FPP Special Guest Post

I’m finally getting around to posting a guest post from a super special guest: my mom!  She just got on the Foodie Pen Pal bandwagon and was probably most stoked about the posting part:)  Luckily, she got an insanely awesome box of food!



When my daughter first told me about FPP’s I was convinced that it was a complicated ruse for someone to send her roofied lemon bars. But then I kept seeing all of the cool and interesting things she got each month, and my desire for surprise food packages in the mail far outweighed my fear of roofied lemon bars and stranger abduction. September was my first month, and I got a (beautifully wrapped) package from Shelly @ vegetarianventures.com. I feel bad that I didn’t give her more details and instruction but i didn’t want to stifle her creativity, I love new things!

Shelly did not disappoint. She sent a box of her favorite things from the local co-op in Bloomington, In.  Let’s talk about honey Caramel Puffs, they are amazing, like eat the whole bag in one sitting amazing. Salty and not too sweet, but with an amazing airy texture.  I tell myself that I’ll just have one…then another, and another, and then I’m googling how to order them online.  Also a bag of delicious granola that I mixed with Greek yogurt as suggested, perfect quick breakfast!  Salted dark chocolate, enough said. Seeing a connection? Add salt to sweet, and I’m in. Banana chips that are so delicious. They aren’t your typical too crispy, artificially sweetened, banana chips, these are slightly too thick and a little bit chewy, with no added sweetness, which actually makes the chip better, especially dipped in nutella, haha. The odd man out in this box?  A bag of corn kernels. My hubby was like, what do we do with that? Shelly suggested popping and adding S&P and nutritional yeast. Omg, I love a reason to add nutritional yeast to anything! It happens to be my newest obsession. We’re saving the corn for when we go camping, as soon as snake season is over, and will enjoy it popped over a campfire. There were some iced pumpkin cookies in there too, but I can’t talk about them since Mark had commandeered them before I could even think about tasting. Pumpkin cookies are one of his favorites!








August Foodie Pen Pal

If you haven’t signed up for Foodie Pen Pals with The Lean Green Bean then you are CRAZY.  With over 1,000 participants, I have no doubt that you’re going to get some awesome food while being introduced to some awesome people.  This month I sent a package to Amanda at http://www.semihealthyblog.com/ and received THE BEST PACKAGE EVER from Valerie at http://www.thatswhatwedid.com/.  I think they just get better and better every month though:)  Check out one of her many blogs!  She’s into some bada$$ workouts right now that are pretty interesting:)

Valerie was nice enough to accommodate my super clean eating habits, and also sent along a couple of treats for which I am VERY thankful for:)

1. Roasted Plantain Chips and Local Hot & Spicy Peanut Butter

It took all of my willpower to not rip open that bag of chips and dip them in the peanut butter!  I’ve mentioned quite a bit on here that I’m sort of obsessed with peanut butter, but this stuff is like Pad Thai (another one of my food love affairs) in a jar.  It’s PURE GENIUS.  By the way, plantain chips are even better than potato chips:)  I don’t remember the last time I ate a chip, but I know the next time will be one of those babies!

2. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

This little jar packs a ton of citrus-y punch, with no salt!  I seasoned some salmon with and it was the perfect complement to lemon-steamed veggies:)  I’m always looking for new, clean spices and this one is a hit!

3. Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper

I made some classic lemon chicken with this the other day.  My dad used to make it all the time when I was a kid, and this sparked the memory!  Valerie is really helping me build up my spice cabinet:)

4. Zico Coconut Water

So I have to say that I’ve never really been a fan of coconut water, but I realized that I’ve only tried the flavored kinds.  Natural is so refreshing!!  It’s perfect for rehydrating after an intense workout.

5. Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar

This stuff is so good!  I’ve been making a dressing using it, just mix:

1 tsp pomegranate balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup greek yogurt

3 drops liquid stevia

juice of one lime

It’s perfect on spinach salad loaded with fresh veggies:)

6. Freeze Dried Blueberries

Trader Joe’s really is a miracle.  Freeze dried fruit doesn’t taste as sickly sweet as dried fruit and is crunchy so I’ve been putting a palmful on my salad!  It gives that little extra texture and flavor so I don’t get boring eating the same thing every day for a week:)

And it was all wrapped up in a cute little summer towel and accompanied by a very nice card!  Don’t you want to get a box full of awesome next month?  Read the rules below and go check out Lindsey’s blog, maybe we’ll get paired up!!:)

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your pen pal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your pen pal 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 pen pal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The 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 can choose 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.

July Foodie Pen Pal

WOW.  I cannot believe that July is already over.  At the beginning of the month, I saw a picture that said, “Make July your b*tch.”  Though I haven’t been the cleanest or strictest with my diet, I do feel that July was mine.  I enjoyed every last bit of my summer in DC, right down to the last bite of burger or delicious homemade oatmeal cookie, and I don’t regret a second of it! It’s great not feeling the guilt that I used to associate with eating something that may not be the healthiest.  I don’t feel anxiety when I can’t get to the gym and I don’t think the world is going to end if I eat a piece of cake.  I really think it’s important to indulge and have those off-meals because nobody is perfect.  I know that it’s hindering my progress, but I’m also really happy with the progress I’ve made and where I’m at right now.  I’m so ready to keep pushing myself harder once I get back in to my routine though! Just because I’m not at the gym doesn’t mean I don’t miss it!

