Foodie Pen Pals

Opposite Day

Whelp, it’s the end of the month which means it’s time for another Foodie Pen Pal Post!

Seeing as each month I thoroughly enjoy this program that Lindsay has so kindly put together, the wonderful people I meet, and the delicious goodies I receive, my reveal day posts are usually a mix of the same glowing comments and coinciding positive/appraising/feel-good words.

Well, in an effort to use some words that don’t commonly occupy my lexicon, I declare today Opposite Day (but just on my blog – somehow I don’t think Opposite Day would go over too well at the office: “No, Mr. Boss Man, I would acutally hate to run those reports for you.”).

So, without further ado…

**Just to clarify: everything below the starred line is opposite of what I mean to say.  Alison is a lovely and very generous person and I seriously lucked out in the Pen Pal department this month :).**

****************************************

I absoutely despised the junk that I received from Alison this month.  The package arrived in horrible timing for a post-Thanksgiving taste test with The Man.

We thought the flavored nuts and pumpkin chips were so awful that we were barely able to stomach a bite.  I mean, just look at how much was left over:

Oh, the carnage...

Oh, the carnage…

I have no idea what I’m going to do with these almost full bags of disgusting nuts – it’s a real dilemma.

Their life was short...but savory.

Their life was short…but savory.

And those pumpkin chips!  Don’t even get me started!  I really can’t stand when ingredients lists are so flippin’ long!

Spaaaaaa...hmmm?

Spaaaaaa…hmmm?

These Somersaults are so stomach-turning that I can’t possibly imagine finishing the bag.  They’d probably make the worst accompaniment to this hideous looking wine.

Aaaarrrr, Mi Matey!

Aaaarrrr, Mi Matey!

Yeah, I’ll put off trying that combination for a loooong time.

All in all, a simply dreadful package, right?  I was so incredibly disappointed!

If you want to participate in this horrendous program – and I can’t believe that you would –  here are the deets:

-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 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. 

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals | 2 Comments

Spreading the Foodie Love

October Foodie Pen Pals was doubly fun for my blog this month because not only did I get to post about the fantastic goodies that Jessie sent me, I also get to share with you this guest post from Lovely Leah (I just gave her that name cause she is lovely – just look at the below pic :)) to whom I sent a Foodie package!

Here she (along with her equally lovely family) is…

“Ok. My foodie penpal this month is Michelle Kurnik, from Conneticut:) happy. I really enjoyed all the yummy goodies that she sent and my boys really enjoyed making that pumpkin bread, those pumpkin seeds gave it just the right touch (sweet & salty *yum*). I am grateful to be a part of this penpal program, it give us members an opportunity to experience places, through food and friendship. A great combination in my book.
Michelle, I truly hope that you keep in contact and should you ever want to try anything from New Mexico, please let me know.”
Categories: Foodie Pen Pals | Leave a comment

Frankenpost: A Halloween Hybrid

I think Sandy started a trend.

Much as she combined tropical storm with nor’easter with hurricane with general sh*t storm, today’s post is a bit of a hybrid.  Not only is it WIAW but today also happens to be October Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day.  Oh yeah, and it’s Halloween to boot.

There is some crazy a** sh*t goin’ on.  So, without further ado…

What I Ate Wednesday

…meet Foodie Pen Pals.

Let’s hear if for What I Ate Wednesday Foodie Pen Pals!

While it’s a little scary – though fitting – that this Frankenpost should occur on Halloween, the treats that I received from Jessie were anything but.  Jessie is a super cute, self-described “fitness nut” who blogs over at jessielovestorun.  She’s living in Kuwait right now with her husband which means that I lucked out in the Foodie Pen Pal department!  Just look at all the fantastic goodies she sent me.  🙂

Jessie didn’t send the pumpkin, it’s just photo-bombing this pic.

In her initial email to me, Jessie asked if I’d like to try some of the super spicy products ubiquitous to her local shops.  Um…yes, please!  And folks, I was SO not disappointed!

