Phew!  That was a lot of dishes!  But so worth it.  This afternoon I baked stupid little pre-made cookies that you break apart and bake (they were on sale because of the Halloween Packaging), three small pans of lasagna, and chai concentrate. 

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The cookies are only okay.  The chocolate chips in them don’t taste like chocolate, just sweet due to their color swirled nature.  But at 2/$1 I couldn’t resist adding cookies to everything else I wanted to get done today.

The lasagna is a beautiful creation.  My sauce has 8 fat cloves of garlic, a pound of ground beef (Hick’s Valley Grass Fed Beef, yum!), and a pound of mild Italian sausage.  Tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano from my garden, some dried basil, and a bit of salt.  I forgot to put a splash of balsamic in it, but oh well. I mixed the ricotta cheese with an egg and a bunch of basil from my yard.  Layers included noodles, sauce, ricotta, spinach, kale, shredded mozzarella , and some diced black olives (we’ll see how that goes, what do you think?).  So much cheese!  This is what happens when my husband says he wants meat and cheese.  I made two 8×8/9×9 and then determined to avoid overflow I should also put together a little bread pan of it, too.  I’ve got one in the oven for tonight and the other two in the freezer for some other lucky nights. What do you like in lasagna?  I was thinking I should get mushrooms involved next time.

Alex and I drink at least a chai latte a day.  He prefers his cold (and he uses rice drink, to avoid too much dairy.  So much for lasagna smothered in cheese…), I like it both ways, depending on my mood.  The chai I make at home is better than my favorite chai, Oregon Chai, which I now find a little too sweet on the occasions when I buy chai out or bring home a box.  Its really easy, too.  I also loved the excuse to clean up little jars, spray the lids white, and label them in sharpie for all my bits of bulk spices!  My cupboard is so pretty and organized inside, it makes it easy and pleasant to prepare things.

So, to make the chai I put x amount of water in a pot, 5 cups for a small batch, or about 4 inches in a big batch.  Today was a big batch.  I put in about 5 peppercorns, 25 cloves, 15 cardamom pods, 2 generous lids of nutmeg (being the lid of the spice jar), 2 generous lids of cinnamon, a big squirt of minced ginger, a glop of orange carrot marmalade strangely enough, not quite a tablespoon of anise seeds and I bring it to a boil.  I turn it off, add a small cupped handful of brown sugar, teaspoon or two vanilla, a long squirt of honey, and of course, tea.  I have been using earl gray, maybe 4 tablespoons or more.  The earl gray in the bulk section of Oliver’s is probably the best earl gray I’ve found.  Its very aromatic.    After about 5 minutes of steeping, I strain the concoction in my french press and keep it in the fridge.

Maybe next time I’ll just have to video tape myself making chai.  Typing up my recipe was hard.  My measurements are quite vague, and I kind of like it that way.

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