I’m Late…So Sue Me

1 09 2012

Suffering from a wee tad bit of a bad attitude from being tired and not taking good care of myself, I missed my deadline for the Foodie Pen Pal program that Lesley over at The Lean Green Bean works so hard to coordinate.  My apologies to any and all that are disappointed by my tardiness.  If that’s not good enough, sue me, unfollow me, or whatever it is one does when one is unhappy in cyberspace.  (See? Bad attitude.  I didn’t even dress it up in a pretty little passive-aggressive dress – HA.)

Checking the bad attitude at the cyber door, let’s get on with it, shall we?

This month my Foodie Pen Pals were Virginia in Arizona (my recipient), and Katie in Pennsylvania (my sender).  After asking Virginia about allergies and preferences I proceeded to send her something that was on her allergy list.  My error occurred to me after she received the package.  That’s TWO demerits for me this month.  Damn, I need to get my act together.  Despite my boo boo she seemed to enjoy the rest of the items – go see for yourself.  I aspire to be that nice.

As for Katie – well, Katie is like my new best friend.  I’d like to have her next month again so I can place an order.  I grew up in Pennsylvania, though the other side of the state, but I also lived in her neck of the woods for a couple years for my work.  Now that I know where she is it might be nice to get some of my favorite things from Northeastern PA.  I did get one of them – Barbeque potato chips.  If you haven’t been to PA, let me just say that these people are serious about two things:  BBQ Flavor Potato Chips and Beer.  When I was a kid growing up, most every town had their own chip factory and their own brewery.  Not so much any more, but everyone does still have their favorites and they are all made in PA somewhere.  As you can see in the photo, I received a bag of chips, some Spiedini Marinade, the official Penn State dipping mustard, bread crumbs (this is another thing made in nearly every town in PA, and essential for breading your dinner), Maple Syrup, and Maple Cream-filled Dark Chocolates.

The chips were mostly gone and the candy already sampled before I remembered to stop and take the picture.  There’s something about the way they do the BBQ seasoning on the chips in PA that’s different than what I can get here in NC – it’s so much better in PA.  Katie is a transplant to PA from the west coast (the first person I’ve ever met that moved into PA; most people leave like me – don’t hate me, it’s true), and said that in the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton area of PA, you are either Polish or Italian –  as are the food choices.

I haven’t used the other items yet because I haven’t been eating at home much.  It’s partly due to my work schedule, but mostly due to the malfunctioning refrigerator that cannot be trusted to house perishable foods without freezing them, even on the number 1 setting.  That, along with the broken toilet and the dog who got fleas, is another blog post.  I’m sure I will get to all of it – the spiedie marinade and the landlord-hating blog post – eventually.

Until then, I’ll leave you to it.  Have a good one!

Foodie Pen Pals: A Word from My Recipient

31 07 2012

Dear Readers,

As mentioned in my post earlier, my Foodie Pen Pal recipient this month is not a blogger so I asked her to write a little something about her experience that I could share with you.    After receiving my package earlier this month, she sent me the sweetest email.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I was so excited to receive my goodie box yesterday. I had a terrible day at work and got home an hour and a half later than usual. When i walked in the door my husband had the box waiting on the kitchen table for me. It really made my day:) I think he was just as excited to see what was inside.”

Like I said, getting the package is at least as fun as what’s inside.  Here’s Sarah:

“I was very excited to be participating in Foodie Pen Pals for the first time. My pen pal was Susan from Wilmington, North Carolina. I live in Illinios and couldn’t wait to see what kind of goodies I would get. Susan was very personable and nice to talk to from the start. I really enjoyed her blog as well. I explained to her that I had started eating vegan this year for health and weight-loss reasons. She did a great job keeping my dietary restrictions in mind.

