I gave up drinking coffee after my father passed away. During the time he was sick with cancer and I was his caretaker, I existed solely on coffee with cream. At least a pot a day. All of my food energy was dedicated to finding something he would eat, and I lost track of eating myself. I was faced with the fact that, barring any scrambled-egg-induced miracle, my father wouldn't be around come fall, and that's enough to make anyone feel sick. And before little more than a month had passed, I had unknowingly lost 30 pounds.
I don't recommend the "coffee cream diet" as a viable means of weight loss. Just to clear that up. After my father passed away I had a lot of work to do- emotionally as well as physically. My body was a skinny wreck, and replacing coffee with real food was a priority. So it got the boot.
I know some of you are thinking "I thought she was allergic to cow's milk!" as well as a slew of other father and weight related thoughts. I told you this new blog is going to be more personal... Yes- I am allergic. But before my dad's cancer I could get away with eating small amounts of the things to which I am allergic. Or maybe I just ignored the side effects. But the stress and lack of eating angered my allergies, and they emerged out the other side a lot bigger and badder than they had been five months previous. Not to be ignored.
But back to the coffee. Let's be honest, the process of grieving and healing during the winter is a whole lot easier with a deliciously frothy warm beverage in your hand. Since I was off coffee, off cream, and allergic to soy milk as well, I needed to find a suitable and equally comforting drink to enjoy. As much as I love mint and green teas, they can fall flat in comparison to a hot milky beverage on a cold rainy day. Sometimes I crave the satisfying creaminess that hot water with a tea bag lacks. Almond and rice milks are becoming more common in some areas, and a Chai latte using one of these milks at a coffee shop can be a real treat. So at home I developed the habit of making a tea latté that is slightly less sweet but equally as delicious on a day when you need a comforting extra boost.
If you have an espresso machine with a milk steamer, feel free to use that to heat and froth the milk, and steep your teabag in the milk after it is hot. Otherwise, I use a Rösle Milk Frother that my wonderful Uncle Walter gave me a few years ago.
I now drink coffee again, and am happy to live between Ketchum and Lakeville, both places that embrace the non-soy non-dairy milk craze with open arms. The people here also embrace friendliness, so sometimes the smiling face behind the counter while ordering my standard-fare almond milk latté is practically comforting enough. I also eat food again. Plenty of it. Quite happily. And have a pile of discarded skinny jeans to prove it. Getting healthy again was part of the inspiration for Anne food., so this one's close to my heart.
- 8 ounces almond milk (I prefer Califia Farms' unsweetened or coconut varieties)
- 1 tea bag (Mighty Tea Leaf's decaffeinated African Nectar works well, or any black tea)
- a small splash of almond extract
- a small splash of vanilla extract
- a small squeeze of agave nectar, honey, or 5 drops Stevia leaf extract, if desired (omit if you use sweetened almond milk)
Heat your milk in a sauce pan (or in a mug in the microwave) until hot (about 2 minutes in the microwave if your milk is straight out of the fridge). Pour the hot milk into a mug if it's not there already, add the tea bag and let steep according to tea bag specifications. Remove the tea bag, and add flavorings and sweetener if desired. Submerge the tip of the frother just under the surface of the milk to create a vortex and incorporate air into the milk.