Food Therapy

Since embarking on a food journey through the world of pre-portioned meal subscription boxes, I learned something about myself.

This post contains affiliate links. Each time someone makes a purchase through one of the links, I receive a small commission, which helps to support my blog. I am so thankful for you as my readers and supporters for your eagerness to follow me in my Lifestyle Menagerie. 

While I am not completely bogged down by the constraints of life and time, I enjoy gathering up all the ingredients, pulling out my food prep bowls, cutting board and fancy (and sharp) ceramic knife and get chopping.

There is something about following the recipe and putting a pinch of blind faith that at the end of all the washing, peeling, chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, and mixing something beautifully delicious awaits. And the other part to that is—it almost always is something that I would not have ordinarily have picked out or made for myself on any other ordinary day. There is some satisfaction in knowing that me and my amateur skills created something that didn’t make me violently ill.

The aspiring-chef within me wants to learn how to cut things more efficiently. I believe there is an art to chopping/slicing/dicing and mincing. The Food Network chefs make it look so effortless—I aspire to get there one day and chop my food prep time from 30-40 minutes down to under 20—no pun intended.

I realized there are a few kitchen accessories I was missing while cruising along this food journey. I took to Amazon to see if I can could fill in the gaps.

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First things, first. I needed a set of wooden cooking utensils. I have exactly one, solid wooden spoon, but once it hits the sink, its one and done. So, I ordered a set of Bamboo Cooking Utensils after reading about how they are made out of a renewable and sustainable resource.

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The next addition to the kitchen I plan on buying is a set of mixing and prepping bowls. I might hunt around for these, as I am certain that other retailers carry them and I might be able use one of the oodles of coupons I have depending on where I get them.

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And, where there are knives chopping, there should be a finger guard. I saw this one on Amazon. $6 to save my fingers from getting filleted sounds like a steal to me!

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The kitchen is calling—there’s one last yummy meal to be made this week. A Melty Monterey Jack Burger with Zucchini Fries. Better get chopping!

Get your own Blue Apron!

If you are at all curious about Blue Apron, I encourage you to read through their vision for creating a “better, more sustainable food system for everyone.” Blue Apron chefs will portion meals for you and your family. You can receive 3 meals portioned for 2 people for $59.94 each week or, you can select the family portions, which serves 4 people. The family option allows you to choose between 2 or 4 meals a week. Two meals a week is $10 more than portions for 2 at $69.94 and 4 meals costs $139.84 per week. The cost per serving is under $10.

Blue Apron partners with local farmers to guarantee only the freshest ingredients cut, packaged and shipped to you each week. Blue Apron will even recycle your  clean packaging if you print out a free shipping label on their site. They work with UPS to reduce excess waste and to ensure that their product is truly creates a more sustainable Earth and reduces carbon footprint.

Get started today by heading over to Blue Apron to see and taste the difference yourself!

Try HelloFresh!

hellofresh-logoWant to try new meals or add variety to your weeknight menu, but don’t want to think about getting all the ingredients? Give HelloFresh a try! You can select a plan that best aligns with your dietary preferences, schedule and people you’ll be serving. Even though I am single, I selected for 2 figuring that I  could make one meal for dinner and then take the second portion for lunch. They will deliver your HelloFresh box right to your doorstep on the day and time you select, free of charge. You can pause, modify or cancel your subscription at anytime.The menus change weekly. HelloFresh offers 10 new recipes that have been created by their very own team of chefs and dietician each week. You can leave the menu up to HelloFresh or select the meals yourself from the weekly menu.

HelloFresh only uses the freshest ingredients sourced from a variety of independent producers. Never worry about being home to accept the delivery of your meals! Ingredients are kept fresh inside a box layered with isolating wool and ice packs.

Use my referral link to get $40 off your first box! Yes, you read that right—$40 off! I do receive referral credit for each person who signs up by using my link. So, both of us can enjoy this fabulous service! Give it a try today! You won’t be disappointed!

Leave a comment with your email address and you might be one of 4 lucky readers to get your first box free!

 

Jammin’ Wednesdays

I just love this boy oh, so much! He’s music to my ears whenever I hear him. He can serenade me with his voice and charm like no other. I have seen him three times in concert and every time is just simply magical.

He opens his mouth and out comes the language of love and such talent and musicality.

Oh, I am also head over heels for Domino, too—-fear not, folks! He speaks a different language that I am quickly learning!

Nobody But Me by Michael Bublè.

Life As We Know It

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve seen how Hollywood has portrayed life as you grow up and grow into the world—this big, scary world. Well, Hollywood doesn’t exactly portray the world to be so scary. After all, the protagonists of the movies all get their happily ever afters, right?

Well, growing up I dreamed of what life would be like after high school because that seemed so far away and the age 18, it also seemed so very adult. Until I got there…. and I realized that nothing was drastically different for me. Yes, I could now drive a car and could legally sign legal documents for myself. But I still had a curfew like I did “when I was a kid” (merely one day ago) and I still had to listen to my parents.

