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Thanks To Generous Friends And Neighbors, Bigelow Tea Community Challenge Helps Makes Lives Better!

Back on a crisp fall September day, Bigelow Tea ran—and we mean ran!—its 24th annual charity race, the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge! Even though we hoped for a great turnout, we couldn’t help but be overwhelmed and incredibly excited by the sheer number of people participating in the race … and the generosity of time and support from all those involved!

Nearly 1,000 runners and walkers came out to participate in the event, which raised $110,000 for local charities near ourFairfield, CT headquarters. From the runners to the walkers to the children in the “scamper,” each participant made a difference in the lives of others that day!

Hundreds of children participated in the Kids’ Scamper

One hundred percent of the $110k raised was awarded to sixteen organizations that do everything from stocking food pantries to providing educational and sports programs for children in need. Company president Cindi Bigelow was thrilled with the results and the impact that it will have on the community:  “I can tell you I take a personal interest by visiting these charities regularly to observe, first hand, the positive impact these dollars make.  Some of the charities use the money to provide educational programs, some for sports.  Others use the funds for critical services like safe haven housing and youth and family crisis management.  Each year I am overwhelmed by the enormous need here in our community and by the fine services these charities provide.”

One recipient of the Community Challenge’s efforts is particularly important at this time of year. The Connecticut Food Bank, which has distributed more than 200 million pounds of food to hungry Connecticut residents since 1982, will use some of the $8000 from the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge to provide 24,000 meals for families in the area. It’s this kind of giving that makes us smile. We couldn’t be prouder of our community and its generous spirit! We look forward to next year’s event too, and again, thanks to all who participated!

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Gardening at The Kennedy Center, Another Fruitful Day Giving Back!

Yesterday I spent the day with my team helping the Kennedy Center maintain one of their sixteen residential homes.  The Kennedy Center is a wonderful Connecticut based organization that supports individuals with special needs.  It allows those in the program to have a permanent residence which gives them a chance to create a life for themselves with a real sense of independence.

This is the second year in a row that our team was part of the “adopt a home” program.  Basically that means that we are assigned a home to which we, “do whatever the house needs.”  This year it was all outside upkeep.  Well we were a lot dirtier, our backs quite sore and we had a few scraps on our bodies, but we all came back to the office around 3:30 with huge smiles.

The sense of accomplishment was apparent in each and every one of my teammates.  It was truly enjoyable to have a day of simply using your hands to make a difference for the residents of this fine program.  The project ended up working out just super.  The yard looked quite spiffy if I must say so myself!  Great job team and what a joy to be able to work with each of you in that capacity.

Very fun and for a great cause.

Cindi Bigelow

 

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Bigelow Tea’s Sensible Solutions For Thanksgiving Disasters!

Sustainability takes on new meaning when it comes to saving a potentially catastrophic Thanksgiving meal! That’s why Bigelow Tea wants to share some quick turkey fixes that will serve you well in case of a holiday culinary crisis this year!

  1. Frozen turkey:  So, you miscalculated and it’s still frozen…no worries. Fill the sink with cold water and dunk your turkey, breast side down (be sure the turkey is in leak-proof packaging). Change the cold water every 30 minutes and continue, until completely thawed (approximately 30 minutes per pound).
  2.  Undercooked turkey:  The guests are hungry, and your turkey is undercooked. Wipe away your tears with the nearest oven glove and then carve, cover and set aside what is cooked(i.e. the breast); continue cooking the dark meat. Serve the breast meat, followed by the dark meat once fully cooked.  It’s the turkey that keeps on giving.
  3. Burnt turkey:  Don’t panic (it ain’t over ’til it’s over!).  Remove the burnt skin, baste the turkey all over with some butter, garlic, parsley and a shallots (don’t overdo it with the shallots — they can be overpowering) and then cook at a reduced temperature, checking occasionally with your meat thermometer. 
  4. Dry meat:  Usually if you’ve basted the bird often, this won’t be a problem, but, if it is — simply drizzle the turkey with some chicken stock (if the turkey is brined, drizzle with pan gravy).

And as a bonus, here’s a fabulous Acorn Squash recipe featuring Bigelow Tea, a great addition to your sustainable Thanksgiving table!

Mashed Acorn Squash with Apple Cider Herb

Mashed

Ingredients:

Non-stick cooking spray
1 cup hot water
Bigelow® Apple Cider Herb Tea Bags
4 lbs. acorn squash (about 4 medium or 2 large), cut in half and seeds removed
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Yield: Serves 6

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400º and place oven rack on middle setting.
  • Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and arrange the acorn squash cut-side down on the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until flesh is soft. Allow to cool for approximately 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, combine hot water and tea bags and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Thoroughly squeeze tea bags and discard. Set aside.
  • Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the acorn squash and place in large bowl. Mash with a fork.
  • Add ½ cup of the tea, brown sugar, butter and salt, and stir to combine, making sure the liquid is absorbed. Add more tea (1 tablespoon at a time) if the puree is too stiff.
  • Check seasonings, and add more salt if necessary. Serve hot 

Image (top) via thegreengirls.com and wholefoodsmarket.com

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The Bigelow Tea Recipe Contest Grand Prize Winner Is…

Bigelow Tea is thrilled to announce the delicious results of our Recipe Contest! Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Diane Halferty, who garnered the most votes for her delectable White Chocolate Mint Mousse Tea Cups! Diane will receive a year’s supply of her favorite Bigelow Teas (one case of 6 boxes per month) and a personalized engraved wooden tea chest filled with teas ! Great job Diane!

