Trying Hello Fresh (Again) + Giveaway

>> Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It's no secret that we've been pretty busy these last several months. What I haven't told you is that many nights it's felt like we were drowning. I've been really tired, Ada's been cranky, and Stephen's been, well, coaching late nights and Saturdays. Nothing the typical family doesn't deal with -- but it was really taking a toll on family dinner time, which I think made the situation so much worse. Gathering together at the dinner table even just a few nights a week helps our family stay connected and sane.

Truth time: I slacked on making dinners, big time. And the dinners I was making were the same old ones I've been making for the last several years. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But with food -- a rut is never good. We were bored. In desperation I went searching for help one night and then remembered that years ago I had reviewed Hello Fresh when they first unveiled their vegetarian meal options.

So, I decided to sign up for the service myself (so, this is an unsponsored review, just FYI) and see how it's changed over the years. I actually used a code from a friend and got $40 off my first order (more details later). Here's what we've been eating, what we think of the freshness/quality, and if we'll sign on to do more weeks.


Our Meals 


What I noticed first and foremost is that the packaging has majorly improved from when I reviewed them back in 2012. Everything used to be wrapped in plastic. Now much is in recyclable cardboard and some stuff, like kale, is just out within the box. So, that's a huge step in the right direction.

We get our UPS deliveries very late in the day (6PM), so I was concerned that the food wouldn't be fresh/cold enough with the heat wave, but it was just fine with the cold pack. And another change from 2012 is that I didn't need to be around for delivery. Score!

Here's what we got in our box. Everything was separated by recipe and all the instructions were clearly indicated on easy-to-follow recipe cards.

#1: Sweet Potato Ni├žoise Salad

I'm not big on eating a salad for dinner. But with all the variety in this mix -- and the lemon-dijon dressing -- I didn't feel like it was lacking. The veggies included: Sweet Potato, Persian Cucumber, Lemon, Red Onion, Parsley, Garlic, Chickpeas, Green Beans, Dijon Mustard Glass Jar, Grape Tomatoes, Spring Mix. The only thing with this dinner that frustrated me is that I didn't feel like it came with enough greens. This meal took less than half an hour to make and had 22 grams of protein per serving.

You can read more details here.


#2: Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

This one was Stephen's favorite of the bunch. It was bursting with olives, feta, and kale chips. So many different flavors and textures. And then you have the quinoa, which is something that Ada loves to eat. This meal only took about 20 minutes to make and had a nice 17 grams of protein per serving.

You can read more details here.


#3: Rigatoni Al Forno

Oh, man, oh, man. You guys. I loved this recipe. And I don't really like pasta. Roasted eggplant is such a rich ingredient. Add that to big noodles tossed with homemade tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella? AND then you add a crispy topping of panko and parmesan? I was in heaven. This meal took around a half hour to make and boasted a whopping 32 grams of protein per serving.

You can read more details here.


Verdict?


Overall, we were impressed enough with the service to give it another week's try. We should be receiving our food tonight -- which means dinner is already planned! I have had mixed feelings about trying a service like this because I really do know how to meal plan. I've done it successfully for years. I also love and know how to cook my own meals. But I will say that the variety and fresh recipe ideas did inspire me to branch out a bit with the other meals in the week.

I guess I think these sorts of services serve a purpose. Like, right now we are really stretched to the max -- and I need help in this area. Once the baby comes, I could also see this being a good option for the first several months versus getting caught up in a takeout cycle. I also like that there's no huge commitment. If we decide to get back on track on our own, we simply pause/cancel the service by Wednesday. Done.

$40 Off Your First Delivery


Are you interested in giving a meal service like Hello Fresh a try? Like I said, I was resisting this whole trend because I felt like it was too expensive, especially considering I'd need to spend time cooking anyway. But it has turned out to be a bit of fresh air that we've needed to get back into the cooking routine again. It's definitely less expensive than takeout and -- being in my third trimester -- it helps motivate me to quickly throw something together so we can get back at family dinners.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can get $40 off your first delivery.

Visit Hello Fresh and use code YCEAHR at the checkout.

Or Win a FREE Box


I also have a FREE box of food to give away to one lucky winner.

  • Leave a comment below telling me what meal services you've tried or how you've otherwise fought your way out of a food rut. 
  • I'll need your email address or some other way to contact you. 
  • I'll announce the winner next Wednesday, June 8th.

More soon!


Many of you seemed interested in this whole concept when I posted my meals to Instagram. I'll probably do another post on this week's delivery soon. I'll cover more about how we're fitting it into our tight food budget, as well as how we're modifying the meals to meet the needs of an athlete, a third trimester pregnant woman, and a hungry preschooler.

I may also pause my service and try out Blue Apron or another service sometime soon to compare. Do you have any suggestions?

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