Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 2012 Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

It's foodie pen pal reveal day!!! HOORAY!!!!! Got my box Monday and was sooo excited about it. I had been waiting and hoping just crazy excited. It's just nice to get a package in the mail now and then that is specifically for you and has delicious treats in it. So this is my trick-or-treat FPP box.

When this loveliness arrived after my run I immediately took it home and ripped open the box - ok I didn't RIP open the box, just cut the tape. I pulled out the pretty orange card with a description of what was inside - all local Washington state items and homemade goodies. Libby - my pen pal for October also collects salt and pepper shakers so she shared some with me.

Firstly we have apple butter - OMG! I had just had some after Rugged Maniac at Cracker Barrel and was thinking to myself "Sarah, you need to go buy some." Well now I don't have to. This is delicious and I could totally eat it by itself but I'm restraining myself and using only a little at a time on bread items or oatmeal.

Yes, ran a 5k mud run Saturday Oct 27. In the 35 degree weather in Missouri. Brr but fun. Back to the food!

Then there was this loveliness. Apple Cider Syrup - OMG now I just HAVE to make some pancakes, maybe some cinnamon pancakes with apple slices and then this syrup or cook down the apple slices IN the syrup. Ooooo so many options. I could drink this, tastes like cider.

An then there is applesauce, I adore applesauce. I don't buy it enough that's for sure and with apple season I should really just make some. This was cinnamon-y but not over the top and had a nice apple flavor but wasn't tart like some get - you know to the point you pucker. No this was perfectly balanced. And I loved it so much it was finished off in 2 days. I told myself I would share these things with Mike but I just couldn't help myself and he told me to just enjoy. So I did.

Totally snarfed it up all by myself. Hehe. Sorry honey. Love you!

Libby also sent over mulling spices for hot cider or tea or whatever your imagination can think up for this. I will probably go buy some apple juice and make some cider. This smells amazing! I may just hang one of those little baggies in my car window and have my car smelling so deliciously Fall. Mmmm, nothing beats that cider smell. Well, except for maybe a handsome man all clean and showered up and dressed up ready to go out for a night on the town. (Yes you Mike).

There was also Rhubarb Rosemary Jam. Wasn't sure about this. I like rhubarb. I like rosemary. Hmmmm, so I tried it. Smelled a lot of rosemary upon cracking that jar open. Was unsure but I live by "try everything once." I actually enjoyed this. Would be good on wheat toast or something simple. You wouldn't want to put it on something too crazy. Would work with savory or sweet dishes. Maybe could turn it into a glaze for pork chops. Oh the creative juices are flowing today hehe. 

I can't recall if I said that I liked peanut butter or not. Libby had asked what our favorite fall flavor was, we said apples/apple cinnamon. So that is why we have all the apple stuff. But then, yes then, there was this loveliness of peanut butter goodness that was honey roasted. OMG I am in love with peanut butter (as far as foods go). It's gotta be my #1 favorite food on the planet. So yes, I was stoked to see this in the box, though somehow the post office cracked the tub and some of the peanut butter was in the box and not in the tub. I think I just about salvaged as much as I could, from the tub not that box eww. I have it in my fridge to be on the safe side too. Delicious peanut butter. Will be using this for a while. If it lasts that long.

These are those adorable salt and pepper shakes I was talking about. The seasoning comes out their butts. Too freaking adorable. Perfect to go next to my hippo salt and pepper shakers. :)

A few final words before I leave you for the day. Happy halloween for one, this is my lion costume for the work contest today. Also Mike and I will be hosting a guest blogger for their reveal of the box we sent him. :) Super excited for our first guest blogger.

You can go see what Libby got here

Here is how the FPP system works:

The Lean Green Bean
-On the 5th of every 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 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 Pen pals 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 pen pal 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 Pen pals 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.
You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on November 5th!
*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!
Go out and cook and maybe join FPP for November.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

22nd Pig Roast 2012

So Mike and I attended the 22nd Annual Pig Roast on October 20th. His family has this roast every year and roasts a pig, well, they haven't done a whole pig for a little while so they did two shoulders. 

So we left at O'Dark thirty in the morning to arrive around 9 or 9:30 am at the cabin.

We did get the chance to see the sunrise together and it was absolutely gorgeous. Great country scenery with a beautiful sunrise. Great way to start a day.

