Wild One the Third

Living this life I call my own.

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August Foodie Penpals Reveal x3!!!

I’m so excited about this Foodie Penpals Reveal Day!

I’m hosting 2 guest posts for a total of 3 posts in one! I’m not only revealing what I received from my foodie pen pal, but I also have on board what Kyle got for his first foodie pen pal experience AND on top of that, his pairing, Susan, will be sharing her thoughts on what she received from Kyle. There’s some sort of inception action going on right here. So exciting.

Let’s start this off by getting my reveal out of the way. Then we’ll check out Kyle’s post. Susan did a wonderful job of reminding us what foodie penpals is about and how it works, so we’ll let her close off. Open-mouthed smile

I received my goodies from reader, Jenn. Last reveal day,  I wondered whether my strike of receiving coconut water would continue. I’m happy to say Jenn broke the strike for me. Yay! Also, this was my first package to include a recipe! More on that in a bit.

Check out the goods:

The Wild Harvest mango peach salsa was the first thing I tried. I was glad to have some chips readily available to try this out. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Open-mouthed smile
I don’t even know how to describe the taste of this crazy staple. First bite, I immediately picked up on the mango. Salsa’s not supposed to taste so sweet and candy-like so I was thrown off. I still don’t quite know what to think about it. All I know is that it’s pretty good and very different. I can only eat a little bit of it at a time, though–the sweetness of it still gets me! I guess that makes it good for portion control. Winking smile

I moved onto Snyder’s Eat Smart Potato Crisps. These were a little too salty for my liking. It may have been the mesquite BBQ flavor.

I was intrigued by the Planters Nut-Rition energy mix peanut butter. Once upon a time, I used to be obsessed with peanut butter. Then I found out about almond butter and I knew it would be a way better alternative to PB for me. It was nice getting this jar, though…mostly because I’m running out of almond butter…but this was a berry nut mix–you can’t go wrong with that!

The Funky Monkey–mangoj cracked me up. It’s the “fruit that crunches.”
I definitely didn’t know what to expect from it. I was just excited about the mango flavor. This was a very interesting treat. I’ve never had anything like it. The first couple bites were a little tart, but the flavor and texture of it grew on me after a while.

I enjoyed the peanut butter cookie Larabar at work. It held me over for a couple hours until lunch time. I love how convenient bars are!

Jenn also sent me a seafood seasoning which I have yet to try out which is strange because I love my seafood, but I look forward to using it!

The recipe Jenn sent me for chicken parmesan burgers was awesome. I had never used ground chicken so I was glad this recipe called for it. I prepared the burgers along with some corn on the cob and a side of chips and yep, some mango peach salsa. Winking smile
I cooked for three and all three of us loved the burgers! I got a request from my roommate to make it again sometime. I think I may have to try substituting the ground chicken with ground turkey just for comparison. I’m curious about what the difference would be.

Much thanks to Jenn for the box of goodies!

Time to check out what Kyle received!
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This was my first month participating in Foodie Penpals. Cindy has been participating for a couple months now and I’ve noticed how much she enjoys it so I thought I’d try it out with her. I can now say I know why Cindy is so excited to do this every month. Whenever the postman dropped off the package that Michelle sent me, I was so anxious to open it up and see what goodies awaited me.

I realize that this is only my first month participating, but I think it’s safe to say that Michelle is the best Foodie Penpal out there. Seriously, I loved everything that she sent me in my box.

Where shall I start discussing this awesome box of deliciousness? I guess I’ll begin where I did when I opened the package. Once I found all of the items that were hidden amongst the packing peanuts, I dove right in and tried the sweet potato corn tortilla chips, The Peanut Roaster Selects honey roasted peanuts and the sweet potato biscuits. Apparently North Carolina (where Michelle is from) is a huge sweet potato state. I had no idea. Anyways…back to these sweet potato corn tortilla chips. To say that these chips were good would be an understatement. I’m trying not to over exaggerate, but these chips might just be my new favorite chips. They were salty and sweet. Tasted like sweet potatoes and tortilla chips. Needless to say, I will be on the lookout to see if I can find these locally.

Next up were the peanuts. I don’t know how Michelle knew this, but I love honey-roasted peanuts. These particular peanuts were grown and processed in North Carolina and they were also delicious. She was also kind enough to include an order book from The Peanut Roaster, just in case I decide I want any more of their peanuts or other snacks.

The last thing I tried after immediately opening my package were the sweet potato biscuits. These were from Café Carolina Bakery, also in North Carolina. Michelle hooked me up with all kinds of local foods. I had never had sweet potato biscuits and I was pleasantly surprised with them. I was very surprised to discover how moist and sweet they were. I shared them with Cindy, who also loved them, and we decided we need to try to find a recipe to make some more.

