Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie Pen Pal – January 2014

This month I was paired up with Megan.  Megan writes a blog called St. Louis Dietician.  Check out her blog for health tips.

Ohio was part of the country impacted by the Polar Vortex at the beginning and end of the month.  Since the jet stream was further south than usual, we got snow from Alberta Clippers.  For three days straight, we got snow during the day.  I had stressful commutes home on two days because of the road conditions.  I was greeted with the box after that second commute.  I absolutely loved the box, so that put a smile on my face after my stressful commute.

I’ve tried everything in my box.  One of my favorites was the dark chocolate mint bar.  I eat only one block of it at a time, so I can savor it.  Another favorite was peppermint tea.  I love mint teas, so this was perfect.  I’ve been using the Greek Seasoning on air-popped popcorn and coconut oil instead of butter.  Yum!  The olive oil granola was quickly eaten for breakfast.  I love the combination of cashews and pistachios.  In fact,  I keep a container of almonds, pistachios, and almonds at work so I can eat some when my stomach growls.

Thank you, Megan, for a great box.

Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie Pen Pal – November 2013

This month I was paired up with Anne from Pennsylvania.  She and I had similar likes in foods, so that was a help when buying her goodies.

When I got her box, I was delighted.  There were a lot of yummy treats in the box.  One of the items I am extremely excited about is the Pennsylvania Dutch apple butter.  If I hadn’t opened up a jar of pumpkin butter, I would have opened that jar up right away.  I was born in the Pennsylvania Dutch area, so it is nice to have a treat from where I was born.

All the goodies were from her area, which was nice because I like to try local foods when visiting other places.

Thanks, Anne, for a great box.

Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie Pen Pal – October Edition

This is my first anniversary of participating in Foodie Pen Pals.  Shania, who lived in New Jersey, sent me my first box.  I remember worrying about her last October because she was in the path of Superstorm Sandy.  Luckily she was fine.  She sent me magnets which is funny because Katie, my partner this month, also sent me magnets.

This time I sent it to and received a fit from Katie, who lives close to Chicago.  For information about what I sent her, please visit her blog.

Here is what she sent me:

Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie Pen Pal – September Edition

This month we followed a different format.  Instead of being paired up with two people (one who bought and sent to me and the other I bought for and then sent the box), we were paired with one other person.  We bought and sent to each other.  

This month, I was paired with Jessica who lives in Mississippi.  She had never been to Ohio and I have never been to Mississippi.  I sent her a box of my usual goodies,  One of which is the Triple Treat Granola.  All 3 times that I’ve sent that granola, the recipient loved it.  

Okay onto what Jessica sent me:

Thank you Jessica for the great box!

Posted in Family, Food, Foodie Pen Pal, Imaginative one, Wee one

When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

During the winter, we decided to go to our favorite beach – Folly Beach, South Carolina. Ideas about where we should go on the way there and the way home were thrown around. We knew we did not want to go to Gatlinburg because we had done that twice before, so it was time for something new. I mentioned Charlottesville, VA, and Hershey, PA, as possible destinations. Hershey was quickly vetoed because it would take too long to get there and then too long to travel down. So we decided Charlottesville would be our destination.

When I was a teenager, my mom, sister, and I would travel down to Charlottesville via bus. We would first go to Washington, D.C., and visit different historical sights during our layover. I’m getting sidetracked from my story.

There were 3 things on my agenda for our visit to Charlottesville – Monticello, the University of Virginia rotunda, and the pedestrian mall. About a week before our trip, I emailed Jo. Jo was my November Foodie Pen Pal. We had exchanged emails about her motorcycle trip to Ohio and how much she loved Cincinnati-style chili. So I sent her a box with ingredients to make chili.

I emailed her because she lives in Charlottesville, and as a foodie, I needed the 4-1-1 on good places to eat there. She offered to meet us at the pedestrian mall if we had time so she could give us a local’s perspective on great foods to eat. I warned her about the Wee One and the Imaginative One because I didn’t know if she wanted to spend a Friday evening with two elementary-age children stuck in a car for 7 hours and then walk around Monticello for 3 hours (almost actual times). They could get a little squirrely. She was okay with that, so we met up.

She helped us find parking and even find Hawaii license plates. The Wee One loves looking at license plates and yelling out the different states. His goal was to find Hawaii and Alaska. There were 2 cars with Hawaii license plates in the parking lot we parked in. Supposedly I owe him Legos because he found one of the rare license plates.

It was so much fun talking to her about foodies and other random topics such as running, walking to Monticello from her house, and where Dave Matthews had his first gig. My Hubby even enjoyed talking to her and loved her accent because she is originally from Quebec. She even showed us the Coke machine (which doesn’t work) at Chap’s ice cream. The boys loved the place. They could draw and write their name in chalk. They were not so happy about walking around, but when you are 8 and 10, parents can make you do boring things.

Here are some pictures:

Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie pen pals – July edition

I sent my box to Lindsay at Say No To Bacon. She lives in Oklahoma, so it was my third time sending her there. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to visit that great state.

