Chai Tea Spice Blend

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We just love Indian Chai tea.  Having lived in Tehran, Iran for a couple of years when I was 10-12 years old, I just loved drinking their unspiced plain hot tea from the little 2″ tall sipping glasses they serve tea in there.   It always reminded me of my childhood days, playing “house” and having “tea parties” with my dolls.

In Iran, sugar was sold in huge solid blocks and they would just hammer off chunks, pop a piece into their mouths and sip the hot tea right through that sugar “cube”.  At age 10, what fun!  Pure sugar in your mouth!  🙂  What can I say?  My views on sugar sure have changed.  🙂  I very quickly learned considerable Pharci language at age 10, mostly from our maid, Fatimeh, who spoke little English.  When we would pass a tea shop in the bazaar she would make a sipping gesture and ask:  “Chai meekhawheed?” (sp?) which I quickly figured out meant “Do you want some tea?” I learned the proper response in no-time flat “Adeh, chai meekhawham” (sp?), “Yes, I want some tea!”.  I also knew in that setting, I’d get it served Iranian style, with those fun chunks of rock sugar, something my mother would never  allow at home.  Wasn’t I a naughty little 10 year old?   Mom was always worrying about that evil, Mr. Tooth Decay (those old enough, remember him from the Colgate TV commercials in the late 50’s?).  Moms always over worry, don’t they?  My teeth haven’t all fallen out after all!  LOL  Wonder if Chai tea is served with rock sugar in India?  Sorry, I digress with my boring nostalgia trip………..

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

It was not until today, looking on the internet for the origins of the word CHAI, that I learned Indian hot chai tea, infused with all its lovely aromatic spices, actually gets its name from the Persian word for tea, CHAI (pronunced in Iran with second syllable stressed  CHA – EEEEEE )   Ya learn something everyday!

I really avoid commercial spice preparations as much as I can, what with all the “extras” they add to those prepared mixes, beaucoup salt and sugar.  So I decided to take the most common spices I can taste in a cup of chai tea and just make up my own, using equal amounts (roughly) of the likely spices.  I quickly learned it needs to be a little top-heavy with cinnamon and doubled that 1 ingredient.  The final spice blend, brewed into a 2-cup pot of tea, was DELICIOUS!  So I thought I’d share my new blend here with my readers.

I’m a lazy cook by nature and don’t like the nuisance of shelling cardamom seeds from those big pods, so once I saw that Penzey’s sells it already shelled, well you know I was on that one like a fly on flypaper!  🙂  I order already shelled cardamom seeds from Penzey’s Spices on-line or their catalog.  Therefore, I have no earthly idea how many cardamom pods it will take to yield 1 tsp. seeds, but probably around 10-15?  There are about 8-10 little black seeds in the average green cardamom pod.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (also available individually) from Amazon or here: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

INGREDIENTS:

¼” slice of fresh ginger root (about 1 tsp.)

6 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon (or 1 3″ stick broken up)

1 tsp. cardamom seeds

3/4 tsp. fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder (I use a dedicated cheap coffee grinder for spices) and grind until all is pretty fine.  Store in a lidded jar in a dark cabinet or your refrigerator if you’re worried about the ginger.   To make tea from this spice blend, boil your water in a proper teakettle and add your teabag(s) or loose tea in an infuser (my pot has a built-in infuser that lifts in and out).  Add 1 tsp. Chai Spice Blend to the infuser along with your tea for every 2 cups of water/tea you want to serve.  Steep for 5 minutes with the lid on and serve in cups with milk or cream and sweetener of your choice.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes about 9 tsp. of spice blend, each teaspoon (amount to brew 2 cups chai tea) contains:

3 calories, 0.1 g  fat, 0.75 g carbs, 0.45 g  fiber, 0.3 g  NET CARBS, < 0.1g protein

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Peggy’s Bulletproof Tea

Bulletproof Earl Gray Tea

                 Bulletproof Earl Gray Tea

This one is for you hot tea lovers out there.  I have long put coconut oil, cream and sweetener in coffee.  But two months ago, I ditched coffee for tea so I could start consuming fewer and less-frequent dairy products.  One morning not long ago I decided to see what coconut oil tasted like in hot tea.  Malheureusement, I discovered I was out of regular tea bags, but had lots of Earl Gray tea on hand.  So I thought, what the heck and brewed up a small pot.  I spooned in a dab of coconut oil a pinch of my pure stevia and MAN, was that ever good!  I love this so much I decided I just had to share it with my readers!  I’ve been drinking it every morning (and some afternoons) ever since I made this tasty discovery.   I’m totally addicted.  Not quite the classic “bulletproof coffee ” recipe circulating the internet, but kind of similar, thus the name.  🙂  This recipe is so good for you as we low-carbers know well that coconut oil has so MANY health benefits.  And the aromatic flavors blended just seemed to complement each other!

