I have to say, I made a great decision signing up for the Foodie Pen Pals program, sponsored by Lindsay, author of The Lean Green Bean blog. It’s only month two of participating, but I’ve been really enjoying it. It’s been fun connecting with new bloggers and of course receiving a box in the mail full of food is never a bad thing.
This month, I was paired with Jenn, from Chicago. She’s one of the writers of the blog Your Average Go. Their blog has a great concept, you should check it out.
This was Jenn’s first month of being a foodie pen pal. She asked me a few questions about my food preferences and said she was going to take the local goodies approach for what to send me. I was excited! I’ve never been to Chicago, but have heard great things about their food. It’s supposed to be a fun, foodie city along with lots of cool architecture. One day I’ll get out to visit “The Windy City” but the treats Jenn sent will have to hold me over for now.
Jenn sent me:
Smoke Daddy’s “Sweet and Smokey” BBQ Sauce.
It’s from a local BBQ joint, Smoke Daddy, who offer a wide range of smoked bbq meats and have live music every night.
As you can see, my husband and I already tried the sauce. On our first try, we poured some over shredded chicken one night for dinner. It was good, but I felt like it needed a little kick. A few days later, I mixed some of the sauce with a heavy dose of Saracha Sauce and a small splash of balsamic vinegar. I then basted chicken with the sauce multiple times as I grilled it on the grill. This did the trick. I loved the sauce after those few small changes. I’m sure the bottle will be finished by the end of next month since we grill often.
Jenn also sent Mother Butters Gourmet Popcorn, “Chicago Mix.”
This bag was a really cool surprise. It has not one, but two flavors of popcorn mixed together – Cheese Popcorn, made with real Wisconsin cheddar and Caramel Popcorn, made with brown sugar and sea salt. It’s delicious. And addicting. And I keep sneaking handfuls of it when I know I shouldn’t be snacking. A handful after work? Can’t hurt. A handful before dinner? Sure… Another handful before bed? Why not! My husband has enjoyed a few pieces but the bag will soon be gone and I will have mostly eaten the whole thing myself. Reminding myself it is bathing suit season has not helped.
I looked up their website because it was so tasty. It was a bad idea…they have 32 flavors total…and I want them all. (Hint, hint—if any other future foodie pen pals are from Chicago, I will enthusiastically love to try a new flavor)
And lastly, Jenn sent me Goji Pop Tea.
I’m not familiar with this tea, so I looked it up. The David’s Tea website revealed:
Legend has it that Li Ching-Yuen was born in China in 1677 and died 256 years later in New York. His secret? Goji berries. Your secret? This hot pink tea filled with sweet, sweet goji berries, rosehips, citrusy lemon oil, apple, melon, marigold and hibiscus. It’s probably the most delicious longevity formula ever. Which is key, since you’ll be popping it for the next two centuries. Caffeine-free.
I’ve yet to try the tea, but I’m intrigued. It sounds delicious. Jenn also helped me out by providing a sangria recipe to use with the tea. Now it sounds even more delicious! I will absolutely be making this at our next bbq with friends.
So Jenn, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You rock!
I sent my foodie goodies to Sara, who is a reader. She’s a very busy nursing student from Milan, Ohio. She told me that her and her family eat healthy—mostly chicken, fish and veggies. So I focused on buying her mostly healthy item that would go well with those things, plus a few treats.
Here’s what she received:
Are you interested in becoming a foodie pen pal? Here are the rules and where you can sign up:
-On the 5th of the 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 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.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK 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. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!