Saturday, July 30, 2016

Hello Fresh Review


I have had many patients asking about the recipe/ingredient delivery services that are now available. These companies provide you with fresh ingredients and recipes, as you request, to save you on the often time-consuming meal planning and shopping aspects of dinner preparation.

Companies such as Sun Basket, Blue Apron, Plated, and Hello Fresh are some of the popular choices, and last week I had the chance to try out three Hello Fresh recipes!

The process is simple: You go to the company's website, choose the number of meals and number of servings for the week, peruse the recipes offered that week (along with the nutrition information), make your selections and choose your delivery date.  The ingredients are overnighted to your doorstep, packed carefully with ice packs. My MIL was home with my kiddos when mine was delivered and she graciously unpacked for me- so I do not have a photo... but she assures me that everything was still very cold and well-packed.  Each ingredients is measured out in the amount that the recipe calls for.





You do need to be involved in the meal preparation process. You chop and prep the ingredients, and follow the steps that the recipes provide (with photos).  Within 20-40 minutes (typically), you have a fresh meal!



Last week my family and I enjoyed a Nectarine and Chicken Panzanella Salad, Pork Schnitzel (a first for me!), and Chili Con Carne Meatballs.  I prepared the first two, and my husband prepared the latter. 



Pros:
1. I typically enjoy planning dinners for the week and shopping for the ingredients. However, this trial came at a really great time when my schedule was crazy.  I really enjoyed not having to stress about what was for dinner!

2. Trying NEW recipes. Even though I really want to prepare new things for my family, I do get stuck in a rut preparing the same things week after week.  These recipes were a perfect way to break up the monotony.  AND you get to keep the recipes (which tell you the amounts of ingredients used too) so that you could prepare them again (by purchasing the ingredients yourself).



3.  The directions were straight forward and easy to follow.  You do need basic kitchen gadgets, utensils and ingredient basics such as olive oil, salt, and pepper. And you do need basic food prep knowledge.  But if you have those you are set!

4. The portion sizes were BIG.  We had two servings in each meal. My hubby is an eater, and we like leftovers, so I typically make meals for 4-6 servings.  I was afraid that there wouldn't be enough food.  But I was surprised that we even had leftovers from the meals!

Cons:
1. The calories were a bit high for a couple of the meals (600-700 calories per serving).  If I had been planning those meals I would have likely make a few ingredients swaps and changed the portions of oils used, etc. to lower the calorie content.  You CAN preview the nutrition information prior to ordering the meals, so if you are calorie-conscious you can choose lower calorie options for the week if needed.

2. The ingredients are not entirely organic or non-GMO (they will provide them if the choices are available however). I'm not saying that I purchase organic foods 100% of the time.  But I know that some of my readers do try to, so I wanted to disclose this detail!

2. The cost per meal was similar to what we would pay to dine out ($10-12 per person).  It's affordable, and shipping is free, but more than I pay when I am planning meals and purchasing my own ingredients.

OVERALL I would recommend trying Hello Fresh, especially if you have a busy week coming up or if you want to break up the boredom a bit!

** Hello Fresh graciously provided me with three complimentary meals to write this post. However, the opinions are my own and are not in any way driven by financial incentives.

Monday, July 11, 2016

20(ish)--- Cherry Berry Red Wine Summer Sangria



This recipe incorporates two of my favorite summer fruits in a delightfully sweet boozy beverage.  Cherries and strawberries both contain high amounts of antioxidants and fiber!  These phytonutrients, as well as small servings of ethanol (alcohol) may actually decrease your risk of heart disease.

A refreshing summer sangria is the perfect addition to a grilled meal.  In this creation, the blackberry brandy and fruit add enough sweetness that you can skip the added sugar that sangria often contains.

Sip responsibly!

Cherry Berry Red Wine Summer Sangria
Makes ~ 50 oz

1 bottle dry red wine
2/3 cup blackberry brandy
3/4 cup club soda
1 cup tart cherry juice (lots of antioxidants here!)
1 cup pitted red cherries
1/2 cup sliced strawberries

Combine all ingredients in a glass pitcher or decanter (check out my favorite here).  Place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours prior to serving. Serve over ice!