Foodie Penpals!

The Lean Green Bean

I joined Foodie Penpals this month! It's pretty amazing. Lindsay, over at the Lean Green Bean blog started it back in 2011 and according to her story on the blog it has blown up!

Basically you get matched up with someone in the beginning of each month and you send each other fun food! Then there is a huge reveal day (today!) and all the bloggers involved post about what they got. I thought it seemed like a good way to connect with other bloggers/readers in different areas of the country. Figured I could try some fun regional food too. I got to shop and send goodies the two lovely people who are behind A Couple in the Kitchen and I got paired up with Amy, over at Laughing with the Stahls.

Amy lives in Pennsylvania in the old German town with plenty of Amish/Dutch people in the area. She sent me a great variety of locally made foods, that are pretty flipping fantastic.

Here's the run down:

Homemade Noodles!

Venison Jerky, which I've never had before! When I was in Colorado I tried Elk and Buffalo...this should be good :)

Homemade Granola - which you know I love since I keep making this stuff over and over again. I had it Monday morning with some greek yogurt and blueberries - good stuff!

Goat Milk Fugde! Helllooo! By far my favorite item in the box. And the flavor...peanut butter. Love, love, love this stuff. Its pretty sweet, so I've only had a bite or two each sitting. Its just lasting longer that way.

Fresh peanut butter (no photo of this one-sorry), which was grinned right before Amy sent it too me. Its really great and has such an amazing, fresh taste. There are chunks of peanuts in the mix which gives it a nice crunch. And last, but not least, chocolate covered cherries. And as Amy said in her note to me, "well it's not local, but every girl needs her chocolate." Amen sister.

Thanks again Amy! I loved everything.

And I'll be signing up for Foodie Penpals next month. You can do it even if you don't have a blog. Check out how to join here. Its fun to shop for people you don't know and share your favorite things with strangers. Do it. Fun. Promise.


P.S. You can check out what I sent to my foodie penpal here! I had a blast shopping for them and they wrote up the sweetest post.


Monday Bites: Soy Chorizo and Avocado Breakfast Sandy

Don't judge a book by its cover. 

I needed to start out by saying that, because, let's be honest, this doesn't look that yummy. It looks weird. And it did when I was making it. But it tastes good, and that's what matters most! Right?! 

So what is this? Well, not only did I make a new recipe this weekend, I also tried a whole new product. I've had this Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo in my freezer for a while now and decided to break it out this weekend. 

And anything that involves avocado these days is on my good list. 

I found this recipe in the cookbook, The Perfect Start to Your Day, my friend Jen gave me for my birthday. Which is a book of all breakfast recipes. The girl knows me, right?!

Soy Chorizo and Avocado Breakfast Sandy
Serves 2 
1 avocado
juice of 1/2 lime
4oz chorizo (soy or regular) sliced diagonally
4 slices of rustic bread, such as Ciabatta 
handful of arugula
salt and pepper 

Half the avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and mash with the lime with some salt and pepper and set aside. Heat a skillet over med-high heat. Cook the chorizo on each side until its crisp and browned. Toast the bread and spread the avocado over 2 slices. Top off with the chorizo and arugula. 
 (side note, the soy chorizo doesn't have casing like the real stuff (because its fake). So beware it will crumble easily)

Looks like a hot mess, but its good!




Monday Bites: Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail

Man, oh man. Friday was a pretty good day. I had the day off of work. It reached a whopping 62 degrees - which was so pleasant given I've had frost on my car in the morning over the past 2 weeks. I broke out the flip flops people. Serious business. I also happened to be in a supr productive mood. I brought old Bails to the groomers. I treated myself and went to Bouchon for the first time. Did some shopping. Finished a crafty project, had a cocktail in my hand by 2:30PM and was a little tipsy by 3:30PM. Success.

And a new cocktail it was. A Dark 'n' Stormy. I've never had one before, but I love ginger beer and I am trying to grow pallet for booze, so I figured...why not? Plus, its crazy simple to make, so I figured I couldn't screw it up.

Here's some fun facts about this cocktail...

