This past September I attended a meeting of the Columbus Dietetic Association where I learned about an interesting program created and hosted by a dietetic intern/blogger in the Columbus area called Foodie Pen Pals. Here is her summary of the program:

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals and what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.
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I thought that is sounded like a really neat opportunity to meet other “foodies” and to get the chance to recieve a fun package in the mail filled with food (who wouldn’t like that?)
On winter break I finally signed up for the program. I put together a box for my “penpal” and waited anxiously for mine to arrive.
Then, on a cold winter Friday afternoon. . .

It finally arrived.

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I was so excited that I tore through brown paper that was so carefully wrapped around the sturdy square package to discover the following items:

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Basmati rice, a slotted turner, vanilla sugar, chicken stock, pot roast seasoning and garlic sea salt.

My penpal knew I like to cook so we decided that she would send me some of her favorite things to cook with.

We used the garlic salt on garlic bread the night I got the package but since then we have tried it on brussel sprouts, chicken and potatoes (it basically goes with everything).

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and last week I made a pot roast in the crockpot with the seasoning and it was so delicious and super simple. All I had to do was stir a cup of water into the seasoning and pour over chopped veggies and meat and cook for 8 hours on low. With salads and bread it was a quick and easy winter meal.

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then last night I pulled the Basmati Rice out of the pantry and served it with chickpea curry and naan. I loved how aromatic it was and how quickly it cooked (15 minutes versus 25-45 for regular rice).

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Overall, I really enjoyed this program and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys food (or getting large packages in the mail). It was really fun to try some new ingredients that I wouldn’t normally think to buy. I look forward to participating again in the future.

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