Miscellaneous Musings

Patriotic Treats

 

 Wow. Summer is flying by even though it feels as though it has barely begun up here in the northern states. I’m doing my darndest to soak up every ounce of sunshine I can while it lasts. Lots of grilling, outdoor running/biking, and the occasional patio happy hour session.

Every year over the 4th of July holiday, we spend time with my fam up at their lake home in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. This year we were able to spend 4 full days relaxing and enjoying the perfect weather. The addition of the new “Relaxation Station” turned out to be one of the best ideas ever!

relaxation station 

Per the norm, there were LOTS of fireworks in our back yard, beergaritas, tons of grilling, and waaaaaay to much food. Our fun-filled weekend also included a 10k run, a Corvette joyride, mini donuts and Ferris wheel rides, rocking out to live music, and campfire guitar playing/singing. LOVE.

 
firework

corvette

 

This year I decided to contribute to the sweet treats and for some reason felt the need to be patriotic. I also love me a good fruit pizza. This is super charming and can be whipped up in no time.

 4th of july fruit pizza

 

4th of July Fruit ‘Za

Roll of pre-made sugar cookie dough (16 oz)

1 container strawberries

½ cup blueberries

1 Hershey’s chocolate bar

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup granulated Splenda

8 oz cream cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spread the sugar cookie dough over a cookie sheet. Ideally you’d have a small enough cookie sheet to cover the entire thing. As you can see, I did not.
  3. Bake cookie dough 10-13 minutes or until lightly golden.
  4. Soften cream cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, Splenda, and sugar until smooth.
  6. Remove cookie from the oven and allow to cool before applying the frosting.
  7. Spread cream cheese frosting over the entire cookie.
  8. Cut strawberries into halves. Top your cookie with blueberries and strawberries, along with your Hershey’s chocolate for the flag pole.

 

How fun is that? Almost too cute to eat. Well maybe not – I think I had 4 pieces in about 5 minutes.

 

 

What’s your favorite holiday-themed dessert?

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Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, Recipes | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What’s really in that sweetener?

 

Artificial-sweetener
I have a teensy weensy obsession with coffee (as if you didn’t already know that from posts like this one and this one).

I also prefer that my coffee taste like a candy bar, so I tend to load it up with flavored creamers and fake sugar. Naughty. Although I do consider myself a bit of a health nut, I just can’t seem to break this habit and switch to black coffee. Bitter… icky…boring…ugh. Can’t do it.

My little cancer packet of choice has always been Sweet ‘N Low, as it tends to be the sweetest of the many brands in the “fake sugar” category. I wanted to fully understand my addiction, so I did a little research on the various artificial sweeteners and their effects.

  • The artificial sweetener in Sweet ‘N low is saccharine, which is an organic molecule created out of petroleum (whoa) and introduced in the early 20th century. In the ‘70’s, animal studies found that it caused cancer in several organs and a warning was added to the label. This warning has since been removed but the stigma remains that saccharine is not completely safe for consumption.
  • If you’re more of a NutraSweet or Equal fan, your artificial sweetener of choice is Aspartame, which is a combination of phenylalanine and aspartic acid with methanol (2 amino acids). The FDA has done a number of safety evaluations of Aspartame, and reports have come back free and clear. However, other studies have shown that this sweetener may be an “excitotoxin”, like MSG, which can cause brain damage.
  • Splenda, which is made from Sucralose, may seem to be the least offensive of these first 3 little artificial devils. Sucralose is essentially sugar which has been chemically refined so that our bodies are unable to metabolize it. Thus, it’s calorie-free. Sucralose is also 600 (!) times sweeter than regular sugar.
  • Finally, there’s stevia, which is a calorie free, herb-based sweetener. There’s nothing artificial about it, which immediately gives it a vote up in my book. A number of brands have popped up, including Truvia, Pure Via, Sweet Leaf, Steviva, etc. Stevia is safe for diabetics – it will not spike your insulin levels.

 

One tidbit I was already familiar with is the fact that many artificial sweeteners “trick” your body into thinking it’s getting sugar. According to MaximizedLiving.com, fatty tissues can perceive sweetness, and although artificial sweeteners have no calories, they can cause your metabolism to slow. This tricks your brain into eating even more calories, which will then be stored as fat. So that mid-afternoon Diet Coke may not be so harmless after all.

