If you’re like me, there is something about receiving a surprise parcel in the mail that makes you feel like a kid again, isn’t there?! Well, in this case, not exactly a surprise parcel since I signed up this month for the great Foodie Pen Pal program run by Lindsay Livingston of the www.theleangreenbean.com, so I did know a box was on its way. Even so, it makes your day to go to the mailbox and find a parcel of foodie treats from a fellow food blogger, instead of the usual bills and credit card offers.
I’m no stranger to food parcels. Ever since I left home, my mother has sent me boxes of things I missed from home, even sending me freshly-picked vegetables from her garden (mange tout peas travel really well) although customs has tightened up in recent years so I don’t get those any more!
Here’s how Foodie Pen Pals works. You are paired with two people; you send a package to one and receive a package from the other. The spending limit is $15 and you can include whatever you like as long as you add ‘something written’.
I received a parcel from Jessica of www.jessicaisbaking.wordpress.com. Jessica lives in the New York area and send me a fab box of treats, including a Belgian spread called Spekuloos, made with gingerbread cookies from one of her husband’s favorite food trucks, Wafels & Dinges, that they track around the city. She also sent me some delicious cocoa nibs, cashews and cranberries, various yummy herbal/spice teas and several Larabars.
The Larabars were a surprise! Normally with some of those healthy bars, you’d be better off eating the wrapper because it’d have more taste. But these ones were delicious – especially the cashew cookie and chocolate coconut varieties.
Jessica’s ‘something written’ was a post card of New York with a recipe for these delicious wholegrain waffles. So, of course, I made the waffles and served them with the ginger spread and the cocoa nibs. Amazing! Thanks Jessica. I’ve shared your recipe below.
Multigrain Waffles (from www.howsweeteats.com) with Belgian Ginger Cookie Spread and Cocoa Nibs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups wholewheat flour
1/4 cup toasted wheatgerm
2 tbls ground flaxseed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbls canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract.
(major photography crisis today and had to use an old camera to get this!!! Urghh).
Mix the buttermilk and oats in a medium bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
Whisk wholewheat flour, flaxseed, wheatgerm, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Stir eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into the oat mixture. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened.
Prepare your waffle iron in the normal way and preheat. Spoon enough batter to cover 3/4 of the surface and cook each waffle until crisp and golden, about 4-5 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Enjoy!!!
I sent a parcel to Ashley in Ohio, who is an avid food blog reader but doesn’t have her own blog. I started off trying to put together a Southern-themed parcel, since I live in the Deep South. However, Ashley is a vegetarian and this is a very carniverous part of the country (think BBQ and fried chicken) so in the end, it was a Southern/English theme with some English Aero and Yorkie candy bars and Hob Nob cookies alongside some organic grits, pecan candies and a pecan pie from here. I also sent her a recipe for an old-fashioned English dessert, Queen of Puddings, which I’ll blog about soon.
Overall, it has been a hoot and I’d definately do it again. If you are interested in joining in the fun, check out Lindsay’s blog www.theleangreenbean.com to sign up. The program runs every month and you need to sign up by the 5th of the month to take part.