So 3 1/2 hours of being on the road and two pit stops later we arrived at the cabin, which is located in "middle of nowhere" USA. It's not somewhere you would just think to go and the people around the area are definitely redneck. But it was definitely a gorgeous area. The colors of fall and all the foliage. Absolutely beautiful area.

So we arrived, unloaded the truck and figured out what we needed to help with. So we checked on the pig. Well, pig pieces. Mmm, couldn't wait to dig into that, but it was only 9:30 am and the pig wouldn't be ready until about 1 or 1:30. The fire was started around 4 am that morning and the pig was put on around 4:45 am. So the pig had already been slow cooking for about 5 hours. Mmmm, that's gonna fall right off the bone. Couldn't wait.

They do have this nifty little motor to spin the pig to keep the cooking even. From what I caught from conversation they pieced it together, which is actually pretty cool. Kept the pig evenly cooked and ultimately delicious. They had a fire going and had some hickory or mesquite smoker chips/bits in there too to give it a bit of flavor.

Look at that pig, ain't it beautiful and delicious looking?

Yeah we all pretty much sat around that baby a good part of the morning, munching on the snack foods like crackers, cheese, fruit and chips in eager await of the main event.

Of course waiting on food can be a little boring, not that conversing with people isn't fun. Mike took me out on the 4-wheeler for my first ride. I've never been on a 4-wheeler. I have been on a dirt bike but cannot say my experience with that was pleasant. I did hold onto him a little to hard when we first took off down the road. Mike told me on a few occasions to lighten my grip and that I didn't need to hold on so tight. Of course going 50 mph on a vehicle that doesn't have any seat belt or really any safety feature to keep you on makes me a little nervous to start out. I eventually got to the point where I just held onto the bars on the back of the 4-wheeler and started to really enjoy it. After we had stopped and saw the lake he let me drive it back. That was fun. So got to ride and drive one for the first time. How cool. :) However, Mike didn't think I drove fast enough - it's my first time, I'm not driving 50 mph. I'll stick to 30.

So when we got closer to actually eating Mike's dad began to baste it in some good old KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce. Mmmm, that just made our mouths water even more.

Mike's Uncle and cousin did the meat carving. The smoke ring on that meat was about 1/8th of an inch and it was sooo delicious. The bone literally pulled right out of the meat. It was amazing. Mike said it was the best they had had so far. There was soo much food beside the pig. There was broccoli cheese rice casserole, macaroni and cheese, fruit tray, veggie tray, bean dip (which is evidently legendary and so delicious it disappears faster than you can blink) and then there was a delicious dutch oven black forest cake that Mike's sister made. She evidently is not cooking inclined so this was something many doubted would turn out and we were all skeptical due to the instructions of specific amounts of coals on top and underneath. So it was turned and watched for 40 minutes without looking. All wondering if this thing would turn out. It actually turned out quite well. Found that it was moist and delicious. I only got a small bite because it disappeared pretty quick and I really didn't want and entire bowl of it. There was also pumpkin pie and apple pie on top of the promise of s'mores later (which I did have.)

After being stuffed to the brim and sitting back while our stomachs settled. It was a pretty great time getting to meet his aunts and uncles and cousins. Sat back, listened to stories and laughed at his dad being his dad. His family cracks me up. I truly enjoyed myself and I know Mike did too.

We stayed the night at the cabin and his mom and dad, Mike and I sat around the fire until about 9 pm and had some drinks. I had some Jack Tennessee Honey with Diet Dr Pepper while Mike had some with Coke. That's good stuff. Smoother than Jack's original Tennessee Whiskey.

The next morning we helped pack up and make sure things were picked up, put away and locked down. Mike and I took the 4-wheeler's out one last time. He made me drive my own this time. It was a beautiful crisp morning and I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and was getting more comfortable with the 4-wheeler. Came back to the cabin, loaded up the 4-wheeler's and locked up the cabin. Soon headed back to reality. I had taken Friday and Monday off to ensure a truly relaxing weekend. My weekend hadn't started off so well because Friday morning as I tried to leave I had a flat tire - not cool. So I was delayed about 2 hours from leaving my place to arrive at Mike's. Good thing we left Saturday.