 

The Verdict

Reading up on the various types of artificial sweeteners was a real eye-opener form me. Ideally, we would be able to appreciate our coffee, tea, and baked goods without the aid of sugar or other sweeteners (right!). Unfortunately for many of us, the sweetness is what makes these foods and beverages enjoyable. That tasty morning coffee is one of my favorite reasons to get out of bed in the morning 🙂

For me, it comes down to choosing the lesser of several “evils”. Given the many studies that have pronounced saccharine and aspartame unsafe, I decided to switch my daily sweetener to Stevia (or more specifically, Truvia brand). However, it’s important to read the labels carefully. Many brands contain additives (even Truvia is blended with erythritol – a sugar alcohol). If you’ve just gotta sweeten, pure Stevia would be ideal, along with other natural, unprocessed sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. I do feel better knowing that the first thing I put in my body every morning is not chemically processed. See ya later, Sweet ‘N Low.

 

What’s your favorite sweetener? 

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, More Eats | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Challenged

 

Woah. Sorry guys, I have completely fallen off the map for the past month or so. Not to worry though. I’m still alive.  Let’s just say that both work and personal commitments have put blogging on the back burner. Typing away on my computer all day at work has left my creative juices pretty drained, leaving none left for you folks. In addition to a rough couple of months at work, I also began triathlon training again 5 weeks ago.

triathlon logo

On my New Year’s Resolution post, I decided to announce to the world that I plan on attempting an Olympic distance triathlon this year. I think that I failed to realize the accountability I would feel in making such a statement. I would hate for you guys to think I’m a failure, so I am going to pressure myself to do the dang thing and make you proud.

 

That being said, I am now working through an Olympic distance training program, which keeps me in the gym for 1 ½ – 2 hours almost every day (also contributing to my absence here on the blog). Swimming, biking, and running my butt off so that hopefully I won’t keel over when the time comes for the event.

 

Here’s my problem…I haven’t registered for an Olympic tri yet. I’m still a little worried about my abilities in the open water. And since the Minnesota winter has dragged on into early May, it looks like I won’t be hopping into the lakes anytime too soon. I do plan on participating in a sprint distance event at the end of June, so hopefully that will get me juiced up and boost my confidence about the longer distance.

 

I hope to use this blog as an outlet to document my progress and challenges along the way. In the meantime, thanks for sticking around. I expect to continue providing you with hours, or at least minutes, of quality entertainment in the form of recipes, race recaps, fitness tips, and random ridiculous musings.

 

Cheers,

Ashley

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings | 1 Comment

Thankful

healthy self
I recently joined a community of like-minded people called Healthy sELF. This group primarily consists of an ongoing newsletter  that outlines various weekly wellness challenges that we can do to improve our happiness, diets, fitness, and overall wellness. One of the goals this week was to make a list of 20 things we’re thankful for. As cheesy as it may sound, I think it’s important that we all take a step back to recognize these things on a regular basis, to keep our challenges in perspective and remind ourselves how special life really is.  So needless to say, I took them up on this little challenge.

P.S. – Anyone can join the Healthy sELF community. Just click here to get involved.

Thankful

In no particular order, I am most grateful for the following:

  1. My Family – I’m so blessed to have such wonderful families. Without my parents, there would be no me…so first and foremost I’m thankful for them. My parents have given me so much more than I can even begin to thank them for. It’s because of their love and support that I’m the person I am today. I’m also so happy to have come from a large extended family – lots of cousins, aunts and uncles make family gatherings both lively and interesting. And of course, the in-laws. I gained 3 sisters and 4 more parents last year!
  2.  My Husband – what can I say about the hubs? He’s intelligent, sweet, giving, super sexy…and he doesn’t even mind doing the dishes. Basically I’m the luckiest girl EVER.
  3.  My Friends – My friends are my lifelong companions. They bring flavor and laughter to my world. They are quirky and unique and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
  4. My Health – I have been blessed with great health thus far. Aside from a couple of crackly knees, I have never had any health concerns to speak of. I try to take care of my body so that it will take care of me.

