Creamy Oolong Chai Iced Tea (the cheater’s way!)

Creamy Oolong Chai Iced Tea (super easy and fast)Famous oolong tea is flavored with health- and flavor- promoting spices and sweetened and drizzled with a dairy-free milk of choice (or cream or half and half) for a delicious and refreshing pick-me-up.  I call this “cheater’s brew” because you use ground spices instead of brewing whole spices with the tea.

I have shared how to make a chai tea concentrate, which is a wonderful thing to have on hand. But sometimes you just want to be able to whip a chai up on the spur of the moment. This method works well for that.

This recipe, inspired by a recipe from the authors of Trim Healthy Mama, is super easy and make a whole a whole quart of chai tea. Plus, it contains several ingredients that could help level out blood sugar (cinnamon) and speed the metabolic rate (tea and cayenne)! The original recipe uses almond milk (read about making your own nut milks here). I used canned coconut milk for an ultra-creamy drink. (If you were using their eating plan, you would use almond milk for a fuel-pull and with an energizing meal. The coconut milk works for satisfying meals, but you’d always have to use the stevia choice).

Because I don’t like making claims without some proof, check out the following studies:

  •  This study found that giving cinnamon to those with type II diabetes reduced their serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and could reduce the risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  •  And at this page you will see a study supporting the idea that oolong tea does indeed help control weight (an ancient idea), but scroll down for many more links to other studies.

But really, I just drink it because it’s good!

Creamy Oolong Chai Iced Tea (the cheater's way!)
Serves: 1
Remember that one of the reasons I love this recipe, is that it is so easy to adapt! So adapt away!
  • 4 tea bags or loose tea equivalent (or 2 tea bags for frugal choice option)
  • ¼-1/2 cup of canned whole fat coconut milk, almond milk, or milk or dairy-free “milk” of choice
  • ½-1 teaspoon high quality vanilla (use gluten-free, if needed)
  • ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of Cayenne (or substitute black pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of raw honey, simple syrup made with honey, or stevia to taste (6-10 drop of liquid)
  • Optional: A pinch of dried ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg (a pinch of all of them, or which ever ones you’d like)
  1. Brew hot tea in a typical coffee cup (all four) for about 4 minutes.**
  2. Pour brew into blender and blend with the rest of the ingredients until smooth. (It just takes a couple of pulses.)
  3. Fill with ice a quart size mason jar (or a heat safe extra large cup) and pour tea over. Adjust flavors as needed and enjoy!
  4. **Frugal Choice: Brew two teabags in half a cup of water and pour into blender. Then brew the same teabags in another half cup of water, and pour into blender. Proceed with step two.

How to Make Kombucha Vinegar and Kombucha Salad Dressing

how to make kombucha vinegar and a homemade salad dressing with it!
Did you know that you can make kombucha vinegar cheaply and easily? This kombucha vinegar is a gentle vinegar that can easily be used as an addition to soaking grains, a “detox bath” ingredient, or used in a homemade salad dressing! The below recipe for a Homemade Kombucha Dressing, is a super simple, very frugal, probiotic salad dressing.

If you are already making kombucha on a regular basis, brewing up a batch of kombucha vinegar here and there can definitely help you save money considering the price of organic vinegars. (This post is part of the 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet series).

As many of you will remember, I have become a real fan of continuous kombucha brewing. I LOVE this method. But I did kind of lose track of it this summer, and I literally have a kombucha scoby that has grown to become a massive couple inch thick scoby. This is exciting to see, but it has also made my brew, brew too quickly, making it vinegar instead of kombucha tea! I need to take the scoby out and thin it down, but meanwhile I have this beautiful kombucha vinegar to use!

So how to make kombucha vinegar? It’s simple; you just allow it to continue brewing until it is quite sour. I find that I can get it to taste pretty similarly to raw apple cider vinegar. If you are doing single batches, this could take 30-60 days. With the continuous brew, it will be much shorter. Just keep tasting it until it has consumed all of the sugar, and converted it to vinegar. That’s it!

