Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hello Fresh Review: Chipotle Rubbed Chicken, Roasted Pork with Fig Sauce and Caramelized Pineapple Burgers

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll know that I recently place my first order from Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is a service that offers chef curated recipes based on seasonal farm fresh ingredients delivered every week to your doorstep.

And I have loved, loved, loved it!!! For the convenience of having something ready to cook, fresh ingredients and deliciousness!!

Now, I obviously enjoy cooking and love cooking from scratch. However, as most of you, I too get busy with life, work and teenagers. So the idea of having fresh ingredients and a recipe waiting for me in the fridge, with a 10 minute prep time and 30 minute cook time, is pretty darn attractive.

So I placed my first order with them a few weeks back, received my first box and have cooked all my meals. So here's how it works and my review of my first Hello Fresh Order.

I went to the website using my special link in order to receive a $50 discount off my first two orders. If you're interested in the same discount, use this link:

Special Offer! $50 Discount on your First two Boxes! Code HELLO50FRESH. Valid for new customers only. Classic, Veggie or Family Box. Ends 1/1/17. Eat fresh & healthy - Shop Now
I then selected the type of box I want. You can choose from:

- Classic Plan- This plan has a large variety of meals including fresh produce, meats, fish and grains. You can feed 2 or 4 adults, and you can pick 3, 4 or 5 meals per week.

- Veggie Plan- This plan includes seasonal vegetables, grains and animal free proteins. You can feed 2 or 4 adults, and you can select 3, 4 or 5 meals per week.

- Family Plan- This plan includes a large variety of meals to feed 2 adults and 2 children. You can select 2 or 4 meals per week.

I selected the Classic Plan for 4 people for 3 meals per week. My total came out to about $120 for the 3 meals per week, received my $25 discount with the link above, and shipping was FREE. I paid a total of $95, which I think is a steal. It always helps to get introduced to a new product or service with a discount. Special Offer! $50 Discount on your First two Boxes! Code HELLO50FRESH. Valid for new customers only. Classic, Veggie or Family Box. Ends 1/1/17. Eat fresh & healthy - Shop Now
A week before my scheduled delivery, I received an email with a meal swap option. I left my order as is and did not choose to swap any meals.

The order arrived at my door in this huge box. I wasn't home that afternoon, so I made sure to have my son periodically check the door for a delivery and had him bring the box inside the house as soon as possible. Items are perishable and need to be refrigerated.

I broke into my box and the three meals are all in their separate boxes. Each box with all the ingredients needed to make each meal. Perfectly organized for my OCD tendencies.

Under the boxes are ice packs holding all my meats, keeping the nice and cold. I simply placed the three individual boxes of fresh ingredients in the fridge, and the proteins in the freezer.

Also in the box are 6"X8" recipe cards for each recipe, with instructions, ingredients it comes with, prep and cook times, the tools you'll need, nutritional information and even allergens.

I have now cooked all 3 meals that arrived in my box and we were absolutely amazed at the deliciousness. And for me, the cook, I am just thrilled with the ease of picking a meal, having all the ingredients waiting in the fridge, easy to follow color instructions and the wonderful aroma.

In my first Hello Fresh box I received: the following meals:

Chipotle-Rubbed Chicken Salad with Pico de Gallo and Avocado. This was one hearty salad! Even my BF was full with one serving. It contained chipotle, lime, scallions romaine lettuce, oregano, red onion, jalapeno, grape tomatoes, black beans, avocado and chicken.
Seriously?? As soon as I started chopping and putting the salad together, it started to smell delicious. The chicken marinated in the adobo sauce and it was perfectly juicy and delicious. A definite win!

Then I cooked the Caramelized-Pineapple Burgers with Monterey Jack Cheese and Red Cabbage Slaw. The ingredients in this one were ground beef, brioche buns, pineapple, Monterey jack cheese, red onion, red cabbage, carrot, mayo, white wine vinegar and chives. Again...another big score! Teenage boy approved!! Double points...

And finally, Roasted Pork with Balsamic Fig Sauce, Green Beans and Rosemary Potatoes. I almost didn't want to share this with the boys cause I didn't think they'd appreciate it. This one contained pork loin, Yukon potatoes, green beans, shallots, balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, fig jam and rosemary. Again, two thumbs up.

I felt like quite the gourmet cook these delicious meals, and look forward to making more. And perfect, timing because I just received my next box!

