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A Note from Karen Keim


Have you savored your favorite hot drink with friends recently?  

There’s something about cradling a hot drink in my hands just to feel the warmth, and I am especially grateful for friend connections considering the challenges of the pandemic and the pace of work-home life. Maybe you can identify? Being with friends is a pleasant way to face those challenges and embrace the cooler temperatures of fall that come with the changing colors of the leaves. 

Ladies in and around Charm get together regularly for what they call “coffee break”. The way it works: one lady opens her home to a group of friends, and the guests bring food to share. Undoubtedly, some of the deliciousness that arrives includes the local specialty of wonderful baked goods, which pairs beautifully with hot drinks provided by the host.  

Your home doesn’t have to be immaculate to host, just welcoming. Sure, you can use fancy dishes, but disposable dishes work just fine, too. Hosting is about being authentically you, about providing a chance for people to connect face-to-face, about providing a space where people feel comfortable. Also, you don’t have to do a lot of work. Like my Amish/Mennonite neighbors, you can provide the hot drinks and invite others to bring food. 

A favorite hot drink of mine is chai made from scratch that a friend introduced me to years ago. Here is my own recipe that I have adapted to my family’s taste buds. I love it alone or with any kind of baked good. 

Karen Keim’s Chai Recipe 

     1 qt. water 

     3 qt. milk 

     2-3 cinnamon sticks 

     10-12 whole cloves 

     8-10 whole cardamom pods/seeds 

     ½-¾ c. sugar or honey, to taste 

     7 black tea bags 

Directions: Boil water in 5qt saucepan. Add spices and tea bags. Turn down to simmer and simmer for 15 minutes (longer if you desire stronger flavor). Add sugar or honey and stir until dissolved. Add milk and heat through, being careful not to boil. Remove spices and tea bags.  

Optional: Serve individual mugs of chai topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon. 

Yield: 1 gallon …A great amount when hosting friends and family. Or store it in the refrigerator to enjoy warming it up one mug at a time. 

Are you interested in other recipes that will give you a taste of Amish Country, like wonderful pastries? Click here for the chance to win a copy of the Keim Cookbook. 

Hot drinks with friends sound wonderful to you? Not sure how or when hosting a gathering at your home might happen? Consider meeting your friends at Keim during the week of November 22nd to 27th for our Holiday Kickoff for a warm friendly atmosphere and shopping discounts. We’ll have the hot drinks and pastries available for you. 

From my home to yours, 

Karen Keim