You Down With FPP?

I apologize for the title of this post. Some days it’s more difficult 🙂

It’s Foodie Pen Pal reveal day! Yippee!

Seriously, if you guys are not yet participating in this fun little monthly exchange, you are really missing out. Each month a new package shows up on your door, from some fabulous fellow blogger (or reader), and it’s chock full of new foodie goodies. What’s not to love about that, right? Who doesn’t love getting presents?
This month, I was matched with Bec. Normally, Foodie Pen Pals packages are an awesome assortment of snacky food items. Which I love, obviously. But this month, my package had a few snacky items (hello, organic jellybeans and hazelnut chocolate!) but it also contained a jar of pesto, nut butter, meat seasoning, and–best of all–a citrus mojo marinade. It was a delicious change of pace. And as I type this, my crock pot is bubbling with the mojo and some chicken breasts, which I’ll serve over black beans and brown rice for dinner tonight. Can’t. Wait.
I may have forgotten to get a shot of the chocolate before I devoured it. Um, oops? It was really tasty, if that helps…

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Be a part of this, people! Head over to Lindsay’s spot, the Lean Green Bean Blog, and sign up! But do it before August 4th, since Lindsay sends out the next month’s pairings on the 5th.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll be my Foodie Pen Pal next month…you should be so lucky 🙂

The Foodiest of Pen Pals

Yep, it’s Foodie Pen Pals reveal day again! This month, my pal was the supremely thoughtful Shri. Shri is Indian and has a blog with some fantastic recipes and gorgeous photos–seriously, gorgeous. Shri sent me a box of the most amazing assortment of Indian goodies. Being a Midwestern, German, meat and potatoes kinda gal, Indian food has never been something in my foodie wheel house. But I am always up for something new, and I’ve loved Indian food when I’ve tried it.

Not only did Shri send me so many fun and new foods, she also sent me a beautiful silver steel bowl called a kadai , a wooden bracelet, and a cute little card–can you tell I’m running out of adjectives for awesome and amazing? 🙂 The whole package was wrapped in pretty pink bags and tissue–how did she know I’m pink obsessed?
The cardamom pods are so fragrant, and I loved the Parle-G glucose biscuits! They’re like a less-sweet (and healthier!) shortbread. Shri mentioned they were her favorites as a child–they would have been mine too! Beyond that, I haven’t had much time this month to play around with all of these wonderful ingredients and devote the kind of attention to them that they deserve. But Shri mentioned a few great ideas, including a sweet dish made with the vermicelli. Vermicelli in a sweet dish? I never would have thought of it! The dish is called Semiya Payasam, meaning fudge-like sweet vermicelli–love it! I’ll definitely be trying it and posting about it here! And I’m going to be emailing Shri a lot to get some more good recipes out of her! 🙂
That’s what I love about Foodie Pen Pals. Each month you get to put together a little box of goodies that essentially says, “this is me.” You choose what parts of you, your background, your passions, to share with someone else who could very well live across the country. And then someone else does the exact same thing for you. You are both exposed to new cultures, new ways of life, and, of course, new foodie goodies.

Get in on this, guys! Here’s what to do: go to Lindsay’s blog (she’s the creative genius behind this and the Lean Green Bean Blog) and fill out this form by July 5. Then, Lindsay will email you with all the deets and you’ll be well on your way to connecting with other bloggers and readers, experiencing one of the few things we all have in common–food!

How Revealing…

Hooray! It’s May Foodie Pen Pals reveal day!

This month brought a seriously healthy and delicious collection of goodies from Alison. Alison, I seem to have lost your website, so if you read this, let me know what it is and I’ll link ya up! 🙂

What a spread, right? Holy cow! So much yummy for my (shrinking) tummy 🙂

These nuts are maybe the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth (insert dirty joke here). But seriously, they’re so good! And I just discovered a bunch of other flavor and nut combos at my local grocery–yay!

I feel like a traitor to the healthy blogging community by saying this, but this was my first experience with Justin’s nut butters. Gotta say, they live up to their rep. I may have sucked the last few drops of nut butter from both packs. Sorry, I’m not sorry 🙂

I’m a big fan of bars. Especially since most of them taste like desert. These aren’t bad!


