Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Meal Kit Review

*When you're done reading, scroll all the way to the bottom to find out how you can save on your first meal kit!*

I'm very excited to share my experience you about four meal kits that I have tried over the last few weeks. As a teacher, I find it so hard to eat healthy throughout the year. I always find myself running around in the mornings tossing food into my lunch bag that isn't healthy. I grab whatever is easiest for me to prepare and probably eat on the go during the normal fast-paced day of a teacher. My biggest struggle lies in the fact that I am only cooking for me. Anytime I make something, 90% of the time, I am left with a meal that I really don't want the next day. I'm not a huge fan of leftovers. It's difficult for me to find something that I would want to eat a couple of times in the same week. As a result of all of the above, I have let my health fall to the wayside. Food is one of the simplest things I can do to help keep me sharp day in and day out. I have longed to find something that is easy, delicious, and won't leave me feeling gross after I eat a meal. 

So, here I am to give you an honest review of the meal kits that I've tried. There are a lot of meal kit delivery companies popping up, some better than others. Each box had three meals meant to feed two people for the week. Only having to feed myself, I was excited to have the opportunity to save some serious money. I had a code for all of the boxes that gave me a $30 offer for each kit. That meant that I got six meals for myself for four-ish weeks for $120. Without the offers, each box averaged around $60 for three meals. I normally spend the same amount for about two weeks worth of groceries. I still have to go out and buy essentials as well as breakfast foods, but it's still a heck of a lot better than shopping at a grocery store for all meals. Are you ready to find out what I liked and didn't like about my meal kits? Here we go! 

<<<Hello Fresh>>>
I will say that at first glance, I was in love with Hello Fresh. The meals (meats excluded) were placed in their own bag. All I had to do was grab the meal bag and whatever protein is included in the dish. The produce was incredibly fresh, and there were a lot of spices and  add-ons that I hadn't experienced in cooking. I enjoyed every single recipe in this box. I'm mad at myself for not taking any pictures. Every meal was so delicious. I don't think there's a single thing I didn't like about it. Hello Fresh was my first ever meal kit and by far my favorite of the 4 that I tried.

I was a little hesitant with the pork chop meal. I don't normally enjoy pork or cooked broccoli. It was packed with so much flavor that I forgot I was eating pork.

The kale and pepper hash was a meal that I was able to stretch with leftovers. I LOVED it. Especially with a nice little dollop of sour cream on top. 

The steak and orzo meal was a huge win. I'll eat steak any day of the week. Like multiple times a day because I'm a carnivore and meat (especially steak) is the best. I had never had orzo before but liked it quite a bit. This was the first meal I had that led me towards eating tomatoes on a weekly basis. If you know me, you know I loathe tomatoes. I don't like them in anything unless it's in sauce form. It ended up working really well with the orzo.

<<<Blue Apron>>>
This one was not my favorite in terms of the packaging. Everything was tossed into the box. All of the produced seemed fresh, but moisture from all of the ingredients caused what few bags they had in the box to become wet. I wish I had had the ease of having all ingredients in one bag like Hello Fresh. As much as the packaging bummed me out, I was very surprised with how much I enjoyed the meals. All of them were great. I ended up being able to stretch the pasta meal into 3 servings. Yeah!

<<<Marley Spoon>>>
Marley Spoon is a meal kit by Martha Stewart. The biggest turn-off for this meal kit was the fact that a lot of the recipes to choose from are repeated throughout the month of kits. I was hoping for more of a selection with foods that I liked. I finally managed to choose my 3. I really enjoyed the packaging aside from the fact that the dairy ingredients were separate from the meal bags. Apparently I didn't dig far enough down under the ice packs and missed some cheese. 

Y'all. I was so sad from the very first meal that I made. :( :( :( It was lemon butter chicken with an arugula, radicchio, and shallot salad. I have had arugula before but never radicchio, so I didn't know what to expect with the salad. It turned out sooooooo bitter with the ingredients all put together along with its dressing. Coupled with that, the chicken was very under-seasoned. I'm talking flour and a little bit of salt under-seasoned. It was incredibly bland. Normally I save all of my leftovers to have one to two extra meals. With this one I didn't save a single part of the meal because I hated it that much. 

Fast forward to my second meal: mac and cheese with a lemony salad. Okay, I think, you can't ruin mac and cheese....or so I thought. The sauce was a little strange. It called for mustard. I gave it a shot. It wasn't the most horrible thing I've ever had, but it also wasn't what I wanted from mac and cheese. The salad on the other hand. Don't even get me started. Like the other meal, it had very few ingredients and little to no seasoning. The "dressing" was simply juice from half and 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt and pepper. All I tasted was the oil. I chose not to save the leftovers for this meal either.

I didn't even attempt my last meal. It wasn't worth the time and effort I've put into every meal to just hate it and throw it away. 

The only saving grace for Martha was that the ingredients were packaged very nicely. Overall, I'm very disappointed in what I got. I will not be continuing with Marley and Spoon in any way in the future. Huge bummer.

