Monthly Archives: July 2012

July Foodie Pen Pals!

Hello, everyone!

I am wicked excited for my first ever Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!!!  I’ve been a Foodie Pen Pals member for six months now but, while I’ve written a few guest posts (for Ashley, Kelly, and Farrah), I’ve never had a blog to write my own post…until now!  So…cue drumroll…here we go!

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Foodie Pen Pals is the brain child of Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean.  It’s exactly what it sounds like: every month you are paired with someone else from the U.S. (the program has become so popular it has also branched out to Canada!) with whom you exchange foodie goodies!  It’s super dupes fun cause you’re introduced to products that are either not available where you live or that you’ve just never tried before.  Plus, you get to meet really awesome peeps :).

For July, I was paired with Kath from The Nut Kase.  I was so excited when I received her package that I forgot to take a photo of it/the contents/me opening it/etc.  Not a good start for a first time blogger…  But, seeing as we can’t turn back time, you’ll just have to trust me that I looked something like this:

Wow. Not the most flattering photo but at least it gets my point across…

Anywho, the first thing from Kath’s package that I cracked into were these Snapea Crisps:

This bag was not long for the world. Devoid of it’s contents, it currently rests in a landfill somewhere…

I’ve seen these in the store millions of times but I’ve never actually tried them.  Well, with Kath’s giftie, I had no excuse not to.  Oh boy, are they yum!  Light and airy, salty with an almost creamy pea infused flavor.  Lip smackin’ good.  If you’re not lucky enough to have a Foodie Pen Pal to send them to you, go buy them :).

The next item I tried was this Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend:

Trader Joe’s rocks…but this is not a bag of rocks. They are grains.

Another win!  This delightful mix of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzos, and red quinoa was the perfect accompaniment to the Jalfrezi curry I made for my dinner guest this past Saturday.  The couscous was soft and fluffy, the baby garbanzos added a satisfying crunch, and the mild nutty flavor of the blend was an excellent balance for the intense spiciness of the curry.  Alas, there are no photos of this delicious meal.  There were far more important things to think about that night because, yes, he was that sort of dinner guest…

This is my wink-y face. My sister says I look like I’m in pain when I wink. Yeah, there are some weird contortions going on here, aren’t there?

Oh.  Wait.  Hold up.  Not THAT sort of dinner guest!  Get your heads outta the gutter!  This is a G rated blog, after all :).

Anywho, let’s get back on track: Kath’s package contained even more wonderful goodies that I can’t wait to try!  The freeze-dried mango looks like a great snack, the soup seems to be a perfect rainy afternoon comfort food, and I’ve already got big plans for that Soyaki sauce…plans that might involve the aforementioned dinner guest :).

See? Trader Joe’s really does rock. But, again, these are not rocks. They are food.

Thank you, Kath, for all the treats!

I know right about now you’re thinking, “Michelle, how do I partake of the fun-fest that is Foodie Pen Pals?”  You need only ask, dear readers:

-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 Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. 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 interested in participating for August, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by August 4th as pairings will be emailed on August 5th!
*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Trader Joe's | 14 Comments

Mountains and Mochi

Hello, blog-o-sphere!

Another day, another post, and another phenomenal find to share with you!

Yesterday was a no run day for me.  I know that rest days are an essential part of a healthy running regimen but consciously taking that time off is definitely something I struggle with.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to back off from my exercise schedule, especially when I see the physical and feel the mental benefits of pushing my body to its limits.  There’s nothing more satisfying than an exhausting work out – endorphins are real!  BUT, I’ve learned from experience that if I don’t allow my body to recover every once in a while all I end up with are injuries – bruised and falling off toenails (yeah, I know…ew), sprained ankles, inflamed IT bands that take months of physical therapy to heal…  Yup, sometimes rest is best 🙂

Anywho, healthy running tips lecture aside, I still like to stay moderately active on my rest days so my mom and I decided to take a walk up to Heublein Tower.  It’s a beautiful walk and the views from the top of Talcott Mountain are absolutely extraordinary, even on a cloudy day.


Looking at this photo reminds me of another great reason to take rest days: taking it easy allows me to appreciate the natural beauty that, as an inveterate outdoor exerciser, always surrounds me.  When I’m bookin’ it down the road, solely focused on beating a personal best, the scenery becomes a blur.  However, when I slow down and stay present, what I see in front of me often takes my breath away 🙂

Moving on, I left mom on the mountain (well, not really, but I like the alliteration) and made way for mochi at The Green Teahouse.  The Teahouse is one of my favorite local places and I find that every time I go there I discover a new tea concoction.  This time around I was introduced to the wonderful world of mochi.  If you’re new to mochi, they are delicious little balls of glutinous rice – sweet and chewy, sort of like a more natural version of a gummy candy.  I had heard of mochi before but never in conjunction with tea so when I saw the tiny little yum-drops at The Teahouse I just had to give ’em a go.

