Last Saturday afternoon I met a friend for a cup of tea which was an unusual treat for me. But, it wasn’t about the tea, coffee, cookie or anything else on the table. Instead, the indulgence was time given to sharing and caring with someone who I appreciate dearly. The place we met, Cafe Harmony, is an eclectic coffee shop with cozy couches, cool chairs, fun tables and a noticeably different vibe than Starbucks. It feels almost as if people who go there really want to savor the moment – not just the java.
Arriving a tad late, I spotted my friend already sitting down with her drink. The creamy white foam glistened and danced around the top of her mug making my lips long for a taste of it. It reminded me of the lattes I used to drink before I realized how crazy coffee made me! As my eyes honed in on her drink, she sensed my order envy and smiled telling me it was a chai tea latte made with almond milk. Bam, that did it. I was in – I wanted the same thing.
At that very moment, it hit me over the head as most “a-ha!” moments do. The realization was – I don’t always have to do the “right” or responsible thing. In other words, in doing so, sometimes I may be depriving myself without realizing it. Not that I would indulge in dairy and caffeine to “cheat” or be “bad” because that would only do me more harm than good (which is why I never deviate from the “plan”). For me, I end up in the rut because it’s all about ease, and sticking to a routine keeps things easy. But there are simple ways to indulge healthfully so as to avoid feelings of deprivation.
This was my chance, but once I got up to the register I couldn’t make up my mind. Since I don’t really like the flavor of chai tea, I resolved to get a cup of plain berry tea which was full of flavor in it’s own way. In doing so, I committed myself to going home and trying to make my own version of chai latte.
The next morning, which was Sunday a perfect time for experimenting, I heated up some coconut milk, added a little raw honey and then tried making foam with my immersion blender. Well, the foam part was kinda lame, but the taste was amazing. Just what I wanted – a touch of creamy sweetness in my boring peppermint tea. I sat down and watched the CBS morning show while sipping my own version of a latte feeling completely satisfied. It’s now become my new early morning routine every day of the week.
I’ve been making mine with herbal mint tea and hot coconut milk, skipping the froth step because I decided it was just as good without the foam (and it’s that ease thing). Regular milk or almond milk can be substituted for the coconut milk. I use So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk from the carton, but think canned coconut milk froths much better. This warm cozy indulgence can be enjoyed any time of day (or year) – before or with breakfast, as a snack, or an after dinner treat.
One thing to keep in mind – indulgence is not always about the food. Deprivation usually involves something completely unrelated to the food. We are just conditioned to using edible things to provide that jolt of happiness, comfort or escape from boredom. Take the food off the plate so to speak, dig a little deeper and see what you can find…..
Sometimes it’s the little things or simple changes that make the biggest impact. What’s your favorite way to spice up an otherwise repetitive and boring routine?
Coconut Milk Chai Latté
1/2 -3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon raw honey
peppermint or chai tea or any tea of your choice
Boil water and pour over tea bag leaving room for the milk. Let steep for 5 minutes while you make the foam. Heat coconut milk in a small sauce pan. Stir in honey. Once the milk is warm, use an expresso milk frother, immersion blender or hand blender to froth up the milk. Once it’s nice and frothy, gently pour it over your tea. Finish with a dash of cinnamon especially if you are using chai tea. Cheers!