If I start off every Foodie Pen Pals post with “the end of the month sure sneaks up on a challenger” would any of you notice?

Well it does, it sneaks up.  It sneaks up like The Snoops sneaks up on an opened peanut butter jar and pounces.  But we’ll get to peanut butter later.

First, let me remind you all what it is I do here.  Foodie Pen Pals is my thing, my schtick, my bag baby.  I take the box, the whole box, and amaze you all with my culinary creation.  I do this by ripping off the Food Network show Chopped.

Except there are no other challengers to battle, it’s just me fighting against myself.  I can be very competitive so it’s not as easy a win as you might think.  Don’t get me wrong, I win.  Every time.

Round 1: The Chopped Challenge

Round 2: Mini Meals

Round 3: The Copy Cat Challenge

Round 4: Big Balls

That brings us to Round 5 and Carma.  Yes, Carma not Karma.  Carma is a lovely reader from Ashland, Ohio – Midwest in the house – and she sent me my Foodie Pen Pals Box, my mystery ingredients, my inspiration.

Based on the post card she included I had kinda hoped for cheese, but cheese probably doesn’t travel well in a Midwestern summer.  I don’t know where you all hail from but it gets flippin’ hot here.

Instead I received a bag of sweet potato chips.

Gluten Free Lucy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Seed and Fruit Mix.

Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats and Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea Mix.

All gluten free.  All delicious.  All opened up and enjoyed well before the competition ever started.  I like to know my ingredients, really know them.  By the time the end of the month snuck up on me I had about a half cup of each left over.  No problem.  I can work with that.

I put The Pete to bed for the night.  Rolled up my sleeveless tank top.  Waited for the signal to begin.  I was off!

Chicken.  I’m gonna make chicken!  Except it’s frozen.  And I had a plan for everything but the Marshmallow treat.  I sat back, rubbed my chin, watched a little Big Brother 14 and got to thinking. What goes with all these ingredients?

The Snoops scratched at my leg.  I shooed her away.

The Snoops barked.  I shushed her.

The Snoops whined, twirled in a circle, and stood on her back paws dancing like she was in a Peanuts comic.

Peanuts.  Peanuts.  Peanut butter. That’s it!  Peanut butter!  I was baking cookies!  Gluten free peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Foodie Pen Pals Cookies


1 cup peanut butter, The Snoops approved variety aka any kind

1 large egg

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup chopped Lucy’s cookies

1/2 cup Seed and Fruit Mix

1/2 cup or 1 bar chopped Marshmallow treat,

1/2 cup sweet potato chips, loosely crushed

1 packet Lipton Mango Pineapple Iced Green Tea Mix

Sugar for rolling

The Haps:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat the peanut butter, egg, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and tea.

In a smaller bowl stir the cookies, seed and fruit mix, marshmallow treat and chips.

Stir the mixins into the peanut butter mixture.

Roll into one inch balls, dip in sugar and place on baking sheet, flattening slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes, remove to cooling rack, try to stop your husband from eating them all before you can photograph them.

Photograph them.

Photograph the heck out of them.

In various plant life.

On a fence.

In a tree.

Behind a tree.

In front of a tree.

Half eaten.

Go ahead, take a nibble.

You’ll thank me.  What.  You don’t believe me?  How do you know you’ll thank me?  Fine, don’t take my word for it, take Supermom’s!  You all remember Heather over at What Does She Do All Day right?  Her and her Superfamily taste tested these little beauties and had this to say:

Supermom: “I’ve met my share of fruits and nuts and these ones aren’t so bad.  I told you I’m not witty.”

Superdad: “A wonderful melding of complexity in cookie form.”

Superchild aka Cupcake: “Mmmm…..cookie.  That’s a cookie.”

It’s a concensus . . . I did indeed make cookies!!  Want more proof still?  Here’s Cupcake enjoying said cookie.

No really though, they were delish.  Crunchy and chewy at the same time, peanut buttery and sweet but not too sweet.  Gluten free.  This batch, which made just over two dozen, was gone in less than 24 hours.

Am I suggesting you go out and buy these exact ingredients and make these exact cookies?  Absolutely!  Am I suggesting you join Foodie Pen Pals and bribe Lindsey over at The Lean Green Bean to pair you up with Carma so you can receive this same Foodie Pen Pals box?  Absolutely!  Am I suggesting you take the base recipe and dump in whatever mixins you find in your pantry?  I’m not, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you do.

Insert winking face here.

Now that we’re done with the fun and the flirting, how ’bout some business.  Click here to check out the lovely oh so pregnant Texan I sent my box to this month.  Read below if you want to join Foodie Pen Pals yourself.

I lied earlier . . . there is actually one cookie left and I’m off to eat it.

– Joanna

P.S. I don’t think I really need to say this but, just for the record, I WIN AGAIN!