I started out with a blend of two teas – Monkey’s Chocolate and Banana Split – a combo I was introduced to at my last visit to The Teahouse with Caitlin over at Cait Plus Ate.


I would have been happy just stopping there.  That’s what Caitlin and I did last time and, let me tell you, that iced tea was nearly life-changing but, in keeping with the whole “taking it slow” theme of my rest day, I paused to fully take in the new offerings at The Teahouse.  That’s when I noticed the mochi and soon after the sign declaring The Teahouse’s ability to turn any iced tea into a delicious smoothie-like frappe.  You pick the teas, they do the blending et voila!  The tea version of a Frappucino!  Duh, this was a no-brainer – “Hello, Mr. Tea Man, sign me up for one of those!”

Yeah, you want some, dontcha?

Frappe = delicious, but I didn’t stop there.  Oh, no I didn’t.  Here’s where the mochi comes in.  The Teahouse has all sorts of different toppings like tapioca “bubbles” in flavors ranging from lychee to yogurt and, you guessed it, glutinous rice balls!  Yay!  They have two flavors of mochi-goodness, original and chocolate.  I got both…and some yogurt “bubbles” to boot 🙂

My friend, Roxanne, stealing a tapioca “bubble”

mmmMMMmmm…  This thing was goo-OOO-ood.  Just look at this nugget of chocolate mochi fantastic-ness:

Oh, yeah…

Serioulsy, those wonderful tea people at The Green Teahouse know what they’re doing.  This drink was so good that I’m sad the whole experience is over – more reason to go back for another, hmmm?

So, if you’re nearby, go check this place out.  You won’t be disappointed 🙂

How do you occupy yourself on exercise rest days?

What positive things have you experienced by taking things slowly and staying present?

Categories: Injuries, Rest days, Runner's High, Running | 5 Comments

I should have known better…

There was no way I was going to be able to wait until next week to post again.  Especially because I’ve discovered a new product that I just have to tell you all about!

I went for a longish run yesterday – 8 miles – that ended at Whole Foods (yes, I planned it that way – smart girl, hmmm?).  After a quick trip to the Ladies’ Room to mop up my oh-so-attractive “glow” (hey, it was supes humid out!), I headed over to the Make-Your-Own-Trail-Mix bar – my usual choice for the perfect post-run snack.  However, on my walk across the store I spied these:

Crunchy, Salty Deliciousness

Oh.  My.  Lanta.  Biena Roasted Chickpeas, where have you been all my life?!?!  “Crunchy, Salty Deliciousness” only begins to describe the flavor sensation provided by these little gems.  Not only do they taste divine, they also have loads of protein and fiber, not to mention a heck of a lot less fat and calories than my go-to nut mix.  They are a bit high in sodium and a tad pricey ($3.49 for a 2 oz. bag at my local Whole Foods) but no snack is perfect, right?  I’m tellin’ ya, these Biena people have a good thing going – they also offer a Lime & Chili flavor and a Cinnamon Maple version that I’m dying to try.  It’s official, I’m a roasted chickpea devotee!

Paired with a tall glass of ice cold water with lemon:


And super sweet strawberries:

These just scream “summer,” don’t they?

Hydration, protein, and some healthy carbs – my post-run treat was complete.

What’s your favorite post-workout snack?

What new treats have you discovered lately?

Do you ever run errands directly after a workout – in all your sweaty glowy glory?

Categories: Running, Whole Foods | 2 Comments

We’ve only just begun…

Hello, everyone!

I’ve finally done it!  I’ve started a blog!  And I’m supes excited!

This is my excited face

From the title, you might assume that this blog will be all about running.  Well, ya know what they say about those who assume?  Let’s not make ninnies of ourselves.  Instead, go check out the “Run with me…” page.  I explain everything there.

I plan to write a little bit about everything but I’ll mainly focus on what I’m making, where I’m going, who I’m seeing, and when I’m running.  So, yeah, I’ve set myself no parameters cause I don’t like to be boxed in!

This is my first blogging experience so I’d appreciate advice from any bloggers out there.  I can’t promise I’ll follow it but I’ll definitely consider it.

Look for my first post this coming Monday July 30th.  I’ll be writing about what I got from my Foodie Pen Pal this month!

Until then, Blogspeed!

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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