Three Earl Grey Teas and Cream.

Lately, I have been drinking more tea. I tend to notice an affinity to drink coffee in the colder months, and teas in the hotter months. I have also been leaning towards more teas because of their wonderful health benefits. I have challenged myself to drink a cup of green tea, and black tea per day to increase my body’s immunity, fighting free radicals, and indulging in something that can stimulate me without the aftertaste of coffee. I love the variety teas offer and have been more creative in selecting unusual flavors and twists on classics.

Earl Grey Tea #1-Art of Tea’s Earl Grey and Creme.

I was at a local shop with a friend of mine, and noticed a bag of Earl Grey Creme by “Art of Tea”. As a side note, I had previously purchased their Coconut Creme black tea and found it’s tropical, nutty aroma true to life, natural and the richness of the tea a pleasant experience.  This caught my attention because I never imagined Earl Grey, it’s light, subtly floral flavor with the refreshing bergamot quality fused with rich and creamy French Vanilla. And its organic.

Perfect for first time introduction to your tastebuds, this individually packaged tea may not be enough it's so good.. I wish I bought the entire tin!

I sniffed the package, and inhaled a wonderful, strong aroma of bergamot and an underlying French Vanilla-custardy delicate note that encouraged me to buy it.  I reflected briefly and remembered my mom making this tea- Earl Grey with a splash of mil and a Vanilla flavored creamer, and wondered why she was so hooked. One taste, and I understood completely.

The first thing I noticed was the fragrance. Uplifting to the senses and emotions, I detected a strong current of bergamot, that married perfectly with the smooth vanilla flavor. Not only was this tea smooth and full in body, but the French Vanilla had toned down the citrus, but didn’t hide it too much. This was a delectable, dessert like treat that had depth. I added 2 teaspoons of white sugar, a little milk, and a Vanilla creamer (Coffee Mate’s French Vanilla). I was also able to make 2 additional cups after my first one, and although the flavor dissipated slightly, it was still strong enough to go around 2 more times. (One who for my friend) Impressive. I literally milked this tea to death-no cheesey pun intended. I paid $2 for this 1 bag, however, it was well worth it. As far as caffeine content is concerned, this tea has a medium amount, perfect to awaken the mind, but not too much.

Art of Tea Earl Grey Creme Yumfactor– 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4.5 stars out of 5) It’s rich, fragrant, citrus and sweet, perfectly balanced by that creme, and the black tea base itself is nothing but quality. True indulgence. Here is the link to their site- http://www.artoftea.com/

Earl Grey #2Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea.

Since my first true experience with Earl Grey tea was nearly perfect, indulgent, and rich, I expected to have a similar one from here on out. I remembered my mother making Earl Grey Tea at home, and decided that all I had to do was to add French Vanilla, or regular Vanilla creamer to the tea, and I’d have a similar concoction as the prior. Boy, was I wrong. -_-

Bigelow’s tea to me is hit or miss. There are times I have had their tea and felt that the flavors weren’t strong enough. For instance, take their Vanilla Chai. Pretty packaging, however, too sweet. I have had other brands of Vanilla Chai and felt the Vanilla accented the Chai well, but still tasted the warm, earthy essences of the spiciness. The spices in chat make it chai! Now, I’m no Chai expert, however, I had the pleasure of tasting all types of chai, and even tasted Chai made from scratch by a native Indian on a regular basis in the past. I wasn’t expecting the same spice factor, but I wasn’t expecting to have a tea that was extremely sweet, either. I digress, though.

