You guys. This winter…I can’t anymore.
I feel slightly vindicated to know that the amount of snow we’ve had in Boston is the most in thirty days EVER, because I was starting to think that maybe I just had a shitty attitude about winter. But we really are getting dumped with 2+ feet every other day, for a whopping total of 70+ inches in the last couple of weeks. And IT IS RUINING MY LIFE. (yes, I am being overly dramatic)
This morning I gave myself (and Aaron) a pep talk to get us more in the mental space of optimism and “you can power through this!” good vibes. A few hours later, along with the reappearance of melting ice leaking into our house, that pretty much turned into exasperation with a borderline breakdown. I thought about burying those emotions to write a cheery or at least not pissy blog post, but then Caitlin told me to get it out and I thought: why am I censoring myself on my own blog?! And then my next thought was: am I allowed to say fuck here, or am I going to get banned by my advertising networks? Because here’s what I’m thinking:
Fuck. this. shit.
I am all about living in an essentialist way. If there are things in your life that are keeping you from doing what you love and prohibiting you from going all out on your highest point of contribution, cut ’em. Sure, we can’t cut everything, but if we really give some serious thought to what we’re filling our time with on a daily basis, we realize that life is a series of choices. For example:
Spending hours shoveling snow? It’s necessary because Aaron and I chose to live in a duplex in Boston that doesn’t use a property management company. It’s exacerbated because the unit downstairs is pending sale and has been vacant, so maintenance of all common areas has fallen on us.
But what if we chose to live somewhere with mild winters and/or a smaller space? Then we wouldn’t have to shovel for hours or have to spend lots of money on utilities.
I know what I love doing (creating content for Pickles & Honey) and I know that I’m being swallowed by the maintenance of our current living situation. The height of it will pass…but do I want to do it again next year? Do I even want a big mortgage and the responsibility of maintaining 1,400 square feet? No, no, and probably no.
There are always going to be unforeseen issues that need tending and tedious aspects to daily life, regardless of where we live. What I don’t want to happen, however, is to ever think that I need to spend my winters stuck inside because it’s too cold or stuck outside because I have to shovel, or that I need to go back to an uninspiring 9-5 because I have to make a lot of money to pay my mortgage to live in Boston. I will sooner live smaller than forego doing what I love because maintaining my lifestyle doesn’t allow me the time. That, to me, is a really frustrating and crappy way to live.
There’s just no good way to transition to talking about chai lattes. I’m picky about my chai and it’s tough to find a good vegan chai latte at most places, even in a city like Boston. I find chai lattes are either not spicy enough or way too sweet, and they’re always too expensive. That’s why I set out to create my own perfect vegan chai, and I hope it will be your perfect vegan chai too. Feel free to tinker with the spice blend (skip the fennel, add more ginger, etc), use your favorite non-dairy milk (I like organic soy in my lattes), and sweeten it only how much/if you like. Top it off with a generous dollop of easy homemade coconut whipped cream for an extra dreamy treat. It’ll save you a snowy trek to the local coffee shop and $5, in addition to making your home smell amazing.
This chai is almost enough to make me momentarily forget all of the impending shoveling and our drip drip drip leaky ceiling…
- 1½ cups filtered water
- 3 teaspoons loose leaf black tea
- 6 whole green cardamom pods, partially cracked open
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ⅓-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced thin
- 1½ cups non-dairy milk
- sweetener to taste (I like maple syrup or coconut sugar)
- coconut whipped cream for topping
- ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- Add the water, black tea, spices and fresh ginger to a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-20 minutes, depending on how strong you prefer your chai.
- Stir in the non-dairy milk and heat for 3-4 minutes, until hot. Pour into mugs through a fine sieve to strain out the tea leaves and spices. Add sweetener to taste.
- Top with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.
Do you ever think about changing your day-to-day so you can spend more time focusing on what you love to do? I’m contemplating this.
P.S. If you’re interested in essentialism, I highly recommend this book by Greg McKeown.