Debbie at Accidentally Delish sent my box all of the ways from Arizona. Since I was on vacation, I asked for food that would be great for traveling. She sent me some granola which is one of my favorite foods. I also got black bean chips. I did not bring those on the trip. I have to be in the mood for any type of chip item, and then I eat them until I’m no longer craving chips. I know I’m random. I’m saving them for when I am really craving chips. She also sent me bars. Those are great not only for the trip down but also for walking around town. I stick them in my backpack, and away we go. I also got some great fruit leather. The Wee One loves them, so I can give him one if he’s complaining about being hungry while we are walking around town.

I will add pictures and links when I have actual wifi. I took the pictures and put them on my computer. However, packing for 3 people for a week-and-a-half trip was my priority.

Posted in Family, Foodie Pen Pal, Randomness

My travel bag

Today we are leaving for our big vacation. We are traveling to Charlottesville, Va, for the night. Then we are traveling to Charleston, SC, for the week. Then we are on to Atlanta, GA, for 2 days and Huntsville, AL, for a day before heading home.

I’m notorious for packing way too much food when we travel. I attempted not to have too much. We have the family snacks and then mine.

I’m going to talk about what I packed in my travel bag.


Snacks for Hubby and me (kids won’t touch them):
Trail mix (2 types)
Pistachio, cashew, and almond snack mix

Snacks for only me:
Wheat thins (small bags of spicy buffalo and sundried tomato and basil)
Snack mix (walking taco flavored)
Homemade granola (breakfasts for the trip)
2 containers of individual creamers (for beach house – the only thing I put in coffee)
Dentyne Ice gum (lots – love it)
2 go picnic – salami with cheese (lunches for this week)
2 go picnics – hummus (lunches for this week)
Freeze-dried pineapple
Freeze-dried mango
2 containers of random bars and peanut butter/almond butter packets – even though I don’t particularly like peanut butter)
Instant coffee
Fruit punch (1)

Other stuff:
Books (6)
Folders with puzzles and coloring pages for boys
Folder with puzzles for me
Mechanical pencils
My purse
My camera

Posted in breakfast, Coconut, Cranberries, DIY, Foodie Pen Pal, Ingredients, Oatmeal, Recipes, Snacks, Walnuts

White chocolate granola

I’ve mentioned how much I like a local Farmer’s Market called Second Street Market. One of the vendors has a delicious granola called Triple Treat Granola. It contains walnuts, cranberries, and melted white chocolate. I sent a container to my May and one to my June foodie pen pals. Both of them loved the granola:).

I’ve decided to recreate the granola and add another flavor element – coconut. It turned out delicious.

White Chocolate Granola

Adapted from Finding Joy in my Kitchen

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 . Water
  • 3/4 c. Brown sugar
  • 5 . Old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (add more or less depending on your likes or leave it out)
  • 1/4 . Chopped walnuts
  • 1 and 1/2 c. White chocolate chips
  • 1/4 . Dried cranberries
  • 1/4 . Dried sweetened coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a big saucepan, combine water, olive oil, and brown sugar. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the oatmeal and cinnamon.
  4. Slowly add the oatmeal mixture to the saucepan. Stir each time you add some of the oatmeal. Make sure the water, olive oil, and brown sugar are evenly coated on the oatmeal. Take it off the heat.
  5. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Place in preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes.
  7. Take out of oven and stir.
  8. Add walnuts to the granola. Place back in the oven.
  9. Bake for 5 more minutes.
  10. Take out the oven and sprinkle with a cup of white chocolate chips.
  11. Put it back in the oven for a minute.
  12. Take out of the oven and stir the granola, so the melted white chocolate gets all over the granola.
  13. Allow to cool, and then add the remaining white chocolate chips, cranberries, and coconut.
  14. Store in an air-tight container.
  15. Enjoy over yogurt, froyo, or by itself.

Printable Recipe

Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie Pen Pal – June edition

It’s that time of the month, foodie pen pal reveal day. I’m usually on top by writing my post early and then scheduling it. This month I was not as good. Actually, I’m sitting down and writing it on our reveal day. Oh, well! It’s been a busy week, and I’ve rarely been home long enough to write anything.

This month I sent it to Ilon, who lives in New Jersey. This is the second time I’ve been sent to New Jersey. To see what Ohio goodies I sent her, visit her blog Ilona’s Kitchen.

Charmaine sent me my box all of the way from California. Here are the goodies she sent to me:

-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 & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. 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 from the US or Canada and are 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!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE ( to signup.

Posted in Foodie Pen Pal

Foodie Pen Pals – May edition

This time I sent it to Theresa who lives in Oklahoma.  As soon as I heard about the tornadoes, I emailed her to ensure she was safe.  She lives far enough away that she is not in their path.  Praise God!  Check out her blog to see how I spoiled (her words) her.

Hannah was selected to send it to me.  She lives close to my favorite zoo and even worked there last year.  I’m just a little jealous.  Actually, I’m a lot jealous.  If the zoo wasn’t 1 hour and 15 minutes away, it would be a perfect summer job for me.  She worked with the summer camps, and I took a teacher workshop there last August.  We might have seen each other there.  

Check out my box of goodies: