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Tea Party Food for the Lolita Who's Watching her Waist Measurement 
4th-Dec-2012 09:13 pm
(And Who's Too Lazy to Get Off Her Frilly Butt and Learn to Cook)

Follow the jump for what I do at work when I'm bored...


Disclaimer: I'm hesitant to post this, because I don't want to stir up the fatty-chan flame war or the lifestyle Lolita debate, and because my culinary skills (using the term as loosely as I hope my petticoats will soon be) leave a lot to be desired. So if this is post is inappropriate or unwanted, please let me know and I'll take it down. Final disclaimer: All images are stolen, so if I've stolen from you and you happen to be the Yakuza, please let me know, as I'm rather attached to my little finger and would like to remain that way.

However, I know that I'm not the only Lolita who is trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, but also enjoys the so-called Lolita lifestyle. I'm a huge anglophile, and it seems to be getting worse as Christmas approaches. I've taken to watching enormous amounts of Blackadder and surfing the web for novelty teapots. Just a few of my favorites:


I've also been drinking a lot of tea, and trying to resist eating a lot of the things that go with it. But even leaving aside high tea, which was a hearty working class English dinner (to my limited understanding) and looking instead at the apparently daintier low tea or afternoon tea, which is most associated with Lolita, the food tends to be fairly high in calories: scones with clotted cream, cakes, pastries, bread and butter. And this is for a snack.

TLDR: I decided to put together a low-calorie tea party menu. I hope you enjoy.


Mini fillo (phyllo) shells are a godsend for tea parties. Athens' are 35 calories per two shells, and Safeway's are only 10 calories each. If you add a half a tablespoon of Smucker's sugar-free jam (10 calories per tablespoon), you have an adorable mini jam tart for only 15 calories. Or you can add lemon curd for a lemon tart or experiment with Laughing Cow Cheese, fresh fruit, Jell-O's sugar-free chocolate pudding or something a little more indulgent since the serving will be tiny. 


Fresh fruit is an obvious addition to a healthy tea party, but it still deserves a few words, because tea parties are all about presentation. My favorite way to present fresh fruit is in the form of strawberry roses.

This isn't the best tutorial, but it comes as part of a Beauty and the Beast cake so I have to include a link anyway: 

Another way to serve strawberries (can you tell they're my favorite?) is as strawberries and cream. Simply add a little fat-free cream to a bowl of strawberries and pretend you're at Wimbledon. (Or watch the tennis scene from Strangers on a Train, which is much better if you ask me.)

Ice cream

I've read amazing things about Arctic Zero ice cream which is only 37 calories per half cup, but I haven't gotten down to the nearest Whole Foods to pick up a carton yet, so I can't honestly endorse it. If it is edible though, it might be nice served with fruit or in the traditional English way: ice cream and jelly (or ice cream and gelitan). Vivian Hoffpauir of Candy Violet has a nice Lychee and Elderflower jelly and ice cream recipe: 

If you use sugar-free Jell-O (10 calories per serving) and Arctic Zero or your favorite frozen yogurt, you can make the dessert a little healthier. 

Tea sandwiches

The quintessential tea food is also one of the healthiest. The bread is thinly sliced, the butter is thinly spread and the servings are small. If you want to make it even healthier, use reduced calorie bread (I like Sara Lee's, which is 45 calories per slice), make the sandwich open faced, use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray and skip the egg salad in favor of cucumber, radishes, watercress, Laughing Cow spreadable cheese or even chutney. Shiba's chutney is a little expensive, but it's less than 10 calories per serving and comes in a variety of flavors like cranberry, which would be nice for a holiday tea party. Especially if you used a Christmas cookie cutter to shape the sandwiches.


Soup and tea may sound like an odd combination at first but they really pair very well. After all, we crave them both when we have a cold. And we're already making sandwiches. What pairs better than soup and sandwiches? My favorite soups for tea are watercress, cucumber (you can use the leftovers from your sandwiches) and tea soup. I found this amazing little story about an accidental occurrence of tea soup from The Old Foodie:

But there are more legitimate recipes for tea soup, such as ochazuke. It's more of a rice dish than a soup, but the only three ingredients are dashi (Japanese broth), green tea and rice although you can add rice crackers or pickles on top. I anglicized the recipe a little by using Better than Bouillon organic vegetable soup base (5 calories) instead of dashi and black tea instead of green tea. Rice is very healthy, but a low-calorie substitute is Miracle Rice (0 calories), the rice manifestation of shirataki noodles. 


