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Bigelow Tea Celebrates Gluten-Free Holiday Baking

Cakes, cookies, pies – oh my, the holidays are full of delicious baked treats! While many of us look forward to these simple indulgences, they can present a minefield of health hazards for those who must avoid gluten-based flours. So it’s no coincidence that Gluten-Free Baking Week falls squarely in the midst of the holiday season – December 18-24. It’s a great way to help spread the word that going gluten-free need not leave any holiday revelers feeling deprived. In the spirit of the season, Bigelow Tea is happy to pass on this wonderful gluten-free cookie recipe from our files. After all, most of our teas are Gluten Free too!

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Meringue Cookies With Pecans

Ingredients:

¼ cup hot water
2  Bigelow® Pumpkin Spice Tea Bags
Egg whites from 2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
½ cup superfine sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Parchment paper

Yield: 24 cookies

Instructions:

In a measuring cup, steep tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes. Thoroughly squeeze tea bags into cup before discarding. Allow tea to cool.

Preheat oven to 275º and place rack on middle setting. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites on medium-high speed with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Add the cream of tartar, then the sugar, a little at a time, and raise the speed of the mixer to high.

Add 1 teaspoon of the prepared tea and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). The mixture should be very voluminous and look like fluffy whipped cream. Don’t overbeat…the mixture should look glossy, not dry.

Using a 2 oz. ice cream scoop (or 2 spoons), place rounded mounds of meringue (about 2 tablespoons per cookie) onto prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake for 45 minutes, until firm to the touch. Turn off oven and allow the cookies to slowly cool as the oven cools (at least another hour). They will be crisp on the outside, with a slightly soft center. When they are finished, they will release from the parchment very easily.

Cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container on the countertop.

Note: Superfine sugar is sometimes sold as “castor” or “caster” sugar and is available in the baking section in most supermarkets. You can make your own superfine sugar by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for approximately 30 seconds.

Note: High humidity can sometimes affect the results of this recipe. Dry days are best to make meringues.

Variations:

Mint Medley Meringues: Substitute Mint Medley Herb Tea for the Pumpkin Spice, and substitute crushed peppermint candies (or candy canes) for the pecans.

Ginger Spice Meringues: Substitute Ginger Snappish Herb Tea for the Pumpkin Spice, and finely chopped crystallized ginger for the pecans.

*The recipes designated gluten free do not include the following ingredients: wheat, rye, barley, or oats; or ingredients that might contain these, but Bigelow Tea does not assume liability for information reported on our recipes.

However, anyone who needs or wants to follow a gluten free (GF) diet should check ingredients and products to ensure they are GF. (For example, sesame seeds are naturally GF, but it’s always wise to check with the manufacturer to make sure that gluten was not introduced to the product during processing.)

Bigelow Tea can make no guarantees that the recipes are appropriate for your diet. Individuals should consult with their physician or other medical professional.

Photo by Sleepyneko via Flickr.com

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Bigelow Tea Lights Up The Holidays With Sparkling “Constant Comment®” Tea Holiday Punch

As family recipes pass down from generation to generation, they often get a little tweak or two while still maintaining that traditional element or “secret ingredient” which makes the recipe so special.  This is exactly what Bigelow Tea has created with this lighter version of our classic “Constant Comment®” Holiday Sparkler.

While remaining true to Grandmother Ruth’s original (and delightful!) recipeEunice and Cindi Bigelow (mother and daughter) gave this delicious punch recipe a lighter, healthier twist with fewer carbohydrates and 36% less calories! You may have to make more as the party progresses—this festive punch is guaranteed to be popular!

And don’t forget some festive greenery like pine cones, and ornaments around the punch bowl, as an extra touch. From our family, at Bigelow Tea, to yours — Happy Holidays!

“Constant Comment®”  Holiday Sparkler 

Ingredients:

4 cups water
Bigelow Constant Comment® Tea Bags
2 quarts Sparkling Water**
1  12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1  12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1  8-oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
Orange slices, for garnish

Yield: 25 4-oz. servings

Instructions:

In a saucepan, bring water to boil, add tea bags, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Allow tea to cool; then chill.

Just before serving time, combine tea, sparkling water or Champagne, juice concentrates, and pineapple in a large punch bowl.

Garnish with Orange Slices.

** Celebrating a special event? Spark it up by substituting 1-½ to 2 bottles of Champagne for the Sparkling Water


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A Rhyme About Sisters and Tea Tickles Our Fancy at Bigelow Tea!

Most of the tea-drinking celebrities that Bigelow Tea features on our blog are singers, actors, writers or other famous people who enjoy a good cup of tea. Today however, our “celebrity” is, well, typically pictured as a large bird wearing a bonnet … and she may not have really existed. If you haven’t guessed already, we’re talking about none other than Mother Goose!

