Foodie Pen Pals: October

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I’ve been busy with work and life and whatnot and as such, I’ve been horribly awful at updating this. So without further ado, here’s a post. Happy Halloween by the way! What are you going to be today? I’m dressing as the Morton Salt Girl, but I can’t wear costumes to work (I work in a courthouse and everyone’s all professional and stuffy heheh) but I will be wearing my yellow dress with a blazer on top. I just can’t really tote the umbrella around because it isn’t raining out.

Anyway, this month I participated in Foodie Pen Pals again and was matched up with Cleda from Illinois. Based on my snippet of information, telling her what I like, she made me a wonderful box of goodies.

If you want to participate in FPP in the future, here’s some info:

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treatsIMG_9571

I had given Cleda some ideas on what I liked, including breakfasts, pumpkin flavors, and chocolate. She pretty much hit this box out of the ballpark.IMG_9573

These granola bars are already gone. I love having bars like this in my house. My mornings are rather hectic most days, so grabbing something to eat while I’m throwing my clothes on makes my life a lot easier. I’d never heard of this brand before, but I will be seeking them out again in the future.IMG_9574
We had guests this week, so I felt it was a good idea to have some snacks available. I had cheese, crackers, and these brandy pralines. Honestly, I’m not sure if the guests ate them or if Matt and I ate all of them – but either way these babies are gone. They were delicious.

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When I said breakfast foods, Cleda followed through! She got e this Hot & Fit Cereal made with oats, quinoa, almonds, flax, and cranberries. I haven’t made myself a bowl of it yet because I keep sleeping too late to actually do breakfast and I’ve been eating the granola bars, but this weekend I’ll make myself a bowl. I’m sure it’s delicious.
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With Halloween in mind, I love anything and everything pumpkin. As such, I was given this pumpkin fruit butter! I Haven’t used it yet. Does anyone have an idea on what I should with it that would be interesting?
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A bag of coffee is up next! This pumpkin spice coffee smells wonderful. I haven’t opened it yet because I want to finish off the other coffee I’ve been drinking first, but I’m excited for this coffee for the fall!
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These Guylian chocolates look divine. I haven’t opened them yet because I know they’ll all be gone in a second, so I need to be sure I open them at the right second. I’m excited though, especially because I love love love hazelnut fillings.

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And last, but certainly not least is this chocolate bar that I have not eaten yet. Actually, I had every intention of eating it yesterday with my lunch. And then… I left my lunch at home on the counter. Instead of eating it for desert, I decided to try it today. I’ll edit later today telling you how it was!

Foodie Pen Pals: September

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I haven’t participated in Foodie Pen Pals in SO LONG! The last time was last May. But due to major changes in my life (such as getting a job and having spending money,) I’ve been able to afford to participate again. This month my FPP buddy was Libby from Louisiana who runs Libby’s Library. The box Libby made me is full of Louisiana goodies – things that hail from the state of Louisiana. I’m excited to try everything, but there’s so much to try! And then I got strep throat… So, I will be making more things out of the box, but haven’t gotten around to it yet for the most part.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

It’s your turn to sign up!

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This box is full of Louisiana goodies for me to make dinners with – from roux to spices to packaged mixes, I got it all! I even got mardi gras beads without having to do anything for them!

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Slap Ya Mama’s Cajun Red Beans & Rice. I don’t know if my mama wants me slapping her 😉 But I do bet that her and my dad would love this with a meal. What makes that even better is they’re coming to visit at the end of October! I’ll have to make a protein with this rice for them.

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I used this Queen Bee seasoning on a piece of chicken I threw on the grill and made a chicken sandwich with. I have some other Cajun seasoning, but this beats it by 100%. It’s so much more flavorful and left a bang in my mouth!

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I also received this roux. Anyone have ideas what I can do with it!? I’ve looked online and got some recipes that I can include this in – but I’m sure it’s super flavorful.

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Next… Cafe Du Monde’s beignet mix. I made a batch of these the first weekend I got them. They were easy to make, but I didn’t have powdered sugar so I used Nutella instead. I have a sweet tooth. To note, I also sent Libby Nutella in her package. Maybe she should try beignets with Nutella 😉

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The last photo is three items – etoufee mix, gumbo mix, and jambalaya mix. There’s recipes on the packets to make cooking these three dishes even easier. I’m excited! Maybe I can have some authentic Louisiana in here (if I stop doing things like putting Nutella on the beignets!)

