I’m so excited to have August McLaughlin here today, as our guest cookie baker/tea barista!  Not only is she sharing her fab recipes with us (homemade chai? sign me up!), but she’s also giving us some interesting background from her own family’s relationship with tea, along with a little Indian tea history.  Squee! Can I keep her? No? Ah, well…

They are all yours, August!

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If home is where the heart is, part of mine lives in India, another in Minnesota. My Swedish mom grew up in Assam, India and later married my Norwegian dad, who was studying East Asian culture at the University of Minnesota. So while our Minnesotan neighbors dined on hot dish (think creamy casserole topped with potato chips) and extra-mild salsa (only MN has this, um…treat ;)), we chowed down on curries galore. And instead of Kool Aid, O.J. or soft drinks, India tea remains a staple.

Since I know the fabulous Kathy is a history buff, here are a few tidbits:

  • ‘Chai’ is Hindi for ‘tea’. So when you order chai tea at Starbucks, you’re actually ordering tea-tea. 😉
  • The full traditional name is ‘masala chai’, which means spiced tea.
  • In the early 1800s, the British East India Company grew concerned that China was overtaking the world’s tea monopoly, and began cultivating Assamese tea plants. The British Indian tea industry flourished, but the Indian natives didn’t much like the British preparation techniques—black tea with milk and sugar. Since then, masala chai, the spicy, slightly sweet and creamy beverage, has become popular worldwide. And, it’s delish!

Simple Chai

1 cup water

1 cup milk—any variety

2 black tea bags

2 tbsp honey or agave

splash of vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

dash of ground cardamom (about 1/8 tsp)

dash of ginger (about 1/8 tsp)

In a sauce pan, boil water.  Add remaining ingredients, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain and pour into cups. Makes 2 servings.

 

This week’s cookie: Fruit-filled Oatmeal

Don't they look delicious? Image via August McLaughlin

I created this recipe for a vegan friend of mine, who *gasp* doesn’t like chocolate! But even as a chocolate lover, I have to say—they turned out tasty! They have a light, crumbly texture, a hearty sweet flavor and more fiber and antioxidants than most granola and energy bars.

Fruity Nutty Oatmeal Yums

2 cups old fashioned oats

2 cups dried apricots

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 medium apples, diced

1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped

1/3 cup peanut or almond butter

4 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Place all of the ingredients in your food processor and pulse until well combined. Then with your hands, roll rounded teaspoon-size balls of dough. Place the dough balls on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies appear lightly brown. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

 

As they say in Minnesota, “Oh yah. You have a good day now!” And in India, “Namaste!”  It’s been such a treat sharing the blog-stage with you, Kathy!

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August, you can stop by anytime with such wonderful-ness.  I see you found the cookie sheets, no problem. 😉 Thank you so much for being the guest cook today! 

What food traditions does your family share? August and I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Kathy

image via August McLaughlin

August McLaughlin is a Los Angeles-based health writer and author with articles featured byLIVESTRONG.com, eHow.com, Healthy Aging Magazine, DAME Magazine and more. Before completing her first novel, In Her Shadow, she worked in the fashion, entertainment and wellness industries, wearing hats ranging from Parisian runway model to culinary coach. Considering her longstanding passion for suspense tales, she wasn’t surprised when her attempt at a memoir turned quickly into a thriller. She is represented by Dystel & Goderich Literary Management and is currently completing her second novel, Beauty Complex, and a nutritional guide for Alzheimer’s disease prevention.

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