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Family Recipes and The Viva Diva Cafe

I have been thinking a lot about family recipes lately. The other day I called my mom for the millionth time asking her to repeat her spaghetti and meatballs recipe to me. I know most of it by heart, but I like calling her to hear her version of it, just to make sure I have it exactly right. I then end up writing it down on a post it note or on the back of an envelope, usually never to be seen again.

My sister recently went through a divorce…in fact her divorce was final at the end of October. It is hard for me to write about because it is still so fresh and personal with all of us. I have known her now ex-husband since they started dating when I was 14 years old. I looked up to them both and felt like they had the “perfect marriage”. As things often are, what appears to be reality often isn’t. I love my sister and hate that she has had to go through this pain…a pain that I know she never envisioned being a part of her life. Even though the marriage has ended between the two of them, some wonderful things have come out of their relationship. I have a nephew who is incredibly talented, brilliant, witty and wonderful. I also have a niece who is loving, beautiful, compassionate and smart. We have lots of great memories, laughs and family moments that will always be in our heart. And, last but not least, our families have swapped some pretty tasty recipes.

What would our birthday parties be like without his great-grandma’s sugar cookie recipe or our grandmother’s homemade ice cream recipe? I have several emails from his mom sharing family recipes that I have asked for. Not to make light of the situation, but if these two families didn’t unite at some point in history, our recipe boxes would be void of some great tasting things.

The Viva Diva Cafe (home of Viva paper towels) is hosting a great family recipe contest on their website and they have asked me to be one of the judges when the contest has closed. The prizes are fantastic… top prize is a $1000 gift certificate to Willams Sonoma. 2nd prize, a KitchenAid Professional 600 series mixer and a set of OXO utensils. 3rd prize is an Apple iPod Nano 8GB and JBL On Stage II Speaker System.To enter, all you need to do is register with The Viva Diva Cafe (which seriously takes less than a minute) and then enter your favorite family recipe. Whether it is one passed down from generation to generation within your own family, or a recipe snagged up from a relationship lost, head on over to The Viva Diva Cafe and share it with us.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is not one that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family, but the cup and saucer shown have a story to go along with this post. My sister, one evening feeling hurt and angry about the divorce, decided to take her wedding china out to her back porch and have a little therapy session with it. She put a blanket down on the concrete porch and began throwing pieces of her china against her homes brick wall watching the pieces fall into the blanket (which I thought was brilliant… much easier to clean up!). After she broke the first setting, she called me feeling much better and explained to me what she was doing. I, being the sensitive sister that I am, applauded her for finding a way to let out her aggressions and then thinking of the most important thing first said… “Ummmm, if you are just going to be crashing your china against the wall, would you mind saving out a place setting for me for my food photography photos?” Yep… you can call me Mrs Sensitive if you want.

Chai Tea Latte (from Simple and Delicious Magazine, October 2008)

15 min | 5 min prep


  1. Place the tea bags, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in the coffee filter of a drip coffeemaker.
  2. Add water; brew according to manufacturer’s directions.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, brown sugar and creamer.
  4. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through and sugar is dissolved.
  5. Pour milk mixture into mugs; stir in tea.
  6. Dollop with whipped topping and sprinkle with nutmeg if desired.
Looking for more hot drink recipes to warm you up this winter? Check out what these other food bloggers have to offer:

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  1. oh man… those dishes are to DIE FOR…. they are so gorgeous

    Now i need to go make do with starbucks :)

  2. I wish you all much strength and healing during this difficult time. Thanks for sharing all of this post.

    Jens last blog post..get some beauty rest

  3. Kristen- I am sorry for the loss your family is facing and I hope your sister finds peace and hope after this divorce. It is nice that your families did touch during this lifetime and that you have fond memories and can one day forgive the sad memories. Thanks for sharing a touching and real story.

    Robin Sues last blog post..Thanksgiving Beets Part II: Beet Greens and Harvard Beets

  4. Mmmm…I drank a chai tea latte this morning! This was a lovely post. Divorce is horrible and painful, but I love how you managed to focus on the good things that came out of the marriage. Life is like this post. It’s painful, beautiful, sad and funny, and all rolled into one.

    Nicoles last blog post..Girls Night Out on Twitter

  5. What an amazing post …

    Great therapy… great thinking (to have her save you a set!) … and great contest!!

  6. Thanks for reminding me about my own white hot chocolate – it’s such good stuff! And thanks for the link! :)

    Hillarys last blog post..Obama Food

  7. Sorry to hear about your sister. I hope that everything will go well for her. She really needs your support.

    Hélènes last blog post..Chicken Pot Pie – Pâtés au poulet

  8. Ohhhh… I couldn’t ever smash the dishes without worrying I would regret it. That being said… I used to make art and sort of sculptural pieces with broken china. It started with some accidents at my mom’s house and then people started giving me their broken things. I had to smash them up more to be the right size though. The best thing was a darling (yet lethal) wreath.

    Nicoles last blog post..Testing 1-2-3, Testing

  9. Okay the story is hilarious, heart-warming, sad and I would have asked for a place setting too. Hysterical.

    noble pigs last blog post..The Pilgrims Would Approve

  10. I love chai and as it gets colder in MN it becomes my favorite comfort drink. Your presentation is so elegant!

  11. I’m sorry your sister and your families are going through this right now. I don’t think it’s ever easy when a marriage ends.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe contest information… I think I may have to enter one of my family recipes because that WS gift cert is calling my name!

    Patsyks last blog post..The Bread Man

  12. “Would you mind saving out a place setting for me…”

    Ahhh, spoken like a true food blogger.

    Have fun judging at the Viva Diva Cafe! (And I could really use a cup of this Chai Tea Latte right about now—you must be reading my mind!)

    Sandies last blog post..Celebrating Inn Style, Recipe: Cranberry Orange Chess Pie

  13. Oh, Kristen, thank you so much for a good laugh after a long day! You are the best. Love you!

  14. Hi Kristen,
    I love the idea of putting the spices through a drip coffee maker. Instead of a coffee maker, I’m going to try just a ceramic dripper. Thanks.

    Also thanks for the Hot Buttered Rum mention!


    Carla M Borellis last blog post..RECIPES: Home-Made Yogurt

  15. Sorry your sister had to go through that.
    I so would have asked for a place setting for the blog as well.

    peabodys last blog post..Life with a teenager….bunny that is…

  16. Ahahahah! I applaud your sister for the blanket idea! Hope she’s felling better now with all the divorce issue, it’s never easy. If it ever happens to me I’ll remember the blanket trick. And I’d also save one for pictures, good thinking you!

    clumbsycookies last blog post..Could this be the best in the world?

  17. The chai tea is the perfect recipe to accompany your beautifully told story. It’s interesting to note that a divorce does not just affect the couple but reaches out to all that know them.

  18. Its sad when relationships end – but thankfully you have some happiness to remember from it. The dishes are lovely and the Chai Tea sounds great!

    HoneyBs last blog post..Mini Butternut Bundt Cakes with Brown Sugar Icing

  19. This looks fabulous!

    Nicole from : For the Love of Foods last blog post..A Hope For Sleep – ASAP

  20. Just one look at that pic makes me wish we could sit down to share a cup together.

    Susan from Food Bloggas last blog post..Pear and Cardamom Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

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