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Teacher Appreciation Day

Homemade Chai Tea Mix in a JarSpiced Chai Tea Mix in a Jar

Rapidly approaching us next week. I try to give teachers a gift that that is a little unique and useful. This year I have decided to gift some Instant Chai Tea mix in a jar to each of my children’s teachers. I need to make approx. 10 gifts total. Here is a recipe that I have tweaked from the internet. I am a foodie so I wanted it to be something I would drink, but had some flexibility to water down the sweetness level without watering down the tea and spices too much. Also, don’t skimp over the cardamom; it is a necessity.

Spiced Chai Tea Recipe:
3C dry milk powder
1 1/2 – 2C sugar (i put in 2 C because usually people like sweet and I used regular, unsweetened creamer and added in vanilla powder I had)
2-2 1/4 C unsweetened instant tea (nestea or lipton)
1C Vanilla powdered non dairy creamer (if this is sweetened lessen sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground white pepper (YES! for real)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix; then in small batches pulse through your blender to make a fine, consistent powder. You must do this otherwise the ingredients do not look appealing at all and it will not disintegrate nicely into the water.

Serving Size: approx. 3 T into 8 oz hot water; stir well (adding more or less water to taste).

NOTES: I purchased 2 jars of the nestea, 1 larger box of the powdered milk and a large (not a tub) of the creamer. I used all the tea to make 3 batches with a very small amount of powdered milk left over and about half of the creamer left over (these are items I do not usually purchase). 3 batches filled ten (10) 1/2pt jars and approx 3 pint jars. fyi. Also, purchase store brand (generic) items on this as the ingredients are the same.
COST: Milk $8, large size Creamer $3 (not small, not regular, and not the tub), Tea $2.50/ea, spices (purchased in bulk – buy what you need)approx $5-7, jars (2nd hand) $0.50/ea, fabric 1/2 yard $1. Approx Total: $26-30 depending on what you already have on hand to make 10 half pint jars and approx 3 pint jars. If you made all half pint jars that would total about 15 jars for approx $2 per gift on the high end of the estimate, plus it’s homemade which makes it special. I think I could have purchased the “regular” (not small size) of the creamer for the 3 batches (3c) – just wanted to make sure I used as much of the items I purchased. And if you don’t have as many teachers as I do you could just put them in pint jars and essentially double that cost from $2/half pint jar to $4/pint jar and still have a couple left over for random housewarming/hostess gifts as they store for 6 mos.

I repurposed paper grocery bags to label jars; cutting out a square, writing in black marker (like an old market type look and taping to front of jar using wording such as “Spiced Chai Tea —– To make: Add +/- 3 Tablespoons to boiling water, stir and enjoy”. I also chose to add fabric underneath jar bands for decor. But, you could also use this as an opportunity to use other saved jars with lids (old peanut butter jars, dip jars, etc….) and you could modge podge fabric over these lids, wrapping/glueing the fabric over the lip to overlap the lip of those lids (I think there is something about doing this too on the martha stewart website). I happened to use 2 old frito lay dip jars and their lids; I can modge podge the fabric over/around lids and labels peel off and just need to clean up jar with oil to get residue off.

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Another Great Meal – Get Creative, Don’t let the boredom get you.

Smoked Salmon Pasta w/ Garlic Cream Sauce, beans & cantelope


As we move foward into Fall, our family prepares for hunting and restocking the freezer. My reserves from last year are pretty much out; having had to purchase meat for the first time in a year the other week. We still have some Kokanee and smoked fish, and thankfully my husband returned from his Alaska hunting trip bearing gifts from friends while the moose is being processed and distributed amongst the hunting party. Gifts of Smoked Alaskan Salmon! However, after awhile, it can seem a little “boring” having the same thing to eat over and over (how spoiled are we?!) I bet the real pioneers never thought this way.

Anyway, I thawed a piece of that lovely Alaskan smoked Salmon out. HUGE, too much to eat in one night. The first night I served over greens (not very creative) with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes from the garden. I still had another couple pounds to use the next day, not wanting to waste it, I turned to a tried and true site:
http://www.food.com (formerly http://www.recipezaar.com). On this site you can do an “ingredient search” and then filter for what type of course – in my case a “main dish”. I turned out the above creation for dinner. Again, a fabulous, tasty meal where the main components were wild caught or grown. AND, the meal was not complicated to make; I detest dishes that require too much work in order for it to taste good. Don’t let boredom get to you!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden, recipes

 

Wild Idaho Huckleberries

The last few weekends our family has gone out foraging for wild huckelberries in the mountains northeast of boise.  We have picked about 8-10 cups worth over the last 2 weekends.  It’s quality family time and teamwork and a good workout as you will hike up and around the local hillsides enjoying wildlife and nature.

Recipes:

Huckleberry Syrup:

3 C Huckleberries, 5cups of sugar (if you want a thicker syrup – reduce to 4/12 cups of sugar and add 1/2 cup light corn syrup).  Crush berries on bottome of heavy, deep, stock pot – I also add about 1 cup of water too.  Add the sugar and stir constantly over med-high heat until sugar melts and then starts to boil.  Get it to a high boil then turn off and remove from stove.  Do not over boil.  Can in jars and water bath process for 10-15 minutes for pints and less.  Do not pressure can.

I use huckleberry syrup in cocktails and add a couple of tablespoons to a cup of regular maple syrup to pour over pancakes.  This is potent stuff, so use sparingly. start small and add more.  A favorite is a huckleberry cosmopolitan, yum!  I also add berries to those pancakes mentioned above for a super huckelberry treat.

Huckleberry Jam:

4-5 cups of huckleberries, water, lemon juice, one package of pwdred pectin, 7 cups of sugar.

I am rough with the amount of huckleberries, because you crush them and then add enough water to bring measured amount upto 5 cups.  It’s fine – when you are out picking you can’t measure…..In a deep stock pot, crush berries,add, water, 2T lemon juice (which you NEED in order for the pectin to gel as Huckleberries are not high in natural pectin and acid helps to “gel” with pectin).  Cook, stir constantly over high heat and bring to boil you can’t stir down then add all the sugar at once and stir constantly until you bring to a constant rolling boil.  BOIL for ONE MINUTE.  Then remove from heat.  Put into jars, and waterbath only, 10-15 minutes for pints or less.  You can freeze too if you.  You can also, jar and keep in fridge for a few weeks, sugar is a natural preservative (if you are planning to hand out for immediate use).

 
 

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