International Snack Exchange!

So I joined the snacksters community on LiveJournal a few months ago, and just missed the sign ups for a round of international snack exchanges.  I waited eagerly for the next one, and then the community died.  BUT, I just got finished doing a snack exchange with Anouk from the Netherlands, so all was not lost! :D

We sent our packages out last week, and of COURSE mine came while I was in Seattle and after Chris had left the apartment...but my other roommate signed for me, and I had something to look forward to when I came back!  (I hadn't been looking forward to going back to the "real world", haha.)  So anyway!  It was great to be welcomed back to the apartment with this after a long drive on the Mass Pike through several rainstorms at midnight, and an even longer (delayed) flight before that from Northern Kentucky (oy).

So of course, pictures are in order!


This was the mess I made unpacking the whole box...everything was wrapped so well!  Nothing was broken at all, I know there were some worries with the Kinder Surprise eggs (YUM) but they were fine! :)


Chris pondering the licorice...and I'm sure he'll want me to note that he does not normally wear that shirt, haha.  It was a hot night.  Anyway, the licorice was surprisingly tasty!  I do not normally like black licorice, but this had a very good taste - it tasted strongly of coffee to me, which of course I love (just got back from Seattle!), and the half black licorice-half fruity licorice pieces tasted like they were made from real fruit!  I definitely enjoyed them.  Chris's favorites are the pyramid shaped pieces, which have the texture of tapioca (not a good texture to me, but he loves it!).


The whole package!  I don't know if everything's visible (there was so much!  Even Chris said, "All this was only $25?"), but I'll try to go through it all...there are several baking-type things (apple tart and pancake mix can be seen in the picture) that I can't wait to try!  Anouk thoughtfully translated the instructions for me...I didn't even think of asking.  Thanks! 


There are also these delicious ham and cheese waffle snack things - they are like Cheetos, but ham and cheese flavored.  Yum!  Those will be gone soon I think.  I haven't tried the bacon-flavored peanuts (I think that's what they look like, at least), but they look really good too.


Then there are the chocolate sprinkles for toast, which I really wanted to try - the idea seems so funny to me!  What a good idea, to have chocolate on your toast :).  I also asked for some Kinder surprise eggs, 2 of which Chris and I ate as soon as I opened the box, and I'm saving the other for a friend.  I haven't tried the marzipan and chocolate dipped cookies yet, but I will be as soon as I take my lunch.  They look DELICIOUS!  I'm saving one for my mom, too, since she adores marzipan and it's hard to find the good stuff here.


I also got a lot of cookies!  I can't wait to try them all - I found these really interesting because a lot of them look familiar to me, from my childhood, but I cannot remember where, when, or even if I really had them!  I really wanted to try the Stroopwaffles, because I remember having them vaguely at a friend's house when I was little, maybe.  Or I dreamed about them :-P.  But if it's what I remember, they were amazing!  I'm just wondering how I've had them before...

I already tried one of the XL cookies - yum!  I get the feeling that this post is getting a little long though.  So, I'll wrap up with a big THANK YOU!!! to Anouk (and Tommy!), and let me know if you want to do this again! I'm game :).  I can't wait to try everything else!




Salmon and stomachaches

It has been much too long since my last post, but in my defense I've had some sort of weird stomach bug since Memorial Day and am finally seeing a doctor tomorrow about it. As you can imagine, this has sort of turned me off of food. The first few days, I resisted believing anything was wrong with me (not to mention I only felt sick when I first woke up/was just going to bed). And so I went out to breakfast with my mom (Cinnamon Bun French Toast with Strawberries, mmmm)....made omlettes for myself (Feta Cheese and Spinach)....had some Stewart's Ice Cream....this could only have made it worse, in retrospect. Although I have to say that after going out to P.F. Chang's last Wednesday, I realized how poor that decision was (but the food was so good! My stomach just...wasn't.).

So the past 5 days or so have been nothing but bread, rice, applesauce, Goldfish crackers, and more rice. Booo. I'm missing real food and not having stomach pains, so I thought I'd make this post to cheer myself up.

The weekend of Memorial Day, one of my friends had a graduation party at his parent's house in New Jersey. Let me tell you, they know how to grill. But after 3 days of eating nothing but grilled meat (delicious! But it was more meat than I usually eat in a month), Chris and I needed something lighter. Much, much lighter. Chris made me a salad he's raved about in the past, and YES it is worthy of all of that raving! I find salads in general refreshing, but the addition of strawberries and a balsamic vinaigrette to this one was outstanding, and went perfectly with the summer rainstorm outside.

I also made grilled salmon to go with the salad, using a variation of Jaden from Steamy Kitchen's Ginger Soy Whiskey marinade.  I made some changes, adding in some honey and (a very small amount of) maple syrup for added sweetness, and completely forgetting the ginger because I couldn't find it.  It turned out so well!  I grilled the salmon on our swanky George Foreman grill (haha), and the flavors were pretty delicious.

Strawberry Pecan Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Several cups mixed greens
1/2 quart strawberries; washed, hulled, and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
sprinkle of Parmesan cheese

3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup good quality, light olive oil
1/4 tsp minced garlic
Lemon juice
pinch fresh ground pepper
pinch kosher salt

Toss together mixed greens, strawberries, and pecans.  To prepare dressing, combine balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a jar and shake.  Add garlic, lemon juice, pepper, and salt, and shake some more to combine.  Add more salt or pepper to taste.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Soy Whiskey Honey Grilled Salmon

2-3 salmon fillets
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp honey
1-2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp whiskey
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients (except the salmon) in a bowl, and whisk together.  Brush over fish a few minutes before grilling.  Once grill is hot, place fish on it and brush more of the marinade on.  Leave the fish on the grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until just opaque.