April 2013 Foodie Pen Pals Reveal

FPP-post In April I participated in Foodie Pen Pals for the first time; it was great! I found out about this program just by searching the internet looking for some ideas for more creativity for my current pen pals across the country…..I felt like getting postcards and letters might be getting a little boring. I joined for the month of April and received a box of goodies from Alex Dorris in Washington DC; go here to see her blog. Below is a picture of what she sent me:)


It was so fun to get this box!!!  The anticipation of someone else buying goodies with my preferences in mind:) What a DELIGHT!!!  Another really cool thing that I liked about foodie pen pals was that Lindsay over at FPP’s  had easy guidelines and strait forward instructions, I signed up and within 72 hours I was responded to.  All participants are expected to send out boxes by a certain deadline and are reminded by a friendly email:)  Alex was assigned to send a box to me and I was assigned to Lindsay in New Jersey, her blog is here. She featured my box in her blog on April 30th (when I was supposed to as well) and she did a great job and she has a really great blog on nutrition, I want to snag some of her healthy recipes!!!

I received my box from the postman on Friday and I was so excited!!  I quickly opened the box and started looking at all my tasty items!  I got:

1.  Annie’s chocolate chip granola bars, which I have had before and LOVE!  I am a BIG granola bar fan, I run around a lot and need a quick snack here and there:)  They are low in calories, hit the spot, have some protein, easy to grab and no bad sweeteners. 81VQ1NP-TpL._SL1500_

2.  Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips in Zesty Nacho, which I had never tried before. They were good, not like a potato chip or anything but good.  They cured my salty craving I sometimes get, I swore that nutritional yeast would be listed in the ingredients label, but it wasn’t.  They are gluten free, vegan and rich in vitamins K & A!!


3.  Flavrz,  All Natural Liquid Drink Mix, which I had never tried before.  I received 2 flavors; fruit punch energy and citrus hibiscus immunity drink.  These were 1 ounce packets that you mix with a bottle of water and they have some natural sugar and then vitamins derived from whole foods.  I liked these and thought they were both equally flavorful.  ūüôā


4.  Kind, Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flax Seeds, I have never had this before but I always love granola:)  This was delicious, I mainly ate it like a bowl of cereal or with my yogurt.  Super good!


5.  ODWALLA, Chewy nut bar- sweet and salty almond.  I had never had this bar before and it was very good:)


6.  Betty Loue‘s Blueberry Fruit Bars- I have had these before.  They are gluten and dairy free and they are tasty:)  


7. Ghirardelli Sea Salted Caramel Bar- The BEST ever! How did my foodie penpal know I love this combo:)  So awesome!!


Anyways, I loved participating in this and would gladly do it again:)  Please feel free to try it out for yourself:) Thank you to all who participated and made this possible for others:)   xo Tam


Fully-Baked Session #3

Today January 9, 2013

Hello all! I have to admit that I haven’t been the world’s best blog owner, as I have looked forward to writing a Happy Anniversary segment; I got all ready with my cup of hot earl grey tea in my comfy pj’s and FINALLY sit down and sweep aside everything else I HAVE OR WANT to do, I realize that in the happenings of Christmas and my sudden change of holiday plans I never posted our third baking club session and ALL the lovely photos…so first things first!!!:) lol

I will be honest, I started on December 12th writing and then I stop mid sentence and I am not sure what all I wanted to say (thankfully it went to draft & here I am now!) …so I’m going to give it my best try to conger up all from that lovely day (a lot has gone on in my life in less than a month and I will tell more about that in my next blog (promise! promise!)!!). I’m not going to change anything from this point but just add to it:

December 12, 2012

I try and try to get on here more and write more…I defiantly take a lot of pictures (so that’s a plus). But the reality is: when I feel like writing and when it pops in my mind and I have the extra time all happen at once, well that’s a real treat. Like now…I’m up a little early (4:30am), and I don’t really need to show my face till 7am… This as a general rule doesn’t happen THAT often:)

What’s on my mind is that last Saturday, I packed up my baking supplies (YES-even my beloved KitchenAid mixer!) and I put them in a tote in my car. It really felt like I was on the show “Cake Wars”….it was a great feeling. Actually packing up all my stuff was a great thing in two ways, 1st off, I got to see everything I have all together and get to realize I’m missing or low on some pretty important items. LIKE cinnamon…I’m ALL OUT!!! But luckily I was traveling across town to my lovely friends, Anthony and Dana Haskett’s!!! They are baker extraordinaires and they had everything and MORE:) 2nd….I got to clean my baking shelf (which is always a PLUS)!

