HOT VANILLA CHAI LATTE ( serves 4-6 people)

I visit this restaurant in my neighborhood a lot with my son. We always have the same thing to drink. It is a fabulous chai latte. I loved it so much I had to try to recreate it. Without any special machines or gadgets I came extremely close to the one they serve at the restaurant.

YOU WILL NEED:

Water
Milk
Vanilla chai tea bags ( I like Bigelow brand )
Sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Boil 3 cups of water.

2. Steep 3 tea bags till it is very strong and dark in color right in the same pot you used to boil the water. Then remove tea bags. Add sugar now to entire pot till it has enough for your liking.

3. Slowly bring 1 cup of milk to a boil in another pot. Just as it starts to boil remove from heat. Use a strainer for the next step if you have let the milk develop a skin.

4. Add boiled milk to the pot of tea and stir.

5. Serve hot.

VARIATIONS: I have never tried it chilled but, if you like your lattes cold, I’d imagine you could just store in the refrigerator and drink later. I’m not sure if using ice cubes would water down the flavor.

INFAMOUS OATMEAL

Photo will be posted soon

This is a forty  year walk down memory lane for me. When my children were smaller, my husband and I left them with a sitter in our home overnight,  while we attended a function. When I arrived home, our usual babysitter, Valerie,  stated , ” I made them oatmeal but none of them ate breakfast.”  The children looked nervous, as if  they knew they were in trouble. (Lol. ) I apologized to her and paid her and she left.
The bowls of oatmeal were still on the table and warm. My middle son asked,” Are we punished? ” and all began protesting. I asked, ” Were you disrespectful to Valerie?”. They said,  ” No.  But Mom, it’s disgusting, it’s not like yours. Valerie can’t make it right”. I looked at the bowls of clumpy oatmeal. This was the kind my mom used to make,  that I hated and always got yelled at for because I took so long to eat it. The kind that sticks to a spoon when the spoon is upside down.
Three smiles appeared as I said, ” No, you’re not punished. This IS disgusting.” and promptly threw it away and made more.  Three happy children sat and ate all their oatmeal . 🙂 I have taken care of numerous children in my life and have never had a child not eat their oatmeal.  So, if your child wont eat their oatmeal, I hope you will try this recipe.This is how I make it.

You will need:

Dried oats ( I use Quaker, but not the 1 minute kind, though that would work fine too.)
Milk
Cinnamon
Sugar
Vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Instead of boiling water, I use milk. ( if I’m low on milk, I have used half water and half milk and bring to just before the point of boiling.

2. Add your oats , stir, and lower heat to simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. If it starts to get thick, add more milk till it is a creamy consistency, almost like a thick soup.

4. Turn off heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and sugar to taste.

5. Serve hot and enjoy.

VARIATIONS: I have experimented with other pure extracts like almond and orange and recently, half water and half coconut milk. All were great! However, you will need less sugar if using coconut milk.

KITCHEN SINK SOUP

Funny name I know. However, I call it that because it seems like everything but the kitchen sink gets thrown in. Ever wonder what to do with your leftover veggies n pasta or rice? Americans waste a lot of food in comparison to other countries around the world. I was brought up being told I must finish everything on my plate, regardless if I were full or not, because kids were starving in places around the world. Now, people know that’s not a good idea and can lead to childhood obesity. With that said, it’s ok to have leftovers and you don’t have to discard them . Just toss them together and make a soup. I’ll tell you what usually winds up in mine but know that you can use any veggie cut into bite sized pieces. Any small macaroni or rice.

YOU WILL NEED:

Four quarts of chicken broth

Diced boneless chicken

Green beans cut in half or thirds

1 cup of rice or macaroni

One large carrot diced

Half of small onion minced

1 can of beans ( chickpeas, kidney, cannellini, navy or whatever kind you like)

1 ccelery stalk sliced small

Pepper and salt to taste

VARIATIONS: substitute beef broth for chicken broth and use tiny, already fried meatballs or steak sliced in place of chicken. Add diced potatoes and above vegetables.

For a vegetable type soup use water instead of broth but decrease water to two quarts and add 1-16 oz bottle of V-8 tomato juice and a cup of diced seeded tomatoes. You can add corn or any other vegetables you like.

DIRECTIONS: Throw everything in a large pot and bring to a boil and simmer twenty min or till macaroni is done. FAST and EASY.

HOMEMADE ITALIAN SAUCE

Once you see how easy  it is to make your own spaghetti sauce, you will never buy it in a jar again. The taste is excellent. And, you know what’s in it. No surprise, harmful ingredients. Just good, healthy food! Enjoy.

YOU WILL NEED:

2-  35 oz cans of of Cento tomatoes ( these are non-GMO)

Olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Salt

Dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon of Dried basil or 2 teaspoons of fresh basil cut chiffonade style

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1/2 of a medium sweet onion finely chopped

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 medium- sized onion diced

Heavy bottomed sauce pan

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Put olive oil in bottom of your pot, just enough to coat the center.

2. Place both cans of peeled tomatoes ( one at a time) in blender with 1/2 of the garlic and oregano, parsley and basil and puree . Then set aside.

3.  Take diced  onions and begin to brown on medium high heat. When they are just beginning to turn translucent, add the rest of the garlic, and salt , stirring constantly , taking care not to let the garlic burn.

4. Stir for three to five minutes then add your puréed tomato mixture to the pan.

5 . Cook  on medium high heat until it starts to bubble. Then stir and turn  the heat to  low , 3 on an electric stove , and cover with the lid slightly ajar. IF YOU HAVE PREPARED MY STEAMED MEATBALLS, this would be the time to add them and spoon sauce over the tops. After about five minutes you would turn the meatballs over and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for about 1-1/2 to two hours.

6. After thirty minutes or so, stir in the sugar. The sugar will cut the acid in the sauce. For those of you with acid reflux disorders, this is great! Just don’t be too vigorous with the stirring if you have meatballs inside, as they will be soft and can easily fall apart. If you want just a meat sauce, you can break the meatballs apart.

Note: Each time you stir, before stirring , you can take a large spoon and carefully remove the oil at the top of the sauce.  I, personally, don’t  like too much oil. When you take  the ajar lid off to stir, if sauce is too watery, then just leave lid off and remain simmering .  If you think it is getting too thick, just put the lid on again, leaving slightly ajar.