dirty chai chia pudding kohana coffee

Dirty Chai Chia Pudding

I am not a coffee drinker. This revelation is usually met with a variety of reactions, including but not limited to shock and disgust. I live in NYC, surrounded by lovers of drips, cold brews, and Chemex brewers. As a supertaster, I find the taste of it as a straight beverage to be too bitter, and as an anxious person, I find the high amounts of caffeine – especially in cold brews – send my heart racing like a hamster on a wheel. It’s pretty much a lose – lose situation for me.

HOWEVER…I love coffee in things! Coffee ice cream, chocolate-covered coffee beans (go figure!), coffee milkshakes, you name it!

dirty chai chia pudding kohana coffee

In an effort to test the bounds of my coffee consumption while making a relatively nutrient-dense breakfast, I came up with this little number. While a dirty chai typically uses espresso in its mix, I’m flexing my favorite muscle: creative license. Ha! I used Kohana Coffee Cold Brew Concentrate to create this special recipe, and I have to say, I am impressed! The coffee mixed with the milk mellows it out a bit, though the flavor still shines. The chai tea and the cinnamon add a spice that plays off of the coffee flavor beautifully. Plus, do I have to get into how good chia seeds are for you? Google it if you don’t know, I feel like it’s almost common knowledge at this point. 😉

dirty chai chia pudding kohana coffee

NOTE: This recipe was entered into Kohana Coffee’s recipe contest! Please click this link to find my recipe and vote for it before April 15th, 2017! Thanks in advance for your support!

Dirty Chai Chia Pudding
(Makes 3 – 4 servings, roughly 16 ounces in total)

Ingredients:

– 6 tablespoons chia seeds
– 1 cup milk of choice (dairy or plant-based)
– 1 – 2 chai tea bags
– 1/2 cup Kohana Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
– 1/2 cup cold water
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Directions:

1.) Place chia seeds in a large bowl and set aside. Over medium heat, bring milk to a slow simmer; it should not be brought to a boil. Turn off heat, add tea bag(s), and allow tea bag to steep for 5 minutes. Use a spoon to press on the tea bag(s), if desired, to release more of the tea. Allow milk and tea mixture to cool down for 10 minutes.

2.) Add milk tea mixture, Kohana Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate, and water to chia seeds and gently whisk until thoroughly combined. Add ground cinnamon, vanilla, and honey or maple syrup and whisk again until combined. The mixture should start to thicken by this point.

3.) Place plastic wrap over bowl and place in fridge for no less than 3 hours. Remove from fridge and stir to unify the consistency of the chia pudding. Serve immediately or return to fridge until you’re ready to consume it! This pudding, refrigerated as directed, will remain fresh for up to five days.

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almond chai banana bread

Almond Chai Banana Bread

The plight of the spleenless: I have been sick for almost the past three weeks now! Believe me when I say how miserable it is. Every winter, I usually have one cold that spikes a fever, then I’ll feel like I’m on the mend when BAM, I’ll have laryngitis and a horrible cough for days at a time. Right now, I’m feeling as though I’m finally on the mend, but with apprehension. Haaaa.

I have NOT wanted to cook, bake, or even go into my kitchen to pour a glass of water in these past few weeks. I’ve been so listless, as these illnesses leave me feeling more drained than an iPhone after five minuets on Snapchat. I’ve been utilizing the help of handsome men and the wonder that is Seamless to feed me during my illness; my local Indian restaurant’s delivery guy and I are very well acquainted at this juncture.

Now that my energy levels are on the rise again, the urge to get into my kitchen has returned. Thank goodness, because I have so many ripe bananas begging to be turned into bread!

almond chai banana bread

I wanted to shake it up a little bit; I’ve made a slightly more health-conscious banana bread recipe on this blog before, but I wanted to play around with flavors this time. As wonderful as banana bread is, its flavor and texture can be a little boring. Luckily, many other flavors complement banana well. I’ve had my industrial-sized bottle of Dona Chai chillin’ in the back of my fridge for a few weeks now, and I’ve got more sliced almonds than I know what to do with! Though I originally wanted to add slivered almonds to the batter, mine were a little funky-smelling, so I opted to top my bread with sliced almonds.

almond chai banana bread

The result was a bread that turned out not overly sweet and a tad spicy. It’s a welcomed change!

