HelloFresh? Hello Tummy!! Discovering Cooking with My Hubby! (A review and discount coupon)

My husband and I are not the Chef’s in our family.  That title goes to my brother who has appeared on the Food Network with Guy Frieri and inherited all of the cooking skills.   Everything we prepared was quite basic and many times consisted of more the “heat & serve” variety than true, from scratch cooking.

This past year we have been making an effort to cook more and in general be healthier.  We planted a salad and herb garden, but didn’t really know what to do with all the herbs.  We are not the most creative or skilled in the kitchen so we end up in a rut and soon tire of trying.

Enter HelloFresh! (Use code N4UXCY for $20 off)

A few weeks ago I received a Living Social email about a service providing everything included meal kits containing all fresh ingredients and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare.  They claimed that the recipes were easy to prepare and each meal took less than 30 minutes.  Hmmm, I had my doubts, but it was a good deal and what could be the harm in giving it a try.  Worst case scenario, we feed it to the dogs and cancel (which you can do by email instead of getting the “hard sell” on the phone).

The Website – The site is well designed.  It is clean, simple, without all the flash and irrelevant extras that can be overwhelming.  I found it to be very intuitive and easy to navigate.  I would like to see more nutritional information listed with the meals as I am reviewing next week’s selections.  However that information is provided on the recipe cards that come in your kit, so it’s a small quibble.

Meal Selection – Whenever I think of receiving goods using a subscription system, I cringe.  My mind flashes back to Columbia House and trying to beat the clock mailing the postcard holding delivery of the selection of the month.  How many of you ended up with tapes/CD’s you didn’t want and never listened to? (If you’re under 30, you may not get this reference, ask your parents)

HelloFresh makes it simple.  You receive 3 meals automatically every Thursday by doing nothing, but there are 2 alternates to swap out.  Personally I love this, because I hate seafood.  Changing your meals is as simple as unchecking one box and checking another.  It took all of 30 seconds to log in, change my selection and resume my life.

You can also skip a week, pause your subscription, or select vegetarian meals.

Delivery – As promised, when we arrived home on Thursday, our box was waiting for us.  On the outside it looks like a plain brown box.  Once you open it, you will find insulated padding about an inch thick lining the entire box.  Dispersed throughout the box we found 4 re-usable gel packs keeping everything cool.

I would like to see deliveries made earlier in the week.  The convenience of having these “kits’ delivered is reduced by feeling the need to cook them before they go bad.  This means that at least one or two have to be cooked over the weekend when many people like to eat out.  I think is especially true of couples like me and my husband.  Monday or Tuesday deliveries would better suit the needs of a working household looking for easy to prepare healthier meals after a long day at work.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, the meals!  If you are like me, you wouldn’t be able to tell a bag of fresh Rosemary from Thyme.  Thankfully, you don’t have to!  Everything was pre-measured, clearly labeled telling you not only what it was, but what meal it went with, and sealed.

The “recipe” cards that come with each meal are so much more than just your Grandma’s recipe cards. They start with a clear picture of everything you should have in front of you then tell you how to proceed step by step in both words and pictures.  The cards are over sized (think half a letter size paper), sturdy and laminated.  The lamination comes in handy when you get them wet or dirty, they wipe clean.

Our first box contained Pasta with Basil, Spinach and Garlic; Chicken with Mushrooms; and, Balsamic Steak with Garlic Zucchini.  They were all delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Each recipe took 30 – 45 minutes from start to finish, but I think that will become shorter as we learn how to chop, dice and slice more efficiently (I think I’ve run on long enough without reviewing each meal individually, though I most certainly could).


My husband had so much fun making them; he pulled chicken breasts from the freezer to recreate the Chicken w/Mushrooms the next day.

We receive the 2 person meal plan which is $69.99 per week or $11.66 per meal.  That may seem a little high for some, but what you are receiving is more than just “food”.

For $11.66 a meal per person, you are receiving fresh ingredients, a complete meal kit, a delicious variety of dishes delivered to your door and the ability to prepare them yourself and taste like they were from a restaurant.  No shopping, no measuring, no guessing.  Not to mention it’s like having a cooking class in your kitchen three times a week.

We are trying things we never would have thought of or even thought we would like.  Balsamic Vinegar Steak? Say what?!?!  Much less thought we could cook these dishes in our own kitchen in the time it took to watch the news.

Best of all, we are enjoying learning new things and having fun doing it together!

Feel free to comment below with your own experience or questions about ours.

My Sisters in Law and the Wizard of Oz

So, when I was ordering my sister-in-law an awesome pair of pink shoes with little shiny, silver spikes, it occurred to me that my Sisters in Law are just like the Wizard of Oz!

