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DianaB

Cooking from Meal Kits (Hello Fresh, Purple Carrot, Gousto, and so on)

46 posts in this topic

I did not take a picture of the contents of this week's TB12 Purple Carrot box because I was running late and also was annoyed that some of the produce was not up to snuff and/or was in wrong amounts.  I sent a message to customer service so I will see what their response is.  The first box had one not so fresh vegetable (which I complained about and they got back to me quickly).  All the other boxes have been great, quality-wise, so this box really surprised me.

 

Anyway, by default, I made the one recipe for which enough of the ingredients were in good shape (actually, the cilantro was not but I happened to have cilantro in the fridge anyway, so it worked out): Chickpea dumplings with curry spiked tomato sauce and mustard greens.  The dumplings are made with garbanzo flour, vegan yogurt, cilantro, onion, oil, baking powder and salt.  They were very tender.  I did not think I was going to like this, but I ended up eating almost the entire plate of food.  I have more for lunch tomorrow.  More mustard greens would have been nice but I had to really pick through what they sent me as about half of them were wilted/slimy/yellowed.  Hopefully this is a one-time bad week for the produce with this program.  

 

Oddly, the photo on the recipe card shows green peas scattered over the top of the dish, but there is no mention of them in the recipe!  Maybe the recipe developers decided peas are too polarizing :-)

 

591271f94ce69_curryspikedtomatosaucewithchickpeadumplingsandmustardgreens.thumb.jpg.d7582415e2742b7b15706951119dc47d.jpg

 

 

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I still receive purple carrot emails but I adamantly remain untempted.  Their kits did not do much for me.

 

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Yeah, I have to walk for my groceries too, but the prices on these services still turn me off. I don't eat much, and a four mile walk each week keeps me up quite nicely and much more inexpensively. Plus, I get to pick from what looks good and/or is on sale. So while home delivered kits might be in my ballpark, I think they are aiming for a wealthier demographic, and I wish them well.

 

As far as the ads I've seen where they claim they actually save money over buying your own ingredients. I call BS, especially if you already have an extensive pantry of spices.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I got an email this morning that they are crediting me for the full retail value of this week's box due to my dismay at some of the produce quality in this shipment, so I am satisfied with that resolution.

 

Tonight I made yellow beet posole with salsa verde (additional beet obtained on my lunch walk since they only sent me one small beet in the shipment).  The stew used both hominy and amaranth to thicken it.  

 

5913bc7d0cea4_springbeetposole.thumb.jpg.bc4e39983f75def1919d38f9c042c184.jpg

 

There are plenty of leftovers for lunches.

 

My main objectives in using this service are to 1. give me interesting ideas for vegan meals that I can pull off quickly during the week after getting home from work pretty late and 2. cut down on mid-week food waste.  I am actually saving money, and am definitely throwing out less food, but I am very aware that my situation is different from most folks in that I feed more people Friday-Sunday than I do Monday-Thursday.  I have basically eliminated shopping for weekdays completely (well, except for that beet today haha), and now just shop for the weekends.   However, once the local summer produce starts coming in, I will pause this service for a while to take advantage of that.

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I have been stuck in a terrible food rut for a long time - years, really - I love to cook for others but not so much for myself. As a singleton, though I am not home for dinner at least two or three nights a week, I have been wanting to inject some interest and variety into my solo meals. I confess I lurk on the dinner thread and lust after meals posted by many of you, but I guess I am just too lazy to turn lust to inspiration and ultimately to action. I thought maybe having someone else decide what I would cook might shake things up a bit.

 

After a few weeks of looking at the various meal kit menus, I decided to try Hello Fresh, taking advantage of the half off discount on the first box. I am lacto-ovo vegetarian and their veggie recipes are quite appealing to me - they have menus for three or four weeks out and there was not a dish that didn't sound good. My first box arrived last evening and I cooked the first meal, Grilled Cheese and Veggie Jumble, tonight.

 

i can't add too much to the packaging discussion, but I did like the way each individual meal was packed:

 

IMG_2398.thumb.JPG.b0f14f4c90c5a5385b2adac7afc406d7.JPG

 

it appeals greatly to my sense of order.

 

All of the produce was of good quality, including the perfectly ripe, unblemished avocado:

 

IMG_2400.thumb.JPG.883227bdf449b328290d8dc1af280890.JPG

 

(Apologies for the orientation - I cannot figure out how to rotate it!)

 

The recipe calls for for the sweet potatoes and onion to be roasted, tomatoes and avocado to be chopped and tossed with a bit of the cilantro and chili, half of the cheese to be sliced and crisped in a hot oiled pan, and all of that mixed together and dressed with a chimichurri using cilantro, garlic, chili, lemon and olive oil. It made two decent portions, one of which I packed up to take to work for tomorrow's lunch.

