Tag Archives: Foodie Pen Pals

Foodie Pen Pal! Tenth Month – May 2013

That’s right! Foodie Pen Pals is back! And it is reveal day once again

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then, every month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got on the same day :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Mary Morehouse… and “IT” finally happened… the moment every man waits for… Wait for it…

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SHE SENT ME A BACON BOX!!! A BOX WHERE (almost) EVERYTHING WAS BACON OR BACON THEMED!!! Needless to say, I was excited.

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First off she sent me bacon cheddar popcorn (delicious), a bacon rub (that I used on a great pork chop and plan on using when I smoke my own bacon this summer… BACON RUBBED BACON!), and well of course…. BACON! I used this to make these amazing Loaded Smashed Baked Potatoes.

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Next she sent me some Bacon jerky. Now I am not usually a jerky guy, but this is BACON. It is basically the same thing as eating wonderful slices of bacon out of a bag. Yumm! Then there was a Smokin’ Bacon Ranch. I have not yet used this. I plan on possibly putting it out at the next party with Veggies and Wings. I am sure it will not disappoint though

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Finally, Mary sent me some examples of the sweeter side of bacon (one of my personal favorite uses of bacon is in desserts, so these were right up my alley).  The Oregon Bacon Bar… milk chocolate with tiny crunchy pieces of bacon! How could you go wrong? And then there was something I actually make myself… Bacon Brittle. Salty, sweet, crunchy, and simply divine.

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Oh wait… Did I say finally… there was more! A couple of non-food items. First was a cute pig rubber spatula and a 101 things to do with Bacon book (I plan on doing all of them!)

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And there was still more. Mary is apparently not a big wine drinker and had this gift certificate around the house and sent it to me…

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And what’s better… the site had a special for another $100 free when you spent $150! I immediately ordered 3 cases of wine which have been added to my collection.

Thank you so much Mary for a truly wonderful Foodie Pen Pal package. To the best of my knowledge, Mary does not have a blog to post her package on, but I would be more than happy if she wanted to post something on here, so Mary.. Let me know 🙂 I hope your package was as fantastic as the one you sent me.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Raina Van Setter. You can check out what I sent Raina at her blog “The Home Plate”.

Well, thus ends my tenth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one.

Don’t forget to ENTER TO WIN a MaurPowerFoodie PenPal Package and SIX FLAG TICKETS!

I can not wait till June’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal each month and be sure to enter to win the GIVEAWAY, your own FoodiePenPal Package and SIX FLAG TICKETS from Me, the MaurPowerFoodie! :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.

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Foodie Pen Pal! Ninth Month – April 2013

That’s right! Foodie Pen Pals is back! And it is reveal day once again

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then, every month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got on the same day :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Erica Richardson of The Land of Salt.

Erica seems to have pretty varied tastes from her blog so I was so excited to see what she would send me.

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First off she sent me a combination of what you have heard time and time again are some of my favorite two ingredients to combine… quality caramels and quality salt. In her letter to me Erica said this is the only salt she uses now. I can see why. A little bit goes a long way and it is quality. I know most people assume all salt is the same… not so. The crystalization is able to change flavors and textures, the coarseness of the grind changes the way a dish cooks. Quality salt is a must and this one did not disappoint. I think we all know I combined these two to make an awesome salted caramel sauce, but I have a lot of salt leftover that I have been using as I cook.

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Next she sent me some amazing oils, vinegar, and honey, all local to her. I always have a use for great balsamic vinegar and olive oils, so these were a welcome treat. The Balsamic is going to be used for a grilled flank steak and the oils for all sorts of creations. As for the honey, I had a taste, it is superb. Sweet, smooth, and sultry. As for what I am going to use it for… I will let you know when I decide.

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Finally, Erica sent me something I very rarely treat myself to. A gourmet spicy sausage… salami style. I rarely treat myself to these because I am often disappointed at the quality. NOT THE CASE HERE!!! This was my favorite item of the package. A wonderful spicy after kick, great flavor, fantastic texture, not dry at all. I ripped into this as soon as I opened the package and it barely lasted for anyone else to even have a taste. Thank you!

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Thank you so much Erica for a truly wonderful Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, thelandofsalt.com.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Judy Thompson. Judy does not currently blog, but I will be doing a special SECOND REVEAL DAY later this week that includes what I sent to Judy 🙂

Why the second reveal day you ask???? Because Judy was so nice and thoughtful that she sent a surprise package back to me! What did she send? Tune in later this week. Also included in that post…

A MAURPOWERFOODIE GIVEAWAY!!!! In order to pay it forward for the kindness of Judy sending me a package back, I am going to giveaway a duplicate of the package I sent her to one lucky follower. Details to come in that post, so pay attention and you too could get a MaurPowerFoodie Penpal Box.

