As part of my Feel Good Experiment, I'm paying attention to what feels good, and that includes all those tiny wants. You know, when you're in the middle of something, but you think, I would really love a hot cup of tea. Well, now that I'm paying attention, I realize that I crave warm beverages a lot. All day. I want coffee in the morning, tea all day, and hot chocolate at night. But then I tell myself, Ok, just wait until you finish this email. Or, Get one later. And 8 hours later I still don't have my tea and it's time for bed and I say, Oh well, I'll get one tomorrow.
Putting off a cup of tea might not be a big deal…once. But my daily deprivation, my unfun do-this-before-you-get-what-you-want game is a sign of something bigger. It's a failure to really listen in to what my body wants, and it's a symbol of all the other things I don't listen to (stretching a cramped leg, getting that Dr's appointment, a feeling that this project isn't quite-right).
So a cup of tea is the perfect place to start listening in to what feels good. It's small, it's risk-free, it's delicious and warming. And taking the time to make a perfect cup (and then enjoy sipping it) is a lovely reminder that I'm allowed to feel good, that I'm allowed to bring more good things into my life.
Yesterday I posted the above picture to Instagram and got a few requests for my recipe, so here it is, my guide to make the perfect cup:
There are two steps to making this tea: make the pumpkin spice + brew the tea. The first step can be done way in advance – I make pumpkin spice in bulk every week and then add it to everything: smoothies, oatmeal, coffee, apple pie.
I started with this recipe, but tweaked it to fit my put-it-in-anything plans.
Pumpkin Spice for Anything:
1 cup of pumpkin puree
2 tsp cinammon
1 tsp ginger (I love it freshly-grated, but dried will work too)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (you might want more, but I don't really like it)
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 cup soy milk *
Mix it all up with a fork. It'll still be a bit thick, but that's ok, because you're going to add liquid any time you blend it in to anything. Seal it up and keep it in the fridge for a week.
*Important note about non-dairy milk substitutions:
I prefer almond milk (and hemp milk) for just about everything: baked goods, on my cereal, smoothies…but NOT for this. Other milks get weird when you heat them up…almond milk gets bitter, hemp milk starts to curdle and rice milk heats fine, but it's just way too thin for a creamy drink. If you're going to mix this in hot tea or coffee or oatmeal, use soy milk.
(Could you use milk? Sure…but why would you? The soy milk has a sweet nuttiness that really plays well with chai)
Making the tea
2 Tbl Rishi Tea: Masala Chai (loose tea)*
1 cup soy milk
1 cup water
Put the tea and liquids in a little pot and bring it to boiling. The directions tell you to boil it for 5 minutes, however! If you keep it all the way up at High for 5 minutes, it gets a little bitter. So I turn it down to medium (still boiling, but less angrily) right after if it comes up to boiling. Set your timer and enjoy the chai-y fumes.
While the chai is bubbling, scoop a big spoonful of your spiced pumpkin into the bottom of your cup. If your drinking cup has a narrow mouth, use a wide mouth bowl or measuring cup for the next step. I want the hot liquid to hit the pumpkin to dissolve it, so scoop the pumpkin into whatever you're going to strain your tea into it. While you're at it, get out your strainer.
When the timer dings, pull the tea off the stove and strain it. The pumpkin should dissolve nicely, but give it a quick stir just to be sure. If you've strained it into something else, pour into your mug.
There you go! Delicious pumpkinness!
And if you've got a little tea left over, pour it into your oatmeal.
(Go on and add an extra scoop of the spiced pumpkin to your oatmeal while you're at it.)
A few other ideas:
- The spiced pumpkin recipes all call for sweetener. If your tea isn't sweet enough for you, splash in some maple syrup. The soy milk I used had some sugar in it, so I didn't need any, but when I add the pumpkin spice to coffee, I usually do.
- If you don't have loose leaf tea, use a tea bag (I like these) steeped in 1/2 soy, 1/2 water, then mix in the pumpkin.
- If you've got the chai liquid stuff, mix it with soy as directed on the box, heat it up, then scoop in the pumpkin. (I like the Oregon Chai brand.)
- When you're all warmed up (or sipping this butternut soup), make a pumpkin smoothie! 1 frozen banana, 2 scoops of spiced pumpkin, about a cup of almond milk, 1 Tbl of flax seeds: blend it all up.
What's your favorite feel-good drink of the fall?