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Got Pumpkins?

Photo via Meadowbrookfun.com

This is the time of year when pumpkins rule!  In homes across the nation, families put on their creative hats to carve out the perfect Jack-o’-lantern in celebration of Halloween.  Amidst the flurry of excitement, some of us forget that pumpkins are not simply a decoration – they’re actually a delicious and nutritious fruit! In fact, they could be considered our national fruit. After all, didn’t they grace the tables of the pilgrims and Indians at the first Thanksgiving feast, circa 1620? Centuries later, they continue to be the pièce-de-résistance in Thanksgiving menus throughout the nation.

Full of antioxidants such as beta-carotene (that’s where the vibrant orange color comes from), pumpkins are a healthy source of vitamins and its seeds are even more nutritious than its fruit!  A favorite health food snack, pumpkin seeds contain a plethora of vitamins such as zinc, iron and phosphorous, as well as a high concentration of protein – all important for sustaining our health!

As for sustainability (that’s Sustainabili-TEA in Bigelow Tea speak), pumpkins lead the pack as one of the easiest fruits to grow and harvest.  Although they flourish in warmer climates, they are hardy and can grow almost anywhere. So, unleash your inner farmer and give it a go…visit your local pumpkin farm and watch how the pros do it. They might even share some family pumpkin recipes with you!

As you prepare your sustainable table in celebration of this beautiful season, try out some of Bigelow Tea’s favorite pumpkin recipes, like our Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Walnuts.  As a perfect complement to your meal, sip some flavorful Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea. And, remember to give thanks for that big ‘ol pumpkin!  Happy autumn!

Bigelow® Pumpkin Spice Tea

(Pumpkin patch photo via Meadowbrookfun.com)


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Celebrate Chocolate with Bigelow Tea!

It is said that “Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies!” It’s true – you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who don’t like chocolate, from the semi-sweet bitterness of dark chocolate to the sweet creaminess of milk chocolate.

In honour of National Chocolate Day (October 28th) Bigelow Tea suggests two great chocolate lover’s recipes: our mouth-watering Crème brûlée , a vanilla-caramel-chocolate custard enhanced by the strategic addition of our tasty Vanilla Caramel Tea!

Then may we suggest our Kisses’n’Cream Mar-TEA-ni? A fantastic fortifying beverage with a chocolate kick.  Can there be a better way to celebrate National Chocolate Day than with these Bigelow treats?

Vanilla-Caramel-Chocolate Custard (or Crème brûlée)

2 cups (500 mL) heavy cream
6 Bigelow Vanilla Caramel Tea Bags
2 ounces (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely grated
6 egg yolks
½ cup + 2 tablespoons (125 mL + 30 g) sugar

Yield: Serves 6

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150C). Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
In a small saucepan, gently heat the cream until tiny bubbles form at the edge of the pan. Add the tea bags, infuse for 4 minutes, then remove them to a small strainer and using the back of a spoon, press to extract as much tea as possible back into the saucepan. Turn off the heat, whisk the chocolate into the cream, then set aside.

Combine the egg yolks with ½-cup (125 g) of sugar in a medium bowl and beat until the yolks are pale yellow and slightly thickened. Slowly whisk in the cream. Divide the liquid among 6 custard cups or individual ramekins. Place the filled cups in a large baking dish. Pour enough boiling water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the oven until the custards are set around the edge but a little wobbly at the center, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove and let them cool in their water bath. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Make the sugar topping. Before serving, sprinkle the remaining sugar evenly over the custards. If you have a propane torch, heat the sugar until it bubbles and browns. Or, position the broiler rack as close to the heat as possible and broil until sugar melts and forms a hard top. Watch carefully that it does not burn.

Remove and let stand a few minutes before serving. (If heating the sugar makes you too nervous, don’t worry: you can skip this and it will still be delicious!)