Well, thus ends my ninth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till May’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal each month, the second reveal this week, and the GIVEAWAY! :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


Foodie Pen Pal! Eighth Month – March 2013

That’s right! Foodie Pen Pals is back! And it is reveal day once again

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then, every month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got on the same day :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Victoria Shimmons of Reluctantly Skinny (A problem I would not be reluctant about in the least.)

Victoria may concentrate on healthy recipes, but you would never know it from the absolutely amazing package of treats she sent me!  For those of you who know me, you will know just how well this package fits to tastes. So… What did she send me? Good question.

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First off she sent me something I use for A LOT of different purposes… high quality Apricot preserves. Not only is apricot the most commonly used preserve in my house for bagels and toast, I also often use it on my chicken, meatloafs, and pork chops. PLUS, for those of you who have had my BBQ, or saw me on MasterChef, the most popular of my BBQ sauces in my Peach Apricot Habenaro BBQ sauce, which uses none other than a quality Apricot Preserve like this one. Great thing to receive.

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Next she sent me Biscotti. While I have yet to find a biscotti to rival my Mom’s homemade recipe, this was a fantastic flavor and great quality. Chocolate and caramel (which in my humble opinion, one can never go wrong with), this bag of crunchy goodness was gone in only 2 days! I just could not help myself…. SOOOOO GOOD!

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Finally, Victoria took a trip to a local chocolatier and sent me two amazing finds. First, as I have said many a time when I receive these, one of my absolute favorite bites, salted caramels. From the label on the box, I had a great feeling about these. I was able to contain myself to indulging in only 1 per day till they were gone, but that was a difficult challenge. As for the next item, it was something I had not experienced before… “Tiger Bark”.  Similar to a peanut butter fudge (which I love), this had a slightly different texture. It wasn’t quite the same melt in your mouth as fudge, instead it was somewhere between a dissolve and a melt, which I actually did not mind at all. Plus, the flavor was out of this world. Put a small chunk of this on a cracker, or a pretzel, or an apple…. **drools**. Two absolutely fantastic gifts to complete a truly MaurPowerFoodie tailored package, perfect for tantalizing my taste buds.

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Thank you so much Victoria for a truly wonderful Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, ReluctantlySkinny.com.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Emily Dicks. This package was quite possibly one of my favorite I have sent, so I hope she enjoyed it. Be sure to check out her blog to see what I sent her at “It Bakes Me Happy” 🙂

Well, thus ends my eighth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till April’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal each month! :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


Foodie Pen Pal! Fifth Month – September 2012

Another last day of the month (a day late… sorry), which means another Foodie Pen Pal reveal day.

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then on the last day of the month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Christina Becker of “Cooking Something Up”. Christina did something I have done with most of my recent packages, simply walk around the store and buy things I would want for myself and then send them. But we have more in common, she also is in law school and I am a couple of years out of law school practicing in CT. What a coincidence! So… What did she send me? Good question.


First off she sent me something I can’t get enough of… Good BBQ sauce! Now I tend to make my own BBQ sauces, but it is always helpful to have a good bottle in the fridge to use in a pinch or when you don’t want to spend the time making it. This one did not disappoint. I may have to take a trip to the “Twin Cities” to try their BBQ first hand, because if their fresh BBQ is even better than their jarred (as I expect it would be) it is worth trying. Next were the Touch of Salsa CornSticks. As so often with Foodie PenPals. This is something I have never seen nor tried before. They were a great snack. I bit of spice, good flavor, great crunch and perfect for munching on while watching the game.

Next she sent me two of my favorites. First a bunch of cinnamon sugar pita chips. I love pita chips and this is my favorite flavor! They were fairly immediately devoured… Thanks! Then comes my favorite flavor combination, sweet and salty. Christina sent me a absolutely delicious sea salted caramel. I often get this flavor cupcake at Crumbs bakery and can not get enough of it. Yum! There was one unfortunate casualty in this box (which actually happened to me a couple of months ago) in that the jar of Green Olive Salsa that was in the box broke. Fortunately, Christina was smart enough to have wrapped it in a plastic bag so it did not end up getting all over everything else.