 

IMG_2405.thumb.JPG.cebcb2472d41b0a8341a06448620d927.JPG

 

Total time from opening the box to sitting down to eat was 40 minutes - just a bit longer than their estimate of 35 minutes. In all, quite a satisfying meal, despite a strong presence of flavors I usually avoid (both cilantro and chilis). The thing that appealed to me most about the recipe was the cheese - they had me at halloumi. Looking forward to the next one, scheduled for Sunday evening.

 

 

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Patty

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@patris that looks really tasty!

 

Last night I made the last TB12 Purple Carrot meal of the week.  I saved it for Friday night because my niece wanted to eat it and my husband was on a plane home from Italy so I knew there would be enough for my sister, my niece and me.  My nephew had chicken parmesan :-)   Vegetable pad thai with kelp noodle salad and sesame roasted broccoli. I plonked the sambal on top of my bowl and my sister's bowl rather than putting it in the sauce since my niece is sensitive to spicy foods.

 

59171ccda346c_padthai2.thumb.jpg.e681a3e86ceef87f53f45913ed573612.jpg

 

We all loved this, and there is TONS left over for lunches on Monday.

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Posted (edited)

All of you seem to be getting much nicer meals and much more interesting ingredients than I found when I was using the Chef's Plate service.  I am still up for a trial of Hello Fresh but have yet to pull the trigger.  I have not checked on it but I am led to believe their delivery day is Wednesday in my area and that would not work for me.  


Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I'm in. I'll blame @patris, her description of her food rut fits me all too well, and seeing a real life example of the box content and the final dish was inspirational.

Finding a Groupon for $40 off the first box, plus $20 off the second helped.:D

I'm doing the Hello Fresh "Classic" omnivore plan 3 meals/2 person per week.

First delivery is May 22nd.

 


Edited by DesertTinker (log)
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Formerly "Quiltguy"

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Thanks for the compliment, @liamsaunt - your dishes are always stunning and your photography is worlds better than mine will ever be! @Anna N, when I signed up I was assigned a delivery day, but after the first delivery I was able to change my delivery date to suit me. Not sure it would work the same for you, but It might be worth a shot. And @DesertTinker, I'm glad you gleaned some inspiration from my post!

 

An unexpected obligation tomorrow evening meant cooking both remaining dishes tonight to clear the fridge before the next delivery on Thursday, as I will not be home for dinner Monday through Wednesday. First up, toasted brown rice and veggie bowl.

 

IMG_2409.thumb.JPG.f866b4bb0656fec47191dd0c5324413c.JPG

 

This was the least appealing dish for me, mostly because it lacks dairy, my favorite food group. Carrots, green beans and corn sautéed, brown rice sizzled with ginger (which I love in sweet dishes but not so much in savory), garlic and scallions, and the whole thing cooked together with a bit of soy sauce and topped with toasted cashews, sesame seeds and scallion greens. Fried rice, basically. Not too bad, but not something I'd be likely to make for myself. Packed up for lunches, which will be quite filling - a bit shy of 380 grams per portion.

 

 

IMG_2411.thumb.JPG.b9d45b6b919b72ae7f47db99d5d27fea.JPG

 

Next up was Baby Portobello and Orecchiette Primavera and a reunion with my beloved sour cream and Parmesan. Sautéed onion, red pepper, Cremini mushrooms and garlic tossed with asparagus, orecchiette, sour cream, Parmesan, chives, red pepper flakes and a bit of the pasta cooking water.

 

IMG_2410.thumb.JPG.506f38d31fe79bc2c338c1ff250943c5.JPG

 

Upside down! I need to figure out how to rotate photos in this interface...

 

and packed for later meals - again, huge portions, a bit bigger than the rice dish. Intellectually I know that most of the volume is coming from the cheap ingredients - rice and pasta - but it does a good job making me feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

 

 

IMG_2412.thumb.JPG.273591e8f12a05410a58eaaeeafacd54.JPG

 

A couple observations after the first week: first, when the recipes call for things to be cooked in stages (for example sauté the carrot for 5 minutes, then add the green beans, then the corn), the food is seasoned at the end of cooking. I was taught to season and taste at every step to build flavor and improve the final dish. I am a competent cook, but a less experienced or more intimidated person might benefit from that kind of instruction in the recipes if these services aim to get people to build their skills in the kitchen. Second, I made a terrible tactical error in not pulling the asparagus out of the orecchiette box and plunking it in a little glass of water to keep it turgid for the 4 days it sat in my fridge - it got pretty limp and tired. I refreshed it in ice water, but I can see someone less experienced just chucking it out. The first dish I made had instructions on the box to remove the avocado and keep it at room temperature - maybe a gentle reminder to take care of the asparagus (which I knew was the correct thing to do, but laziness prevailed)  might have gotten me to actually do it!