Many delicious low-carb recipes like this one can be at your fingertips with your very own cookbooks from LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS, by Jennifer Eloff and low-carb friends.  Chef George Stella also brings you a wealth of delicious recipes you will love!  Order yours TODAY! from Amazon or our direct order site: http://amongfriends.us/order.php. DISCLAIMER: I do not accept payment for this book promotion. I promote the books because they are great cookbooks anyone would be proud to add to their cookbook collection.

INGREDIENTS:

1 sachet/bag of Earl Gray tea (or 2 tsp. loose tea leaves in an infuser)

1 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil

Pinch pure stevia (or sweetener of choice to taste)

DIRECTIONS:  Bring a kettle of water to boil over high heat.   Place tea bag in a tea pot.  You can alternately use loose tea leaves in a infuser.  Pour boiling water over the tea to fill a 3-cup teapot.  Place lid on pot and steep tea for just 1-2 minutes.  Longer really isn’t necessary.  Serve each cup of tea with 1 tsp. coconut oil melted on top.  If desired, use your favorite sweetener to taste.  ENJOY!  🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 3 cup of tea, each contains:

41 calories

3.4 g fat

0.42 g carbs, 0.0 g fiber, 0.42 g NET CARBS

0.0 g protein

0 sodium

Blackberry-Coconut Smoothie

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Blackberry Coconut Smoothie

This was so refreshing it will be a wonderful summertime afternoon treat or even a dessert!  It is not suitable until the nuts and seeds rung of the Atkins OWL carb ladder.  It is perfectly OK for Paleo-Primal folks. The sweetener I used has no carbs, so if you use one with a bulking agent, you will need to add in those carbs to the numbers below.   Of course, you can always add protein powder to this if you wish, but be sure to add in those carbs to the stats below.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection.

INGREDIENTS:

6 T. coconut cream (this is NOT cream of coconut bartenders use, which has added sugar & carbs)

3/4 c. blackberries

½ c. water

about 3/4 c. ice cubes

Your preferred sweetener to taste

DIRECTIONS: Put everything in the blender and let ‘er rip until all is smooth and ice is no longer in chunks.  The coconut cream will thicken it adequately.  Pour into a glass and ENJOY!

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 1 smoothie which contains:

193 calories

24.5 g  fat

13.4 g  carbs, 6.7 g  fiber,  6.7 g  NET CARBS

1.5 g protein

16 mg sodium

 

Chai Tea Spice Blend

Click to enlarge

Chai Tea Spice Blend

We just love Indian Chai tea.  Having lived in Tehran, Iran for a couple of years when I was 10-12 years old, I just loved drinking their unspiced plain hot tea from the little 2″ tall sipping glasses they serve tea in there.   It always reminded me of my childhood days, playing “house” and having “tea parties” with my dolls.

In Iran, sugar was sold in huge solid blocks and they would just hammer off chunks, pop a piece into their mouths and sip the hot tea right through that sugar “cube”.  At age 10, what fun!  Pure sugar in your mouth!  🙂  What can I say?  My views on sugar sure have changed.  🙂  I very quickly learned considerable Pharci language at age 10, mostly from our maid, Fatimeh, who spoke little English.  When we would pass a tea shop in the bazaar she would make a sipping gesture and ask:  “Chai meekhawheed?” (sp?) which I quickly figured out meant “Do you want some tea?” I learned the proper response in no-time flat “Adeh, chai meekhawham” (sp?), “Yes, I want some tea!”.  I also knew in that setting, I’d get it served Iranian style, with those fun chunks of rock sugar, something my mother would never  allow at home.  Wasn’t I a naughty little 10 year old?   Mom was always worrying about that evil, Mr. Tooth Decay (those old enough, remember him from the Colgate TV commercials in the late 50’s?).  Moms always over worry, don’t they?  My teeth haven’t all fallen out after all!  LOL  Wonder if Chai tea is served with rock sugar in India?  Sorry, I digress with my boring nostalgia trip………..