I dreamed about what college life would be like and had this perception that only the prettiest girls got asked to parties….oh, the parties! And what those would be like! But when I got to college, I realized that my college experience was nothing like what I had seen or thought it to be prior to getting there. However, I made it my job to live up my time while at Salve and have way too much fun.

I dreamed about what life after college would be like and always thought that you went to college, found the love of your life, graduated and then got married, bought your house with the white picket fence and started life together. Boy, oh, boy was I in for a rude awakening when I graduated from Salve and moved back home. It went nothing like that. I graduated, moved home and still didn’t have a job–at least not one that had anything to do with my major. I dreamed I would be working a cushy editorial position for a magazine in the Big Apple. Little did I know that I would move back home, have loads of time on my hands and go to the gym twice a day to work off all the extra fun I had my last semester. Oh, and not only would have all this extra time on my hands, but I would also not have that special someone to share it all with because my reality was that I did not find Mr. Right while at Salve….but I may have kissed a lot of toads! (whoops!)

Once some of the extra weight I ate and drank was shed from my hips, I found myself working for the same gym to make a few bucks until I really figured out what my “real” job would be. Well, my “real” job of choice was still a ways away from becoming a reality…but it was during this time that I decided I would become a teacher.

The next age that I fantasized about was 25. By 25, I thought I would surely have my life put together–it’s after college and I would be in a stable job, maybe making plans to marry. And wouldn’t you know it, that gosh darn reality sure did get me again. 25 was nothing like that. Sure, I was getting on track with becoming a teacher, but as for the rest of it—I was nowhere near getting ready to settle down.

This year is year 30 for me and in a way, its the end of an era. While each birthday is a day to celebrate and be happy….I am looking to this birthday with bittersweet feelings. I think back to the crux of my 20s filled with fond memories, stupid decisions, and great ones in-between. I think ahead of what society has told me I should have done or had figured out by the time I’m 30 and am starting to see the trend. The reality is life is what you make of it. Things happen when they are meant to happen…and THAT is okay. Knowing this still doesn’t take the sting out of moving up a decade, though. Oh, well….ready or not, it’s coming!

Take that Hollywood!

Mom Meets Blue Apron

So, I jumped on yet another bandwagon, but this one was gifted to me by one of my college professors from Salve who recommended I give Blue Apron a try. I set up an account, picked my preferences and scheduled my first delivery–February 10th….one day post snow storm and just in time for my mom’s favorite day–her birthday!

This post contains affiliate links. Each time someone makes a purchase through one of the links, I receive a small commission, which helps to support my blog. I am so thankful for you as my readers and supporters for your eagerness to follow me in my Lifestyle Menagerie. 

My mom was over helping me clear out the remaining snow after a hairy attempt of removing the bulk of it the night before. We were sitting at the island shooting the breeze when I saw that I got a FedEx notification that my package (Blue Apron) was delivered. I didn’t see or notice anyone come up to the house, but whomever it was was prrr-ett-yy sneaky.

I went to my back porch to discover that my Blue Apron delivery had indeed arrived and excitedly carried it into the house.

Much like my experience with HelloFresh, the packing was very much similar. Take a look.

The overall appearance of the box was very clean and well put together. The integrity of the box was unharmed during transit. Nestled right on top were the recipe cards and two other informative cards—one about how Blue Apron will also send you the wine pairings for each of the meals they send you for an added cost and one about the spices they use.

Inside the wrapping, I found all the ingredients for the two family sized meals that arrived with this box: Cashew Chicken Stir Fry with  Tango Mandarins and Jasmine Rice and Pesto Shrimp & Gnocchi with Roasted Broccoli.

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Blue Apron sends little brown paper bag packages for each meal called “Knick Knacks” which has different odds and ends inside it. Here is a look inside one of the Knick Knack bags I got for these meals.

Since we had an inadvertent long weekend due to a significant snow storm, I will be making both of these meals and sharing them with my family. It is actually my mom’s birthday this weekend and she requested the Shrimp & Gnocchi dish for her birthday dinner.

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I decided to get a head start on the dinner by going ahead and prepping everything—the veggies needed to all be washed, dried and cut in one way or another. I will say that you do need patience when prepping all the produce. If you spend the time upfront, you will be happy you did when you go through to put the recipe together later on.

We had our fair share of laughs throughout the creation of dinner that night. Particularly, the directions state that you should be able to do 2 or 3 steps all while one thing is cooking. I haven’t found this step to be successful–yet–but I will tell you, don’t try to be a serious chef. Be prepared to laugh. A lot. And, eat something truly delicious a little while later.

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Bon Appétit!

Get your own Blue Apron!

If you are at all curious about Blue Apron, I encourage you to read through their vision for creating a “better, more sustainable food system for everyone.” Blue Apron chefs will portion meals for you and your family. You can receive 3 meals portioned for 2 people for $59.94 each week or, you can select the family portions, which serves 4 people. The family option allows you to choose between 2 or 4 meals a week. Two meals a week is $10 more than portions for 2 at $69.94 and 4 meals costs $139.84 per week. The cost per serving is under $10.

