We Tried Home Chef for a Month..

Meal delivery services are pretty popular.. most popular probably being Hello Fresh and then Blue Apron. I have tried the first but not the latter. Last month, I was watching a youtuber I enjoy (KatekaGood) and she mentioned that her and her husband had teamed up with Home Chef and offered viewers a discount code. Because of this; I decided to try it. For a few reasons. 1) I was feeling lazy and uninspired as far as cooking new meals every other night and 2) It’s discounted, so why not?!

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As I had mentioned before we had tried Hello Fresh almost a year and a half ago and only did one week before canceling our subscription. Which was for a few reasons… it seems expensive.. but also, the food felt too fancy for us. Which is always a problem for Andrew and I… as, we are both pretty picky eaters. Although, we may give Hello Fresh a chance again.. we clearly last longer with Home Chef. So Here are our thoughts on it.

You begin the process taking a short survey on your food preferences and then they present you with the menu options they are doing that week, that fit those preferences. You can swap out those if you like something else on that weeks menu. However, we quickly learned that doing that will change your base price. So, we stopped doing that and just had whatever the recommend meals were. Which was a small con for me but was ultimately the big factor for Andrew to have us stop our subscription.  Anyways, after you do that and pick a weekly delivery date. Your Meals arrive in an insulated box and you take care of your meal planning from there. We selected 2 meals a week.

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I am going to start with the Pros of the service.

  •  The fact that we were trying meals we would have never made before and honestly NONE of the meals we had were bad meals.
  • They weren’t super fancy meals, each meal had an ingredient that I didn’t like food/ flavor wise, but could easily be taken out or substituted without the meal falling apart.
  • The Meals were super easy and pretty quick to make.
  • Although, this wasn’t our intention Andrew and I ending up making the meals together and it became a nice bonding activity for us and something I looked forward to on those nights.

The Cons

  • The price changing when selecting different meals
  • Small Portions – The meals usually come with one main protein and one side dish. I understand that the meals are probably made to typical serving size and all that. But normally I get full super quickly, like embarassingly quick; and I found myself still very hungry after the meals.

 

The Price overall is up for debate in regards to Andrew and I . I personally think we saved money as we only spent $50 bucks a week on meals for two of us. I will save, since serving sizes were small, we didn’t have leftover so we still had to “spend money” for meals on days we weren’t using the service provided meals.  Which when we normally make our 2 meals a week, we have leftovers to cover those days.. but we also spend about $150 a week. So, Andrew will have to finish the budget for August to let me know if we ended up saving money or not. BUT for now the subscription is canceled. However, we did enjoy it and if we were not on a budget, we would probably continue to use it. We also will be continuing to make the meals we learned to make this month.

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My Favorite Meal we made was the Pork Tenderloin with Pesto Cream Sauce  and Andrew’s was a tie between the Chicken Stuffed Tacos and Tortilla Chicken.

If you are interested in using Home Chef you can use this link to get $30 off your first order.

 

Patriotic Cupcakes Recipe

As a Mom to a 2 year old & almost 4 month old baby. I am always looking for quick and easy recipes to make… but also, ways to elevate them and make them my own. I want to try and make this series, but not sure what to call it yet.  But for the purpose of making this quick and time efficient as possible for the parent that doesn’t have a lot of time to make everything from scratch this recipe is for you! Obviously, if you want to make the cake from scratch go right ahead.

Full Disclosure though, the frosting I chose for this cupcake is not the easiest.. but it definitely isn’t hard. So of course, if you want to make a buttercream or use the canned frosting.. go right ahead!

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What you will need..

  • White Boxed Cake
  • Red Pop Rocks – Cherry or Strawberry which ever flavor you prefer
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Blue Gel Food Dye
  • Purple Gel Food Dye
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Blue Sprinkles (Optional)
  • Electric Handheld Mixer (optional)
  • Double Broiler (optional, sort of)

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Now Let’s Begin!

I began with a white boxed cake mix. I chose white because that way it would be easiest to get a nice blue cupcake once baked.  Follow the instructions for the cake on the box and then add your food dye. Make sure to have a regular blue and purple GEL dye. Add a decent a mount of blue dye and then a drop or two of purple. Adding the purple ensures it will stay a darker blue. Once you have baked the cupcakes make sure to put them in the fridge to chill as you make the frosting.

The frosting I used is a Marshmallow frosting. What i like about this frosting is it is light and airy and not overly sweet.  If you have a double broiler than use it here, if not than use two pots on top of each other like a double broiler (be careful) or a heat tempered glass bowl like people use to melt chocolate.

The Recipe

  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/3 Cup Cold Water
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 Tbs. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Mini Marshmallows
  1. Bring water to boil in pot make sure it’s less than half the pot you don’t want the water to touch the bottom of your double broiler/second pot/Glass bowl.
  2. Add Egg Whites, Sugar, Cold Water and Corn Syrup in the pot/bowl that will go on top and mix together. Than lower heat to Med-High and place pot/bowl on top. Using an Electric Mixer (you COULD do this by with a whisk but it will take a lot of arm power and A LOT more time) start mixing the ingredients together until it forms stiff peaks and appears meringue like.
  3. Take off heat and add Marshmallows and Vanilla and Mix together until Marshmallows have melted. Then let sit for a few minutes to cool down.