I saw honey sticks like this while on vacay in Texas and, against my better judgment, didn’t buy them. Thanks to Alison, I got to enjoy them in my green tea, drizzled on a pb sammich, and…maybe…straight from the tube? Sometimes I get too excited by Foodie Pen Pals.


So my new favorite thing! Dried fruit can be cardboardy, salty, and just plain bad. But this, with a bit of cinnamon and a great crunch (and great nutrition stats) is truly phenomenal. I must find this in a store around here!
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Foodie Pen Pals is one of the best things I’ve ever stumbled upon. You should join us!

If you’re interested in participating for June, please click here to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

It’s Getting To Be That Time Again…Again

Hi guys! I’ll be back a bit later today with an amazing/May Day related/childhood favorite recipe. So definitely come back for that!

For now, though, I wanted to share with you a post from the lovely Amanda. Amanda was my Foodie Pen Pals match this month (meaning I sent her a box full of delectable goodies). She doesn’t have a blog, but she does have a Twitter (@nutritioustweet) so you can check her out on there and check her and the goodies out below! And don’t forget: if you want to be a Foodie Pen Pal, check out Lindsay’s blog for more info!

And thanks, Amanda, for writing this post! I appreciate it!

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Hi everyone!

I’m happy to be writing about all the wonderful foodie stuff I got from Amanda!  As a fellow Amanda she must have known all the foods I loved.  This box couldn’t have been any better!  The theme was CHOCOLATE!  My favorite.
I was so excited for this box I barely remembered to take pictures of it!  I didn’t even get a picture of my favorite item of the bunch simply because they disappeared so fast.  My favorite item and the first one to be eaten was…chocolate covered gummy bears! Love, love love.

In addition I also got some fabulous chocolate covered pretzels that now grace my desk at work for the late afternoon snack.  Throw a few almondicitve bits and milk chocolate toffee popcorn and you’re in for a real chocolatey treat.
I haven’t made the brownie mix but that I plan on having some as a treat for finishing my finals at school.  The other snack I haven’t tried is the sugar chocolate coffee bean grinder.  I have never seen this before! I was reading the back and its says you can sprinkle a bit on almost anything, I plan to try a bit on toast.

I must also mention that all these goodies, minus the gummy bears, were from Trader Joes!  Guess what grocery store I will be going to more often?

Thank you Amanda!!

It’s Getting To Be That Time Again…

Y’all know what time it is??

No. Not Tool Time, thanks.

It’s Foodie Pen Pals reveal day! Hooray!

This month’s box was such a treat and from one of my new favorite people, Esther. Esther is a reader and unfortunately doesn’t maintain her blog anymore. But maybe if you all gave her a little encouragement… 🙂

Her box was seriously so thoughtful. The only caveat I gave her in prepping my box was that I’m on a serious health kick, but I still wanted some delicious goodies. Oh boy, did she deliver!

I love that Esther included some homemade goodies–pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Her recipe was based on one of our mutual fave blogs, A Foodie Stays Fit (she even sent me a copy of the recipe!). I would be lying if I said I didn’t eat 1 (or 2) of these little morsels immediately upon opening the box 🙂 So good!!

I’ve tried other versions of this oatmeal (which, ironically enough, is made here in Minnesota!), and I’ve heard of this dark chocolate flavor. It is so good! Definitely picking some of this up next time I’m at the grocery!

This Kashi bar is the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and the bar itself is huge! I like to nosh on a Kashi bar for my mid-afternoon snack, before I workout. This bar was perfect!

I am in LOVE with these dry roasted edamame!! Words can’t express. A teensy bit of saltiness, but super crunchy and just salty enough that it satisfies the craving that usually leads to massive bloat. Plus they’re loaded with protein!

I have never tried dates before, but I’ve always wanted to. They’re used in a lot of the sweet vegan recipes I see, so I’ve been meaning to check them out. They’re pretty good! Now I can feel a bit more confident incorporating them into some sweet (literally) recipes as another lower-fat, healthy option.

I’ve seen the Vega protein powders and mixes on a bunch of blogs, and have been meaning to try it when the Whole Foods budget will allow. Leave it to Esther to provide! I wasn’t completely sold on this shake–it had a bit of a metallic, chalky aftertaste. But I could see mixing in some yogurt, or adding the powder to a preexisting smoothie recipe, to make it more palatable.

