Since I don’t like to drink straight milk, and rarely ever drink juice or soymilk, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to get enough calcium into my system. I’ve started having a nightly cup of hot chocolate (made from real milk and cocoa, so it does count toward my calcium intake!), but I can’t really justify more than one cup of cocoa a day given how much sugar it has in it as well as the small amount of caffeine in cocoa that would add up if I drank it nonstop.

When I was in Israel on my study abroad, I used to get this almond tea drink at my favorite coffee house in Jerusalem (Tmol Shilshom, in case anyone has ever been there). It was basically just herbal almond tea (so caffeine free, which is important right now) steeped in milk and lightly sweetened with honey. I’m sure part of why the tea at Tmol Shilshom tasted so rich is that it was made with whole milk, but I think it would still be really good with skim milk. Until I can find a suitable substitute almond tea here, I’ve been at somewhat of a loss in the milk-based beverages arena.

Today, I came up with what I think is a pretty tasty option for trying to drink more milk. I heated up a mug of milk and liberally sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on top, then sweetened it with one teaspoon of honey (much better than the two tablespoons of sugar per cup in my cocoa) and added a little splash of vanilla. I know it sounds weird, but it actually tastes a lot like vanilla chai tea, except that it has no caffeine in it, only a small amount of sugar, and I didn’t have to buy the chai powder mix or whatever since I already had all the ingredients on hand. I put a small cinnamon stick (probably about half of a regular stick) in the cup as well, but since the pumpkin pie spice has cinnamon in it, that was probably extraneous. I’m not saying that if I weren’t restricting my caffeine intake I would choose this over my favorite double spice chai tea, but under the circumstances it’s a good alternative.

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