The other three items in the box I unfortunately could not enjoy immediately (some assembly was required.) I must say, I’m not the world’s best cook by any means, but I try to cook occasionally with Cindy. We were both looking forward to trying both the recipe and the Gnocchi pasta that Michelle had sent me. The recipe was for some honey, soy chicken kabobs. The recipe itself sounded awesome. I believe we made them that night, along with the gnocchi pasta, which we just made with some spaghetti sauce. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pasta. I had never had gnocchi pasta before and found it to be a little doughy for my taste, but I guess that’s what you get when you make pasta from potatoes. We grilled the kabobs up and added some peppers, which the recipe didn’t call for, included the gnocchi and finished the meal off with some White Russians just for good measure.

The last food item I had yet to try was the Lundberg Wild Blend rice. This was a gourmet blend of wild and whole grain brown rice. I actually waited quite awhile to try this one, and almost forgot about it. I realized just the other night that I hadn’t cooked it yet and probably should so that I could write about it. The rice was quite good, although I’m afraid we might have overcooked it. Overcooked or not, it still had good flavor.

Lastly, but definitely not least, was the beer bottle koozie Michelle sent me. It was from the North Carolina Bar Association. Yes, she is a lawyer. So of course I’ve already gotten a few good uses out of this item, and as a college student with football season fast approaching, I’m sure many more opportunities will arise where this will come in handy. Michelle put it best when she said in the email she sent me, “That’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

I am seriously pleased with my first experience with Foodie Penpals. Michelle, can we just be Foodie Penpals forever? But seriously, I cannot wait to see who I am paired with next month and can’t wait to see what they send me because they have some big shoes to fill haha.

The floor, er…page is now yours, Susan!
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I received my box from Kyle after a vacation to Canada. I had exhausted my food supply before leaving, so was extra delighted to receive his package!

I’m a vegetarian who’s getting more into eating local and sustainable foods, so I asked him for local products or things that really sing Missouri.

To give something of Missouri, Kyle sent me Sorghum Molasses from Lambert’s Cafe. Lambert’s Cafe has three locations, two in Missouri and one in Alabama, and sorghum molasses is traditional in the South, so this definitely fit the bill.  I enjoy eating baked goods with molasses but the one time I baked with it (in Boston brown bread) I wasn’t totally satisfied with the taste. I’m therefore really excited to have another molasses to try.

But, here I am, hungry and back from a trip! So, for tastes, I first turned to the Karmalized Savi Seeds since they seemed the right size. These were sugar-coated roasted sacha inchi seeds, which I’d never heard of before trying this product. They are an incredible source of ALA Omega 3s, and also a decent source of protein. The seeds were about the size and shape of an extra-large macadamia nut, with the crunch of a desiccated peanut. I thought they were delicious! However it might be a taste not everyone would like. The seeds themselves seemed to have a seaweedy taste. I actually found that it went great with the sweetness of the coated sugar, which doesn’t sound like it would be the case on paper, so it might not be for everyone.

Next for the tasting were two cookies from My Sister’s House, a gluten-free home bakery. I had the “OMG” cookies, which were a sweet, crumbly cookie smothered in butterscotch and chocolate chips. They were… OMG. I, er, had them for breakfast the next day because I was out of food still. Kyle told me that he bought them from his local Farmer’s Market, which I’m thrilled about. My best friend has Celiac disease so I’m always looking out for gluten-free foods even though I’m not gluten-free, so I recommend this to anyone who’s in Missouri to try to hunt this place down, gluten-free or not! I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was gf, and it was a homerun of a cookie.

I brought the vegan, gluten-free Boom Choco Boom Ricemilk Crunch bar to lunch with this said friend to split afterwards (who is also vegan, and thus I could justify keeping the non-vegan OMG cookies to myself). I forgot about it, so ate it by myself on the walk home – so much for that plan. It was tasty! I did find it to be a little less chocolate-flavorful than I would have liked, and I theorize that it has to do with using extra cocoa butter to make up for the lack of dairy milk for creaminess (it’s the number one ingredient). Indeed, the creamy texture was fantastic, and I really liked the crunch.

And drum roll please… the last item was Kind granola, Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Coconut. Oh boy!! I’ve eyed their granola for such a long time but have never sprung for the luxury of having their brand for whatever reason. This piece felt particularly like a wonderful surprise present because of that. I’ve had it by the handful and with milk, and both were great. I’m not always a fan of coconut, but I like the light flavor and crunch it gives to the granola.

Thanks again, Kyle!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every 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 treats! The spending limit is $15. The 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 are 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 Penplas is open to US & Canadian 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. 

If you’re interested in participating for September, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!
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Three times the fun, huh? Big thanks to Kyle and Susan for their awesome posts! There’s no doubt that I speak for all of us when I say I can’t wait till another round next month! Winking smile

Yummy Salad

As part of PowerCakes #PowerMealAWeek, I’m sharing my version of a Palm Beach Salad that is too legit to quit.

