Monday, April 30, 2012

April Foodie Penpal

It's time to share my first treats from my Foodie Penpal!  My box was sent to me
by Jona from zee lemons.

The Lean Green Bean

Jona sent me the most amazing stash of snacks; I was very excited to dig in. She sent some orzo, tea, a nutella snack pack, and homemade granola (with the recipe). Yes, homemade. She’s good like that! Along with my box, Jona sent a very nice card. There is something to be said about receiving a handwritten card, and I just love receiving mail in general!

(I had planned on taking plenty of pictures of all the goodies, but of course failed at that...I need to get better about using my camera more often!)

The orzo was a local item (Jona is from Troy, New York).  It was Bon Vivant Orzo: wild mushroom, saffron, spinach, & cayenne flavored orzo from Flour City Pasta.  I was so excited to try this since I've only ever used a boring, plain orzo.  The flavors were incredible!  I could really taste the cayenne flavoring which added a nice kick.  Orzo is one of my favorite pastas, but I think it's frequently passed over.  Nice to see someone else has an appreciation for it.  I made this as part of the first dinner Conor & I had on our deck!  Hello warmer weather!

The tea was lavender earl grey from The Whistling Kettle.  I love all things lavender; it's as if Jona knew me! :-)  I have been savoring this tea and am already worried about running out!  Jona suggested I try it with steel cut oats if I was feeling adventurous.  Yes, please!  Does she know how many oats I've been consuming on a regular basis lately?!  I can't wait to try the two together here soon.

The nutella snack pack was was a surprising delight.  I know practically everybody loves nutella, but it's never really been my thing.  However, my pregnant hormones were raging and as soon as I saw the snack pack I knew that I needed to eat it immediately.  I just can't control myself sometimes.  I devoured the snack in a few minutes and was left completely satisfied.  Since this little treat, I have been thinking that I need a nutella & banana crepe...good thing the coffee shop just down the street will be able to help me with that.

The granola was probably my favorite item!  I loved that it was homemade and that she gave me the recipe.  I have always wanted to make my own granola, but never took the time to find a recipe I liked.  Well this one was perfect!  I was on a blueberry kick for awhile so this fit right in with my cravings.  Here is the recipe for those of you who are interested:

Dried Blueberry Granola
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup almonds
handful sunflower seeds
3/4 cup dried blueberries
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat wet ingredients on stove.  Mix dry (except blueberries) in a bowl.  Combine & bake 15-20 minutes.  Add blueberries & enjoy!

Sometimes I alter a recipe depending on what's in my pantry, and sometimes I add my own little touch.  I didn't have maple syrup or honey since I'm an agave nectar kind of girl so I just used 1/4 cup of agave as a substitute for both.  I also added 1 tsp of almond extract since I had it on hand, and I think it was an amazing addition!  The whole house smelled wonderful while it was baking!

Overall, I am so happy that I took part in Foodie Penpals, and I plan on doing it again! I definitely lucked out being paired up with Jona. She knows her stuff. Definitely take some time to check out her blog!

Also check out Adriana’s awesome blog at Foodie Be Fit.  I sent her a box this month, so hopefully she liked it!  I actually sent some similar items to what I received (tea & granola).  Too funny!

Here's some information about Foodie Penpals if anyone is interested:

-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.
If you’re interested in participating for May, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You will also find contact information on that page for the UK branch of Foodie Penpals if you’re a blogger across the pond!
You must submit your information by May 4th as pairings will be emailed on May 5th!