Instant Vanilla Chai Mix | Make Ahead Mondays

Tea has a way -unlike coffee- of making time slow down just a bit. This time of year and this season of life, I feel like time needs all the slowing down I can possibly get.

I’m trying, with varying degrees of success, to accomplish parenting and homeschooling five boys (two of whom are teenagers), being a good wife, running a home based business, maintaining a free-lance writing career including a newspaper column, participating in my community and its activities, and keeping in touch with family and friends.

God bless my friends. They are a patient lot. For some reason or another, my time management skills lately have been more strained than usual. In fact, I committed the unpardonable friendship sin.

I forgot a commitment and it’s even worse than it sounds.

My whole family -all SEVEN of us- were invited to dine with our friends Tim and Shannon and their four kids up the road. I asked Shannon what I could bring, and she sweetly informed me that she was making the whole thing. DINNER FOR THIRTEEN PEOPLE. I balked. I insisted she let me bring a pot of beans and some homemade salsa to go with the pulled pork she would be slow cooking. The plans were set. Later that week we would show up, beans and salsa in hand, and enjoy a friendly dinner all together.

Two days before our dinner date, I spoke with Shannon on the phone and she told me how another friend had forgotten to come to dinner one night and her kids were so disappointed. I talked about times it had happened to us and we commiserated. Are you feeling some foreshadowing here? Ugh.

The day of our dinner arrived and I completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing that evening. I was running late on a couple of writing deadlines, so after finishing school with the kids, I sat down -nose to the grindstone- and finished what was due. I submitted them, tidied the kitchen and started working on two other recipes I was developing that would be due in the next week or so. My husband called and uncharacteristically offered to bring home something for dinner. I jumped on it, ran some errands I had promised other folks I would run, then came back to finish the work I’d started. The Evil Genius arrived home -late!- with dinner in  hand. We all descended on it like locusts. I settled in to go through our new healthcare plan papers that were due the next day and the kids hollered, “Someone’s in the driveway… It’s Mr. Tim!”

… You know those scenes in movies where one thing suddenly comes into sharp focus and the rest of the background drops away in a blur? Yeah. That’s how I looked at my friend.

Tim had come down the road because to top everything else off, our phone had been busy for two days because of a problem with the line.

In that moment, all my friend cred washed down the driveway with the light rain that was falling. I felt like a giant jerk. I gathered the kids, pulled a brush through my hair and said we were coming up anyway. Half an hour late and fed. In their kitchen, our troops rallied at the sight of the beautiful meal Shannon had prepared for us. Our kids played together beautifully, and I apologized profusely.

What I wouldn’t have given at that moment for a time machine. Something that would’ve granted me extra time during the day so that I could actually consult my calendar (where the date was written in Sharpie marker) and think about what I was supposed to get done that day. Isn’t that the kicker? It was written down!

I took that as a sign that I needed to find a way to make more time in my holiday season. I’m partnering with Frigidaire who has invented -wait for it- a TIME MACHINE. Not an H.G. Wells type of time machine, granted, but it’s a time machine nonetheless. Frigidaire is giving the gift of time, both in the form of gifts to enjoy time and actual Frigidaire appliances! There are daily, weekly and grand prizes. The daily prizes are indulgences like spa gift cards, the weekly prizes are honest-to-goodness Frigidaire Double-Oven Ranges (Oh, how I’d love one of these!), and the grand prize? Sit down, please. Someone is going to win an ENTIRE SUITE OF FRIGIDAIRE APPLIANCES. Seriously, that would be a gift to remember, wouldn’t it? Click on over to the Frigidaire  app on Facebook and play to win! They have some hilarious free cheer cards you can post on Facebook, Twitter or email to friends and family, too.

Instant Vanilla Chai and Mix

That is so true I almost shudder a bit…

I have a little gift of time for you, too! Foodie with Family is powered by tea, glorious tea: morning, noon and night, loose leaf, bagged and instant. I just plain can’t get enough tea. I have a tea for every occasion and whim and I love it that way. Most days, I start the morning off with a stiff black tea- something of which the purists would approve. As the day goes on, I sip on black tea blends, mixes and then move into herbal teas like lemongrass and my perennial favourite, Sleepytime Tea.

