake the bottles so the vanilla and vodka would mix. Two months later…VanillaExtract_4_creativelyusgorgeous vanilla extract ready for gifting! Simple, inexpensive, and a fun gift!
VanillaExtract_5_creativelyus

Oreo Turkey Truffles

One of Sean’s friends gave him a recipe for these really simple Oreo Truffles years ago and now everyone asks for them whenever we go to pitch-ins or parties. For one of our Thanksgiving get-togethers this year, we decided to make the truffles look a little more festive. If you need a last-minute recipe for a Thanksgiving-themed desert, we’ve got the perfect one for you right after the photos!

This makes about 30 truffles, which will serve at least 15 people. (They are so rich, very few people will eat more than one or two.)

Ingredients:
1 Package of Oreos
1 8oz Package of Cream Cheese
1 12oz Bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Yellow and Red Icing

  • Crush the Oreos in a large bowl and knead the cream cheese into the Oreos until it is all a consistent mixture.
  • Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Chill these in fridge for 1hr.
  • Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and dip Oreo balls into melted chocolate to coat them.
  • Pour some of the melted chocolate into an icing bag and pipe the tail feather design onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. (Another option, which we thought of later, would be to use chocolate covered pretzels instead. – If you try this, let us know how it turns out.)
  • Place the chocolate-covered Oreo truffles onto the base of the tail feather designs.
  • Use the yellow and red icing to make a beak and wattle on the top of the truffle.
  • Place back in the fridge to chill.
  • To serve, set the turkeys upright on a tray. (Some may need the bases shaved down a bit to stand upright.)

Also, if you’d like a great recipe for cranberry sauce, check out our friends’ post at www.thestricklins.com.

Cranberry Salsa

Tonight I made cranberry salsa. We’d purchased it before (and loved it!) when visiting some friends of ours and hadn’t found any since. It’s definitely a sweet salsa, but it has a bit of a kick! It’s a fun variation on salsa and more traditional cranberry sides served this time of year. I compared a few recipes that I found online and decided to just wing it (and leave out the suggested cilantro since I really, really can’t stand the taste of cilantro).

Cranberry Salsa:

One bag of fresh cranberries

Juice from one lime

Orange rind, about a teaspoon plus a bit

Jalapeños, about two Tablespoons

Three green onions, finely chopped

1/3 cup sugar

Dash of salt

Add all ingredients to mixer. Pulse until salsa reaches desired texture. Refrigerate salsa if not eating immediately (some recipes suggest refrigerating overnight before serving). Enjoy!