Are You A Tea Snob?

I attended a conference over the weekend and had the extreme fortune of trying my first ever Mighty Leaf Tea. As you all know, I am a tea-loyalist, with my faves being Tazo Awake, Harney and Sons Paris tea and English Breakfast. But I have to admit, Mighty Leaf Tea really threw me for a loop – the chamomile citrus was fantastic – so fantastic that I actually swiped an extra one to take home with me! Like Harney and Sons tea sachets, Mighty Leaf uses whole leaves in their cute little sachets, which makes the tea rich with flavor and very classy. Mighty Leaf also carries organic brands of tea which I think is very cool.

I’m actually headed out to Whole Foods today to see if I can find the English Breakfast sachets. Wish me luck!

By the way, do you consider yourself a tea snob or tea loyalist? What’s your favorite tea?


Call Me Popeye

Hello all! Hope you all enjoyed your long weekend. My weekend has been extra looooong – I was on vacation today and I’m taking another day off tomorrow! Because today was the better of the two days (83 and sunny as opposed to tomorrow 75 and rainy), I spent a great deal of time outdoors. My day started with 5-mile run – of course – followed by cleaning up the house then heading out the door.

I ran several errands – all before 12 PM – including trips to Costco and the grocery store. I really do NOT like running “errands” on vacation, but sometimes you just have to suck it up.

Inspired by Fruit Not Fat, I came home from the store with loads of fresh fruit. Seriously, I think people were looking at me because of all of the fruit in my basket:

  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

The blackberries looked fantastic. I wasted no time washing off a handful and making them disappear. Not the most glamorous way to eat, but hey, it was at least 6 g of fiber plus a ton of antioxidants.

For lunch, I made a huge spinach salad – I easily had 4 cups of spinach, as well as 1 hard boiled egg, 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, and a few cucumbers. When I totaled all of the fiber it came out to 17 g! As you can tell from the blackberries and spinach, I’m still on “fiber watch 2010” so I’ve been trying to incorporate as much fiber as I can at each meal. Although I can usually knock off around 10-15 g of fiber at breakfast (love you Kashi!), lunch and dinner are a little harder to fill with fiber. After reading The Full Plate Diet, I learned that spinach is fairly high in fiber for a vegetable – 4g per cup. And anyone who has made spinach knows that 1 cup of the greens does not go very far. More than likely, you’ll eat 2-4 cups at a serving – especially if it’s in a salad. Now I’m addicted to spinach salads!! I think I’ve eaten 5 in the last week – no joke – but I try to make a “different” salad each time. Spinach salads are very versatile – you can either add the normal veggies, or you can spice it up with raspberries, walnuts, various cheeses, etc. I also change up the dressing – sometimes it’s balsamic vinegar with olive oil, other times it red wine vinegar, olive oil, and dijon mustard – all home made of course!

The rest of the day was spent in the garden and the yard. I would love to go on a rant about how much I detest those spinner things that fall from the trees (which now have made a thousand little trees all over my vegetable garden), but I won’t.

OK, must get to bed. I’m off to yoga at 9 AM followed by a ton of “spring cleaning” – fun, fun, fun – can you believe I’m on vacation?

Pears Are Always In Season

I’ve been on a fruit kick lately. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to eat more fiber-rich foods. Or maybe it’s because I’m wishing summer to get here! Whatever the reason, the other day I went to the grocery store and came back with:

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Red seedless grapes
  • Pears

I wasn’t even planning on getting all of this fruit but it looked soooo good at the store. One thing I noticed was that there were several more varieties of pears than normal. I didn’t even think it was “pear season”, but I guess with so many varieties, pears are always in season. Anyway, I usually stick to the green Bartlett pears – that’s what I grew up with, so that’s what I know. However, this time, I decided to try something different. I picked out one Taylor’s Gold pear, pictured above, and 2 Bartlett pears. I am not very familiar with Taylor’s Gold but learned that it is a New Zealand pear with golden-brown skin. According to Epicurious, the Taylor’s Gold pear is good for making jams, jellies, and sauces. But, because it’s very sweet and juicy, it’s great for eating as well – I know, because I had it this morning and it was awesome!

If you want to learn more about pear varieties that are grown in the US, what they could be used for, and even what wine/cheese go best with each variety, check out USA Pears.

How Many Calories Are in Your Favorite Cheese?

I love cheese. If I were on a deserted island and could choose to have a few foods at my disposal, cheese would definitely be one of them. My love for cheese has also passed down to my children. I distinctly remember my son’s early experience with cheese. We were at the grocery store when he was about a year old. I let him hold a block of cheese (tightly wrapped of course) just to keep him occupied. I turned my back for a minute or two only to find that he had gnawed through the plastic to eat the block of cheese. Yep, he’s my son alright.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

We all have our favorite cheese(s). My favorites happen to be aged parmesan, extra sharp white cheddar, and the lovely Greek favorite – feta (oh yeah!). There’s just something about breaking off a big chunk of fresh parmesan or cheddar and savoring each little nibble. Pair it with a good wine, some grapes or other fruit, a little French bread, and you practically have a meal. Plus, don’t even get me started on the calcium and protein that just adds to the wonderment of this versatile food – because, like bacon, cheese seems to make everything taste better.

Most of us know that all cheeses are not alike. Some are strong, others mild. Some are stinky, while others have no particular scent. Ok, so you’re smart enough to know the different types of cheese. But, did you also know that not all cheese has the same amount of calories? That’s right, some cheeses are lower in calories and fat than others. Let’s take a look at these popular cheeses and how they rank on the energy scale…

(Full-fat, per 100g or about 3.5 ounces)

  1. Ricotta – 185 calories and 14.8g fat
  2. Feta – 250 calories and 20g fat
  3. Camembert – 297 calories and 24g fat
  4. Mozzarella – 301 calories and 25g fat
  5. Swiss – 400 calories and 30g fat
  6. Stilton – 411 calories and 35.5g fat
  7. Cheddar – 412 calories and 34g fat
  8. Parmesan – 452 calories and 32.7g fat

Uh oh, seems like two of my favorites rank on the low-end of the “good for you” scale. Oh well, there’s always room for feta.

10 Things You May Not Know About Mireille Guiliano

Hello All! I am still so exhausted from yesterday! Running 7 miles then gardening for 5 hours really wiped me out!

If you haven’t already heard, I’ve posted my article featuring the interview with author Mireille Guiliano. In 2005, she released her first book, French Women Don’t Get Fat. Now, five years later, she has just released her fourth book – The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.

To learn more about the new book as well as 10 Things You May Not Know About Mireille Guiliano, check out the article on Bistro Chic! See you all tomorrow…