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!

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