Foodie Fridays - Russian Tea
You’d probably never guess but I’ve got a bookcase overflowing with cookbooks. I know right? Who would have guessed. Some are glossy and hardbound full of beautiful pictures of beautiful food that while I may one day cook, the chances are pretty slim. Then, there are the spiral bound cookbooks that every good home cook has, purchased at bake sales, given as gifts, and hunted down in the local drug store. We all know them and love them, the spiral bound fundraiser cookbooks that every church, school, civic organization, and after school program puts out at one time or another. They are usually simply printed, no pictures, and include many, many casseroles where the main ingredients are canned cream of mushroom soup and tater tots. We love these things. I know I do. I have one from my home church that includes recipes from my grandmother and great grandmother. I have two I was given as wedding presents I turn to time and again. Then I picked up a few more from my father in law. Each one is like a time capsule from that generation - it’s easy to see what was popular by how many variations of the same dish are included in the book. These little spiral bound, blue collar, filled with love (and oleo) books are some of my favorite treasures.
I’ve been feeling pretty puny this week. This is the second sinus infection I’ve had this year and February’s not even over yet. I was sick but not sick enough to go to the doctor so I loaded up with Alka-Seltzer cold and sinus, ibuprofen, nasal spray, vitamin C, and enough tea to float the Carpathia. (The Carpathia was the ship that picked up the Titanic survivors. Keep up.) Hot drinks of any kind are the only thing that keep my congestion broken up, so I usually start with coffee in the morning and swap over to hot tea after that. I love green tea, my usual hot tea of choice, but a girl’s gotta break it up every so often. Especially with how much tea I have been drinking.
When I was sick the first time in January, I was looking for something to break up the monotony of green tea with honey and lemon and remembered a spiced tea that my grandmothers were crazy about in the 80s when I was a kid. It had instant tea and tang and some other stuff I couldn’t remember. All I could remember was everyone made it. You could bet around Christmas time someone at church or work or somewhere would present you with a mason jar of the stuff tied up with a pretty bow. I was quite small when this craze was going on so I wasn’t interested in any sort of hot tea. That was stuff silly adults drank along with coffee. Well now I’m a silly coffee drinking adult and I wanted some of this tea to soothe my throat and make me feel better. And then by serendipity I saw a recipe from Garden & Gun on Facebook for Russian Tea. Ah ha! So that afternoon I stopped at the Dollar General, picked up what I didn’t have at home and high tailed it for the house. I pulled out some of my old “church cookbooks” to see what their recipes said for spiced tea had to say. I ended up combining a few recipes and tweaking it to fit my taste. I’ve been enjoying it pretty much every day this week and I have to say it certainly makes me feel better if nothing else and is honestly delicious. Hope you enjoy!
1 cup instant iced tea mix with lemon (I used Country Time half and half)
1 cup Orange Tang (Yes I know Tang, but trust me it’s all good)
¼ Cup sugar or sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
½ tsp allspice or cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container. Use 1 to 2 tsp of mix per mug of hot water. Enjoy!