Every month I think to myself this month's FPP cannot possible be as good as last month's because last month was SO great...
And, every month I am wrong!
First, you should know I am sort of known among my circle of friends and family as the gift person...the one that's a little Marta Stewart-ish. I try to pay attention all year to different comments about interests, hobbies, likes, past times, favorite foods, etc...and mentally file it away for Christmas and birthdays. And, I shop for gifts year round and throw them into a designated gift drawer or closet for later wrapping. It really isn't as much work as it sounds...after a while it's just habit to always have your eyes peeled for things.
For example, my cousin's boyfriend likes English bulldogs, ad last summer at a thrift store there was a set of 3 ceramic English bulldogs wearing Santa hats for arouns $5. I, of course, scooped them up and put them away...and impressed everyone with my thoughfulness...and my husband with my frugalness.
Back to FPP...this month, my penpal, Joyce, made me feel like I needed to up MY gift giving game!! She sent one of the best gifts I have ever received. In or out of the FPP program!! Thanks, Joyce!!
I really can't express how much I miss living in New England, especially at this time of the year. I get pretty homesick starting around September. Thankfully, my grandmother has spent the last few Christmases in Las Vegas with us, so that helps.
And, so did Joyce's package! It was truly was a little box of fall!! It was perfect.
She sent a photo of the lake where she vacationed, and it showed the leaves changing colors and reflecting in the lake. Beautiful!
Next, pumpkin pasta! I haven't tried it yet, but it came with a great recipe using fresh sage and almonds, both of which Joyce included.
Pumpkin hot chocolate mix. I think the word is out about me a cocoa.
A chocolate bar with dried fruits and nuts from Lake Placid Chocolatier! It lasted a few hours. Delicious.
An apple ginger Earnest Eats bar. I had never heard of these before. But, it was good for you and delicious. I haven't found them in my neck of the woods yet.
Maple teas and maple hard candies. OMG!! I LOVE maple candy. Like...LOVE IT!! These inspired me to want to learn to make maple sugar candy...and, buy a candy cookbook.
A giant gingerbread cookie. I. Love. Gingerbread. It it hands down one of my top 3 joys in life.
Carob dipped doggie treats for my 3 dogs!! It just gets me when my penpals send things to my dogs...my dogs are my world and it is so impressive to me when other people acknowledge that.
Finally....my absolute favorite part of the package...REAL FALL LEAVES!!! Joyce made me a little teary with that one.
Again, I really recommend checking out Foodie PenPals. I just love it. I like meeting new people, getting introduced to delicious new products, and finding the perfect gifts to send!!
Gigi was my Foodie Penpal for September. After we emailed back and forth a bit, and got to know each other, I really wanted to get her something special...well, as special as you can with a $15 cap. I really felt like Gigi and I embodied what we all look for in something like Foodie Penpals...we live in different parts of the country and lead different lives...and yet, have LOTS in common, and have become fast friends over sharing food!!
Anyway...per usual I over analyze my gift giving for FPP! Of course I want to send my penpal something they like, something they will use, but it is also really imposrtant to me that what I send, also, be very personal and truly from me.
As I explained in my "something hand written" to Gigi, September is the beginning of Fall...and Fall reminds me of apples (and my birthday). So, I went CRAZY snatching up all things apple for Gigi's package. Truth be told I probably went a little over budget, but I couldn't help myself.
I am super excited that Gigi kindly offered to write something for this blog because it gives an opinion about FPP other than my own! So without further ado...Gigi's guest post (with photos)!!
Can you guess what's in my box?? Look at the box for clues.
I wanted to give you a quick email thank you for your blog.
I would like to thank Jessica for my lovely Food Pen Pal goody box I received this month. Waiting for the mailman to deliver my box has the same joy and excitement one has on Christmas Eve. Oh, the anticipation.
I joined The Lean Green Bean Foodie Penpals in August. I remember telling my mom I had just joined this fabulous group. This was the last conversation I had with her before she passed away on August 11th. Jessica's box brought back a lot of happy memories of my mom. We both shared a love of apples. I opened my box on Jessica's birthday.My box was filled with many lovely apple treats.
One of my favorite candies I shared with mom was the Werther's Carmel Apple Filled candies. The Carmel Apple Hot cider is a perfect treat to make on a cloudy and rainy day in San Antonio. My dad is a big Peanuts fan. We will share some of this tasty cider next week when I'm in El Paso. My mom loved apple cider, so we will make a toast on October 5th for her birthday.
My favorite items were a darling apple cinnamon stick spoon. How cute! Jessica knew I had a crazy month for work, love the Apples and Cinnamkn breakfast on the go snacks. The apple crisp mix reminds me of the Sunday's with Joy group, making Main Bait's apple crisp. The mulled cider and apple & berries candles are amazing! My kitchen smells heavenly.
I collect cookie cutters and I have a new apple cookie cutter to add to my collection. I love my new apple cookbook!
One of my earliest baking memories was when I brought back apples from Cloudcroft, NM. Mom showed me how to make my first apple pie. These are the memories I cherish.
My favorite part of the entire apple themed box was the letter Jessica wrote. As I read the letter which was written on apple themed paper, it was just like Jessica and I were sitting around my kitchen table. I am so honored she included her grandmother's apple pie recipe. Jessica's grandmother reminds me of my Grandma Jo who was a baker. I've been looking through my mom's recipes and have come across hand written notes stuffed into the cookbooks. One of my favorite things to do, is write in my cookbooks. These notes are so treasured memories.
Love my apple themed treats!
What a lovely cinnamon stick spoon! Love it!!!
My favorite home made treat! Lots of love was put into this recipe.
What a treasure! Thanks for sharing a part of your family with me.