First to go – and to go so quickly that the bag didn’t even make the above photo – were these:

Beans, beans the magical fruit…well, you know the rest…

I served these delightfully spicy, “crispy-licious” bean chips with hummus at a get-together I had a couple of weekends ago.  Well, it wasn’t long before the four adults at this get-together were fighting over the crumbs left in the bottom of the bag.  In our gotta-get-more-Beanfields zeal, we may have even embarrassed ourselves in front of the 1-year-old that also attended our shin-dig.  Hey, maturity goes out the window when delicious food is involved.  Am I right or am I right?  🙂

I nearly peed my pants when I was opening Jessie’s package and discovered these lurking at the bottom:

I think they were scared of their impending demise because they were hiding in the depths of the Priority Mail Box.

OMG!  How did she know?!?!  I blow through about 10 packets of Justin’s peanut and almond butter every week.  Following the Beanfields, these pouches were next to bite the proverbial bullet.

I sent the Hot & Spicy Pringles with The Man to his weekly Sunday-Guys-Watching-Football-Afternoon but not before sampling a few myself.

Arabic is so pretty.

Whoa, boy!  Them chips is spicy!  But insanely delicious :).

I can’t wait to try the sesame rice cakes, curry sauce, and Very Hot Cajun Sauce – the latter of which I think would be amazing drizzled on a Roasted Vegetable Pizza that happens to be chillaxing in my freezer as we speak – tonight’s dinner, perhaps?

The foodie surprises that Jessie so kindly sent my way are all amazing but my favorite parts of her package were the cute little notes she put on each item:

She also has insanely neat handwriting, wouldn’t ya say?

Super thoughtful and adds that little something extra.  I might be stealing this idea for future Foodie Pen Pal packages of my own.  🙂

More of Jessie’s insanely neat handwriting. I may be able to steal her ideas but my chicken scratch will never be this visually appealing.

Jessie, thank you so much for all of the wonderful goodies – they were the perfect subjects for this What I Ate Wednesday Foodie Pen Pals Frankenpost!

Here’s the Foodie Pen Pal info if you want to jump on the bandwagon and be sure to check out WIAW too!

-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 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 November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Nut Butter, What I Ate Wednesday | 15 Comments

If Time Grew on Trees

Happy September Foodie Pen Pals!!!

As most of you are aware, I’ve been supes busy lately.  I am in the midst of filling an enormous order for my side business and, for the past two weeks or so, my world has been taken over by paper daisies and cardstock.  On top of my normal 9 to 5…

Yup, I know, that song is stuck in your head now…you’re welcome.

…and all the other crap stuff associated with everyday life, I’ve barely had time to take care of personal hygiene…but, don’t worry, I have.

Anywho, while I was wicked excited to receive my excellent Foodie Pen Pal package from Mamie, I haven’t gotten a chance yet to try any of the delicious products she sent me. 😦

The time will come, though, when I’ll be able to dip into this wonderful looking jam…

Love the fabric cover and handwritten label – it’s all about presentation :).

…and try out these intriguing mixes from Biltmore Inspirations using the amazing looking recipes that Mamie so kindly included.

See the paper daisies hiding in the background?

I’m looking forward to next weekend when I will be done with my order and can get back into the kitchen for some baking adventures.  Thanks, Mamie!

If you would like to participate – and you should cause it’s fun and brings back the good ol’ days of receiving care packages at summer camp – here’s the info:

-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.

-Click here for more info.

 

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals | 4 Comments

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

I know it’s cliché but it’s totally true.

Just one week ago today, I was all sad because I couldn’t post on Foodie Pen Pals reveal day.  Well, that was sadness wasted, my friends, because my package has arrived and what it contains is simply gloriousLorna really outdid herself :).

I mean, check out this loot…

Sweet schwag.

…pretty awesome, hmm?

