Foodie Pen Pals - July 2012

 Soooo lately, I haven't had time to keep up with all of my online foodie clubs, so I did the logical thing and joined another one!! What?!! Don't judge me! ;) This one sounded too cool not to join.

Did you have a pen pal when you were growing up? I did, and it was pretty sweet. We both loved horses and we would send each other letters talking about our horses and send each other pictures of our beloved horses. It was fun and the coolest part is that we still keep in touch and have a lot in common! Any way, when the opportunity to get a foodie pen pal came up, I couldn't say no! How cool is it to have a foodie pen pal? :)

If you've never heard of foodie pen pals, here's the low down:

On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. You then have until the 15th of the month to fill your box with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats ($15 spending limit) and put them in the mail! On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

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 write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. Anyone from the US and Canada can join the fun!

 If you’re interested in participating for August, please check out the foodie pen pals link above and submit your information by August 4th.

Any way,  now that you know what it is, I'll tell you about what I got this month. My pen pal was Helene over at the Healthy Frenchie and she is from Fernie, British Columbia which isn't all that far from where I live (well, we're in the same province at least!!). She is super sweet, honest and straight forward and her blog reflects that. I think the only thing we would disagree on is who's dog is cuter!! ;) We are both overly biased cute-dog owners! Ha!

Helene was so sweet this month and sent me some neat things including:

  • Some vegan candy which is locally made in Fernie with all natural juices and fruits. It was delicious and didn't make it into the pictures in this post!!
  • A waffle and pancake mix made by a coffee shop owner in Fernie - I haven't tried it out yet, but I can't wait - it looks delicious.
  • Organic sweet and sour sauce that came with very high praises - can't wait to give it a try.
  • Home made date chocolate truffles that Helene made for me (delicious - can't say enough good things about them)
  • Brown sticky rice - I had never heard of it before, but I cooked it up the day after I got it and boy, it is soooo good. I can't wait to go buy more!
Thanks Helene for introducing me to some new ingredients, brands and products. What a lovely little package to receive with so many delightful things in it. Can't wait to try out the pancake mix this weekend. :)

This really is a fab way to meet other bloggers and make new friends! Do stop by Helene's blog and check it out! She's got lots of great posts that are charmingly written and give you an interesting look into her day to day life and lots of info about her workout routines (which I thoroughly appreciated!!).

Happy Baking my Friends!


Ancho-Marinated Pork & Mango Skewers

Hi friends! I recently remembered I have a blog and I haven't updated it much (other than mandatory posts) in the last little while. ;) I thought I would show you what I've been up to and share my favorite recipe that I tried while I was back home in Northern British Columbia visiting my family. It was a big hit all around! My favorite dinner was Ancho-Marinated Pork and Mango Skewers. I found the recipe in the Best of Fine Cooking magazine's Summer Eats 2012 issue (there are sooooo many good recipes in there so best to check it out if you haven't already! Its well worth the 12 bucks!).

My favorite part about this recipe was learning to barbeque! My hubby always mans the BBQ when we are home, but since he didn't come up north with me, and it was just my Mom and I out at their cabin, I had to "man up" and figure out how to light the BBQ and do the grilling. Surprise, surprise, it went just fine! And I was pretty darn proud of myself for figuring it out. :)

Ancho-Marinated Pork and Mango Skewers
Recipe from The Best of Fine Cooking Summer Eats 2012

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil and more fore the grill
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin trimmed and cut into one inch cubes
  • 2 medium ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 metal skewers
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, ancho chile powder, garlic, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the pork, toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 4 hours (I did two hours and it was plenty).
  2. Thread the pork and mango cubes onto the skewers, alternating them and beginning and ending with a piece of pork. Each skewer should have about 5 pieces of pork and four pieces of mango.
  3. Heat BBQ to medium heat and rub down with a paper towel dipped in oil o grease the grill. Cook the skewers, turning once or twice, until the meat is nicely browned on the outside but still slightly pink in the center, about 8 minutes per skewer (may vary depending on the temp of your grill). Serve garnished with the cilantro if desired.
I served mine over an avocado and blackberry salad dressed with a roasted garlic dressing and some yummy feta cheese!

While I was up north visiting family, I got put to work. Turns out my timing was perfect and I was in time for haying! So I drove the tractor, slung some hay bales and otherwise worked my butt off!

I also got to hang out with my momma lots (and Dad too, but he had to work while I was there, so didn't get to spend as much time with him)!

We had some sweet camp fires out at the cabin at the lake in the evenings and even made S'Mores a coupla times. Let me tell you - we discovered some delicious chocolate to use in S'mores - one was a coconut & toasted almond milk chocolate bar and the other was a dark chocolate with sea salt. Both were spectacular, but definitely the favorites of the week!

Also got to take in a hike with my sister and my cousin! It was a great hike to Clearwater Lake & Upper Clear Water lake. Somewhere I had never hiked before. What a beautiful lake! And a beautiful day too.

And finally, I just got some time to sit and relax and enjoy the sunshine. It was a much needed break and was so lovely that my parents shared their beautiful place at the lake with me. We laid out on the dock and soaked up some rays!

 And also enjoyed some of the beautiful evenings!!

Thats all I have for you today! But stay tuned for a super special post tomorrow. I have something really neat and delicious to share with you. :)

Happy Cooking my Friends!


Homemade Snickers for SRC!

Good Morning friends! Its been a while. :) It is time for our SRC reveal and this month I was assigned a challenge - I was assigned Heidi's blog which is in Danish. I didn't have the proper internet browser (she recommends google chrome) to automatically translate her page so it was quite labour intensive to translate her page manually using google translator, however, it was well worth it. The snickers bars I made were delicious - so delicious in fact that my family devoured them!!

Lets get started -

first make the chocolate bottom

  • 250 g. good quality milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  1. Melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Stir in peanut butter until combined.
  2. Pour mixture into a square pan (I used 8x8) lined with parchment paper. Spread into an even layer. Let the mixture harden in the fridge.
Next make the nougat layer

  • 50g salted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add sugar and evaporated milk and bring mixture to a boil. Stir constantly. Heat through until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add fluff, peanut butter and vanilla and stir until fluff and peanut butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and fold in chopped peanuts.
  3. Let cool slightly and pour over chocolate base. Place in fridge to set up competely.
Next up, make the caramel layer.

  • 400g toffee/ caramel (the kraft caramel squares work well here)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  1. Melt toffee and whipping cream together in saucepan over medium heat until mixture is completely smooth. Remove from heat and pour over hardened nougat layer. Place in fridge to harden completely.
Finally, make the chocolate top:

  • 250 g good milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  1. Melt chocolate over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add peanut butter and stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over hardened caramel layer. Place back in fridge to set up completely.
Once bars have hardened and set up in the fridge, remove from the pan and cut into squares. Enjoy!

My family enjoyed these so much that I didn't get a chance to take any photos, so I borrowed a photo from Heidi's blog. Here's what they look like -
Photo not my own - used from Heidi's blog

I am planning to make them again to photograph them and will update this post with my own photos when I have a chance!

Can't wait to see what all the other group C bloggers came up with this month!

Happy baking my friends!