Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh Review Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of my Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh review. Today’s post will be about our HelloFresh experience. To recap we received a coupon to try HelloFresh for free from a friend.

We received our meals again on Monday and I was excited to see what this box would bring.

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We tried the Chicken Cheddar Fajitas first because seriously who doesn’t love fajitas? This meal was quick and delicious and the serving size was perfect for us. We each got 3 fajitas and I was so happy that I tried the Lime Crema. Normally it wouldn’t be something I would try, but because I made it myself I wasn’t as hesitant as I normally would be. This is absolutely a meal that we will be making again.

Next we tried the Cherry Balsamic Pork, full disclosure we have not eaten pork in the almost 3 years that we have lived together. I’ve always been afraid to under cook the pork and get a worm in my brain! I was pretty scared making this and also nervous because I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the cherry glaze. This one again was relatively quick to make and they gave us small fingerling potatoes which made the prep time quicker and also more food than Blue Apron. The glaze wasn’t overpowering and I liked that I could choose how much glaze I wanted to put on my pork. This meal was amazing and the one that made us decide to continue ordering HelloFresh when we like the menu options.

Also side note, for the thyme that was on the potatoes it came in a pack ready to spread over them. No pulling little thyme leaves off the branch for this box!

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Last but not least was the Japanese Panko Chicken. I didn’t love this meal and it felt like it took the longest to cook. The serving sizes were great and I blame my dislike of this one on myself because I didn’t chop the ginger as small as I should have. The sauce was just a personal preference, but again super easy to whip up. My husband absolutely loved the chicken and ate both of ours.

I also really like that each meal has a vegetable side, something that we don’t always do when were cooking dinner on the fly. You can use our referral link to get $40 off your first week of meals. I would highly recommend trying HelloFresh as I think the meals would work for a lot of people and don’t take a lot of time to prepare. I would love to know if any of you have tried either box and what you thought. Or maybe there’s another box out there that would be better for us? Let me know!

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Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh Review Part 1

Recently I was gifted a coupon to try both Blue Apron and HelloFresh. I’ve always thought about trying out the meal delivery service, but with a $50+ price tag I was iffy. I received a coupon to try Blue Apron for $9.99 for 3 meals and I received a coupon to try HelloFresh completely free for 3 meals. I’m a pretty picky eater so it made me really nervous to only have a couple of things to choose from.

Week 1 we chose Blue Apron and received our 3 meals on Monday. I have to admit that I was happy to not have to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work and fight over what we should have for dinner.

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We tried the Cheeseburgers first thinking this would be the least out of my comfort zone. I didn’t realize how much work actually has to be put into making these dinners and was immediately overwhelmed. I didn’t end up making the pickled beets that go on top of the burger because to be honest it was too much work. Additionally they only gave us 1 potato to make wedges which frankly is not enough for 2 people in my mind. We should of at least got 2 potatoes. For the hamburger itself it was just ground beef and garlic, not exactly a flavorful burger. I ended up not eating this meal as the first bite turned me off.

Next we made the Chicken & Stewed White Beans, while cooking this it smelled awful to me and I was positive I was going to hate this. This one also took a lot of time to prepare and was very overwhelming. Instead of sending me a packet of thyme they sent me thyme still on the branch and I had to pull it off one by one. I’m not going to lie, this was the moment I knew this box was not for us. We work 45 minutes away so coming home to a meal that needs extensive prep is not ideal. I served the chicken and was terrified to try it, but once I did I was pleasantly surprised. I’m glad I have the recipe card for this one because I’ll probably make it again.

Finally the Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli. I’m sad to say that we didn’t end up making this one. I had every intention of making it as it seemed the most promising to me, however life got in the way and we ended up not cooking it before the meat went bad.

Me and the Mr. both felt meh about this box and decided we would just skip weeks until we saw something we were excited to try. However I happened to check my credit card statement and saw that I got charged full price for the box that was supposed to be $9.99. This immediately put a sour taste in my mouth and I decided I needed to cancel our account before we randomly got charged again. I emailed them in regards to overcharging me and heard back a couple of days later that the full price would be refunded to me which I appreciated. When trying to cancel our “subscription” I was even further turned off because you can’t just click a button and cancel. You have to email them and they will send you “directions”. Really all they do is send you the link that they don’t post on their site, but this just seems sketchy to me and I don’t like companies that hope you’ll be too frustrated to cancel and then eventually forget to keep skipping and get charged for a box you didn’t even want in the first place.

My final verdict on Blue Apron is most definitely a pass. While it is fun to try new foods and not have to shop for groceries or go through the dreaded what’s for dinner argument it just wasn’t practical for us.

Check back tomorrow for my HelloFresh review.

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In the Kitchen – Rice Krispie Peep Pie

Here’s a quick and easy dessert you can whip up this weekend for Easter that is sure to be a hit. Get creative with it and do whatever design you feel like. When I started making mine I had no clue what I was going to do and kind of just started placing things on top and voila my creation was made!

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Ingredients

  • 6 cups rice krispies
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 package marshmallows
  • Frosting
  • Peeps
  • M&M’s

Directions

  1. Melt butter and marshmallows together
  2. Once melted turn off heat and add rice krispies
  3. Spray pan of choice and put rice krispies in pan
  4. Let cool (I stuck mine in the freezer for a little bit)
  5. Once cool frost top of rice krispies like a cake
  6. Add Peeps and M&M’s as desired

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Hope you guys enjoy and have a great Easter weekend!

