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September Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

1 Oct

Happy Monday and HAPPY OCTOBER!


October is one of my favorites, because it ushers in the series of special occasions in my life: Stef’s mom’s birthday and my birthday are both in October; followed by Thanksgiving in November; then it’s my brother’s birthday, Stef’s brother’s birthday, and Christmas in December; and finally finishing up with New Year’s, Stef and my anniversary, and my mom’s birthday in January. Phew! I could keep going in that vein and tack on Valentine’s Day in February and Stef’s birthday in March – but there is enough time between those that I don’t feel bombarded. Let the celebrations begin!

Today is Foodie Pen Pal reveal day! Some of you might remember this from last month, but if you’re new, here’s how it works: created by Lindsay at Lean Green Bean,  after signing up, you get a pen pal assignment to whom you send a package with yummy local foods, gourmet treats, or homemade yummies (there’s a $15 limit). You also receive a similar package (not from the same person, however) and it is just a great way to try new things, get recipe ideas from new people, and just connect with other foodies around the country. If you are interested in participating, you may click the ‘join’ button on the right side of my page!

This month, I was on the receiving end of a package from the lovely Rachael, who doesn’t have a blog but is the sweetest, just the same.

Let’s take a look at the spread I received…

Sorry for the weird view…Wordpress is not letting me rotate the picture for some odd reason. In the picture:

  • Spicy Sesame Linguine that Rachael picked up from her local farmer’s market and came highly recommended.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s (I told her I loved strawberries and she delivered!)

  • Bourbon maple syrup – yes, that’s a real thing. It says it can be used on sweet things, like pancakes and French toast, but also makes an excellent marinade for meat. Stay tuned to see what I do with it.
  • Green tea mints from Trader Joe’s – one of Rachael’s favorites. They are so yummy and are now stashed away in my purse for whenever I need a little hit of sweet.

Thanks for a wonderful FPP package, Rachael! If you’d like to see the package I sent, you can head over to Kathleen’s blog! This is such a fun program, everybody – I highly recommend that you try it at least once! Click on the button on the right-hand side of my page to join.

On an unrelated note – the giveaway for my mystery fall box is closed and we have a winner! Head over to my giveaway post to see if you’ve won.

Hope everybody is having a great morning, catch up with you later!

September Bakin’ Friends Reveal

28 Sep

Good morning and TGIF!

I am excited for today because Stef and I have a special evening planned tonight. We are going to Euro Night, hosted by the French Embassy, which is a showcase of all the various cultures and cuisines across Europe. We get to be all dressed up and try foods and drinks from all over the continent! Europe, food, and Stef – possibly my favorite combination. Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Friday’s post usually (and by usually, I mean the last two weeks) highlights an article or blog that really resonated with me during the week. This week it’s going to be a little different because I’m going to reveal what I received from my Bakin’ Friend this month!

Here’s how Bakin’ Friends works, to quote the creator, Steph, herself:

“Bakin’ Friends is all about connecting bakers, bloggers, foodies, and people who just like sweets! We’re in the business of baking and making friends!

Each month we will be baking goodies, with a secret ingredient, to send out to one another. I’ll let you know at the beginning of the month what secret ingredient we’re using. It might be chocolate, it might be maple syrup, it may be bacon, whatever it is though you’ll be required to use it (unless there’s an allergy to the ingredient) in your baked goody.”

This month, my friend was Linda from My Foodgasm Journal and nothing could have prepared me for what was in the mail. The secret ingredient was cinnamon and I was interested to see what she came up with. I was so excited to find this at my door one night!

Guys. She made Oatmeal Bacon Waffle cookies. BACON. In cookies! I have never heard of anything like it!

I couldn’t get over how cute the waffle pattern in the cookie was and honestly, my mind is still blown about putting bacon in a cookie. Gold star for creativity! Luckily for my roommates, I had plenty to share – thanks for making me look good, Linda 😉

If you are interested in signing up for Bakin’ Friends, head on over to Steph’s blog to get started! What could be better than baking things and sending them to new friends and then receiving all these yummies right at your doorstep? It’s a wonderful thing.

