Monday, April 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals in April

foodiepal stamp2 April Foodie Penpals Reveal Day 

Another tasty box of goodies arrived this month!  

I'm reflecting on having just returned from a super fun weekend getaway where my pen pal goodies traveled.  Our oldest had a basketball tournament in the Portland/Vancouver area. He had the good fortune to play weekend ball in a really beautiful gym at Battleground High School.  It was the kind of gym that shared their district, regional and state wins in sports ranging from basketball to bowling to track.  I always enjoy seeing the successes of youth so proudly displayed. 

Thank you to the Oregon Prep Academy for hosting at such a great venue and props to the referees. They were attentive, fair & professional.  At the conclusion of the tournament a referee went out of his way to give feedback and tips to our son.  Very cool!

Back to the goodies...

A big thanks to Lyndsay at Thinspiration. Check out her inspirational blog about healthy eating.

The Kettle Cooked Peanuts were salt and pepper coated and were the perfect road trip food.  I also enjoyed the pumpkin fun to try new food. The overall favorite was the World Market strawberry chocolate spread.  Kids said that it's similar to Nutella, just with different flavors.  We decided that eating spoonfuls out of the jar wasn't the best idea so we used it as frosting on cupcakes.  

Thanks a lot Lyndsay!

And now, in case you’re new and wondering what Foodie Penpals is all about:
Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:
-On the 5th of the 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 treatsThe spending limit is $15The 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 can choose 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 Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. 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. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
***If you’re in Europe, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

To participate, just click here and fill out the participation form. It must be completed by May 4th to participate this month.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rhubarb Bars

Thanks to the former owners of our house, we are enjoying a bountiful rhubarb harvest. Years later we're still appreciating the chives, hyacinths, rhubarb, lavender, & lilacs! 

Rhubarb bars have a dense cake base & tangy rhubarb flavors.  They are covered in a crisp topping, perfect for dessert!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 ounces strawberry gelatin
  • 6 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13"x9" pan.

Mix 2 cups flour & baking powder. Cut in 1/2 cup butter. Stir in the eggs and milk.  Pour into the bottom of your pan.  Place rhubarb over the crust.  Sprinkle gelatin on top of the rhubarb.

Stir 2 cups sugar & 1 cup flour. Cut in 1/2 cup butter. Sprinkle over the gelatin.

Bake for about 45 minutes.

                What's your favorite way to enjoy rhubarb?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft & Plump...these cookies are a nice change of pace from the traditional butter based chocolate chip cookies that I tend to make.  This recipe offers not just a beautifully shaped cookie but also the tangy tastes of honey and sour cream.

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup warm honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 Butter Flavor Crisco stick
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

Mix shortening, brown sugar & sugar until well blended in an electric mixer. Add sour cream, honey, egg and vanilla. Mix again

In a second bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the electric mixer & stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, place on cookie sheet and bake from 10-12 minutes. This recipe is best not over baked so plan to take the cookies out just as you notice the edges turning a golden color.

Yield: About 5 dozen

Recipe Source: 101 Cookie Recipes: A Collection of your Favorites by Publications International, Ltd.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to Create Glow in the Dark Easter Eggs!

                              What a fun way to
                  brighten your kids' day!  

  • Glow Bracelets
  • Plastic Easter Eggs

I purchased the glow bracelets at Michael's Craft Store for $1.00.  The tube contains 15 bracelets.

Just bend the bracelets, shake, then curl them and place inside the plastic Easter egg. It's a great way to leave a "bunny trail" to an Easter Basket or to decorate in darker rooms such as a bathroom.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Foolin' kids recipes on April Fool's Day

Real Cupcakes

My husband is the joke teller and prankster in our family but each April Fool's day I add a few laughs of my own.  In years past I have excitedly served ostrich eggs for breakfast, touting their healthy benefits.  I laughed so hard seeing our kids big eyes & concerned stares as they peer down at their breakfast of a nearly plate size portion of vanilla yogurt topped with a canned halved peach.

This year I'm skipping the breakfast prank and going straight to the dinner menu.  Here's what you'll need for lunch or dinner time laughs:

  • Cupcakes
  • Cupcake liners
  • Pink frosting
  • Meatloaf
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Red food coloring
  • Yellow Jell-O
  • Straws
  • Non-stick spray

Bake your favorite cupcakes and be sure to have the same cupcake liners to use for your meatloaf.  Frost with pink frosting.

Cook Jell-O according to the directions on the box.  Pour into cups or glasses.  Place a straw in each cup and chill for 4 hours.

Fakin' Lemonade made with Jell-O

Make your favorite meatloaf (or buy a pre-made meatloaf from the deli).  Form your meatloaf into discs and place in sprayed muffin tins.  Bake. Remove from the tin, blot dry and place in a cupcake liner.  

Make mashed potatoes according to directions or your own homemade mashed potatoes.  Add a few drops of red food coloring & mix until it matches closely to the cupcake frosting. Spread onto the mini meatloaves and serve with "lemonade".

Meatloaf and Mashed Potato Cupcakes

Idea source: