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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Foodie Penpal January 2013 - what I sent.

Month 2 of being a Foodie Penpal, which is a great scheme you can find here.

This month I was allocated Kirsten Diehl who described herself thus:

I'm so excited to see what you come up for the package! This is my first month and is a New Years goal to do programs and things like this so I'm excited! So ill give you a little back story so maybe yourll kinda of tell what things I may or may not like... First off I don't like spicy things. I'm sorry! My stomach can't handle that but that's the only thing really. Not a fan of peppers. I'm Greek and Italian so naturally I grew up eating those foods. I follow Tone It Up and eat pretty healthy. I work as a teacher, work afterschool and night class so my meals are prepped and then I take everything for the day with me. I love anything related to tea, coffee, cinnamon, choc, coconut and almonds. I don't really use jams or spreads other then almond butter- I love popcorn. Kind of addicted lol. I use a food scale, love buying kitchen tools and appliances and love cooking! So if it's something that needs to be cooked, have no fear! That's right up my ally. I love baking too. And when it comes to that it doesn't have to be healthy. My roommates love when I don't bake healthy treats lol. 

I hope that gives you some ideas and pointers in the right direction! I'm so exited to be apart of this! If you hae any questions I didn't answer let me know!

She left me quite a wide description to work with but I jumped on the word popcorn.  We had just had a couple of movie nights with the ladies from my book group and one of them had made some homemade popcorn which was a huge hit.  So, I gathered together the ingredients for both the recipes and sent them to Kirsten so she could cook up a batch for herself and her roommates.  Here are the recipes for your own enjoyment:

Orange-Honey-Sesame Popcorn (4 servings)

Sweet enough to pinch-hit for dessert, this seasoned popcorn is a combination of flavors that will be a winner with everyone, so be prepared to make a second batch on demand.

2 tablespoons margarine (or butter)
3 tablespoons orange blossom honey
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
8 cups hot air-popped popcorn (about 1/3 cup unpopped kernels)
3 tablespoons pan-toasted sesame seeds (see Note below)

In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Stir in the honey and orange zest.

Put the popcorn into a large serving bowl, pour the honey mixture over it and toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve at once.

Per serving: 184 cal, 3g protein, 7g fat, 26g Carb, 0mg Chol, 38mg Sod, 3g fiber
Source: Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook Copyright 19

Sesame seeds can be easily & quickly toasted in a dry skillet on the stovetop. Use medium to medium high heat and stir frequently until seeds are lightly brown and fragrant – takes about 2-3 minutes. Or you can purchase already toasted sesame seeds.

Chili Mole Popcorn (4 servings)

These exotic flavors carry with them the savory chili-chocolate charm found in a classic Mexican mole sauce.

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vegetable seasoning (see Note 1)
1 teaspoon salt (optional) (see Note 2)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (see Note 3)
Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray (see Note 4)
8 cups hot air-popped popcorn (see note 5)

In a cup or small bowl, combine the chili, cocoa, vegetable seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly spray a large serving bowl on all sides with butter-flavored spray. Add 2-3 cups hot popcorn, spray lightly and sprinkle evenly with a heaping teaspoon of the mixed seasonings. Add another layer of popcorn, spray and seasoning mixture. Add a final layer of the popcorn and spray, and sprinkle remaining seasoning over all. Serve at once without tossing (see Note 6).

Per serving: 71 cal, 2g protein, 2g fat, 13g Carb, 0mg Chol, 20mg Sod, 2g fiber
Source: Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook Copyright 1995

Note 1: I used Salt Free Mexican Seasoning a brand made by The Spice Hunter available at Whole Foods and Rodman’s.

Note 2: I would typically delete salt but since I use salt free chili powder & vegetable seasoning mix, I added ½ teaspoon salt.

Note 3: Use ¼ teaspoon regular ground pepper to make the mixture much spicier. That’s what I used the 1st time I made it, when I thought it was spicier. The 2nd time I made with fresh ground pepper, not as spicy, so depends on your tastes.

Note 4: Omit the spray if you are making old fashioned oil popped corn on the stove. I think it tastes better this way, but it’s easier, faster & less calories to air pop.

Note 5: 1/3 cup popcorn kernels yields about 8-9 cups popped corn. I use whatever that makes without measuring popped corn.

Note 6: I toss it, alot of spice sinks to the bottom, but I think it sticks better that way. Maybe if you consume right away without transporting, ok to not toss, try it at home!

I also sent a selection of teas with the instructions on how to brew the perfect pot of tea.  Being British a cuppa is a very important part of the day and one needs to learn at a young age on how to brew the perfect cup.  Here is the way I suggested:

Experts recommend using two separate pots when making tea. The first will be used to boil the water, and the second is used to brew the tea in. Loose tea leaves can be added to water directly and then pulled out with a tea strainer, or a tea ball, which holds leaves inside a metal container, can be used.
1. Begin with fresh water. If you don't drink your faucet water, don't expect tea to make it taste better. Bottled and filtered water make the best tea.
2. Begin to boil the water.
3. As the water begins to boil, remove teapot or kettle from heat.
4. Pour a small amount of water into your brewing kettle. This will "scald" the pot. Discard the scald water immediately. (This is step is used to keep your tea warmer.)
5. Pour remainder of boiling water into teapot or kettle.
6. Add tea to pot or kettle. If you're using tea bags, add four bags for every six cups of tea. If you're using leaves, it's best to gently pack leaves into a tea ball. (Note: Tea balls can only be filled halfway. Overpacking a tea ball will cause it to explode.)
7. Time the brewing process. Most types of tea take 3-5 minutes.
8. Remove tea bags and balls.
9. If you've used tea leaves, you will need to strain your tea as you pour it into a cup. 

So that was the package I sent off and I hope my penpal enjoyed it.

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