Let me explain…

I have Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (who lives in Maine).  She is the sweet, kind-hearted sister in law that I just refer to as “my sister” because  I love her so much.  I am so fortunate to finally have sister in my life and to have her is awesome.  
The anime picture above is for her because she loves anime.

And then there is the Wicked Witch of the West 
(who, concidentally lives in California). 
It is fitting that Baum didn’t giver her a name because we never bother talking about her, so a name is irrelevant as it applies to this allegory.  She is a pointy chinned, obsessive, vindictive shrew who delights in making others miserable.  

She even has her own Winged Monkey who is apparently intelligent enough to speak and follow her commands, but not enough so to formulate intelligent thought.

Too bad a simple bucket of water won’t dispense of her…

Emotionally Abusive Relationships, Not Just for Spouses

While the author of this list aimed it at romantically involved partners, emotional abuse can come in many forms from many people;  Siblings, In-laws, Parents, Friends 

In my case the emotional abuse came from mother and was made more damaging by the abandonment of my father.   I realized that the only way I was ever going to be healthy & happy was to sever all ties completely.  There is no law saying you have to put up with it because it’s your parent.  If that were the case, men wouldn’t be able to divorce their entire family and start all over again with out a care in the world.

It took me a long time to accept that just because you couldn’t see the bruises, didn’t mean the pain was any less real.

Here is the list of 10 signs you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship, it doesn’t take all 10, even  1 is reason to worry.  I had 6 of these with my mother (2,3,5,7,8,9):

No matter how attractive, old or smart a person is, he or she can be a victim of emotional abuse. Here are some signs of an abusive partner or spouse. By Merely Me 

  1. Emotionally abusive spouses want you all to themselves and make an effort to have it that way. They do not understand that you have a life outside of the relationship – one that includes family and friends. It is healthy and normal for you to hang out with other people as well, so if your partner prevents you from doing so, this may be a sign of an emotionally abusive relationship. 
  2. If someone calls you derogatory names, even if they say they are joking, they mean to hurt you and keep you in line.  Abusers sometimes cover themselves by blaming you, saying that you need to lighten up or that you are too sensitive.  You are not too sensitive; you are feeling in your gut that this is not the way you should be treated.  Abusers have a way of making you think that this is normal behavior and that it is you who has the problem. 
  3. If your significant other always blames everything on someone else, namely you, this may be a bad sign. If he or she throws a tantrum or attacks you verbally, he or she will say it was because of you. It is not a sign of a healthy relationship if your partner never takes responsibility and never admits to being at fault. 
  4. Not all abusers use drugs or drink excessive alcohol, but many do. An addiction can lead to erratic  and inappropriate behavior. Substance abuse can be a gateway to emotional abuse and an unhealthy relationship.   
  5. If you feel fear around your partner or spouse, there is something very wrong. Abusers may try to intimidate you with violence, dominance or power tactics. For example, intentionally putting you in possibly harmful situations, or showing you their gun collection and stating they are not afraid to use them. 
  6. This goes along with the isolation technique, where abusers want you all to themselves. If you do go somewhere or do something without your partner, or even if he or she goes along but others are also there, an emotional abuser will punish you later. An abuser may shout, insult, threaten or worse, all because you were not exclusively hanging out with him or her. 
  7. An emotional abuser goes through life feeling entitled to be treated like royalty, and wants you to be a willing servant. He or she expects you to do everything and will not help at all.   
  8. A prominent trait of abusers is their jealousy. An abusive partner or spouse is often jealous of you, other people and even your dreams and goals. Their jealousy and rage over intangible things like your aspirations stem from the lack of control they feel over those aspects of your life. 
  9. An abuser is a grand manipulator and will sulk, threaten to leave, and emotionally punish you for not going along with his or her idea of how things should be.  An abuser will try to make you feel guilty any time you exert your will and assert what is right for you.  At times the abuser may appear to be apologetic and loving but his “remorse” doesn’t last long; the abuse begins again when the abuser feels he or she has you back.
  10. If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there is a good chance that eventually things may get physical.  At first, the abuser might pull your hair, push you, or grab you so hard that you bruise;  these may only be warning signs that things can escalate further. A partner with an explosive temper who has reacted with violence before (breaking things, punching the wall, getting into altercations with others) may be likely to physically abuse you 

It is important to remember that while emotional abuse is often thought of as being committed by a man against a woman, women can also emotionally abuse men with whom they are in a relationship, or the abuse may occur between members of a same-sex relationship.  Emotional abuse in any relationship is not acceptable.