Blue Apron partners with local farmers to guarantee only the freshest ingredients cut, packaged and shipped to you each week. Blue Apron will even recycle your  clean packaging if you print out a free shipping label on their site. They work with UPS to reduce excess waste and to ensure that their product is truly creates a more sustainable Earth and reduces carbon footprint.

Get started today by heading over to Blue Apron to see and taste the difference yourself!

 

Jammin’ Wednesdays

I opened up my email and spotted one that said something about Michael Bublè—without actually reading it, my first inclination was “OMG!!! HE’S COMING IN CONCERT!”

That got toned down to, “Oh, wait….not in concert. He’s got a new song!”

The email provided a link to play the new song and I thought it was appropriate for how life has unravelled itself recently.

Here’s “I Believe it You” by Michael Bublè.

Perfect Penne Bake

This post contains affiliate links. Each time someone makes a purchase through one of the links, I receive a small commission, which helps to support my blog. I am so thankful for you as my readers and supporters for your eagerness to follow me in my Lifestyle Menagerie. 

I recently had the opportunity to whip up some of my HelloFresh order. As I had previously mentioned in an older post, I wanted to share the prepping and cooking process with you.

Hair tied back, chef hat on, I was ready to go. The recipe card I pulled out was for the Perfect Penne Bake. I collected all the ingredients I would need, as well as the pans and utensils needed for prep and got crackin’!

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The first step was to wash and cut up the produce. I had kale to rinse, peel off the rind and coarsely chop, garlic to mince and a red onion to dice.

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Next, I had to thinly slice and brown the chicken sausage and set aside while I brought the penne to a boil in salted water. After several minutes, I added the coarsely chopped kale into the boiling penne.

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Once the chicken sausage was browned, I removed it from the pan and set it aside. Using the same pan, I added a smidgeon of olive oil, and tossed in the diced red onion. After a few minutes, I added the minced garlic.

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One thing I want to learn is the art of cutting. I want to be able to chop and dice and filet like a chef. They make it look so effortless. I sure was glad that I took the time upfront to prep everything because cutting everything took the longest. It should be noted that I am slightly fearful of using anything sharper than a butter knife, but knowing I was not going to get anywhere fast, I pulled out one of three ceramic knives I got myself.

To the pan, I added the diced tomatoes, tossed the chicken sausage and penne pasta/kale mixture and let it simmer on the stove for a few minutes.

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The last step was to transfer it to an oven-safe pan and add the cheese on top. Let the dish bake in the oven until the cheese melts.

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Overall, the recipe was easy to follow and came together rather easily. I would recommend this dish to anyone who wants to try something new and delicious. If I were to make it again, I would use plain chicken rather than chicken sausage or some other protein. While the chicken sausage was good, it was not my favorite.

I should also note, this meal was portioned for two people. There was plenty of leftover food. I have three filled tupperware containers of food from this meal. I froze two and kept one to heat and eat for lunch.

Try HelloFresh!

hellofresh-logohellofresh-logoWant to try new meals or add variety to your weeknight menu, but don’t want to think about getting all the ingredients? Give HelloFresh a try! You can select a plan that best aligns with your dietary preferences, schedule and people you’ll be serving. Even though I am single, I selected for 2 figuring that I  could make one meal for dinner and then take the second portion for lunch. They will deliver your HelloFresh box right to your doorstep on the day and time you select, free of charge. You can pause, modify or cancel your subscription at anytime.The menus change weekly. HelloFresh offers 10 new recipes that have been created by their very own team of chefs and dietician each week. You can leave the menu up to HelloFresh or select the meals yourself from the weekly menu.

HelloFresh only uses the freshest ingredients sourced from a variety of independent producers. Never worry about being home to accept the delivery of your meals! Ingredients are kept fresh inside a box layered with isolating wool and ice packs.

Use my referral link to get $40 off your first box! Yes, you read that right—$40 off! I do receive referral credit for each person who signs up by using my link. So, both of us can enjoy this fabulous service! Give it a try today! You won’t be disappointed!

Jammin’ Wednesdays

Okay, so I realize that today is not Wednesday. If it were, we would have been gearing up for this massive storm that sent any meteorologist into a weather person’s frenzy. They got everyone all riled up for a little bit of snow. I say little bit–with a mix of sarcasm and some jest because this is still small potatoes compared to the amount of snow that Mother Nature dumped on us a few February’s ago. It snowed fast and furiously and when people tried to plow out, they were stunned at the mere sight of 3 plus feet of snow that greeted them outside their doorstep.

I was scrolling through some music on my computer, trying to get motivated to do all these things that I thought would be nice to do if I ever came across some free time (hah) and stumbled into an old, musical love of mine—Michael Bublé.

This song did everything that I hoped it would and more! Hope it does the same for you!