Chai Latte for a Rainy Day

This was supposed to be a blog post about iced coffee, but at 11 degrees C, and pouring rain, our weather was calling for chai this morning. Can you believe it snowed yesterday?! Definitely not iced coffee weather.

I’ve made chai before, and while it tasted good, it became a bit sludgy because I didn’t strain the final product. I also over-brewed the tea, meaning I had to add cups and cups of honey to make it taste even a little bit sweet. Today, I took a different approach. I combined a few different recipes (including the iced coffee recipe I was going to try!), and used a David’s Tea tea filter for the spices, and I was left with a non-sludgy, no-extra-sweetener-required pot of chai tea latte. Yum!

This recipe serves a crowd, and because I was catering to non-dairy drinkers as well as dairy drinkers, I ended up dividing the tea between two pots. Here are the recipes I came up with as best as I can think to replicate them without the complications of splitting the original batch between two different versions.

Chai Latte (With Dairy)

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 tea bags (I used a combination of earl grey and vanilla rooibos)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 2 – 300mL cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 500 mL half and half
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  1. Bring 12 cups water to boil over stove. Add spices to a tea filter bag.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, combine sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and vanilla.
  3. When water has boiled, add tea bags and spice bag to water. Let brew for about three minutes.
  4. Remove tea bags and spice bag, and set to one side.
  5. Add dairy mix and simmer. Test the tea and if you would like it to be stronger/spicier, put the tea bags and spice bag back in the pot for a few more minutes.

Chai Latte (Non-Dairy)

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 tea bags (I used a combination of earl grey and vanilla rooibos)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • a few good grinds of black pepper
  • 1 – 900 mL container sweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Blue Diamond)
  1. Bring 12 cups water to boil over stove. Add spices to a tea filter bag.
  2. When water has boiled, add tea bags and spice bag to water. Let brew for about three minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags and spice bag, and set to one side.
  4. Add almond milk and bring to a simmer. Test the tea and if you would like it to be stronger/spicier, put the tea bags and spice bag back in the pot for a few more minutes.

The dairy version is definitely richer and sweeter; I served the chai latte with a small bowl of brown sugar so that the dairy-free folks who wanted a sweeter tea could add sugar as they wanted, but it was just sweet enough for me!

If it is iced coffee weather where you are, you could always cool this chai and pour it over ice; I’m sure it would be a delicious and refreshing treat! Enjoy!

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Book Review: Crazy Love, by Francis Chan

Crazy Love by Francis Chan is not a new book by any means, but a few weeks ago, I felt God calling me to read it. As the weather has grown warmer and I’ve started running outdoors again, I’ve found that my best running companion is a sermon. While I love having music play while I work, I find that I need more distraction while I’m running, so that I’m keeping my mind engaged, rather than just having some background music. Several of the sermons I’ve been listening to lately have been by Francis Chan. I’m not sure if God has been leading me to particular sermons that have focused on many of the themes addressed in Crazy Love, or whether Chan seems to focus on the topics he’s written about in this book when speaking, but either way, when I came to read Crazy Love, I felt like the things I had been listening to were being underlined and were being placed deeper in my heart.

Chan starts Crazy Love by encouraging the reader to pray; to come before God in awe and worship Him. One of the ways he encourages this is by pointing his readers to his book’s website: www.crazylovebook.com, where he has posted the videos “Awe Factor” and “Just Stop and Think.” These videos are a great starting point for anyone interested in exploring faith, and address the nature of who God is. Go ahead and check them out – they’re a great reminder of the character of God.

As Chan progresses through the rest of his book, the theme that struck me the most – a theme that Chan speaks of often in his sermons – is the idea of being “lukewarm.” Chan refers to Revelation 3:1 in addressing this problem: “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”‘” The gist of Chan’s analysis of this verse is that the warning to the church in Sardis is a warning we can apply to the church today. We may look good from the outside – we may have the reputation of being alive – but despite that, we may be dead. It is not enough to put up a good front – to live looking like a “good Christian.” God calls us to so much more.

“Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Are you satisfied being “godly enough” to get yourself to heaven, or to look good in comparison to others? Or can you say with Paul that you ‘want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death’ (Phil. 3:10).”

God doesn’t call us to be lukewarm Christians. He calls us to be fixated on Jesus and on living by faith. To be obsessed.

We don’t like the word “obsessed,” especially in relation to faith, but as Chan says, “the idea of holding back certainly didn’t come from Scripture. The Bible teaches us to be consumed with Christ and to faithfully live out His words. The Holy Spirit stirs in us a joy and peace when we are fixated on Jesus, living by faith, and focused on the life to come.”

As I reflected on this, several ways in which I am not fixated on Jesus came to mind. When I teach, is my primary focus to point to God’s glory? Or am I so preoccupied with myself – wanting to look good in the eyes of the world – that I am more focused on achieving the admiration of those who hear me speak? Pride is a definite barrier to living a life obsessed with Christ. Another challenge: do I put myself in situations where God has to come through, rather than relying on what I know I can do in my own strength? Am I willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world, leaning into faith in God? Self-reliance is another barrier to living a life preoccupied with Christ. Do I live my life as a servant of Christ and a servant of those He loves? Or am I more focused on what I can get out of a situation, how I can be served and blessed? All of these things – pride, self-reliance, self-centredness – contribute towards being “lukewarm,” and that is not how I want to be before the God who demands and deserves all of me.

While Crazy Love was an easy read in the sense that it only took me a few days to get through, it was challenging in the sense that it caused me to really consider my priorities and ask myself some difficult questions. I hope you’ll take up the challenge of this book and engage what God might have to say to you through it.

Songs for Saturday {New and Free!}

Noisetrade has some great Christian music available for free right now! Here’s one of the bands I’ve been enjoying this week, The Foresters, singing “Your Joy Will Be My Strength” and “Death, Where Is Your Victory.”

You can download The Foresters self-titled album at http://noisetrade.com/theforesters.

Another great download from Noisetrade this week: “When the Morning Comes,” by All Delighted People. Download it at http://www.noisetrade.com/alldelightedpeople/when-the-morning-comes.

Last week, Josh White (of The Followers) released “Pilgrim” on Noisetrade. Described as drawing “deeply from White’s love of glam, new wave, and trip-hop,” it is definitely a different sound from The Followers and his solo work, but very enjoyable. Download it here: http://www.noisetrade.com/pilgrim/pilgrim.

Have a great weekend!

Pieces of April {Not the Movie}

        

Top Row, L to R:

  1. Helen visited Edmonton at the beginning of April, and got to spend time with her niece, McKenna, who is 5 months old today!
  2. Helen also got to visit her friend Heather, and Heather’s six-day old daughter, Romy.
  3. Michael taught the Book of Job.

Middle Row, L to R:

  1. Our base celebrated a “Love Feast” with great food and fellowship. (If you don’t know what a “Love Feast” is, check out the background of this ancient Christian celebration). Photo by Jon Monkman.
  2. SBS students Bryant and Jenn enjoying the festivities. Photo by Jon Monkman.
  3. Michael made a short trip home to Ontario this month to be with his family after the passing of his grandmother. This gave him the opportunity to hang out with his sister, Maelyn. (He’s a great big brother – he took her grad dress shopping!)

Bottom Row, L to R:

  1. The day after Michael got back, we had a “Nehemiah Project Work Day,” clearing brush on our property; Helen was in charge of the snacks. Pictured here: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies.
  2. Michael got to use a chain saw on our Work Day!
  3. Helen’s getting ready to teach Jonah and Nahum at the beginning of May (May 2nd and 3rd). Prayers are greatly appreciated.

April has flown by unbelievably quickly! Our students have less than two months left of SBS! Did your April fly by? Are you looking forward to May? We’re praying for sun, and more importantly, NO MORE SNOW!