Spicy Fish Stew

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Before I start talking about food, I have a huge announcement to make. On Friday I found out I passed the California bar exam. 😀 😀 😀

My life has been pretty excellent this last year. It’s been stressful, no doubt, but I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Anyway, this year I also started the Pantry Party. Pantry Party is a monthly round-up, where dishes are made from the ingredients in our pantries. Every month I give a theme. This month’s theme has been perfect for this crazy month (or really, this crazy year) I’ve been having. The theme? A recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less!

The month is almost over – I hope more people join.

This was an easy dish. It was flavorful. And for a cold evening, it was great! PS – it was the first dish I made as a lawyer. This dish took me about 20 minutes to prepare.

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Spicy Fish Stew

Ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb swai, cut into pieces
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp a spice mix from Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack (I got this from a past Foodie Pen Pals)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 can garbanzo beans

Directions

1. In a deep pot, heat the olive oil. Add the spice mix and the oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Add the onions, garbanzo beans, and garlic. Cover and cook over low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add 1/2 cup of water. Arrange the swai between the vegetables. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

* serves 2
* this dish is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Foodie Pen Pals: May

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This month my FPP buddy was Miya from Ohio. Miya made me a box of all of her favorite things with a letter that explained why she included each item. I loved the box and even made the recipe that Miya included in the box for me!

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

It’s your turn to sign up!

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This box was full of a lot of thins I could snack on, which is great. Miya tells me she’s a snacker. Snacks right now are wonderful for me, with all the time I’m sitting studying for the bar and in class. I had been out of town when this box arrived. It was a delight to see and gave me a nice distraction from getting back into the groove of studying.

IMG_9033 (2)Miya first sent this flavored popcorn, ranking in at 100 calories for the whole bag. I was surprised with the size of the bag and how much carmalicious popcorn I could eat for 100 calories. This popcorn came with me with me to my bar prep class on Constitutional Law. It helped me get thought the 9-5 session.

IMG_9034 (2)Next up, Miya included jam from a local cafe that her and her daughter love. I’m not sure what flavor it is yet and I haven’t opened it yet, but she challenged me to make a homemade loaf of bread and slather this on it. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but  twill make a nice study break to make a loaf.

IMG_9035 (2)The next snack in the box was a Pure Organic Chocolate Brownie Bar. This bar is full of omega-3s and antioxidants. While I know it’s healthy and while I actually did like the flavor, the texture wasn’t all there for me. It wa sa good class snack though nonetheless.

IMG_9036 (2)Next up, French Pure Butter Cookies. Miya describes these cookies like “a little piece of heaven.” I can’t say I disagree! We actually ate some of these in the peanut butter further below and indulged.

IMG_9037 (2)Before opening this box I just thrown some crystallized ginger away, not because I didn’t like it, but because it was very old. I plan to have a baking adventure around these pieces.

IMG_9038 (2)I love mustard, so I was happy to see this hot dog mustard. I haven’t had a purpose for it, but a summer night grill of hot dogs may be in the near future.

IMG_9039 (2)Here’s that peanut butter I was talking about. Cookie Nookie is amazing. I’ve been hoping a foodie pen pal would send me flavored peanut butter because I’ve wanted to try it, but I couldn’t justify buying myself a jar of it. I’m not going to lie though, I probably shouldn’t have this in my house… it’s already gone. :X

IMG_9040 (2)Lastly, Miya included a jar of Herbs de Provence. She uses it on everything. I actually hadn’t ever used it before, so I’m glad she included a recipe for me to try it with. How else should I use this spice blend?

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The recipe Miya included for me was for an asparagus and goat cheese omelet. I didn’t have any goat cheese, so I used what I had on hand: Monterey Jack cheese. I haven’t ever actually made an omelet before and I was shocked at how pretty mine looked when I was done. Besides using the Herbs de Provence  I’m going to need make some more omelets!

Asparagus Omelet

Ingredients
2 cups asparagus, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste
5 eggs, beaten
3 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 tbsp green onions, chopped
1 tsp Herbs de Provence

Directions

1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and toss to coat with butter. Add 2 tbsp of water and cover, steaming the asparagus until cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes.

2. Add remaining butter to pan and place back over the medium-high heat. When the butter has melted pour in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the edges of the egg as it sets, titling the pan to allow the liquid egg to run underneath. Once the eggs have began to set in the center, sprinkle the cheese down the center of the omelet, topping with asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and remove from heat, allowing the residual heat to continue cooking the eggs for about one more minute.

