Thursday, November 21, 2013

Um.. can we say - RIGHT UP MY ALLEY???

Hi Friends...

How are you all doing this crazy November?  Me? I'm shocked that its nearly Thanksgiving...Nearly Dave and my 3rd Anniversary...and I have to start Christmas Shopping in week and a half!  While I'm married to Mr. Christmas, who wants to decorate already...I hold off the beginning of the Christmas season until December 1st.  I need each holiday to have its own Month!!

So this will be the start of at least three...maybe four blogs in the next two weeks. Of course around Thanksgiving there is a ton of cooking going on...and I'm doing a few of my favorite side dishes for the big day...but more on that in a later blog.

This blog - is about a wonderful discovery I found all because of the "suck-me-into-another-vortex-of-time-wasting-searches-on-my-new-addiction-called-Pinterest".  I'm all over the food and beverage section of Pinterest...I mean, obviously with my affinity for food - that's of course where I'll spend my spare time, when I'm not in a grocery store, specialty store or in my kitchen cooking.  I've found some great recipes...and some great blogs from people posting their recipes. 

But seriously - the most favorite thing that I've found of all time...The Foodie Pen pal.  Yes.  You heard me correctly. FOODIE PEN PAL. Now you get it??  RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!!!!!!!

I stumbled upon a blog through Pinterest and some amazing recipes...and of course stayed on there to look around this amazing blog and get some amazing ideas when I saw the heading "Foodie Pen pal".  Uh.. What?  OK.. I'm in...One click...and a brief glance and I was hooked!  Signed up and then starting thinking, planning, plotting what I was going to send. 

Let me explain a bit.  The blogger collects names of people interested in participating in exchanging food from around the country and connects them with another participant.  The two participants email each other and gets to know each others likes and dislikes, dietary restrictions or allergies...and then by the 15th of the Month - they send out a package of goodies to each other (spending no more than $15!).  Seems "simple" and while it is... It was really hard to think of what to send...  Its challenging, creative and I had a blast participating!  I'm already signed up for next month!!

So, I got paired with Nancy from Wisconsin.  Now I can say I know someone from Wisconsin - a first for me!

Now...I can't tell you what I received from Nancy until November 29th (official Blog Day for Foodie Pen pal)... I can tell you what I chose to send Nancy...and why!

I wanted to encompass something very ... well... New York.  My first thought was a bagel is the IT thing for New York (other than Pizza!) and my favorite bagel is the "Everything Bagel".  So I decided to send some of "Everything" to Nancy.  I made the Everything seasoning and even got some fabulous ideas on how to use it in other recipes.

So, the seasoning is:
3 Tablespoons each of: Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Dried Onion Flakes, Dried Garlic Flakes
and 1 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.

Voila!  You can use it on any raw dough to make Everything biscuits or croissants.. You can toss it in with some scrambled eggs or even use with breadcrumbs to top mac and cheese.  I put some on top of my meatloaf the night I made it and it was delic! My next thought is to use it on Pork chops or Chicken as a nice rub before cooking.

I also sent a package of lentils ... If you've been reading my blog, you'll know I discovered lentils recently (No, I don't live under a rock...I just don't pay attention some times!).  Since I was sending some of my "favorites" I decided to include the lentils and the recipe for my Quinoa & Lentil Salad along with it.  I make this just about every other week and love, love, love it!!

Lastly, I decided on one of my favorite snacks... Spiced Snack Mix

Super delicious and flavorful...  Such a simple recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, mix together:
1 tbs sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 - 3 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Then - in a larger bowl whisk 1 large egg white until frothy.  Once that is done mix in your nuts! :)  You'll need 4 cups of nuts - choose what you'd like.  I used almonds, peanuts and cashews.  Also mix in 1 1/2 cups of mini pretzels and 1 1/2 cups of oyster crackers.

Sprinkle in your spice blend and then stir to coat each piece.  Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake... stirring occasionally until golden brown (about 15 - 20 minutes).  

Really yummy...In fact, I'm snacking on some now!  

Stay tuned ... Nov 29th is reveal day and I can tell you all about what Nancy sent to me!

Until Next Time...


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