Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!!

In an earlier post you read the guest post from my Foodie Pen Pal Tracie. If you missed it you can check it out here to see what I sent her. Now I am going to reveal what my pen pal Danielle sent me!!

As you can see from the picture Danielle sent me a wide variety of stuff!! According to Danielle, who hails from Oklahoma, they love their spicy Tex-Mex flavor!! I already love spicy so I was excited she took the risk and sent me some spicy stuff! She even sent me some homegrown peppers ( which for some reason did not make the picture, sorry!) We used those in some chili and salsa-YUMMY! She also sent some chili dried mangoes, I'm still trying to decide if I like them or love them,lol! They have such an interesting flavor and I would never have bought them for myself. Another thing I would have never bought, but is my new favorite, is the Chili Lemon Peanuts. OMG!! They are so yummy, I sure hope I can find them up here! She even sent my fave Luna bar flavor without even knowing it was!

My daughter of course had to get into the eating action and stole the Mallo Cups and the chocolate hazelnut wafer cookies. I was lucky enough to get a few of the wafer cookies with my coffee ;)

Danielle also included some cool things from her job at a local college that has medical based courses. She sent a fun "pill" pack filled with M&M's, some lip balm they made and a toothbrush. I love that even though they weren't foodie items she still included some things that defined who she is and what she does.

I loved my box from Danielle and it was a great experience. So much so that I will doing it again in July!! You do not need to be a blogger to be a foodie pen pal, so if you want to join in the fun go to The Lean Green Bean  to learn the details and sign up!! Thanks again Danielle for a great box!!

Have great day!!


June Foodie Penpals Guest Poster Tracie!!

This month I participated in Foodie Penpals over at the The Lean Green Bean Blog.I was given Tracie's name to send her a surprise goodie box. Foodie Penpals is really a fun program and Tracie does an excellent job explaining it all in her post. Today I will post Tracie's post, to whom I sent a goodie box, and I will also reveal what my penpal Danielle sent to me in another post. So take it away Tracie!

Hi One Cool Lunch readers!  My name is Tracie and I am excited to be doing this guest post for Jen on foodie penpal reveal day.  This was my first month participating and I believe it was Jen’s first month too, so if you are wondering what a foodie penpal is then read on.  You can also check out Lindsay’s blog, The Lean Green Bean.  Lindsay is the founder and coordinator of the foodie penpal program.  She pairs everybody up each month so that you send a package to one person and receive a package from a different person.

I was lucky to be paired with Jen this month.  Jen and I exchanged a few emails and I had checked out her blog (which I think is great and I’m not just saying that because I am doing a guest post) so I was excited to see what she would send. I was not disappointed.  The note she included in the package stated she had sent some of her favorite things.  Check out the great package she sent! 

The first thing to be grabbed out of the box (yes, literally) by my kiddos were the cookies and cream magic milk straws.  We have never had these before so we had to try them immediately.  
They were a huge hit.  The day the package arrived we were packing for a camping trip so I packed the Peanut Butter and Co. dark chocolate and peanut butter.  We ate it with pretzels after our hike one day.  We had to go buy more.  Jen also included a package of Biscoff cookies.  This was another newbie for me.  I am so glad she introduced me to these cookies.  I don’t think I ever would have bought them because I tend to lean more towards chocolate type cookies, but these were delicious.  They had the perfect amount of sweetness and just the right crunch.  I only hope I can find them local.  I was excited to see a packet of Tastefully Simple onion onion seasoning.  I have used this before, but it has been a while.  I used it in the traditional way and made a veggie dip with it.  I made it to take somewhere, but it was so good I left it home for us to enjoy.  We also enjoyed the box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese.  We just discovered this macaroni and cheese and it was an instant favorite in our family.  I was completely unfamiliar with two of the items in the box (I think this is one of the fun parts of the foodie penpal program).  Jen included a jar of Penzeys Forward all purpose seasoning.  I have not tried it yet, but hope to this weekend.  She also included Primula tea.  This one threw me and I had to look it up to figure out how to use it.   The box also contained granola from a local company where Jen lives.  The original granola was super yum on yogurt.  It took me longer to try the dark chocolate and coffee granola because I am not a coffee drinker.  I really did not think I would like it, but as it turns out it was one of my favorite items in the box.  Who knew?  

Thanks Jen!  The box you sent was full of fun new foods for us to try.  If you want to connect with your own foodie penpal, here are a few of 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.

Thanks Tracie!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and look for those Biscoff cookies at your local Wal-Mart store ;) To see what I was sent look here !!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Busy As A Bee!

I don't know about you but these last few weeks of school have been super busy!! We are now in the home stretch with only 1.5 days left,finally!! Tomorrow my daughter is having an end of the year picnic at lunch with her class. Of course she wanted me to bring a treat and requested tye dye cupcakes. While I do love making them it was a bigger project than I wanted to tackle this week. So I decided a picnic isn't complete without a few bees buzzing around!
These little peanut butter bees aren't just cute they are very yummy as well. They taste like buckeyes, if you have ever had one of those! The original recipe was from Taste of Home. For mine I used my favorite peanut butter Krema Natural PB. It is so smooth and creamy it's perfect for this recipe. And it has only one ingredient-peanuts. So you don't have to worry about the oils and other junk. I also used candy melts for the chocolate stripes instead of chocolate chips because I think it melts easier, tastes better and is easier to work with, but use whatever you have on hand.

These are quick and easy to make and I got 46 of them from the recipe which was exactly enough for 2 per person for her class. Which was good for me because these are very addicting and it's hard to stop eating after just one. So I didn't even have to worry about eating too many myself ;) And they are nice and small so they make a great lunchbox treat anytime of the year.

Now I know many people have nut free classrooms or nut allergies in their own home. I think you could probably make these with Sunbutter or whatever substitute you use for pb. And for the wings Wilton makes some large heart shaped confetti sprinkles that would probably make great wings too!

                                                               Have a great day!!
                                                                       ~ Jen

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time on My Hands

One of the comments I get most is "you must have lots of time on your hands". While the comment really bugs me, I understand where it's coming from. I will start off by saying like most moms I do not have enough hours in the day to get everything I would like to get done accomplished.You can tell this by my blog slacking lately ;) So like most of you I have to decide what's a priority for me and my family. One of my top priorities is making sure my daughter eats healthy foods.  Her lunches are a part of that and so I make the time to do them.

With that said most of her lunches take me less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That includes the mad scramble to find the right cutter or pik or any last minute requests! I make them in the morning before school while I enjoy my latte. I suppose I could do them the night before but that's family time as my hubby works alot so for us the morning works best.

As I'm sure you can tell from my lunches some are more detailed than others. And I don't make a "cool" lunch everyday and some days are more healthy than others. The point is you don't need to spend a ton of time to make it fun and healthy and get you kids to eat better lunches. For example, the other day I packed a snack of apple slices and a baby cuke for my daughter in a small bento box. At first it looked like this:
As I was packing it my daughter walked by, picked up a pink dog pik from the counter and stuck it in. It then looked like this:
I don't know about you, but given the choice I'd pick the snack with the doggy in it :)

So it doesn't really matter how much time you have or don't have even something as small as a dog pik can make a big difference. So start small but think big!!

                                                            Have a Great Weekend!!