My First Foodie Pen Pal with a bonus Guest Post

This was my first month of the Foodie Pen Pals and I couldn’t be happier I signed up!
I received my Foodie Pen Pals Package, stocked full of Trader Joe’s goodies from Amanda. It was like a Foodie Christmas morning.  I don’t know how she knew I was starved for a Trader Joe fix, but she sure hooked me up! Being in southeast Florida, there is no easy way to stock up on TJ’s goods, so I was thrilled to get some new finds. 
Thank you, Amanda!!
Who doesn’t love Tortellini?? I was excited to try these and they didn’t disappoint (just make sure to cook them thoroughly). In a dinner pinch, these are great to have on hand. The possibilities are endless as to what you can do to play up the flavor. I mixed in some fresh mozzarella and tomato-basil sauce, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan. 
The Chile Spiced Mango is aflavor combination I had never seen before. If you like sweet spice this is for you! It has good flavor and not too much heat. I would like to try these mixed in with perhaps some chicken, maybe in an entree. Or you could go the other direction and dip them in chocolate! 
Mushroom Rice Noodle Soup Bowl looks tasty! I love mushrooms and noodles so I’m thinking this will be another winner!
Fire Roasted Diced Green Chile – I haven’t had the pleasure of trying these yet. I am thinking I will take Amanda’s advice and try an Albuquerque Turkey sandwich- which consists of avocado, tomato, Swiss cheese, turkey and green chile. She recommends it as a grilled sandwich. Yum! 
Raspberry Fudge, yes please!! This is as delicious as it sounds. A rich, chocolaty flavor, with a hint of raspberry- and neither flavor overpowers the other. I have only tried a smidge of this and I can’t wait to play around with it more. I think it would be incredible on a brownie or some vanilla bean ice cream.  
Part of the fun of the Pen Pal program is putting together the goodies you send to your pal. I had my fingers crossed my pal Lena would like the treats, as I tried to include some of my favorites mixed in with things I thought looked neat.  
Lena was kind enough to write a guest post about the package I sent to her. 
I’m Lena and this month I received a package from Anna, the host of annaDishes, as a part of the foodie pen pal exchange!  She kindly invited me to write a guest post since I don’t have a blog of my own.  She sent me some awesome stuff, so let’s get into the food!
This was Anna’s first food swap, so she sent me things that she likes or that she’s been wanting to try – an excellent approach!
Upon first opening the package, my attention went straight to the coffee.  I was psyched!   I love trying coffee from local coffee roasters and coffee shops when I travel.  I’ve never been to Florida, so it was like having the local experience come to me!  This particular blend is an Anna original: Fresh Market’s salted caramel and coconut crème flavored coffees mixed together.  I have to say, it’s a great combination.
The next thing that caught my eye was the bag of Lemonade cookies.  How did Anna know I love lemon flavored baked goods?  I had one later that day and it was just as she described:  “deliciously tart and refreshing.”  The best lemon desserts have that bright, lemon flavor and this lived up to my expectations.
Rummaging through the box some more revealed coconut patties, a packet of almond butter, and a chocolate peanut butter quinoa bar.  I have to admit, out of the entire package, I ate the coconut patties first.  I love coconut and these were chewy and chocolate-y and yummy.  I’ve seen the packets of Barney’s Almond Butter in cafes before, but never had the chance to try it.  In a world where allergens are public food enemy no. 1, it’s nice to have the option of adding your own nuts to whatever you want.   The Two Degrees bar is intriguing to me, as quinoa and chia seeds are popping up everywhere and I have yet to try them in a bar.  What makes Two Degrees even better is that for every bar sold, they donate a meal to a hungry child.  Nothing tastes better than a meal shared.
Last but not least, how could a foodie pen pal package from Florida not include a little bit of the beach?  Anna found an adorable, vibrantly colored (mini!) beach set, complete with a pail, shovels, lollipops and candy sand.  I’ll have to try to get to Revere Beach before the season ends so I can eat some lollipops and make tiny sand castles.
All in all, I’m greatly enjoying my foodie pen pal package this month!  Thank you again, Anna, for such a wonderful and thoughtful package.
For my tweets, follow @DarthFormal


If you are new to the Foodie Pen Pals idea, here is some information for you- in case you are interested in joining. It isn’t just for bloggers. 
-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. 
If you’re interested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 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!






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