Another Foodie PenPal Revelation Day!

This month’s Foodie PenPal package arrived only a few days after the required mailing deadline (the 15th of the month is always the mail-by date), a gift from the Lone Star State, Texas. My FPP, Megan, decided – based on my answers to questions in her initial e-mail about any food allergies/sensitivities, likes/loves and dislikes – to go with a theme of “cinnamon.” Yay! Love cinnamon!

It was only my second time trying the the Foodie Penpal program, and again it was fun – all of it: picking out and sending items to my FPP in Minnesota, receiving my package from Texas, opening it to check out the surprises. I will, of course do this again – although I will wait a bit for my next experience. I’ll be back to blogging more, hopefully, within the next few days and will want to focus on that. Plenty of recipes waiting to write up and post…

For now, though, let me tell you about my August 2012 Foodie PenPal box.

My favorite thing, believe it or not, was such a simple – and simply tasty – bag of cinnamon sweet potato chips. I’ve been sampling them every now and then, but want to create some kind of simple semi-sweet dip to have with them before they’re all gone!

Megan also included homemade pumpkin bread. She used a recipe from a cookbook of family recipes she compiled for her cousin’s wedding, which reminded me of my own cookbook (recipes compiled for my brother Bill and his bride Deb in the mid-1990s). This particular recipe creates two loaves, she said, and so she retained one for her own family. Naturally, this now makes me want to bake up some of my own favorite rendition of pumpkin bread soon, especially since autumn is just around the corner.

 Next, there were packages of teas and coffee from a place called Independence Coffee Company. Megan mentioned in her note that this is one of her favorite “local” roasters. It’s located about 45 minutes west of Houston. She even thought to include one if those tea steepers (you know- that you fill with loose tea for steeping in hot water! I own a couple, but do you think I’d ever remember their true name?), a really nice touch.

She couldn’t resist adding a box of Hot Tamales, a fiery cinnamon candy, plus cinnamon-flavored Trident gum – finishing off the theme. She also packed an issue of Texas Monthly into the package, with a bookmarked article in it re Tex-Mex food by Hugo Ortega, who owns a restaurant locally. Very cool to include a regional magazine! 

If you’re interested in participating in the Foodie PenPals program, check out it out at the Lean Green Bean site page for it (hyperlink found in this sentence!). You don’t have to participate every month either. Each time you choose to, you simply re-apply (a simple form to fill out). If you do, hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Foodie Penpal – Revelation Day

I haven’t been writing much, nor posting to blog or even much anywhere else. Guess I’ll call it summer vacation, although I’ve been simplifying in general (like cutting back on computer use, unsubscribing to lots of e-lists, etc.). Mostly it’s been reading and trying to stay out of seasonal (& sometimes ultra-seasonal) summer heat. Of course I’m cooking (a necessity), so there will be posts eventually, certainly by summer’s end. But I did sign up for the Foodie Penpal program (see icon on this page, which should take you to info about it), and a requirement is that you post on your blog, if you have one, about the package you received. So here goes.

My package came from a lovely-sounding teacher named Kacey who told me she lives in a rural town in the heart of Virginia. When she contacted me in early July, she said it had been over 101 degrees there for the entire past week. She said it was also her first time doing the Foodie Penpal thing, and she was looking forward to it. She inquired about any allergies or food restrictions, as well as food and dislikes, and the subsequent package reflected some of what I told her.

Kacey did something similar to what I’d decided upon – she went local for Foodie PPs. Everything in the box I received came from a Mennonite store, which I thought was neat. I’d told her I liked raspberries, and there were raspberry-yogurt-covered pretzels (which immediately had to be placed in the fridge because the box was so warm from mail transport in the heat that the coating was melting!). I said I loved cinnamon, so there were a couple homemade (by Mennonites) snickerdoodles. Another berry fav, blackberries, showed up as a jam (yesterday, I had it on toasted potato bread for breakfast). And then there was the delicious zucchini bread – which served as breakfast the day after received.

A wonderful first experience. I’ve already thanked Kacey for her generosity and care (but hope she reads it here once more); and I’ve heard from Teresa, my sending-TO foodie penpal in Maryland, who enjoyed her package as well. Kacey doesn’t have a blog, but I’ll check out Teresa’s later on in the day.

While I probably can’t do this every month ($$-wise), I did sign up for August and will remain on the list for participation at different times. What a great idea this project was – and how quickly it seems to have caught on! Already, Lindsay Livingston of The Lean Green Bean foodblog has over 1,000 people participating. Thanks go out to her for all her creative work.