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

Cardamom Pods, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon sticks

It was not until today, looking on the internet for the origins of the word CHAI, that I learned Indian hot chai tea, infused with all its lovely aromatic spices, actually gets its name from the Persian word for tea, CHAI (pronunced in Iran with second syllable stressed  CHA – EEEEEE )   Ya learn something everyday!

I really avoid commercial spice preparations as much as I can, what with all the “extras” they add to those prepared mixes, beaucoup salt and sugar.  So I decided to take the most common spices I can taste in a cup of chai tea and just make up my own, using equal amounts (roughly) of the likely spices.  I quickly learned it needs to be a little top-heavy with cinnamon and doubled that 1 ingredient.  The final spice blend, brewed into a 2-cup pot of tea, was DELICIOUS!  So I thought I’d share my new blend here with my readers.

I’m a lazy cook by nature and don’t like the nuisance of shelling cardamom seeds from those big pods, so once I saw that Penzey’s sells it already shelled, well you know I was on that one like a fly on flypaper!  🙂  I order already shelled cardamom seeds from Penzey’s Spices on-line or their catalog.  Therefore, I have no earthly idea how many cardamom pods it will take to yield 1 tsp. seeds, but probably around 10-15?  There are about 8-10 little black seeds in the average green cardamom pod.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (also available individually) from Amazon or here: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection

INGREDIENTS:

¼” slice of fresh ginger root (about 1 tsp.)

6 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

2 tsp. cinnamon (or 1 3″ stick broken up)

1 tsp. cardamom seeds

3/4 tsp. fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS:  Place all ingredients in a blender or spice grinder (I use a dedicated cheap coffee grinder for spices) and grind until all is pretty fine.  Store in a lidded jar in a dark cabinet or your refrigerator if you’re worried about the ginger.   To make tea from this spice blend, boil your water in a proper teakettle and add your teabag(s) or loose tea in an infuser (my pot has a built-in infuser that lifts in and out).  Add 1 tsp. Chai Spice Blend to the infuser along with your tea for every 2 cups of water/tea you want to serve.  Steep for 5 minutes with the lid on and serve in cups with milk or cream and sweetener of your choice.  Rock sugar, too, if you can get it!  (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) LOL Just kidding, I don’t eat real sugar anymore.  🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:    Makes about 9 tsp. of spice blend, each teaspoon (amount to brew 2 cups chai tea) contains:

3 calories

.1 g  fat

.75 g carbs, .45 g  fiber, .3 g  NET CARBS

< .1g protein

Raspberry Smoothie

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Raspberry Smoothie

I’m watching my calories now as well as carbs, in order to get my last 20 lbs. off.  Low carbing alone just isn’t working to do that, as I was stalled at the same weight for two full years!  No amount of tweaking of Atkins was getting my last 25# off.  Every other day now, I restrict my total caloric intake drastically (500-600 calories); then every other day, I increase my caloric intake to 1600-1700 calories.  I’m hoping that will keep my metabolic set point so confused it can’t implement countermeasures to hang on to the weight I still need/want to lose.  In a sense, what I’m doing is very much like Intermittent Fasting, so I hopefully reap many of the benefits one gets with that approach to eating.  But my attempts at IF last year didn’t suit my hunger needs nor our daily routines and schedule.

With a lot of help from glucomannan powder (from the Konjac tuber), which is virtually a pure fiber, zero value food, I am able to make smoothies and puddings that are extremely filling for those low-calorie days.  I’ve even been known to have a glucomannan powder smoothie on my higher calorie days, as they are so satisfying and filling.  Glucomannan or Konjac is the very same substance that shirataki noodles are made from, if you are familiar with those.    Today’s smoothie took the place of breakfast and easily got me to lunch without any intervening mid-morning hunger pangs.  These would also be very refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.  This recipe isn’t suitable until Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) berries and nuts level.

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented chefs to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in her cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection.

