31 December 2011

Twelve Days with a Grateful Heart: The Austin Food Blogger Alliance and the Austin to Boston food swap

In my final entry for the year and for the Days with a Grateful Heart, I'd like to say that I'm grateful for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance.  Through the AFBA, I've met many wonderful people and am lucky enough to have taken part in a lot of really fun food events.  In fact, without the AFBA, I'd never have participated in the grateful heart endeavor with Jote and friends.  I'm excited for some of the events that have been hinted at in the upcoming year and look forward to participating.  One of my favorite events this year was the Austin to Boston food blogger swap.  First, my many thanks to all the hard working leaders of the AFBA and the Boston Food Bloggers for setting up the Austin to Boston swap.  This was such a fun idea and I'm so happy that I chose to do this even with the crazy December I've had.

My Austin to Boston swapmate was Halley from Blunder Construction.  Halley writes an awesome blog, which features recipes, great pictures, and stories about her cat Jelly, amongst other things.  You should definitely check her blog out.  She also happens to be named after a comet and works as an engineer, it's as though the swap matchers could read our minds (or profiles).  Yay for STEM people who also write food blogs!

Halley sent her package early, which was good, since we were leaving for Michigan not too long after the swap deadline.

Halley sent along zaatar spice+crackers from Sofra Bakery in Cambridge, REAL maple syrup, cranberry vinaigrette, plum jam, a vegan peanut butter cookie (not pictured), a cute little teddy bear, some eco-friendly pinch bowls, and ginkgo leaves that she mod-podged onto some mini canvases.

So far, we've tried the cookie (which was delicious, hence did not make it into the picture) and the zaatar spice.  When I saw the zaatar spice, I immediately made hummus so that we could sprinkle some on, and ate it with a bit of olive oil and pita.  Sooo good and definitely a fun reminder of all the great Middle Eastern restaurants at home.  The maple syrup has been earmarked for pancakes that will be made on New Year's day and the cranberry vinaigrette is going on a salad for tomorrow evening.  With all of the great items in the package, I knew that I'd have to bring my A game to my bundle.

I managed to get out my Austin to Boston package on time, but I totally pregnancy-brained on the taking pictures of what I sent.  Fortunately, most of this is available on the internets, so here's a run down of what/why I sent.

I tried to send things that were both from Texas as well as a couple items from Michigan.

Round Rock wildflower honey - nothing gets more local than honey and I really enjoy their wildflower honey
Confituras pear caramel sauce - Confituras is just one of those quintessential AMAZING Austin small businesses that put out ridiculously high quality products.  I ventured over to the farmers market to see what they had and this looked pretty darn good.
Fredericksburg Farms Dusseldorf mustard - I use this as an everyday condiment and I've sent it out in care packages as well.
Native Texan BBQ sauce - BBQ sauce is something that I find a must to make barbecue enjoyable and Native Texan is one of my favorite brands.
Clint's Texas Salsa - Colby loves this stuff and salsa seemed like a must on the list of all things Texas.
Vernors pop - I sent this with a recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream to make the Detroit-invented, but appropriately named, Boston cooler
Al Dente spinach fettuccine - The only time I've ever seen this pasta was in specialty grocers in Michigan, so imagine my surprise when I saw it at Central Market.  They're located up the road from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor.

You should check out the posts that Halley also wrote about what she sent me and took pictures (which are way better than anything I could ever take!!) of what I sent her.


Jodi said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the swap, Julie! Also, good work including both Austin and Michigan goodies into the mix!

julie k h aka jkru said...

Thanks for setting up the swap!