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September's Foodie Penpal Reveal!
The Lean Green Bean, almost a year ago, this monthly (free) online social event is open to both bloggers and readers. Over 1000 participants signed up this month, in the US alone, committing to send a box of foodie goodies ($15 value cap) to a complete stranger; in the name of sharing great food, and meeting new people. Every month, on the 5th of the month, Julie sends out a spreadsheet with your randomly assigned match. The person you will be sending a box to is NOT the person you will receive a box from; so you get to meet 2 new people each month!
Once you have your contact information, it is up to you to reach out to your Foodie PenPal and request their mailing information, in addition to any food allergies/preferences. Then, you have until the 15th of the month to put together an array of store bought and/or home cooked goodies. Julie requires that each box contains something hand written, from an actual penpal letter to a simple explanation of what's inside. When you receive your box you're welcome to dig in and start enjoying all the wonderful treats. Then, on the last day of each month, all of the Foodie PenPals post a reveal of what they received. If your recipient doesn't own a blog, they can elect to write a guest post for your site and vice versa. This program was the inspiration for Time Out For Truffles new PetPals PenPal program, ran along a similar set-up, for pet owners. I highly suggest checking them BOTH out, they're great ways to take your social network offline, and even encourage social skills within families. Why not sign up the family and make it a monthly project?
This month my match was Kathleen from Sweetness Hunter, fellow bakestress and sweet tooth. Just reading a single post on her blog gets my mouth watering; she participates in an stounding 4 foodie swaps! For September I told my match that I loved indulgent sweet snacks that would allow me to splurge. Kathleen sure did come through, with a Fall inspired candy apple twist that included a blast from my high school years Caramel Apple Pops. I didn't even know these were made in varieties other than Green Apple- The Golden Apple variety is delicious! Also included were my new favorite Pepperidge Farm Cookies in Caramel Apple Pie. These had a soft, almost oatmeal, consistency with bits of toffee-esque caramel bits. Needless to say, they didn't last long. Another apple twist was the Caramel Apple Cinnamon Swirl Bread I've been enjoying with a little bit of warm butter each morning. To satisfy my mention of 'heat', my foodie penpal sent a Tandoori paste that has a hearty flavor and spice infused warmth. I can't wait to whip some of it into a chicken rice dish I have planned!