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Friday, August 31, 2012

Out of the (Mail)Box

I love a good surprise.  That's not a shocking statement, but I particularly love boxes that arrive on my doorstep promising food-related goodies selected just for little ol' me.

This was my first month participating in the Foodie Penpals program put together by the lovely Lindsay over at her blog The Lean Green Bean.  The concept is that someone spends $15.00 to put together a box of goodies and mails it to you, and you put together your own box and mail it to a different person.  On the last day of the month, the penpals post what they have received.  What's amazing is that 1,300 people in the US/Canada participate each month!

I was the lucky recipient of a box from Ashley P. of Virginia Beach--Ashley doesn't have a blog, or I would plug it here, but she apparently has a sixth sense of WAW--What Alaskans Want.

WAW is a little skewed--our local daily paper, which is about the thickness of your average leaflet left on your door trying to convince you to buy lawn services or order Chinese food--periodically does a survey asking Alaskans what stores/restaurants they think should come to town.

Target was on the list for a long time, and now they're in the Alaska market like gangbusters.  Too bad that they are nowhere near my house.

The Olive Garden was the number one for years and years.  I was recently informed that Anchorage is now the proud owner of a newish Olive Garden, in which I have not set foot and plan never to do so unless a client drags me there. 

The number one now?  It has to be Trader Joe's.  I am not exaggerating when I say that people literally take an extra bag on vacation when they are venturing to a place that has a Trader Joe's, and fill it up with food.  The dried fruit is particularly popular, since it makes for great hiking/skiing/camping snacks and is wicked expensive at grocery stores here.

So imagine my delight when I opened my box and found tons of Trader Joe's goodies, including dried bananas and green mango.  David opened the latter immediately and started popping pieces in his mouth.  Ashley also sent brown rice-marshmallow treats (think a healthier version of a Rice Krispy bar), shelf-stable gnocchi (delicious with a brown butter-Swiss chard sauce a week ago), wasabi peas (spicy and delicious), a tin of green tea-flavored mints and a packet of her very own, delicious granola. 

To check out the penpal program, which is open to both bloggers and readers, go here.  Thanks to Ashley for the wonderful treats!

My box went to Sarah--you can check out her blog Sparkly Lil' Life here.

Have a great holiday weekend!

18 comments:

  1. What a lovely surprise! The marshmallow treats sound really intriguing.

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  2. What a great surprise, the gnocchi sound wonderful.

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  3. fun fun fun love surprises and love this one!

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  4. What fun! This looks like such a blast to participate in :) We need an international version!

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  5. What a great box, I had to opt out this month but hop to be back next one. Foodie surprises are awesome.

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  6. Love your description of your local paper! What's wrong with The Olive Garden? That box looks marvellous, the wasabi peas certainly sound delicious! I've been doing it here for a few months too, it's like Christmas every month!

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  7. Don't you love a good package? These looks great. :) I nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Come check out my post dated 9-2-12. :)

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  8. haha I am the same way with Trader Joes! We don't have on here, but they "say" one is coming sometime. Looks like a great box of goodies!

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  9. What a nice surprise [package and a fun program to be part of! I don't live near a Trader's Joe either, but I have shopped in one and liked their products. I agree about the Olive Garden chain....it's not really Italian cuisine.

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  10. TJs is on the want list here too and I have to admit I am one of thos vacation TJs shoppers. Cudos on your Olive Garden stance. Why eat big biz food when there are so many local good restaurants out there needing patronage?

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  11. What a delicious box of goodies my friend, glad you are having fun with it :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  12. What a delicious box!! Good to know you're enjoying it. :)

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  13. Looks like you got an interesting haul! I LOVE wasabi Peas!!!

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  14. What a fun haul! Wasabi peas make for supreme snacking nights with movies or a good novel. Have fun with your new bounty!

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  15. When you live in Manhattan, foodie surprises aren't all that intriguing. But seeing it from you WAW perspective, I think I'd be pretty excited to get a monthly package. Incidentally, I know you're not a native Alaskan so I've always wondered why you chose to move there...

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  16. How exciting! I am sure you will enjoy all these goodies!

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  17. I have been hearing about this program from my other blogger friends and they all seem to love it!
    It must be exciting getting a package of goodies to play with ... Hope you have fun with all those packages :)

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  18. What a fun present! You must have felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Can't wait to see what becomes of these ingredients!

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