My goodie box included Pineapple Pepper Jelly, 8th Wonder All Purpose Spice Blend, and Campobasso Trading Company Black Tie Seasoning. The spices are made locally in Wilmington. My husband and I immediately sampled the jelly because we had never had anything like it. It had a great flavor with just a little spice. I plan to use the seasonings for grilled or roasted veggies for me and my husband will use some on local organic meat. Susan also included some great tips on how to use each of my new ingredients.

This was a great experience and I plan to continue doing Foodie Pen Pals.

Thanks again Susan!  Sarah K.”

Goodies from My Foodie Pen Pal

31 07 2012

Last month, a fellow blogger from Rantings of an Amateur Chef posted an article about a package he received from a Foodie Penpal.  I was curious to know more, so I followed the link to yet another blog called The Lean Green Bean.  While I may be a bit late to the game, I couldn’t resist giving it a try.  Maybe you should, too.  If you like to cook and eat, this is a great way to broaden your horizons and have a little fun.

What is a Foodie Penpal, you ask?  Let’s see if I can explain it.  A very nice young lady named Lindsay has put together a system of connecting us foodies in the United States with one another and facilitating us sharing products, flavors, regional cuisines, and ideas with each other.  She takes her list of those who want to participate each month, puts it in the virtual blender, and comes up with random foodie matches.  You send a package to your designated foodie recipient, and another foodie sends one to you.  Everyone gets a package, everyone is introduced to new people, and everyone gets a chance to explore the country without the plane fare.  There are some rules you should read and follow to ensure no one is disappointed, but if you want to be a Foodie Penpal it’s as easy as signing up!  You can opt out on a month to month basis if life or your budget prohibits you from participating, and certainly there is no obligation or contract.  Your spending limit is $15 plus whatever postage/shipping you choose to use, so it’s fairly affordable for us working blokes.  Coming home to a mystery package of foodie treats in the mail is the best kind of spirit lifter – it’s priceless!

My Foodie Penpal for my inaugural month of July was Mellissa of A Fit and Spicy Life.  Mellissa resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, or as those of us who have or do travel a lot refer to it, MSP.  Our email exchange after being matched gave us a chance to compare notes.  I let Mellissa know that I don’t have any known food allergies or dietary restrictions, and that I would love to sample regional products from her area.  The package she put together for me was great, and I am guessing she busted that $15 budget just a bit – but I won’t be letting a bit of it go to waste.

My package of goodies from my July Foodie Pen Pal, Mellissa

My rather eclectic box of goodies included a rice blend, a corn bread mix, honey, and Bar-B-Que Sauce all made or assembled by Minnesotan companies (though I’m pretty sure they aren’t growing rice up there).  Not from Minnesota but also in the box was a Chocolate Bar from Endangered Species based in the other -polis, Indianapolis, and a sample packet of Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter made in Colorado.  So far I have made some of the rice, tasted the BBQ sauce (yum!), and consumed the chocolate bar and almond butter.  My regular readers know that I went back to work full time and moved at the same time.  The result is that my kitchen is not really settled yet and I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking at home.  But I look forward to cooking up a storm with all these tasty treats in the near future.

I so enjoyed receiving the package.  Honestly, the arrival of the package and anticipation of opening it was the best part of this whole experience.  The tasty treats are a nice bonus.  Thanks, Mellissa!

I sent a package of local products to my Foodie Penpal recipient, Sarah, from Pekin, IL.  I’ll let her tell you about her package herself in a separate post.  Sarah is a blog reader, not a blogger.  This program is open to any and every one who is willing and able to send a package to another foodie and write about it on their blog or someone else’s.  So y’all go sign up now and get you an August Foodie Penpal!

Lindsay also has programs for Canada and other countries if you do not reside in the US, so check out her blog for more information on that.  She wisely decided to avoid the hassle of customs forms and high shipping charges by limiting penpals to same-country exchanges.  It’s growing all the time, so if your country isn’t in the program yet, let her know you are interested and she will look for a match for you!

Happy eating, friends.


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