Team Pumpkin Spice or Team Chai Spiced? While I like Pumpkin spice (sometimes), I'll always be a die-hard Chai spice fan! I suppose it goes back to the time before there was a pumpkin spice craze, when I discovered and adored chai lattes. For some reason, my friends and I likened ourselves to be fairly sophisticated in our late teens. On the cusp of great change and accomplishment, one of our favorite things to do was grab a coffee (or in my case, a tea) together in the fall and winter and just talk. Just be; as a group; as "my favorites."
Do you remember when you had those great big conversations with your best friends? Perhaps it goes something like this; which is how I remember them best. The leaves are crisp on the sidewalk as you crunch across them locked arm-in-arm with your life-long dearest people. A bell clangs on the store front and you enter a coffee house filled with warming aromas and espresso machines steaming and foaming frothy drinks. Warming your hands wrapped around your drinks, you sit at small tables crowding your heads together as you share secrets and dreams. Throwing your heads back in raucous laughter, the jokes are those only you find funny; together.
Sustainability Spotlight: Those days helped shape me. They helped shape my friends. Those people, in those places, in those times where I felt truly "known." No judgements, open hearts and open minds, the space we shared was always (and will be forever) a quintessential heart of what and who I am, and will be in the future. There was never any doubt in our minds that we would do great things. In my case, the "great" thing always involved a spotlight on the environment. In my friends cases, they were (respectively), a great mother and teacher, a great healer of hearts and bodies, and a great athlete and physical therapist. I have seen those dreams come to fruition in evolutions and in surprising ways.
Those dreams became a part of our realities but also a foundation for more; much more. We are complex, and creative. We are human and we love at the very core of our beings. We love our kids, our lives, and our families and friends. At the epicenter, we are living our lives for ourselves, but more for our future generations. Our children. What will their lives be like? What will their friends and childhood comprise? What impacts will our stories, our dreams, and our realities impart on their successes in the future?
In these ways, sustainability is a lot MORE than "doing better for the planet." It is about the future and about our choices impacting the next generation, and the next, and the next. Do we have the human race's survival in mind or just our selves? Caring for our families and friends means a great deal more than just listening at times or supporting when it is convenient. It means fulfilling life-long commitments in a partnership for bettering each others dreams and realities.
Though separated by great distances and time, my friends are never far from my mind. They live in a song on the radio I haven't heard in a long time. They live in seasons and activities I do. They live in simple smells and flavors; like chai spice. Never far from my heart and always acting as the backbone of my efforts here, on this blog. They believed, so I believe too - I can make this world a better place for my children and their children. I'm here to tell you - you can too. Dream it, live it, and be the change we all need.
Chai Spice Mix:
1.5 tbsp roasted cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2.5 cups unsalted pecan halves
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp vegan butter (melted)
salt (to taste)
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a jelly roll (lipped baking sheet) with a silpat.
Combine all Chai Spice Mix ingredients in a small bowl.
Combine 1.5 tsp Chai Spice Mix with the remaining ingredients. Save the remainder of the Chai Spice Mix for other use, like my Chai Spiced Pecan and Chocolate Blondies
Spread pecan mixture in an even layer on your prepared pan and roast for 8 minutes in the oven. Stir pecans and roast for another 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely (or eat directly from the pan - SO good warm!)
Store pecans in an airtight container (I placed them in a Ball jar) for up to 5 days at room temperature, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie