Foodie Pen Pals- August

The Lean Green Bean

I’ve hinted over the last few weeks about something called Foodie Pen Pals.  I remember having to write to a pen pal in school.  I think mine was from France.  He loved to tell me all about going on holiday to any number of countries in Europe.  Yah, I can totally relate to that dude.  Needless to say I didn’t keep in touch.  Take that concept and mix it with a box of tasty goodies and you better believe I’m interested!

The idea is simple and elegant in execution.  Fill out a form with your info, on the 5th of the month get assigned a pen pal to send stuff, send email asking about any dietary restrictions/allergies to new friend, shop/make stuff for new friend, send box-o-luv by the 15th (Helloooooo flat rate boxes!), send email with package tracking info like any good OCD person, wait for response.  In there somewhere is “stalk webpage of new friend” and “stalk page of person sending stuff to you”.

With all things awesome there are a few rules.  The dates are important!  The box-o-luv has a $15 limit! And posting of the findings are due on the last day of the month on your blog.  The official rules are on Lindsay’s blog.  And here’s a link to see what everyone else got this month too!

What did I get?

My new friend is Jay Travis from New York and I got a lovely collection of goodies from his neck of the woods.

Note from Jay. Love the carrot!

Instantly reminded me of “brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things!”

Maple Barbecue sauce, Saffron Aioli, and Miss Sydney’s marinade.

I’ve got some big plans with this haul.  The marinade was used with scalops and veggies in a stir fry (WOW!), the maple barbecue sauce has pulled pork written all over it, and I will be using Jay’s suggestion for the saffron aioli as topping to a chicken cutlet sandwich.  I might just sneak a few french fries into the aioli too but don’t tell.

Overall this was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again next month!  Thank you Lindsay for creating such a fun program!  Thank you Jay for all of the goodies!

Why McDonalds?

Like many other people I follow various coupon and deal sites.  One of these sites led me to McDonalds’ promotion site for a coupon for a buy-one-get-one-free summer drink (Frappe, Frozen Lemmonade, etc).  I filled out the coupon info that it requested.  Simply my name and my email address.  Ok, I get it.  I printed the coupon off on a printer that only has black ink and went on with my day. 

Fast forward a few weeks to this morning when I tried to use this coupon.  Well… here’s the email I just sent to McDonalds Corporate office via their web page:

I had printed a coupon from the McDonalds site for a buy one get one free summer drink. I pulled up to the ordering menu at the drive through and told the person that I was talking to that I had this coupon and that I’d like two medium mocha frappes. I didn’t get a total but was told to pull to the first window.  I did as was asked. I hand the coupon to the woman at the window and she calls for a manager but apologizes for my wait. It’s fine. I understand that coupons sometimes have to be verified.  The manager comes to the window, looks at the coupon, then proceeds to tell me that it’s a copy and they will not be taking it. I told the woman that I was NOT a copy. That I printed it off the website MYSELF. She then tells me that it’s black and white and therefore is a copy and she will not be taking it. I pointed out that on the bottom of the coupon was my name and would gladly show her my ID. I actually had to hand over my drivers license to prove to her that I was indeed the person on the coupon. She shoved my license back at me, mumbled something in Spanish, and walked off. The cashier then said that it was fine and told me the total. I paid but as she was handing my change to me she told me that the last time she took a black and white coupon it came out of her paycheck. I am not mad at her. The treatment I got from the manager was appalling!  I don’t have access to a color printer! The coupon NEVER said it had to be in color to  be accepted.

If you’d like to try this coupon out for yourself here’s the link and good luck to you.  Remember to have your ID ready if it’s in black and white… oh and be prepared to be treated like you’re stealing from them.

Tweet! Tweet!

Like most of this country I use the computer. Duh, this is a blog! I have an iPhone and use Google and Facebook more times a day than I can count. I had tried using Twitter previously and just didn’t see the point with Facebook around. It took a while but I’m back on Twitter.

What changed? Media. I subscribe to several email lists for coupon deals as well as participate in text only specials sponsored by my favorite places. No, I’m not one of those people they make tv shows about. Not even close.

The next logical step for me was Twitter. I can subscribe to different company’s feeds and get freebies or cheapies. My favorite things. I’m even following several of my favorite food blog queens and have gotten special deals there too!

So as much as I think that email lists, blog feeds, and Facebook have already given me enough to read it looks like I’ll be keeping Twitter around. Any people/companies worth following that you can suggest?

Follow me @vicrambles


I Swear I Haven’t Been Kidnapped

What a whirlwind of activity lately.

I know I’m a bad blogger (BAD BAD BLOGGER!).  I went off on an anniversary trip a month ago and never checked back.  No pictures, no stories, no sign of life.  We had a great time but I’m afraid it will be after the holiday this week before I’m able to jump back on here to update everyone on our adventures over the last month.

