BF&F – Best Friends and Foodies


November Foodie Penpals – Bumpkin

Last month Townie sent me a link for this really cool blogger who has set up a pen pal program for foodies.  I signed up thinking it would be interesting to see what came.  Townie waited for me to be the guinea pig 🙂 And to be honest I was pleasantly surprised, having had no expectations.  The idea is you get paired with someone to send food to, $15 limit, and someone different who will send food to you.  I sent a box of all locally made treats to Rebecca at Hankering 4 Hummus so you can pop over there to see what she had to say about what I sent.  But, more importantly I received a totally awesome box of yummy goodies from Ritsa at Runner Ritsa.

Ritsa sent me a questionnaire about foods I liked and disliked and she was able to send me a box of goodies that included breakfast, lunch, snacks and treats all of which I have NEVER seen in my small town (of course if I ventured into the likes of the organic market or the REI I might have seen some of it!)  My favorite was by far the Sea Salt flavored Rice Works crisps.  She included a nice note and a recipe for, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chewies, cookies I can’t wait to try!  I will be sure to let you know when I do so Ritsa gets full credit 🙂 

I have also been totally lacking in sending PROPER thanks to Ritsa as the package arrived while we were on vacation.  So, when I got back, on Tuesday, and my mail was back in service I got the package and have been whipping through it for the last few days.  Hubby is out of town and 3 year old has been a pill so I am lacking motivation these days.  Therefore, I did not take photos but I have added links to the websites for the products I received:

  • Justin’s Maple Almond Butter – Ritsa suggested trying it on a banana and that is exactly what I had for dessert last night.  YUM!
  • Moo Organic Chocolate with Granola – her comments were pretty cute, “it’s organic so it must be good for you”!  Mind you, I don’t know that I need the words “organic” on a label to convince me that chocolate is life saving (because we ALL KNOW it IS!!), but it was pretty yummy all the same! 🙂
  • Oat Revolution: Apples and Cinnamon – I love oatmeal for breakfast, if I am going to do breakfast at all.  I have always been partial to brown sugar but this was really yummy and one packet was filling.  The addition of flax was something new and I think that might have been the ticket.
  • Annie Chun’s Noodle Bowl: Pad Thai – Ritsa really did take my entire questionnaire into consideration when shopping for food.  I mentioned loving THai food and she made it happen.  I have never had a ready-to-eat quick meal of Thai food, but this was actually quite tasty!
  • Celestial Seasonings: Gingerbread Spice Tea – I told her I loved iced tea so she went “festive” on me.  This is the one product I haven’t yet tried.  My kids are tea drinking junkies so I hid the box fearing it would disappear and I totally forgot to make myself a cup!
  • Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bar: Apple and Honey – this was really chewy, unlike some granola bars.  My 3yr old basically stole it from me shortly after opening and it quickly disappeared.  2 thumbs up.
  • And the Riceworks crisps linked above.


If you get the chance, I highly suggest you sign up for Foodie pen pals.  It was fun and who doesn’t just LOVE trying new foods!!  It was started by Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean.  It’s a few easy steps to get started:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!


Lemon blackberry bars – townie

I had some blackberries to use up and this seemed like the perfect recipe. Yum this was delicious! Wish I had hag enough ingredients to have doubled it, but alas not this time!


lemon blackberry bars
adapted from two peas and their pod

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon

For the filling:
2 large egg yolks
1-14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 ounces fresh blackberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press crumbs into the prepared pan, pressing the crust mixture one inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Once the crust is cool, combine the egg yolks and condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until mixture begins to slightly thicken. Gently fold in the blackberries. Fold carefully so you don’t break the raspberries.

Pour the lemon blackberry filling evenly over the graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.

Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour before serving. Cut into bars and serve. Keep bars in the refrigerator-up to five days.

Oatmeal Cookies with Choc Covered Craisins – Bumpkin

I found these totally yummy little buggers last week, on sale!  I bought several packages.  They were begging to be baked into something.  I thought about adding them to my pumpkin bread (see my previous baking post) but opted for Rolos and pecans instead. 

Fall is a good time for oatmeal cookies.  For some reason they “call out” to me during cooler weather and not so much in the summer.  It might be the spiciness of them as I tend to use pumpkin pie spice rather than just cinnamon.  Although, cinnamon alone screams WINTER to me 🙂  I know, I know…I am a freakazoid!  But, you’ll get used to it.

