Happy Thursday!! Is it okay to be doing my Friday dance a day early? :)
I have an exciting post for you today! Each month, Lindsay from over at The Lean Green Bean, sponsors a fun program for bloggers AND readers called Foodie Penpals (FPP for short). Basically, you get matched up with two penpals - one that you send a food package to and another that you receive a package from. Once you find out who your penpal is, you contact them to learn about their food preferences, allergies, dietary restrictions, etc. and then you HAVE A BLAST shopping for items (within the $15 spending limit) that you think they would like. On the last day of the month, all of the participants (at least those who are bloggers!) post about what they received and link up to Lindsay’s blog.
Today’s blog is going to be extra long so stick with me here, it’ll be worth it! First, I am going to have a little show and tell to show off ALL the awesome things that Tess from Cross Country Cajun sent me. Then, Lauren – who was the recipient of my package – has a guest post of all of the goodies she received from me.
Are you excited? Better yet, do you have snacks close by? This post is going to make you extra hungry!
Holy Moly, where do I begin? Beignet Mix, Chocolate, Crackers, Jam, Coffee, Energy Bars, Vega Smoothie Mix, Mardi Gras Tortilla Chips AND Beads, Nut Butters, Granola and “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Seasoning… Tess hit this package out of the park! It was FULL of goodies that I couldn’t wait to try.
I’ll begin with the coffee and jam from The Loveless Cafe. Tess sent me a postcard a few days after the package describing the cafe as a landmark place outside of Nashville, TN that is everything but healthy yet oh so delicious. I haven’t had a chance to try out the jam or the coffee but I know it’ll make for a decadent Saturday breakfast AND the next time I am near Nashville, you better bet your britches (do that say that in Tennessee???) that I’ll be checking out The Loveless Cafe :)
Tess also include a Vega Energizing Smoothie (TOTAL YUM! I was hesitant to try this at first but it was AMAZING! Next time I see this, 20 of them are going into my shopping cart!), Love Grown Granola (this may already be gone ;) ), Picky Bars Energy Bars, Beignet Mix (Kyle’s super excited for these French doughnuts when he returns from PR), and some Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning. I cannot wait to try the recipe on the back of this seasoning for the Super Bowl on Sunday. ANYTHING with a name like Slap Ya Mama has to be good ;)
Finally, Tess included some Mardi Gras-colored tortilla chips that Kyle and I quickly devoured and some fun Mardi Gras beads. Mitchell loves the beads… at least while he’s being bribed with a treat :)
I seriously LOVED everything that Tess sent me! This was a great opportunity for me to try new foods that I would have never picked for myself. I can’t wait to participate next month! THANKS TESS! :)
Now onto Lauren’s guest post!
This month was my first time participating in Foodie Penpals and I’m so glad I did. I literally emailed my match as soon as I received Lindsay’s email. I didn’t think I could get more excited, but then I got an email from Becky asking about my food preferences. I let her know that I was open to almost anything she had in mind, but that I tended to eat healthier and more natural foods. The contents of my package did not disappoint!! Becky sent me three of her favorite local Midwest produced foods.
First, she included a nice big package of Bliss Bircher Muesli. I eat oatmeal practically every morning for breakfast but I had never tried Muesli before, so this was essentially perfect! Even better, the muesli is produced by hand and all natural. Becky sent the Triple Berry flavor containing cherries, blueberries, and cranberries all produced in Wisconsin. With hints of orange oil, nutmeg, and cinnamon, the flavor is incredible. I’ve been eating this hot like oatmeal (not a huge fan of cold cereals) and sprinkling it on top of EVERYTHING. Can’t wait to order and try the other Bliss products.
Second, Becky sent me a packet of The Secret Garden’s Corn Tortilla Soup. Living in New England, there is nothing better than soup this time of year. Not to mention I LOVE everything Mexican and Southwestern. Again, the soup was a healthy choice and the mix itself only contained three ingredients: Onion broth, corn, and herbs/spices. Becky also wrote in her note that she likes to add black beans, more corn, and canned tomatoes and then top it off with cheese, tortilla chips, and chopped avocado. I’m actually preparing this tonight but I’m confident that it’s going to be fabulous.
The last item Becky sent was a chocolate bar by Ethereal Confections. I checked out their website and they truly have a great assortment of indulgent chocolates. Better yet, most are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. The bar I received was the Pistachio Cranberry made with 66% dark chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel. The first bite was surprising, as even knowing this was extra dark, I was still expecting the typical dark chocolate taste. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every single bite. It was a struggle not to eat the whole bar in one sitting. There was the saltiness of the pistachios and fleur de sel and the sweetness of the cranberries.
I can’t thank Becky enough for introducing me to these new products! It’s definitely worth taking a peek at their websites and checking them out!
And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals from Lindsay herself.
In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-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!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!
*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.