1. I’m alive.
2. I promise.
3. Junior year has been busy.
4. Really busy.
5. So busy that any free time I have is spent watching episodes of the Good Wife, obsessing over Penn Badgley in Girl Gossip, hot yoga and looking at too many pointless Georgetown-related tumblrs.
6. And it is about to get worse.
7. Finals have arrived.
8. One sit-down exam, three papers, 25 pages, and 10 days separate me from summer.
9. Unless you count the extra week spent working at school, then it is 18 days.
10. It cannot come soon enough.Yet even with my plate full of extracurriculars, assignments, classwork and sleep, I did manage to find time to participate for the second time in Foodie Penpals exchange. As I mentioned in my last post about it, the program is the brainchild of Lindsay Livingston at The Lean Green Bean. The intention of the project is to connect food bloggers and readers from across the country beyond the through the exchange of food-filled care packages.
For this month’s project, I was fortunate to be paired with Allison Flaherty of Life’s A Bowl. A 20-something and recent college graduate living in nearby Virginia who loves flower and working out, Allison writes a wonderful lifestyle blog with images of delicious, healthy food and inspiring quotes. Browsing through her posts for the first time earlier this month, I recognized how much she and I had in common, and I knew she would be a great April penpal.
After I contacted Allison about my food preferences (anything fruity, especially mangos and figs; nothing with peanuts), I anxiously looked forward to the day when I would get an email from the RHO telling me that my food package had been received. Relieved to be out of my Statistics class (who wouldn’t), I could not help but smile and hurry to the mail office when I saw the email in my inbox. Scurrying as quickly back to my apartment, I opened up the package to find an assortment of goodies.
- Trader Joe’s Mango Butter: One would think that my love for mangos would spread to anything with mango in the title. Surprisingly, however , mango butter is not the case. Last summer, I spotted it on the shelf at Trader Joe’s and of course I just had to try it, and so I came home and liberally spread it on a toasted bagel. Perhaps it was because I used too much, but I found the butter to be overwhelming sweet, even for me. After that, I gave the open jar to my roommate. Since then I have not eaten the butter again, but when I saw the ingredient in my package I knew this was a second chance opportunity. As of now, the jar remains unopened, but a friend of mine has suggested I bake with it. Any suggestions?
- Dried Mango: I love mangos. I love dried fruit, and so by the transitive property, I love dried mango. Not wasting a second, I tore into the bag immediately after posing all my goodies for a picture. The mangos were gone in less than a week, having been added to dried pineapple and assorted nuts for a tropical trail mix.
- Slices of Prune and Walnut: Although I am currently living in an on campus apartment, the kitchen and dining room has much to be desired. Fortunately, this coming fall I will be living in a house in Georgetown with my own room and a gorgeous kitchen (at least for my financially strapped standards). I am looking forward to the opportunity to cook elaborate, procrastinating meals and host dinner parties for friends. These prune and walnut crackers would be perfect accompaniment for a wine and cheese party (after I am 21, of course). Until then, I’ll just have to keep sampling them with different cheeses to see which one tastes best.
- Dark Chocolate Crisps: The only way I can think to describe these is by calling them chocolate Pringles. They are not potato chips, but these dark crisps are shaped just like the stackable snacks we loved to find in our elementary school lunch boxes. Admittedly, when I first opened the box, I was tempted to see if I could make the duck beak-like the one made in the Pringles commercials. That thought re-emerges in my mind each time I reach for a crisp, but they have been the perfect way to satisfy my chocolate craving.
- A Chocolate Bar with Speculoos: This product made me the most excited. For those who don’t know, Speculoos is a shortcrust cookie popular in Belgium and Northern France. In these countries, the cookies are also ground into a paste to create a spread similar to peanut butter and Nutella. I first encountered it while in Brussels last January, and I have since asked my roommate currently studying abroad in the city to bring me back a jar (or two) for our senior year reunion. Overseas, most eat it slathered on a piece of morning toast, thereby transforming the average slice into something like dessert. Simply put, what could possibly be better than ground up cookies in a jar? Putting it between layers of dark chocolate, that’s what! Somehow I have managed self control and not yet tried the bar, but I anticipate that with finals starting, that bar is no longer safe.
I must thank Allison for the delicious goodies and her kind words written in the card sent with the package. Chocolate and fruit and Speculoos; what more could a girl ask for?
If you are interested in becoming involved in the Foodie Penpals Program, here’s some 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.
- 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. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
- If you’re interested in participating for May, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by May 1st as pairings will be emailed on May 5th!