Diane’s recipe was among the 15 chosen by Bigelow Tea as a contest finalist based on originality as well as creative use of brewed Bigelow Tea. Then it was up to you – the public! – and our three highly discerning guest judges to vote for the ultimate Bigelow Tea-inspired recipe. Thank you to everyone who voted on Facebook and our contest landing page – and to all those who submitted such wonderful recipes. Bigelow Tea fans are truly creative … no surprise to us! Stay tuned to our blog for more information about Diane and how she developed her winning recipe.  We all want the secret to her chocolate molds, right?

For more ways to enhance your cooking with tea, check out our Bigelow Tea recipe file. And try whipping up Diane’s yummy dessert this holiday season!

White Chocolate Mint Mousse Tea Cups

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate baking chips
2 cups whipping cream, divided
6 Bigelow Tea Plantation Mint or Mint Medley tea bags
3 large egg yolks
Scant ½ cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 drops red food color
2 tablespoons crushed candy canes (about 6 miniature candy canes)

Yield: 24 mini cups 

Instructions:

Line 24 mini muffin cups with petit four paper cups. In 1-quart saucepan, melt bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the chocolate into each paper cup. With back of small measuring spoon, spread chocolate up sides to within 1/8 inch of the top. Chocolate should be warm enough to spread. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until completely set.

Carefully remove paper cups from chocolate cups.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. Heat ¾ cup of the whipping cream and the tea bags in a saucepan just until it begins to boil. Carefully remove tea bags and squeeze excess moisture from them into the pan.

Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until pale yellow. Add the hot cream-tea mixture to the eggs, a little at a time, to temper, whisking constantly. Pour the custard into the melted chocolate while still over the double boiler and whisk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat; cool mixture.

Beat 1-1/4 cups of the cream to whipped cream consistency. Whip half the cream into the tea mixture and then fold in the remaining cream.

Spoon or pipe whipped cream mixture into chocolate cups. Refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, sprinkle with candy.

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Bigelow Tea Looks Forward To Commemorating The Historic Tea Party

Something tea-related is brewing in the city of Boston, and Bigelow Tea wants to share it with you. In June of 2012, the new and exciting Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum will open to the public!

For the past decade, in the wake of a fire, Boston has had no tourist spot to mark the events of the Boston Tea Party. Now, however, a new museum is being built to commemorate the historic time that those bold patriots carried out their ingenious plan to protest taxation without representation. In fact, the new museum will allow visitors to relive it – the museum’s creators are making movie-studio quality exhibits, featuring a virtual Samuel Adams and King George III. They’re said to be so “state-of-the-art” that visitors won’t know if they’re seeing real people or illusions.

In addition to a museum, the site will feature replicas of three merchant vessels boarded by patriots back in 1773: the Beaver, the Eleanor and the Dartmouth. According to Boston.com, “Other plans include the installation of new docks and boat ramps, floating art displays, and barges to host musical and other performances. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has likened the effort to creating a Boston Common on the water.”

As ardent tea lovers, here at Bigelow Tea we know that the history of our United States is awash in the history of tea. We can’t wait to see this new museum devoted to the Boston Tea Party, one of the events that helped spark the American Revolution, and we’re impressed with the plans for the finished museum and ships.  But in the meantime, we can just wait while we sip our English Teatime!

Image via Bostonteapartyship.com

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Bigelow Tea Looks At Research Suggesting Caffeine May Reduce Skin Cancer Risk

Scientists report encouraging new research linking caffeine consumption with an apparent reduction of risk for some skin cancers. This report comes from researchers at Rutgers University and the University of Washington … and what great news it is for Bigelow Tea lovers who prefer their English Breakfast or Earl Grey with caffeine!

Previous studies have indicated that those who drink caffeinated beverages are less likely to contract non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. In this latest study, published in the August 15 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists, the Rutgers/University of Washington research team discovered that caffeine may guard against certain skin cancers by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin – essentially signaling cells damaged by UV exposure to stop dividing. This process helps prevent the damaged cells from becoming cancerous. In fact, researchers now want to investigate whether adding caffeine to sunscreen would improve its efficacy … so caffeine-laced sunscreens could be in our future, though more study is needed. Fascinating!

When weighing caffeine levels, remember that black teas generally have more caffeine than green teas. And tea typically has less caffeine than coffee (the amount depends upon preparation habits).

Tea lovers can add these newest reports to all the other well-documented health benefits of tea, like the research that suggests that the antioxidants in tea may help prevent basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common forms of skin cancer. Of course, drinking tea won’t allow you to bake in the sun unprotected, but isn’t it nice to know this soothing and delicious drink is so good for you? So go ahead … rev up your skin’s defenses with your favorite caffeinated Bigelow Tea!