So Sunday we spent the day carving a pumpkin and making dinner for ourselves and roomie and another friend. Grilled chicken with vegetable kabobs and macaroni and cheese Mike's mom had made and sent home with us. Pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

Monday we went to the gym then ate at my favorite local sandwich shop, Mighty Melt. I love the bread there. Their sandwiches are pretty good. I'm trying to replicate their bread - of course they don't give out their "secret" signature recipe and won't tell me what kind of bread it is. Grrr, means I have to figure it out on my own. Which in and of itself is frustrating but gives me an experiment and plenty of bread around the house.

Monday we also went out on Mike's layout boat and tried out his new motor for it. Worked pretty well. Much faster than the push pole. Was entertaining and helped scout out areas he could hunt ducks. He's hoping to get some hunting in Tuesday this week and possibly Sunday next week.

This weekend I was involved in Rugged Maniac's 5k mud run in Weston Missouri at the Snow Creek Ski Resort. Can I just say the hills there were absolutely insane and totally not meant for running or climbing up.

It was crazy on that account on top of the fact that it was cold and had water obstacles. I ran at 12:30 and it was still only 35 degrees outside. There were 4 water obstacles. It really wasn't too bad once you got through the first obstacle. At that point your legs are numb and you just keep pushing through. I finished in roughly 51 to 53 minutes, considering my 3.15 mile time averages about 28:30 minutes so to add in around 15 obstacles that's not bad. I plan to do warrior dash in April in KC. Should be a lot of fun. I felt like a beast going up the mud wall with the rope. You really have to use a lot of upper body strength. I can't say I've ever had fantastic upper body strength but with the Insanity workout I just finished it has helped quite a bit.

Front: Before & After
Back: Before & After
I am at the very least quite impressed with my results. I wasn't expecting it honestly. Mike has had really great results as well with his, haven't taken his after pics yet. Though today we did get some good pictures together. My friend took pictures for me for my Christmas cards as well as some pictures of Mike and I. So all in all we have been doing well and not really been cooking a lot. I have baked a lot of bread and will update once I've made about 10 more loaves, I'm sure it will take that much haha. 

Tomorrow Mike is thinking about doing a smoked turkey breast or a smoked brisket. Either way it sounds delicious and I am totally jealous that I won't get any ;) Lucky roomie.

So that is all for this recap of where we disappeared to. Been busy is all.

Go out and cook folks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chili Weather - Welcome Fall

Well it's finally here. Autumn has finally arrived and descended upon the midwest.

found these cuties at Whole Foods
Well at least temperature wise. I'm enjoying the fact that it isn't a scorching furnace outside and can actually enjoy my runs without having to take my shirt off. (Don't get all excited now.)

So 'tis the season to start making warmer foods for dinner. Since it has been a bit chilly lately, 50 degrees and lower, Mike and I thought chili sounded good. This all stemmed from the fact that there is a chili cook off at my office on October 17. I'm entering my mom's hearty chili and hope to win that $20 gift card. I could use some free money.

So Mike and I thought about chili and what type to make. We eventually came down to wanting white chili. White chicken chili to be exact. White chili, for those that do not know, is white beans (navy or northern or both), chicken, broth, jalapenos, onion, and herbs and spices.

We used a Paula Deen recipe for reference. It's her white chicken chili recipe. We just used the same basic ingredients. Didn't follow exactly. Mike likes to make things his own. No problem with me, I prefer tweaking recipes myself. (I'll post about that later).

So we used boneless skinless chicken breasts, two jalapenos, 1 poblano pepper, 1 medium onion, 2 cloves garlic, 3 cans great northern beans, 2 cans navy beans, 1 pkt white chili seasoning, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, bay leaf, cumin, and some other spices added as we went along and tasted.

When trying to figure out the flavor it took a bit to find that right balance. It tasted good, just didn't have the right flavor to it. We were trying hard to figure out what it was missing. Couldn't quite put our finger on it. Mike at one point said "what about poultry seasoning." Tried that. Ok, better but not quite right. We soon came to a point where the light bulb came on. Mike was more or less like "DUH! CUMIN!" Every chili has to have cumin. So once that was added it was just right. Much like the three bears porridge, except chili.

So we started off by sauteing the onions, peppers, and garlic together before adding in the beans, chicken, and spices. Then it sat on the stove on med/low heat for probably 2 hours until chicken was cooked through and finished.

