Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean

I started doing the Foodie Pen Pals in March and have continued, but during my absence from blogging, I have failed to update what I have gotten each month.

This month I received my package from Brooke who blogs over at The Well Nourished Traveler. She sent me some stuff that I had never tried before, and even something that I was scared to try at first (although I don't really know why, but just was). Brooke also has the same "fear" of seaweed as I do and was kind enough to NOT include any in my package! Thanks Brooke!!!!

In my package I received:

-Steel Cut Oats
-Organic pumpkin seed cheddar crackers
-Organic whole wheat spaghetti noodles
-Fig and Hazelnut spread (this is what I was afraid to try)
-Some dark chocolate
-A cute little note!

When I opened the package the first thing I dug into were those crackers! Yum!!!! I was so afraid to try the fig spread. Like I said, I have no idea why.....I LOVE fig stuff, and hazelnuts......once I dug in, though, I couldn't stop! That stuff is so tasty. It has lemon zest in it and it shines through. Its very refreshing, not too sweet, and went so well with those crackers! I need to know where she got that stuff so I can go buy more! LOL!

I have always wanted to try steel cut oats since I eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast, but just haven't been able to break myself out of my normal cycle. Guess now I have NO excuse NOT to try them! I hear they are so much tastier than regular oatmeal.....maybe I am afraid I won't go back to cheap  oats! ;)

Pasta is not a big part of my diet (go ahead, send the hate my way). I will make something, though with these noodles.....hey, they ARE whole wheat! Maybe I will make some sketti to carb load before my next half!?!?! :D

As far as the chocolates can't go wrong with chocolate! <3 Yum!!!!

Thanks Brooke for all these wonderful goodies!

If you want to see what I sent the wonderful Kelly, head on over to her cute blog, Cupcake Kelly's and check it out!!!! :D

If you are interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal yourself (which you should since it's so much fun!!!!), head on over to Lindsey's blog! Here are the details, though....

Foodie Penpals Terms & Conditions
“By signing up to participate in Foodie Penpals, you are hereby agreeing to the following terms and conditions:
-Condition 1: You will contact the person you are matched with withing 72 hours of receiving your match to discuss dietary needs, allergies and food preferences.
-Condition 2: You will make an effort to meet the dietary needs of your penpal- ie not sending animal products to vegans, dairy products if your match tries to avoid dairy or junk food if they ask for healthy snacks.
-Condition 3: You will mail your box by the 15th of the month. It is HIGHLY recommended that you purchase delivery confirmation/get a tracking number for your package. It is very inexpensive and can be used to prove that you sent your package in the event that it gets lost.
If your match does not receive a package for the month, you will receive a warning. If it happens two months in a row, you will no longer be able to participate in the program
-Condition 4: In the event that you do not receive a package, Lindsay and The Lean Green Bean blog cannot be held accountable. By agreeing to participate in FPP, we cannot 100% guarantee that you will receive a package. The mail gets lost occasionally and your partner may fail to deliver.
-Condition 5: Using the foodie penpals email list to send out personal or spam emails promoting your blog, giveaways, etc is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Doing so is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program as it is a violation of the other participants’ privacy.
Failure to comply with these terms and conditions is grounds for dismissal from the Foodie Penpals Program.”

Time is a flying'......

Ok, so I know, once again I have been totally MIA! Well, I am not really sorry about that. I have just been so busy that the last thing on my mind is to sit on my computer and blog. I am sorry that I have to say that, but it is the honest truth!

Lots of stuff has been going on in my life. Nothing bad (thank God), but just been keeping busy and enjoying the days.

My garden has been taking off and I am so excited to have finally harvested some yummy veggies from it. I got a couple tomatoes so far, a bunch of flat pod peas, and a cucumber!!!! I am not a fan of tomatoes, but the one I picked was actually not too bad. It was a little sweet, and although it didn't gross me out like most do, I still wouldn't sit down and eat it like an apple......My peas and cucumber were very delicious though!!! Can't wait to get more veggies from my little garden!

Bell Pepper!

Another cucumber shot!




Picked Peas!

Little mini veggies! <3

I have been doing a lot of running! I have completed 2 half marathons since the last time I posted!!! The La Jolla Half in April and the Menifee Half in May! These 2 runs were the complete opposite of each other. La Jolla was probably the best run I have ever had.......Menifee, was one of the worst! I will do a post about each one separately or else we would be here all day reading this one! ;) I have also been doing lots of runs in the mornings before work, as well as getting back in the pool and doing some yoga! My bike also has come out of retirement and I have been pedaling my way on that as well!
At the finish of La Jolla!

At the start of Menifee!

Baking has taken a slight back seat lately to all my other hobbies (mostly working out and actually working.....), but I am going to pull the "its summer time and my house gets too hot to run the oven" card! ;) In the summer I just don't feel like doing much baking. I have other things to do.....and also want to remain bikini ready! :P With that being said though, I did actually do a little baking this morning and let me just tell you that the end product was something so amazing that I just had to come on here and tell you all about it!!!!!!!!

Let me start by telling you that I made banana bread for the first time ever this morning! A lady at my old job used to always bring in the best banana bread I have ever had in my life! She refused to share the recipe since it was "Top Secret" by her I have always been too afraid to try to make my own in fear that it won't be as good as hers. Well last night as I was reading my emails I found a recipe from Julie for some healthy banana bread. I looked at the ingredients and realized that not only do I have a couple of very ripe bananas, but I also have all the other ingredients! This doesn't happen very often and I saw it as a sign that I should make this bread!

After breakfast I busted out the good ol' stand mixer and started putting it all together. It had to bake for quite some time, so I hopped in the shower while it was baking up! When I took it out of the oven I couldn't wait to dig in and try a piece. It was so good! I would have to say that if my old co-worker's banana bread is a 10, this is a 9.5!!!!!!!!  You can not even imagine how ecstatic I was when I realized that I had made this delicious treat and it was not a flop like I was always afraid of!!!! :D I highly advise that you go out and get all the ingredients and start making a loaf for yourself........NOW!!!!

Healthy Banana Bread
(as adapted, and slightly modified, from Peanut Butter Fingers)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup Egg Beaters (or 1 large egg)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup Chobani Champions Very Berry Greek yogurt (or non-fat plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 tsp vanilla (I accidentally spilled a little extra into the batter....ooops....but still was great)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp.....cuz too much cinnamon never made anything taste bad!)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Spray loaf pan with cooking spray

-Combine and sift together flours, baking soda, and salt and set aside

-Mix together the rest of the ingredients together until smooth. A few lumps from the banana are fine! :)

-Slowly mix flour mixture into wet mixture and mix until fully combined

-Pour into loaf pan and bake for 35-50 minutes (mine only took 35 minutes, but Julie states she baked hers for 50 minutes)

-Remove from oven and allow to cool

-Slice and enjoy your little piece of Heaven! :)

I hope you enjoy this bread! But I best be wrapping up this post......gotta work on some more! ;) Have a great weekend! <3