creamy dreamy chai herbal elixir

what could be better than something that tastes like a milkshake and detoxifies your liver like dandelion greens?

i want this in my belly all the time.

i want this in my belly all the time.

recently i took a cooking workshop with the wonderful chef frank giglio (i wrote about another recipe that came out of that health-tastic, taste-bud swelling day here.) he spoke of "elixir-craft," the art of blurring the line between herbalism and cooking (or in this case, making a smoothie.) something about making "food be thy medicine." it feels exciting and empowering to think of herbs as something i can incorporate into simple daily rituals to increase health, without being a trained herbalist at all.

soak your seeds and almonds ahead of time to wake them up & soften their husks

soak your seeds and almonds ahead of time to wake them up & soften their husks

i've been reading ben falk's new book, and he writes extensively about the need to have as diverse a diet as possible. just as diversity increases health and thriving in a community, an education, or a life, so too it generates health and wholeness in the body. we actually don't eat that many different plant families, so if we can squeak some in using teas, why not?

this creamy, dreamy, chai-ish tea elixir is divine. the basic formula that frank puts out there is: 1) 1 base tea, 2) a fat to make it sustaining and delicious, and to increase nutrient absorption 3) flavorings (vanilla, cocoa, spices, etc.) and 4) sweetener-- select your fave: raw honey, maple syrup, stevia, molasses, or good old fashioned sugar. whatever is your jam.

recipe:

1 quart tea (i used 1 part dandelion root and 1 part dandelion leaves)
1 T milk thistle seeds
1/4 c nut milk (or coconut, or cow, or whatever)
2 T hemp seeds (or cashews, macadamia, shredded coconut, pine nuts-- something with a little fat. You can also melt and add in 2 T coconut oil if you want this to sustain you for the morning.)
2 T honey/ maple syrup/ dash stevia, etc
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon

Soak the seeds for many hours/overnight to get them soft & supple. Strain them out and set aside.
Make tea with loose leaf teas. Let them steep for 20 minutes.
Put in to a blender: tea, milk thistle seeds, nut milk, shredded coconut or nuts (if using.) Blend for a minute or so.
Strain out all the tough stuff.
Pour back into the blender. Add in sweeteners, hemp seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, and blend again.

Pour & enjoy! Natural liver cleanser, perfect for the spring. Both milk thistle and dandelion are rad for liver health.