We’ve all grown up enjoying Mother Goose nursery rhymes. One in particular, titled Coffee And Tea, is near and dear to our hearts at Bigelow Tea, and for good reason!

COFFEE AND TEA

Molly, my sister and I fell out,
And what do you think it was all about?
She loved coffee and I loved tea,
And that was the reason we couldn’t agree.

This short rhyme makes us smile as we imagine the sisters bickering over their morning beverage choices. And while we (of course) have to take the author’s side in this debate, we feel for sister Molly who is shunned for her love of coffee … if only the author had offered her one of our many caffeinated black tea varieties, perhaps their sisterly bond would have endured!

Even though this poem is featured in many Mother Goose anthologies, the Mother Goose Society notes that Mother Goose herself did not pen the poems: “The fact is that ‘Mother Goose’ rhymes are from many sources, passed down in folklore fashion (some even written by famous authors) and perpetuated by publishers, frequently without author attribution.”

Regardless of who penned the tea rhyme, we think it’s darling! Enjoy your tea today, and don’t worry too much about those coffee drinkers out there, they clearly don’t know what they’re missing!

Image 1 via ah_coo.tripod.com
Image 2 by tiny muffins, via Flickr.com

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Bigelow Tea Loves Those Insightful Tea Quotes and Sayings

We’re sure you’ve noticed how many memorable quotes there are about tea…poetic, profound and just plain witty, the slew of tea-related sayings speaks volumes about the significance of tea in many different cultures. For thousands of years people have been drinking tea and waxing eloquently about it, and why not?  Tea is revered as the world’s most popular beverage!

So we’ve collected a few more of our favorite tea quotes … and we suggest you enjoy them while sipping your favorite cup of Bigelow Tea!

Remember the tea kettle – it is always up to its neck in water, yet it still sings!
-        Author Unknown

There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.
-        Bernard-Paul Heroux

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
-        Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.
-        Japanese proverb

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
-        C.S. Lewis

There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.
-        Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.
-        T’ien Yiheng

Photo by Tom T, via Flickr.com

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Bigelow Tea Wins CT Green Coast Award

I am so excited to share with you that we have been fortunate enough to win the Connecticut Green Coast Award for the fourth year in a row.  Clearly our ability to win this award is based on the unwavering commitment of each and every one of our employees.  It is because of them we have done things such as saved 1.9 million kWh of electricity since 2005, saving 100,000 gallons of water annually and are currently reducing our solid waste by 5 tons per month all just from our Connecticut facility.  I am delighted to say that similar work is being done by our employees in Boise and Louisville.

I have a great team, and winning this award reinforces all of their great work and commitment to the environment. Great job Fairfield, the award is well deserved.

Cindi Bigelow

 

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Researchers Find Green Tea May Help Trim Your Tummy


Attention exercisers: consider following up your workout with a delicious cup of green tea! A Tufts University study of moderate exercisers found that green tea drinkers lost notably more belly fat than a control group that drank another caffeinated beverage. InStyle magazine even picked up on the story – further suggesting that readers cool down with some green tea popsicles!

The Tufts findings don’t surprise us at Bigelow Tea where we keep a close eye on a growing body of research linking green tea to a host of health benefits. This latest study supports other research that suggests the catechins in green tea may have anti-obesity effects in animals and humans. “Catechins are widely distributed in plant foods,” says Jeffrey Blumberg, senior scientist in the Antioxidant Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. “However, the richest dietary source by far is tea – white, green, oolong and black” (though green tea has the highest concentrations).

The daily dose of catechins in the Tufts study was 625 mg. An average cup of green tea has between 150 –250 mg. It’s important to note that the researchers followed active subjects – which means that you still have to put some time in at the gym or taking walks to keep that trimmer tummy! But we can’t think of a better reward after a workout than a delicious cup or two of green tea! Bigelow Green Tea with Mint and Bigelow Green Tea with Lemon would be perfect après-exercise beverages to keep you feeling invigorated. Or for a special treat (if you’re not in the mood for green tea popsicles!) try a delicious Green Tea Smoothie. Yum!

Image by D Sharon Pruitt, via Flickr.com

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Calling All Bigelow Teabag Envelope Collectors!

Let’s face it … we’re a nation of avid collectors. Stamps, coins, dolls, and all sorts of memorabilia –the list is endless!  The wily sleuths at Bigelow Tea have even discovered that there are many tea aficionados who love to collect teabag envelopesAre you one of them? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

Apparently this is not just an American phenomenon.  In Europe, there are some seriously keen teabag envelope collectors. And while one might imagine that England tops the list, we have learned that there are some passionate enthusiasts in the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium!

With such a wide selection of flavorful, aromatic teas, Bigelow Tea certainly provides the ardent collector with a fabulous array of teabag envelopes that can be organized by type and flavor.  If you wanted to start up a green teabag envelope collection for example, think of how many Bigelow® green tea varieties we have!