  5.  My Home – I have a roof over my head that is safe and warm, and I own it (well, I guess the bank technically owns most of it). It may be modest and have 60 year-old windows, but we absolutely LOVE our cozy home.
  6.  My Job – That place that I go to every Monday-Friday that pays me to use my mind and creativity, allows me to write, and lets me bounce ideas around with most of the coolest companies in the Twin Cities? I’m thankful I get paid for such a cool gig.
  7. My Pets – My furry family. The best kind of unconditional love. With 2 cats, a goofball Doberman, and a ball python, I may be one of the most animal-loving people you’ll ever meet.
  8. My Mistakes – They help me learn and grow in life. My mistakes have taught me so much and allow me to continually strive to become a better person.
  9. Food – Obviously, I’m thankful for food for the physiological reasons. But food to me is more than that – being able to experience and cook new and exciting food is one of my favorite things in life.
  10. Love – I have so much love in my world. Knowing that there are so many whom I love and who love me back…let’s just stay it warms my heart and I am thankful for it daily.
  11. Experiences – good and bad, they shape my personality and make me unique.
  12. Life’s challenges – Like anyone, I have certainly had my share of them. But life goes on. The challenges I’ve endured have undoubtedly helped me to grow as a person and become stronger than I was before.
  13. Coffee – Yes, really. It gets me through the morning. And my weekly caramel latte takes me to my happy place.
  14. Ambition – My primary goal in life is to never stop learning. I am grateful for my inability to become complacent. I aim to continually evolve and learn new things that contribute to my overall happiness.
  15. Technology – It allows me to stay connected with friends I have met through different journeys all around the world. It also makes learning so much simpler. How did we ever find anything out before you could just Google the answer?
  16. Education – In the US, I think we all take for granted the fact that we are essentially “forced” to receive an education. We are so lucky that it is available to us. I feel so incredibly grateful that I was able to get a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. Especially because so many around the world can’t even receive an education beyond grade school.
  17. Hobbies – Hobbies are my fun zone. And we all need fun in our lives. Snowboarding, traveling, writing, dancing, singing…it’s these little things that bring flavor to life.
  18. The seasons – I am so thankful that I live and grew up in Minnesota. Yeah, our winters can be pretty harsh and tend to last about 3 months too long. But in the end, I’d much rather experience the extremes of all 4 seasons – I love the variety and the shift in mood that the changing seasons bring every year.
  19. Music – I can’t even imagine a world without music. It lifts my spirits when I’m having a bad day, and pumps me up when I need the motivation to run another mile. The right tunes even bring back memories that are buried in the back of my consciousness. This makes me happy.
  20. Travel – I have this intrinsic fascination with culture. I am so incredibly fortunate that I have been able to travel the world and experience so much thus far. The world is an amazingly fascinating place and I look forward to exploring as much of it as possible.

 

What are YOU most thankful for?

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings | Leave a comment

Asparagus pee (and a reci-pee!)

asparagus pee

We eat a fairly decent amount of asparagus in our household. And why not? It’s a fabulous source of vitamins A, C ,E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, and chromium. It’s also a great detoxifier and is full of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. Score. Plus it tastes yummy with butter and sea salt.

The only downside I can think of to this killer veggie?  Smelly pee. I was genuinely curious as to the cause (and I’m confident that now you are too), so I hit up Google for some answers.

According to WebMD, only about ¼ of the population has the special gene that allows them to smell the specific compounds our bodies create when digesting asparagus. This was news to me.  So everyone creates smelly asparagus pee, but not everyone can smell it. Lucky folks.

The actual smell, according to Discovery.com, is caused by a metabolite called methanethiol. As your body breaks down asparagus, it produces this chemical and tells your kidneys to transport it to your bladder. “Methanethiol is composed mostly of sulfur with a splash of hydrogen, plus some carbon, a brew famous for its effect in rotten eggs, cabbages, and paper mills” (Discovery.com, 2013). All stinky stuff. Makes sense!

Regardless of smell, we’ll continue to regularly eat asparagus, since I’m pretty sure it’s health benefits outweigh this particular shortcoming.  And now that you’re super pumped about asparagus too, how about a simple, tasty reci-pee!? (please humor me, it’s Friday).

Easy Sautéed Asparagus

Ingredients:

·         1 bunch fresh asparagus

·         1 tbsp butter

·         2-3 cloves garlic

·         Sea salt & pepper

·         ½ lemon

·         ¼ c shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.     Break off the bottom 2 inches of each asparagus stalk and discard.