Almond Chai Banana Bread
(Makes One Loaf)

Ingredients:

– 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
– 5 tablespoons butter, melted
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup chai concentrate (I used Dona Chai)
– 1 large egg, beaten
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 & 3/4 cups flour
– Pinch of black pepper (optional)
– 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Before We Get Started…

– This recipe will will an standard loaf pan (8 & 1/2″ x 4 & 1/2″ x 2 1/2″).

– If you prefer a sweeter banana bread, increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Many other chai concentrates have added sugar, so read your labels to keep the sweetness of your bread where you desire.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bread pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2.) Take 1/2 banana and cut 10 – 12 slices. Set aside.

3.) In a large bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, flour, and pepper; whisk until incorporated.

4.) In a separate large bowl, mash remaining bananas with a fork until they are as smooth as possible. Add melted butter to bananas and mix to combine; add vanilla, chai concentrate, and egg and mix until combined.

5.) Slowly add dry mixture into the wet mixture 1/2 cup at a time; mix until batter is uniform.

6.) Pour batter into prepared bread pan. Top with banana slices and sliced almonds. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

7.) Move pan to cooling rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before removing and slicing; if not slicing, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Eat within three days.

almond chai banana bread

 

Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]

Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]

Chai tea is a weakness of mine, and I really like going for the good stuff. Hey, I’ll admit it: I was an ardent lover of whatever Starbucks was slinging for years. Growing up in the sticks, I would always excitedly go to Starbucks whenever I visited my family in NYC just for their amazing chai. It was such a novelty for me! Then, as I got older, I saw what real chai tea was (thanks, in part, to the dearly departed Chaiwalla in Salisbury, CT, my Yelp review circa November 2010 still shining bright); while always good in a pinch, my love for mass-produced sugar-laden chai concentrates largely fell by the wayside. Brewing chai with black tea and aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, anise, black pepper, and cardamom, is so warm and satisfying. It’s far more guiltless as the amount of ingredients can be controlled. Less sugar? Plant-based milk? More cardamom? Experiment as you please!

I also love a good cup of hot cocoa. I love how I preached steering away from aforementioned chai concentrates in the preceding paragraph, yet I’m about to drop this gem: I LOVE DUNKIN’ DONUTS HOT COCOA. Good lord, that stuff is addictive! I occasionally throw caution to the wind. I think to myself, “Is it bad to consume Silicon Dioxide and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate every so often? Is it?” Okay…well…yeah, it’s not. Ha! Regardless, it fills a hole in my soul every now and then. However, at the end of the day, I always try to eat recognizable ingredients; I often make my own cocoa at home, where the ingredients are merely milk, cocoa, sugar, homemade vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. That I can recognize. I don’t recall where I got this recipe from, but I’ve been making it this way ever since I was in high school. It’s definitely tried and true!

Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]

I love putting a hit of cinnamon into my cocoa every now and then, when I remember to grab a little before drinking it. The slightly sweet spice really brings out the richness of the cocoa. Then I started conjuring all of the flavors that border on sweet and savory that complement chocolate so well: curry, coconut, pepper, salt, et al. Why couldn’t a nice chai mix work well in cocoa?

Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]

I have often made my own chai mixes with individual spices and black tea, but I’m Sandra Lee-ing this recipe with some chai tea bags. Trust: It’ll make life easier. Be sure to check the ingredients! I found this Pure Leaf Chai Tea on sale at my local grocery store, and the ingredients are solid: black tea, cinnamon, ginger root, cardamom, chicory root, cloves, black pepper, and marigold petals.

Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]

By the way, best mug ever right? RIGHT.

Enjoy your cocoa, friends.

Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa [Single Serving]
(Serves One, but of course!)

