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.

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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.

THE “I don’t want to” COOKBOOK

Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

I have very good friends who often invite me to come over for dinner. Sometimes they order out and have the food delivered. They had a lot of menus from their favorite places all in a manila envelope in their china closet drawer. Often, they rustled through them trying to find the one they were looking for. That’s when this idea came to mind. And I created this! They got it as one of their Christmas gifts. It made us all laugh when they opened it . Whenever I see mine I think of that day and how everyone liked it and what a great time we had that day. I’m sure many of you will give this a try.

YOU WILL NEED:

A three ring 1- 1/2 inch binder that has the clear plastic insert on the front cover.

A box of clear plastic sheet protectors.

Menus from your favorite take-out places?

NOTE : IF YOUR MENUS HAVE TRI-FOLDS, YOU WILL NEED TWO OF THEM.

A computer photo that you can edit and put words on it.

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Separate menu pages. Get new menus if you can.

2. Put each page in a separate page protector so that you can view both sides of the menu.

3. Place all page protectors in binder.

4. Place your computer made image and title into the insert on front of binder.

5. Place on bookshelf and you will free up drawer space and always have your favorite menus handy and ready to view .