If you want to check out what I sent to my Bakin’ Friend, Maegen, then head over to Healthy, Happy, Nourished to see her post! Her husband (they just got married in June!), Jon, took the cutest pictures of her opening up the Pineapple Crumb Cake I sent her.

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my giveaway that is open until Monday!

Cows Eat Candy

27 Sep

Good morning! I can definitely tell that the days are getting shorter because it is daark when I wake up in the morning. That makes getting out of bed a little rough – I may have to invest in one of those light therapy things.

I couldn’t make up my mind for breakfast this morning, so I had a little bit of both things I was craving. I started out with a yogurt bowl with some cereal.


But I had such a craving for a PB & J that I made an English muffin and topped it with the good stuff – no recalled peanut butter for me!


Now that my tummy is full and happy, I can get busy with work – time to publish another monthly journal so it’s craziness over in my world. There’s plenty of time to read articles like this, though – I picked it up from Monica over at Run Eat Repeat and I can’t get over it.  Cattle farmers are starting to feed their herds ice cream sprinkles and gummy worms because they can’t affording the rising costs of feed. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some gummy goodness, but feeding it to cattle? Now when we go to buy meat, we have to remember to ask: 1) Is it free range? 2) Is it free of hormones and antibiotics? 3) Has it been fed candy?

It almost makes you want to be a vegetarian. Almost.

Anywho, I have to cut this short because I need to go do some work that I’m actually getting paid to do. Hope you all have a happy Thursday, free from sugar-crazed bovines!

P.S. Have you checked out my fall giveaway yet? Contest is open until Monday, so get commenting!

The Big 1-0-0 + First Giveaway!

26 Sep

Good morning and happy Wednesday! I woke up when I was supposed to and made it to work on time, hurrah!

Breakfast was all about keeping warm and the key ingredient this morning was Pumpkin Pie spice…talk about putting a little oomph! in your morning oatmeal! Mixed in with some chopped apples and today’s oatmeal tasted like an apple pie. On the side I enjoyed a big hot mug of tea to help my sore throat.

Can’t wait to nip this little cold in the bud. I missed last night’s post because I was at my friend Ellen’s house for dinner. We have been meaning to get together for weeks and finally pinned down a day we were both free. She was so nice and offered to make dinner for the both of us, so I headed over to her place after a very half-hearted attempt at Zumba. I felt much better after ten hours of sleep, but my energy level was still really low yesterday, so my workout wasn’t the best. A for effort, right?

Dinner was a wonderful meal of lasagna, meatballs, and steamed broccoli (with plenty of shaved parmesan on top!). I love to cook as much as (or probably more than) the next person, but it was so nice to sit down to a meal that has already been prepared for you by somebody else. Thanks, Ellen!


As you may know, this post is particularly special because it marks the 100th post of this baby blog! As somebody who has tried numerous incarnations of daily musings (journals, diaries, Xanga – remember that?!-, etc.), I am proud that I have been able to post this frequently!

I considered how I wanted to celebrate such an achievement and decided that I wanted to celebrate with a giveaway! Since I’m a newbie and sponsors don’t love me, this giveaway is on behalf of me, myself, and I. To celebrate fall, I wanted to come up with something lovely and autumn-y, and because this is a food blog – it had to be food related! Keeping these things in mind, I made a special ‘Celebrate Fall Mystery Box’ that I will be giving away to one lucky reader. Since it’s a mystery, you don’t get to know what is inside – but all of its contents will be dedicated towards making fall wonderful.

There are three separate entries that you can submit to get yourself entered (you can choose to do only 1 or both or all 3!):

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thing is about fall.
  2. ‘Like’ Magia e Pasta on Facebook, then come back and leave a comment saying you did so.
  3. Follow me on Twitter and tweet ‘Have you checked out @sara_speaking ‘s giveaway yet? Enter to win a fall mystery box at’ then come back and leave a comment with the link to your post.

The winner will be chosen at random and will be selected on Monday, October 1st!

The contest is over and folks, we have a winner!


Congratulations! Please email me (magiaepasta at gmail dot com) with your name and address so I can send you the prize!

On an unrelated, but important note, happy birthday to my dear friends, Amy and Samantha, who are both turning 23 today!

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