3. Form the sides of the omelet into the center to cover the filling. Gently slide onto a plate and sprinkle with green onions.

* serves 2
* Besides the FPP roundup, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Potluck, #FoodieFriday, & Foodie Friday

Foodie Pen Pals: April

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This month my FPP buddy was a lovely lady named Haley. Haley is from Arizona and sent me a very heavy box of local foods. She also included a recipe, which I made (and will share in this post!) I loved getting a recipe (hint hint hint, next FPP: send me recipes!) At this point, if you haven’t heard about Foodie Pen Pals, you’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

Easy, yeah?

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Like I said, this was a heavy box of food! I was actually surprised when I picked it up to carry it in the house. This is by far the heaviest package I’ve received. I was so excited to dig in and see what was in there. And needless to say, I was not disappointed!

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First things first, chili mango. This is something I never have had and I was hesitant to try it. While the idea of sweet and spicy seems so great, I took the first bite like a little bird. I’m still not really sure what I think about this. It’s probably not something I’d buy again, but at the same time it was good and a lot of fun to get to try something new.

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Haley included this strawberry jelly on the request of her child. I ate it in one swift swoop. I used to get these as a kid, so it was a nice journey back.

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I haven’t tried this cactus jelly yet. But the color of it is beautiful! I haven’t taken the time to look up recipes I could use this with, so I should do that.

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Haley also included this Mango Jalapeno Jelly, along with a recipe for a grilled cheese using this jelly. I haven’t made the sandwich yet, but I do intend to soon!

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Next were these little hot sauces. They are so cute – I love miniatures! I haven’t cracked open any of them yet though – I think the Hot Sauce from Hell will be first.

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This was Matt’s choice from the box to steal from me (it seems with every FPP box, he has to grab something and claim it for his own.) This jerky is made different from the traditional beef jerky. First you cook the meat and then you dehydrate it.

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Next (and the heaviest thing in the box) was the Nopalitos, or tender cactus. I haven’t tried this yet either. Ideas on how to use it?

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These cans of hominy and green chile peppers provided the base for a delicious dinner, which Haley provided me the recipe. She had sent me an email and asked if I used my slow cooker; do I ever! I made the crcokpot pozole before class one day and it provided a great  meal for several days. The first day I just had a bowl of it. The next two days I used it over french fries, sort of similar to chili cheese fries, but pozole cheese fries instead. I’d had hominy before, but I’ve never actually used it myself. It was a super easy recipe with a lot of flavor!

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Crockpot Pozole

Ingredients
1 tbsp canola oil
2 lb boneless pork loin, cubed
2 14.5 oz cans red enchilada sauce
1 30 oz can hominy
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 can diced green chilies, drained
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Add meat and cook, browning the sides.

2. Place the meat in a crock pot. Cover with enchilada sauce. Top with hominy, onions, chilies, garlic, cayenne, and oregano. Add the water.

3. Cook on high for 6-7 hours. Add salt and cilantro and cook on low for 30 more minutes.

(serve with lime wedges, shredded cheese,s our cream, green onions, and flour tortillas)

* serves about 8
* sharing this recipe with Tempt My Tummy

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal: March

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Wow. I completely forgot that I needed to reveal my foodie pen pal box this month until right now! Things have been super hectic this weekend with Easter. My spring break was actually last week, so I’ve been going to my parents’ a lot in the past few weeks. I feel like I’m getting behind in everything else.

This month’s box came to me from April. Unfortunately I just haven’t had the time to try most of it, but she packed me a great box!

Foodie Pen Pals is a program that Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean put together, where she pairs people together to send boxes of food to each other, based on likes and dislikes.


  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

Before we get to my box, go check out the box I sent Molly! It was full of San Francisco treats.

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The box April sent me was full of things I can use easily. It actually arrived while I was out of town. Matt ate the Quakes Rice Snacks before I could try them. So that bag.. It’s empty.

IMG_8751This French vanilla mousse mix will make a nice dessert one night! Since I’m in the process of losing weight, I much appreciate that it’s both sugar free and low fat!

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This LaraBar was eaten. Quick snacks for school days are crucial.

IMG_8752I haven’t used these croutons yet, but I bought some salad supplies today and plan to include these!

IMG_8753I love egg noodles. I planned to make some beef stew last week with buttered egg noodles, but it didn’t happen due to my hectic life. I have the big piece of beef in the freezer that will be made into a stew with these noodles.