When time is short, and I have a hankering for something sweet and warming, I reach for my homemade Instant Vanilla Chai mix. It’s satisfyingly homey. It reminds me of the store-bought instant chai mixes, takes mere minutes to put together and yields enough for a generous jar for yourself and gifts for your favourite tea lovers without breaking the bank. How can you beat that? With the time you save making this for gifts, you can scoot over to the Frigidaire Time Machine and be entered to win that sweet suite of Frigidaire appliances.

As for me? I’m probably going to take a couple jars of this up the road to my friend along with a big hug.

Instant Vanilla Chai Mix | Make Ahead Mondays
Creamy, spiced, sweet instant vanilla chai mix hits the spot when you want something warming and satisfying in a hurry! As usual, homemade beats store bought hands-down! Portioned into small jars with gift cards or instructions on the label, this chai mix makes a unique and affordable holiday or hostess gift for the chai and tea lovers in your life!
  • 1½ cups instant unsweetened tea powder (I use Nestea.)
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat instant dry milk powder
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy creamer powder
  • 1 cup French vanilla or vanilla non-dairy creamer powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (This is optional, but makes the chai spicier.)
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Process 1 cup at a time in pulses in a blender or food processor until it is a fine powdery consistency much like powdered sugar. Wait until the dust in the blender or processor dies down before removing the lid, then spoon into airtight containers for storage. Repeat until all of the mixture has been finely powdered.
  2. Tightly covered, this mix is good for 6 months to a year, stirring every so often to prevent clumping.
For Gift Giving:
  1. Divide the powdered mix between small 4 or 8 ounce jars. Label jars with instructions on how to prepare the chai.

This post is sponsored by Frigidaire.  I received monetary compensation for my participation, but my review and opinions are my own.


  1. says

    So wait a second, you had a free dinner opp and you forgot?! Girl, you must have been in the zone. =) Sounds like your friend is a keeper, though. Here’s to a more relaxed holiday season!

    I’m loving the spice profile of this tea. And your little labels are too cute. Pinning!

  2. Alice E. says

    I can’t have coffee, so I drink lots of tea. I like the idea, but am not a fan of instant tea. I’m going to try it without the tea, and add it to brewed tea, instead of water. Since I shouldn’t have black pepper because of digestive issues, do you think it would work to add extra nutmeg. I found out it could have a bite when I added the full teaspoon a recipe called for in a mashed sweet potato dish. I suspect it was more noticeable because it was a new jar of nutmeg :-)

  3. says

    Rebecca you are such a good writer. You had me convinced I was the one that missed dinner. I could feel your agony! I wish I had a time machine this week too. I forgot to pay a bill (that I never forget) and when I remembered it I shot me up straight in bed at 4AM. Uggg…

  4. says

    Made this for my co-workers this year for the holidays! It was a pretty easy project that smelled great putting together. We samples a cup and really enjoyed it. Thank you for the recipe!

  5. says

    Yay for Tea Girls! I also drink tea all-the-livelong day, with chai being my favorite way to begin. I look forward to trying your mix for on-the-go chai emergencies, because nothing is more frustrating than finding only one (usually bad) token tea variety at the hot beverage service.

    Have you tried Sleepytime Green with lemon and jasmine? *Love* it. Also, Sleepytime Extra comes in handy when I’ve had a touch to much caffeine and need to quiet the mind to sleep.

  6. says

    Wish I saw this before today! This is awesome, I love Chai Tea and can’t wait to give this as gifts… maybe for Valentine’s Day, I probably can’t wait ’til the next Holiday season!

    Thanks to Ball Canning for posting this link on their FB Page!

    • says

      It’s a matter of personal preference, Deanna, but I usually tell people to start with one rounded tablespoon per 6 ounces of boiling or near boiling water and adjust from there.

  7. Linda D. says

    My dearest friend gave me some of this mix as a Christmas present last year (2014). I finally started using it a few months later and LOVE it! I’m almost out and fall is upon us with cool temps again. I’m about to send my husband to the store to get ingredients to make MORE! The instructions my friend gave me were to mix 2 heaping tablespoons with 6oz hot water AND 6oz. warm milk. It is sooooo creamy that way – YUM!


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