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recipes

Review: HelloFresh Meal Delivery Service

I love delivery service. Call me lazy, but the fact that I can order a new pair of boots, toilet paper, three bottles of wine and dinner to be delivered on my door step makes me incredibly happy. Doesn’t everyone love coming home to packages?

My work wife, Meesh, informed me about these meal delivery services. She lives in Miami, so I immediately thought they wouldn’t be available to me in the Midwest. Luckily, I was proven wrong, and on I went to my first HelloFresh box.

HelloFresh is a subscription service that delivers fresh meal ingredients straight to your doorstep (or in my case, office cube.) Each week, a new menu is released with five recipes for the classic box, and five recipes for the vegetarian box.

I ordered the classic box for two, and in a week, a box filled with ice packs arrived full of fresh veggies, meats and spices. My choices? Delicious.

Spicy Tuna Tar-Tacos:

taco

Meesh warned me that her friends complained about the amount of chopping. I kind of laughed, thinking “It’s fresh food! Of course it doesn’t come pre-sliced.”

This recipe made me realize why there were complaints. I like to cook, but I’ve never chopped more vegetables for a recipe in my life. But guess what? It was totally worth it. You could pre-chop the veggies the night before making the meal, but it really doesn’t take too long.

tacoing

Coming off of a sushi high from the weekend before, the spicy tuna flavor was perfect. I’m not a fan of scallions or radishes, but the two came together perfectly with cucumbers and avocado to top each taco. As far as serving size, you’re given six flour tortillas, but we filled four with the ingredients provided, and I was definitely full after eating these!

Download the Recipe

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken: 

TunaTacos

Chicken Parmesan is a staple in my household. It’s one of my husband’s favorite meals, and one of my “fanciest.” When I saw that HelloFresh had their own version on this week’s menu, my ears perked up.

chickening

The chicken was good, but the honey mustard flavor was a bit over-whelming. The sides though – to die for! The roasted tomatoes are delicious and super simple, which means they’ll become a new weeknight staple. I must admit, I used garlic powder in lieu of the minced garlic – ain’t nobody got time to mince garlic. The balsamic potatoes had just enough of a balsamic kick to leave you wanting more, but I did use quite a bit of salt and pepper to increase the flavor.

Download the Recipe

Plantain and Black Bean Tostadas:

Real talk – I had no idea what a plantain was until a client had us do a graphic about the history of bananas. For the record, it’s a starchier banana.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make this recipe in time before some of the ingredients went bad, but I was able to save the black beans for my burrito bowls! If you get a chance to make them, please let me know how they turn out!

Download the Recipe

VERDICT: HelloFresh hits the spot, especially after a weekend away when you haven’t had a chance to hit the grocery store. The recipes are easy to follow, if not a bit time consuming, and the taste is fantastic.

If you’re interested in trying, you can get $40 off your first boxI’d love to hear what recipes you choose – add a comment below or shoot me a Tweet!

Categories
recipes

Nom Nom Nom: M&M Bars

For someone with 647 food-related Pinterest pins, you would think I cook more often. Unfortunately, I do not have the time or resources to become a master chef/baker just yet, but I’m still going to try. I made these M&M bars last weekend for my boyfriend’s family Thanksgiving/game night, and let’s just say they we’re half way gone before the rest of the family arrived.

M&M Bars (adapted from Fantastic Family Favorites)

Ingredients:

2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white (the original said one egg yolk – i can’t read, and it tasted great)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M’s, divided in half

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. FYI – foil lining is gods gift to baking, because clean up was a BREEZE!

2. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg white and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until you can’t find any more dry ingredients. Fold in 1 cup of M&M’s and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M’s on top and press in slightly.

3. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, (mine took 26 minutes, but check after 24). Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang, cut into squares and serve.

And magic – super soft, chewy M&M bars! They reminded me of Schnucks’ sugar M&M cookies (which are delicious!)

You could definitely use Reese’s Pieces instead of M&Ms. I would even be interested to try it with the Pretzel M&Ms!

Categories
recipes

Nom Nom Nom: Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies

OK – I have an unhealthy addiction to baking. Cookies, cupcakes, brownies – you name it, I’ll pop it in the oven. But since starting Weight Watchers at the start of the year (down 6 lbs., might I add!), I’ve had to replace the Gooey Butter and Chocolate Chips for carrots and strawberries. So you can imagine my excitement when I found a recipe for Funfetti Cake Batter cookies that we’re a mere 1 point each! Plus, they’re absolutely delicious, and didn’t take a thousand expensive ingredients. Thanks to Cookin’ Cowgirl for the original recipe!

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies:

  • 1 Box Golden Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Sprinkles (NOTE: That is TWO containers of sprinkles! I messed up and only got one)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix and baking powder in large bowl.

Mix oil, eggs and vanilla in another bowl.

Combine egg mixture with cake mix and stir.

Stir in sprinkles.

Spoon teaspoon-sized balls onto your baking sheet (ungreased).

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5.

And poof – delicious cookies! How easy is that? I made them before dinner last night! And like I said – 1 Point Plus EACH!

Categories
DIY Uncategorized

Case Study – Pinterest

Who else is addicted to Pinterest? This online pin board can be used to plan a wedding, redesign your house, craft or cook nearly anything and so much more. Launched in March of 2010, this community has grown by insane proportions, yet does not feature advertising on their page. How is this possible you might ask? Let me divulge deeper into the world of pinning.

As their mission states, Pinterest works to link people all around the world to a common thread, whether that be a book, a recipe, a wedding bouquet or anything else. In the marketing world, this can be called word of mouth. By pinning something, you are able to share that item with your followers (who can be found via Facebook, Twitter, email and more). Below you can see an example of my boards.


Within these boards contains your “pins,” the images of things that you find interesting. (Get it? pINTEREST?) As you can see below, it shows who I repinned it from (via Anilu Magloire), as well as the original website the image was found on (in this case, esty.com).

Here is where the WOM begins – clicking on that top right link (etsy.com) will take you to the page in which you can buy this product. In the case of a recipe or craft, it will take you to the page where you can find the how-to. There are times when it takes you to a “useless” link, i.e. a flickr image or “uploaded by user” type thing, however, this sneaky link sharing brings in viewers (and revenue) to the blogs, web pages and stores that the item was originally “pinned” from. (You can drag a “Pin It” link to your bookmark tab so that you can “pin” anything you find online, outside of Facebook). Those with blogs are able to download a “find me on pinterest” badge for their website.

Advertising has not hit Pinterest just yet due to successful funding and investors, however, their guerrilla marketing has brought them into the social sphere. They have been recognized by Time, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal, and bloggers throughout the online community (learn more about why you should joinfrom Lisa Derus). Don’t believe it’s power? My friend Chelsea Williams posted this craft on her blog, and in turn had 177 new, unique viewers to her page. Accept it or not – Pinterest is here to stay. Use it to your advantage while you can – after all, who doesn’t love to gawk at cute puppies, gorgeous wedding dresses and delicious food?