  • It originated in Bermuda and is their National drink
  • The Gosling brothers made their "old rum" specifically for this drink
  • This is one (if not the only) trademarked cocktails out there
  • According to the Booze Whisperer this cocktail was made for a young sailor and the bartender actually forgot to add the rum to the ginger beer. Upon pouring the rum on top of the ginger beer it resembled a storm...hence the name
  • Check out this Huffington Post blog for more...because I really don't want to write all that out. 

Dark 'n' Stormy
Serves 1 in a high ball glass (which I did not have)
2 ounces of dark rum (such as Gosling's Black Seal by trademark)
8 ounces of ginger beer
Juice from 1/4 of a lime

Simply fill your glass with 4-5 ice cubes, squeeze 1/4 of a lime over the ice, add 2 ounces of rum, then top with 8 ounces of ginger beer. To be authentic use Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Barritts Ginger Beer. Neither of which I could find. Both my ingredients happen to be from Jamaica - not Bermuda. Shameful I guess, but it was still good.

Cheers to (hopefully) warmer weather ahead of us!



Monday Bites: Roasted Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Have you heard about the flu season this year? Its "supposed" to be really bad. I feel like they say that every year.  But my skepticism might be changing this time as every one around me is getting sick! Is that my throat feeling scratchy all of a sudden? Ahh...blech.


Monday Bites: Roasted Carrot Soup

Welcome to my new series! Since I've declared my resolutions to the world (even if its the small world that reads this blog) I've decided this is how I'll present my weekly new recipe that I tried. Whether I liked it or not, it came out well or didn't - I'm giving it to you each Monday.

Lucky me, this one turned out great! I love the taste that the spice mix gives to the carrot and the creaminess that the yogurt adds. I've been eating a bowl every day so far. Plus, its one of the easiest things I've ever made. If you don't like carrots, I'm sure it would be good with another root vegetable. Maybe butternut squash?

Roasted Carrot Soup
from Bon Appetite

What ya need:
1/2 cup raw natural walnuts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
2 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1tablespoons olive oil
1 quart vegetable broth
plain Greek yogurt

How to:
  • Toast the walnut in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown and fragrant. Transfer to a plate and cool. Add sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and peppercorns to same skillet. Toast, stirring often, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Transfer spices to plate with nuts and let cool. Transfer nut and spice mixture and 1 teaspoon salt to a food processor or a mortar and pestle and coarsely grind. I used a coffee bean grinder that was cleaned out. Anything will do.
  • Preheat oven to 425°. Place the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper/ Roast until the carrots are tender and just beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool.
  • Transfer the carrot mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender. Add the vegetable broth. Blend mixture until soup is very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Pour the soup into a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add water by 1/4-cupfuls to soup for a thinner consistency, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Divide hot soup among bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt into center of each. Sprinkle with the spice mixture.

    Pair with a piece of hot Naan Bread or a simple salad.

    Happy Monday. Enjoy some new music today too. My new favorite is Lord Huron. I discovered them on Bon Appetempt last weekend and can't stop listening. Take it in. Enjoy...




2013 Resolutions!

Happy 2013 everyone! The holidays are officially over and I need to put my resolutions out there like the rest of the world, so I am held accountable. I am a huge fan of resolutions because I love lists and goals and checking things off lists. Just makes me feel good ya know.

So here they are...

 I am excited for these!!

1. Snail Mail Sunday. Every Sunday, I am going to reach out to someone by sending them a card or letter. (If I can't do that, I will email or call. Its not cheating because its my own rules). Either way, I need to do better and will do better this year. I got this idea from Nurtrionella. Love it!

2. Garden! I have always wanted a garden and I feel like this is the year for it. I did really well with my herbs this year, so I am going to step it up a notch. I bought a beautiful lemon tree! Ok, that's not so much a notch as a jump, but let's just roll with it. I am hoping to plant more goodies too. Kale anyone?

3. My last and biggest one is to try a new recipe every week this year and share it on the blog. Good or bad. Snack, main course, or boozy cocktail...52 new recipes to look forward to. I made Roasted Carrot Soup on New Years Day and can't wait to post about it!

How do you feel about resolutions? Do you stick with them? I read this post and laughed a whole lot. I am with this chick and I hate how my yoga class and the gym is so much more crowded!! Though I do care and I am totally supportive if this is your goal :)

How do you feel about resolutions? Share some with me! Haven't thought of any yet?  Here are some tips to to start.

Cheers to health and happiness to you all in 2013!


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