Food, Gratitude

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day

October 31, 2012

Sweet treats galore!

It’s been a week, friends. I skipped the weekend travel post and haven’t even bothered trying to come up with new post ideas. No wonderful excuses here! There have been no life-changing events or super parties, no new recipes, and certainly not an overabundance of photos to sort through. What’s been keeping me away from here is plain old stress and an overall feeling of meh.

But at least today I had an assignment, something I didn’t need to think of on my own and over 1,000 other people are a part of. I’m talking about Foodie Pen Pals! This was my first month participating- first of all, thanks so much to Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean for creating this exchange club. And a big giant thank you to the sender of my October gift box, Robin 🙂 She asked me ahead of time what my preferences were- I guess you can tell I shared my love of sweets, huh?

Wonderful for baking!

These Ghirardelli white baking chips were perfect, because the only chips I had left were cinnamon, plus some dark chocolate left to its lonesome in the freezer. So I decided to make a new (to me) cookie: Oatmeal and dried cranberries with white chocolate AND dark chocolate chunks (a variation on this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, one of my go-to blogs for baking):

The chunkiest cookies I ever did make

They don’t look bad, do they? In truth, there were pretty dry and dense- and I found that they didn’t even taste sweet enough (for me- Andy thought they were fine)! Ah well. I suppose my ‘expertise’ lies more with muffins. Oh yeah, and these blondies. They are heavenly and impossible to mess up.

Back to my lovely Pen Pal box! I didn’t mention to Robin that we were out of honey, but intuitively she must have known. Glorious! I just had a spoonful of this stuff with some minced garlic (since I’ve been on antibiotics for my tooth, I’ve tried to eat even more garlic to combat possible infections), and it’s also a nice addition to my lemon peppermint tea.

Organic, too? Don’t I feel special!

These Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies were another intuitive gift, as Andy and I were longingly eyeing them in the store only a few days before receiving them from Robin 🙂 Milanos never last long around here!

Ha! Plate for pretty photo purposes only. These babies go right from the package into our mouths.

We love the hot chocolate, and my nephew particularly loved the mini marshmallows 🙂 Who doesn’t want a nice cup of cocoa to sip by the fire on a chilly night?

Lastly, we have the olives, one of my favorite foods.

That resealable container is soooo convenient.

I like throwing black olives in to wraps, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, pasta….okay, getting hungry, I’ll stop. My two favorite cuisines are Mexican and Italian, and it’s perfect that these olives can be incorporated into both of them 🙂

Here are some of the Foodie Pen Pal deets if you’d like to participate:

-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 Penpals 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.

In other news, Andy baked a whole bunch of bread in preparation for Hurricane Sandy:

Two of the four loaves Andy baked on Monday

Fortunately, the storm didn’t affect us at all, and for us at least, all the crazy anticipation turned out to be for nothing. Yes, it was terrifically windy down by the water and there was some flooding in the Rondout, but that  was to be expected. My parents on Long Island are among the many who lost power, and my sister’s in-laws especially have been heavy on my mind: they live in Breezy Point, Queens, where over 100 homes were destroyed by fire. We were so relieved to hear that their house was flooded but did not catch fire.

Oy vey. Weather and natural disaster are great equalizers, huh? Are you guys counting your blessings after losing power or possessions? Or because you didn’t experience any loss?

Right now, I’m grateful for Andy’s bread, which I just enjoyed toasted with some amazing cinnamon toast butter from nearby Ronnybrook Farm. I hope your Wednesdays are going well, all. I’ll talk to you again soon, I promise.



The important thing is not that we can live on hope alone, but that life is not worth living without it.  —Harvey Milk

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  • Rona October 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I participated for the first time this month. It was really fun receiving my pen pal’s package.
    Looks like you received a terrific package of goodies.
    Happy Halloween!

  • Julie McGovern November 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Foody penpals, what a fun & yummy idea!

    Glad you were OK in the storm. It hit the east coast of RI hard, but it definitely could have been worse. I had to drive to NJ for work yesterday & couldn’t believe the long lines for gas…crazy.

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