Another nontraditional tea party addition, but this menu is already pretty blasphemous. Adding edible flowers, like rose petals to a salad create a very pretty dish. You can use watercress or cucumbers instead of, or in addition to, the lettuce. I may seem obsessed, but it's because watercress is only 4 calories per cup and a whole cucumber is about 45 calories). Lemon juice or strawberry flavored vinegar are light alternatives to creamy salad dressings. 

Bread and butter

You can use reduced-calorie bread and add I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray with sugar-free jam or Marmite. Or you can use Melba toast instead. Melba is toast that's extremely dry and sliced in half so it's extra thin. It was named for Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian opera singer Helen Porter Mitchell (and also the inspiration of the eponymous Peach Melba.) The founder of the Ritz hotel, César Ritz reportedly named the dish after her when she was sick and it was all she could eat. It's about 60 calories for three slices, although the slices are smaller than regular toast. They're comparable to large crackers. 


I can't write a tea party menu without talking about tea, but I don't want to stir up the milk-in-first debate either, and the best thing about tea is that you can make it any way you like. I'll just say this: I prefer loose-leaf to tea bags, I skip the milk and sweeten it with Stevia, I serve it in a Jade-ite teacup and I am currently in love with The Tao of Tea's Rose Petal Black.

I tried to make these treats as low-calorie as possible so that you can enjoy the original Fourth Meal and still have a nutritious dinner later. Or you can just munch on some celery, go for a jog and then indulge in that clotted cream. But if you've read this far, I can only hope I haven't been a total bore.

Pinkies up. 


5th-Dec-2012 05:21 am (UTC)
This is lovely, and I'm saving it to my memories. Thanks for taking the time to write it!!
5th-Dec-2012 05:23 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love your avatar, by the way.
5th-Dec-2012 05:36 am (UTC)
That Mr. T tea pot is awesome!
5th-Dec-2012 06:17 am (UTC)
I'm taking the Tardis to your place and ordering up!

6th-Dec-2012 02:56 am (UTC)
I'll be mother.
5th-Dec-2012 06:34 am (UTC)
Don't see anything that could remotely be misconstrued as insulting or flaming in this lovely post; I really enjoyed it! If someone ends up getting sensitive and tries to start a fatty-chan debacle, they'd be missing out on the nifty ideas in here. Losing weight is a personal choice, and as long as one is not infringing upon others it should be fine.

I'll be using some of the ideas here for a tea party my friends and I are planning next week. We're trying to motivate ourselves into surviving finals.
9th-Dec-2012 01:56 am (UTC)
I totally agree. Weight loss and healthy living tips can be enjoyed by anyone. Plus, anyone can be trying to diet or eat better, whether or not they're trying to fit into a super tight coordinate with no shirring.

Personally, I enjoy this since it gives me some extra snack tips which'll come in super handy when I'm trying to lose my Christmas weight in the new year. I especially like the calories info since I'm an obsessive calorie counter. XD
5th-Dec-2012 07:02 am (UTC)
Stevia is pure magic.

Also, I need to make blackberry jam tarts now to have with my Earl Grey... that sounds heavenly. :D
5th-Dec-2012 08:08 am (UTC)
thanks for sharing!
my favourite icecream:
blend a small piece of fresh ginger and some fresh mint leaves in a bit of water (or vodka)
add a few drops of stevia, frozen raspberries and a cup of yoghurt and blend again
It's also perfectly possible to bake healthier cake: replice sugar with stevia, use baking powder instead of eggs, no butter, partly replace flour with carrots or beet roots, add fruit and/or nuts
if you want to make crispy things, make use of brick paste (brickdeeg in Dutch). Fill the paste with f.e. slices of pear, roasted almond slices and a pîece of 99% chocolate. Bake in the oven.
In general: avoid processed food.
5th-Dec-2012 08:14 am (UTC)
oh, and agar agar (combined with stevia) is ideal to create cheese pie or custard
5th-Dec-2012 09:02 am (UTC)
This is a lovely post, and very well thought out; I would totally come to yours for afternoon tea. ;D Thank you for posting this!
5th-Dec-2012 09:37 am (UTC)
High tea is more of a lunch thing and not a dinner. No one would have it as a dinner.
Clotted cream and scone one isn't always part of high tea as it can be swapped for sandwiches.
Though you can have scones with clotted cream&jam with tea without the others but that is called Cornish/Devon cream tea dependant on the clotted cream, they are very particular at that end of the country.
Thought I would correct you on it.
5th-Dec-2012 12:58 pm (UTC)
Maybe it a regional thing but in my area we still have Sunday Tea on the evening after Sunday lunch. It is usually things like salmon or ham sandwiches, sausage rolls, slices of quiche or pie, chesses, cakes and biscuits. We also do this for Xmas Tea but the food is fancier. We also tend to use the term tea for a lighter meal at night. Dinner is your big meal whether it is eaten in the afternoon or evening, so you either have Lunch and Dinner or Dinner and Tea.

