The lost art of pen pals meets the digital age

Goodbye, childhood. I’m not purposefully being dramatic, but I’m literally having to say goodbye to a big part of my childhood. My parents are selling the home I grew up in. whaaa…

When I was home over Christmas, I had to help my mom go through everything in the house with the knowledge that it maybe was the last time I would be there. My childhood bedroom was still intact. Even though I did a purge while I was home after leaving Breckenridge and before moving to Portland, I still had so much stuff.

As annoying, dirty, and dusty as it is to have to go through drawers and closets, I found a lot of great memories and unknown treasures.

Like old photos of my parents that I’ve never seen.

And my first pair of overalls.

I also found hoards of letters and notes. Cards I’d received for various birthdays and special occasions. Notes I’d exchanged with friends in school. Letters I’d received while at camp.

As a whole, I’d have to say that the letters I received during my last year at camp were some of my favorite. The camp I went to every year growing up was old school – no phone calls or visitations or computer access. Letters only, though we did receive printed emails once email became a thing. That time after lunch was one of my favorite times of day. I loved getting to check my mailbox every day and see who’d been thinking about me, who had taken the time to hand write a letter to me. That last year I went to camp, after my freshman year in high school, was the year I received the most letters from friends. I felt so loved.

Flash forward nearly 15 years later and it can absolutely make my week to get a text from a far-off friend. I’m in no way belittling texting or Instagram shout outs. But I’m so glad that written notes seem to be making a come back. I got a care package from my PDX friends while I was home with my dad over the summer. My friends still send out baby announcements and holiday cards in the mail. And one of my closest friends from college and I have decided to make an effort to send snail mail every now and then.

Keith, if you happen to be reading right now, stop because your card hasn’t gone in the mail yet! 

How Keith found a hipster Hillary postcard for me, I have no idea.

Apparently pen pals aren’t just a thing from camp and fun, hipstery post cards, because we also did a pen pal recipe swap in our Sweat Pink community, where we’re no strangers to online connections. We put a digital and foodie twist on an old fashioned tradition.

My buddy is the beautiful and talented Sara of Sara Lizabeth Fitness. For the recipe I gave her, I selected one of my favorite dishes from when I lived in Spain: the Tortilla Española.

A post shared by Sara Elizabeth (@saralizabeths) on

I sent Sara the Tortilla recipe from Cúrate’s cookbook, my favorite tapas restaurant in my hometown of Asheville, NC. 

I was a little nervous about this swap since I’m not super comfortable in the kitchen. Not like Sara

But I was excited to give it a try! Sara gave me a delicious quiche to attempt. She had no idea that I do like to make pies, and this is basically just an egg pie. And the beautiful thing about a quiche is that you can essentially toss in whatever cheese and veggies and meats that are on hand once you master the general idea. And of course I had to use Eggland’s Best eggs, which are a staple in my fridge. EB eggs have more than double the omega-3’s, 6 x more vitamin D, and 10 x more vitamin E than regular eggs, and they stay fresher longer. Which is uber important for my irregular cooking schedule.

Ok, time to cook!

Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche with a Walnut Crust

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 c toasted walnuts (toast in 350 oven for 10-15 minutes)
  • 1 c oats
  • 1 Eggland’s Best egg
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour or brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp water
Handmade crust is always the way to go!
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (Sara uses 2%)
  • 4 medium Eggland’s Best eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped arugula
  • 2/3 cup goat cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
I got to use an onion from the garden of one of my students! Cutting into it brought tears of happiness!
  1. Caramelize onions in a skillet over low heat.
  2. Pulse nuts & oats in food processor until medium course ground.  Add flour, melted butter & egg & water and process until mixture just comes together.
  3. Pour into a 9” round greased pie plate & pressed down into an even layer at the bottom & up the sides.
  4. Bake for 25  minutes at 350.
  5. While the crust is baking, mix together your custard and prepare your veggies. Whisk together eggs and milk until fully combined. Toss caramelized onion with arugula.
  6. Once crust is baked & slightly cooled, pour half of the arugula onion mixture in the bottom & sprinkle evenly half of the cheese.
  7. Pour in the custard – paying close attention not to overfill  custard should stop just below the lowest point of crust – otherwise it will overflow and you will have soggy crust!
  8. Pour the rest of the cheese and arugula onion mixture over the top.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 until the center has set but still has a slight wobble.
et voilà

Yum! Like I said, once you have the basics down, you can really customize the fillings. Although the only thing I can think of to add in to the delicious arugula and goat cheese combo would be bacon…

Do you have a pen pal? IRL or online? I’m always up for swaps: recipes, books, movies, music. Just send suggestions my way at any time! 

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Eggland’s Best. All opinions are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

2 comments Add yours
  1. My parents sold my childhood home last year, and it made me super nostalgic and sad. It was hard to say goodbye!
    This recipe sounds delicious. I had a lot of fun doing the Sweat Pink recipe swap! So fun.

    1. It really is so hard saying goodbye! I always thought I’d be going home to visit them there forever! And so glad you enjoyed the swap- it really was super fun!

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