Esther also included some chocolate covered espresso beans, and I have to say, I’m not the biggest fan of them in general. I almost feel bad mentioning it, since Esther specifically mentioned how much she liked them in her note. And it’s weird since I love both chocolate and coffee, probably more than I should. But they went to good use–I passed them off to my friend Emily and her husband 🙂

Esther, thank you again for such a fun and healthy pen pals box! I can’t wait to try your lightened up macaroni and cheese recipe!
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You know you want a Foodie Pen Pal, too. To get matched with your new foodie bff, click here to fill out the participation form and read all about it.

You must submit your information by May 4, as pairings will be emailed on May 5! Foodie Pen Pals is a great way to meet other bloggers and readers, and score some goodies you wouldn’t normally try. As always, thanks to Lindsay for organizing!

Wanna Be My Pal?

Remember in elementary school when your class would get to be pen pals with another class in some far away land…like Canada or Kansas? That’s what we did in Minnesota, anyway. And that’s kinda what Foodie Pen Pals is like. Except instead of exchanging letters about scrunchies, cute boy Eric, and your best friends Jenny and Lisa, you get to exchange boxes of deliciousness.

This was my first month doing Foodie Pen Pals and I couldn’t have been more excited! I mean, what fat kid doesn’t love free food, right? My package this month came from Stephanie over at Steph’s Bite by Bite (whose blog is equal parts adorable and inspiring). My only request to her was give me healthy yumminess. And boy. Did she ever! Here’s the spread:

It’s like the woman was reading my mind. All things I’ve been dying to try, but couldn’t bring myself to spare the extra cash. Let’s start at the Trader Joe’s Trek Mix and work our way around clockwise, shall we?

I love nuts. I love TJ’s. I love the combination of salty and sweet. TJ’s Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix is all of these things and more. Peanuts, peanut brittle, cashews, and almonds. It is so good. So naturally I had to get it out of the house before I devoured the entire bag. It’s currently residing in my desk drawer at work, where I allow myself a palm full a day as my afternoon snack.

The blueberry muffin Larabar was sooo not what I expected. I was envisioning, like, your typical Nutri-Grain type bar. This was not that. Chewy, a bit off-putting in color, but pretty dang delish.

And then there was the Clif Bar. Coconut chocolate chip. Since I’ve been doing this weight loss thang, I’ve been missing m’sweets. Like Girl Scout cookies. I kid y’all not, this Clif Bar was a not-as-cloyingly sweet version of the Samoa. It was so good, in fact, that I may have stocked up on a few more at the grocery this week. And they were on sale–score!!

Before Steph introduced me to coconut water, I had never tried it. It seemed too trendy (if US Weekly is running photos of the Gossip Girls slugging the stuff, I want no part). However, I do love chocolate. And I quite enjoy coconut. So in the interest of this post, I tried the dark chocolate coconut water. And I really like it! It basically tastes like chocolate milk or those canned protein shakes (in the best possible way). It’s meant to provide, like, ultra-hydration with no calories, so I happily chugged it after spin class on Sunday. I may get a part-time job or procure a financially sound suitor simply to pay for my new obsession.

This is TJ’s Flower Pepper, which is (according to the label) straight from South Africa!! Anyone close to me can tell you how crazy obsessed I am with SoAf, as we in the know call it, after having spent some time there in college. I haven’t had an opportunity to try the pepper yet (life’s been a bit cra cra), but according to the smarties online, this stuff can be used in just about anything–poultry, seafood, soups, fruit salad, green salads, potatoes, and I’m betting it would be amazing in a homemade vegetable stock. I’m gonna give it a test drive this weekend for sure.

The dark chocolate bar from TJ’s was way too bitter and rich for me. Thankfully, my friend Emily has a much more worldly and sophisticated pallet, so I passed it along to her. I’m sure she’s enjoying it right now 🙂

Thanks again to Steph for this awesome package!
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You know you want a Foodie Pen Pal, too. To get matched with your new foodie bff, click here to fill out the participation form and read all about it.

You must submit your information by April 4, as pairings will be emailed on April 5!