The op actually got the terms the right way around high tea was the working class evening meal. Low Tea or Afternoon Tea was taken by the upper class between lunch and dinner was a social event and is what incorrectly gets called High Tea now.
5th-Dec-2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
ha ha I call all my evening meals 'tea', a cold midday meal 'lunch and if I'm having a a hot/mail meal at lunch time then that's 'dinner', so it's lunch and tea or dinner and tea. Definitely a regional thing, people in the south just call it lunch and dinner whether it's hot or cold
5th-Dec-2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
High tea is actually just tea (or dinner if you're Southern - evening meal either way) it's a bit of an archaic term but means tea (evening meal) at the high (dinner) table.

Afternoon tea is something completely different (although often mistakenly called high tea in America) and always includes scones and cream and jam, as well as sandwiches and small cakes. You're right, cream tea is just the scones, cream, jam and tea part.

A bit of clumsy copypasting on the OP's part but she's not wrong.
5th-Dec-2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
As a very working class English girl, I have NEVER heard anyone here call their evening meal 'high tea' - it's just 'tea'. I think 'high tea' as a term for an evening meal must be a few years out of date...
5th-Dec-2012 11:24 am (UTC)
Great post, very helpful. I love the elegant way the cucumber is cut and presented, I love cucumber sandwiches and is will improve them no end. And. Have to have the marmite tea pot in my life! They had one in BHS last christmass, but it was chipped, so I am now on the lookout for them again. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
5th-Dec-2012 11:25 am (UTC)
I'm taking another look with my sleepy eyes, is it courgette instead of cucumber?
5th-Dec-2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
As I mentioned in the post, all images were fully pilfered. Because it's Tortuga somewhere. But here are links to the original sources for the pictures of the sandwiches. Apparently they're zuchinis.

Edited at 2012-12-05 03:15 pm (UTC)
5th-Dec-2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
thank you so much for this!

if you don't mind can I put this post on the EGL website?

5th-Dec-2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's a very nice thought. I don't mind at all.
5th-Dec-2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
I'm seriously falling for all the jadeite in this post. DAT CUP.
5th-Dec-2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
I like a lot of the pictures used in this post.

I really feel like I need to say, though, artificial sweeteners don't help you loose weight, and they're not good for you. Studies have been done that show that they may actually make you gain weight, and that some of them cause brain tumors and other horrible things. I would just go with the sugar and use a little less of it. (Stevia is nice too, though.)
5th-Dec-2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
Stevia is arguably more natural than most other "artificial sweeteners"; it sort of gained a bad rep due the US FDA deeming it unsafe due to lack of conclusive information on potential toxicity.

The link between artificial sweeteners are tenuous at best. They have mostly been seen only in animal experiments in which the animal has been exclusively fed on the sweetener. Animals and humans work in very different ways, and I certainly hope someone won't try to live off stevia! Too much (or one) of anything is bad for anyone.

Sorry if I come off as preachy or anything. I've been working on a project with a friend about media reporting scientific papers (read: major fail) and the "Artificial sweeteners causes cancer." line was one of the things discussed. I wish news outlets would post links to published papers on the subjects they report or at least quote the abstracts of the papers.

Pretty much my thoughts summed here in a humorous way:
5th-Dec-2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
I eat sugar over Stevia, I just trust it more than artificial sweeteners is all I'm trying to say about that. :)

And while the cancer link has only been evidenced in lab animals, I really don't see why it would be different in humans. There are many studies in which it doesn't make sense to compare humans to animals (such as the one in which they force fed rabbits meat until they died of heart attacks) but why would humans be better at processing artificial chemicals than lab rats?

And I could have sworn there was a study that showed that aspartame caused weight gain in humans, but I can't find it on Google scholar right now.
6th-Dec-2012 12:27 am (UTC)
I prefer sugar over stevia because I'm not fond of its aftertaste. Also, I see no reason to go for the full-fat, full-sugar food items with caution. :) I eat butter, sugar, bacon....but not all at once, in proper portions, and not everyday. XD I had a weird reputation in highschool of being one of those "skinny people who have ridiculous metabolisms" because I was the only person never on a "celery and hot Cheetos diet", cheese only diet (?!?), lemonade-and-cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, or whatever random terrible crash diets people attempt. In reality, I ate all the bad stuff in small portions, indulged in my love of fruit (peaches, strawberries, pears...I can eat pears everyday and never get tired of them!), and was addicted to DDR.

