Friday, May 31, 2013

Foodie Penpals: Illinoisian Love.

You know how I was paired up with two local Hoosiers last month right? Well, guess what. Pretty much the same thing happened again. Only this time I was a paired up to send to and receive from two lovely ladies from Illinois.

I sent off a package filled with a couple Dark Chocolate bars(one had expresso beans in it!) Vanilla Chai mix, and The Fresh Market* Banana Split Trail Mix and Vegetable Chips to Christie in Chicago IL.

I, in return, received the best package I’ve received so far this year, from Reneé in Alton IL.

From the amazing questionnaire that Reneé gave me right at the get go when we first made contact, to the beautiful package, and finally the final product: My wonderful foodie package that was literally filled to the brim with so much. I just kept pulling stuff out getting more and more excited by the second. Reneé, you outdid your self. You spoiled me rotten!

First looks of the package and a beautiful postcard of Eveleen Myers. Speaking of postcards, that’s not the only one she sent me. (Is that trek mix I see?)

She sent me three! Can you believe it? Awesome. Two postcards, the other of where she lives in Illinois. Then an actual card that she wrote in for me. I go to say, I may have to actual travel over to Illinois whenever I get the chance to. Alton looks like a beautiful place to visit.

Was I right about that being trek mix? I sure was! My favorite one at that(also Reneé's daughter’s favorite) plus an awesome assortment of dried fruit and nuts. The cranberries will make home in beds upon beds of dark greens. I’ve never tried dried blueberries before (shocking, I know, since I love my blueberries) so I’m still in the works on what it is I want to do with them. I want to bake with them, but making some sort of trail mix or granola with them also sounds good. They could even maybe possibly join the cranberries and be a part of a salad. Mmm. The possibilities are endless. The raw almonds are already practically gone, thanks to Ryan. I got in a couple handfuls for a snack but he’s been chomping down on them like they are going out of style.

A new spice called Dukkah that I’ve never even heard of before. Apparently it’s good to dip into bread with a little olive oil and then the dukkah. It’s also good for seasoned vegetables. The ingredients list states its made from: almonds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coriander, anise seeds and kosher salt. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? I told Reneé I’d take a new type of spice over a ready-meal any day. Reneé definitely saw through my blog that I enjoy a good cup of tea, so she included a few packets of some of her Vanilla Chai as well. Which is great since I hadn’t received tea in a package in a long time and this flavor is amazing iced with some almond milk on a hot, humid, Indiana day.

Reneé had asked me what a treasured family dish of mine was. All I could think about was pasta dishes that my grandmother and mother had made me back when I was little and while I was just a vegetarian. So she kindly included a new pasta for me to try plus a cute little game that I played with Ryan's sister's boyfriend's daughter, Cadence, one day when I was babysitting her. Which I thought was very thoughtful since she didn’t have to include anything other than food items. I’m not going to lie though, I love to be surprised with fun, random, unexpected items in my boxes so I loved it.

I saved the best for last. This jar of pure heaven. I could just smell the aroma leaking out of the jar. I told Reneé that I’ve been wanting to experiment with more lavender products since I’ve always been fascinated with using lavender in baking. She kindly made me this sugar and explained to me what to do with it in her card. I cannot wait to find a recipe so I can start baking with it. I’ll definitely keep you guys posted on how my experimenting turns out and if I make anything worth sharing since I haven’t posted an actual recipe in months.

Are you interested in becoming apart of this trendy, addicting, and downright awesome swap? Yes? Then please keep reading!

Interested in becoming a Foodie Penpal yourself? Here’s the details:

  • 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 June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Noms of the Week #8 and Memorial Weekend

Lots of random snacking this week. Plus a couple dinners with the boyfriend and friends that were not pictured. So I’m mashing all of what I’ve eaten together, not stating categories such as “meals”, or “snackage.”

I also have very good news to share with you all! I got my driving license Wednesday! So naturally, I’ve been driving around like it’s the bee’s knees. There’s nothing more amazing than to blast your music on high, and just drive with the windows down and not having an elder(who doesn’t like your type of music) criticize or complain about what you're playing. I finally feel like an accomplished adult. Graduated, got my license, now I just need to go job hunting and I’ll be set until college starts.

I know I haven’t really talked much about what I decided to do with my life, college wise, other than just saying I was lost about what I want to do. Well, I’ve finally decided! I’ve given up my cosmetology idea for nutrition. Since I figure I believe in healthy living and love to study and learn about the subject on a regular basis. So I’m going to go road tripping with my grandparents to the west coast(California) in September with Ryan. I’m so pumped up! I start college in October!