Palm Beach salads are skillfully layered with avocado, shrimp, crab meat topped off with eggs. My version, as you’ll see, isn’t as skillful but it’s still very delicious.

I’m sure the pros in the kitchen use some sort of sauce/dressing that helps keep the layers of yumminess intact but I didn’t worry about whipping up anything like that for this salad. That cuts back on the calories too. Winking smile

I threw everything together based on memory and it was meant to make one serving but I was surprisingly filled up quickly. I had plenty leftover.

These are your ingredients:
* About 10 shrimp
* Crab meat
* 1/4-1/3 cups tomato and avocado
* 1 diced up hard boiled egg

I cooked the shrimp with a seafood seasoning and a bit of butter. I heated the crab meat through the same way, sans the seasoning.

I prepared the tomatoes, avocado and egg in the meantime.

After the shrimp and crab meat are done, cut them up into smaller pieces. Then start layering! Layer your plate with a bed of spinach, then avocado, crab meat, tomatoes, shrimp and top it off with the egg!

Now you have this masterpiece:

Give this salad a try–unless you’re allergic to seafood, please don’t give it a try in that case. Red heart

PowerMeal A Week Round 3

It’s Sunday! Time for a dose of PowerMeal A Week! Open-mouthed smile

I’ve seen some awesome recipes from checking out the link ups of recipes on PowerCakes‘ site. Definitely need to try some of them out!

This week I made a turkey sausage and bean chili. I made this once before and I guess it was so good that I got a request to make it again for dinner on Thursday. Winking smile

Side noteDoes anyone else eat turkey sausage? I kinda love turkey sausage now. I originally had been wanting to try chicken sausage and when I couldn’t find it at the grocery store, I settled for turkey sausage. It’s so delish! I have yet to try some chicken sausage, though. I’ll find some and come up with a recipe for it eventually!!

When I originally made this meal, I served it on top of some yummy rice. The rice was complimentary to the chili and it tasted so good. So I’ll include a quick how-to-cook rice in here. This is how my momma taught me! You guys are special… Red heart

I used white rice but since then I bought some brown rice. Use brown rice. Winking smile

Start off by “frying” or browning a cup of rice in a medium saucepan using EVO. Throw in any tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro you may want to use to give the rice flavor. Cilantro is awesome in rice, by the way.

After the rice looks “toasty,” add in anywhere from 1-1/2 C to 1-3/4 C of water. Quickly bring the water to a boil. Stir in salt or any other seasonings like garlic salt.

Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook at a gentle simmer until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender. About 10-15 minutes.


Boom. There’s your rice.

You probably want to start working on the rice before starting on the chili.

For the chili, use whatever beans you’d like. I’ve used black, pinto and black eyed peas. I’ve thrown in some garbanzo beans aka chick peas to the mix as well. Having all those varieties of beans makes it easy to mix it up a bit every time you make this dish.

I used this turkey sausage.

Again, delicious.

To start off, cut up slices of the sausage. I used about a little over half a sausage link. I could’ve used more, though! Add in as much sausage as you’d like. Dice some tomatoes and onions. Throw these and the sausage onto a pan heated with EVO and cook for a few minutes.

Then you get crazy with all the beans you decide to put in. I used a cup each of black and black eyed peas in this recent batch. Add in a cup of corn. Stir it all together.

Yum. Now here’s one secret ingredient. Ready for it? Once you see the juices in the pan starting to simmer, add in this baby.

Trust me on this one. Winking smile I used 1/2 C of it according to my taste preference. Use as little or as much as you’d like. Stir in some garlic salt along with it. Let it simmer on low until it’s time to serve it!

Check out this end product. It’s sooo good, I’m telling ya!

This is what my plate looked when I first prepared this meal with rice.

Yeah, yummy.

This is a pretty simple and quick meal to make. The chili takes less than 20 minutes to prepare. Try it out for sure and don’t forget that secret ingredient. You can thank me later. Winking smile

Happy Prepping-Your-Meals-for-the-Week Sunday!

PowerMeal A Week Round 2

This week has flown by! It’s been a crazy week for sure so I haven’t gotten a chance to post anything since last week’s PowerMeal A Week. I promised myself I’d stay up to date with these PowerMeal posts, though, so here’s this one.

It’s my preparation of flounder, and it’s a super easy meal to prepare!

To cook the frozen flounder, I used seafood seasoning and coconut oil.

You rub down the fish with coconut oil and sprinkle the seafood seasoning on it. Grill or cook on the stove top for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is thoroughly cooked. The cuts of flounder I had were a little thicker so it took a while longer to cook fully through.

After the fish is done cooking serve it on a plate of spinach leaves and squirt some lemon juice on it for an extra kick of flavor.

