I’ve fallen off the wagon.
I’ve taken a tumble out of my seat and right over the side of the wagon, hitting the ground as that wagon keeps rolling on by.
What wagon have I fallen off of? Well… a few to be honest here.
Blogging for starters. The small amount of time I have to blog, has suddenly been absorbed by a few pretty damn good books that I wanted to read more than I wanted to blog. I’ve also felt a little stale for writing. Doing a pretty big writing piece for my day job kind of sucked a lot out of me. I do have a few blogs that I have been picking away at, working to finish, over the past few weeks, but it really has been a struggle.
I’ve also fallen off the cooking wagon. My meals have been lacking that passion and pizzazz they’re often known to have. I’ve stopped creating new dishes, I’ve even stopped cooking my own creations and I’ve found myself settling for regular, run of the mill types of dinners as of late.
Part of it has been those really, truly fantastic books I’ve been reading (I haven’t really read since pre-baby, so to be able to get back into that has been huge for me, even if it is just 15 or so minutes a day). Part of it has been our really drab weather (100 days of rain? Sure!). My schedule at work… and the fact that I’d rather workout and spend time with my family than spend my time over the grill, at the stove or working on a creation for the oven.
Because of the 100 days of rain (y’all think I’m joking about this, I just know it, but it’s really seriously true), there’s been a lot of stop-go-stop-go in my day job. When we get a clear break for a few hours, it’s a mad dash to play catch-up on our spring season stuff.
So, with one small stretch of really, really nice weather coming, I knew I was going to have to do something, because, with that catch-up, even my quick, regular dinners were not going to make do.
Plus, I could tell that I wasn’t the only one under this roof that was getting tired of eating the same things, like clock work. And I’m not talking about the dog or the two year old. Both of them would live off of bologna and cheese every single day of the week if they could.
I keep getting various coupons for those meal prep services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, and most times, I hold on to them for a bit, well intentioned to pop online and check them out. But, they always end up expiring and getting tossed out before I could do that.
Ah, the life of a busy person…
I had a three free meal coupon from Hello Fresh and decided two weeks ago, what the heck, why not? Something quick and easy to do, so it’d be perfect for the impending workweek from hell. AND, it promised to be something different than what we’d been eating.
We can only do pizza so many times before, well, even pizza gets boring.
I signed up, picked my meal plan (three options: classic 2-person, veggie 2-person and the 4-person family plan), selected the delivery date and then picked my meals from the recipes for the week of my first delivery.
I can honestly say, when I saw that box sitting on my porch, I was ecstatic and very, very curious. I’d always wondered how these prepped meal companies worked.
No, this isn’t a sponsored post. This is more of a “Hey, this is really worth the money when you’ve got those times you know you’re gonna be in a pinch or you wanna spruce up your dinners.” I really wish that I had signed up earlier. Especially that first year of parenthood while I was trying to find that balance of work and family – and feeding my family. Because I’m the one that cooks.
Shiny. Lots and lots of shiny inside. And given that right now the song “Shiny” from Moana (aka “The Crab song!!!”) has been on loop for about a month or so now… we all know who has confiscated the shiny box once it was emptied.
Three different smaller boxes were inside. Each contained all of the contents (minus salt, pepper, butter and oil) that I would need for the three different recipes they sent for me to cook. I opened them all up, checked out all of the produce to make sure nothing had maybe gotten stuck in a warm pocket and wilted, then tucked everything inside the refrigerator (after oooohing and aaaahhhhing over the teenie tiny ketchup and balsamic vinegar bottles).
Cavatappi in a tomato cream sauce with pancetta and spinach
Meatloaf Balsamico with green beans and sweet potato mash
Berbere Chicken with zucchini, with cilantro rice and lemon yogurt sauce
Having everything all in one box and an easy to follow (and save so you can make the meal again in the future) is pretty handy. However, the prep time on that first meal I cooked (chicken), was almost three times as long. The other two were much easier to cook/do various things at once, making their prep a breeze. Not so much with the Berbere Chicken, which sucked, because when you’re crunched for time, and hungry, dinner taking longer than expected sucks.
LOTS of dirty dishes. Each meal averaged about five or six extra dirty spoons, knives, bowls, pans, etc. than what I typically dirty, even when I’m experimenting and creating my own recipes. Our dishwasher between cooking and eating was just about full each night.
You definitely need a reasonably sized prep and cook area. You’ve got a lot going on between the prep, cooking and your supplies. And the fact that you’re prepping while simultaneous cooking more often than not? It’s hard to clear out a space when you’re in the midst of it.
They definitely are very properly proportioned. You get only 6-ounces of chicken per serving, and 4-ounces of beef. So, for a person that’s used to being able to have a little more, expect to have some time for proportion adaptation. And no seconds.
The chicken and the cavatappi were delicious. The marinade on the chicken was the “just right” kind of spice. The rice with the yogurt sauce was an excellent complement to it. Paired deliciously with a watermelon shandy on a hot spring day (not a wine drinker, but the recipe card does give you tips on what wines to pair the meal with!). The cavatappi is the one exception to the portion size. It definitely made enough to feed myself, my husband (who went for seconds) and my son – plus I had about a cup and a half today to bring for lunch at work. It was perfect for a cooler spring day.
The meatloaf? The beef they sent for it was yummy. The baked green beans and sweet potato mash with honey were both yummy. In the end, for myself, it felt like I was eating a fancy burger with no bun. Not really sure we’ll see that one on repeat in this household.
I’m definitely going to do it again. All meals will be hit or miss, whether it’s a prepped meal service like this, or myself cooking whatever in my kitchen. That’s the fun of cooking. You just don’t know until you try it.
It’s convenient. I’m not going to four different stores to get what I need, it all comes right to my doorstep. The menu cards are better laid out than any recipe I’ve got in any of my three-dozen cookbooks. There’s a solid variety of different meals to pick from each week. If I don’t want to do a week, or even a few weeks? I can skip ’em.
In times when I’m either in a cooking rut, or have a lack of time, knowing that I’ve got the option out there for something like this, I’m definitely not going to let the opportunity go to waste.
Especially now that I’ve seen what all the fuss is about, and I like it.
If you follow this link, you can save $40 off your first delivery and experience Hello Fresh yourself. Then, spread the love to your friends and family by giving them your code so they can save $40.