The reasoning with humans being potentially better at processing some chemicals than rats is simply because we're larger. A better line of reasoning here was that the rats were not only fed exclusively on a specific substance, they were fed the substance in high concentrations. For example, the same amount of arsenic that could kill a rat might only sicken a human (age, health, BMI varies) and make a blue whale yawn.

I know exactly which study you're talking about; I managed to dig it up on PubMed (it's sort of a hobby of mine to read random scientific papers). It's a very interesting read. The conclusion was that people consciously choose the "lower-fat, lower-calorie" artificial options for food, but because these "sweeteners" could not satisfy them, they unconsciously kept on eating or they got "hooked" into seeking for "sweet" which artificial sweeteners could not satisfy. Another possible conclusion (from a more psychological standpoint) was that people would "reward" themselves more often for choosing the "low-fat" option. Of course, eating a whole box of "low-fat" cookies is probably worse than just eating one cookie made with real butter, sugar, and white flour.

Sorry if I seem to be ranting/rambling. The subject of food additives is really interesting and there's so much to say on it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to review some bio stuff before my finals!
6th-Dec-2012 01:38 am (UTC)
Wait, people actually thought hot cheetos would help them lose weight? Oh dear.

That's true. I also think that it isn't just as simple as calories in, calories out. Our bodies have more trouble digesting some things than others, you know?

You're fine, nutrition is really interesting to me, too. :)
6th-Dec-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, the hot cheetos diet was crazy popular in my highschool for some odd reason; hot cheetos were the most popular item at the school "snack shack" and they always sold out within the first 10-15 minutes of lunch hour. I remember the reasoning was they supposedly were negative calories; the spiciness was supposed to burn off calories. I remember one girl who always ate 3 bags of hot cheetos (like the medium sized bags) plus whatever other lunch she had. She claimed the hot cheetos would negate her lunch's calories and make her lose weight. Needless to say, she reached an unhealthy weight within a year, which she then tried to lose by starving. Makes me wonder why no one ever seemed to read the nutrition facts on the back.

Very true; some people just hold stable at certain weight ranges. But overall, I think balanced eating plus physical activity is the best way to maintain a healthy body. No need to be a waif or a bodybuilder! Just a happy healthy person.
6th-Dec-2012 03:19 am (UTC)
That is insane. >_>; I have never heard of such a thing. I know my boyfriend likes those a lot, but he quit eating them for a long time until they took out the trans fat. (I don't know if it was the hot cheetos brand that took out the trans fat, but it was something similar if not those.) I don't know of anyone who thinks they'll cause weight loss, though! Like, I've heard "spicy foods cause weight loss," but you know, not if they're super artificial and full of empty calories?

Personally, I'm really into the idea that organic / local / fresher / what have you food is much better for you. I believe that you can live off of just basically meat if you want to and be healthy, just as long as it's not full of chemicals. (The Masai tribe in Africa do it!) Balance is probably more important if your diet is mostly plant-sourced, but yeah.
9th-Dec-2012 02:15 am (UTC)
*random insertion*

You'd pretty much need to kill the animal yourself so you can eat the meat super fresh and raw in addition to drinking plenty of fresh blood if you want to survive off it. Otherwise, natural deterioration and cooking will destroy some of the nutrition needed for a "healthy" diet. Plus, while humans can *survive* off a limited diet (ie vegan), we're biologically built as omnivores, so we're not biologically suitable to survive as a pure carnivore or herbivore, although it's possible with a carefully regulated diet and supplements. Populations (including the Maasai) relying on a carnivorous diet rarely do so by choice. They do so out of necessity due to the availability and accessibility of food sources. Interesting exception: I did know a guy who got scurvy in his freshman year of university by eating nothing but the worst of fast food and beer for over a year.
10th-Dec-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
I completely agree with everything you said. I want to note that while the Masai are doing this partly out of necessity because of the landscape they live in, they're also extremely healthy doing it.
10th-Dec-2012 04:36 am (UTC)
Actually, that's not entirely true. They have low occurrence of the diseases and ailments that are common in first world countries, however, they experience very high infant morality and comparatively short lifespans. I think you're mistaking lack of certain ailments as overall healthiness when the truth is that they simply have different set of them.

