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Foodie Pen Pal – Reveal Day!

31 Oct

Last month, I joined The Lean Green Bean and many others in the monthly Foodie Pen Pals program.

Each month, bloggers and non bloggers can be a Foodie Pen Pals and share some of their favorite local treats with others across the country.  I love trying new foods and trying local flavors, so this was the perfect challenge for me.

For more on becoming a Foodie Pen Pal, please check it rules out here.

My very first Foodie Box came from Tasha in Iowa.  When Tasha first emailed me, I was amazed at her efficiency.  She knew exactly the right questions to ask to make my box exactly what I would enjoy.  And enjoy I did.

“Tasha, you outdid yourself.”

I received the box on a Friday afternoon after a challenging day and my spirits perked up as soon as Ed walked through the door with it.  I was overwhelmed with all the yummy treats inside.

I immediately was drawn to the baked goods. (Please note: You have the option to not request fresh baked goods if you are not comfortable with this.  Tasha asked me if I felt comfortable with this and I told her I was.)  When I opened the bag of Kringla, it smelled like soft pretzels.  Not sure if this was the plan, but they only lasted a day or two later.  They are popular around Tasha’s house and now quite popular here too.  The Dutch Letter Tasha described as “heavenly” and I agreed.  I split it between two morning breakfasts with coffee.  Perfection.

Dutch Letter and Kringla

Next, was the canned and bottled items.  Tasha sent me some of her canned tomatoes and a story about her favorite childhood dish of mac and cheese and canned tomatoes.  Add some salt and pepper and you’re good to go.  Might just have to give that a try!

The Corn Cob Syrup has been calling my name since I opened the box.  I haven’t had a chance to try it to it’s full potential yet, but yummy!  I love unique items like these.  I see pancakes smothered in this in my near future.  I haven’t had a chance to try the Cranberry Jalapeno Jam yet.  I’m finishing up my current jam before opening it.  Should add a little spice to my morning 😉

This was my favorite item!  Two bags of fresh popcorn kernels.  Perfect for my bagged popcorn recipe. Tasha and her husband pop popcorn the old fashion way, just like me and my husband.  Yum!


Finally, the sweet stuff!  Well, the beef sticks weren’t really sweet, but they were a big ticket item in our pantry.  They were the perfect afternoon snack.  I remember eating beef sticks at the fair and haven’t had any in ages.  The Oh! Chocolate Devine Cheesecake Mix sounds fantastic.  I am debating to take it to a small potluck this Sunday or save it for our friends Thanksgiving meal…or make it and keep it all to myself.  Decisions.

The Iowa State chocolate bar was her son’s addition to the box and I would like to personally thank them for my sweet after race treat from this past Sunday.  Go Iowa State!

If you would like to see what I sent, check out Andrea at Pretty Wings over here.

I had a great first experience with Foodie Pen Pal’s and I’m looking forward to participating more and getting creative with my boxes in the future.  I most certainly enjoyed meeting two exceptionally lovely ladies in the process.

Andrea ~ I have enjoyed getting to know you through putting your box together and thrilled that you are enjoying your treats.  Keep up that positive energy!

Tasha ~ I am without words.  You’re box was pure joy to receive and I can’t wait to enjoy it even more.  The thought you put into each item and your note made my day!

To sign up for November Foodie Pen Pals, click the link here.  You do not have to have a blog.  You have until November 4th to sign up!

Linking up with The Lean Green Bean today!


New York City Weekend – WTC Memorial

17 Oct

Good morning!

I’m finally going to get started on some highlights from our NYC trip.

But first, breakfast!

Two scrambled eggs, a dash of parsley, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, half of an avocado, drizzled with Ed’s homemade spicy (for him, not me) tomatillo sauce.  I sided it up with a small glass of orange juice and a few sips of coffee.  The same pumpkin spice I left on the coffee table on Monday morning.  A “few sips” being the perfect choice of words.  It wasn’t very tasty 2 days later, but I don’t like to waste.  So, I gave it a shot.

World Trade Center Memorial

My friend Kelly and I escaped Maryland via Bolt Bus on Friday afternoon to go visit her sister, Elsa, who lives in Queens, NY.  She moved there about a year and a half about and we’ve been discussing a trip there together for some time.

My attempt to beat bus ride boredom. I read ZERO pages in that book.

The bus ride was quiet and the two of us chatted for the better half of it as well as a quick nap since sleep was not on the itinerary for the next couple nights.

We arrived NYC at around 8PM and bolted to their friend Ken’s place to drop our bags off before dinner at Lena Latin Grill.  We were hungry and I gobbled up my grilled chicken with tomatillo and avocado sauce (Yum!), sweet plantains and fried yuca in no time.  Since our bus was so late, we headed to Queens to rest up for an early morning at the WTC Memorial.

On our way to the World Trade Center Memorial, Elsa convinced me that a bacon, cream cheese bagel is the best street car breakfast in NYC.  I didn’t argue since I was hungry and there just happened to be one of many food carts outside the memorial.

Bagels, cream cheese and bacon are three of my favorite cheat items.  So, what can I say, I approved.

The memorial has come a long way since I visited Ground Zero last in 2008.  While there is still some to be done to put the finishing touches and officially open it to the public, it was quite a different site from what happened just over 11 years ago.

While waiting in line for our 11:30AM entrance, Kelly and I discussed where we were and how we found out about the tragedy that surrounded that day.  I was in 9th grade and in 2nd block gym class when we walked by the television inside the fitness center.  That was my first glimpse of the first tower and eventually the hit of the second.

South Pool

Ken, Elsa, Kelly

Even though I was a young 14 year old, the phrase “terrorist attack” was not something I had much knowledge of before that day.  From my memory, I think many people, older and younger, had to take a moment or two to figure it all out from afar that day.  Some couldn’t bare the site of it, while others chose to ignore it completely.

The memorial still has some final touches they are working on, but the beauty of the grounds was obviously there.

The Survivor Tree

North Pool

Rainbow across the North Pool

Needless to say, we left the memorial with a deeper honor for those whose lives were lost that day.

We will never forget.

After spending our morning at the memorial we headed on to enjoy the rest of our day in the city.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001?

Texas Life Giveaway (Closed)

25 Sep

This morning has been busy, busy, but I did stop for some leftover lunch and to share a fun giveaway from a good friend’s blog.  So, let’s breeze through lunch so we can get to the fun stuff!


Leftover pasta under roasted garlic sauce with fresh mushrooms, sweet onion and tomatoes.  Sided up with fresh cut cantaloupe and carrots.

Texas Life Giveaway

I’m more than excited to share this post with you because it involves beautiful jewelry and two very beautiful lady friends.

Emily of Texas Life Blog is hosting a Giveaway to celebrate the start of her favorite season!

Vintage Tweet Necklace

The Vintage Tweet Necklace is made by Tricia of Mama’s Nest Designs (see her Etsy shop HERE) and it is beautiful!

Emily is giving one lucky reader a chance to win this necklace and it could be you  (Or me, but you know, I have to play nice :-)).

Enter to win this fall inspired necklace at Emily’s blog.

Texas Life: Giveaway {Vintage Tweet Necklace}

While you’re there, let her know how awesome she is after you visit her DIY projects and recipes she posts about 😉

To visit more with these lovely ladies, check out Texas Life Blog and Mama Marchand’s Nest on my Blog Roll.

Good luck!

P.S. Don’t forget to comment below and let me know you entered!

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