2.     Cut each stalk into 1-2 inch sections.

3.     Melt butter in sauté pan on medium heat – add garlic and heat until golden.

4.     Add asparagus & sauté 3-4 minutes until bright green and tender but still a bit crunchy.

5.     Add ½ a lemon worth of juice and cook for another 2-3 minutes until asparagus reaches your desired consistency.

6.     Remove from pan and toss with parmesan cheese, sea salt, and pepper. Enjoy.

7.     Think about how tasty it was the next time you go to the bathroom.

For those of you still reading…thanks for sticking around to learn about this somewhat un-PC (but quite fascinating) topic.

What other strange bodily functions should I research?

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New Year’s Snowboarding Trip – Lutsen


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December was filled with lots of adventure (hence, my long absence from blogging regularly). A week in Jamaica, followed almost immediately by the craziness that is the Christmas holiday, and finished off with a trip up to the North Shore of Lake Superior for New Year’s. PHEW!  All of this fun is exhausting.

One of those….”wouldn’t it be fun?” conversations over Thanksgiving dinner turned into a….”yeah, let’s do this!” with my sister Jessi and her bf Joe. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend the holiday than bundled up sailing down a hill with a board strapped to my feet.

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As a native Minnesotan who had her own skis at age two, I am completely amazed that I have never ventured the 4 hour road trip up to Lutsen before. It’s about as close as you can get to the Rockies around here, and you can make it as short as a weekend trip from the Twin Cities. YES.

We stayed at Caribou Highlands lodge, which is right on Lutsen Mountain – Ski-in, Ski-out – no need for a shuttle to get to the runs. We definitely paid a premium to visit over the holiday, but after staying right on the hill, I don’t think I’d do it any other way.

 

I was incredibly impressed at the size of this place. In Minnesota, it’s tough to find a hill that takes more than 60 seconds to ride down. These were solid 3-4 minute runs, with multiple options (especially on Moose Mountain) that can get you somewhat lost (or maybe that’s just me?).

 

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It was Mike’s 2nd time EVER on a snowboard, and he completely rocked it. By day 2 he was a regular pro 😉  He says he’s now officially addicted and wants to go every weekend. Score one for me! I’ve only been trying to get him on a snowboard for the past 7 years. We somehow even ended up on a black diamond on day two – Mike took it in stride and didn’t even bite it.

 15787_10100414389382711_2138819196_n

It was COLD (-25 windchill) but we made the best out of it. Boot warmers and lots of layers were key. Poor Jessi was sick and decided to relax on day 2, but Mike, Joe and I braved the elements and had some fun riding fun boxes in the snowboard park. Wheeeee!

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Brrrrr....

Brrrrr….

 

NYE Dinner at Mogul’s Grille & Tap Room at Caribou Highlands was fab. I had the blackened mahi mahi, with LOTS of fresh shrimp and crab claws from the buffet. MMmmmmmm. And ironically, my friend Mikel from college happened to be our server!  What a small world it is.

We had a ton of fun hanging out with Jess and Joe; something we don’t get to do nearly often enough. Lots of Rumchata and blueberry moonshine, a little hot tubbin’. and table tennis; and finally, watching the Vikings make the playoffs definitely capped off the weekend! I’d absolutely do a weekend up in Lutsen again. I think next time, I’d pick a weekend in late Feb/early March when it’s not so frigid and you don’t have to pay holiday premiums at the resort and on the lift tickets.

 

What did you do for New Year’s? What are your favorite semi-local weekend getaways?

 

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, Travel | Leave a comment

Keeping your New Year’s Resolution

new years resolutions

Welcome to 2013! If you’re like most Americans, you probably made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, get fit, quit a bad habit, volunteer, or advance your career.  Did you know that 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fall off the wagon by the end of February? …. 80%!

You don’t have to be one of these people.  If you’re set on making 2013 the year where you stick to your guns, make sure your goals are realistic and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). This little mnemonic tool can apply to both your personal and professional objectives…and will help you stop riding the merry-go-round of misplaced goals that most people jump on year after year.

S.M.A.R.T GOALS

Specific

Simply saying, “I want to get in shape this year”, or “I want to eat less fast food” leaves far too much open for your brain’s interpretation. The less ambiguous, the more difficult it will be to talk yourself out of it. A goal that is specific will answer the following questions:

Who is involved?
What do I want to accomplish?
Where will I accomplish it?
WHY do I want to do this?

