Foodie Pen Pal Reveal – Guest Blogger!

The tiiiime has arriiived! The April Foodie Pen Pal reveal is finally here! I will go into the details of the Foodie Pen Pal program and tell you where you can find all of this months reveals as well as sign up to join the program… in a little while. (Actually – if you can’t wait for my explanation and just have to go sign up right now then The Lean Green Bean will have the details.)

But FIRST – my very first guest blogger Shelby is going to share with you! In an e-mail from Shelby she said, “I started to write you a thank you and then I turned it into the guest post for SFF…”

I’ve left her thank you/guest post just the way it is… except my computer is trying to mess with the pictures…

Dear Lorna,

I’ve struggled with where to start in reply to my box o’ Foodie Pen Pal goodies from you. So pardon my bluntness, but I’ll begin by saying that the box was totally mind-blowing and extremely perfect.

So almost-eerily perfect, in fact, that my roommate asked how much about myself I had shared with you. How did you know I prefer sea salt to table salt? Or that coconuts are my favorite and I love tea? Or that I use vinegar on the daily?

Now I’m getting ahead of myself. Dear readers of Orange Is A Good Color-turned-Salt For Flavor, Lorna received me as her randomly-assigned Foodie Pen Pal (I, in turn, received someone else). She contacted me for my preferences and avoidances in regards to food, and then I waited in anticipation for a box of Pacific Northwest goods (no more than $15 worth, as stated in the rules). With each day that passed, I got more and more excited for the prospect of my big mystery to arrive in the mail… and each day I’d check the mail feeling hungrier and hungrier! I satisfied my appetite in my kitchen, conjuring fantasies of opening a box full of tasty goodies to throw into my usual mix of nutrition.

And then it happened.

On Saturday, I was preparing to go out and shoot photos of Record Store Day’s various events throughout the city for Brooklyn Vegan Chicago. I had just picked up my camera early in the morning and was about to leave when my the box appeared! I just had enough time to open it up and gaze momentarily in jaw-dropped awe before having to dash to catch the train. I did have enough time to grab a Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif bar and two Trader Joe’s Organic Fruit Wraps, which were great to fuel me for the day’s rushing around!

When I got back to my apartment after a long day of vinyl and live performances, sidewalk sales, packed public transportation, and lots of general goodness, I immediately sat down to view the rest of the box. Everything was so packed so lovely (as Lorna wrote on her note: “We’re going with Easter colors since it’s that time of year…”), between the pastel tissue papers and the perfectly recycled cardboard “tubing” made just for the bottle of Trader Joe’s White Balsamic Vinegar. I was surprised (and relieved) that everything made it so well – it looked like I had just packed this box down the street at the market and carried it over. You’d never guess it traveled two thousand miles!

Leftover from the snacks I had grabbed that morning were two more Clif bars, Trader Joe’s Naturally Smoked Sea Salt (umami flavored – “umami” being Japanese for, essentially, “pleasant savory taste”) with a built-in grinder for extra ease, two packs of Trader Joe’s Seaweed Snacks (the total ultimate, one original and one wasabi!), a pouch of Trader Joe’s Just Mango dried slices, and a bag of Vanilla Coconut loose leaf tea from Lorna’s personal favorite shop out in Washington.

I had written to Lorna describing myself as a “health nut” who stays away from refined sugars, white flour, heavily processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, etc. I panicked that I sounded too picky and perhaps a somewhat impossible foodie pen pal to deal with (it wouldn’t be very easy to ship, say, fresh raspberries) so I hoped I wasn’t more of a problem to shop for than I bargained to be. Whether or not difficult, Lorna chose all my favorites. Like I said, it was a little shocking, but nonetheless pleasant, to find so many goodies I have picked up in the market, only to put back while on budget, thinking to myself that I can get it next time I go shopping (and then the same thing repeats). I now had dried mango. Clif bars (which Lorna was far too tough on herself about including, but will be extremely useful during these days as I plunge into my finals) and seaweed snacks to pack, white balsamic for my cooking and salads, that sea salt to add savoriness to my meals, and delicious vanilla coconut tea to relax to at the end of the day (I had a cup last night with a dribble of almond milk and it hit all the right sweet spots).

With all of that, I leave you with the following that I have already tested and approved:

Throw in a handful of torn seaweed pieces (wasabi flavored if you like the kick) with a cup of spinach and an egg, cooked in white balsamic vinegar. Add ground black pepper and sea salt, top with pine nuts or flax seeds.

Slice sweet potatoes and beets, lay on a baking sheet, brush a little white balsamic vinegar on and sprinkle with sea salt – bake around 350 degrees F until crispy. Also can be done with kale leaves (but massage the vinegar into the leaves before laying out to be salted and baked).

Salt and vinegar popcorn sounds good, right? I thought so, but couldn’t get the kernels to pop in the vinegar until I added some olive oil. Pop your own popcorn first using olive oil in a covered pot on the stove (try to stay away from pre-packaged microwave bags that contain chemicals in the sealants), let cool a bit, then drizzle a salt and vinegar concoction.

If in need of a sweet and filling, but need-it-fast fix, open a Clif bar, place in a microwave-safe bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and a teaspoon of any seasonings such as ginger, cinnamon, allspice, or unsweetened cocoa (which we all know isn’t a seasoning). Microwave for a minute but keep your eye on it (from a distance!) so as not to let it burn. Eat with a spoon.