IMG_8754Unfortunately I didn’t get to try these! Matt enjoyed them though.

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal: February

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Once again I received another wonderful box in the mail full of food. I love participating in this program and foresee continuing in it so long as it exists.

This month I received a box from Alyson at Simply Nutricising. In the email I sent Alyson with my likes I told her I liked hazelnuts, chocolate, candy, and spices. I also told her that I rely on snacks during the week when I have my late night classes but that I love to cook. The box Alyson sent me hit the mark perfectly. I love everything in the box.

The box I sent this month was sent to Kiersten. I sent her some Annie’s Mac & Cheese, some jam, some herbal coffee, and some other things.

So if you haven’t heard about it already, I’m assuming now you’re wondering “WHAT IS FOODIE PEN PALS!?” I mean, when I first read a blog post about it that’s exactly what I thought. So here, let me tell you.

Foodie Pen Pals is a program that Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean put together, where she pairs people together to send boxes of food to each other, based on likes and dislikes.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

So.. What did I get this month?

IMG_8632I had opened my box so late on Tuesday night. I have class Tuesdays until almost 9:30 p.m. I got home and I shoved some food into my face and realized there was a box sitting on the counter that I hadn’t seen when I walked in. After shoving food into my face I tore the box open like a ravenous dog.

IMG_8637Among the food varieties packed in the box, Alyson sent me a super cute kitchen towel. I’m always in need of these, so this was excellent.

IMG_8638Whenever I get a FPP box I can’t resist but chowing down on something immediately. I obviously don’t eat everything in the box in one sitting, but I always have to have something. Considering I had just finished dinner Matt and I shared this ka-ka-o milk chocolate peanut butter bark. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. And I have an even bigger love for chocolate. I probably should have made this bark last longer than the minute it took to eat it so I could have savored it a lot more than I did, but it was excellent and was a perfect way to start the February FPP box.

IMG_8639Speaking of chocolate, Alyson sent me a handful of chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day. I did restrain myself a little bit – I haven’t eaten them all yet.

IMG_8640Alyson really listened when I said that there are some days when I could really use some snacks. She sent me multiple 100-calorie snack packs in three different varieties: chocolate pomegranate, dark chocolate roasted almonds, and dark chocolate blueberry. I’ve tried the almonds and the blueberries so far. I’m actually going to need to find these on my own because they are really satisfying when sitting in a class that feels like it’ll never end and your stomach is rumbling. On top of that, chocolate!

IMG_8641I haven’t had a Dum-Dum in forever. When I was in elementary school I recall having them a lot. I vaguely recall a teacher handing them out as rewards. I love the bouquet she created with the lollipops. They bring me right back to childhood!

IMG_8633Alyson also included this box of instant oatmeal called OatFit. I brought the box to work because when I get hungry after court it’s super easy to pop this in the microwave and have a big bowl of oatmeal. The coolest part about this is the convenience factor. The packet that the oatmeal comes in is also the measuring cup for water. Such a great product!

IMG_8635I’m feeling like this is the endless box of goodies! Alyson also sent me these flavored vinegars in calamansi (citrus) and cherry. Though I haven’t used them yet, I have found several ideas online for things I’m going to make with them. I plan on using the calamansi on roast salmon. Alyson also suggested using it in a salad dressing.

IMG_8636Last but not least, Alyson sent me two Penzey’s spices. One was in Bold Taco and the other is cinnamon. I love spices (and told Alyson that) so I was very excited for these. Also, I’ve been wanting to order Penzey’s for some time now, but I just hadn’t been able to justify the cost of their spices to myself plus shipping. But after trying the Bold Taco spice (I haven’t opened the cinnamon yet) I think I’m going to have to change that and start exclusively buying Penzey’s.

With the Bold Taco spice I made a pasta dish. It was delicious.

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Enchilada Pasta Casserole
(inspiration)

Ingredients
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp Penzey’s Bold Taco spice
3 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 can diced green chiles
6 oz egg noodles

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot boil water. Cook the egg noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, cook the chicken until no longer pink. Stir in the Bold Taco spice until the chicken is all covered.

3. Add in the cream cheese until melted.

4. In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, enchilada sauce, half of the cheddar, half of the monterey jack cheese, the corn, and the diced chiles.  Stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the chicken and simmer for 3 minutes.