I’m excited for each and every item!  These Trader Joe’s Seaweed Snacks are already a staple in my pantry (Annie Chun’s version is equally delicious).

Bad name. Yummy taste.

Deliciously salty with an initial crunchiness that morphs into melt-in-your-mouth-i-ness – oh yeah, these are where it’s at when it comes to satisfying a snack attack :).

Continuing with the snickity snacks, I am completely enthralled with these dill pickle flavored sunflower seeds.

“It’s the best tastin’ pickle I ever heard!”

Dill pickle flavored anything is usually a safe bet when it comes to making my taste-buds do a happy dance and these little gems do not disappoint!

I can’t wait to crack open this box of Risotto and I already have plans for that can of green chile.

Don’t know how good these would taste together but they certainly make a photogenic couple, dontcha think?

I think I may be most excited, though, for the wonderful collection of spices I received – curry and chili…

I LOVE me some curry…mmmMMMmmm.

…PINK salt and boquet garni…

I’m a fan of the pink and green color combo going on here…

…all from one of Lorna’s favorite spice shops – these are just begging for some recipe brainstorming! 

I also cannot wait to use this South African Smoke Seasoning Blend from TJ’s. 

What an innocent looking grinder. This photo gives no hint to this blend’s punch-you-in-the-face-with-smoky-delight aroma.

O.M.G.  The smell of this stuff is just beyond!  I haven’t been able to stop sniffing it since I cracked it open.  It’s like a drug.  Can you be addicted to the fragrance of smoky deliciousness?

Finally, Lorna must have read a few of my past posts before sending this package because look what else I received:

Peach flavored crack.

Yes, please.  These babies satisfy even the biggest (read: my) sweet tooth.  Lorna said in her note that she included these because “who doesn’t love peach rings?”  Indeed, Lorna, who doesn’t?  If anyone out there knows of such an anomaly, gimme a call, I’ll slap some sense into them cause peach rings = awesome.

Lorna did an amazing job putting together this perfect package even though it includes none of what I claimed I would want in my dream Foodie Pen Pal package.  The only obvious explanation for why I love this collection of foodie goodies so much?  Lorna must know me better than I know myself…or she’s clairvoyant :).

Look at the card she sent. Yup. She’s clairvoyant.

What’s been the BEST thing you’ve had to WAIT for?

Has someone else ever surprised you by giving you something you didn’t even know you wanted…until you got it?

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Sweet Tooth, Trader Joe's | Leave a comment

A Girl Can Dream…

Happy Friday!  Happy Last Day of the Month!  Happy Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!

Wait a minute.

Scratch that last one.

There will be no reveal today.

Cue “Sad Face” –  much better than an emoticon.

Unfortunately, my Foodie Pen Pal package did not arrive in time for me to post about it.

**But you can go here to check out what I sent Krysty!**

Ah, well, life goes on…

Oblah Dee, Oblah Dah.

…and rather than let this post go completely to waste, I’ve decided to let you all (and my future Foodie Pen Pals) in on what my Dream Foodie Pen Pal Package would contain.  Here goes…

First of all, there would most definitely be nut butters

Preferably Justin’s.

…I also LOVE me some trail mix….

Emerald is good but I’m an equal opportunity trail mix lover.

jerky of any kind is amazing…

I am not vegan but this stuff is so good it sort makes me question my omnivore-ness.

…and any kind of crunchy, snacky, chippy thing is always a delight.

The Cheesy Jalapeno flavor is The Bomb.

However, I hope to never receive chocolate…

Don’t break me off a piece of that.

…or coconut…

I got nothin’…

…cause, call me crazy, but I don’t like those things.

Anywho, regardless of the fact that I did not receive my package on time, Foodie Pen Pals is still an awesome program.  Here are the deets in case you’re interested…and you should be…cause it’s cool.

-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.

-Click here for more info.

Categories: Foodie Pen Pals, Nut Butter | 17 Comments

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

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