Thank you so much Christina for an amazing Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, “Cooking Something Up”.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Jennifer Kindred. This package was similar to the one received by me, extremely random, but I also wanted everything so bad, I bought one of each for me too! Jennifer does not blog yet, but has volunteered to do a guest post for my blog! I am looking into how she does that now and hopefully once I do, she will share it all with you 🙂

Well, thus ends my fifth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till October’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal on the last day of each month :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


Foodie Pen Pal! Fourth Month – August 2012

Another last day of the month, which means another Foodie Pen Pal reveal day.

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then on the last day of the month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got :-)

This month I received a fantastic package from Shelby Suzuki aka “Everyday Vegan Girl”. Shelby sent me a package of many things I would never have bought for myself before but plan to by now. Thank you for introducing me to so many new and wonderful products. First up as always is the wonderful note sent to me by Shelby. As she said, I better like coconut, almonds, and chocolate… luckily, I LOVE all three. **Spoiler alert** The note has a list of all the items received, so if you want to be surprised, skip over it.

So what were these wonderful treats. First up, an item that does not appear in any pictures because I accidentally ate them all first… (my bad) Inca Corn Nuts. Salty, crunchy, and the perfect movie snack. So much healthier than popcorn and in my opinion tastes better too without getting all stuck in your teeth. Then we have  a Cocoa Almond spread. Much like Nutella, it is versatile and delicious. Absolutely love it and use it a few times a week. Then an almond butter. I love nut butters, but I so rarely by them for myself and when I do it is usually peanut butter. So having a bit of variety was fantastic. Then was the organic food bar. Chocolate and coconut… yumm. I am not usually a big fan of these bars, but I must admit. This one was pretty good. Worked perfect one morning when I was running late and needed a quick bite to eat to hold me over till Lunch. I may look into some of the other flavors of this brand and try them out. Then came one of the biggest surprises of the box: the chocolate sundae began candy bar. I am not sure if it really tasted like a chocolate sundae, but it did taste quite yummy. I nice crunch, sweet and salty mix. I would definitely eat more of these. Finally, one of the most unique items in the box, ginger chews. These candies have a great deal of spice but are so different and simply superb. Only for those that enjoy ginger and spice, but if you do… GET SOME!

Next we have a wonderful cranberry almond trail mix. Great salty and sweet mix (my favorite flavor combination) with a bit of tartness thrown in for good measure. Quality trail mix that I really enjoyed. Bare Naked really does have some wonderful products. Then, one of my favorite ingredients to use both in cooking and as a drink mixer… Pineapple juice. Try it with some Disaronno, I call it the “Nutty Hawaiian”. My favorite drink. Speaking of favorites, my favorite item in this month’s package, these SunTree cinnamon almonds. Almonds coated with cinnamon, vanilla, and cream cheese. Each bite was like eating a mini Cinnamon Almond Cheesecake. I MUST FIND MORE OF THESE. They were so good. Really… Please tell me where I can get some more… Om nom nom.

Finally, last but certainly not least was a great addition of the homemade variety. Shelby’s very own Coconut trail mix… WITH RECIPE. This mix had a great crunch, a tad bit of sweetness, and I have made it since and will make it again. I could not help but grab a handful as soon as I opened the package before I even took my pictures. Take a look!

Thank you so much Shelby for an amazing Foodie Pen Pal package. Please check out what she got from her pen pal and her fantastic blog, Everyday Vegan Girl.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Tasha Malcolm. This package was a bit more random, but definitely a lot of fun items, some of which were inspired by items I had received in the past. To check out what it consisted of, head over to Tasha’s blog!

Well, thus ends my fourth Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till September’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal on the last day of each month :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


Foodie Pen Pal! Third Month – July 2012

Another last day of the month, which means another Foodie Pen Pal reveal day.

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then on the last day of the month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got :-)

This month I got a wonderful package from Catherine Mackey. As Catherine said in her note to me, this was some of the most random treats to be put into a single box, but that did not make them any less AMAZING.

First off, the sweets: Moon Pies, Nutella, Pomegranate Fruit Bars, and a chocolate brownie bar! Two things that I never buy myself but can’t get enough of when I have them. The Moon Pie brought back to my childhood, eating snack cakes. As for the Nutella, I LOVE NUTELLA. However, I am the only person in my household that enjoys it, so it was never in the house. I usually only get it at a creperie. So now I know it is time to make some crepes of my own. Yum! Pomegranate = awesome, Fruit bar = Even more awesome! These are fantastic and much healthier than your standard fruit roll-up. As for the chocolate brownie bar, have not gotten to it yet, but I’m excited all the same. I could use a yummy way to get more fiber. Sweets portion of the package are a great start! But that is not all.