Earl Grey #2

So, upon making my Earl Grey with Vanilla creamer, milk and sugar, I noticed that the fragrance was lighter. Okay, not a big deal. I tasted it and compared to the first tea, noticed that the citrus undertones were a bit muted. The vanilla flavor was pleasant,(Coffee Mate’s Italian Sweet Cream Creamer) but the tea was overall not as strong and inviting as the other one. I realized  three things at this very moment: 1) Art of tea makes incredible teas. 2) I shouldn’t compare the two, because this tea doesn’t have the creme finish and it’s a different brand/quality. 3) According to my tastebuds, Bigelow teas are average in my opinion. Some flavors just won’t suffice for me because they are not full/strong. Then I stopped comparing, and realized that the tea itself wasn’t bad. It just won’t be one I drink on a regular basis.

Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea Yumfactor– 3 tongues. (3 out of 5 stars) It’s not disgusting, but I was left searching for another brand. Specifically one with a stronger flavor of bergamot.

Earl Grey #3- Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea.

I was at Target (which I love!!) and saw a tea sale, and went crazy and bought 3 different teas: Mango Coconut Oolong, Double Spice Chai, and Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea. I figured the Double Bergamot would suffice because Bigelow made me feel lie it didn’t have enough bergamot. Maybe the bergamot flavor in the Bigelow brand was a bit shy, and didn’t want to be noticed. I understand, bergamot, don’t worry *pats it on its shy back*.

First and foremost, Stash teas are often lovely, full of flavor and priced at reasonable prices with a variety that is hard to ignore. I have often found myself pleased with the variety of teas, and the flavors they offer. Now, on to the tea.

Good stuff, Stash, good stuff.

I brewed a cup, and took note of the strong presence of the bergamot. Ah ha! I figured going off of the scent alone I would have a great replacement for the other brand (I was not able to make it to the store and get another box/bag/tin because of a few reasons so I needed a replacement). I added the milk and Italian Sweet Cream creamer and was pleasantly surprised with the similarity in body, richness and fragrance this tea had compared to the first one. I bought it for about $2.15 (for a box of 20 bags, which was *much*cheaper than the A.O.T, which was  $12/6oz tin of loose leaf. There was also the individual bags, but, you get the picture.) When I added the Vanilla, it danced gracefully with the citrus overtones, and completed it effortlessly.

Stash’ Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea Yumfactor– 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars) It’s inexpensive, rich, delicate and is satisfying.

*Remember, all of these tea do contain caffeine, so be aware. If I had to rate according to faves, I’d say Art of Tea ranks in 1st place for innovative taste and over all quality, but is pricey, in my opinion. Stash follows closely behind, because of quality and value, although Art of tea’s Earl Grey has a stronger dessert like creamy presence. Then last, comes Bigelow, because, apparently, the bergamot in that tea has an inferiority complex and doesn’t like much attention.

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Must Try Food: Publix Low Fat Yogurt (Cuban Edition)

Publix has launched a few new and exiting flavors of low fat yogurt. It seems that it may be  a limited edition release, however, one cannot be sure if these exotic new flavors of yogurt are here to stay. At roughly $0.40 to $0.50 per 6oz container, you can pick and choose from a wide range of Hispanic influenced flavors like Coco Rico (Rich Coconut), Mango, Passion Fruit, Churro, Spicy Pineapple, Prickly Pear,Limonida Fresca (lemon and lime-which I have not tried) and Guava Pastry (Guava Pastelitos). I got excited, because as a child of Miami, Florida, I remember growing up eating hot, fresh, chewy churros from vendors who sold them in brown paper bags on the sides of the busy streets. I also remember going to Cuban bakeries in my town, and getting fresh, flaky pastelitos (little pastries)  in a variety of flavors. I knew I had to try this.

Pictured from (l) to (r): Passion Fruit, Spicy Pineapple and Mango

The containers have a festive and fun band of orange around the top of the container that makes one think about summertime in Miami. The fact that it was low fat didn’t stop me at all.

The First one I tried was Coco Rico, or Rich Coconut in English.  I was expecting a standard yogurt experience coconut flavoring, coconut flakes, and that tangy undertone of active bacteria (probably not, but I always think that,lol!) that’s so typical. Well, firstly, the texture itself seemed is thicker and creamier. There were no coconut flakes, but a strong,smooth coconut taste that tasted rich, and satisfying. This was not like any yogurt I’ve had before. And I loved it!

  • Coco Rico Yumfactor- 5 tongues (5 out of 5 stars). The flavor was fun, full and fierce! No coconut flakes, not that it’s a problem, but the lack there of adds to the richness of the yogurt. Sweet enough for me, and low in fat!

Next, I tried Churro. I was not sure if there were going to be pieces of churros, or just a plain old cinnamon and sugar thing going on. Again, the texture was rich and delicate, and did nothing to remind me it was low in fat. The exotic, and warm spices of cinnamon, and the sweetness of the sugar dances blissfully as I found myself satisfied with this one.

  •  Churro Yumactor- 3 tongues and a tastebud (3.5 stars out of 5).   Although it’s great, I usually tend to prefer yogurt with a light and fruity flavor. I like it, but probably would not get it again, as it’s warm and doesn’t contain any fun fruit. Better than I expected, though.
I am currently eating the mango, and I have had Publix’s mango “Fruit on the bottom” before, so I had an expectation. This mango flavor was explosive, bold and more strong than the fruit on the bottom variety. There are chunks of mangoes and the color is vibrant. I love mango!
  • Mango Yogurt Yumfactor- 5 tongues!  (5 out of 5 stars) I love anything mango, and though some of these flavors may be too sweet for a diabetic, or not sweet enough, I must say this one and the coconut are my favorite.
***UPDATE!! I have also tried “Guava Pastry” and “Passion Fruit” since my last post.
Guava Pastry seemed pretty straight forward, based on my experience with trying pastelitos in Miami. Although i didn’t expect to get much of the flaky crust from the yogurt, the guava flavoring was sure to be strong. I ended up tasting a cinnamon and guava interpretation of the pastry, and was somewhat disappointed. I don’t recall tasting much or any cinnamon for that matter in the pastelitos I frequently ate. There were small pieces of guava fruit, which tasted good, but not in combination with the cinnamon.
  • Guava Pastry Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5 stars) It was all because of the strong cinnamon flavor, which I felt overpowered the sweet guava. This was more warm, and spicy. Not my favorite.
And then there is passion fruit. I knew this would be good as it’s pretty straight forward. Not much to say here, outside of the flavors being bold, combining the tangy and sweet exotic richness of passion fruit with the velvety smooth texture of the low fat yogurt.
  • Passion Fruit Yumfactor- 4 tongues (4 out of 5 stars) Summery, fun, and a great intrepretation of the bold fruit.
  • Prickly Pear, I figured would be a tangier pear laced flavor, and it ended up being a bit more mi in flavor. Sweet, and juicy, this yogurt tasted more bland in terms of its exotic name. I give it 3 tongues (3 out of 5) it was just blah compared to the others, but was not a bad pear yogurt.
  • Spicy Pineapple, I was hesitant to try, but ended up being one of my favorites. Vaguely familiar, the pineapple flavor was sweet with bits of sweet pineapple pieces, and the spicy did not over power it.They balanced each other out to create a harmonious flavor explosion. I give it a 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 out of 5 stars)
All of these yogurts range in the 30’s as far as sugar content is concerned, just so you know.
NOTE:I will include an *update* when I eat the other flavors, just to review all of the ones I purchased.
Not only does Publix have an assortment of fun and cool yogurt flavors for less than $1, but yogurt itself packs a punch to infection, and strengths the body. Eating yogurt fills the body with probiotics (or good bacteria) like Bifidum,Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilus ” Which basically reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, fight infection in the body, fight yeasts, and food infection and reduces food allergies in people who have internal discomfort in their bowels. Click here for more info Streptococcus thermophilus which will take you to the page I obtained this info from (here, you can click on the link “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic” including a break down of all the bacteria I listed). I got it from wikipedia, but there are cited sources, along with a list of how the probiotic effect your body. Yogurt can also prevent indigestion associated with lactose intolerance.
The Talking Spoon Challenges YOU! 
Why not practice taking probiotic tablets daily, or making yogurt apart of your daily food regimen? all you need is 1 6 oz serving, and your white blood count will be increased, which helps to fight off infection, your inflammation,  decreased, you get both calcium and a serving of fruit, and get yourself closer to living a healthier life! Also, this yogurt is only $0.50 at the most saving you money.

