The weather here in Oregon did a flip flop... a couple of times I think. One day its hot outside in the mid 80's and the next it is raining and cloudy. September and October are harvest season here down on the farm. All those months of planning, planting have come down to this.... harvesting.
We have enjoyed the grapes hanging off our vine on our front porch for some time now and while it is sad to cut them down and no longer have them there we get to enjoy their sweetness. Some fresh, some dehydrated and maybe even some in tea for our monthly tea subscribers.
We also planted some experimental quinoa this year. There is a farm locally that specializes in it so we thought we would give it a try. Quinoa is an ancient grain and is a very healthy protein packed food. It looks much like bird seed after harvested! We figure if we didn't eat it ourselves we would either save it for seed and/or use it to supplement the chicken feed.
Check out our harvest here on Youtube and thanks for visiting us down on the farm!
The leaves are falling, the grapes are changing colors. The fall and Christmas decor is already in the stores. Wait! What? What is the date?!
While the official first day of fall is not until September 22nd (not too far off), down on the farm we are ready for this slower time of year to come. Summer is such a busy time on the farm planting and harvesting, trying to get our building project sealed up before the rains start and thankfully we don't have wood cutting on our list this year with the stash we have!
The local coffee shops are advertising pumpkin this and that, gingerbread is surely not far behind but you know what?! Its CHAI SEASON! While chai is the name for all kinds of tea in India, marsala chai is what us American's are familiar with. That spicy drink filled with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other spices that warms us up in the cooler months and makes us all comfy cozy.
Back to those coffee shops... most pumpkin spice latte's are flavored with synthetically flavored syrups and the sweetner in them is usually corn syrup. Far from a health food! Along with that is usually added a conventional milk. Today we are going to turn this unhealthy drink into something very healthy by just changing up what we use in the recipe.
Brewing the tea
First stop on our recipe journey is to get our tea brewed. Our preferred way to brew loose leaf tea is by using a french press. Typically used for coffee, french presses are very simple to use. Simply place the tea inside the press, pour your hot water over the top and place the lid/press on the top to steep. (Check out the demo in the video below)
We are excited that we were sent a new french press to review called the Espro P3. The most common french press is Bodum, which we have many of, because they are the easiest to find locally. We also have a couple of others that are lower end and we use all 5 of them every week when we brew tea for our farmer's market tea tastings.
I was super impressed with the Espro 3! Mostly for 3 reasons:
1.) The Double Filter System - Typically a french press has one filter that is made from metal mesh and some times the tiny tea bits will sneak through there. The Espro has a double filter system and catches all of the smallest particles making it great for any kind of tea. I'm sure it would work with fine ground coffee as well!
2.) Lock- This lovely lock keeps the glass carafe attached to the exterior case and handle which is great for when it comes time to hand wash. We have broken many carafe's because they fall out during washing and hit the sink then shatter. This lock ensures that won't happen during washing.
3.) Double Thick Glass- The carafe on this french press has double thick glass which helps keep the tea warmer longer and makes it more durable if dropped. Ask me how I know that its more durable if dropped ;) Yep, I dropped it! Not on purpose of course but I was super glad to see that it held up!
Check out the Espro in our video review below and also on Amazon.
Yes these are affiliate links, they provide our family farm with a wee bit of income so we can continue to bring you great recipes and local teas! There is no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase. Cheers!
Espro P3 Standard
Espoo Stainless Steel
Large Espro Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel Frothing Pitcher
Mix'n it up
Now that we have covered the WHY we are drinking the chai and the how of brewing the tea lets get on to the actual recipe, because that's what you all are here for right ;) Bring on the tasty yummy (and healthy) Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai.
Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai Tea
4 - 6 TSP Loos Leaf Chai
( Recommended Decaf Chai, Cherry City Chai and/or Gingerbread Spice)
2 TSP Butter from Grass Fed Cows, melted (also known as grass fed butter, no - butter doesn't eat grass.... why do I say that, because the Farmer asked me.)
2 TBL Organic or Homegrown Pumpkin Puree
2 TSP Organic Coconut Oil, melted
2 TBL Organic Maple Syrup (the real stuff from trees!) or Local Raw Honey
1 C. Grassfed Milk (no milk doesn't eat grass... the cows, they eat the grass and make the milk... vs grain fed. That reason is a whoooole other post... leave a comment if you would like me to write it.)
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or to taste, see recipe below)
1.) Steep the tea (any way you like) in 12-16 oz of almost boiling water for 7-10 minutes.
2.) Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, butter, coconut oil and steeped (strained) tea to a blender.
3.) Blend on high for about 2 minutes (we used the hot chocolate setting on the Blend Tec) until fats have emulsified and mixed together with the other ingredients.