<<<Home Chef>>>
I will have to say that opening the Home Chef package was much better than opening the Blue Apron box. Like Hello Fresh, the ingredients, save for the meat, was separated into these cute little bags. I just had to reach for a bag, grab my protein, and voila, I was ready to begin. I enjoyed all of the meals in this kit. Recipes are very easy to follow. I ended up having the leftovers from each meal. They were surprisingly delicious reheated.

Final Thoughts
My best take-away from this experience is that I ate more vegetables in a month than I probably would in a year. I'm not a huge vegetable/fruit person, especially when it comes to foods like tomatoes, which a lot of the recipes called for. However, I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced some really delicious food. I highly encourage anyone who has thought about it to start your meal kit delivery service TODAY. I have posted some links below to save some $$$ on your first kit.

To receive $40 off your first Hello Fresh box, please follow the link below: 

To receive $30 off your first Home Chef box, please follow the link below:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

7 Days of Wishlist Savings!

Friends, it is finally that time of year to offer my 7 Days of Wishlist Savings! Each summer I offer 7 heavily wish listed items from my store at a great discount. Continue reading below to find out what those items are this year. Each one will be offered at 30% off list price and it includes all versions of that items (including "build your own"). Click the links to be taken to my store for a better look and description.

SUNDAY 7/17:
Word Wall Headers with Sight Word Cards (All versions)
Cost: $2.45
"Build Your Own": $3.85

MONDAY 7/18:
Teacher Survival Binder (All versions)
Cost: $4.20
"Build Your Own": $5.25

Class Jobs (All versions)
Cost: $1.40
"Build Your Own": $2.80

Apple Activities
Cost: $1.75
Word Work Labels (All versions)
Individual: $2.10
Bundle: $18.20
"Build Your Own": $3.32

FRIDAY 7/22:
Thinking Maps
Cost: $0.87
"Build Your Own": $2.27

Fairytale PBL
Cost: $2.10

Friday, July 1, 2016

Five for Friday!

Another week of summer gone. One week closer to school starting back up. I might normally say I'm sad about the days going by so quickly, but I am so excited for the next year to start. I have mentioned before that I am changing grade levels. It's going to be a huge change, but I can't wait to start my new adventure. I have lots of fun things included in this post, so read on to see what my week as looked like. 

It is totally necessary to bold and ALL CAPS that title. If you haven't heard of "Get Your Teach On," it is a two-day conference put on by the fabulous Hope King and Deanna Jump. There were a bunch of other wonderful teacher authors who also shared a lot of great wisdom with two giant rooms full of teachers ready to be poured into. 

Some of my biggest take-aways came from the very last session where we talked about the top 10 ways to get our teach on:
10. What's your hook?
9. Get off your seat and move your feet.
8. Never underestimate the power of relationships. 
7. It's not all fun and games. Find a balance between rigor and fun. 
6. Good vibrations. "The more we elevate one another, the stronger we all become." - Kim Bearden
5. Fire it up! "Be the energy you want to attract."
4. Be unpredictable! 
3. Choose JOY.
2. Go for it! Don't miss the moment by staying inside your comfort zone.
1. Don't hide behind "I can't."

I highly encourage all of you, if you haven't already, to find those positive teachers who uplift on a daily basis and model after them. We are in this together, y'all! We have to find those people who are doing this for the kids, not for themselves. 

I finished catching up on Grey's Anatomy last week, so I decided to move on to another series that I left behind awhile ago: PLL. I feel kind of like a high schooler watching it. I can't help it, though. I always get sucked in. 
After this series I think I'm all caught up on old series that I neglected to finish or keep up with many years ago. Any new suggestions are welcome! 

Alright, I decided on a new book for this week. It's called Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I knew I wanted to read more of Flynn's books as soon as I finished Gone Girl. And I just saw not two minutes ago that Dark Places was made into a movie that was released last year. WHAT?! I must watch it as soon as I'm done with the book. I also discovered that Mary Kubica has a book that I haven't heard of before called Don't You Cry. That will be next up on my list.  

Have any of y'all done pen pals before? Now that I will be in third grade, I really want to try doing pen pals this year. A colleague of mine and I met some great teachers at the GET YOUR TEACH On and talked with them about the possibility of doing pen pals with each other. They are from Indiana, and I think it would be awesome for my kiddos to experience a place unlike Texas. I found this super cute idea from a fellow Texas teacher for putting all the letters together at the end of the year. If you have done pen pals in the past, did you like it? Was it easy to get your kids excited about it? What did you have your kids write about (specific prompts or did they write about anything)? I would love any input.

I am very interested in starting a focus wall for this next year. It would be a great to have everything in one central place. I would like to set it up like the one below but add social studies and writing with it. Do any of you use a focus wall? Have you noticed any difference in your class?

Happy Friday, y'all!
P.S. Make sure you are following my store Kinder Happenings
I will be having a sale July 3rd-July 5th!