Kisses’n’Cream Mar-TEA-ni

Ingredients:

4 Bigelow® White Chocolate Kisses tea bags
1 ¼ cups (315 mL) boiling water
1 tablespoon (15 g) sugar
½ cup (125 g) cocoa powder (optional)
4 ounces (120 mL) vanilla vodka
4 ounces (120 mL) whipping cream

Yield: Serves 4

Instructions:

Place tea bags into a measuring cup and add 1 ¼ cups/315 mL boiling water. Let brew for 3 minutes. Remove tea bags.

Add sugar and stir until it dissolves. Chill.

Prepare martini glasses by wetting the rim and dipping in a shallow dish of cocoa powder.

To make a martini, take two ounces/60 mL of the cooled sweet tea, one ounce/30 mL of the vanilla vodka and mix it with one ounce/30 mL of cream in a shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.


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Pop & Folk Group Katzenjammer Knows that Morning Tea is Something to Sing About!

Photo via last.fm

It should come as no surprise that at Bigelow Tea we feel that any time of the day is the perfect time for your favorite cup of tea. For many tea drinkers, the morning may begin with a cup of your favorite flavor which might end up being the best part of breakfast. And there are many more of us that enjoy our tea times all throughout the day.

The hugely popular Norwegian pop/folk band Katzenjammer is just the type of tea takers that we’re referring to. In the song Tea with Cinnamon from their album Le Pop (2009) they describe the following start to their typical day:

Wake again to tea with cinnamon, Some honey on a spoon, It is almost noon.”

And like true tea fans, Katzenjammer turns again to tea time to help smooth the ups and down of the busy day:

“Smell this tea
And dream of what could be,
Defeated yet again

By tea with cinnamon.”

It is truly amazing the difference a bit of time and a warm, soothing cup of cinnamon tea can make in a day.  And like Katzenjammer, we couldn’t agree any more that our precious tea time all through the day is truly something to sing about!

(Photo via last.fm)

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Bigelow Tea Unveils The Fall/Winter Catalog Online and Off!

The Fall/Winter 2010 Wishbook

Leaves are wafting about the yard and the sandals and shorts have been retired, but you haven’t a care, nestled in your chair with a steaming cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea, while thumbing through the warm offerings of Bigelow Tea’s Fall/Winter 2010 Catalog.

Inside the red bows and bright colors of this instant mailbox (and online) cheer, Bigelow Tea presents hand-picked gift ideas for the tea lovers on your shopping list. Designed to delight both sophisticated and whimsical tastes, this is a catalog that begs to have the corners folded, to note which loved ones on your list on your list will be getting which wonderful gifts this year. Let’s peek.

The Super Deluxe Gift Basket

Like the Super Deluxe Gift Basket. It’s “the best” for Mom, Auntie or the gourmet on your list. Expect great returns in 2011 as this overstuffed plaid basket (did we mention 32 Constant Comment® tea bags?) surely finds a place in your home decor.

The Keepsake Window Box

Folded, ribboned and ready to give, the crimson Keepsake Window Boxes are a thing of beauty. Conjure you inner party planner and use them as decoration, stocking stuffers or party favors!

The Capresso PerfecTea Cordless Kettle

The high-style aficionados in your world will worship you when this hits their doorstep: the Capresso PerfecTea Cordless Water Kettle is a “must have.” It brings the know-how too, with five temperature settings, auto shut-off and dry boil protection for the perfect cup, always.

The Charleston Tea Plantation Tea Chest

And it’s always a good time to celebrate the only working Tea Garden in the continental United States – with the Charleston Tea Plantation Tea Chest. This classic matte black wooden box keepsake offers up a delicious blend of 6 American Classic Tea® flavors.

So now you’re good to go, all ready to delight your friends and family with Bigelow Tea’s best. Time for a nap now that your holiday shopping is done!

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When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall

Photo via Goodmoodfilm.co.uk

“The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall”

~ Autumn Leaves (English lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Joseph Kosma)

When Nat King Cole crooned those nostalgic lyrics, he captured the essence of autumn – its richness, vibrancy, passion and promise.  It’s a glorious season; nature’s not-so-subtle reminder that we are well and truly blessed for the bounty which we so happily receive.  And the best way to give thanks is by continuing to protect and nourish our earth. After all, everything is cyclical. So, please join us in the ongoing commitment to live sustainably, which Bigelow Tea calls Sustainabili-TEA.

