Foodie Pen Pal Fun – May

The joy of my life with joining Foodie Pen Pals is that so far, with every pen pal package, there has been at least one item that has been a game changer for me. Whether I knew I would love my treat at first sight like last month or whether it was a whole new, never-before-seen item that I PRAY is sold in Texas stores like this month, I think this is what the pen pal program is all about. I would have never known Justin’s peanut butter cups existed without Laura sending them to me in April. Nor would I have known the deliciousness of breakfast biscuits without Debra changing my world this month. Sit tight, and I’ll tell you all about it!

This month I was paired with two runners. I sent my package to Sara over at Run Around Sara. I was a little nervous because she said she is kind of a picky eater, but she also said she likes spicy, sweet, and salty, so pop over and see how I fared. 🙂 I aimed to send her a bit of Texas, touch on some foods she told me she liked, and maybe introduce her to a few new items that I know I love, even as a result of the pen pal program – hello, Biscoff! I received my package from Debra in New Mexico who blogs at Miles to Run. She is serious business about running, y’all. Go see what she is about. She sent me a fantastic package! Check out all these great items and this sweet card which now lives on my refrigerator door.


I was happy to see all the Skinny Cow and Fiber One treats. Recently, I’d had a conversation with my mom and grandmother about Skinny Cow being a good brand for healthier treats, but I’d never actually tried anything other than the ice cream. Well, now I have! The caramel clusters didn’t ring my bell too loudly, and there were only 5 in the package. However, that peanut butter heavenly crisp bar? HELLO! It smelled and tasted just like a Nutty Bar! De-freaking-licious! I was so happy to eat that sucker! I will be getting some more of those, for darn sure. The Fiber One brownie was a nice chocolate treat for the afternoon at work, but closer to the caramel clusters than the peanut butter crispy bar.

           

           

I’m rationing the chocolate truffles she sent me. There are four in the box from Cocopotamus, which is apparently a well known chocolate shop in New Mexico. At the time of writing, I’ve eaten the salt and pepper truffle which sounds STRANGE, I know. But it was actually quite good. Again, it is something I would have never ordered on my own, but because someone sent it to me, I’ll try it, and I’m glad I did. I have the following flavors waiting for me: red chile/cinnamon, dark chocolate fudge, and peppermint dark chocolate. Because there is no writing on the package, it’s just roulette when picking. What a food adventure!


Speaking of adventures in food, can you all identify all these different beans? How fun to get a homemade bean mix?? Debra is going to email me her favorite recipe for making them. I’m really looking forward to that.

Okay, y’all. Here is the game changer. Get ready. Belvita Breakfast Biscuits.
Yep. I’ll wait if you want to go out and find some right now. They are that good. I wasn’t sure what to think of them at all, and Debra had never had them, either; she got us both a box. I hope she loves them as much as I do. Heavens to Betsy. I took them to work the first day I had them and ended up sharing with some co-workers, much to their delight. When you open the little foil package, the most delightful oatmeal blueberry aroma wafts out, and you think, “How does it smell that amazing?” It smells freshly made! There are four thin, crispy wafers of blueberry and oatmeal tastiness just waiting for you. It’s a bit chewy where the blueberries are. You can see actual oats. There are hints of cinnamon. It’s a good thing you can’t see me drooling on my keyboard right now. My co-workers loved them just as much as I did. We were all amazed at how good they smelled and how homey they tasted. Thank you, Debra, for making our morning! I will have to ration these also, but they are a welcome addition to my breakfast rotation. Now to find out if and where they sell them in my area!
                       

If you are not already participating in Foodie Pen Pals, you should be. It’s seriously sweeping the nation and practically sweeping the globe. I don’t make this up. Visit Lindsay’s blog to find out the details. You should sign up by June 4th to get your match on June 5th. There is a spending limit of $15, and you put your package in the mail by the 15th of the month with the treats and a handwritten note/recipe. Then you wait on your own fantastic package to come in the mail. When it does, you rejoice, photo-document, and eat. 🙂 Then we all post about them at the end of the month. It’s a delightful way to make new friends across the country and learn about so many new places, foods, and people. Find us on Twitter with the hashtag #foodiepenpals. Come, join us, won’t you?