5. Add the pasta to the chicken. Mix well until everything is coated in the sauce.

6. Pour the pasta into a casserole dish. Cover with the remaining cheese.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

* serves 3

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal: January

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After taking a month off from sending food packages to each other and instead donating money to those affected by the storms on the east coast that ravaged towards the end of last year, Foodie Pen Pal’s is back for more packages being sent packed with food.

This month I received a box from Jillian, from Her Split Ends. She did a wonderful job of getting me foods that I love. Flavors and foods I told her I was craving this month included: tea, chocolate, squash, quick to eat snacks, and mango.

The box I sent went to Dominique. She had requested a recipe and told me that she liked Mexican food, so I sent her a recipe to the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas I’ve made before. The box mainly consisted of the ingredients to make the dish (minus the chicken and the sour cream and other super perishable things) as well as a box of Mexican hot chocolate. I live in a very Hispanic neighborhood. One of the grocery stores I frequent is actually a Mexican market, so coming about Mexican food is very easy for me (as are other cuisines – I love California.)

Anyway, you might be wondering what Foodie Pen Pals is. You’re probably wondering how is possible that some stranger somewhere in the country got your name and address and decided to send you a box of food.

Foodie Pen Pals is a program that Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean put together, where she pairs people together to send boxes of food to each other, based on likes and dislikes.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

Without further ado, let’s look at what Jillian sent me.

IMG_8524First things first. Here’s a picture of what I unpacked from my box. I forgot to include the card Jillian sent in the picture, but it read:

“Elizabeth
Happy Foodie Penpal Package! I hope you enjoy all this yummy goodness! Good luck in law school and in your future!!
Love & Joy
Jillian
http://www.hersplitends.com”

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In the initial email I sent to Jillian I told her that while I love to cook, I have a ton of night classes this semester. I get sooo hungry when it’s 9 o’clock and I haven’t eaten dinner yet. Snacks are essential to my survival. Jillian sent me quite a few snacks, some of which I’d never have before. These Chia & Fruit Clusters, for instance, were something I have never had (or even seen) before. They were great. I brought them to school with me a few nights to munch on during lectures. They were filling without being too filling.

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A container of mango coconut water was also included. Honestly, I haven’t had it yet. I brought it to work with me one day to include in my lunch, but then we ended up going out to get Mexican and I forgot I had it with me. I do intend to drink it today. The idea of mango and coconut water together sounds delightful.

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Jillian also included several tea bags. I love tea. Lately, with how cold it is outside, I’ve been drinking multiple glasses a day. I’ve used two of the tea bags so far and they were both great.

IMG_8531For as much as Justin’s Nut Butters are shared on Foodie Pen Pals, I’ve never actually tried it. I’ve even sent it, but I haven’t tried it. I used the Maple Almond Butter with a bowl of oatmeal. I ate the Chocolate Hazelnut with a banana (though I was tempted to just squeeze the package in my mouth.) I love Nutella. Justin’s tasted like a healthier version of one of my favorites.

IMG_8525I’m a chocholic, so this bar of chocolate did not last very long. And get this! My boyfriend watched as I opened the box, saw this bar of chocolate, and darted off with it. Lucky I got it back. Chocolate and orange is one of the most delightful flavors (and in fact, is my favorite ice cream flavor.) I was good though and didn’t off the bar in one sitting. I shared it with my boyfriend and actually savored it for several days.

IMG_8526Jillian also included a Kind bar for me. This made a great snack during one of those evening classes where my stomach was growling.

IMG_8527Last, but definitely not least, was a box of Butternut Squash Risotto. This was a very easy way to make risotto and was incredibly flavorful. I actually had it for dinner last night. I intended to take a picture of what I had done with it, but I forgot and only remembered when the meal was gone. I made Simple Garlic Shrimp and served them on top of the rice. There were also kale chips for the side. It was a nice, easy dinner.

Jillian did an excellent job of putting together a box for me with things that I loved! Thanks Jillian!

 

 

 

 

Honey-Mustard Chicken and Mustard Mashed Potatoes

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This is the last meal of my 25th year being on the earth. Tomorrow is my 26th birthday. How do I celebrate my birthday? Do I get a cake? Do I spend the day doing lots of fun things? No, no. I get to write a 5,000 word essay. As of this moment, at 10:46 p.m. I have 546 words written. I have to turn in this 5,000 word essay Monday night. I will be doing a lot of writing tomorrow.

