Here’s something I’m super excited to be a participant in. Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean created an AMAZING program–Foodie Penpals. It’s a great way for foodies all over the country (now in Canada and Europe too!) can share their favorite foods and maybe even discover some new favorites. The program started a little less than a year ago with about 3o participants and now has over 1,000! The way it works, is kind of a triangle format. You send to one person and receive from another. This month, I sent some goodies over to Rachel at the Health Revival and received a tasty package from Kelly at Cupcake Kelly’s. For my first Foodie Penpal experience, I have to say, Kelly made me VERY glad I joined this program!
Being a locavore, I encouraged Kelly to send me things local from home. Kelly lives in Boston and is originally from Vermont, so the first things that came to her were pasta, dessert and maple syrup. I kind of laughed when she asked me if I’d prefer one big item or a collection of smaller things. A selection, of course. I like sampling a bit of everything! My package arrived and I was so excited by it’s delicious contents that I honestly started “sampling” the package before I remembered, “I need to photograph this stuff!”
First up were homemade cake pops–chocolate with red icing and red velvet with chocolate icing. She send me 4, but my husband and I devoured the first pair pretty quickly. She noted they were staples at her family parties. Here’s hoping I’m invited next time!
Another homemade goodie was baklava that Kelly and her mother-in-law made. Her in-laws are 100% Greek, so I was excited. Now I have to admit, baklava isn’t exactly my favorite dessert. I’ve had far too many overly sweet versions that I generally avoid it. But THIS. Kelly’s baklava wasn’t overly sweet. It was rich and nutty and oh so moist.
Next, some of her local favorites. Quinn’s popcorn, a brand I have never heard of, was fantastic. Maple and Sea Salt–what a combo! It was microwavable popcorn but unlike any I’ve ever had. First you pop the corn, like usual. It’s actually plain at this stage, so there’s no artificial buttery elements or flavors. Next you open the top of the popcorn bag and pour in packet 1 (canola oil). Shake, shake, shake! Then you add the second packet of maple sugar and sea salt. Shake, shake, shake again! Popcorn with a workout! Pour into bowl and enjoy (quickly! or someone might eat it all–in this case my husband).
Lake Champlain dark chocolate. She must have been reading my blog to know how much I LOVE chocolate! Now, it didn’t exactly travel well (which makes me nervous since I send chocolate to my penpal too!). It must have melted a bit during transit, then re-hardened when it arrived because when I picked up the bar, most of it was crammed into one side of the package. But trust me, it still tasted wonderful, which is really all the matters.
And finally, Kelly sent me some of her favorite pasta (which happens to be one of my favorite brands too! Now I just need to find a good recipe for it.
And there it is. My July Foodie Penpal package. Such a great program. Not only do you get to send and RECEIVE tasty foods, but you’re also exposed to tons of other foodie blogs, just like your own. BONUS: you don’t have to be a blogger to participate, readers can join too!
A HUGE THANK YOU to Lindsay for coordinating the penpals EVERY MONTH! If the other 1,000 bloggers and readers out there are anything like me, managing work, personal lives and a blog, we tend to get a little distracted and forgetful 🙂
And now its time for some details about Foodie Penpals. In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
- 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 Penpals 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.
If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!