I can’t thank Lorna enough for her thoughtful and incredible package. I am so glad my first Foodie Pen Pal experience was with her, I’m hooked and recommending it to all my family and friends. That being said, dear readers, you should all A) sign up for your own Foodie Pen Pal and B) stick around for this lady here’s food thoughts in the future. I look forward to more Salt For Flavor, which reminds me I’ve got an egg cooking on the stove that needs some seaweed and sea salt right now.

Advertisements

Givin’ It Away…

It’s that time again! A book has been reviewed and now a book will be given away (we hope). Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley. Don’t delay! There are three ways to enter… Leave a comment anywhere on this blog, share on facebook or tweet/re-tweet on twitter. In a week or so (when I remember) my littlest brother will draw a name out of a box and I’ll announce the winner!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Eye of the Sword by Karyn Henley – A Book Review

I have to be honest. I wanted to review this book because I just really love a good sci-fi/fantasy book. The truth is however, I was all-but-ready for this particular story to be mediocre at best. Unfortunately, Christian authors do not the best fantasy writers make. Or rather – they either make the BEST (read C. S. Lewis) or they basically flop. (Please feel free to prove me wrong. I would like nothing better!)

I am pleased to report that this book was better than I’d expected! Eye of the Sword is book two of the Angelaeon Circle by Karyn Henley. I’m looking forward to back tracking a bit and reading the first book Breath of Angel.

Eye of the Sword focuses on Trevin, our hero. At times he doesn’t look very heroic – more like someone who’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time – but as the story grows he proves himself to be the hero we knew he was destined to be.

Trevin’s supporting cast is made up of kings, a princess, various levels of angelic beings, mighty warriors and a whole other group who range from badly misled to down-right evil.

At first I was a little concerned by the elaborate names, not only of the characters but also of the places in this book. Eldarra, Aubendahl, The Dregmoors, Ambria, Hanamel – you get the idea. It took me a little while (and a bit of flipping back to an earlier page to check that the person I was reading about was the same person who did such-and-such) but pretty soon I had no problem keeping everyone straight.

It is easy to spot a fantasy author who has read one of the great ones (J. R. R. Tolkien), it inevitably comes out in their writing. So it was with Karyn Henley. Nevertheless, this book was still full of originality and creativity! It was exciting and interesting to read the entire way through and even at the end there were plot twists that kept me guessing…

Near the beginning of the story (while I was being all critical) I had this sense of something missing in the writing. I couldn’t smell the story the way I can with some books. By the end of the book I had forgotten all about that. I closed the final page with a sigh that only comes at the end of a satisfying story mixed with a little regret that it is over. Thankfully the story is NOT over – there is at least one more book yet to be published and I get to go back and read book one!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a light, engaging novel that has a good combination of adventure and romance.

*I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Press book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.*

Ta-Da!

It’s a work in progress, but here it is! Say goodbye to Orange Is A Good Color and hello to Salt For Flavor!

I have lot’s of posts planned for the future. Book reviews, tutorials, commentaries on the Middle East. (Kidding ’bout that last one.) My new camera has been ordered and should be here soon. Hold onto your office chairs because as soon as it gets here I am going to go picture crazy!

The first couple of new-camera-picture-posts will most likely be about all of the delicious judge food I will soon be preparing for our Regional NCFCA Speech and Debate Tournament! While we’re on the subject – let me give a little plug. Regionals is coming up and we need your help! My mother and I have been helping to coach a speech and debate club that three of my siblings have been participating in all year. Our club (the E.P.I.C. Speech and Debate Club (Emphatically Proclaim with Integrity and Clarity)) is hosting the NCFCA Regional Tournament here in Bellingham! You know what – I’ll let the following letter do all the explaining for me. (When it says refreshments – it really means amazing spectacular food prepared by yours-truly 😉 …) Please give it a read and see if you can help us out! Mmmm. You may need to zoom in…

Oh yeah – very VERY proud of my sister Hannah! She and her debate partner have already qualified for Nationals!

So anyways… I’m pretty excited about this here new blog and I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens!

Moving…

Lot’s of moving happening this month. The biggest move of all involves my family – they are moving out of the area to be closer to my dad’s job. They will be gone by the middle of May 😦 I’m pretty sad about them moving – but I know it will be better for everyone to live in the same area. My dad won’t have to work away from the family anymore! Besides – my sister Rosie is staying here and my sister Hannah is staying for the summer!

The other move that’s taking place is… My blog is moving to WordPress! New style. New name. Excitement!

Foodie Penpals

I am so excited! I am participating for the first time in a fun new program called Foodie Penpals! Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean started the program back in September with around 30 participants as a way for foodies all over the country to connect and try new things. This month the program has grown to 600 participants in the US and Canada – not counting the new branch in the UK. How cool is that?!

Here’s the short version of how it works (sort of):
 – On the 5th of the month you find out who you’re matched with. – You have 72 hours to get in touch with them and figure out any food preferences. – You go shopping with 15 bucks and try to find all the cool stuff you can! – Before the 15th you mail your package. – You wait in anxious anticipation by the mail box until your package arrives. – You open your box and jump up and down with joy and excitement! – You resist temptation and take pictures of everything you got before devouring the wonderfulness. – On the 30th of the month you do a post on your blog about all the awesome stuff you got! – Then you start watching your Inbox for the next e-mail from Lindsay telling you who your new foodie penpal is!

Sound like fun? Visit The Lean Green Bean – Foodie Penpals for detailed information and to sign up!

Stay tuned for more adventures with Foodie Penpals!