Measurable

“I want to volunteer more time to the causes I care about”.  Great!  But when 2013 is over, will you look back and be satisfied with your achievements? How MUCH more time do you want to spend?  How MUCH weight do you want to lose? I personally think that this criteria is the most crucial when it comes to making resolutions. If your goal isn’t measurable, you have no way of evaluating how successful you’ve been. It’s also critical if you want to experience the thrill of achievement.

So…if you want to eat healthier, make it more concrete. Say something like, “I plan to make meals at home using clean, whole foods 5 days each week”. If you want to lose weight, make it “My goal is to lose 20 lbs by this time next year”. Want to volunteer? Say, “I want to volunteer at XXX organization at least one day per week”.

You’ll be much more likely to stick to it, and feel far more accomplished when you do.

Attainable

Don’t even bother with unattainable resolutions, or you’ll be off the train long before the snow melts.  Make your goal achievable but difficult. If it is too easy, you won’t get as much satisfaction when you accomplish it.


Relevant

This criteria is key.  Create a goal that you actually CARE about – one that aligns with other, smaller goals in your life.  Saying, “I want to eat 30 carrots a day for the next two weeks” may be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound…but does it really have any relevance? How much is it going to help you in the end?  A goal that is relevant is one that will drive you forward. Make sure it aligns with other primary efforts in your life and that the end result is worthwhile.

Time-Bound

Give your resolution a target date to help you stay on track.Without a deadline, your goal will inevitably end up overtaken by other life commitments and procrastination will ensue. Before you know, it will be New Year ’s Eve in 2013 and you’ll still be “planning” to accomplish what you set out to do a year ago. Ask yourself what you can do today, tomorrow, and next week to help achieve that specific goal by XXX date.

By keeping these criteria in mind, you’ll be far more likely to ring in 2014 as an even better version of your already rockin’ awesome self!


What about me?

I’ve been struggling to come up with a personal goal for the upcoming year…primarily because I’m afraid I won’t be able to accomplish it. But that’s the whole point, right?  Continue to challenge yourself to achieve what you didn’t think possible. So, I’ve decided that my goal (more a goal than a resolution, really) is to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in 2013. As anyone who knows me is certainly aware, I’m a bad swimmer. A mile-long lake swim absolutely terrifies the bejeezus out of me. So I’ve already taken the first step to achieving my goal –I have enrolled in a 6-week swim conditioning course through the YWCA, starting next week!

I think I can I think I can….

 

new years eve 2012

What is your New Year’s resolution? Is it SMART?

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Foodie Pen Pals – November


Yet another box full of yummy goodies on my doorstep. I’m such a lucky lady.

This month I was paired up with Lorraine, who sent me the most snack-alicious box ever. Filled with TONS of paleo-friendly munchies. And from one of my favorite places on earth, no less – Trader Joe’s 🙂

1. Justin’s Honey Almond Butter – purrrrfect. We’ve been moving away from peanut butter and eating almond butter instead, so I’ve been trying out different brands. Mmm.

2. All natural teriyaki turkey jerkey – I blinked and the whole bag was gone. I won’t even blame this one on the hubs. Yup, all me.

3. Dark chocolate bar with cranberries and almonds – It’s almost as if Lorraine came to my house and snooped around in my cabinets before she went shopping for me. We LOVE dark chocolate. Even moreso when there’s stuff inside.

4. Roasted coconut chips – HE-LLO new obsession!  These were also completely gone before I knew it. Light and sweet and slightly salty….I think I had a cocogasm.

6. Mixed nuts and cranberries. Perfect mid-morning snack.

7. Cashew cookie Larabar – This was my first Larabar. I flipped it over to look at the ingredients and couldn’t find it. Then I discovered it tucked under the flap. Ingredients: Cashews and dates. Well, that’s why I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t 14 lines long filled with a bunch of junk I can’t pronounce. Dang. THAT is what I call clean eating. These things pack in a TON of flavor without any processed ingredients. I will absolutely be buying Larabars in the future – I can’t wait to try their other flavors!

8. Roasted seaweed snack – I had actually mailed these out to my foodie pen pal earlier this summer, but had never tried them out myself. They are initially kinda fishy tasting, but surprisingly quite addictive. A great low-cal snack if you’re craving salt. The entire container only contains 60 calories.