But don’t get me wrong. I haven’t entirely been procrastinating. I wrote a 10 page paper today. I started it last night (after trying to type it all day but only getting a few words typed, I went to bed.) I just managed to stack the worst finals schedule ever this semester. I’ll be done by mid-next week. Then I have hearings at work. I’m really looking forward to my break and baking cookies.

The honey I used in this recipe was from my September Foodie Penpal box. We finally finished off the other honey we had in the house, so it was time to make use of the honey from Sara! The combination of the sweet honey and the savory mustard, bacon, chicken, and mushrooms was perfect.

Also, who would have thought of putting mustard in mashed potatoes? It’s delicious. I’m giving you both recipes.

Honey-Mustard Chicken
(source)

Ingredients
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 slices of bacon, cut in half
1 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350. Rub the chicken breasts with salt and garlic powder. Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Brown for 4 minutes on each side.

2. Combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise, and dried onion flakes. Remove half of the sauce and set aside.

3. Place the browned chicken in a baking dish sprayed with Pam. Top with honey-mustard sauce. Place bacon slice on top of each piece of chicken. Toss mushrooms over the chicken and cover the whole dish with cheese.

4. Bake for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is crunchy. Serve with reserved honey-mustard sauce.

* serves 2

Mustard Mashed Potatoes
(source)

Ingredients
3 medium red potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp margarine
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes, until tender.

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in with the potatoes and mash until smooth.

* serves 2

* shared with Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff Saturday and Weekend Cooking

Foodie Penpal Reveal: November

I slacked this month. I received this box full of excellent food, including a recipe for a dip, but for some reason I just haven’t gotten around to making it yet, which also means I haven’t eaten the crackers because I want them in the dip. This is what happens towards the end of the semester for me. I get crazy with school. I then slack with school. And then I get nothing done anywhere. I get nothing fun done, I get nothing productive done, I just do very little.

Anyway, without further ado: FOODIE PEN PALS!

What is foodie pen pals you ask? Here’s a breakdown:

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

I am convinced that my pen pal this month, Alexandra, is actually a mind reader. When I received my treat box in the mail at first I just figured that maybe I had told her that I was having a hot chocolate obsession, that I loved sweet potatoes, and my boyfriend absolutely loves cheesey crackers. But then when I went back and looked at the email I sent her, I had said nothing of the sort! But she knew! She knew things I hadn’t even thought to write down. And I kid you not, my hot chocolate obsession started this month when I was buying my own Foodie Pen Pal a bar of chocolate at a local store that is known for their hot chocolate. So you know, when I emailed Alexandra about what I was looking for I didn’t even know how obsessed with hot chocolate I was going to be this season! How did she even know before I did?! This girl is amazing, I tell you.

So these are the sweet potato crackers I haven’t opened yet. Perhaps I just should have had one to let everyone know how it was – but I really want to make the dip Alexandra suggested. But here’s reason number one why Alexandra must be a mind reader. I love sweet potatoes. I think they outdo the potato most always and make a wonderful sweet potato fry. I put sweet potatoes in stews. I roast it. I love them. How could I dislike a cracker? I really should  open these. Maybe I’ll eat at least one without the dip tonight.

I also got this package of Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate. In love! In heaven! This stuff is magnificent and perfect for when it’s cold outside! I wish I could get more of this, but it has also encouraged me to try more varieties of hot chocolate. Like I mentioned above, I’ve really been having a hot chocolate thing this month. I got my first cup of the season at Ginger Elizabeth when I was buying my pen pal a very special chocolate bar. I proceeded to get hot chocolates from Peet’s, Starbucks, from a local place by work, and pretty much where ever I see hot chocolate. This was the perfect gift, especially given my obsession.

Next were cheese straws. Cheese straws remind me a lot of Cheez-Its. My boyfriend loves Cheez-Its. He also loved the cheese straws. And I don’t blame him! They made a great treat!

Lastly was this innocuous white package. Apparently Alexandra’s fiance works for a food company and this is a product not yet released! It’s a pretzel bite filled with peanut butter and with chocolate. So yummy! The combination of the flavors was on point!

Anyway, despite my own slacking this month with getting the recipe together, Alexandra hit it out of the park with this box.

It might be good there’s no food boxes getting shipped in December, because this is going to be a hard box to top.

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Foodie Pen Pal’s in December, there are no boxes being sent. Instead we are being asked to donate to charity to help those affected by Superstorm Sandy. For more information go here.