It’s my third month of participating in the Foodie Pen Pals program, started by Lindsay, author of The Lean Green Bean blog. Receiving a box full of foodie treats never gets old. It was like Christmas in July in this month!
This time, I was paired with Ritsa, who lives in Baltimore. She enjoys running marathons, Crossfit and other healthy activities. Check out her blog here. Ritsa is much more active than me. One of her questions to get to know me better asked about my favorite fitness routine…and I shamefully admitted I’ve been a bit lax in that department recently — ok fine, for awhile now. (For the record, when I actually am actively working out, I enjoy kickboxing a lot. Something about punching things makes working out much more tolerable.)
Being paired with an active, fit blogger was nice. I asked for healthier items, but divulged my love of chocolate, and Ritsa delivered. She sent me a bunch of healthy snacks, along with a few treats. She is either a mind reader, or did a bit reading of my blog or browsed my Pinterest page to discover my love for all things pumpkin flavored.
Here’s what Ritsa sent (along with a little note):
Beanitos (original, with sea salt)
I’m sort of on the fence with these. They’re interesting. Made primarily of black beans and whole long grain rice, they taste… very beany. But they’re very crunchy and pretty addicting with a nice amount of salt. I think if you ate these with salsa or guacamole, you wouldn’t be able to taste the beanyness so much. At the very least, they’re certainly better than eating a bag of potato chips full of empty calories. They pack a healthy dose of 8 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein in one 1.5 oz bag, with 210 calories and 11 grams of fat, only 1 of which is saturated.
Mrs. Crumbles Chocolate Macaroons
You can probably tell from the wrapping, these arrived a little melty. Not their fault, the whole country was suffering through a heat wave the day my box arrived. Fortunately, albeit messy, the macaroons were still delicious. I’ve been trying to savour them and deliberately have not looked at their nutritional content. They remind me of the Caramel DeLights Girl Scout cookies, also known as Samoas. Alas, I can no longer eat them because they’re not gluten free. So, whenever I’m jealous of my gluten eating friends munching on their Girl Scout cookies, I’ll have to search for macaroons.
PopCorners (Cheesy Jalepeno)
Talk about addicting. As you can see, this bag is empty. I have a slight chip addiction, and these really hit the spot. Fortunately, the spiciness of the jalapenos kept me from eating the whole big bag in sitting — though I did polish it off throughout the course of one weekend. Cheesy, a little spicy, and very crunchy — a dangerously delicious combination. Fat and calorie wise, these were better with 130 calories and 5 grams of fat per 1oz. serving. These were a big win for me.
LÄRABAR (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough)
I love Larabars. I usually stick with the fruit flavored ones like blueberry and apple, or the simple ones like cashew or pecan pie because they’re a tad healthier, but the cookie dough one was one chocolately goodness bite after another. I’m not complaining. Yum.
LÄRABAR ALT protein bar (Cinnamon Apple Crisp)
The ALT variety is new to me! I’ve never seen them before. They are LÄRABARs protein bar variety, each with 10 grams of protein. Interestingly, they use an alternative protein source — from peas, huh. I’ve yet to try what Ritsa sent me, but I plan to eat it tomorrow during work to help get me through my long day ahead. Sorry Canadian friends, they’re currently not available in Canada.
Alternative Baking Company Pumpkin Cookie
I LOVE anything pumpkin. Perhaps you’ve seen my Banana Pumpkin Oatmeal Recipe? If not, check it out when you have time. Anyway, shameless plug for myself aside, pumpkin spiced or pumpkin flavored anything is the highlight of my fall and winter. It’s what gets me through the cold winter months. Needless to say, I was super excited to see this cookie. It is still pristine and unopened, sitting on my counter, teasing me. I look at it often and have been trying to decide when to give into the craving. Perhaps it will be this weekend.
Barefruit Cinnamon Apple Chips
I’ve yet to try these. I think they’d make a good snack while I’m at work and I plan to stash them in my desk drawer tomorrow. They will be a nice little pick-me-up when I’m craving something sweet, but don’t want anything too substantial.
Ritsa did a great job with the box she sent me this month. Thank you, thank you, thank you Ritsa!
I sent my box to Kerry, who is also from Baltimore. She is engaged to be married at the end of the year and just adopted a dog name Jack. Based on the answers to the questions I sent Kerry, I felt like we had many things in common food-wise. She loves ginger and cinnamon (much like me) and she follows a Low FOODMAPS diet, plus is gluten and dairy free. I really enjoyed shopping for her and even gave her something homemade. You can check out her blog, The Adventures of Z and K to see what I sent her.
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!