If collecting sounds like a grand idea to you, you might be wondering: “what exactly do I do with these colorful teabag envelopes as I collect them?”  Well, aside from the traditional place-them-in-scrapbook method, here are a few creative ideas:

  • greeting cards
  • posters
  • party decorations, like piñatas
  • seasonal decorations, like garlands and Christmas tree ornaments
  • miniature kaleidoscopic origami (teabag folding)

Once you’ve opened your Bigelow teabag envelope—open it gently to keep the foil envelope perfectly intact for your collection!—and have breathed in the beautiful aroma of our tea, you’ll probably be tempted to put off the collecting for a moment as you rush to turn on the kettle and brew a truly delightful cup of tea! Yes, sipping is every bit as good as the collecting! Enjoy!

 

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Bigelow Tea Loves Hearing Nat King Cole Play “Tea for Two”

The inimitable Nat King Cole certainly had a way with love songs, and this jazzy instrumental version of “Tea for Two is a light and lovely one that always makes us smile! Both the song and Nat’s interpretation of it are steeped in history and have become American classics – just like Bigelow Tea!

Composed by Vincent Youmans, with lyrics by Irving Caesar for the 1925 stage musical No, No Nanette, “Tea for Two” became an instant hit with catchy lyrics like Picture you upon my knee, just tea for two and two for tea, Just me for you and you for me, alone!” Numerous artists have lent their voices to the tune over the years, including Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. In 1950, the musical film version of the show, renamed Tea for Two, had Doris Day singing the title song.

The “Tea for Two” composition has also stood the test of time as a cherished jazz standard. Although best-known for his silky-smooth baritone, Nat’s skills as a jazz pianist were outstanding, and are on full display in his rendition of “Tea for Two.” This recording was made in 1957 on Nat’s groundbreaking variety show, which was also the first Television show hosted by an African-American performer.

One of the most famous singers and entertainers in the world in his day, Nat’s diverse and storied career ended with his untimely death in 1965 from lung cancer.  But we can still enjoy this trip down a musical memory lane with this American icon of sound….best enjoyed with a delicious cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea!

Photo 1 by ky_olsen via Flickr.com
Photo 2 via classictvinfo.com

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Bigelow Tea Attends Sports Illustrated 2011 Sportsman of the Year Awards

 

David Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Chris Evert join Cindi Bigelow at Sports Illustrated 2011 Sportsman of the Year Awards

"Big Papi" (David Ortiz) with Cindi Bigelow

I was so excited to be able to attend the Sports Illustrated Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year event in NYC Tuesday night.  I met incredible athletes including Chris Evert, Sugar Ray Leonard, David RobinsonWayne Gretzky, and David Ortiz (Big Papi).

I was honored to be in the presence of this year’s honorees, Pat Summit and Mike Krzyzewski.  Their acceptance speeches captivated the entire audience as they reflected on their life journeys and spoke about commitment and dedication to the principals of teamship and excellence. Most important was that they honored the players they met and worked with throughout their careers.

I’d like to extend my heartiest congratulations to Coach Summit and Coach Krzyzewski!

Cindi Bigelow

 

 

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Getting Ready for the Holidays … Bigelow Tea Rustles Up Some Scrumptious Cookies!

The holiday elves are baking up a storm at Bigelow Tea— with festive cookies that will delight children and adults, alike.  With so many to choose from, we wanted to share one of our seasonal favorites, Lemon Lift® Glazed Butter Cookies along with a special icing recipe containing  Bigelow Eggnogg’n Tea … a fantastic addition to any of your baked goodies!

Enjoy your holiday treats this year!

Lemon Lift® Glazed Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

⅔ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Bigelow Lemon Lift® Tea Bag

Yield: Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Instructions:

Beat together sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Stir in flour and salt, blending until dough is formed. Divide dough in half; shape into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼” thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, re-rolling scraps for additional cookies.

Place cookie shapes on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 12-15 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with Lemon Lift Glaze.

Lemon Lift® Glaze:

Pour 2 tablespoons boiling water over 1 Bigelow Lemon Lift teabag in a small bowl. Let steep 5 minutes. Remove teabag, squeezing out liquid. Gradually stir in 1 to 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar until mixture is a glaze consistency, adding a few drops yellow food coloring, if desired.

Icing (The Crowning Glory to your Holiday Cookies!)

Ingredients:

1 cup water
Bigelow Eggnogg’n Tea Bags
2 cups 10x confectioners sugar (powder sugar)

Instructions:

Boil water. Place 4 teabags in water and steep for 3-4 minutes. Remove teabags and let liquid cool for ½ hour. Place sugar in mixing bowl. Add 2 tbsp. tea liquid and stir until completely mixed. Should be the consistency of honey. If not, gradually add more liquid in small amounts to reach desired consistency.

Can be used as an icing for holiday cookies, scones, muffins, or ice cream


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