The end of the month did not sneak up on this challenger.  My September Foodie Pen Pals box sat on the counter and stared me in the face every day for two weeks.  Mocking me.  Taunting me to make an entire dish from its contents..  Teasing me with its salsa and date combo.  I am pretty sure there is no culinary way to pair those two things up.  I found a recipe for Medjool Date Salsa, but let me tell you . . . it did not contain salsa.

Let’s take a peek at the goods this month that came from Esther, a former Midwesterner currently living in DC.

She sent me pitted dates and salsa.  We discussed this already.  Sigh.  As a disclaimer, I did not use these actual dates in my Chopped Challenge.  Of the three items Supermom received in her FPP box, one of them exploded during transit.  So I donated this bag of dates to her.  I already had an open container of dates in my fridge and since Supermom heard dates are supposed to help with labor I figured she could use them way more than me right about now.  The new addition to the Superfamily should be here any day.  Besides, I stole the guacamole chips from the new baby basket I made for her to eat the rest of the yummy salsa so I kinda owed her.  For the record, I love dates and this salsa.  Love love love.  Just not together.  Again, sigh.

Annie’s Rice Shells and Creamy White Cheddar Pasta as well as Cocomama Quinoa Cereal.  Annie’s is perfect to doctor up in a challenge since I find this brand to be too bland to cook as directed on the package.  The Cocomama was quite tasty, especially warmed with a few blueberries.  These would be great to have around for quick and easy meals

Two types of bars and two gluten free cookies.  The Taste of Nature bar was full of sesame seeds and was my favorite of these three.  The Good Bean Bar?  Very unusual texture and flavor, unlike any other bar I’ve tasted.  So glad I had a chance to sample it as this is something I probably would not have picked out on my own.

Sweet and Spicy Tea.  Strong.  Smelled good.  Just like The Husband.  Clearly we both dug this.

Now that you’ve met the soldiers in my food battle, let’s get to war.  War.  Against myself.  For the sixth time.

You’d think I’d stop challenging myself with five consecutive wins under my belt.  I’m a sure thing.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please check out my Foodie Pen Pals page to ketchup (HA!).  Otherwise, suffice it to say that The Lean Green Bean started Foodie Pen Pals.  I joined.  I wage culinary war against myself with my entire Foodie Pen Pals Package.  I kick butt.

Now that we’re all up to date (HA! HA!), let’s lace up our steel toed boots, button up our double breasted chef’s jacket, don our Dodin Bouffant, sharpen our chef’s knife and start addressing (HA! HA! HA!) a battle plan.

With my trusty General Snoops by my side and her battalion of bacon snacks,

I opened the fridge to survey our resources.

Pear juice . . . no, no, that’s for The Pete.
Yoplait Greek Yogurt . . . no, no, that’s swag for another blog post.
Paw Paw seeds . . . no, no, those aren’t even edible.
Cooked giant okra from a month ago . . . no, no, too much mold to scrape off.
Green olives . . . no, no, those are for The Husbands Salad Burger.
Butternut Squash . . . no, no, too long to cook.

Before I could finish my surveillance, The Snoops whined and dropped her bacon snacks on my reinforced shoes.  Despite my previous tweet

The Snoops had me convinced.  Bacon DOES go with everything.  It will be my secret weapon that delivers the final slice to September’s Foodie Pen Pals and The Chopped Challenge.

The Attack

Things are heating up.  I boiled some water in a saucepan and got the pasta to cooking.  Ten minutes.  Drained.  Mixed with gun, er cheese, powder as well as two tablespoons goat cheese, two tablespoons water and four tablespoons salsa.  Set aside.

Attacking from the rear burner, I started to boil down one cup of tea with one teaspoon coconut sugar.

Boiled it some more.

Until concentrated.  Mixed in one teaspoon of syrup with one tablespoon goat cheese.

Chopped one tablespoon each of the cookie and bars and spooned out a chunk of quinoa cereal.

Sliced open five dates.  Stuffed five dates: goat cheese, cookie, sesame seed bar, bean bar, quinoa.  Took no prisoners.

Wrapped five dates in a half slice of bacon each.

Baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, flipping frequently.  Started cooking the remaining bacon in a skillet.

Chopped up the bacon that had been laid out on a paper towel to drain, topped the pasta with it.


Atop the pasta.

Flanking the pasta.

Final Siege

Presented it to The Husband.

Together we decimated the pasta; it went down in a blaze of creamy and tangy glory.

But what about the dates in all their bacon wrapped yumminess??

Well, the bacon was in fact, just as The Snoops predicted, quite yummy.  So yummy the Husband ate it right off the dates . . . and left the dates behind.  He did say they were “good” though.  Always the diplomat.

To be perfectly honest, these were alright.  Just alright.  Much like Chobani yogurt, they were kinda “Eh” . . . except the bacon wrapped date stuffed with tea and goat cheese, that one was fabulous.  The quinoa wasn’t awful either.  The cookie and The Good Bean bar dates were pretty bad.  The Taste of Nature was in the middle of all these, but really that was such a tasty bar it was wasted stuffed inside a date.

What is the final score in me versus me then . . . do I win again?  Like always?  Of course I do.  I always do.

Wait.  What’s that?  The Snoops has a question.

She is asking how the bacon got on the plate.

Well, The Husband helped to cook the leftover bacon.

Oh.  Oh no.  The Snoops says it is clearly stated in the unwritten rules that there is to be no outside assistance whatsoever.

Eff.  EFF!  EFF!!

Oh.  No.  It’s okay.  Since I was battling against myself I guess I still kinda win even if I lose.


Question of the Day:  What’s the craziest thing you’ve wrapped in bacon?

P.S. Thanks Esther for the lovely package!!  Go Bucks indeed!!

P.P.S.  Check out Holly from Leaps of Faith to see what I sent this month.

P.P.P.S. If you want to join up yourself, here’s the details.


  1. I can’t believe you baconed your dates! I did not expect that AT ALL!!!! But now I totally want to toss some bacon in my mac & cheese.

    • Technically it was Esther who suggested to wrap the dates in bacon in her letter. Don’t tell The Snoops as I am letting her take the credit.

  2. no idea how you somehow find a way to combine all the stuff every single time. and bacon on anything, drool.

  3. bacon wrapped dates sound good … dang. :/ that blows.

  4. I LOVE the idea of CHOPPED challenge. I always feel that was when I get my weekly CSA box but this is an even bigger challenge! I can’t wait to see what you do with your goodies each month 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  5. This is such a fun idea! I don’t think it’s crazy, but my husband wraps dove in bacon and it’s sooo good!

  6. I’ve actually never wrapped anything in bacon before. Maybe I should try it?

  7. Three things:
    goat cheese in my mac’n cheese. That needs to be happening.
    I totally forgot about the BOWL! Can you wrap that in bacon before you send it to me? 😉
    I have seen DMB about 19-ish times in concert. I’m wondering if I was at the show that produced that shirt Mike is wearing?

    • Were you at Polaris Amphitheater outside Columbus OH in summer of 1998? If you can’t remember, there were some long seemingly impromptu solos and Dave did a funky foot clomping dance during more than one of them. There, I bet that specifies which of the 19 shows we’re talking about.

      Funny I remember where that exact concert was of all the many shows I’ve seen. It was my first time seeing DMB. My 6 or 7 pales to your 19, although the best of those 6 or 7 is thanks to Heather (commenter above) and her husband John (my best friend since 7th grade) giving us a kick-ass wedding present which was 2nd row center Dave seats. John the Warehouse fan club when he was still in the womb I think. It assures him great seats.

      Anyway, I usually spread around my shows and hardly ever even double up, no matter how much I love someone. Seems my only exceptions to that are DMB, and Jimmy Buffett, who I think I’ve seen 14 times. Not even sure who’s third…… Weezer? Black Crowes?

    • Seen anyone more often than DMB?

      • bummer never seen him in Ohio. 2nd row is pretty sweet. I was Warehouse member for probably 10 years and never got that sweet of seats. Highlights were Red Rocks in Denver (CD was made) Folsom Field in Boulder (also a CD was made) and The Gorge WA. He lives in Greenlake Washington so I’m surprised I never ran into him whilst I lived there. 🙁 Don’t listen too much anymore…those were my polo shirt, visor, seashell necklace wearing days….
        Coldplay and Maroon 5 are common repeats…if Kings of Leon was still together they would for certain be a repeat…

    • I made a really good acorn squash, goat cheese, cream cheesy dessert once that was pretty dang good. Goat cheese is quite versatile. E-mail me your address and I’ll send you your bowl!! If your weather isn’t too hot I’ll throw in some local chocolate too.

  8. Wow, that is one impressive dinner! I’m not a big bacon fan, but my husband would be in heaven. 🙂

  9. Props on the creativity! I really like the good bean bars but probaby not in the dates, more of an afternoon snack. I love the goat cheese and bacon wrapped dates. It’s making my mouth water!