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Patty

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Another week, another TB12 Purple Carrot box.  All of the produce was in excellent shape this week.  Last night I made green falafel with celery-pomegranate relish, pickled cabbage, and tahini.  The ingredients (minus the head of lettuce that was provided to wrap the falafel in--I always forget something in the ingredient photos!)

 

591c36be6f790_falafelingredients.thumb.jpg.a980b082c36de535cc6238eeece7c0f5.jpg

 

And the finished dish.  The ratio of kale to chickpeas was rather high, so the falafels fell apart a little in the pan, but the flavor was good.

 

falafel.thumb.jpg.15bf381d9e697bf5d191b749059e5fe0.jpg

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Still working on the cost of these kits.

 

Lets say I get a sirloin delivered from Schwan's..."$22 to serve 4" , so $5.50 for one meat serving (and not a cheap price)...add a potato and a handful of broccoli, a clove of garlic and part of an onion...maybe another $1.50? so $7 vs $10 at Hello Fresh. Make the meat a chicken thigh or two that lops off a couple bucks more.

 

But $10 a meal isn't terrible either.

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you're buying Exotica .

 

with an X.

 

Steak , baked potato , micro'd broccoli :  nice , even very nice if the steak has good marbling and you know how to bake a crunchy B.P.

 

but no X

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It would be very nice, @rotuts  :D.

 

I used Schwanz just to get a fast price online.  In real life it'd be a NY Strip from Costco.

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According the recipe card, tonight's meal was to be Korean jackfruit bibimbap with spicy kale kimchi, garlic-sesame spinach, and carrot-edamame slaw.  Here are the ingredients.  I remembered them all for the picture tonight!

 

591cf74be066b_jackfruitingredients.thumb.jpg.e78036a1c5816c48a44d02a30d3552bf.jpg

 

Well, I had some other stuff in the fridge I wanted to use, and a family member eating with us off schedule, so I added some stuff to bulk it out. I had some acadian redfish from my fish share to use up, and I also added a Tom Brady-disapproved fried egg.  I also swapped out the included brown rice for white rice because my husband prefers white.  I like brown rice, so will just cook it up sometime when he is traveling for work.

 

This is my brother in law's plate.  He eats a lot, but is very fit as he works out intensively. Unlike me!

 

bimimbap.thumb.jpg.29cc7555c5201e4b04d035dc046d552a.jpg

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Big disappointment tonight. My box was delivered today and I had been looking forward to dinner - patatas bravas with crispy artichokes with garlic aioli and arugula salad - all day. Came home and opened the box to find that the ice pack had melted and leaked out all over everything and all the food was warm to barely cool - fine for potatoes and onions but not tender greens, cheeses, raviolis and other refrigerated items. I did an online chat with them and they credited my account for the cost of the box, framing it as "a free future box!" in a way that suggested I should be grateful for their magnanimity. No offer to replace this one, and no refund if I wished to cancel my account outright - they do not do refunds, was the party line. Definitely a first world problem, but my grocery shop last week did not include any plans for dinners as that's what I ordered HelloFresh for. Hoping the bloom is not off the rose permanently, but hanger is clouding my opinion at the moment.

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Patty

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24 minutes ago, patris said:

Big disappointment tonight. My box was delivered today and I had been looking forward to dinner - patatas bravas with crispy artichokes with garlic aioli and arugula salad - all day. Came home and opened the box to find that the ice pack had melted and leaked out all over everything and all the food was warm to barely cool - fine for potatoes and onions but not tender greens, cheeses, raviolis and other refrigerated items. I did an online chat with them and they credited my account for the cost of the box, framing it as "a free future box!" in a way that suggested I should be grateful for their magnanimity. No offer to replace this one, and no refund if I wished to cancel my account outright - they do not do refunds, was the party line. Definitely a first world problem, but my grocery shop last week did not include any plans for dinners as that's what I ordered HelloFresh for. Hoping the bloom is not off the rose permanently, but hanger is clouding my opinion at the moment.