INGREDIENTS:

1 c. unsweetened frozen raspberries (I buy Great Value brand at Walmart)

1 pkt. stevia

2-4 drops liquid Splenda (if needed due to tart berries, or other sweetener = 2 tsp. sugar)

7 ice cubes

1½ c. cold water

3/4 tsp. glucomannan powder (optional, but thickens it up)

DIRECTIONS:   Add all ingredients to a blender and blend a couple minutes until nice and smooth.  Pour into a serving glass and ENJOY!

VARIATIONS:  You can add 1-2 T. protein powder if you like, or 2 T. heavy cream, or coconut milk, but those variations are not calculated in the stats below.  Of course, other berries can be used as well.  When you get to the higher fruits level, you can make these with watermelon, canteloupe or peaches as well.  Sometimes I add 1 scoop of low carb homemade vanilla ice cream.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes 1 very large serving which contains:

70 calories

1.6 g  fat

32 g  carbs, 18.4 g  fiber, 13.6 g  NET CARBS  (using fewer raspberries will lower carbs)

3 g  protein

13 mg sodium

Strawberry Protein Shake

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Strawberry Protein Shake

The flax meal and protein make this a really filling snack.  I actually had one for breakfast today and I feel stuffed right now.  I know eggs and bacon or an omelet would have been better, but just wanted to use up my strawberries before they went bad. Mmmm.  Sure was good!  Gobbled it right up!  Next time I’m going to use 1/2 nectarine or 1/2 peach.  Yeah, I know it’ll add carbs, but I want to have either a peach or nectarine before summer is over.  And of course, you could use blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries for this.  The nutritional info below is for a STRAWBERRY shake.  This recipe is not Induction friendly due to the berries, but once you get to the berry rung of OWL, GO FOR IT!

More delicious low-carb recipes can be at your fingertips with your very own set of Jennifer Eloff and friends’ best-selling cookbooks LOW CARBING AMONG FRIENDS.  She has collaborated with famous low-carb Chef George Stella and several other talented cooks to bring you a wealth of delicious recipes you are going to want to try.  Even a few of my recipes are in the cookbooks! Order your 5-volume set TODAY! (also available individually) from Amazon or: http://amongfriends.us/order.php

DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid for this book promotion or for the inclusion of my recipes therein.  I do so merely because they are GREAT cookbooks any low-carb cook would be proud to add to their cookbook collection

INGREDIENTS:

7 small strawberries

1 pkt. Stevia or other artificial sweetener of your choice

2 T. heavy cream

4 T. (1 scoop) unsweetened, plain whey protein (I use NOW brand)

1 T. flax meal

½ c. cold water

½ c. crushed ice

DIRECTIONS:   Cut leaf end off strawberries and toss in blender or food processor.  Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth.

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes 1 serving which contains:

175 calories

9.4 g  fat

8.4 g  carbs, 2.9 g  fiber, 5.50 NET CARBS

22.5 g  protein

52 mg sodium

Rosewater Green Tea

 

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Click to enlarge

I was straightening out my baking goods cupboard yesterday and came across my coveted bottle of Middle Eastern rosewater.  Then I had fond memories of the Iranian Gaz hard taffy candy from Isfahan.  I couldn’t get enough of it when we lived there in my youth.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaz_%28candy%29 I wondered if I’d ever be able to make this doing Atkins.  The Gaz candy is shipped by one supplier in Isfahan that I came across on the net, but any attempts I’ve made at cooking it has fallen way short of my remembrances.  The reason, is a key ingredient, the sap of the desert angiben plant is not available here.  😦 Sigh. So I have to sublimate with other hints of this memory! Maybe a creamy rosewater pudding one day?

I continued straightening and also shuffled my box of green tea.  BINGO! I came upon the idea to put a few drops of rosewater in my green tea, which I’m getting quite fond of these days.  Wowza! is all I can say.  Almost as good as the Gaz candy, and virtually calorie free!  The flavor really brought back memories.

INGREDIENTS:

1 c. of your favorite green tea (I use both Salado bag and Boulder Blues Gourmet Green Looseleaf)

3 drops rosewater (available at Middle Eastern grocery stores and import grocers)

Sweetener of your choice (I use 2 drops liquid Splenda)

NO DIRECTIONS NEEDED

NUTRITIONAL INFO: Each cup of tea has 2 calories and .5 carbs, as the rosewater has no nutritive value.  The sweetener I use adds no carbs.