On my way to the Haskett’s I was thinking how great it would be to just enjoy my friends and bake something simple…. well that’s a good thought and I realize I have such good intentions! But alas that is not how it went down…I had so many recipes on my mind, good old faithful holiday originals and some new ones I had been scoping out!! What was special about this day of baking is that I was joining together with some friends that are a part of The Friends House Ministry where I live. The very next evening we had planned to all have soup together (about 20-30 people) and then go caroling to a nearby nursing home and also to our surrounding neighbors. We call this gathering Soup & Sing and have it at The Friends House every month for fellowship and fun (and open to for anyone to attend). The Haskett’s were also making goodies for the teachers at the Elementary School where Anthony is doing an internship at as the Principle. So I had huge expectations on some major baking going down. I was excited to say the least!!

Baking Club Travels!

Baking Club Travels!

My most devoted member Melissa had invited her mom to come join us and I was so looking forward to that! I wanted her baking wisdom and to get to know her better. I think what better way to get to know people than the intimacy of creating together in a nice clean and warm kitchen!!! Also, I had not spent much time with Anthony and his wife Dana much either and that is whose house we were going too!! Joy joy joy!! And boy was it delightful, a beautiful home with a giant tree full of colors galore!!! They have an amazing kitchen and they are FOODIES for sure:)

(Left to Right- Melissa, Karri, Anthony, Dana,and missing Tami) Fully-Baked Club

(Left to Right- Melissa, Karri, Anthony, Dana,and missing Tami) Fully-Baked Club

So much fun! A general rule in our club is to come with a few ideas and then sit down with a hot cup of COFFEE (or any other beverage) and make a decision. Decision making isn’t my strongest suit and you know I have come accustomed to this, it grows on you…I don’t give myself too many options to make it a tad bit easier on myself. And I will add that spontaneous is difficult for me in this process. I second guess myself and well then I feel I may have made the wrong choice. Anyways this day was no different from any other for me….I had some easy and some challenging recipes as did the others. So I did relax a bit and decided to just go with the flow. I had a recipe for a Jewish pastry called Rugelach and I had chosen this because I had tried one at Whole Foods recently, it was divine! It really just melted in my mouth…the combo of soft but flaky, walnutty, cinnamon sugar, and raisins bursting was the BEST!! My brother had recently gave me a HUGE gunny sack full of black walnuts in the shell and I had made it a goal to find recipes containing walnuts…and I also gave them away as much as I could. They actually made great gifts over the holiday season. Really who doesn’t like to get a bag of nuts??? So thanks Bubbie!! He’s my only brother and he is younger but bigger than me.. when he teases me he sometimes reminds me by saying “I’m your little brother, I’m suppose to tease you like no one else can!” And that is the absolute truth…some nicknames are ONLY reserved for him!!! I took some picture of the process and end result…

My prep for Rugelach!

My prep for Rugelach!

My brother’s lady Alexis calls them pinwheels because it’s easier to say!

Rugelach baking!

Rugelach baking!

This recipe is time-consuming and it does need to be refrigerated a few different times…but it is soooo worth it. To get the recipe I used, go here. I can’t recall what else I made, but I know I made something else:) Anthony made all sorts of cookies that were delicious, and some amazing lemon shortbread that I could have eaten everyone had they not been reserved for his teachers! Dana was our awesome house mom and fed ME (everyone else seemed to not be hungry but I not ate much beforehand) and made a tasty ham and bean soup that I begged her to bring to soup and sing the next night!! I am recalling that Anthony tried a recipe that we all thought would be great and then it didn’t turn out like he wanted…you know how that is when you can’t figure out what went wrong and why a recipe is bad that should have been good. He probably remembers the name of those cookies but I don’t.

Melissa made delicious pecan sandies and chocolate covered pretzels. We all learned not to dip the whole pretzel or it’s just a waste of melted chocolate and a MESS:) Thanks for that lesson although it caused you to only have the virtue to dip 12 or so pretzels. In my book you get an A+! Melissa is the type of girl who is okay with making mistakes and learning from them… she doesn’t get to upset. Me on the other hand, it just kills me to error in the kitchen! It could be because everyone in my family is super awesome in the kitchen and I want to have talent like them! I want to say that someone made sugar cookies and I made it home with them unfrosted and frosted them the next day before our caroling event….I think we served them to our caroling crew! We bagged up all our goodies to hand out to our neighbors, which I loved doing. I enjoy giving people things:) You can see some of the beginnings of our bags of goodies. I obsessed over making labels to go with them, and they turned out okay!