Oatmeal Cookies with Choc Covered Craisins
adapted from Quaker Oats (the best oatmeal cookie recipe and can be found on the inside lid of the tub!)


  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1  1/2 cup Choc Covered Craisins

Let’s Make It!

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt; mix well. Add oats and Craisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Makes up to 4 dozen, as long as you don’t make them monsters like me!  🙂



Italian Sausage and Ravioli Soup – Bumpkin

I took out pork the other day because I was in the mood for pork.  When I opened the package to cook it, it smelled to high heaven!  I didn’t know pork could smell so nasty.  Needless to say, we did not eat THAT pork.  But, Townie had already posted pork for the day so I remember I had made this soup about a week ago and happened to take a photo so I would have some stuff in the “archive”.  The sausage is made from pork, so it fit the bill!

Our grocery store brand of Italian chub sausage is really good, so I always have some in my freezer.  I stock up when it goes on sale to throw into sauce and what not when we need a quick protein.  However, when I took it out this last time I was NOT in the mood for pasta and sauce.  The weather has turned so I was thinking soup.  I had some spinach that needed to be used, a pint of homemade spaghetti sauce and some frozen raviolis.  Out came THIS invention, that the family loved and WILL be made again.

I served with a crisp green salad and some crusty sour dough.  YUMMY!!

Italian Sausage and Ravioli Soup


1 lb italian sausage
1 pint spaghetti sauce
1+ qrts chicken stock
frozen ravioli (I had a small bag, so maybe 25)
2 c spinach
spices to taste
Parmesan cheese, garnish

Let’s Make It!

In a pan cook sausage until done. 

In a large pot, bring spaghetti sauce and enough stock to made consistency you desire, to a boil.  Add ravioli and cook until done.  Add sausage, spinach and spices.

Serve hot, topped with parmesan cheese.  YUMMY!

Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile Stew

I’m always looking for good crockpot recipes. I threw this in the crock one morning before we left for the day. Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste it that night, but the husband did. He said it was good and spicy. I tried it a few days later reheated. It was ok but probably tasted better fresh. I served it over jasmine rice.


Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile Stew


2 lbs boneless pork loin roast, lean, all fat trimmed off
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced onion
2 cans (4.25 oz each) whole green chiles, sliced into thick rounds
2 chopped jalapeño
10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Ro*Tel Mild)
1/2 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Cut pork into 2-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on high heat; when hot lightly spray the pan with oil and brown the pork over medium heat on all sides, about 3 – 4 minutes total. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of flour over pork and stir to cook 30 seconds, sprinkle remaining flour over pork and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Add browned pork to the crock pot, along with the remaining ingredients.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 houts (if using a Dutch oven, cook on low heat for 3-4 hours). When done, adjust season, salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Baking Tuesday – apple coconut crescent dessert – townie

I had a can of apple pie filling to use up and a roll of seamless crescent dough… This recipe had both in it! Looking at the ingredients it seemed like a strange combination, but it turned out pretty good!


adapted from

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent seamless dough
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can (21 ounces) apple pie filling, chopped

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 375°.
Spread crescent dough sheet onto an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Stir together pecans, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle over cooked crust. Drop pie filling by spoonfuls and spread over crust.
In a small bowl stir together flour and brown sugar.
Cut in butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add coconut and pecans to mixture and combine. Sprinkle over apple pie filling.
Bake at 375° for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Baking Tuesday – TWOfer Pumpkin

I have been AWFUL at blogging lately.  I have so much on my plate that I just feel like ignoring everything sometimes.  But, shame on me.  You all want to see what’s cooking in my kitchen!  So, for Baking Tuesday today, I am gonna give you a TWOfer…two pumpkin recipes in ONE post.  Lucky dogs!!!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookies (DIVINE!!!)

adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Let’s Make It!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, old fashioned oats, quick oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until well blended.
  • Blend in the dry mixture until combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips and drop by the spoonful onto the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes until cookies are lightly brown at the edges and set in the middle. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes then remove and place on cooling racks to cool.
  • Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Rolo Pecan Pumpkin Bread

adapted from  Taste of Home


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 cups canola oil
  • 20 Rolos candies, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Let’s Make It!

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in candy and nuts.
  • Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).