9. Wheat Grass and Orange Dreamsicle superfood drink powders – These support energy levels and immune function. Super clean and healthy – I have yet to try them out but am intrigued…

 

The verdict? The best in box award goes to….A TIE between the Roasted Coconut Chips and the Cashew Cookie Larabar. If you’ve never had them, go to Trader Joe’s and pick them up before I raid every store in the tri-state area.

THANK YOU, Lorraine, for a great box full of HEALTHY paleo snacks! I seriously could not have created a more perfect combo of foods myself.

…And a special thanks to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean for coordinating!

******************************************************************************

WANNA PARTICIPATE IN FOODIE PEN PALS??

Here are some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, this is 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 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.

If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, More Eats | Tags: | Leave a comment

Foodie Pen Pals – Halloween Edition


 

 

BOO!

Don’t be scared, it’s just me.

Know what else it is? Time for Foodie Pen Pals, Halloween edition!

This time around, I was paired up with Jenna, who blogs about pets over at Time out Truffles. Stop by and give her blog 2 paws up.

Jenna sent me some yummy Halloween-themed (and some non-themed) grub this month!

 

 

 

  1. Pumpkin seeds – what a fabulous, seasonal (and paleo-friendly) snack! These came in handy for an on-the-go, between-jobs snack. Thanks for keeping my hunger in check, J-dog. Can I call you J-dog?
  2. White chocolate candy corn M&Ms – holy teeth-rotting goodness, batman. This has to be one of the sweetest candies I have ever tried. Deliciously naughty.
  3. Brianna’s Home Style Poppy Seed dressing – I LOVE trying new dressings and this one hit the nail on the head. Very flavorful and made from all-natural ingredients.
  4. Celestial Seasonings Perfectly Pear White Tea – the hubs is a big tea drinker and made an “ooooooh” noise when I told him about this.
  5. Apple of my London Eye chutney – talk about an awesomely unique addition to this box! This was by far my favorite item. It contains apples, sugar, malt vinegar, onions, raisins, herbs and spices. It is SO tasty and more savory than sweet. Any suggestions as to what I should put this on? I’m thinking just added to celery as a snack!
  6. Grilled & marinated asparagus spears – I love asparagus. This will be tasty cut up and added to my daily salads, or heated up for a quick side with dinner.
  7. Caramel Apple Filled Werthers – thanks Jenna, I’m now completely addicted to these. I actually didn’t think I’d like them at first, but changed my mind immediately. They are totally irresistible and I scarfed the whole bag in 2 days.

Thanks again, Jenna, for such a frighteningly awesome Halloween goodie box!

…And a special thanks to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean for coordinating!

 

******************************************************************************

WANNA PARTICIPATE IN FOODIE PEN PALS??

Here are some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, this is 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 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.

If you’re interested in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

 

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, More Eats | Tags: | Leave a comment

Foodie Pen Pals – September


It’s foodie pen pals time again!

This time around, I was paired up with Patti, who blogs over at Heavy Girl to Healthy Girl, and has lost 112 lbs through healthy eating and exercise. WOW! 

Side note: My foodie pen pal for the month was April, who blogs over at April’s Mooseathon. Wanna see what I mailed to April this month?  Head over to her blog and check out her Foodie Pen Pals post!

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This month, Patti sent me a super unique and fun package!

1. I mentioned to her that I eat lots of salads and love to try unique and fun salad dressings. She sent me Ken’s Light Raspberry Walnut dressing. mmmmmmm….

2. Fruit and spice flavored tea. I am trying to get into drinking tea (I currently drink WAY too much coffee). This will be great, because I really can only do the sweet or highly flavored teas.

3. Organic spice grinders – one pesto and the other a tuscan spice mix. We have already used these several times in soups and in our ground beef/veggie dinner staple.

4. A set of mini candles, which she says help her relax…agreed!

5. here’s the kicker – Patti sent me weightlifting gloves – whaaaat?  How awesome is she? Somehow she read my mind, because I’ve been meaning to get a pair of these for quite some time now.

Thanks again to Patti for the fun goodies 🙂

…And a special thanks to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean for coordinating!

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WANNA PARTICIPATE IN FOODIE PEN PALS??

Here are some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, this is 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, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, More Eats | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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