Halloween last night didn’t seem to have its usual vigour. We were treated to a bit of a trick, with strong winds and rain from the early evening continuing on through to the early morning. I didn’t see as many little ghosts and ghouls running around causing mayhem as I remembered it as a child. I’ve often wondered if the celebration is changing? In my day we packed on the snowsuits and went for hours.
Next year I am going to make a bigger effort to indulge my inner-child and go big on sewing together a costume to partake in the fun.
Eager to join in on the festive celebrations, Julia and I got crafty with our pumpkins and some dull knives, threw on Beetlejuice and let off some steam with a round of Cards Against Humanity.
On the trek home, I was overcome with a craving. This lousy weather had me wanting something hot, sweet and spicy. I love winter, but the dampness of late fall always has me slinking into hot showers and rain boots.
Chai is a great way to warm up and better yet – soothe digestion. With the exception of my Chai Apple Butter, I have yet to make my own chai spice mix at home. And so – DIY Cozy Chai Concentrate was born.
Everything but the nutmeg in this melange is renowned for dispelling gas, soothing nausea and fighting bad bacteria. I think we all struggle with our digestion at one point or another. I plan to keep my stomach settled and my digestive tract smooth sailing as we naturally shift to heavier foods in preparation for winter.
Here is our line-up:
Fennel – great for dispelling gas, used frequently in Mediterranean dishes to soothe the stomach.
Ginger – helps soothe nausea and vomiting, great for your skin.
Cloves – can help fight bad bacteria and soothe pain. Remember that old wives’ take about chewing a clove when you have a toothache?
Cardamom – helps tame an overly acidic stomach and settle stomach cramping.
Black Pepper – aids in soothing indigestion by helping to create healthy acid to digest more efficiently.
Nutmeg – another handy spice for treating toothache, also aids in soothing the runs and constipation.
Lucky for me, almost all of these spices are recommended for Vata dominant beings like myself. There are a lot of short and sweet dosha tests on the internet. For more detailed information I suggest finding a practitioner trained in ayurvedic medicine.
Cozy Chai Concentrate
Inspired by My New Roots
3 tablespoons of cardamom pods (the brighter their colour the fresher they are).
2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
8-10 sticks of cinnamon
5 star nise
1- 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
1-2 tablespoons of whole cloves
1 small chunk of whole nutmeg
3-4 inches of sliced ginger
4 cups of fresh water
Combine all spices and water into a pot with a lid.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for two hours until mixture has reduced by half.
If you are pressed for time you can even allow your mixture to sit overnight and strain out in the morning.
Store for up to two weeks in an air tight jar in the fridge.
Grey day Chai
1/2 cup of coconut milk or milk of choice ( I used 1/4 coconut cream, 1/4 coconut milk)
1/4 of water
1/4 of chai concentrate
Pinch of Sea Salt
Bring to boil and stir in raw honey or sweetener of choice.
Tip: Technically it isn’t chai without some tea action. Straying from a traditional base of Indian Black Tea, I choose to keep mine caffeine free to make this Chai appropriate to sip on any time of the day. To bring even more goodness to your belly mix in 2-3 teaspoons of the tea of your choice and simmer for 3-5 minutes before straining. Use black tea for a traditional chai and a quick pick me up – one of my favourites is DavidsTea’s Assam Banaspaty. Alternatively try a red or green rooibos for a boost of hydration and a great way to decompress before bedtime.