May 19, 2020 Chef Neelah

Hey, ya’ll!  This week I’m writing to you with a steamy hot mug ( which I got for my birthday) of spicy Chai tea. You can blend your own (I’ll attach my favorite recipe below); or you can use a good store-bought, Chai, I suggest Yogi brand Rooibos chai tea, it’s so yum and caffeine-free ( if you’re into that). I drink mine with a little sugar (I know I know but it’s my preferred tea sweetener), and a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. 

My birthday mug and the cutest birthday card I’ve ever seen!

I turned 30 last week, during The Great Quarantine of 2020. And let me tell y’all something; quarantine birthdays hit different. Birthdays are a really big deal for me. Historically I have believed since I was about 10 that we should celebrate every year because bad things happen all the time; things that prevent you from seeing the next birthday. I have been planning my 30th birthday celebration for roughly 5 years. I was soooo excited.  I wanted to have a three-day event: throw a huge tea party, have a kickback, and end the three-day group celebration with a fun family beach trip; I made plans, I paid deposits, I had an itinerary and I did none of it. It was depressing…at first. But then I remembered what a blessing just being alive and well is. Because, let’s be honest, a lot of people died in the last few months that had plans (going to that dark place… redirecting …). I then felt really selfish and ungrateful for the second half of the day.  How could I possibly be bummed about something so insignificant ( my 30th birthday) in the grand scheme of things…And Then my wonderful husband reminded me that it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to wish things were different and you can be disappointed and grateful at the same time. I’m ok now, I’ll be 30 all year and we will find an appropriate time to celebrate.

Me on my birthday:)

Life will be different. So many things have, are changing. My head is still reeling. One major way my work life is changing is the seasonal farmer’s markets I vend have opened but have a no contact rule. All of our customers have to preorder our products and we deliver them to the market where the volunteers sort and gather the orders. Not being customer-facing was a change that former me may have enjoyed but now me was very sad. We made a few sales but I had so much extra inventory. So I did something I’ve never done before. I put out a social media blast. I posted on every platform I had ( both business and personal), just hoping to hear back from anyone.  And the response was overwhelming. I had so many orders I had to bake for the entire weekend. What a wonderful birthday/mothers day gift it was to see the support and love.  I’m so thankful. I haven’t made my birthday cake yet so look out for that post… it’s coming.

Now for the recipe. I can’t remember exactly where I got this recipe. I found it years ago when I was on a new flavor binge for my cakes and this was my favorite one. I’ve made some changes to make it fit my specific dietary needs but you can tweak it to your liking to meet yours. It’s so yum hot, but its amazing as a cold drink on a hot day too. So here you go:

V&B Chai Tea

Fresh Ginger, 2″ piece, sliced

Cinnamon Sticks, whole, 2 ea.

Pink Peppercorns , whole ( my substitution cuz pink is cute), 2 tsp.

Cloves, whole, 8 ea. ( recipe called for 10 but cloves are overwhelming to me)

Cardamom Pods, cracked, 6 ea.

Water, cold, 4 cups

Your favorite black tea ( today it was Assam), 3 Tbsp.

Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, 1 cup

Sweeten to taste with your favorite sweetener

Using something heavy crush the whole spices and throw all of spices and ginger in a saucepan with water together.Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and add milk and sugar to taste.