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November Foodie Pen Pal

30 Nov

I know, I’ve basically fallen off the face of the earth.  But it’s Foodie Pen Pal reveal day, and I felt the need to come back and share what I got in my box this month.  If you want a reminder of what this whole thing is about, check out Lindsay’s site: The Lean Green Bean. (You’ll note that for December she’s doing a special Foodie Pen Pal for charity – check it out and donate to help Hurricane Sandy victims!)

This month, my pen pal was in Maryland.  Since my husband and I briefly contemplated moving to Maryland several years back, I was intrigued to get a package full of local Maryland treats.  This time I was clever and told my pen pal that I’d prefer not to have a package filled with junk food and goodies, but that didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate a treat or two.  Kim definitely delivered!  Here is what I got in my fantastic package:

Maryland’s finest fare

Kim sent me some amazing local flavors from Maryland.  She included a harvest pear vinaigrette, Old Bay seasoning, a jar of pumpkin butter, crab seasoned popcorn, fried green beans, jambalaya seasoning, dried fruit chips, and caramel popcorn.  The perfect balance of naughty and nice!  I’m excited to have a taste of Maryland in my kitchen.

So far I’ve tried the caramel popcorn, the vinaigrette, and the fruit chips – they are all delicious.  The fruit chips include some more interesting fruits than your typical, such as honeydew, pineapple, and starfuit.  Who knew dried honeydew was so delicious??  Thanks again, Kim!


October Foodie Pen Pal

31 Oct

It’s Foodie Pen Pal reveal day!!  If  you’re just tuning in, every month now I participate in this program where I am assigned to a random stranger, and a random stranger is assigned to me.  We send packages of local goodies to our assigned pen pals, keeping the cost under $15.  It’s fun, and I have been exposed to some delicious treats (both sweet and savory) that I might not have discovered otherwise.

For October, appropriately (I suppose), my pen pal package was filled with desserts.  This package made me realize perhaps I shouldn’t be so laissez-faire when a new pen pal contacts me each month to ask if I have any dislikes or allergies.  I always say that I have no dislikes or preferences, since I generally like everything and want to see what people will send me.  This month, however, I think I went into sugar overload!  Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate that Katie over at Simply Desserts put together a great package of goodies from Philadelphia, PA.  But it’s made me realize I can’t handle as many candies as I used to.  These are the treats that Katie thoughtfully sent for me:

Sweets Galore from Katie

The package included a variety of Tastykakes, Asher’s cherry cordial chocolates, and almond toffee.  The almond toffee was to die for, and I ate that way too fast.  Everything else was also tasty but a bit too sweet for me.  Apparently there is a limit to my sweet tooth!  So thank you, Katie, for introducing me to the sweets of Philadelphia (Na na na na na, na na na na na….) but from now on I think I will ask my pen pals to include no more than one sugary treat in a package.

Conversely, the woman I sent a package to this month (who once again does not have a blog, so I won’t get to see a post about what I sent someone yet again!) is on Weight Watchers, so I had fun putting together a package of healthy snacks for her.  I found what I think were some delicious items, and I really hope she likes them.

Onward and upward!  Now I’m looking forward to November’s exchange.

Looking forward to next month’s exchange.

September Foodie Pen Pals

1 Oct

I am so excited to share the items that I received in my September foodie pen pal box!  As a reminder, this is a program set up by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean.  You can read all about it here.  This month my pen pal was Janet from Rochester, NY.  She sent me an amazing selection.  When the box arrived, it was beautifully wrapped.  I almost didn’t want to open it.  Almost.

Pretty Package

Janet has amazing taste, and I was so thrilled to see the items she chose for me.

Gourmet Rochester delivered to my door

What you see there is a rice and grain mix from Wegman’s, some Cajun pasta, milk chocolate with bits of dried peach and hibiscus flower (SOOOOO good), raw honey, and a gift set of locally produced olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Plus a sweet card that Janet enclosed, explaining her selections.  What a fantastic care package!  I’ve already polished off the chocolate, but am trying to take my time with the other items and exercise a little more restraint.  Thanks again, Janet!

If you want to participate in Foodie Pen Pals, you should!  You don’t have to be a blogger.  Lindsay pairs you up with someone somewhere else in the country to send a package to, and someone else sends a package to you.  The idea is to put together a package of local flavors to represent your area, and to keep the cost under $15. So much fun!

August Foodie Pen Pal Package

31 Aug
goodies from NYC!


Here is a picture of the contents of my first foodie pen pal package.  Each month Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean matches us all up with different people (the person you are sending to is not the same person who is sending to you).  To quote Lindsay, “the boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!”

Maria from New York was my pen pal this month, and you can check out here blog here.  Maria sent some really creative and thoughtful things.  She included a jar of her home made arrabiata sauce, a jar of Brooklyn-made salsa that has coconut and other tropical flavors in it (haven’t tried it yet, but I am really looking forward to it), crispy chocolate chip cookies from Tate’s, and a little black book, which now lives in my diaper bag.  She also threw in a couple of beverage enhancer samples from her clients (Maria is in advertising).  I’m not a big beverage enhancer person but it was fun to have them and try them out.

All in all, I am a big fan of this pen pal thing.  (I’m not a big fan of the word “foodie,” and am reluctantly using it again and again and again because that is the name of the program – but it is a small price to pay.)  Molly, the person I was matched with in August, doesn’t have a blog, so I’m afraid she won’t be posting about what I sent her.  Since she lives in South Dakota, I thought she’d appreciate some items that I think of as very Californian.  I threw in a batch of home made coconut granola, California dates, my favorite iced tea from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, some chipotle chile powder, and my guacamole recipe written on a post-it.

I am already looking forward to September’s package….

Foodie Pen Pals

25 Aug

I know things have been quiet around these parts.  I could make a bunch of excuses, but instead I’ll just say that I really do intend to start posting more.  In fact, one thing I can promise is that there is a new feature that is going to FORCE me to post at least once a month!! Way to set the bar high, I know.

If you haven’t heard about it, Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean hosts this great program on her blog for Foodie Pen Pals.  Each month you are assigned to a person who lives somewhere else in the country, and you send them a care package of dry goods that are local to your area, whether they are things you made or bought.  For example, you could make some cookies, buy a jar of your favorite locally produced jam, and send some locally grown coffee beans, or something like that.  It’s a fun program and I participated for the first time this month.  Since my blog has a hefty focus on local produce, I thought this would fit nicely!

On August 31st I will reveal what I got in my first package.  It was so exciting to get a package in the mail full of carefully selected goodies from a total stranger!

In the mean time, I also have some great new recipes to share so watch this space.