Coconut Water, FTW!!!!! (Tropical Edition) Reviewing It’s Amazing Health Benefits + Product Review

I am indulging in mango flavored coconut water, and not only is it amazing in taste, tropical, exotic and refreshing, but its also a power house of healthy. Chock full of 5  electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, and is even said to aid in anti-aging and fights off high blood pressure and even cancer.

Coconut Water in Pink Guava, Mango Peach and Pineapple by two brands.

Perfect for a post sport drink, this drink is all natural, light and low in sugar. Many people in tropical countries drink this to quench their thirst, but now many in the U.S. are indulging in it after hearing about its benefits. I briefly stated a few of its benefits above, but lets go into more detail. (*NOTE: I am obviously not a doctor, nor am I saying that drinking coconut water will cure any serious health aliment you may currently have. If you are suffering from certain serious symptoms and have not had them checked, please call your doctor.) Coconut Water, already full of electrolytes and great light flavor also is said to:

  • Eliminate viruses, act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing inflammation in the G.I. tract, bladder, and even reduces infections from candida
  • Helps keep skin smooth (by putting directly on skin) and keeps skin hydrated when consumed.
  • Regulated blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Enables digestive health by promoting healthy colon function, and promotes bowel movements.
  • Helps treat bladder issues and conditions like cholera, intestinal worms, diarrhea, stomach flues/viruses, dry skin/ itchy skin,and malfunctioning kidneys.
  • Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Increases HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Promoted T sells, and beneficial immunity to fight infection from serious conditions, or infections.
  • Promotes energy as antioxidants carry oxygen to blood cells.

But don’t take my word for it. You can read more about the benefits of this amazing beverage at the two links I recovered the information from: http://www.drinkpura.com/articles-what-is-coconut-water.php

http://www.zerbos.com/common/news/store_news.asp?task=store_news&sid_store_news=1&storeID=5DDC50E796734E49AEDE162FFC8CABF9

Now for the review, This brand is ONE made in Indonesia. The brand offers a variety of refreshing coconut water, in mango (pictured), pink guava, original

Coconut Milk with a Splash of Mango Juice

and pineapple. I purchased it at Publix for $1.49, in the 8.5 ounce size.

Firstly, the splash of mango juice is a noticeable feature as it gives an interesting and sweet depth to the juice. Not too sweet, I noticed a light consistency(unlike some drinks that have strong syrupy undertones) and noticed that in drinking  nearly 4 ounces, I felt an increase in energy. This flavor is more compelling than the original (which is a plus to me) coconut water flavor, and was finished in short of 10 minutes (I wanted to savor the flavor)

One Coconut Water Yumfactor (Both Mango and Pineapple): 5 tongues! (5 out of 5) I give this drink a 5 out of 5 not only because its healthy and refreshing, but also because this brand offers a dynamic selection for those of us who like variety.

I also tried the pineapple flavor, and once again, I tasted a strong burst of fresh pineapple, noting the increase in energy and mood. I’d say that these flavored goodies have great flavor options, are easy to enjoy, and are not too bad to pay for.   Again, 5 out of 5 for the pineapple. Sure, Gatorade is cheaper, but if often full of sugar and is mainly food for electrolyte restoration. Think of this coconut water as a low budget, fun and exotic homemade sports, and vitality drink.

Must Try Food: Sweet Potato Fries (with a surprise tip!)