Here is the full extent of our combined baking!

Goodies galore!

Goodies galore!

And lucky for me I found some other pictures too, I recently got a new phone and didn’t have my photos backed up to iCloud so I’m thankful that I had loaded some up to WordPress when I was prepping this blog post!! So there you have it! It was a success and I have been thinking of when the 4th session will be and my goal is still to have the baking club once a month, especially while I’m in the masters program. While at the soup and song the following night I met two young ladies that were interested in joining us in our baking club and I got to talking about doing a crafting club and to my surprise that very next week I had three gals come over and we made Christmas cards before I left for my holiday travels. It was grand…so I’m considering that as well. These are all things that I consider a joy and delight to facilitate and be involved in, so it is a great stress relief and self-care for me, AS LONG AS I DON’T GET ALL STRESSED OUT OVER THE DETAILS:) than I consider this to be something AWESOME that I want to continue doing:) Please feel free to comment and share with me any ideas you have!!

chocolate dipped pretzels the conservative way

chocolate dipped pretzels the conservative way

sugar cookies

sugar cookies

CHOCOLATE covered pretzels (ok there is more than 12..)

CHOCOLATE covered pretzels (ok there is more than 12..)

Love, Tami xo

p.s. ¬†Be on the look out for my upcoming Happy Anniversary/Birthday post. ¬†I will post it before the end of the weekend:) ¬†I will be celebrating by giving the first FIVE commenters of that post a surprise gift in the mail!!! ¬†I’m so excited….why??? you ask…well I love giving to people and blessing them! ¬†It’s one of my LOVE languages. ¬†What’s yours?? ¬†If you don’t know or haven’t heard of this before, than go here¬†to see what I’m talking about and take the quiz for yourself. ¬†Ta Ta!!

Upcoming club details:

Ramekin Pumpkin Bread

Wow, I can’t believe how time can fly¬† by….actually that’s not true. ¬†I know time flies by way tooooooooooo fast. ¬†I had meant to blog a few things before my 2nd actual baking club. ¬†But it didn’t happen and I’m not going to be too hard on myself (something he is teaching me!).

So tomorrow I’m hosting my 2nd baking club and I have a few more interested bakers! ¬†How fun! ¬†Tomorrows theme is fall…..which I’m so excited about. ¬†Instead of watching some¬†TV¬†for down time last night, I decided to bake a pumpkin cake, what I realized is I am sooooo low on baking dishes. ¬†I used some¬†ramekins¬†hoping they would pop right out once golden brown. ¬†The house smelled so good and the activity did recharge me. ¬†I know that sorta sounds strange, that expending all that energy and feeling like it did something good for me. ¬†My theory is that because I enjoy this so much that when I do it (and even the cleanup involved) I feel like some emptiness inside myself gets filled!! ¬†I’ll post a photo of my delicious ramekin pumpkin cake and vow to be a better blogger.

Reminder:  I still have a few spots left if your local and you want to participate in the club tomorrow.  Let me know and I will give you the details:)  


Giving back a dish.

I am giving my good friend back her dish she let me borrow. I would really like to make her something, but I don’t have much time. So I put a cup of one of my favorite gluten free baking mixes in a ziplock and included the rest of the instructions on a note card:) I think I will put Saran wrap over the top:) what do you think? Have you any other ideas?

What are you hands doing?

I grabbed my laundry, my overnight bag, my book bag, and some snacks and headed up to my parents house in Northern Idaho (220 miles) on Friday. My Dad had recently had some major dental work done and I was concerned, I needed to check on him to ease my heart. I had a really good and restful time while here (I am still here, lagging on leaving). You might be wondering where here is??? Cottonwood Idaho, population is 1000 (501 males and 532 females), the elavation is 3474 ft., and they have the famous Dog Bark Park bed and breakfast (that my sister and her husband actually stayed in when they got married 4 years ago!),there is a correctional facility (mostly for men to do ryder programs) here too, and a huge Monistary (St. Gertrudes). It’s a small town and although my parents haven’t lived here but 10 years I feel like its home:)

I came here this weekend to help my parents out any way I could. I found out 2 things! 1. my Dad is going to be challenging to take care of when he is convelescent age 2. just being here is enough I don’t need to do anything else.