Image by tudor-rose, via Flickr.com

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It’s National Family Stories Month Put The Kettle On And Brew Some Bigelow Tea

If you haven’t had a chance to sit down with your family in a while, November provides a great opportunity to get back into the practice! Put on the kettle to brew a pot of Bigelow Tea, and spend some time together during National Family Stories Month!

Fall’s cooler weather and earlier twilight makes for more indoor time, and it’s a wonderful season to pull out old photo albums and to share some of the family’s history with the next generation(s).  It’s also a great time to update—or start!—a scrapbook. Keeping a record of today’s events will make it easier to share those stories with future generations to come. If you’re truly ambitious, you might even consider putting some of your family’s stories into writing … either online in a blog, a family website or on paper!

However you choose to commemorate your family’s stories this month, it’s always best to ensure that there is some steaming Bigelow Tea nearby! Our suggestions? If you’re gathering at night or working on a scrapbook in the wee hours, some Chamomile Mint will do the trick. And if you’re having a daytime event or need a little tea-inspired boost, English Teatime is a great selection!

We hope you’ll enjoy your tea and take the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with your family!

Image by dewittn via Flickr.com

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Women Speaking, Women Leading

What a fun day I had the other week. Network for Executive Women invited me to speak on a panel in front of 450 members about leadership while offering words of advice for developing future leaders.

It was an honor to spend two hours on the stage with Laura Sen, CEO of BJ’s, Paula Price, VP and CFO Ahold, Ken Romanzi, COO of Ocean Spray.  Kim Zilliox was the panel moderator and I have to say was brilliant at it!  The audience was completely engaged and asked some superb questions when Kim finished her line of questions.

The event was held in Newton, Mass. and the drive up and back was crystal clear.  The energy in the room was upbeat and the panel had fun playing off each other.  It was a great day that I know I will remember for a long time.  I hope the audience picked up some interesting and valuable concepts that they can apply to their business lives that will indeed make a difference.  From the people I talked to afterwards, I think we might have just done that…that is good!

Cindi Bigelow

 

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At Bigelow Tea Getting To Know You Is Definitely Our Cup Of Tea

Here at Bigelow Tea we’ve begun to realize that songs about tea are quite often songs about love! Whether it’s a Gershwin song or the much-loved (and sung) “Tea for Two,” music, tea and love seem to go together beautifully!

One quaint example is the song “Getting to Know You” from The King and I, a 1956 musical starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brunner. The song, written by the legendary duo of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein, includes lyrics about tea. Ms. Kerr sings:

Getting to know you, putting it my way,
But nicely,
You are precisely,
My cup of tea(!)

The song is a classic, and the expression “my cup of tea” is one of great affection. In fact, the history of the phrase shows that being compared to a cup of tea is quite positive indeed! The Phrase Finder says that “In keeping with the high regard for tea, most of the early references to ‘a cup of tea’ as a description of an acquaintance are positive ones, i.e. ‘nice’, ‘good’, ‘strong’ etc.”

Singing about tea and love, and comparing something—or someone—to a “cup of tea” can only make us smile. Here at Bigelow Tea our customers are, as Deborah Kerr would say “precisely” our cups of tea! So enjoy your tea today … and remember the affection and goodwill that a simple cup of tea brings to so many people!

Image via reneeashleybaker.wordpress.com, featuring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in, The King and I

 

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Bigelow Tea Salutes American Heroes During Military Family Appreciation Month And Veteran’s Day

November is that special month when we at Bigelow Tea, and people all across the country, honor the brave men and women who serve and have served in our armed forces. We truly appreciate the sacrifices made by our military families (which is why we created Tea for the Troops), and Military Family Appreciation Month is an opportunity to give thanks to them all for helping to protect our cherished freedoms.

The men and women who fight for our liberty are heroes, and their families are making sacrifices too. Tearful farewells, joyous reunions, daily worries and the pain of grief: these are what our military families endure in service to our country.  Their sacrifices, made each day, are no less heroic than those of their husbands, wives, sons and daughters on active duty. Bigelow Tea appreciates these brave military families.

Today on November 11, we also celebrate Veteran’s Day—to honor the American men and women who have served in the military. The day began on November 11, 1918, when an armistice agreementwas signed signaling the temporary ending of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germanyduring World War I. Legislation was passed in 1938 to officially recognize November 11 as Armistice Day. After World War II and the Korean War, the word “Armistice” was replaced with “Veterans,”to honor American veterans of all wars.

The red poppy, which bloomed across some of the bloodiest battlefields during World War I, became a symbol of remembrance of the blood that was shed by the brave soldiers who died for our freedoms.  At Bigelow Tea, we take this moment to lift our hands to our hearts and bow our heads in silent remembrance and gratitude.

Image (top) via Blissfullydomestic.com,
Image (middle) via Newresource.com,
Image (bottom) via Ambergrisdaily.com.

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