Firstly, I must blog about my new guilt free indulgence sweet potato fries.  I love sweet potatoes as I find them more versatile and tasty than regular white potatoes. Also, nutritionally, they are more valuable than white potatoes. Let’s compare briefly. First, here’s a video of the difference between the two:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTb42OGnxLQ

Yummy sweet potato fries (frozen then baked) with A sweet and spicy Asian Chili Sauce.

Nutritional Content of : White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: (Some of this may be redundant after the video, but this is more those who may want to see things written versus in audio form) obtained from  http://www.lisanelsonrd.com/blog/white-potato-vs-sweet-potato-which-is-better

White Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes: ‘Tater Wars!

  • Calories: 1 medium sized white potato has 128 calories when compared to the same size of a sweet potato which has  103 calories.
  • Fat: Both have the same amount of fat content, which is 0.2g
  • Fiber: White potatoes have 3 grams of fiber, where sweet ones have 4 grams. (which helps keep blood sugar levels neutral. Some diabetics have even reported that white potatoes make their blood sugar levels rise, where as sweet potatoes do not increase them)
  • Glycemic Index: White Potatoes are nearly 35 points higher than sweet potatoes.
  • Potassium: White potatoes have 738.3 mg while sweet ones have 541.5 mg.
  • Vitamins C and B6: White potatoes have less Vitamin C, but more of B6, and the opposite for sweet potatoes (more Vitamin C and less B6)
  • Beta-carotene: White potatoes have 8.28 mcg , where sweet ones have 13120 mcg. Holy Smokes!

So what does this mean,folks? Sweet Potatoes > White Potatoes,though they possess different flavors.

Mr. Potato Head doesn't seem too happy about this...

{Reviewing The Fries}

Moving on, I am reviewing a brand of Sweet potato fries I recently tried. I prefer to buy the frozen fries and baking them due to a healthy lifestyle I want to maintain.  The taste of too much grease and fat literally turn my tummy in many directions :/

Alexia Julienne Sweet potato fries comes in a Family Size, low sodium variety that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. After baking them according to the directions, you can be sure that you will be satisfied due to the rich taste of the sweet potato. To make things interesting, I added a touch of garlic to combine the sweet, rich flavor and a savory note that I was happy with. (If adding garlic salt, be warned that some of the moisture will be reduced, and your fries may end up a little shriveled.) Perfect with chicken, or burgers, these bright and healthy baked fries are fabulous! I even tried the chipotle variety because I wanted a more intense experience! These run about $4.

Alexia Sweet Potato Fries Yumfactor: 5 tongues!!! (5/5) These are healthy, fun and yummy! Think low-budget gourmet!

Alexia Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a tastebud.  (4.5 out of 5) While fun, and blends savory and sweet, I find that the addition of chipotle can inhibit eaters from adding a variety of flavors, and may clash with whatever else is being eaten with it. IT is yummy, and perfect for barbecued side dishes, or as a snack on it’s own.

Asian sweet Chili Sauce- a great dip.

Tip: For an exotic touch, use 2 to 5 tsps. of Asian Sweet Chili Sauce as a dip, or even garlic Mayo. This dip gives the sweet fries an exotic depth that is irresistible.


Must Try Junk Food: Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies

Another limited edition product! Subway has added a new cookie to their line of cookies,but for a short time only! Their raspberry cheesecake cookie has been my favorite new indulgence cookie wise as the buttery cookie brims with tangy raspberry and sweet….white chocolate chips? Yeah, apparently, Subway thinks they can just rename the white chocolate chips as cheesecake chips, as people just shrug it off, but I know the difference, Subway. *Mojo-Jojo evil glare*

I hate to break it to you, but the cheesecake chips= white chocolate. *gasps*

For starters, the cookie is a whopping $.50, the perfect amount of money to try it, and if it doesn’t taste good, you didn’t go broke in being adventurous.  (I find that to be a plus. Anyone else with me, here?) Biting into it, one will notice the chewy texture, and the golden buttery taste of the cookie, and then boom… tart raspberry flavor bite and smooth white chocolate, ( or cheesecake for the politically correct).  These two flavors meld wonderfully to create a fancy, and pleasant mouthful of nom.