Creamy Goodness





I’m just a little addicted to my Google Reader. I check for blog updates more than I check Facebook. And really when I think about it I follow more blogs than I have friends on Facebook. By… Let’s just say hundreds more. 

The other day I came across a post about 2 minute mayo and realized I had all of the things needed to make it (crazy kitchen gadget* included).  OK, that’s not exactly true.  I didn’t have a lemon or any lemon juice (don’t care for the stuff).  But I did remember that vinegar can substitute for lemon juice.

So off I went.  Separated an egg and put the yolk into a canning jar I had on hand, a bit of spicy mustard, some water, and the vinegar, top it with a cup of canola oil.  Let this sit for as long as it takes to plug in the stick blender*.  And the magic begins!  Place the blender on the bottom of all of the muck in the jar and turn it on.  Once it starts to look like mayo slowly raise the blender up toward the top of the jar.  Mix in a pinch of salt and done!

Store in a container with a lid for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Let me say that I’m a mayo girl and not a Miracle Whip chick. I think I’d like to try to make this again with the lemon juice and see if it turns out a little less Miracle Whip-y if you know what I mean. But seriously easy and super tasty. 

I Know. I Know!


I have to admit something to you, my dear readers. I’ve messed up and I feel that I need to come clean.

Like everyone I have family members that I really don’t like to claim. One of mine has a blog that somehow I got sucked into a couple of years ago. Last winter I went cold turkey and haven’t looked back.

Until today.

I could blame it on my fever but that would be a lie as this bug doesn’t come with one. I could say it was an accidental bookmark selection but since I’m having to do a factory reset on my phone a few times a day I no longer have any bookmarks. It was a moment of weakness. That’s all I know.

In this little weak moment did I find anything interesting? Anything that I’m sad to have missed in my eleven months of absence? Nope. Not a single thing. I really don’t know if that makes my discretion better or worse. I will say that I think it will make it easier to once again forget one of my least favorite members if my family and her little blog too.

There’s Poo in My Hair

Shampoo that is.  I read a ton of blogs.  One of the lovely ladies I follow is so super talented she even makes her own solid shampoos and conditioners.  I was lucky enough to find a sample of both in my mailbox this week.  Now, you know that I’m a klutz so a solid bar of anything could have disastrous results in a shower.  This is easily remedied with those little organa bags brides love so much.

Wonderland Handmade Bath and Body is where you can also have the same amazing shower experience that I had (not that kind you dirty monkeys).  I’ll be honest that when I first opened up the mailing package the scent kind of took me over.  It was a very strong mix of what reminded me of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil and Pearberry lotion.  I was a bit concerned that I would have to swat away bees if the scent stuck around after I used these new little gems.  I put the package on the table and went on with my day.  Coming back to it a few days later ready to use the shampoo for the first time I found that the scent was no longer overpowering.  My guess is that the short trip from Wisconsin to Kansas in a sealed envelope might have concentrated the scent.

Juicy Green Pear Conditioner and Coconut Shampoo (bad camera phone)

This shampoo experience is completely new to me.  I wet down my hair and started lathering the bar between my hands to work up enough lather for my head.  Almost immediately the softest mound of bubbles was ready.  Into my hair it went.  Scrub, scrub, scrub, and rinse.  As the site says “be sure to use lots of water during the wash and rinse, since this is actually a shampoo concentrate in solid form” I rinsed and rinsed.  I actually stood there a moment trying to decide if I needed conditioner.  Which as it has been quite chilly here lately (wool coats have been used) and I use an extra conditioner even after 2-in-1 shampoos (plus we have some of the hardest water around) I grabbed the conditioner.  Again rubbing the little flower shaped solid between my hands I lightly coated my locks.  Rinse again.

Once out of the shower I toweled my hair so it wasn’t dripping and proceeded to brush through it.  Wait!  No tangles… not a single one.  Even my super-hope-Hubby-doesn’t-ask-how-much-this-cost products can’t do that.  Wow.  Really impressed.  I was afraid this kind of result would happen if I was too heavy on the conditioner and will find the greasy look after my blow dryer was done with its job but I was totally wrong.  These products are just that good.  I couldn’t help myself throughout the day to play with my hair.  I felt like a 50’s teen with a crush twirling my hair all day.  This is some seriously good stuff people.

[insert cheesy infomercial voice] How much would you expect to pay for such an amazing product?  $60? NO! $50? NO!  How about the low low price of just $10 each.  That’s right.  $10 gets you enough shampoo to last as long as a 12 ounce bottle of the liquid stuff.  And the conditioner will last just as long (if you keep these dry between uses~ everyone knows what happens to the bar of soap left in the puddle too long).

Luci, I’m so glad that I was able to try these out.  I was blind but now I see.  Solid ‘poo and con for me from now on!

~ For the record this was not a paid review.  Also, I have fine hair but a lot of it.  It’s been too long but it is color treated.