march foodie pen-pals recap

The Lean Green Bean

This was my first month participating in Foodie Pen Pals through The Lean Green Bean, one of my new favorite blogs! I had a ton of fun and am definitely looking forward to participating next month and into the future.

Here’s how it works: you visit The Lean Green Bean and enter your contact info to sign up for the next month of Foodie Pen Pals. Then the amazing Lindsay matches you up with two other bloggers or food lovers: one person to send a foodie package to, and one person who will send a package to you! Then you spend $15 putting together a box of fun, yummy treats for your pen pal, pop it in the mail, and eagerly await the arrival of your own foodie package!

Lisa from Lisa’s Lentils sent me a package this month. {Check out her great guest post recipe for vegan toffee bars!} She sent me a box filled with treats:

march foodie pp

  • 4 flavors of Justin’s almond butter, which I had never tried before but am now addicted to! So great spread on apples or toast or swirled into oatmeal.
  • a package of NanaCakes Oatmeal Baking Mix, which is a great base for pancakes, muffins, and bread.
  • Justin’s organic peanut butter cups — um, devoured these immediately after snapping this picture!
  • a pb&j flavored Lara bar: a great post-workout pick-me-up.
  • Chocolove Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar … heavenly!
  • Celestial Teas Herbal Tea Sampler — I have loved pairing mugs of these teas with the rich dark chocolate. So satisfying!
I would encourage all of you to check out Lisa’s blog! And, if this kind of thing sounds fun to you, go sign up for April Foodie Pen Pals at The Lean Green Bean. It only takes two minutes and it is a blast to be a part of!
I’ll be back tomorrow with this week’s Year of Kindness challenge & recap post!

upcycled gift containers

holiday masterpiece

This holiday season, I am making an effort to produce the least amount of waste possible, in particular with gift bags, gift boxes, wrapping paper, etc. During the crazy-busy holiday season, being kind to the environment often falls down low on our radar. I mean, it is so easy to pop into the store and buy a brand new gift bag and reams of tissue paper. I cringe to think of the trash bags filled with crumpled up wrapping paper I’ve thrown away in the past. It seems so unnecessarily wasteful!

Then I started thinking about the concept of upcycling {which is defined on Wikipedia as “the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.”} It is even better than recycling because it is giving old products or materials new life! This seems like the perfect way to approach gift-wrapping this holiday season.

When I finished the last of my oatmeal a few mornings ago, I knew just what I wanted to do with the empty container:

oatmeal container

Upcycle it!

I wiped out the inside, wrapped it in some pretty paper, added a shiny red bow, and hooray — a lovely homemade gift container!

wrapped container

I filled it with a batch of homemade chocolate-covered popcorn and it made the perfect gift for a coworker of mine who has been especially helpful to me this semester.

I also have plans in the works to re-use metal tea canisters when making homemade chai tea latte mix for some of my friends. {Look for the recipe in an upcoming post!}

What are some of your favorite upcycling and environmentally friendly gift-wrapping ideas?

Hope your week is going great!
-Dallas