Not saying that 1st world or western society is "healthy". We're really, really not. The healthiest you can probably make yourself would be by following what you mentioned earlier, eating more natural, organic, unprocessed foods. The Maasai have fresh, raw milk to thank for many of the positive aspects of their health, but they also lack many nutritional resources. If you carefully select from the wealth of food available to you (pick fresh, natural, nutritionally balanced foods) and couple it with a highly physical lifestyle (which also contributes hugely to a healthy life, and physical activity is a huge and unavoidable part of the Maasai lifestyle), you'll be much healthier than either the Maasai or general western society. It would also require many sacrifices though. You would need to remove processed foods (which is almost everything on a standard grocery store shelf), grains (since this is not at all a natural part of our biological diet), most cooked foods and eat only fresh, raw foods that's either freshly killed or fresh from the ground. Living on a farm is really one of the few options that would allow you to keep such a diet. You would also need to keep your portions very small compared with what most people eat in a "standard" meal. Portion control's probably the easier part of it. Obtaining and upkeeping the supply of super fresh food is the difficult part, both in the availability of such foods as well as the cost, especially if you live in the city.
10th-Dec-2012 05:13 am (UTC)
That is also something to look at, you're right. I kind of feel like those types of things are more due to not having healthcare professionals around, though. Sorry I haven't been writing as long and witty responses as you have, I've mostly been responding when I'm tired, haha.
14th-Dec-2012 08:38 am (UTC)
I think you three should get together and write a blog(or at least a long article) on food and misconceptions, so I know what I should be eating. lol The amount of information and contradictions even within the same article on what is healthy is overwhelming. I've given up on even attempting to be healthy and just eat what I want/ or crave. I figure it's safer than following fads, and articles, since those are proven to be inaccurate right and left, and lurking in the corners.
14th-Dec-2012 12:13 pm (UTC)
Apparently food misconceptions are even worse than I thought! Anyways, yes, there are some problems with the scientific world, and a lot more with the media, lol. Eating what you crave is definitely the best idea, particularly if you try to surround yourself with fresher and more natural foods.
5th-Dec-2012 05:19 pm (UTC)
I hear that with the Arctic Zero ice cream, the only flavor worth getting is the peanut butter chocolate, and the others have a weird texture that's not delicious at all.
Thanks for the post, very useful. But like jessiekaterose said, artificial sweeteners aren't as good as just going light on the sugar. Many people get their stomachs upset from them. (I just think they taste awful, but I think that's a different thing.)
5th-Dec-2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
Lovely post!

5th-Dec-2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
:000 these are all great ideas! saving in case I need it some day :3
6th-Dec-2012 12:30 am (UTC)
WHERE is that tardis teapot from. Omg
6th-Dec-2012 02:09 am (UTC)
I think the cheapest place I've seen it is Amazon.
6th-Dec-2012 01:22 am (UTC)
This post was awesome! I'm definitely saving it.
6th-Dec-2012 02:10 am (UTC)
Our local Waitrose in Bath tells you the calories in everything, and their fruit tarts seem (relatively) not too bad.

In this country there seems to be a fad for elabourate cup-cakes. I think it would be a challenge to make those low-calorie! ;)

I have to add...we went to a tea-room in France. They served beautiful leaf tea. At home, I'm afraid we use supermarket tea bags! But leaf tea is making a big comeback. and Bath has plenty of tea-rooms.

Jessica (waving)
6th-Dec-2012 02:56 am (UTC)
Hi Jessica!

I've tried low-calorie cupcakes and I've never found one worth it. But there's a coffee shop in Astoria that has the best red velvet cupcakes in the world. They are absolutely always worth it. It's probably a good thing I don't live there anymore...

7th-Dec-2012 04:23 am (UTC)
Cupcakes can be made lower calorie, but it really only works with specific types of cakes. Carrot cake is a good example, it's easy to make lower everything by using applesauce or crushed pineapple instead of butter. A dark chocolate cake also can be cut pretty easily, as it's easy to hide whole-grain flour in the chocolate, and a dense, flavorful cake doesn't need as much sugar. I would never try making a low calorie yellow or red velvet, though, because it just wouldn't work as well.

The real problem is frosting! Low-fat and low-sugar frostings are usually awful. The only way to really cut frosting is to just use less, or use a chocolate glaze instead.

Source: health nut and experimental baker

Edited at 2012-12-07 04:23 am (UTC)
14th-Dec-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think this post is totally appropriate, you're only handing out tips to lead a healthier lifestyle ;) I've adopted the healthy options myself :) If I can just comment, the healthy option to rice is brown/whole rice. I don't know about miracle rice, but brown rice contains all that your body needs from cereal!
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