Orange Vanilla Frozen Kefir

It’s funny how that happens…I took one bite and all of a sudden, I’m 7 years old again, sitting on the back porch with my younger siblings sipping on Orange Julius smoothies. The heat was beating down on us, deflecting off the concrete slab into our flushed faces. Even the breeze was hot, like it often is here in Oklahoma, but we weren’t bothered by it. We had icy orange drinks to cool us off after a long, dusty (and imaginary) wagon trail ride. (I don’t think we ever played with our swing set the way normal kids did. We took the swing seats off, used the swing chains for reins, and had an imaginary draft horse team that took us all over the Wild West.)

I remember having Orange Julius a lot as a child. The combination of milk, orange juice concentrate, and vanilla is unforgettable, but for some reason the recipe faded into the background along with our trusty Belgian horse team, Rusty and Rowdy.

I brought it back by accident, with a tangy twist and in the form of frozen yogurt. The taste is unmistakably “Orange Julius” and SO refreshing as the temperatures push the high 90’s and 100’s.

IMG_0069The milk kefir can be substituted for plain yogurt, better yet, Greek yogurt and, if you’re feeling wild, you can drizzle chocolate sauce on top. It’s amazing!

Frozen Milk Kefir with Orange and Vanilla

  • 3 1/2 c. milk kefir
  • 1/8 c. honey or 1/4 c.  sugar (We like it super tangy, so if you want sweeter go with 1/4 c. honey or 1/2 c. sugar, or more to your taste. To be quite honest here, I prefer it made with sugar. :))
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • juice of 2 oranges

I pour all the ingredients into a jar and just shake it up. You can leave it in the frig until ready to churn. Pour into a 4 qt. ice cream maker and churn until it reaches frozen yogurt consistency. We enjoy eating ours like this, but you can put it in a container and freeze it for harder ice cream.

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This would also make great Popsicles. I think I’m going to try that next.

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A Cup of Chai

There is something about a warm mug of tea hugged between one’s two hands…

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I don’t know, it just makes me think happy thoughts. Fluffy down comforter, flickering flames in the wood stove and a book that pulls you into the story page by page (notice I didn’t say swipe by swipe of the finger tip ;)  – those are the welcome companions of a cup of tea.

That, and a dash of milk, a smidgen of honey and some whipped cream, of course.

Not to mention the heavenly smell of spices wafting through the house.

Have I talked you into a cup of Chai?

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Toss your choice of the following into a sauce pan:

  • freshly grated ginger
  • pepper corns
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whole cloves
  • whole cardamom pods
  • a vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • whole allspice
  • star anise
  • black tea leaves

Add about 6 cups of water.

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Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for an hour or two.

Strain into a mug.

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Add some milk and enough honey or sugar or maple syrup to bring out the spicy flavors. It’s a lovely color isn’t it?

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Top with whipped cream and sip ever so slowly.

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You may store the rest in a jar for later. Keep the spices in the liquid for more intense flavor.

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If you could have a good hour on a rainy day with a warm beverage and a book, what would you drink?

Double points for telling us what you would read as well!

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