We served with corn bread muffins, which I guess I was supposed to add jalapenos to, but I didn't because there was a little miscommunication between Mike and I. I missed that somehow. Oh well, all is right in the world. Though I do have to say that after a day or two those boxed muffins start tasting a bit off. Maybe it's just me but they get this chemically flavor. Hmmm---probably just my suspicions of boxed anything right? Right...well, yeah - whatever.

After dinner he began to work on his layout since he had the possibility of hunting the next day if they could get the spot. Turned out he wouldn't be going hunting perse but he did get to go scouting and then would come stay at my place till morning so he could go test for a new job possibility.

Preparing his layout for hunting - added "grass" to it.
 Fun to watch this process.
So once the weekend was over I headed to work Monday morning and took some chili with me, I mean, come on - just can't leave ALL of it there. He's gracious enough to let me have some and share. Such a good man. I thoroughly enjoyed that as lunch that Monday morning.

So when Mike and I aren't together, we obviously text and call each other often. Well, things like this happen.
Yes, we are dorks. We belong together - for obvious reasons right?

So Monday morning and afternoon he was off to the sporting goods store in search of a marsh foot and push pole. (I have had to have him explain these things to me since I have never dealt with hunting before.) Basically he's a gondolier when he's in his layout boat hehe. Of course after going out with the boat and push pole he has decided to purchase a small motor to make life a little easier come hunting time. Well while he was out with his buddy and out scouting the hunting grounds and looking for geese, I found the geese on my lunch walk.

Honk Honk!
He didn't get any geese while out, unless you count the decoys he came home with. Eventually he can go goose hunting. I'm all for it, go have fun and kill the birds and bond with the boys. As long as he takes me shooting now and then I'm happy as a clam with guns and hunting.

So this last weekend we didn't see each other because of his job and being super busy and then Roomie's parents coming in town to boot. Better to just not get involved in that and only see him for maybe a few hours after he has recovered from overtime at work. That and we get a long weekend together this weekend for the pig roast. I'm sure we will have pictures.

So as is typical of me, when I get bored at home I tend to bake. So this time I had found a "donut muffin" recipe. Sounded simple enough and sounded good with the cinnamon sugar topping it promised.

Well I made it, and the first time I made it I followed the directions to the letter. Of course while following the directions I was thinking to myself - this is an awful lot of nutmeg. This can't be right. Then thinking I said to myself "well, the recipe says..." So I put the full amount of nutmeg into the muffin. Well, yeah, that was a bad idea. Can we say spice overload? Ugh, it wasn't terrible but it was a truly too strong nutmeg taste. So I ended up tossing those. Then I decided I would try again. I did and had success by cutting the 3/4 tsp nutmeg down to 1/4 tsp and then adding 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the batter. Much much better flavor.

Sugar overload -
yes I did lick up the extra sugar on the pan

So during this week that I knew I wouldn't see Mike he did text me a picture that made me grin ear to ear. I have seen this decal in sporting goods stores and thought it was cute. I mean, the browning buck and then a doe to create a heart. Too cute. Of course Mike makes a face and says "Ewww mushy stuff!" Ha ha! But this made me smile, he saw it on someones vehicle and sent me a pic. Made my day.


Donut Muffins
Makes 24 Mini muffins or 6 regular sized muffins

For Muffin:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour

For topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C), Grease muffin tin of choice.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, nutmeg and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in milk, then mix in baking powder, and flour until just combined. Fill prepared cups 1/2 full.

Bake in oven until tops are lightly golden, 15-20 min.

While muffins are baking, place 1/4 cup melted butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.

Remove muffins from their cups, dip each muffin in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Let cool and serve.

So this weekend we have a pig roast and a road trip to St. Louis area. Great outdoors here we come!

Now go out and cook!

Friday, October 5, 2012

3-D Pumpkin Cookies Filled with Candy Corn

So here we go into Autumn/Fall. The leaves are changing (and not due to the overwhelming heat) and the temperatures are dropping. It's feeling good outside, my windows are open and the AC/Heat is off. I have no use for it currently. I'm loving the smells and the flavors of the season. Crunchy leaves, cool mornings, cinnamon and spices. Mmmm, making me hungry now.