It’s important to decide whether or not your goals allow for little cheats like I’ve taken.  I know that once I get back to my diet and exercise plan that I’ll be on my way to reaching my goals.  I’m not afraid of falling completely off the wagon; I’m just stopping it for a little bit!  If you’re the kind of person who can’t limit yourself to just a one cookie, then you should definitely assess your own choices when it comes to off-meals.

The end of the month also means that it’s Foodie Pen Pal time!  My June Foodie Pen Pals were Jocelyn and Judy.  Check out what I sent at Jocelyn at her blog: Peace Love Nutrition.  Judy sent me some unique items, from her hometown in Oklahoma, that are also clean!  I was so excited to see local brands in the box, and Judy actually knew some of the owners.

-Taboli Salad Mix: This bag of dehydrated bulgar, parsley, and onions doesn’t look like much, but it seems to be one of the best kept Oklahoma secrets to me!  A restaurant in Bristow, OK sells these bags of their taboli salad to mix with fresh vegetables.  Tabbouleh is one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes and I’m so excited to try this super healthy carb!

-Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Peach Apricot Fig Bar: I am a super fan of Fig Newton’s so this was a perfect on-the-go snack for me:)  The short list of natural ingredients was very exciting because it’s hard to find bars that actually taste good and are clean without making them yourself.

-Whole Foods Parmesan Crisps:  Okay, I may have had a small bingefest with these on my last night in Virginia, but at least they are clean!  I’ve made Parmesan crisps at home before (it’s SO easy and they look so fancy to me!), but mine are never this thick and crispy.  We were sure that there had to be some bread crumbs or something involved in these, but after checking the ingredients we were surprised to just see good ol’ cheese on there!  Whole Foods never failsJ

-Eden Organic Wild Berry Mix: I have to admit that I was kind of worried about this.  Only because I am a HUGE lover of trail mix and can tend to go a bit overboard at times.  I’m also trying to cut down on sugar, and dried fruit packs a lot of sugar in a little tiny piece.  However, not only has my will power increased, but this stuff is awesome!  It’s not too sweet and just a palm full gives me that little boost of energy I need on my way home from work.

-The Prairie Gypsies Blackberry Sage Jelly:  Haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but anything with fruit and herbs sounds good to meJ

I hope you all made July your b*tch and are ready for August!

June Foodie Pen Pal!

So Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean has this awesome program called Foodie Pen Pals.  When you submit your information she randomly pairs you with one of the 1,000 participants to become Foodie Pen Pals for the month.  It’s a way to introduce some of your favorite foods to others and, in turn, be introduced to the favorite foods of others! Basically, you just send and receive a food care package every month.  My mom is pretty against the whole concept because she thinks I’ll be murdered or something, but getting a box of cool stuff once a month is SO worth it!  This was my second month participating, and I have to give a huge thank you to @cjwoodard from Wild One the Third for my incredible box of treats 🙂 Everyone is really awesome about considering different dietary needs and preferences.  I told Cindy that I eat clean and she sent me some delicious new snacks that I’ve never tried and probably wouldn’t have treated myself to.


Tomato Basil Rice Cakes are my new favorite! I’ve always preferred sweet over savory, but these were so flavorful that it really made the rice cakes much more enjoyable without having to add anything extra.  They really came in handy when we went on a spontaneous beach trip and I needed healthy carbs for the road!

Salsa Fresca RiceWorks Chips are gluten-free, whole-grain, brown-rice chips that don’t taste like cardboard at all! I know you were thinking it 🙂  I’ve never seen this brand before, and I’ve been taking them to work for my afternoon snack of a healthy carb and the lime chicken that’s served!

Rhythm Superfoods Zesty Nacho Kale Chips are the perfect Dorito substitute! I’ve never really been a big chip eater so I haven’t eaten chips in a LONG time, but now that I’ve been introduced to these I am so in!  I’ve made my own kale chips before, but it’s really difficult to get them perfectly crispy without scorching them.  These are also vegan and gluten-free 🙂

-I was so excited to see Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spread in my box!  Their juices are awesome and it’s actually somewhat-kinda-sorta-ish local for me 🙂  I’ve mostly used it in pb&j overnight oats and to brighten up my first powercake that I made last night.  It’s great to use post-workout when I actually want some sugar.

-The yogurt raisins have become my guilty pleasure! Every afternoon at work, things get slow and I just need a palmful of almonds to keep me going.  Adding just 2 or 3 of the yogurt raisins makes this little pick-me-up more exciting!

-The two bars that Cindy sent, Kashi Dark Mocha Almond and Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate both saved me when I was unable to get a meal!  I stuck them both in my purse right away because sometimes you just need a little more than some almonds to tide you over.  I don’t know how she knew about my love for peanut butter AND dark chocolate, but these were both so delicious!

-And of course, the Chocolove bar.  Long story short: I had a bad day, ate the whole thing, and it was freaking great.  Just because I don’t plan off-meals doesn’t mean I don’t have them 🙂

I encourage you to check out Lindsay’s blog and sign up for Foodie Pen Pals!  I have few loves in this world, one of them being seemingly free “sh*t”.  Ensuring that you get a “free” box of gourmet food at your door every month is  kind of better than EBT, in my opinion.  Obamacare is out, BBB 2012.