January Foodie Penpals

When Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean started the #FoodiePenpals exchange back in the fall, I immediately knew I wanted to get involved. But all too soon the September deadline passed. Lindsey assured me it was okay — I could still get involved for the October swap. Then that deadline passed. And then before I knew it, November and December had disappeared. But as we were coming up on the new year, there was no way I was letting another month pass me by, and I jumped on the chance to send my commitment email in — on time. By this point the exchange list included over 100 participants. WOW! I couldn’t wait to get started.

One of my favorite parts of the way the #FoodiePenpals exchange is set up is that while I ship a box to one person, a different person will be shipping a box to me. It’s like one big, never-ending circle of connections. I will be honest, the most stressful part of the whole process though was figuring out what I was going to pack up to send away — trying to make sure I’m not duplicating something that person has received in an earlier month (there are a LOT of my Boston friends involved in this, naturally), staying on budget (it’s a $15 spending limit), and then the packaging itself. I obviously didn’t want anything that would break or spoil while in transit. So much to think about!

Laura Jayne from Laura Lives Life emailed me right away to find out if I had any food preferences or allergies. I assured her that aside from lima beans and peas, I was an anything-goes kind of girl. Since she would be shipping my box from Utah — a state I’ve never been to — I knew there would be treats I have never had before, and I couldn’t wait. Not surprisingly, Laura followed up right on time to let me know when my box had been shipped out and when I should be able to expect it to arrive at my door. I definitely circled the date on my calendar. There’s nothing like spending a Monday waiting for the doorbell to just make the day drag on more than normal.

First thing I pulled out of the box were two chocolate bars — one filled with peanut butter and one filled with caramel sea salt. I’m not sure exactly how she knew, but caramel, sea salt, and chocolate? I might have squealed out loud when I read the wrapper.

The next thing I pulled out was a piece of taffy, and then another, and then another, and then… You get the picture. True story — I have been on the hunt for saltwater taffy for years. Not just any kind though. The kind my dad and I used to get every fall at our county fair. And one I haven’t had in over 10 years. The guilt of which I used to talk him into buying a box for me and shipping it 1000 miles. However, now the taffy beast has been unleashed. So while Laura painstakingly picked out 30+ different flavors of taffy for me to try, I reverted to my 5-year old self and practically inhaled each and every piece. I cannot, or rather will not, confirm or deny if the taffy lasted longer than 24 hours. Maybe I can blame that on the dog?

Next up was a loaf of Raisin Cinnamon Whole Wheat bread — a favorite for Laura before she had to give up gluten. And at less than 60 calories a slice, I went ahead and threw a piece, maybe two, in my toaster mere minutes after my discovery. It was so delicious, I immediately portioned out some of the loaf for the freezer — in part to avoid it spoiling before I could enjoy it all and then also to limit the chance of the dog making a play for it while I’m downstairs doing laundry. I have no doubt in my mind that this is one loaf he’d be sure to sniff out and swipe if given the opportunity. What can I say, he’s got great taste.

And last, but definitely not least, Laura included a box of Tulsi tea (holy basil) and creamed raspberry-flavored honey. While I tend to be more of a coffee drinker — okay, I’m a coffee fiend — I do enjoy the occasional cup of tea, particularly after a very tiring, and trying, day. In her note, Laura explained that the tea is supposed to have healing properties and always helps her when she has a headache. Considering the day I had, I immediately put the water on and grabbed a mug. The smell of the tea was so refreshing and calming, I couldn’t wait for it to steep. And since I was on a roll with everything else, I decided to treat myself to a swipe of the honey for just a touch of sweetness in the tea. An absolutely perfect ending to the evening.

One of the only rules from Lindsay is that each box must include something written — this could be a note explaining something in the box, a recipe, or just a note to say “hi”. Laura Jayne included a very nice notecard that gave me some insight as to what she included in my box, simple but so personal at the same time. This card may have been my favorite part of the whole box. There’s something so refreshing and encouraging about receiving something hand-written and addressed to you alone.

While I was working my way through the treats I received from Laura, the box of Boston-based food goods I had packed up was on its way to Washington to Michelle of Tacoma Aroma Eats. Check out her site to what she thought of everything!

Want to see what I got in my last box?

Interested in getting involved in future #FoodiePenpals exchanges? Read up here and follow the instructions to get in touch with Lindsay! The more the merrier — and hungrier!

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  1. February Foodie Penpals « Lena Hanson
  2. May Foodie Penpals « Lena Hanson
  3. April Foodie Penpals « Lena Hanson
  4. (Belated) March Foodie Penpals « Lena Hanson
  5. June Foodie Penpals « Lena Hanson

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