I seem to live in this mindset that I need to do things and I need to make things all better for people. Well I can’t do everything and I deffiantly can’t make things all better permantly for people, it’s just temperary and in the moment. So even though I came here to help them, I ended up helping myself because my Dad won’t let me do very much for him (even when he doesn’t feel good). I rested and slept a lot and had many flashbacks from being a child. I must admit that I don’t let them do much for me either! I wonder where I got that from lol. I found a few things my Dad will let me do…. bake and clean..and he will let me sit in the living room while he watches football or races, as long as I am quiet. So I knit and bask in the moment of just being in the same room with him, because I know I have limited oppurtunites and time!

I always remember food I use to eat when I am with them. My dad makes an egg over easy and puts it on top of a piece of toast and then cuts it up on top of the toast (being careful not to cut the toast yet), so then the toast starts to soak up the bread, then you either eat it open face (like my Mom likes) or cut the toast and egg up together. Well it’s so tasty that way, I forget these little tricks when I’m away and in my busy life!

So it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service and I’m thinking about what I should do today to lend a hand. I am going to wash their dishes before I leave (both parents are at work) and I made my Dad Zucchini bread last night and I need to slice it and bag it up into individual baggies so it can be frozen and easily accessible when he wants a piece. I wan’t to stop at the nearby thrift store and drop off a bag of clothes and see if they need an hour or so of my help… Since I will be driving back home while others are out doing the day of service to honor MLK jr. I want to do what I can when I can….but then again, my hands are always doing something:) –Tami xo

Banana Pumpkin Cake!

I was asked to bring a 9×13 banana dish for a
class tomorrow at church. I had wanted to use up some pumpkin
puree I had, so this recipe seemed great for that:) I liked
that it also had nutmeg and ginger in it! Something about me is
that I love nutmeg in my coffee and ginger well ginger is good in
just about anything (to me). Also it has a butter and brown
sugar glaze with spices, doesn’t that sound heavenly?? I
didn’t have a tube pan….I do need to get one because their are a
few other recipes that call for one. Is a tube pan the same
as a bundt pan??? So I made a double batch so I could take
one to a meeting in the afternoon. My friend Bonnie is
planning a fundraising dinner so that her family can adopt a child
from Brazil (I think, I will find out tomorrow for sure). Have you
ever found yourself pouring something(tonight it was walnuts) into
a bowl or container from a bulk bag and you totally miss the said
receptical and pour all over the counter??? That’s what I did
tonight… at least it was just walnuts and not
sugar…that always is a bummer. Anyways I took some
pictures and will find out tomorrow if it tastes good:)
So the child lives in Colombia and it will cost $25,000
to adopt her. I’m excited to help with the fundraising:)!!
My pictures I took of this amazing cake are great but I can’t
open them for some reason. Yes babycakes I did taste this
delight and it was the only cooked thing I had today…the rest was
raw I promise! It was so worth it…it was so moist and the
taste of bananas and pumpkin with tiny bits of walnuts swirled with
my favs, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon!! A success!!!! Now why
don’t you try it and tell me what you think:) And p.s. the glaze is
not an option but a must! Plus I didn’t use a bundt pan and it
turned out great! Both pans were gobbled up!!



Prep Time:
15 mins Total
1 1/4 hr
  1. 1Cream butter and sugar in mixing
  2. 2Beat in eggs one
    at a time until smooth.
  3. 3Stir in pumpkin and
  4. 4In a second
    bowl, combine remaining ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup toated pine
  5. 5Stir to mix, add
    to wet ingredients, mix together only until moistened.
  6. 6Sprinkle bottom of a greased 10
    inch tube pan with remaining toasted pine nuts.
  7. 7Pour batter into tube
  8. 8Bake in 350f degree
    oven for 1 hour or until tester inserted in middle comes out
  9. 9Let cool in pan
    for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and glaze.
  10. 10Glaze: Combine brown sugar,
    butter, spices and cream in a small saucepan.
  11. 11Bring to boil and simmer for 3
  12. 12Spoon over
    warm cake, sprinkle with crushed pine nuts.

Recipe found at food.com.