Also, this weekend was Memorial day. So I spent some time with the family. My uncle Adam, his wife, and adopted daughter Riley came over to visit. Then Emma came up to visit with Riley and I as well.  I went antiquing with my grandmother, Adam's wife, and Ryan on Saturday while the girls were at the pool. Well, really, we only got to go into one shop since beforehand Ryan and I stopped at Pizza King since Ryan was hungry from a busy day at work.

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My lovely boyfriend in his uniform and all.

Also.. I've found I have an obsession with flannels lately.

Love em'. 

Now to get back on subject. Here are 9/10 of the things I've eaten this week.

  1. Subway* 6 inch on honey oat bread with all the vegetables except lettuce(including avocado!) with sweet onion sauce. (Other half eaten in the next day for lunch)
  2. 2 slices of Rosemary Sea salt Bread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 TBSP TJ* Dukkah. Side of 1 cup Organic Broccoli Sprouts.
  3. Organic Gala Apple, Whole Wheat Uncrustable, 8 fl. oz Silk* Fruit & Protein Strawberry Banana Juice. (I saw the more healthy uncrustables at Walmart while I was with Ryan. They used to be a childhood favorite of mine, so I figured why not? I did find a bad ingredient in them after devouring the box but I’m not going to kick myself about it. High fructose corn syrup. Why must you be in practically everything!?)
  4. 1 1/2 cups of Organic Romaine Salad with 3/4 Organic Avocado, Orient Express Vegan Pocket.

  1. The rest of the Dry Roasted Almonds.
  2. TJ* Vanilla & Cinnamon Black tea with Stevia. (Who says I can't enjoy a winter seasonal tea in May?)
  3. Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bar on the road.
  4. Pineapple!

  1. Strawberry/Blueberry Smoothie with almond milk.
  2. Tofu Scramble; 3 1/4 oz Organic Firm Tofu with 1/4 cup Onion, 1/3 cup Organic(from the garden) Asparagus, 1/2 cup Organic Broccoli. It was a little dry for my liking(I had no hummus or avocado on hand!) So I added 1 TSP Vegan Parmesan Flavoring, and some El Pinto* Medium Salsa along with it on 2 slices of Ezekiel 4:9* Sprouted Flax Bread.
  3. Wheat berry Salad(wheat berries, red pepper, raisins, fresh parsley, honey ginger vinaigrette)
  4. Rice-stuffed Grape Leafs. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Noms of the Week #7

I was debating if I should wait another week to post this since this NOTW would be a short due to me eating leftovers the majority of the week. Though, I figured, I might as well post since I like to be able to post these on time.


  1. Dinner @ grandparents: Pasta Dish; Organic Whole Wheat Pasta, Organic Broccoli, Dark Kidney Beans, Garlic, Sauteed Peppers and Mushrooms, Vegan Parmesan Flavoring, Organic Italian Herb Pasta Sauce. (Made this for myself and the family while I was visiting one day)
  2. Subway* 6 inch of wheat bread with all the vegetables(including avocado!) except lettuce, sweet onion sauce. (Ate the other half the next day for lunch)
  3. Spinach Salad: Spinach(washed), Organic Red Bell Pepper, Olives, Broccoli, Carrots, Organic Falafel Patty, Edamame Hummus, Cindy’s Kitchen* Fat free Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  4. Lots of leftovers from the Pasta Dish.
 The church that my grandmother attends, and that I’ve previously attended, held a special Senior Brunch for the seniors of the church to congratulate us for graduating. So on Sunday(yesterday), I got to enjoy some Blueberry Baked Oatmeal with Homemade Cinnamon Syrup and a Fruit Bowl. Take note: I was exhausted, coffee-deprived, and it was all eyes on me since I was the first person to go up and get my food. I kinda just grabbed that cranberry-orange muffin by shear impulse since I didn't want anyone to wonder why I wasn't getting that much but as soon as my grandmother got her plate and sat down beside me I handed it off to her. 

After Brunch, and well, even a little bit before-hand. I was handed a couple presents and cards.The pastor gave me a Study Bible, Bev(one of my grandmother's friends) gave me a Graduation Hat that had pictures of me when I attended study school when I was younger. Ah, the memories. Not to mention how different I looked back in the day. Wow. Then Barb(the other graduate's grandmother) gave me a beautiful card with a gift card in it! Then the pastor and his wife spoke to us for about 10 minutes before church started. I stayed downstairs with my grandmother and helped out with the nursery kids.


