This is the second month that I've participated in Foodie Penpals - a fun food exchange that is run by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean.
Participants sign up the month prior to participating on The Lean Green Bean website. By the 5th of the month (in this case, September), all the participants are assigned a penpal for whom they create a box of food products.
The boxes are to be filled with fun food-related items, 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.
By the 15th of the month, all the participants mail their boxes of goodies to their penpals. On the last day of the month, each participant posts about the goodies s/he received from her/his penpal!
This month I'm so excited to share with you what I received from Denise from Pennsylvania.
Here's what I received this month:
=> Jake & Amos' Corn Relish with Club Crackers - I have never tasted corn relish before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The relish tastes homemade, and has a tangy blend of cabbage, corn, red peppers, celery, and green peppers.
According to the Jake & Amos' website, "the farm-fresh taste is quite popular throughout Pennsylvania Dutch country." They suggest using it on burgers. However, I took Denise's suggestion and put it atop crackers. It was a delicious part of dinner one night.
=> Sweetzels' Spiced Wafers - Sweetzels is a 100+ year old company that makes a delicious spice and molasses cookie (or wafer). The Sweetzels' website suggests that the wafers can be heated in the microwave and served with warm apple cider and eaten by "a glowing fire." This definitely sounds like a great way to welcome autumn.
According to A Little Shore Breeze, the spiced wafers are made in the small town of Skippack, Pennsylvania. The site said, "Spiced Wafers have been tasty harbingers of Fall in Southeast Pennsylvania for over 90 years. Made using real ginger, Lancaster County molasses, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and other natural ingredients, these cookies are born to be dunked."
A Little Shore Breeze had a recipe for pumpkin streusel cake that looks good. We will be making it later this week. The recipes make enough for 16 servings.
7 Sweetzels gingersnaps, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Pulse gingersnaps in a food processor until a flour-like consistency. Mix pulsed gingersnaps and brown sugar together in a bowl. Sprinkle with canola oil; and mix until combined. Add pecans and mix.
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup soy milk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, soy, milk, oil, sugar, molasses and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking poser, salt, and spices. Adding half of the flour mixture at a time to the pumpkin mixture, gently mix the ingredients by hand, avoiding over mixing.
Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Top evenly with the streusel mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes until done, or a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
=> Trio of autumn-themed cookie cutters - Sophia, Olivia, and I enjoy making and baking cookies. I know that we will be using them during the latter part of October when we go to a family gathering and need to bring a dessert. It will be fun to cut out the cookies and then decorate them after they are baked.
=> Fralinger's Original Salt Water Taffy - All I can say is: Oh. My. Gosh. This, by far, was the highlight of the Foodie Penpal box for Sophia, Olivia, and me. Throughout my life, all the taffy I have eaten has been the type that almost removes my teeth when I eat a piece.
Not so with Fralinger's Taffy. This is the softest, most delicately-flavored taffy I have ever tasted. Sophia and Olivia were equally as excited about have two pieces of taffy for dessert one night.
James Candy Company had an interesting history a bout Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy: "A former glassblower and fish merchant, Joseph [Fralinger] returned from Philadelphia to his Atlantic City roots in the mid-1880s. After taking a job with a bricklayer, he earned enough money to open a small concession on the Atlantic City Boardwalk from which he sold fruit, soda, and the latest summer sensation, 'lemonade.'
"By 1884, Joseph was approached to take over a taffy stand. He agreed and began to perfect his own recipe for Salt Water Taffy, introducing his first batch of molasses taffy in 1885. Throughout the years he developed a number of new flavors, eventually offering a...selection [of] 25 [different varieties].
"...By 1899 Salt Water Taffy had become a household word across America."
I know that from now on we will be looking for Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy. There truly is no comparison once you've tasted this taffy.
Many thanks to Denise who introduced us to a wonderful selection of Pennsylvania treats. These are ones that we are not able to find and buy in Minnesota, so it was as if we traveled out east and were able to sample Pennsylvanian food...except without the long airplane ride.
I did find some websites where I can purchase the items online and they can be shipped to Minnesota. That's good news since we enjoyed the food so much!
So, if you enjoy sampling a variety of food, like sending gifts to people you haven't met, and receiving packages in the mail from someone you get to learn more about through a letter, recipes(s), and food...then check out Foodie Penpals!
If you're interested in seeing what I sent, below is a picture of what I sent to Lauren at From Everyday to Gourmet. Check out her blog to see what each of the items are and what she thought about what I sent to her.