Goodbye Christmas–In With the New

Pointsettia w/ lamps

I had just cleared out nearly all the Christmas symbols, except the tree, making space to usher in All Things New when my neighbors offered me their large pointsettia as they are apparently leaving for the desert soon. Palm Springs sounds good to me. The desert is so lovely at this time of year. I guess Christmas is still upon me. So be it. I will embrace and light a candle and give thanks for all the season bestowed upon me and mine as I welcome in 2008. I did want to bake one more batch of Mexican Wedding Cake cookies (Joy of Cooking–soooo easy) and I never did get to the date pinwheel cookies anyway, even after buying a reprint of that old standard, Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book (1963). I wonder when we started spelling cookie with an “ie”?

Most importantly I wanted to pass along one of my favorite family traditions,
so get out a paper and pen (or just print this out) for this is one recipe you will be grateful to have and you may find yourself incorporating for years as we have. It’s for Chai. I have no idea what chai tastes like in their countries of origin, but this is our version. I don’t even know who taught me to make this or if I made it up. But it’s what I do every holiday morning, and given that it has caffeine, but is special, you might want to make a quick run to the market and make this up for New Year’s Day. You won’t be sorry.

So this is what I do.

I put about eight cups of water in a largish pan. I put into the water a goodly
amount of freshly sliced ginger. If I had to say how much I’d say six or seven tablespoons, but if you just take about three inches of ginger root and slice and throw in the water, you’ll be fine. Then add at least a dozen cardamom seeds.
Maybe go for fifteen, if you like spices. And then put four good sized cinnamon sticks in the water. Turn on the heat and bring to boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer. I take a spoon and break up the cardamom seeds by pushing against side of the pain after awhile. Continue simmering over low heat for at least a half an hour. Turn off the heat. Add eight to ten black tea bags. I use English Breakfast. I’m sure someone from Asia will be appalled, but it works for me. Cover. Steep. Now add enough HONEY for taste. (Don’t use sugar.) Then fill up the pan with milk, essentially near-doubling your liquid. Now reheat. I am known for this mixture. People ask, “Are you making chai?” so it has its fans. Maybe you will become one of them! Let me know. Enjoy thoroughly. I think hot tea will be in order on New Year’s Day, don’t you?

I don’t know about you but I’m ready. I have cleaned and saged the house and made my declarations about what I’m intending next. I am filled with excitement and anticipation and I feel strongly that 2008 will be a tremendously important year for us all.

May 2008 be a year for you of great joy, opportunity, adventure, exploration, courage, learning, gratitude and abundance. May you end the year counting your blessings and looking forward to more. Remember that what has heart and meaning always equals joy. Ask therefore what has heart and meaning for you. Then align yourself with that. Let go of all that is outdated and all that would distract you from your dreams.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-e e cummings

Happy New Year! Thank you for visiting.

3 Responses to “Goodbye Christmas–In With the New”

  1. Kathryn, as always, you inspire me. I’ll try your chai, but I’ll use soy or almond milk as I can no longer tolerate dairy. It should still be fabulous with the spices. I’m taking down the tree and other stuff tomorrow and making my black-eyed peas. Happy New Year.

  2. Aw, yes, black-eyed peas. I was thinking of this Southern tradition. Is it also ham?? Probably too late
    to get those peas into today’s agenda. I have lentils. Maybe that will do. And, yes, for those of you who are lactose intolerant (and why not? you’re not a baby cow) I think the almond or soy will do nicely. Enjoy!
    Kathryn xox

  3. Thanks for sharing! Wow!!! The beloved chai recipe has been shared! I hope your readers appreciate it! Loved the E.E. Cummings poem. Happy New Year Kathryn!

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