I served the flounder with a side of corn but you can use any vegetable for a side! Asparagus would be delish with some fish. Oh hey, that rhymed. Open-mouthed smile

Enjoy!

PowerMeal A Week Round 1

So after finishing up with June’s PowerMeal A Day challenge where each day had a topic and you had to highlight that topic in any one of your meals for that day, I’m starting PowerCakes’ PowerMeal A Week Challenge. Today is week 1!

For this challenge, you showcase POWERMEALS or recipes you want to share with others that are clean eats. I love finding and trying out new recipes so this will be fun! I did a good job keeping up with all my powermeal a day posts on IG so since this is just a weekly deal I’m sure it won’t be too difficult to keep updated. Open-mouthed smile

For this week, I made a wrap. I love wraps; they’re my go-to meal.

I’ll call it….a Chickpea Tuna and Rice Wrap–I could very easily give it a longer title because of all the yummy ingredients!

Speaking of yummy ingredients, here are the ingredients I used:

  • Spinach Garden Herb Tortilla
  • Greek yogurt
  • Brown long grain rice
  • Chick Pea Tuna salad:  1 can tuna, add in diced tomatoes and onions, corn and mix together with lite mayo
  • 2 T salsa
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Feta cheese

I started by spreading Greek yogurt (substitute for sour cream) on the tortilla so a nice layer of rice would stick to it.

Then I added the tuna salad on top.

Top it off with salsa, lettuce feta.

Wrap it up and it’s a wrap! Winking smile

Happy Sunday!

“Magic Seeds”

I have a new staple in my life. Chia seeds.

Ch-ch-ch chia. You remember that annoying late night infomercial, right?

Not what I’m talking about. This is what I’m talking about.

The little I knew about the chia seed was enough to make me want to look more into what makes this seed so much cooler than other seeds like flax. Flax is still cool, though. We’ll give flax seed one point. Chia gets two in my book, though!

I wanted to research more about why this seed was as “magical” as its been referred as. Do research. Always do your research. Always know what you’re talking about. I’m gonna go ahead and make that my motto now. Winking smile
With that said, I figured I’d share this wealth of knowledge that I, as I chia seed expert, now possess. Open-mouthed smile

Yeah, we think about chia pets when we hear ‘chia’  but what’s cool (and there will be a ton of cool things…heads up) is that the seed was used hundreds of years ago–way back before the the chia pet craze–by the Aztecs and Mayans as a way to keep up their endurance and energy levels while hunting. Ingenious sons of guns. They somehow figured out that the seed is filled with so many nutrients. It’s highly rich in soluble fiber, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, calcium, potassium, and it provides an abundance of antioxidants.

Each individual seed is surrounded by a case. When the seeds are hydrated, the coat swells up and turns gelatinous-like.

Endurance runners actually use these seeds because of their ability to absorb water easily, lengthening hydration and the retention of electrolytes. I’ve  actually been putting about 1 tablespoon into my 20 oz water bottle, squirting lemon juice into the mix and adding a little bit of stevia. It makes for a yummy and interesting lemonade.

Another cool fact about seeds…you don’t just have to eat the seeds plain to benefit from their nutritional value. They are so versatile and take on the flavor of whatever you combine them with. You can eat them in oatmeal, blend them into smoothies, throw them on peanut butter toast, even make jam with them.

I finally tried a recipe over at PowerCakes‘ blog. I’d been wanting to make chia jam filled power muffins for the longest time and I finally got around to making them. They’re relatively easy to make. I followed the recipe exactly…except I used regular flour instead of coconut as the recipe called for…but the batter turned out pretty thin. I threw a banana into the batter and mashed it up pretty good. That helped hold the batter a little more and resulted in super moist cupcakes!

Here’s the recipe. Find it here on PowerCakes’ site.

For the jam:
  • 1 1/2 C frozen or fresh fruit of your choice (I made mixed berry chia jam)
  • 1/4 C chia seeds
  • 1 T water
  • Stevia to sweeten (if desired…the fruit may already be as sweet as you want it to be)
Instructions:
  • If fruit is frozen, place in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  • Add fruit into a blender.
  • Pour blended fruit back into a bowl.
  • Stir in the chia seeds, water and stevia.
  • Place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to cool off and thicken a bit.


For the muffin mix:
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1/4 C protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C applesauce
  • 1 C almond milk (any milk of your choice)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A few packets of stevia (sweeten to taste)
    • Banana for a more moist, sweeter muffin
Instructions:
  • Mix all the dry ingredients
  • Stir in wet ingredients
  • Line a pan with cupcake liners and fill bottom with batter
  • Spoon chia jam into the middle (~1 T)
  • Smooth over the remaining batter to fill out each muffin
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min

Such a delicious result. I’ve eaten them to power me before and after workouts! Thanks again, PowerCakes.

Have you tried chia seeds? Ever own a chia pet? Winking smile

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