I quickly signed up and eagerly awaited my match. I'm telling you that was a long seven days for me. I was lying awake at night thinking of ideas of what I would get for the person I was paired with and thinking of every possibility that could possible be coming my way in terms of lifestyle or allergies. I had mapped out in my head things I would want to send them and quickly realized the hardest part would be picking just a few things and staying within the budget. Not to be stereotypical but my husband is happy there was a limit. I tend to get carried away let's say. I have to say I enjoyed the shopping as much (maybe more than) the receiving which is totally me. I always love shopping for holidays and birthdays anticipating how much someone will love something. I tend to get so excited about it that I don't want to wait til the actual day.
I received my email containing all of my match's info and quickly sent her an email to find out her likes and dislikes. Sarina has just set up a blog about gardening and vegan eats recently but has already been busy filling it up with pictures and recipes! She let me know she was allergic to alcohol and enjoyed raw foods and I was off! Right away I knew one thing I had to get, alcohol free vanilla extract! I have had it before and knew that Sarina would appreciate it since almost all vanilla contains alcohol. I know what's it's like to be limited by allergies and how great it feels to find a new product that brings something back into your life that you miss because of them. Anyone reading this that avoids alcohol I bought Frontier Co-Op Brand which you can get in Ottawa at Rainbow Foods or online. I then decided to send her a bottle of Coconut Vinegar which I had recently discovered at my local health store and fell in love with its mild flavour and is coincidentally raw. Also packed in was a box of sweet rice flour, a package of Speculoos biscuits (a favourite in our house) and some Spicy Nacho Popcorn Topper (which was a test recipe for Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman). I was so happy and relieved when I heard from Sarina that she had received her parcel in tip top shape and loved what I had included! It really made my day knowing that she did.
Next I got to enjoy the second part of this whole swap experience as I awaited my parcel from Katie over at Not Your Parents' Granola (you really need to check out Katie's blog, especially her post about Butterfinger Cake). I was so excited to see what Katie would find since we live in the same city but I knew she would know all kinds of new local products from around Ottawa! When I received my parcel, I quickly grabbed my camera and set to open it up. I uncovered a real treasure trove of goodies and a lovely handwritten note from Katie! I took out each item and savoured each one as I did! Haha! Katie generously sent me:
- a most delicious jar of Michaelsdolce Strawberry and Balsamic Jam made here in Ottawa using local strawberries (I'm serious, it's the most vibrant, flavourful jam I've ever had)
- two (never before tasted or seen) Ginger Snap Lara Bars (she told me they were brought from the US by a friend since we don't have this flavour here)
- a package of Koko's Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Bark made here in Ottawa as well (super scrumptious dark chocolate with tart cranberries is definitely a winner in my books, throwing in pecans just made it even tastier)
- a jar of Ontario made Apple Butter from Hall's Apple Market with a tip on how to make apple butter muffins!
- a package of Quin'Bites (also from Ontario) that are totally addictive and remind me of sesame snaps that are Vegan and Soy Free!
and as if that wasn't already too much...
- two packages of Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites for my son! He totally loved them and scarfed down most of a package this morning (I'm ashamed to admit) but was nice enough to share a few tastes with me and my husband.
I have to thank Katie again for such an amazing parcel of goodies! It's amazing what I have never had in our own city! Thank you too to MeShell for hosting this whole swap project. I am already looking forward to next month! It's such a wonderful experience to get to know other bloggers all over Canada and tasting new vegan treats while we're at it! If you would like to participate in June, just fill in the form on MeShell's blog. You will be glad you did!