Photo via Weblogtheworld.com

By the way – what do we do with all the fallen autumn leaves? Some green advocates believe that the leaves should be left alone because they form their own layer of much, nature’s own way of recycling.  Or, if you don’t like an untidy lawn, consider composting your leaves. But please don’t burn your leaves! It’s toxic – to you as well as the environment. Instead, use biodegradable lawn bags and a rake (not a leaf blower). Raking is more invigorating, and it’s good exercise!

Photo via Tealoverscorner.ning.com

You may also want to save your leaves for crafts projects with the kids. Find creative ways to dress up your dining room table with leaves in preparation for your harvest feast. And as you celebrate autumn, perhaps the best part is all the delightful, spicy teas that come alive in the season…. some Cinnamon Apple Herbal Tea, perhaps?

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Family Is Everything – Celebrate National Eat Better, Eat Together Month!

Photo via Thechefalliance.com

Remember the old adage “the family that eats together, stays together?” Well, thanks to our heightened awareness of sustainable living practices, the 21st century spin might be “eat better; eat together.” Family and sustainability (or, as we at Bigelow Tea call it, Sustainabili-TEA) are now spoken in the same breath.

You know that at Bigelow Tea family is everything, and sustaining the family – through healthy food and quality of time spent together – is a top priority. To highlight the importance of this concept, October has been designated as National Eat Better; Eat Together Month.

Photo via 101things.com

We all lead very busy lives – even our children are constantly juggling hectic schedules with classes and extracurricular activities. Now, more than ever, it’s important to make time to sit down at the dinner table together – as a family. It’s a great way to connect with each other, while enjoying a nourishing mealWashington State University’s Department of Nutrition Education has compiled an impressive body of research that clearly demonstrates that families who eat together also thrive – not only by improved dietary health, but also by developing healthy relationships and improving school performance.

So, take a family trip to your local farmer’s market and then go home and cook up a storm – together. You’ll have a blast and create some priceless memories in the process.  Promote the concept of Eat Better; Eat Together in your neighborhood. After all, your neighbors are an extended part of your family! And for some great dinner ideas, be sure to look at Bigelow Tea’s cornucopia of recipes, perfect to try out with your family … enjoy!

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Bigelow Tea’s Cinnamon Stick Baked Apples: A Wholesome and Super-Simple Fall Treat!

Ah, the scent of hot, baking apples and sweet cinnamon! Is there anything better than that luscious, essential autumn aroma to provide a warm welcome for anyone entering your home? So here at Bigelow Tea we’re presenting a wonderful fall recipe for you: Cinnamon Stick Baked Apples.

The simplicity of baked apples with the easy addition of Bigelow Tea Cinnamon Stick spicy flavor: sweet, tasty, and oh-so-wholesome food!  Let the aroma fill our fall days! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups hot water
4 Bigelow® Cinnamon Stick® tea bags
6 medium apples (Cortland, Granny Smith, or any other slightly tart baking apple)
3 tablespoons, plus 6 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Baked apples are a simple side dish which are perfectly paired with either pork or poultry. When baked with Bigelow® Cinnamon Stick Tea, they become a rustic autumn substitute for apple sauce. Alternatively, serve the baked apples with ice cream for a delicious dessert!

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400º and place rack on middle setting.

In a measuring cup, steep tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes. Thoroughly squeeze tea bags into cup before discarding. Add 3 tablespoons brown sugar to tea and stir until dissolved. While tea is still hot, add butter and stir to combine. Set aside.

Horizontally slice the top of each apple off and reserve. Using a melon-baller or spoon, scoop out the core and seeds of the apple, making sure not break through the bottom.

Place the apples in an 8 x 8 inch (or 7 x 10) glass or ceramic baking dish and spoon 1 teaspoon of brown sugar into each cavity.

Gently pour prepared tea over the top of the apples and bake for about 40 minutes, or until apples are soft.