So pumpkin, let's talk pumpkin. I love pumpkins in general. Great decoration, great food, and just all around fun. You can decorate them, use them as a craft, and cook with them. Or you can emulate them in your cooking/baking. Much as I have done here. I made these for a co-workers birthday. I just thought they were too cute and couldn't pass up the opportunity with an October birthday to boot. (A #1 excuse to bake - it's for someone's birthday).

I found this recipe from Glorious Treats. These were just too cute of an idea to pass up. So here I go. I changed things a little bit and used a few of my own recipes. My mom's "Christmas Cutout Cookies" and a basic "Royal Icing" recipe.

Use any roll out sugar cookie recipe you like. You can use Glorious Treats recipe or one that you like from your own recipe box.

For the royal icing, super simple.

3 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar (give or take - roughly 1 lb/16 oz)

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in mixing bowl with whisk attachment - whisk until frothy.

Add powdered sugar gradually and mix until frosting forms stiff peaks and is glossy (about 5-7 min on medium high speed). Store covered with plastic wrap until ready to use. (can cover and place in fridge)

Easy no?

So for the dough, you need to color it. Take about a baseball size amount after you have made your dough. Maybe a tennis ball size. Set that dough aside. Color the remaining dough orange, you can either purchase orange food coloring or do what I do and add red and yellow together (see the color layers?)

Now take the small tennis ball sized dough and color a nice green color (sorry no pics of that).

Now you need to chill the dough for about 30 min. Then roll out on a lightly floured surface. You will need to cut out, with round or scalloped cookie cutters, 2 medium rounds with a hole cut out of the center and two solid rounds cut with a slightly smaller cookie cutter. Basically have a large, medium and small set of cutters (I obviously used just circles in three descending sizes. I would call them medium, small and tiny.) Once you have all your orange pieces cut out, place on sheet and bake. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't brown too much. If you have excess flour on your cookies take a brush and brush it off or dab a little water from a paper towel to get rid of that.

Now you will need that tennis ball you've dyed green. Roll it out and cut out with a small round cutter, smaller than the solid rounds. Then you will need a straw to cut a hole out in the center for the stem. Just blow the dough out of the straw and bake and it works great for the stem.

You can bake the stem right in the top or you can do what I did and just "glue" it on with the royal icing.

Once your cookies are baked and cooled, make your royal icing. You can color it orange or leave as is. I left it white because I was too lazy last night to color it orange, and it didn't bother me to have a little sticking out.

Once your icing is done, pack a bit in a zip top bag, snip off one corner and pipe a little on the top, around the edges, of 1 solid orange circle  Place a orange ring on top, pipe frosting on the orange ring, then place the second orange ring on top of that. Now, take the green tops and put a dab of icing on the bottom of your leaf top and place on last solid circle. Let everything dry. DO NOT CAP OFF YOUR PUMPKINS YET!!! 

Once your icing has hardened, give it 10-30 min, fill your pumpkins with candy of choice. I did candy corn. Glorious Treats did mini M&M's. Be creative, use your favorite candy bits.

NOW pipe a small bit around the edge of the top ring and place your pumpkin caps on. Let set overnight and voila! You have cute as a button pumpkin 3-D cookies.

Easy no? I enjoyed making these, I wish they had turned out a bit cuter but I think part of that was making some of my rings and circles too thin. Try to stay at about 1/4 inch thickness at the thinnest. I need to get rings for my rolling pin so I can keep track of this. I have one of those solid wooden dowel-esque rolling pins. The kind that could seriously injure an intruder.

So go out and cook. Get creative and make something cute today. Enjoy Fall and all it's glory. Windows opened, pumpkin cookies baking, and candy corn in abundance (and all mine I might add since Mike detests the stuff he he. More for me.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Welcome to our first Foodie Pen Pal post. We are Foodie Pen Pals, well, I'm the one that wanted to do it, Mike helped find things and helped put the whole thing together and suggested things for me to put in the box for the person I was sending to. I ask for his input on a lot of things. So here we go. Reveal day!! I have been just itching to write about what was sent to me :) SOOOOO excited!!!

The Lean Green Bean

So first off, I had gone for a nice run Monday September 17 and came back to check my mail. Well as I was digging through my stock pile of mail, due to being out in St. Louis all weekend, I found the oh so sought after key that the mail man leaves when you have a package, unlike UPS who likes to leave me notes and keep my package from me until they can either magically find me at home or I have to go pick up the damn thing. I digress, so I excitedly opened up the special mail box to find my lovely package sitting there, patiently waiting for me. Oh man I was excited. I immediately snapped this picture as I was walking back to my apartment and sent to Mike and exclaimed "IT CAME!!!!"