4.) Warm up milk on stove so that its warm to the touch but not boiling and turn the heat off before the milk creates a skin over the top.
5.) Froth the milk using an electric frother or by placing it in a clean french press and pumping the press up and down until frothed.
6.) Pour pumpkin mix from blender into a mug, top with frothed milk and sprinkle on Pumpkin Pie Spice. Enjoy!!!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
4 TBL Organic ground Cinnamon 1/2 TSP Organic ground Nutmeg
2 TSP Organic ground Ginger 1/2 TSP Organic ground Allspice
1/2 TSP Organic ground Cloves
Mix all the above spices together an store in an air tight container in a dark location. Should keep up to a year, if you don't use it by then!
Thanks for stopping by the farm and we will see you next week! Enjoy that cup of Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai!
P.S. Don't forget to grab our FREE Cooking with Tea E-book for more tea time treats!
Some people get up early and they go to the gym, or go for a walk or have some form of exercise they do to start off with their day. Its a great habit and start to great health.
On the farm, the garden is our gym. Its great because not only is it "free" but it "pays" us in food! And boy do we need the food after working in the garden, talk about a great way to stir up an appetite!
This time of year harvest season is hitting hard. We have LOADS of food coming in the house. The counter is piled with food of all sorts and we spend a couple days a week just processing and putting up food for the winter.
This week we are taking you with us as we dehydrate what we bring out of the garden. The freezer is full, the fermentation area is full so all that is left is to dry or can. I'm just not a fan of canning and in the video below you will find out why.
Do you have a summer garden? What food do you preserve to get you through the winter? Is there something that you wish you could/would grow and preserve? Share with us here!!!
I'm smiling because even though its really, really hot, muggy and the sky is filled with thick smoke these zinnia's are still beautiful. They make me happy every time I see them. Do you want to know why?
These beauties all came from a little packet of seed. Of course you say... all flowers come from seed. You see this gal grew up just outside of the city, while my mom had a tiny garden once or twice, and the fruit trees that came with the property, it wasn't until I met my Farmer that I really grew anything. In fact I KILLED EVERY HOUSE PLANT that came in my reach. I didn't bother planting anything at all, inside or out.
But there was this one book that lit a spark, and then the health needs of my family and myself. And then this deal on a packet or organic seeds and an ABUNDANCE of beautiful flowers. No they were not these flowers but these ones are growing just as abundantly. And SO many different colors! They are just beautiful, and useful, and make the garden and the house look pretty. And I didn't kill them.
These little flowers are a proof that if you keep trying eventually that black thumb will turn green. By the way I still kill every plant in the house, so I stick to my outdoor plants.
In-between these flowers are some lemon balm, its there hiding and grows much slower than the flowers. Today though, we were running low on lemon balm tincture. Those little bottles (1 oz) don't go very far and they are super expensive at $12 a bottle.
$2 for lemon balm seed, a mason jar and a few dollars of vodka net me a whole canning jar full of tincture with plenty of lemon balm for a few flavorful dishes in the kitchen. Join me in this video as I walk you though our process of harvesting lemon balm and how to use it. Recipes are typed out below the video.
Lemon Balm Tincture
1 C. Fresh Lemon Balm, Chopped
2+ C. 80-100 proof quality Vodka
1 small canning jar and a lid
Gather your lemon balm removing the stems from the leaves. Chop the leaves up to release the oils better in the lemon balm. Fill your jar half way up with lemon balm. More is always better than less but you want plenty of room for the leaves to move around. Fill the jar the rest of the way with your vodka. Place the lid on the top and make sure to label it not jus with the name of the tincture but also the ingredients and the date that it was made. If you want you could add the date that it should be finished to the top also. I love to use a dry erase marker paired with a white plastic reusable canning lid. Give it a good shake to mix it up and then place in a cool dark spot for 6-8 weeks. Give it a good shake once a week to make sure the alcohol is getting all the way around the leaves.
Lemon Balm Cream Cheese
1 C. Organic Probiotic Cream Cheese
2 Tbl. Lemon Balm
Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Chop 2 Tbl. of lemon balm and mix into cream cheese. Its great on fruit, toast or anything else you might use cream cheese on. Sweeten it to make a great desert toping.
Lemon Balm topped fruit
1 C. fruit of choice (we used a peach, watermelon would also be great!0
1 Tbl. lemon balm, chopped
Sprinkle lemon balm over fruit of choice. Fruit salad would be great also!
Fresh Lemon Balm Tea
2 Tbl. Fresh Lemon Balm, chopped
6 oz boiling water
Place chopped lemon balm in a french press, tea ball or directly in cup. Pour hot water over and let steep for 3-7 minutes or to taste. Strain leaves from water and enjoy!
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.