Another month… Another Foodie Pen Pals box!
There’s nothing I enjoy more than getting a shipment of edible treats picked out especially for me… except for receiving such a box at work in the middle of a long Tuesday at the office. Does anyone else have their packages delivered to the office? Not only does it ensure that my box doesn’t get left out in the rain in front of my apartment building, it also really helps me to get through the work week!
This month, for Foodie Pen-Pals, I sent a package to Xenia of the blog Raised by Culture. I can’t decide which is cooler – her unique first name or the name of her blog. She has an adventurous taste in food, plus she has 5 guys at home (husband + 4 sons), so I had fun picking out some foods – a little spicy, a little sweet, and somewhat eclectic – that I think they’ll all enjoy. Check out her blog to see what I sent!
The HUGE box above, however, came from Tammi of Momma’s Meals. Tammi put me at ease right away by saying that although she’s not a vegetarian herself, she thought it was really cool that I am. From that moment I knew I’d be in good hands and Tammi did a great job picking out healthy, vegan treats for me!
Now for the play-by-play:
- The first thing I tried was the Bear Naked Pecan Apple Flax Trailmix, first on top of a bowl of hot-cereal, and later as an on-the-go snack for right after my first ever Kettlebells class (and I sure needed a recovery snack after that workout!). It hit the spot! I especially loved the generous amounts of dried apples, raisins, and pecans.
- Actually, backing up a bit, I suppose the Tazo Zen Green Tea was the first thing I tried – I actually have a box of it on my desk at work! This green tea with a hint-of-mint is such an energizing way to start any day!
- Next up was the Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. I had this over a sliced organic apple and whole-grain graham crackers as a pre-yoga snack. It made for a very tasty snack, though the Nut Butter wasn’t as sweet as I expected and might have paired even better with some pretzel sticks and baby carrots.
- The Enjoy Life Ricemilk Crunch Chocolate Bar also didn’t last long in my hands. This reminded me very much of a veganized Nestle Crunch bar.
- And now for some savory treats! I was really excited to try this Sweet Basil Pesto Sauce Mix, though it wound up being my least favorite item in the box. The flavor just didn’t work for me. Though, in the products defense, I did deviate quite a bit from the instructions – making it into a creamy veggie sauce/dip by blending it with silken tofu and lemon, instead of stirring with oil & water as the package directed.
- Later that day, I cooked up the Seeds of Change Cuban Style Rice. This product seriously impressed me. For a packaged product that I made in the microwave, it actually tasted very much like the rice they serve on the side at Mexican restaurants – seasoned, savory, and comforting. I mixed in some frozen corn as the package suggested, and I just wished I had some saucy enchiladas to enjoy on the side!
- Next were two different flavors of Nile Spice soup – Black Bean and Minestrone. The tastes of these soups surprisingly reminded me more of canned soup than of other dehydrated products I’ve had. The Minestrone even had huge chunks of beans and pasta. And best of all, these soups were super filling – each one was under 200 calories and had loads 8-12 grams of fiber and protein! These would be great to keep on hand in my desk drawer for days when I get stuck at work late, though they won’t be an everyday item since they are high in sodium and do have a couple of highly processed ingredients.
- And the last item I tried was by far the best of all. You may have noticed that Tammi sent me some packages of Yeast. Well, she sent something also along with those – the link to a recipe for Low-fat Whole-Wheat Vegan Cinnamon Rolls from the blog Side of Sneakers! These were simply heavenly!
I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour for all the flour and was nervous that I ruined the recipe when the dough came out far too sticky. But after adding in nearly an extra cup of flour, it was smooth sailing from there on out. I also made a few other tweaks – I used the “Apple Sauce” option in the recipe to replace both the pumpkin and the melted butter, I used Maple Sugar instead of Brown Sugar, and I added a generous amount of Raisins.
The recipe’s best tip was to slightly under-cook the Cinnamon Rolls for extra soft centers. Soooooo delicious! I would definitely make these again, and I think they’d make a great brunch dish since all the prep can be done the night before.
Thank you so much, Tammi, for my wonderful package!
Want to see what everyone else got this month? There were hundreds of participants in Foodie Pen Pals this month, and you can check out all of their posts here.
Want to become a Foodie Pen-Pal? Foodie Pen-Pals is open to both bloggers and readers in the US and Canada. If you’d like to participate next month, more information and the registration form can be found here . Registration for this month closes at the end of the day on July 4th, so don’t delay!
Unfortunately, I’ll be sitting out for next month’s Foodie Pen-Pals due to a trip I have planned, but I hope to join back soon!
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you tried any of these foods before?
Which of these foods would you most like to try?