Pros– Different= exciting, $.50, raspberry in a cookie!!!

Cons– Knowing the difference between cheesecake flavor and white chocolate flavor, and then feeling swindled as Subway tries to get you to think they are both the same.  And they are not, Subway. They are not. It’s limited time. *tear-sniff combo*

Raspberry Cheesecake Cookie Yumfactor– 4.5 out of 5.

Mio Water Enhancer:Because regular water just isn’t fun anymore.

MiO Peach Tea.

Mio has released commercials of tiny silver bottles that add flavor and color to your water. I purchased this item at Target about 2 weeks ago, and was happy that I could practice a healthy lifestyle, while making my water less boring. Yes, I went there. We all know that water is incredible for health, but let’s be real- it doesn’t always taste fun, and I’m a fun kinda girl! XD So this product was ideal! A little info about my water drinking history- I’d only drink it if I was parched, averaging at about 3 glasses/day. The sad thing was, I was totally okay with that.

 

I had previously contemplated buying a fruit infuser for water to add a natural fruit taste to my water, but was concerned that the result would be watered down madness. So, seeing that I can buy a silver bullet looking product that can really pimp your water was cool. I paid about $3. 10-ish for 24 servings/ squeezes of water. Not bad. You can squeeze 1 stream into your water bottle, which yields a water down, bitter taste, or 4 for a more intense flavor- which may result in a Kool-Aid like flavor influsion.

Berry Pom.

I bought the “Mango Peach” flavor, excited that I could use this to increase my water intake, and pose as a healthy option for beverage drinking sexiness. So how healthy is this?

Nurtition Facts are as follows:

Og of: Fat, Calories, Sodium, Protein, Sugar, Sat./Trans Fat,and Carbs Not bad at all, however, let’s look at the ingredients, shall we? Water, blah, blah,blah, citric acid, blah, Ah! Sucralose and Acesulfame? So there is a small amount of sugar in the content, which is fine, but the only problem is not knowing how much sugar is in it. I have seen some other water enhancers that do not have any sugar at all, but obviously the taste will be compromised. Again, I still think 3 squirts of these in a bottle of water is much healthier than concentrated juice, or the dreaded soda. Yikes! High Fructose Corn Syrup! :O Def. is a must try, but hey if you like your water the classic, watery style, then it’s all good.

 

Cool! It's Like A Rainbow! (Even though it's missing really important colors)

Other Uber cool flavors: Strawberry Watermelon, PEach Tea, Berry Pomegranate, Fruit Punch, and Sweet Tea. I like this stuff, and plan of buying more, because I’m too cool for regular water8). Except for Fiji. That stuff is awesome.

MiO Water Enhancer Yumfactor- 5 tongues. (5/5) Cheap, fun, and exotic, you can be encouraged to drink more water with these. But of course, you can do what I do, and alternate between the party in a cup (MiO), to the party pooper in a cup (regular water). There are color additives, so that may turn some people off.

Thanks to all the voters of my last poll!  I really appreciate your input and participation.

 

DON’T FORGET TO RATE/COMMENT/SUBSCRIBE! (OR ALL THREE, IN THAT SAME ORDER! XD)

 

 

POLL/Question Time!! What Would You like me to blog about next?

So it’s clear this food blog has featured many coffee creamer reviews, a copycat recipe and money saving tips, but is there anything you’d like to see from me in the future? (More recipes I have tried/reviews-not that I want this to become a recipe blog, less junk food reviews or more even, money saving tips, or health related content, or a little of everything?) Let me know, and if I approve, I’ll be glad to take your opinions seriously. Thanks!