Ingredients:

– 8 – 10 ounces milk, dairy or non-dairy (milk amount depends on your mug size!)
– 2 tablespoons cocoa
– 1 – 2 tablespoons sugar or sweetener of choice, to taste
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Dash of salt
– 1 chai tea teabag (I used Pure Leaf)

Before We Get Started…

– Of course, it’s very easy to expand the proportions of ingredients to make this with multiple people! I have not tried; I’ve only developed this single serving recipe. If you have success making expanding the serving sizes of this recipe, please share in the comments!

Directions:

1.) Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add milk; bring to just below boiling, then whisk in cocoa until combined. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk to incorporate. Lower heat to low and add chai tea bag. Seep tea bag in milk for 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow tea bag to steep for an additional 3 – 5 minutes. Remove tea bag and pour cocoa into mug, preferably a cute one with some cheeky illustrations or phrases.

2.) Enjoy!

– – – –

NOTE: This post was not sponsored by Pure Leaf, but I’ve got to give them a shout out because their chai blend worked wonders for this recipe!

chai rice pudding dona chai

Chai Rice Pudding

Is there anything more comforting than a warm, cozy bowl of rice pudding on a cold December day?

Honestly, I wouldn’t know. It’s currently 62 °F in Manhattan.

El Niño, you are strong this year, son!

This stretch of warm weather seems to be extending well into the next few days; the forecast right now says 58°F on Thursday! It’s kind of hard to get into that cozy holiday spirit as I’m walking around outside, sporting my old baggy Adidas sweatshirt and jeans, feeling like I could see leaves bud on the trees at any minute. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” may be more than just a song lyric in 2015, at least for this part of the country!

Well, I’ll force that warm and cozy holiday feeling, if I must!

chai rice pudding dona chai

I’ve been a fan of Dona Chai since I discovered it a few months back. One of my favorite little coffee shops in the city, Plowshares Coffee Roasters, uses Dona Chai in their chai lattes, and it was love at first sip. It melds all of the traditional chai spices into a wonderfully soothing concentrate. It’s made locally in Brooklyn, to boot! I bought a bottle for myself at my local Whole Foods a few weeks ago, and I’ve been slipping it into little things, here and there. (Though, mostly, I stick to good ol’ chai lattes.) Today, on a related note, my roommates and I did a very adult apartment project: We cleaned out our fridge! Four bags of trash and recycling later, we have a sparkling (enough) place to store our perishables. Among the things I found was a container of white rice I cooked up two nights ago when I made a vegan coconut curry for dinner. I didn’t see any reason to throw it out. My eyes quickly glanced over at the bottle of Dona Chai on one of the shelves, and inspiration struck!

chai rice pudding dona chai

Rice pudding may not be everyone’s bag of tea, but give it a chance! I used to hate it, namely due to its texture. In 2008, I had a splenectomy, and my first solid food was rice pudding, about eight containers of Kozy Shack Rice Pudding, to be exact. I grew a fondness for it. It’s an incredibly versatile dessert, with so many ingredients that can be added to it. Today, I spied chai.

The rest is history.

chai rice pudding dona chai

Chai Rice Pudding
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 cups cooked white rice, preferably medium-grain
– 3 cups whole milk
– 1/4 cup Dona Chai (See: Before We Get Started…)
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– Pinch of salt

Before We Get Started…

– Feel free to use any other chai concentrate or home-brewed chai tea. As I use concentrate to make this recipe, I can not attest to the measurements associated with using home-brewed chai tea. That being said, I encourage you to experiment if you go the latter route!

Directions:

1.) Combine rice, milk, chai concentrate, cinnamon, and salt in a large non-stick saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.) Remove from stove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

3.) Stir any remaining mixture and press cling wrap to the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

3a.) If storing leftovers, place into plastic containers and press cling wrap to the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

– – – –

Note: This post reflects my opinions on Dona Chai; I have not been asked by their company to represent their brand. I am merely an ardent fan! 🙂