So then I rushed to the house, so very excited to get this baby inside to crack open and rifle through like a kid on Christmas morning.

I opened it to find a glorious range of foods and goodies that I couldn't wait to dive into. (Yes there is a picture of a snickerdoodle cookie in my kitchen, I used to work in a local Costco Bakery, that was my parting gift). 

I found the card included after examining each item and drooling. I wiped the drool from my face so I could read what was in my card. My dear pen pal asked what I liked and would like included in my box. I had said I was a health nut a little and was training for a 5k mud run and that I loved peanut butter. Caitlin said in her note that she decided to do a peanut theme since I love peanut butter so much. How awesome!!!! And to top it off I love the card because being the Kansas girl I am, I adore sunflowers, they are my favorite. Such happy flowers :)

So now we dive into the box of deliciousness that is peanuts and peanut butter. She included Trader Joe's Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix. She said this was one of her favorites, it is now mine too! Oh my, the deliciousness that this bag of yumminess is! I almost ate the whole bag in two days. I adore this Trek Mix and still need to get my butt down to TJ's and pick up a package, or two, or ten! Sweet honey roasted peanuts, peanuts, cashews, and peanut brittle!! Mouth orgasm! And then there is the beloved PB & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams, which I knew was going straight to work to be enjoyed when I needed a healthier alternative to those days I crave chocolate but don't need a chocolate bar. YUM!!! :) Thank you.

Then we have Justin's Classic Peanut Butter. I have only tried the Justin's honey roasted and almond butters. So I again stashed these in my purse to take to work for days I didn't have time to eat or forgot breakfast (like that ever happens) or just needed something to nibble and not have to go raid the vending machine. :) YUMMM Peanut butter - perfect by itself.

Then, yes THEN, I found this. I went a bit crazy happy with this because I've been meaning to try it. I just haven't wanted to spend the money on a jar of it (my local Hyvee charges $6 for the stuff, bit pricey for something that won't last long in my house - PB is usually gone within a few days if not a week). I wasn't sure how I was going to use this though. Should I make a sandwich? Nah, too boring. Should I try adding it to something like cookies? No, I really don't need cookies. Oatmeal? Wasn't in the mood. I know!! I added it to a chocolate banana protein shake one day and made it chocolate peanut butter banana. Oh yum!! This would be a great addition to my protein shakes after my Insanity workouts. Add a little more protein and some delicious flavor. It didn't taste fake at all and satisfied that peanut butter craving that I have about 90% of the time.

Then I found the "Organic High Antioxidant Trail Mix." YUMMMMMM Almonds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, it goes on. Delish - only thing is I found something delicious that just wasn't familiar to me. Anyone know what this is?

Next we have our bars. MoJo trail mix bars and a Luna bar. We had MoJo Mountain Trail Mix Sweet & Salty and then we had MoJo Peanut Butter Pretzel Sweet & Salty. Oh my yes! The PB MoJo was better in my opinion but both were great for work when I hit that 3pm slump. The PB Cookie Luna bar was fantastic, not covered in sicky sweet coating but enough sweet to combat the salty. Mmmm, definitely a go to if I need a quick bar to eat to supplement a crappy lunch.

As you can see I enjoyed, can you see that pretzel stick right on top there!!! YUMMY Real food :)

Now we have the "Women's Vitality Mix." Can I just say that I absolutely ADORE trail mixes. And these are all fabulous!!!! This had cashews, almonds, dried cranberries, raisins, pistachios, dark chocolate chips (which I ended up picking out and eating while at my desk one day hehe, then I was left with all the really healthy stuff - shhhhh). I thoroughly enjoyed and all trail mixes are gone, done, eaten quickly. 

Thank you foodie pen pal for the splendorous box of goodies. YUM YUM YUM!!!!!!

Check out Caitlin's Twitter @Hopefulhels and see what she got ;)

And here is the link to the person we sent to here at Kids and Canning Jars.

Now go out and cook, or eat some trail mix with peanuts like me hehe :)

 Here are the details:

-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 Penplas 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.