How to make kombucha vinegar

Kombucha Salad Dressing
Prep time:
Total time:
This simple and frugal salad dressing is very simple to make with soured kombucha.
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup homemade kombucha vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon unrefined salt
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • Pinch of dried basil, thyme, or oregano (or minced fresh herbs)
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar. Lid and shake vigorously. Toss with a green salad, legume or grain based salads, or even pasta salads!






Simple Baked Apples

Tender apples are stuffed with crunchy nuts and sweet raisins, and spiked with cinnamon. This old fashioned treat is not only a frugal dessert, but it is delicious too. I am putting this into the category of “The Healthy $1 Menu”, because each serving cost less than one dollar to make!

This is the type of dessert that Dr. Price would have served to the school children in his programs, by the way. While I don’t think that fruit always needs to be on the menu, fruit can help provide needed vitamins and nutrients not always found elsewhere.

I served this with a side of homemade ice cream. For a dairy-free version you could use my coconut milk vanilla ice cream. We tried a goat milk version, since we just recently found out that goat’s milk may be okay for us. Next time I may try a combination of coconut milk and goat’s milk to up the creaminess of the ice cream. We tried 3 cups of whole goat’s milk (raw and fresh, so that it wouldn’t taste “goaty”), ¼ cup honey, 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Very yummy and light.

When we think of baked apples, we generally think of whole apples, baked. But you don’t necessarily have to leave the apple whole. Traditionally, sometimes they were halved or even sliced before baking. I got tired of coring my apple, so here; I cut them in half and then stuff each half. You could easily make this with any amount of apples you want. I use about ½ tablespoon each of nuts, dried fruit per half of apple, and butter (or coconut oil). Then add as much sweetener and cinnamon as you’d like and you have your stuffing mixture!

I have been making a small amount of apples at a time. This will serve 2 people, for a whole apple each, or 4 people, with a half apple each.


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Miso Brown Rice Congee (and why I love this nourishing & savory porridge)

Brown or white rice is softly cooked in lots of homemade broth until the rice is falling apart into a smooth consistency. Served with a variety of toppings, including soy sauce or tamari, freshly grated ginger, green onions. roasted salmon or other seafood, spiced boiled eggs or poached eggs, ground white pepper, and chili pepper flakes, there are as many variations to this delicious and flavorful dish as there are cooks in the world.

Every Asian or rice eating culture has their own rice porridge or “congee” version. While a very boring name (anything with the word “porridge” in it, seems unsexy), these soups/porridges can be amazingly comforting and flavorful. Some are thick, some are thin, some are fish based, some are chicken or pork, but all are delicious.

Traditionally this nourishing dish started the day out right at breakfast, was given as a first food to young children, or given to those under the weather. With the rich stock base and the softly cooked rice, it is a wonderful food that I think many of us would enjoy. Think about how much more nourishing this dish is in comparison to the typical bowl of cold cereal! We eat it at whatever meal we feel like.

Americans have fallen in love with certain Asian influenced soups, such as beef pho (I know I have!). I think that rice congees will be one of the next soups that make its way to our homes and restaurants. We have already started seeing some attention being drawn to this delicious dish both in some upscale restaurants near us and, of course, you can find it at some authentic Asian restaurants too.

On a personal note, my two year old is a very picky eater but when I first discovered this delicious dish, she gobbled it down like there was no tomorrow! I love this dish and so does my family!

For my book, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons, I devoted a section on Grain Porridges and Rice Congees. I wanted to share one with you today, so I am bringing you my Miso Brown Rice Congee. Other recipes in that section include: Chinese Congee (with chicken and/or Marbled Spiced Tea Eggs), Thai Congee (a beautiful mix of hot, sour and sweet flavors), Japanese Congee with Soy Ginger Salmon, Simple Brown Rice Congee with Variations, Korean Sesame Seed Porridge, Irish Yellow Broth (oatmeal thickened soup), and Spice Moroccan Millet Porridge with Milk.

This recipe for congee uses miso to both give an oomph of flavor but it also acts as the catalyst for soaking/fermenting the brown rice overnight for better nutrition and absorption (To read more about soaking grains, go here). This is a simple favorite in our household. I hope you like it!


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