Friday, August 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals: August

Okay guys. I have some confessions to make:

There is a huge pile of dishes in the sink.
There is a basket of laundry on our bed.
The dog just tried to eat a propel packet off the living room floor.
Trevor is going to be eating reheated pizza for dinner.
And I’m exhausted.

As you’re getting used to hearing, sorry I’ve been a bit absent lately! I seem to fall off the blogging bandwagon some weeks but you’ll have to bear with me. I had a job interview first thing Monday morning, a last-minute surprise trip to Missoula on Tuesday, six hours of errands (including more job paperwork and grocery shopping) on Wednesday and yesterday, I began a new job (!!) as a teller for EdTech Federal Credit Union.

And then you have today.
I cooked breakfast. I went to work. I did laundry. I made dinner (or picked up pizza, however you want to look at it). Turned in my first homework assignment of the year. And now here I am, trying to squeeze in a foodie pen pal reveal post before my Montana clock strike’s 10 - meaning the start of a new day for the east coast.

But boy was this package a great surprise in the middle of a busy week.
(And with a little luck and priority mailing, it even managed to get here the whole way from New York!)

If you’re not familiar with foodie pen pals, the premise is simple - each month, bloggers (or readers) are matched with one person to send a package to and one person to receive a package from (all thanks to Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean). Then, you pack $15 worth of yummy things into a package with a handwritten note and send it on its way. Plus, you receive a package in return! And really.. who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail? Especially ones filled with food?

As I said last month, my food allergies made me apprehensive to participate but once again, I was paired with someone who eats gluten-free! Imagine my surprise (and luck!).

My pen pal, Adam (owner of Need To Know Tutoring), went above and beyond.
When the first package failed to arrive thanks to the deficient Montana mail? He sent another one.
He makes things like insalata caprese with homegrown tomatoes and basil for dinner? Peach tarts for dessert?
My kind of pen pal.. and just wait until you see what was in this package!

From the moment I opened the box, I knew it was going to be good - I could smell the chai. Within minutes of opening, I e-mailed Adam begging to know if he had researched my favorite foods or if by some culinary coincidence, he just chose our favorites - it was the second. As Adam put it, "I just sent you some of my 'faves', and hoped that you would enjoy them.” Enjoy them, I will. 

I’ve been tempted to drink this Masala Chocolate Truffle chai tea from Mighty Leaf since it arrived but I’m trying to hold off for a cold Montana morning. Perhaps to celebrate the first day of fall?

The package also included a can of Hatch green chiles from Trader Joes. As you likely know, Trevor’s obsessed, seriously obsessed, with Hatch green chile. (As evidenced by a thirty-four hour drive to obtain several containers full.) Often times, you can find green chile at the grocery store but I promise you, these are different. Seeing as though we ran out of green chile sauce yesterday, I think these will come in handy for heuvos rancheros or shrimp tacos before the end of summer.

Adam also included two packets of honey ginger crystals. From the packaging, it seems that these are typical used to prepare a beverage that can even be used to help with motion sickness. Adam’s suggestion was to use them for gingerbread or ginger almond cookies, instead. I’m thinking that the fall’s first ginger baked goods would be a good compliment to that chai tea, don’t you think?

We also received dried mushrooms which are perfect for making soup, anchovies that are an essential ingredient for our classic caesar dressing, and creamed coconut, which I plan to utilize in a thai style sauce for dinner this week. Look forward to recipes with these fun ingredients over the next few weeks! (All of which was be in thanks to Adam - for the delicious choices, for sending a second package, and for the great cooking suggestions).

Trevor and I will both be working early, full, days this week and thankfully, that means dinner together every night - though that doesn’t mean I’m thankful for our 4:45 a.m. alarm. That being said, things may continue to be a bit quiet here over the next week as I train full-time in our busy Butte branch. I hope to stop by later this weekend to tell you about the season-opening University of Montana Griz football game we are going to tomorrow! I’m hoping to also make it back for Ten on Tuesday - besides, there are also lots of home remodeling projects and fall plans to catch you up on.


  1. The tea sounds like a winner. I'm in the market for new tea and will have to try it!

    1. I seem to be waiting for the perfect day to try it but by the way it smells? MM! Definitely worth a try!