Hello Fresh is setup to be a weekly meal delivery. But I didn't know how fast we'd go through them and wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it, so I paused the following 3 weeks, and it automatically sends the next one. You can also see what the meals are for the upcoming weeks, to either pick your meals, or decide if you want to put it on pause for the week and skip until the next one. I personally would like it if I can just order when I want to rather than having to pause it. But other than that, I really enjoyed the service, quality, convenience and ease.

If you're ready to try out Hello Fresh, Special Offer! $50 Discount on your First two Boxes! Code HELLO50FRESH. Valid for new customers only. Classic, Veggie or Family Box. Ends 1/1/17. Eat fresh & healthy - Shop Now
Have you used Hello Fresh yet? Would love to see your meals. Share on our Facebook or Instagram!

Monday, September 5, 2016

My Top 6 Fall Items from Sur La Table

I've long been a fan of Sur la Table. They offer everything you need for cooking from utensils, dishes, cookbooks and spices, to dishtowels, aprons and cupcake liners. I can spend hours in their stores. And I couldn't be happier that we just became affiliate partners.

I can't help but go through their entire online catalog and bookmark everything I want for this Fall. I know...I get it's still summer and it will be still for another month. And in California that means it will feel like summer for another two months. But, I love all things fall and I'm slowly but surely starting to sneak fall into our home. Like the pumpkin Glade candle I just bought and everyone is loving the scent, not realizing that I'm forcing fall upon them. And, the pumpkin plant I recently added to my garden, you can read about that here.

My Top 6 Favorite Fall Items from Sur La Table

1. Individual Pumpkin Bowl with Lid- I've recently decided to create a tablescape for each season, much to my boyfriend's delight. These cute white pumpkin bowls will be the perfect addition to my fall tablescape. I plan to pair them with my blue and white salad plates to create an elegant, but chic look.

Individual Pumpkin Bowl with Lid

I'm envisioning something along the lines of this beautiful setting from Celebrating Everyday Life with Jennifer Connel, with the white pumpkin bowl and orange ribbons and flowers. I'm also envisioning a leopard print runner layered over a wider fall runner to add texture, pattern and more interest.

2. Pumpkin Wreath- I can never have too many wreaths! I have a beautiful fall one for my front door, but I plan on placing one on the hood of my new kitchen range.

Something along the lines of Julie's Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss picture. Check out her blog. She's has a bunch of really cool ideas for the home, parties and free printables!

And you know this just opens up a big can or worms...wreaths on the hood for every season!

3. Pumpkin Jacquard Napkins- I think these will be the perfect addition to my blue willow dinner plates and white pumpkin bowls. Sur La Table's napkins and towels are of great quality and I know I can always count on them for years to come.

Pumpkin Jacquard Napkins

4. Calabaza Cocktail Napkins- I like to have chic or funny cocktail napkins with appetizers and cocktails for every get-together. Or in the event of a holiday, themed cocktail napkins. These Calabaza Cocktail Napkins will work perfect for our Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving Dinners this year.

Calabaza Cocktail Napkins

5. Pumpkin Covered Pie Dish- OK, I seriously have THE perfect pumpkin pie recipe for this dish and I just can't wait to start cooking everything pumpkin-flavored. It's stoneware and is goes perfectly from ovens to freezer which is exactly what I need. And the lid is perfect for transporting to holiday parties. How adorable is it??!!

I mean...look at this!!! {{Drool}}

PS: I stopped by my favorite coffee shop yesterday {Coffee Bean & Teat Leaf} and they have already received their pumpkin lattes...just haven't brought them out yet...<<squeal>>!! I know, I know they're full of sugar...but a treat once in a while, specially after one of my long training runs, is totally OK, right? And given that my brother, Sandy and I are training for a marathon in November, there will be plenty of guilt free pumpkin latte treats opportunities.

6. Sur La Table Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup- Oh hey! After my trip to Coffee Bean yesterday, I came home to peruse through the Sur La Table catalog and what do I find??? Drum roll.....Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup! I'll need to order this stat and start making my own pumpkin spice lattes at home.

Sur La Table Pumpkin Spice Latte

Made exclusively for Sur La Table by the experts at Sonoma Syrup Co., our Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup features a blend of all-natural pumpkin purée and premium spices—including Vietnamese cinnamon, Indian nutmeg, and Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla bean extract. Sounds delish, right? I can't wait to use this with my Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee Maker.

That concludes my Top 6 Fall Items from Sur La Table...I tried for top 5 but then I found the pumpkin spice syrup and couldn't resist. Have you looked through their catalog or been in stores lately? What are some of your favorite items? Make sure you're signing up for our newsletter as we are sending out offers from Sur La Table on a regular basis.