Sunday, September 2, 2012

Foodie Penpals: Food, Fun, & Life in Waukesha

 Ahh! I'm a couple days late on posting this but I literally just made this blog today and I didn't want to not talk about last month's foodie pen pal experience.

This is my first time participating in the foodie pen pals created by Lindsey at Basically, the program is you get matched to a foodie on the 5th of each month you participate in. Your then responsible for contacting that person and finding out what their dietary needs are. Then someone totally different contacts you asking the same thing. So you have a person you send to, then a person who sends to you.  I was nervous in participating because I am a vegan and I didn't want my pen pal to feel overwhelmed with finding something for me. But my foodie who was sending to me, Sarah Zubarik, seemed to do just fine. She has a blog called Food, Fun, & Life in Waukesha. I'd suggest you check it out! I sent a package to Mollie Kimmel, who unfortunately doesn't have a blog and since I just made this blog I didn't have the time to ask her to do a guest post. Next time I will! It was also Mollie, Sarah, and I's first time doing the food swap! Three newbies, I love it! Anyway, you can probably imagine my excitement when my grandfather told me that a package in the mail had come for me. Instinctively I already knew what it was and load and beyond here is what I found.

My August penpal package came! I couldn't wait to open it and see what I got it.
When I finally got around all the tape. I opened up my package and this is my first look into what was to come. I loved that Sarah included a greeting card from her state,(why didn't I think of that for my foodie!) and her card with her email, twitter, and blog on it. [Gorgeous card print by the way, Sarah.]
She wrote a very nice letter on the back of the greeting card which made me even more excited to look at the items she sent me. I saw the word "tea" and I was already in high spirits that this package was going to be amazing! I also loved that every item that I was going to find would be from Wisconsin! (*Enhanced anxiousness to look.)
The first two items I instantly checked out were the Rishi tea* Organic Blueberry Rooibos and Hot Pepper Jelly locally made in her state. The tea, by far, is my favorite item she sent me! I love tea and blueberries are my favorite fruit! (How did she know?!) I opened it up and the strong aroma of blueberries hit me and I just about melted. I brewed a cup right away and the taste was divine! Two of my favorite things mixed together, you really can't do better than that. The Hot Pepper Jelly was something I've seen before but had never tried. I told Sarah I love trying unique things and that I have a love for spicy food. So she did a fantastic job finding this for me. I wont lie though. I was very unsure with what to do with this jam. I wanted to try it so bad but I couldn't think of what to do with it. So I asked good ol' Google. A lot of people reccomended spreading this on crackers with cream cheese. Easy enough. So I bought some crackers, some vegan cream cheese and dug in. Surprisingly enough this jelly isn't spicy at all. Quite sweet, actually. Though, I won't lie. The cracker/vegan cream cheese/hot pepper jelly combo is excellent.
The last two items were the first to be used up and devoured. The dried cherries are a favorite of Sarah and are from Door Country. Neat! I was thrilled when I saw these because I had just ran out of my organic dried cranberries that I like to put in salad and these made a perfect alternative. The Oskri* Coconut Almond Bar is a bar that I've never tried before. As you can see/tell it's a VERY coco-nutty bar with only about 3-4 almonds inside it. It was basically like eating coconut with the occasional crunch of an almond. I like coconut just not that much all at one time. Nevertheless I was very pleased with my package. Sarah did an awesome job! I'm already signed up for September!
*If your interested in participating, I'd highly recommend it! Just go over to The Lean Green Bean and fill out a forum!   

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:
-On the 5th of the 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 treatsThe spending limit is $15The 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 can choose 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 & UK 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. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

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