Did I ever mention that I’m 1/64th Irish? Maybe that would explain my luck for getting paired with such awesome Foodie Pen-Pals every month.
This month, I shipped a care-package to Carolyn of The Pemberton’s. She is such a sweetheart and her 3 boys (the superstars of her blog) are the cutest! Her interest in local & healthy foods was right up my alley so I had a lot of fun shopping for her. On a recent road trip to Milwaukee, I visited a few independently owned grocery stores to pick her treats (Beans N’ Barley, The RiverWest Co-op, and Glorioso’s Italian Market). Be sure to check out Carolyn’s blog to see the goodies I sent!
The package I received came from Danielle of Foodosaurus Rex. Just from her blog’s name alone, I had an inkling that I’d be getting a really great package this month, and once I received an email from her, I was certain – my eyes immediately went to the line where she said: “I see you’re a vegetarian – yay!” Turns out she’s about a 90% vegetarian herself (or shall we say, Flexitarian), though simply saying “Yay” to vegetarianism is enough to win me over.
Just look at this awesome box she sent me!
I lucked out with 6 completely new-to-me products to try.
I’ll start with the Mio and Sweet & Spicy Tea. The Mio calls itself a “Liquid Water Enhancer“, but really I think Tea deserves that title too! I drink tea all throughout my workday and have added this flavor to my rotation. I actually think it tastes a lot like Hot Apple Cider. The Mio tastes like Red Gatorade to me (yummy!), but since it has some artificial sweeteners & colors in it, I save it for those days I need a little extra help getting to my 8-glasses-a-day.
These Kid-Sized Granola bars are so cute and just 70 calories a piece. I’ve been snacking on these regularly at work – you know those days where you just want to finish 3 more things before breaking for to lunch? These are perfect for those times.
I was excited to see these Sesame flavored Seaweed Snacks, since seaweed is quite the super-food. Seaweed has a pretty strong flavor, so I can only eat a few pieces at a time, but Mike was eating these by the handful. I had to ask Mike to hold-off and save me a few sheets because I’m hoping to try these in the Sushi Roll Edamame Salad recipe from Appetite for Reduction.
Next up was a Banana Nut Chocolate Gatorade Prime bar. These are bars especially designed to be eaten before a workout. I love how the bar was broken into 4 pieces so I could decide how much I’d need for my workout. I ran my first ‘race’ of the year last weekend – the Shamrock Shuffle 8K – and sampled these beforehand. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of chocolate-peanut-butter-banana oats around 6:30 in the morning, so I ate two bites of this bar for an extra bit of energy right before the 9 am start time. It dissolved quickly in my mouth and seemed like an easy-to-digest source of energy. While my race time wasn’t anything to brag about, I did feel great & energized throughout the race!
And I just had to save the best for last. Not only was March the month of St Patrick’s Day, Danielle calls herself an Irish Girl, so she sent me a bag of her favorite Irish Soda Bread mix. This was one of the best things to come out of my kitchen recently – it was absolutely DELICIOUS. Where can I get more of this stuff?
The first thing I noticed was how natural & simple the ingredients were, and the raisins were so plump & juicy.
What amazed me most of all was that even after all of my crazy substitutions (which made for an incredibly sticky dough), this came out PERFECT!
The mix called for the following additions which I substituted:
- 2 Tbsp Butter –> 2 Tbsp Earth’s Balance Vegan Spread
- 1 Egg –> 1 Tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Flax Meal + 3 Tbsp Water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt –> 1/2 cup Almond Milk + 1.5 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
And just for the fun of it, I threw in half of a diced apple too!
This was to die for and it certainly made me proud to be Irish-ish
And speaking of Ireland… one of Mike’s best friends is getting married near Shannon, Ireland next month, and we’ll be attending! Unfortunately it will be a short trip, but I will get to see some of Ireland’s highlights including a few days in Dublin.
Thanks again, Danielle, for such an awesome package!!!
Want to see what everyone else got this month? There were nearly 350 participants in Foodie Pen Pals this month, and you can check out all of the 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 instructions for signing up can be found here . Registration for this month closes at the end of the day on April 4th, so don’t delay!
Stay Tuned for my next blog post: Eating & Shopping in Cambodia
I’d love to hear from you!
What are your favorite Irish Foods?
And if you’ve been to Shannon or Dublin – what sights & foods do you recommend?