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January Foodie Pen Pals – Chocolate Edition

I am in heaven!

I am in heaven!

So in the months that I have done Foodie Pen Pals, I have received many wonderful items. I don’t mean to disparage them in any way, shape or form with this blog entry, but this time, I was blown away!

It all started on January 5th when I received my email from Mary. I don’t really remember what all she said in the email, because my brain was focused on one sentence…” I work in a Chocolate Shoppe!” Well, that was all I needed to hear. I told Mary that I had no allergies to chocolate. Chocolate was my friend, and I would leave it to her good judgement what to include in her package to me.

As you can see from above, it was a chocolate cornucopia, a bountifulness of cocoa… A horn of plenty if you will!

I started off with a taste of the cookies

The true meaning of O.M.G.!

The true meaning of O.M.G.!

These are actually Salted Caramel Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. And yes, they taste as good as they sound… I had to share some with my wife! (Yes, I can actually share!) The best part about these cookies is not only the taste, but the fact that Mary also included the recipe! If you would like it, leave a comment below!

She also included:

This ain't your mama's Hershey's!

This ain’t your mama’s Hershey’s!

The actual cocoa that she uses from a specialty spice company called Penzey’s Spices. Mary stated that this was the only cocoa that she uses in her baking. This was a nice addition as she knew that once I had tasted the cookies, I would want to make more… And I did!

Next were the truffles.

I can be a Packer's fan for four bites can't I?

I can be a Packer’s fan for four bites can’t I?

Being from the land of Green and Gold, Mary included a couple of delicious dark chocolate truffles. The coloring makes it look like little Packers Helmets!

A sample pack from Mary’s shop:

Say it in your best Cockney Accent!

Say it in your best Cockney Accent!

The name of her shop is Allo Chocolat! She develops and teaches classes there. As far as I am concerned, she has her Masters, PhD. and Jedi Master of chocolate making down.

Now one would think that with such a delicious package that this would be a perfect thing to share with others… I didn’t.. Now readers of this blog know that I a trying to lose some weight. These were perfect to put a single one in my lunchbox and have a delightful end to my lunch.

Mmmm...Hot chocolate!

Mmmm…Hot chocolate!

I have not tried this yet, but with cooler temperatures hitting the Gulf Coast of Florida, it will be soon! Mary says in her note that this is a favorite “after-dinner” beverage and that it has been compared to drinking a liquid truffle! Come to think of it, maybe I will try this right now!

Along with these delectable items, Mary also included a Charleston Chew since her shop sells vintage candy as well. With a moment or two in the freezer and a crack on the counter, this was a fine way to travel back to childhood.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Mary included recipes to try… Everything from Turkish Hummus to Fox Point Chicken Bites.

 

As you can see, this Foodie Pen Pal package was one for the record books and one that all future boxes will be measured! A big thank you to Mary and the crew at Allo Chocolat! The next time I am in Waukesha, Wisconsin, I will be sure to stop in…

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FPP-post

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-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 & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 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 from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.
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October Foodie Pen Pals

When I was a kid, I loved the thought of having a pen pal.  In the 2nd grade I had my first pen pal and remember how excited I was to send a letter to someone unknown and to receive a letter in return.  At the end of September, I heard about the Foodie Pen Pal program from my friend Nanci from ” This Crazy Life Of Mine.” She wrote about Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean.

I was SO excited to be a part of this Food Pen Pal group, both because I was able to put a box together for my pen pal but also because I would receive a box from a completely different person.  I had the pleasure of being connected with two amazing people, Sharon from Delicious Musings (who had me) and Megan (my foodie pen pal).

As it turns out, Sharon new of my affinity for “Down East” food and sent a package of goodies from New England!

The Maple Candy from Brown Family Farm was a big hit as anything made of pure sugar melts quickly in the Florida heat.

Next on the list was a jar of natural hone from Windy Hill Farm in Windham, Maine. I put honey in everything, so this is a delicious staple to my pantry

A jar of Maine Wild Blueberry Jam was also in the package from Maine Jams & Jellies Inc. At least I think there was, as it did not last very long!

And finally a delightful book called Sugar and Salt, Book One. It is a collection of recipes, crafts, thoughts and stories from author and chef Annie Mahle who owns and operates a floating restaurant and B&B on the Maine Schooner J. & E. Riggins.

Besides the blueberry jam, I cannot wait to dive into all of these wonderful items!

Thank-you so much Sharon!

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So, do you wanna join us?! Here’s the deal:

-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 November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

 

It All Started With A Green Smoothie

In all actuality, I started thinking about getting healthier a few months ago. I was on Pinterest of all places and  I saw a picture of a green smoothie…

Linda, please don’t sue me for stealing your photo!

At first I was disgusted, but as I read about this strange elixir and it’s ingredients, I started to think. “Hey, I could drink that!” I mean, it was mostly fruit and a little bit of spinach. The fruit would have to overpower the taste of spinach so even I could choke it down, right?

I really liked Linda Wagner’s blog where I first saw the green smoothie and started following her. I have to admit, I am not at her healthy level of eating, but a person has to start somewhere. She has great tips and recipes too!

At the time, I did not want to make the commitment of a 200.00 to 300.00 mixer. As we all know in losing weight and getting healthy, commitments are sometimes short lived. I didn’t want to fail and then even worse, have 300.00 juicer mocking me from the kitchen. So I went looking for another option.

My wife and I, have always been a fan of the Magic Bullet; a late-night infomercial staple of how to make milkshakes, smoothies and chopped items. We have had one for a few years and it did its job perfectly, but we wanted something a little stronger that could chop up the fruit and veggies and not lose the vitamins of the skin and fiber.

I was very happy to find the next generation online… The Nutri-Bullet.

Now this is not an advertisement, I am not getting paid…(Nutri-Bullet people, hint, hint) But I am just passing along something that works for me. A compact and inexpensive way to get my daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

As an example, I took some pictures of my breakfast yesterday. I just chopped up a plate of fruit… bananas, kiwi, pineapple, apple, blueberries, grapes and of course the spinach!

Yes, all this will fit it the Nutri-Bullet!

It takes about five minutes to chop it all up and a minute to blend it. A very delicious “Nutri-blast” in under 10 minutes.

Not as green as the original, but I added blueberries that darken it!

Along with being a great health option, the community that have a Nutri-Bullet are very loyal and dedicated. There are recipe books and Facebook pages for recipes. Everything from smoothies to soups etc.

As I said before, I am not making any money from the company, I am just telling you what has worked for me. As I have said in previous postings, I am on the Weight Watchers program and a fruit shake like this is ZERO points and is very filling. And also, I am down another 2 pounds this week!

So go do whatever keeps you on the path to better health. I have found mine. Good luck to you as well!

And let me know if you have a juicer or even a Nutri-Bullet. I would love to hear about your experiences too!

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