 So I had a similarly disconcerting  experience with HelloFresh today.   I had pulled the trigger and signed up for my first delivery next Friday paying by PayPal which I thought was a great idea. This morning I got a call saying that they could not deliver it next Friday because of the holiday on Monday?   But they could deliver it on Wednesday. I explained that I would not be home Wednesday so they agreed to deliver it the following Friday on June 2.   No sooner had I hung up from this conversation then I received notification from PayPal that the full cost of the meal had been refunded. I do not believe for one minute believe this was a gesture of benevolence but rather a screwup on their part and that June 2 will arrive and there will be no food!   It's not as though the Victoria Day holiday is a new experience in Canada. It has been in existence for Lord only knows how long!  This would've been my first order with them so you would think they might have bent over backwards to deliver my food on the date I had asked for.  We'll see what transpires on June 2. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

 So I had a similarly disconcerting  experience with HelloFresh today.   I had pulled the trigger and signed up for my first delivery next Friday paying by PayPal which I thought was a great idea. This morning I got a call saying that they could not deliver it next Friday because of the holiday on Monday?   But they could deliver it on Wednesday. I explained that I would not be home Wednesday so they agreed to deliver it the following Friday on June 2.   No sooner had I hung up from this conversation then I received notification from PayPal that the full cost of the meal had been refunded. I do not believe for one minute believe this was a gesture of benevolence but rather a screwup on their part and that June 2 will arrive and there will be no food!   It's not as though the Victoria Day holiday is a new experience in Canada. It has been in existence for Lord only knows how long!  This would've been my first order with them so you would think they might have bent over backwards to deliver my food on the date I had asked for.  We'll see what transpires on June 2. 

Will have Plan B in place for the 22nd. @patris, who delivered yours FedEx or UPS? We're in the California desert. If it's delivered FedEx it should be fine, if it rides around in a big brown truck all day it's not going to be pretty. 


Formerly "Quiltguy"

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18 minutes ago, DesertTinker said:

Will have Plan B in place for the 22nd. @patris, who delivered yours FedEx or UPS? We're in the California desert. If it's delivered FedEx it should be fine, if it rides around in a big brown truck all day it's not going to be pretty. 

 

It was UPS. I am hoping this does not happen again - for years I have ordered bulk chocolate from a company in Maryland that ships via 2-day UPS using the sort of ice packs HelloFresh uses and have never had this kind of problem, even in the hottest summer (and it can get pretty hot in summer in Buffalo, believe it or not!), so I sincerely hope today is anomalous.

 

@Anna N - it could be that they will charge you when the shipping date is closer, so all may not be lost!

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Patty

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14 hours ago, patris said:

Big disappointment tonight. My box was delivered today and I had been looking forward to dinner - patatas bravas with crispy artichokes with garlic aioli and arugula salad - all day. Came home and opened the box to find that the ice pack had melted and leaked out all over everything and all the food was warm to barely cool - fine for potatoes and onions but not tender greens, cheeses, raviolis and other refrigerated items. I did an online chat with them and they credited my account for the cost of the box, framing it as "a free future box!" in a way that suggested I should be grateful for their magnanimity. No offer to replace this one, and no refund if I wished to cancel my account outright - they do not do refunds, was the party line. Definitely a first world problem, but my grocery shop last week did not include any plans for dinners as that's what I ordered HelloFresh for. Hoping the bloom is not off the rose permanently, but hanger is clouding my opinion at the moment.

 

 

Ooh that is disappointing.  I have to confess that I am worried about this as summer approaches.  If I start getting wilted produce I am going to pause for the season.  I travel a lot in the summer so that may end up happening anyway.

 

11 hours ago, patris said:

 

It was UPS. I am hoping this does not happen again - for years I have ordered bulk chocolate from a company in Maryland that ships via 2-day UPS using the sort of ice packs HelloFresh uses and have never had this kind of problem, even in the hottest summer (and it can get pretty hot in summer in Buffalo, believe it or not!), so I sincerely hope today is anomalous.

 

@Anna N - it could be that they will charge you when the shipping date is closer, so all may not be lost!

 

I agree with @patris, you probably got bumped to a different delivery box schedule and will be charged again as the delivery date gets closer.

 

Last night's meal was for a savory grain bowl primavera with swiss chard and green garlic butter beans.  The grain provided was oats, and the idea of a savory oat bowl for dinner did not appeal to me, so I swapped the oats for quinoa and made the oats into overnight oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast.  This was perfectly fine but not exciting either.

 

591eead66fdf2_grainbowl.thumb.jpg.c0a4d8e5b564393c696a3757cae68287.jpg

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I just received and unpacked my HelloFresh order. Very nicely packed. Produce cool, meat cold and only one casualty after riding around for 6+ hours in a UPS truck on a 100f day. The casualty was a little bunch of fresh basil, it was at the bottom of one of the produce boxes, unfortunately that put it on top of the ice pack. So, it was actually freeze damage, not what I was expecting.

Dinners for Tonight , Wednesday and Thursday taken care of.

 I'll report back later this evening.


Edited by DesertTinker (log)
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Formerly "Quiltguy"

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Made this, came out great. Color me impressed! We both enjoyed the flavors, portions were generous, directions were clear and simply presented. So far I'm happy. 


Formerly "Quiltguy"

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