dirty chai

November 18, 2010, Michaela Evanow, 0 Comments

I have been avoiding any fun food, since I have been under the weather for the past few days. Meaning, I felt really ill on Sunday, and decided to fight the cold head on during the latter part of the week. I made it! I beat the nasty cold that was heading my way, preparing to clamp down on my nasal cavity and throat.

A few tips that worked for me, who knows, they may work for you too!

1. From my friend Shannon: Toast and garlic. She suggested raw garlic. I shiver at the thought of eating raw garlic, so I roasted mine (all 8 cloves) in the oven. Simply pop a garlic bulb in tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. I didn’t roast it too long, just enough to soften the cloves so they slid gently from their papery skin. Spread on buttered toast and indulge!

2. Vegetable Noodle Soup. Who says chickens have to save the day! I know they do for some people (Mum, I hear ya. Marrow. Good stuff). But since I haven’t eaten meat for ages, chicken broth is scary news. Bones and body parts boiled together. Marrow. So, take some nice, organic vegetable stock, because nasty vegetables in a giant simmering pot is just as gross as you know what. Bring it to a simmer. Meanwhile boil some rice noodles, you know, the kind you would put in soup: curly, small ones. Don’t boil them in the stock. Rice noodles release some gummy starch when they boil, and you want the broth clear. Strain the noodles, combine, crack some fresh black pepper over top and soothe yourself.

3. Hot baths, hot saunas, and warm compresses of eucalyptus, lavender and cedar oil (again, thanks Shannon). We had this tiny text message discussion about using cedar chips, instead of oil, but she figured, who the heck has cedar chips on hand? Well…I almost bought them. I had them in my hand at the checkout, and I thought, one day Shannon will ask this question, and what will I say? “Well…I have cedar chips. I occasionally throw them across the room, toss them over my shoulder, mound them beside my dresser, and sleep with them under my pillow to ward off evil spiders. Because spiders hate cedar. I read it on the internet–and I am borderline paranoid.” This is exactly why I didn’t buy them, because I would have done all those things, further solidifying my husbands belief that I am indeed paranoid. Bottom line, keep yourself sweating, bundled and extremely well hydrated. And avoid cedar chips.

4. The nice thing about having a sore throat is that is urges you to drink heaps of water to moisten the dry tickle. On Sunday I could barely breathe, but by Monday morning, my throat was less parched, and feeling much better. This is also due to the fact that my friend Tiffany send loving text messages to me, asking me how I was feeling. Well, I couldn’t let her down, now could I?

And so, in honour of feeling better, I made myself a nice cup of hot, dirty chai. Really. It warms your throat just enough to thaw your newly frozen body parts (here comes winter!) and clings to your belly with surprising potency. I’ll admit it, I have a thing for chai. Chai is usually defined as: A beverage made from spiced black tea, honey, and milk. Who doesn’t get weak in the knees at the thought of these combined ingredients? We need a little exotic in our day to day lives!

Hot Chocolate Chai: yield one cup


  • 1 cup almond milk or whole milk.
  • 1 black tea bag (Assam, Orange Pekoe, Darjeeling)
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 teeny weeny pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, if you have Saigon, even better!
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 tsp. honey (or to your desired sweetness)

Bring milk, tea bag, cardamom to a boil. Reduce heat, and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer, letting all the flavours mingle. Whisk well, until creamy and frothy. Strain and serve yourself a delightful pick me up packed with antioxidants (flavonoids), found in both black tea and unsweetened cocoa!

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