Place the baked apples on a platter and transfer 2/3 cup of the juices to a small saucepan. Boil until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour juices over the top of the apples and serve warm.

Variations: Substitute “Constant Comment®” Tea for the Cinnamon Stick tea and/or add 1 teaspoon raisins to each apple cavity before baking (along with the brown sugar).

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Tea on TV: Simon Baker on The Mentalist Is Never Far from a Cup of Tea!

Photo via ebay.com

If you’ve seen the hit CBS series, The Mentalist, you probably know that handsome Simon Baker plays the role of Patrick Jane, an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation who solves crimes with his skills of alert observation. And, if you’ve caught an episode of the show you would also know that the Patrick Jane character loves his tea! In almost every episode he drinks at least a cup … and sometimes he’s shown pouring and serving it too!

Image via dakota0135.tumblr.com

Fans have become so obsessed with Baker’s character and his tea drinking, that they’ll even purchase teacups and saucers like the ones he uses on the show!

At Bigelow Tea we were wondering about what type of tea this sleuth character might be drinking….then we stumbled upon an interview with Tim Kang, who plays Kimball Cho on The Mentalist, an agent for the California Bureau of Investigation. He shared: “…Jane [Simon’s character] probably drinks Earl Grey and [my character] probably drinks green tea…”

Very interesting…and if they truly are that intuitive – then we’re sure that it’s from Bigelow Tea!

The cast of the Mentalist

Photo via tv.com

Not surprisingly, Mr. Baker, a native of Australia, adores tea in real life too. He’s been quoted as saying his “turn-ons” include: “Hearing my kids laugh, a good cuppa tea, dancing with my wife.”

Sounds like our kind of guy!

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Bigelow Tea Celebrates Caramel Month with Our Decadent Vanilla-Caramel Tart!

October is National Caramel Month! Did you know that soft caramels are an American invention, hundreds of years old?  While historians report that the exact date and location is unknown, it’s no wonder that the quintessentially American Bigelow Tea features caramel-boosted teas in its line-up!

If you’re seeking a caramel treat with a more grown-up (and tooth-friendly?) twist, may we suggest our Vanilla-Caramel Tart with vanilla pudding,  a graham cracker crust, and caramel flavoring enhanced by our Vanilla Caramel Tea? Top with strawberries and you have the perfect showpiece dessert for an October brunch or dinner. And it’s so simple to make!

Vanilla-Caramel Tart

Vanilla-Caramel Cream:

5 bags Bigelow® Vanilla Caramel tea

2 cups (500 ml) evaporated milk

1 package vanilla pudding mix

Whipped Cream:

¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream

2 bags Bigelow ® Vanilla Caramel tea

½ tsp (3 ml) vanilla extract

10 large strawberries, for garnish

1 store-bought graham cookie pie crust

Serves 6

Instructions:

For the Vanilla-Caramel Cream:

Bring evaporated milk and 5 bags of Vanilla-Caramel tea to a simmer.  Let infuse for 30 minutes.  Discard tea bags.  Refrigerate milk until cold.  Prepare vanilla pudding mix according to the directions on the package for a pie. Use the infused milk.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or until set.

For the Whipped Cream:

Bring heavy cream and 2 bags of Vanilla-Caramel tea to a simmer.  Let infuse for 15 minutes.  Discard tea bags.  Refrigerate the cream for at least 30 minutes.  Whip the cream and vanilla until soft to medium peaks form.  Fold mixture into the Vanilla-Caramel Cream.  If desired, reserve a small amount of the whipped cream for garnish.                  

Tart assembly:

Spoon the Vanilla-Caramel Cream into graham cookie crust.  Spread evenly.  Decorate with sliced strawberries.

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Life is Grand

Just finished cycling for a week with my lady friends in Southern California to celebrate my 50th birthday. We could not have had a better time.  It was so enjoyable, “hammering down the PCH,” these ladies were beasts!  I wasn’t sure when they started the trip that they wanted to cycle for a week up and down hills, mountains and valleys, but by the end of the week everyone had huge smiles on their faces. We just loved the whole experience.  Life is grand.

Cindi Bigelow

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