Question of the Day: What would you mix into your peanut butter cookie?


  1. That is so cool! I hope I get paired with you sometime!!!

  2. Ahh! I want to be your foodie pen pal so I can send you a challenge! Fingers crossed!

  3. This was absolutely THE cutest post EVER!! I love the cookie in the tree btw lol. And omg, Cupcake is the sweetest thing!

  4. What a great idea to create a recipe from the items you receive in the box! Enjoyed reading your post and seeing the cookies posed in different spots. Very funny!

    • Thanks, it’s been a fun challenge every month. Trying to get the cookie balanced on a tree limb was interesting though . . . quite entertaining to the neighbors I’m sure.

  5. Girl, you crack me up every month! Photographing cookies in small trees is essential. 😉

  6. Favorite line from this blog post “Photograph the heck out of them.”
    Thanks for following me on twitter otherwise I’d never have read your blog. You’re awesome btw!
    Love the idea of the challenge.

    • I love how Foodie Pen Pals brings people together. Thanks for reading and scrolling through my seemingly endless post of cookie pictures. I certainly did photograph the heck out of them 😉 This is just the half, er, tenth of it!

  7. It looks like I should be eating at Supermom’s house. I didn’t get to play with any toilet paper rolls while I ate my cookie. Hey Joanna, start engaging me!

  8. Everyone wants to get paired with you! I look forward to your posts every month. 🙂

    • Thanks much! I have a feeling someday soon boxes are going to get a whole lot harder. Oh well, I enjoy a good challenge. And a good cookie. Wish there were some left . . .

  9. I love these! I wouldn’t think the flavors would make such a yummy looking cookie.
    (jealous – I’m out of sugar currently and I want cookies)

    • Pretty much just a “kitchen sink” cookie. I loved the texture just as much as the flavor! My husband has been asking for cookies too, ever since we finished off this batch. Who doesn’t love cookies after all???

  10. LOVE LOVE love the Foodie Pen Pal Chopped version! I watch that show whenever it’s on. Love your creativity!

    • Thanks much! Chopped was always one of my favorite Food Network shoes too (before we cancelled cable). Did you see the one where the judges were competitors? Classic.

  11. Your creativity is inspiring! I love the cookie on the branch 🙂

    • Funny thing about that . . . I tried placing it somewhere else and it fell and got stuck there. No joke. There is a teensy tiny baby branch holding that sucker on.

  12. Awesome post- I love the image of you rolling up your sleevless tank top. Also, foregoing the smiley face winky guy to just type out insert…here. You are too clever for your own good!

  13. I always live for this post. You should so start a challenge, I mean I feel like you will always win (for good reasons) but still this is so creative. And of course drool worthy. I can def take those marshmellow treats off your hands…my favorite!

    • There was only one bar left by the time I did the competition and for a week before that I was debating on where I could find more so I could just eat it already.

  14. Wow those are some cookies; all with a personality of their own too! Another great post! I love it.

  15. I am so in FPP withdrawals. I haven’t done it in a few months since I’ve been all busy. Doesn’t the rest of my life realize that I need FPP and blogging? I mean seriously. Anywho…I’m glad so many others are also noticing your brilliance of photographing food in wildlife. It’s about time.
    Also, I’m dying over that bowl. The blue one. I have a serious bowl addiction and that picture is not helping.

  16. Hehe! Awesome post and the cookies look fab! Oh, and I got the same Seed and Fruit mix in my package. 😉

  17. The only think I like better than opening up my foodie pen pal box, is reading about what you do with your foodie pen pal box.

  18. Love this post! I’m a fellow FPP this month, and thought your post was hilarious. Maybe it’s the pictures of the adventures the cookies went on. Regardless, I’m a new follower!

    • If you liked this one, you should check out the Big Balls post. I laughed so hard typing that one up. And I still laugh every time I read it. I am easily amused. Also, Round 2 Mini Meals is pretty funny too. Thanks for following, it means a lot!

  19. I love this! You should win a Foodie Penpals blog award, this is awesome! Cookies look delish! You’ve made me want to take up a challenge of my own with next months fpp goodies! 🙂

  20. Jessica@FitTalker

    Love this!
    I wish I was creative enough with food to come up with an idea other than shoving the loot in my mouth. 🙂
    Great writing too!

    • Shoving loot in your mouth is pretty awesome too. This challenge is HARD mostly because I can’t just chow down on things when I open the box. Restraint. Must show restraint . . .

  21. I LOVE reading your chopped challenges every month. SUCH a great idear.

  22. I was just telling someone how you do this Chopped challenge. I still think this is too quality to be just a hobby. I don’t know who should be paying you, but it should be happening.

    • I agree. Who do we talk to about this? On the same note, wouldn’t it be awesome if you got paid to eat sweet potatoes? We will both be very very rich

  23. Thanks for the linkup, lady! 🙂

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