The Lean Green Bean

Foodie Pen Pal Fun – April

The Lean Green Bean

I have a new love. It has replaced what I thought was irreplaceable. This shift in food alliances has happened courtesy of April’s Foodie Pen Pal exchange. This month I was assigned to send a package to Courtney in North Carolina, a high school senior headed to East Carolina Honors College to study Nutrition Science in the fall. She’s quite delightful, and we discovered we had a lot in common including our love for chicken salad. It was super fun to shop for her and send along her very first Foodie Pen Pal package! She also started blogging this month with the April Foodie Pen Pal reveal being her first post. Check out Glitter and Tomatoes to see what she got! I received my box of treats from Laura in New York who, without knowing, sent me some of my most favorite treats ever: organic chocolate peanut butter cups. Cue the angelic music as I lifted not one, but TWO packages of these delectable packages out of the box. We’ll come back to these in just a moment.

In its entirety, my box had many great foodie items in it. Take a gander at all the good stuff, plus this fabulous, pink bubble wrap! I kept that stuff so someone can expect to find that in their package one day. It only makes good sense to recycle! I loved her note with the quote. Because you can’t quite see it, it says, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti

I’ve only seen the mini packages of Justin’s all-natural peanut butter before; this was my first time to encounter a full-sized jar, and I am so humbled that she saw fit to bless me with one. I am excited to use it, but I’m waiting to open it until I’m all finished with my grocery-store brand of peanut butter. Laura, you may have just ruined me on peanut butter for the rest of my life. 🙂 I will be sure to report back. In addition to the peanut butter, I was graced with both a milk chocolate and a dark chocolate set of organic peanut butter cups from Justin’s. I did not tell Laura that peanut butter cups are my most.favorite.candy.ever. How did she know?? Y’all, these peanut butter cups are life-changing. Life-changing. I’ve been a die-hard Reese’s peanut butter cup fan for AGES. I don’t know that I can go back.

There's even a coupon inside for future savings!

These chocolate peanut butter cups are extraordinary. The chocolate is smooth and creamy, without being overly sweet. Similarly, the peanut butter is not overly sweet either. I’ve seen how they make Reese’s on television so I’m aware of how much sugar goes into those nuggets. I eat them, but I always need milk or water or something to rinse my mouth and throat when I’m done because it’s so sweet. Plus, somehow I also gobble them up, almost mindlessly. Not so with Justin’s peanut butter cups. When I first ate one, I was aware it seemed less sweet, but more flavorful. The chocolate flavor comes through more clearly and intensely. The peanut butter flavor is just more peanut-buttery without so much sugar masking the taste. I also only wanted to eat just one cup that day. It was quite sufficient, so I saved the second one for another day. It was just rich enough to meet my taste bud needs without going overboard. Whether this makes sense to you or not, please go find you some of these and try them. I promise you that you won’t be sorry! Reese’s, please consider this your official break-up notification; you will always be second fiddle from here forward.

Saving one for later!

The other item that I’ve tasted so far and thoroughly enjoyed is the Spicy Maple Pepitas! I opened them just after taking a picture to give them a try. My boyfriend and I both tried a small handful, and they elicited the following comments, “Wowser, these are good!” and “Uggabooga, these bite back!” He was right on both counts. Since they are sweet and spicy at the same time, I can eat a helping of them without too much problem until I notice that my nose is starting to run. But since I do love spicy foods, this is just fine by me. I shared some with a few students at work, and they enjoyed the pepitas as well. I’m not sure I would have tried these on my own, so I’m glad Laura sent them my way.

It’s been another successful Foodie Pen Pal month for this TX gal! It is quite delightful getting to know other foodies from around the country, swapping treats and food love. If you are interested in participating, check out the blog of the mastermind behind the project, The Lean Green Bean. Lindsay has all the details you need to sign up and get involved. Just let her know by filling out the form by May 4th. There is a $15 spending limit per package/month, and you send your package out by the 15th, after receiving your match on the 5th. Every month the Pen Pal program gets larger so I encourage you to be a part of the movement sweeping the nation. You know you want to!

You can also check out the blog link-up on Lindsay’s blog to see what other fun packages were sent around this month! Come back and visit here for more tasty recipes and Foodie Pen Pal fun next month. If you subscribe, you won’t miss a thing! See y’all next time and happy eating!