So I failed at Foodie Pen Pals this month – i forgot to do pictures! My awesome pen pal, Rachelle, doesn’t have a blog, but she did go to a nearby preparedness store and bought me two mixes – one for cookies and one for a flourless cake. Sadly, i haven’t been able to make either! The cookies are a ginger snap i think, which i want to save for a special occasion, because i know Duncan will eat them all right away! The cake is flourless, but i’m not sure if that really means gluten free, so i can’t make it for an occasion when Michelle will be joining us. Still – yummm cake!
She also sent two applesauce/fruit pouches. Confession time: I love applesauce and it’s variants, and i know those packs are for little kids, but ummm, yeah. They are handy for when i am in the field and want something fast and easy to eat. I wouldn’t buy them for myself necessarily, but yay treats! She also included two candies, which are also being saved for treats. They are the long straw shaped candies, but i forget the name. I associate them with trips to Mystic Seaport and Old Sturbridge Village.
Other goodies included a Boysenberry syrup and nail polish! I’m dying to make some pancakes on Sunday morning and try it on that, although i’ll bet it’ll be good over vanilla ice cream too. And while i often can’t wear nail polish because of work (nitrile gloves and tools don’t get along with good manicures), it’s totally the type i wear when i can! So yay! Thank you Rachelle!
I somehow managed to not take pictures this month. I fail at that. Sorry all. Here are some pictures of other things i’ve been doing instead.
Monday was Aimee’s birthday. She’s 7 months pregnant now, and really starting to show. I can’t wait to meet my newest niece in the fall! Although Aimee is the real baker in our crazy family it didn’t seem fair she should make her own cake, and i had a few hours to flex because of working on Saturdays, so i made her a cake.
As i mentioned, Michelle can’t have gluten, so cakes are always a little bit of a challenge. When Aimee and i use box mixes, we find the surface stays a little tacky, and frosting is super difficult (yes, those crazy cakes i’ve posted before? All GF!). We usually end up making a normal buttercream frosting and then warming it up in the microwave to give it a more runny consistency, but yeeesh, it’s a pain.
I used this recipe, which is a GF modification of the Hershey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe and TADA! WAY better surface for frosting!
Some notes though: Do not think hot water is OK, it needs to be boiling or things don’t mix right. Things will be runny and wet, that’s ok. Also, the flour ratio has you make more flour than you need. You can use some for coating the pans, but you’ll still have more than enough, so make it in an airtight container, shake it up and you’ll have some (but not enough) for another cake in the future. I think i want to try to mix all the dry ingredients into some mason jars and then have my own “mix” ready to go for future cake making. I’d also like to try the flour ratio for a vanilla (or other flavor) cake.
I’ve also been back on the healthy bandwagon. This was my breakfast and lunch yesterday. A smoothie with spinach, mango, banana and orange juice for breakfast. That’s a Cuppow on the mason jar, which means i can toss my fruits/veggies into the jar, blend with my immersion blender and screw the top on and enjoy! Super simple and easy, right?
The lunch is a salad of carrot, cucumber and tomato from the Fair Weather Acres CSA, some balsamic dressing and a portion of the Fiery Seeds in my latest Graze box. The plum is also from the CSA. I also made a turkey & cheese wrap to add a little healthy protein in there.
The container is a laptop lunchbox. I used to have two a few years ago (which let me pack ahead multiple days) along with a few different container sets, but they did eventually get destroyed/gross/lost.
I love the idea of the PlanetBox because it’s metal, not plastic, but my Rover just wasn’t the right size for a lot of my meals. I often got frustrated with the fact i’d need to use two compartments to store an apple, and it wasn’t as easy to clean as you might think. I’ll look into getting a Launch at some point, but right now the Laptop Lunchbox makes sense because of it’s versatility.
I can do different size containers for days i have different types of meals, and things feel more waterproof. I did splurge and buy myself a tote and Lifefactory waterbottle to make life a little easier as well. I didn’t previously have a tote, and found it’s not always natural to carry the box flat, so sometimes things got very rattled. This particular tote has a compartment for the box on the bottom and a spacious upper area, so i can throw a yogurt or other items in if i want more food or drink. The waterbottle is glass with a covering that makes it easier to hold and less likely to break. My family has some and they love them, so i was happy to get one myself. I’ve been making lazy iced tea in it.
There is actually a lot going on lately, and i am still stuck on where i want to go with this blog, but i know letting it sit idle probably isn’t the best plan. And phoning it in with pictures of veggies is ok, but not the full direction i want to go. Things to think on for certain.
And now it’s 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 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 August, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by August 4th as pairings will be emailed on August 5th!
*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.