Awesome, foodie pen pals, NoOodles, pumpkin sauce

Foodie Pen Pal: October

This month’s lovely box of Foodie Pen Pals goodness comes to us from Stephanie, of Illinois.  Her note said this was a box of seasonality, unique and local and she nailed it on all accounts.  She also managed to fill it with many of my favorite things. 

For seasonal she included a jar of Cucina Antica Tuscany Pumpkin sauce.  I always buy this line of pasta sauce, but have never seen this variety offered local.  I’m extremely excited about this flavor and am actually planning on bringing it with me when I head to NY (where I’ll be when this posts) and share it with some family.  She also included a bag of Montebello Conchiglie pasta, another favorite in our household, but I think I’ll save these for a hearty batch of Mac ‘n Cheese later in the season.

For ‘unique’ she included two bags of ‘NoOodles,’ which are a yam based noodle. I think I’m going to toy around with these in both a sweet and savory recipe–maybe something like a burbur cha cha.

Rounding out the ‘local’ was a bag of Matt’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip cookies. When I saw these–combined with everything else–I felt like Stephanie had looked inside of our pantry and made up the box from there.  She even included two of my favorite flavors of KIND Bars–Chocolate Cherry and Peanut Butter Chocolate.

This was a really great and thoughtfully assembled box.  I can’t thank Stephanie enough for sending me some very unique items, as well as some household faves. Thanks for sharing a bit of the season and your favorites, Stephanie!

foodie pen pals

Foodie Pen Pal: September Guest Post

This month, I’m handing over the Foodie Pen Pal post to Barbara, from Kentucky, who was my pen pal for September.  Barbara isn’t a blogger (which is one of the nice things about the pen pal match ups), so I told her that she could do a guest spot this month.  Before I hand it over to her, I’d like to thank Shelby, from Virginia, who sent me my lovely box of pen pal goodies.  I can’t wait to get into the Piri piri sauce she sent amongst the coffee, hot cereal, peanut butter and granola bar.
And now, take it away Barbara!

Hi everyone at Edible Obsession. I am Barb from Kentucky and this is my fourth month participating in the Foodie Pen Pal exchange.  I was so excited to receive this month’s box of goodness from Shannon.

I love local products and Shannon hooked me up with all local exciting goodies. Some of my fondest memories as a child growing up were ones of my grandmother and mother canning and pickling fresh garden veggies. So when I opened my box and saw the home canned “Dilly Beans” it brought back so many thoughts of great times.

Then I found the locally produced strawberry (my favorite) preserves. The next item was homemade ketchup. And then finishing off the box was maple/sea salt popcorn. I love a little sweet and a little salt. This box really hit the spot and I love all of these exciting food finds that brought a some tastes of the Northeast to my neck of the woods in Central Kentucky. I am blessed here to have so many local producers of high quality tasty products and really appreciate Shannon’s local selections to send to me this month. If you are not participating in the  Foodie Pen Pal program you are missing out. Thanks again for a great box!!!

The Lean Green Bean
clap), food from the heart of texas (clap, foodie pen pals, things from texas

Foodie Pen Pals: August

This months Foodie Pen Pal comes to us from Esther, of Pink and Purple Lemonade, from deep down in the heart of Texas!  When Esther asked me what I would like to see packed up in my pen pal package I told her, as I say to everyone, include something ‘local to you.’  I mentioned my honey obsession and she sent me my first taste of Texas produced honey.  She also sent me some of the oddest looking ‘Energy Nuggets’ from her local HEB.  They’re deep black in color with flecks of nuts, seeds and other ‘good for you’ bits and they don’t taste half as intense as they look (seriously, the color is a bit intimidating–like there’s squid ink in there– but the taste really isn’t that different than any other dense protein bars).

Esther also sent me some wonderful, spicy treats like a Texas made Raspberry Jalapeno Jam (which I think will need some Ritz crackers and cream cheese to pair long while I watch some Sunday NFL Football) and some Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning.  My creole seasoning is almost four years old, from when I went to New Orleans, and was really appreciative to get a new seasoning blend.

In the package were some more breakfasty/snack containers from HEB, raspberry fig newtons and blueberry flax granola.  I had the best of intentions when I packed them on a deep sea fishing adventure The Missus and I recently went on, thinking we could snack on them while we were on the boat…

..but, as my luck would have it I was horribly sea sick the entire time–and The Missus was barely holding it together–so I have yet to open these up and give them a try. I love Fig Newtons, so I have no doubt that I’ll love these.

So, many thanks to Esther for her gifts from the Lone Star state. Every month, I’m digging being a FPP more and more, getting to see some unique and tasty food from across the country.

If you’re interested in seeing what I sent out this month, stop by and see Tracy at One Step at a Time.

aching teeth, foodie pen pals, speculoos cookie butter, sugar coma, sugary goodness, trader joes

Foodie Pen Pals: July

This month’s box from Foodie Pen Pals came from baker-to-be, Ariel, of Having My Cake and Sharing It 2, based in San Fransisco.The box was filled with a few things to satisfy a sweet craving. First was the pancake/waffle mix from Jack and Jason’s, which fulfilled my request for something local to her. Sadly, The Missus and I haven’t had a morning off together since I received the box on the 23rd. Hopefully, that will change soon. There were also some Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa Nibs that haven’t been opened yet.

What we have already eaten though are the Trader Joe’s ‘Way More Chocolate Chip Cookies’ (I think we went through the entire container over the course of two days). The first night we spread the other treat in the box, Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter, which you want to compare to peanut butter, right on top of the cookies.  We couldn’t get past three each before our teeth began to ache with the overwhelming sweetness of the combination. I don’t think you could eat more than a few without it happening, the cookie butter is both weird and addictive, but also insanely loaded with sugar.

However, I don’t believe I’m going to let that stop me from cutting a little cream cheese into the cookie butter and making some stuffed chocolate pancakes with the mix from Jack and Jason’s.

Don’t judge me.

So, thank you very much to Ariel for this box of sugar coma goodness. And, if you happen to be interested in seeing what I’ve sent to my pen pal for July, go visit Lorraine at Just One Cupcake.

boiled peanuts, boozy beverages, foodie pen pals, nips in the mail, slimpickinskitchen

June Foodie Pen Pals: Nips and Nibbles

I was going to write a long post about this months Foodie Pen Pals, but then I started reading the enclosed letter from Amber, of Slim Pickin’s Kitchen, and I realized that I really, really needed to share the letter with everyone because this girl is funny.  I read it more than once because she made me laugh so much. 
In fact, let me restate that in a manner that truly conveys my feelings about her sense of humor..
*clearing throat*
This girl is OMGWTFBBQ funny.

See, caps make all the difference.

So, I give you the enclosed 4 page (not double sided) letter from the funniest woman I know from South Carolina.  

See, she’s funny and did a much better, and wittier, job describing everything in the box than I could.

Amber asked what my favorite thing was and, honestly, I haven’t broken into the nips yet or even opened the bag of pretzels (though the Bloody Mary mix is making a trip to Boston this weekend).  But, just going on pure weird, it has to be the Irn Bru and boiled peanuts in a can. I like weird, what more can I say?

And, if you’re curious as to what boiled peanut hummus may be like, here’s her recipe.

Anyone who gets Amber in the coming Food Pen Pals better treat her well. And send her coconut water. Lord knows that girl needs to hydrate with all of those adult beverages she enjoys. 
And, if you want to see what I sent my pen pal, visit Emily, Ms. Style Nerd

The Lean Green Bean
dairyfree omnivore, foodie pen pals, southern goodies

Foodie Pen Pals: May

The term “pen pal” seems a bit antiquated in our world of instant electronic correspondence. It’s a term that I more associate with school children and prisoners than anything else. However, my thoughts on it changed when a friend introduced me to “Foodie Pen Pals,” a very ambitious venture that was started last September by Lindsay of “The Lean Green Bean.” She started with a few dozen people and now organizes a list of over 600 bloggers and readers in Canada, The U.S. and U.K.. She truly deserves a gold star for organizing such a large project and it’s bound to only get larger as time goes on and word spreads.

The rules are simple and require a quick sign up and then you wait to get your match to send to and who will be sending to you. Then, all you have to do is make the connection, write a little note and send off a lovely care package by the 15th of the month and, if you’re a blogger, you post at the end of the month. Easy peasy.

This month, I was paired up with Stephanie, writer of The Dairy Free Omnivore, who, outside of her dairy aversion, has pretty similar tastes to mine. Once we discussed any allergies I had (none) and what types of food I liked (I told her I was interested to see what types of treats were local to her in Virginia), I waited with anticipation for the mail. I have to say, I was truly touched and overwhelmed by both her generosity and thoughtfulness with her letter and items she shipped.

There was a bit of everything in the box. A lovely unfiltered honey from an apiary not far from her (honey has been my latest addiction over the past year and my cabinet houses around seven varieties at any given time), some uber-buttery Virgina made shortbread cookies, some lovely sea salted peanuts, a magnet from the Outer Banks (OBX) and some coffee from Front Porch Cafe in Kill Devil Hills, NC. She also included an extremely lovely note and one of her favorite recipes for Cappuccino Spice Cookies.

The coffee, dubbed ‘Kill Devil Quatro,” was exactly as describes on the website, a beautifully balanced, low acidic blend that made me wish they were located in town, instead of over a thousand miles away. The bag was thoroughly enjoyed and was a great way to start our mornings.

I made the cookies just over a week ago and, between snacking on them at home and having The Missus bring some into work, they didn’t last long. I did tweak the recipe, subbing butter for the margarine and making an espresso syrup, using the Kill Devil Blend, instead of instant coffee. They came out like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, with a little splash of spice and caffeine. Which, of course, makes it pretty damn close to being the ultimate cookie in my book.

It was a pleasure to meet Stephanie and I was more than humbled by her generosity and thoughtfulness.  I hope that I get chosen to be her pen pal in the coming months so that I can return the favor and send her off a box of delightly delicious–and dairy free–Maine treats.