Moving on to what I am going to classify as the “special ingredient”: Pesto Paste. When I saw this tube, I had no idea what to expect, but it is actually quite flavorful. Don’t get me wrong, I still tend to make my own pesto, but when looking to simply add a bit of that flavor to a rub or marinade, this is perfect in a pinch. Important note, a little goes a long way, so not only is it a great addition to the seasoning cabinet, it will last a long time. And yet, there was still more…

The final addition to my pen pal package were my favorite: The snack bags! First up dried organic Mango 🙂 I am a huge lover a dried fruit, and this mango was no exception. Normally I would save it and add it to trail mix, but I started eating one piece and just kept eating… Next thing I knew the whole bag was gone. My bad! But it was worth it. Next was something I had never seen before, and am BEYOND happy I have now: Pineapple chips. I had no idea what to expect, and it certainly was not what I ever could have expected. With the same crunch as potato chip, but the sweet tang of fresh pineapple, these unique snacks are something I will be keeping my eye out for. The final addition to the package was my favorite because it is the kind of snack I will from now on be making for myself. The Sing Buri Cashews are my cooking style in a snack bag. Soy glazed cashews with peanuts, pineapple, sesame, lemongrass, & chili –> the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and spicy. I will definitely be making these many times and packing them as my snack of choice. Take a look at these amazing snack bags from my Pen Pal.

Thank you so much Catherine for an amazing Foodie Pen Pal package. To the best of my knowledge Catherine does not have a blog, but I will post it if I find out otherwise, or Catherine, feel free to post it in the comments.

As for what I sent, my pen pal recipient was Deneene Guerry. I happened upon a great Asian Market whilst walking through Queens and decided to send an Asian themed Pen Pal package. To check out what it consisted of, head over to Deneene’s blog!

Well, thus ends my third Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till August’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal on the last day of each month :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.


Foodie Pen Pal! Second Month – June 2012

As it is the last day of the month it is time for my new monthly routine/post… Reveal day for Foodie Pen Pals!

This is part of a program called Foodie Pen Pals in which every month I get/send a basket from/to another foodie from around the country. Then on the last day of the month, everyone reveals who their pen pal was, what they received, and get to see what everyone else got :-)

This month’s package was from Kim Worobey. Kim claims she just sent me stuff she knew she would want, but I am almost positive she traveled to CT, looked in my pantry, read my mind and sent me things she knew I would LOVE. First I open up my box to find this:

What a nice note! And attached to each item in my package was a little sticky note about the food. Speaking of the food, let’s get to it. First up is the savory and then we’ll move to the sweet. Kim knew all about my love for meat and grilling, especially as we enter into grilling season. She sent me some unique and delicious dry rub, a garlic, chives, and horseradish powder, and of course some jerky!

I will admit I did not eat the jerky yet… I am saving it for the next time I go hiking, camping, or fishing (most likely fishing), but it looks like some solidly good jerky. Next the seasoning powder. This is not a combination I would have ever thought of in a seasoning bottle, but it is GREAT! Not overpowering in the horseradish, which is very important to me and hard to accomplish. Finally, my favorite item in the package: a Java Dry Rub. Perfect for a pork chop, I knew exactly what I was doing with this pleasant gift. All I can say is YUM! Java and pork go so well together, and this is an amazing rub. Here, take a look at the perfectly coarse dry rub:

Alright, now on to the sweet components. First Kim sent me a cookie that reminded me a lot of Berger cookies from my days living in Baltimore. A beautifully rich chocolate fudge and sweet soft cookie. These really brought me back. Then a Chocolate bar… but not just any chocolate bar, a Polish chocolate bar. A sensually and sinfully amazing chocolate bar. A chocolate bar that Kim warned me I would want to eat all in one sitting, but should savor and be patient as to avoid a stomach ache. As difficult as it was, I heeded Kim’s advice and am proud to say I ate a little each day. But wow… Kim knows her chocolate. Take a look at my sweet tooth satisfiers:

Thank you so much Kim for my personalized package. I loved it and look forward to keeping up with your blog for some awesome baked goods recipes.

As for the package I sent this month, that went to Danielle Deskins! This was a bit of a challenging month for me because Danielle and her family eat mostly organic and natural  foods… much the opposite of my usual diet. But I had a lot of fun shopping for her and I hope she enjoyed everything. Be sure to check out the package on her blog.

Well, thus ends my second Foodie Pen Pal experience, and again it was an extremely positive one. I can not wait till July’s list is revealed and I get to do it all over again, month after month. If you want to take part in this program check it out:

The Lean Green Bean

Be sure to stay tuned for the big reveal on the last day of each month :-) Until next time, this is Jason “MaurPowerFoodie” signing off… Thanks for reading.