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In the Kitchen – French Macarons

I have always wanted to try my hand at making French macarons, but always been a little scared since they can be so fickle. Thankfully I found Food Nouveau and read and watched all her tips to make the perfect macarons. Of course I was impatient while they were in my oven (which takes forever to cook anything) and I pressed a little too hard on some of the shells.
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Following her directions I used Wilton’s “rose” gel food coloring to make my macarons this beautiful pink color. For my filling I used my leftover white chocolate frosting which was out of this world.

Some tips for making macarons:

  • The egg whites need to sit in your fridge for a day or two before you use them so think ahead!
  • After baking the macarons & filling them they need to sit in the fridge for another 24 hours
  • You have to be very precise when measuring the ingredients so you should be using a scale to make absolutely sure!
  • You have to double up your cookie sheets so keep that in mind to the amount you want to make

Ingredients

  • 90 gr egg whites (about 3)
  • 30 gr regular granulated sugar
  • 210 gr powdered sugar
  • 125 gr almond meal

Directions

  1. Take your egg whites out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature
  2. In food processor finely grind the powdered sugar and almond meal together for a minute.
  3. Sieve the mixture into a bowl so that the larger pieces do not pass through, those can be thrown away. Place this bowl aside.
  4. Using your cold stainless steel bowl start beating your egg whites and medium/high speed. Once your whisk starts leaving marks and your whites are bubbly you can add a tablespoon of granulated sugar
  5. Continue to beat and slowly add the rest of the sugar over the next minute. Continue to beat on high speed until the whisk creates stiff peaks.
  6. Add in your color and slowly fold from the bottom of the bowl to the top.
  7. Continuing the folding method you want to start folding in the dry ingredients slowly, making sure there are no pockets
  8. Double up your baking sheets and line with parchment paper.
  9. Pipe your macarons onto your baking sheet and let sit for an hour to dry out
  10. Halfway through, preheat your oven to 300 degrees
  11. Bake for 12 minutes, after 12 minutes continue to watch your macarons as you don’t want them to burn. You can lightly tap on them and if they are firm they are ready.
  12. Let them cool on a rack, once at room temperature you can add your filling and put them in the fridge!

In the Kitchen – Shamrock Surprise

I saw this idea on Pinterest for Christmas and when I was thinking of something to do for St. Patrick’s Day that was a little different I knew it would work perfectly.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • Green food coloring
  • Shamrock cookie cutter

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°
  2. Grease and flour 10×4 pan
  3. Beat sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in large mixer on low-speed, scraping bowl constantly for 30 seconds
  4. Beat on high-speed, scraping bowl occasionally for 5 minutes
  5. Beat in flour and baking powder alternately with milk on low-speed
  6. Separate batter into two even halves
  7. Add in food coloring 3 drops at a time until desired color achieved to one half of batter
  8. Bake green colored batter for 70-80 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  9. Let cool for 20 minutes (I put mine in the fridge)
  10. Once the green pound cake has cooled you can slice cake into pieces and then using cookie cutter cut out shamrock pieces and place back into pan
  11. Pour remaining uncolored batter over the shamrock pieces and bake for 70-80 minutes again.
  12. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan
  13. Frost cake and serve!

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Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 4 oz white almond bark, melted
  • 4 tbsp milk

Frosting Directions

  1. Using a stand mixer, mix butter until fluffy
  2. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until well combined
  3. Slowly drizzle in melted almond bark and mix on high for 2 minutes until well combined
  4. Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons milk and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  5. You can use as little or as much frosting on your pound cake as you like. You will probably have a lot left, but you can freeze it and keep it for the recipe I will be posting next week!

Frosting is from Love From the Oven // Pound Cake from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

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In the Kitchen – Mardi Gras Breakfast

Fat Tuesday is next week and to celebrate this weekend we made Plain Chicken’s King Cake Knots. These are so simple and quick that they are perfect for breakfast! I have wanted to make these for a long time but just never got around to it and I am so happy I had the time this weekend. These are a great replacement to cinnamon rolls with just a little bit more crunch.

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Ingredients:

  • Pillsbury refrigerated French Loaf
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Icing: Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Gently unroll french loaf
  3. Spread butter all over dough
  4. Mix together sugar & cinnamon then sprinkle over dough, covering all dough
  5. Cut the dough in half lengthwise and then cut strips crosswise, I made my strips larger since I was only feeding 2 people.
  6. Twist 2 strips together and gently tie a knot
  7. Bake for 25 minutes
  8. Mix together icing ingredients & dip knot into icing
  9. Pour sprinkles over icing immediately after dipping as the icing does harden quickly

 

Hope you guys enjoy these for Fat Tuesday! side note: I’ve been really sick since Sunday so please excuse the lack of posts & commenting, I’m hoping to feel better soon.

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In the Kitchen – Not Your Mother’s Meatballs

I’m not Italian, but I take meatballs very seriously. I think it’s because for as long as I can remember meatballs and spaghetti has been a dinner tradition. When I was younger my mom would always make them on the night that my dad had bowling and then when I moved out and started cooking dinners I made sure that it was always on my weekly meal plan. Then I realized that maybe I was eating too much pasta and to me you can’t have meatballs without pasta.

I’ve found a way to brighten up my meatballs so that we can still enjoy them without feeling like we just overloaded on carbs. I will say that I don’t measure anything when I make my meatballs so these are all guesses and you can play around with it to make them to your liking.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 10 oz chopped spinach (I use frozen and then ring it dry with paper towels) you want this as dry as possible
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 squirts of sriracha sauce

Mix all the ingredients together and roll into balls, cook at 450° for 30 minutes. In another pan heat up pasta sauce and add meatballs that while it’s heating. Serve over spaghetti squash or ziti! I hope you guys love these as much as I do!

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