  1. Strawberry Banana Smoothies for Ryan and I. Made with almond milk.
  2. I snacked on these almonds that my grandmother bought me all week long.
  3. Graw bar, that I found in this month's conscious box.
  4. Fresh Market* Rice-stuffed Grape Leafs.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Noms of the Week #6

Holy crap. I actually am posting this semi-on time. All of my other NOTW have been my food from the past two weeks due to not taking enough pictures, not taking pictures at all of my food, etc. So wow, only one day late. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Anyway, without further to do, here is my Noms of the Week!


  1. Annie Chun's* Udon Soup Bowl.
  2. Amy's* Low Sodium Minestrone Soup.
  3. Lunch @ 3 Rivers: Falafal Wrap. (Whole wheat tortilla, tomato, cucumber, falafal, tahini, avocado) I haven't had lunch at my co-op I go to in a long time. This is my favorite item on their menu. Truth be told, it's the only thing I've ever tried there but it's a winner. Maybe one day I'll expand and try something new.
  4. Dinner over at the grandparents: Organic Romaine with Organic Broccoli, Olives/Peppers, and Mushrooms from The Fresh Market Olive Bar, 2 slices of Ezekiel 4:9* Flax Sprouted Bread with Avocado.

  1. Annie Chun's* Sprouted Brown Sticky Rice with cooked Broccoli, Snap peas, and Carrots marinated in Organicville* Sesame Teriyaki.
  2. Red & Gold Coconut Quinoa Salad from The Fresh Market, Homemade Thai Noodle Salad(since The Fresh Market's has fish in theirs) and 1/2 an Avocado.
  3. Vanilla Soy Yogurt with Organic Gala Apple, Grapes, and Kashi* Go Lean Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble Cereal.
  4. Brown Rice Vegetarian Sushi. (Vegan, as long as you don't use the wasabi)

  1. Be proud: I tested myself. With the help of Ryan, I'm slowly beginning to get over my fear of liquid calories. I don't usually buy a lot of juices/ready-made smoothies, but this particularly one gets a lot of raves. I had gotten it to try and I also figured Ryan would enjoy it but unfortunately he thinks the soy milk in it makes it taste weird. But I think he's weird because I think this tastes great! Just means more for me.
  2. On those days where you fail to get even close to your 25g of fiber. There is Luna Fiber.
So there it is. My weekly intake for last week. Not everything because of course I failed to take pictures Monday and Friday but that's just to be expected by me at this point. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Noms of the Week #5

This NOTW is a little short. I have been in the process of moving out of my grandparent's house so I haven't had the time to really take many pictures of what I shove into my mouth lately.

  1. Quaker* Old Fashioned Oats with Ola* Vanilla Almond Granola,TJ* Shredded Sweetened Coconut, Organic Goji Berries, 1 TBSP Ground Flaxseed, 2 1/4 TBSP Peanut Butter & Co* White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter.
  2. Annie Chun’s* Sprouted Brown Sticky Rice with cooked Yellow Bell Pepper,  Asparagus, Onion, Mushrooms, 3 Gardein* Seven Grain Tenders, 3 TBSP Organicville* Sesame Teriyaki.
  3. Medium Potato with 1/2 Daiya* Jalapeno Garlic Wedge, 1/3 El Pinto* All Natural Medium Salsa;  Organic 50/50 Blend with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Organic Sun-dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, Olives, Gardein* Chik’n Strips, 1/2 TSP Vegan Grated Parmesan Flavoring, 1 TBSP Cindy’s Kitchen* Fat free Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  4. Smart & Delicious* Large Whole Wheat Tortilla with  Organic Romaine, Cherry Tomato, Organic Kidney Beans, Serving Gardein* Chik’n Strips, 1 1/4 Daiya* Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Style Wedge, 2/3 El Pinto* Medium Salsa, 1/2 TSP Vegan Parmesan Flavoring.

  1. Kashi* Mayan Harvest Bake Frozen Meal. I’m not one to usually buy frozen meals but I’ve heard good things about this one. The turn out was actually pretty nice for a frozen meal. 8g of fiber, 9g of protein.. only 380mg of sodium which is actually decent for a frozen meal. I’d buy one again in case of a lazy day such as today.
  2. No Cheese Vegetable Pizza from Pizza Hut. Thin crust of course.
  3. Was over at the new place all day, trying put everything together and got so busy that totally forgot to eat! Ryan was hungry as well, and since I had nothing in the fridge yet we just drove over to Harvey Hinklemeyers and I got a big salad from the salad bar. (The pasta salad was for him)
  4. Sometimes you just need an oreo.. or two.