 

Once everything has cooled down you can follow this extra step. Cut small hole in middle of the cupcakes and add some pop rocks to the middle and then frost the top for a little extra surprise. Or you can just frost the top of the cupcakes and sprinkle the pop rocks on top, as well as the optional blue sprinkles.

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Weekly New Meal #1: Crockpot Chicken & Biscuits

In my last post of 2017, I posted my 2018 Goals Checklist (Here) and two of the goals on their was to Plan out our meals and to try at least one new meal a week.

Now I am going to be honest… I do not think we will try one new meal a week, every week. BUT I am sure going to try. The goal behind this, is because Andrew and I are picking eaters and also, being pregnant and a mom to a toddler. I find it hard to always find the time and energy to constantly think of new meals to cook. So, usually we have the same meals every week. Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas, Spaghetti, Cheesy Pasta, Iowa Chilly Soup (Recipe Here), Frozen Pizza, Tacos & Spanish Rice or take-out.  By doing this I hoping to expand not only our palettes, but also what foods start making it into our weekly rotation. Also, to hold me a little bit more accountable, I thought I would share my review of the meals that we try. That way if you are interested in trying them out yourself you can!

Our First meal I tried was Crockpot Chicken and Biscuits from this cookbook CROCK-POT® Recipe Collection that one of my best friends got me for Christmas, since she knew I was looking for more recipes Crockpot recipes specifically. I picked this because it was SUPER simple. Reminded me of Chicken Pot Pie, which I love and I knew wouldn’t be TOO crazy for Andrew.

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As you can see, it’s a 4 ingredient recipe and I was super stoked about it, but as I added the items into the crockpot, I was quickly losing hope in how good it was going to taste.

First off, if you have a normal sized crockpot the portions in this recipe are miniscule! Barely scraping the bottom. Just to keep in mind and it was very clear to me that with the ingredients provided.. It was going to be a very bland meal.

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Andrew came home, I served it to him and was pretty much correct with my originally assumption. The meal held ZERO flavor. The best part would have been the biscuits. Andrew, however did like the meal and ate his plateful. I however finished one and picked at the other. It just didn’t sit right with me.

With that being said, I love trying new meals that weren’t a complete fail because I love thinking of ways on how I can improve them and make them my own recipe and with this one I have already thought of a couple simple fixes and cannot wait to re-try with my spin on it. If it goes well, I’l definitely share it on here!

Have you tried this recipe before? If so, what were your thoughts? Let me know if you plan on trying it too!

Grandma’s Iowa “Chilly” Soup Recipe

It’s the first day of Fall! (or Autumn)

Before it was trendy, Fall has been my favorite season, for several reasons. I love the change in leaves, and weather. I love wearing sweaters & boots, getting cozy inside the house. The smells the surround fall, fresh and crisp, while being warm & welcoming. All the holidays so close together, spending time with family. Oh and My Birthday is at the end of October.

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BUT one of my most favorite things about Fall… is this soup! Although, I make this year round… my Grandma would make Iowa Chilly Soup once the weather started cooling down. It was (and still is in our home) a family favorite and could probably even be called my Great-Grandma’s Iowa Chilly Soup.. since she was the one who taught my Grandma how to make it.  I should warn you, although it is based off a Chili it is a SOUP and even though you can definitely add to this soup, the original recipe does not have any spice to it.

It’s a quick and simple recipe and takes anywhere from 40 minutes – 1 hour to make.

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– What You Will Need –

  • 1lb Ground beef
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 large can of red kidney beans
  • 1 large can of Tomato Soup
  • (optional) Noodles
  • (optional) corn
  • 1 Large Pot
  • 1 Med-Large Size Pan
  1. Start off by filling your the bottom of your pot with about 2 cups of water (enough so that your kidney beans and onions can just barely float above the water). Then place the pot on the stove and set the heat to high to get the water boiling.unnamed-4
  2. Then start cutting your Onions.  Once, your onions are diced, add them to the water.
  3. After your onions have been added to the water, drain your kidney beans and add them to the wait. Turn heat down to Med-High and wait until the onions are clear.
  4. While you are waiting for the onions to become clear. Get your pan and ground beef out and start browning the meat.
  5. Once the Onions are clear and the meat is still browning, add in the Tomato Soup and Stir.
  6. When the ground beef is cooked all the way through, drain the excess fat and add the ground beef to the pot. Stir in and reduce heat to Med. Stirring Occasionally for about 5 – 10 Minutes.
  7. From here the soup is ready to serve, if you have a pot that is nonstick. Turn heat down to simmer and place a lid on the pot, while the soup is being served.

Although, not required another thing my Grandma would add on the side for the soup was either Original Fish Crackers or a plain piece of bread lathered in butter. It may sound weird but dipping the bread in the soup, tastes divine and is a good way to start enjoying the soup while you are waiting for it to cool down.

I hope you enjoy this Recipe this Fall/Winter and let me know if you end up making it! You can always tag me in your homemade versions on Instagram @whatupKT_.