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

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@Anna N 

 

Id call them again if that's possible 

 

the people that do the booking might be on the lower end of the chain.

 

cheers

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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

@Anna N 

 

Id call them again if that's possible 

 

the people that do the booking might be on the lower end of the chain.

 

cheers

If my life or even my dinner depended on this I might be inclined to follow up. As it is I am already put off by what seems to be a serious muck up about meals for this week (Monday being a holiday (observed, I believe, since 1845) that I am happy to let it play out. I suspect there were quite a number of Canadian customers thoroughly inconvenienced by this. I suspect I got off rather lightly. 


Edited by Anna N (log)

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Has anyone tried Sun Basket, whose schtick is their claim to organic, non-GMO foodstuffs, with options for paleo, gluten free, and two or three others? I had some dealings with the company on a business basis, and was just curious . They appear to get pretty good reviews.

 

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On May 23, 2017 at 1:37 PM, Anna N said:

If my life or even my dinner depended on this I might be inclined to follow up. As it is I am already put off by what seems to be a serious muck up about meals for this week (Monday being a holiday (observed, I believe, since 1845) that I am happy to let it play out. I suspect there were quite a number of Canadian customers thoroughly inconvenienced by this. I suspect I got off rather lightly. 

 

 So here is an update. Early this morning my PayPal account was once again charged for my subscription to Hello Fresh so I was all set to expect delivery on Friday of next week.   Just this minute I got a call from them saying they would once again like to move my delivery date from Friday to Thursday. I declined that opportunity and then they attempted to move it even earlier in the week.  Then they finally said,  "We don't have Friday deliveries. That was a mistake."  Duh?   So I said that until they had Friday deliveries, let's not do this.  Much of this frustration could have been avoided had they called me after I placed my order choosing Friday on the computer to say that their system was wrong and apologized for making it seem as though Friday was a possibility. So there it is.  No meal subscription plan for me this time around.

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

 So here is an update. Early this morning my PayPal account was once again charged for my subscription to Hello Fresh so I was all set to expect delivery on Friday of next week.   Just this minute I got a call from them saying they would once again like to move my delivery date from Friday to Thursday. I declined that opportunity and then they attempted to move it even earlier in the week.  Then they finally said,  "We don't have Friday deliveries. That was a mistake."  Duh?   So I said that until they had Friday deliveries, let's not do this.  Much of this frustration could have been avoided had they called me after I placed my order choosing Friday on the computer to say that their system was wrong and apologized for making it seem as though Friday was a possibility. So there it is.  No meal subscription plan for me this time around.

 

Holy cow, that is annoying.

 

i think you and I share similar HelloFresh karma for some reason - my new box arrived tonight and there was no seitan included in the Seitan Tacos al Pastor box. They are crediting me for the cost of the meal, but I am growing tired of having to chat with their customer service every stinking week.

 

Tonight's recipe was cannellini bean panzanella - white beans, cucumbers, shallot, tiny tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and baguette croutons tossed with herbs, garlicky olive oil and red wine vinegar. Not bad. Inelegantly plated and inhaled quickly after a long day:

 

IMG_2417.thumb.JPG.f1810ef3b09d8e57bf8cd507e0b668b9.JPG

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@patris

 

I can't imagine how stressful it must be after a long day at work to come home and discover that the meal you were expecting was missing its main ingredient.  Hard to imagine how that could happen.  

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12 minutes ago, Anna N said:

@patris

 

I can't imagine how stressful it must be after a long day at work to come home and discover that the meal you were expecting was missing its main ingredient.  Hard to imagine how that could happen.  

 

@Anna N it's definitely a first world problem, but it does make me question the value of this service when I am planning a week's worth of meals around it!

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3 minutes ago, patris said:

 

@Anna N it's definitely a first world problem, but it does make me question the value of this service when I am planning a week's worth of meals around it!

Exactly. My confidence has certainly been shaken. 


Edited by Anna N (log)

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@patris, that is so annoying.  I am glad you got a credit, but it is so irritating if you are trying to avoid a trip to the store.  That's the whole point of these things.

 

@Anna N sorry the delivery schedule did not work out for you.  Based on our admittedly small group of people posting about meal kits, it seems that "deflect and credit" is the customer service go to way of dealing with issues.

 

I think I am starting to get bored with the meal kit thing.  I changed two of the three meals enough that I posted them in Dinner! instead of here.  Tonight I cooked the final meal for this week according to the recipe (sort of): red lentil puttanesca with rotini and marinated vegetables.  The ingredients (I forgot the recipe card, sorry):

 

592790e3610a8_chickpeaingredients.thumb.jpg.e871273843b728d539a2b221718a3e1b.jpg

 

I actually randomly had a broccoflower in the fridge thanks to a meal that did not happen over the weekend, so bulked out that sad little piece with part of mine.

 

Completed dish:

 

592790e8637a0_redlentilpasta.thumb.jpg.febd4c692e3884d01851bab240924d6b.jpg

 

Verdict: this is not puttanesca in my world.  I added more red pepper flakes and salt, but for me, puttanesca means anchovies and lots and lots of olives, red pepper flakes, garlic and tomatoes.   Lentils just make sauce gritty and are frankly no substitute for tomatoes. Grumble.  And there is so much leftover!  Argh.

 

I already cancelled next week's box.   I am not giving up, just traveling.  I'll post my Cape Cod eats on the New England board. 

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@Anna N 

 

have you tried other meal kits in your area that have dinners / ingredients that are a bit exotic  

 

i.e.  difficult to round up for a meal ?

 

that might be a deal maker from time to time allowing you to make something ' unusual '

 

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2 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@Anna N 

 

have you tried other meal kits in your area that have dinners / ingredients that are a bit exotic  

 

i.e.  difficult to round up for a meal ?

 

that might be a deal maker from time to time allowing you to make something ' unusual '

 

The only two that seem to operate here are Chefs' Plate which was horrible and Hello Fresh.  Mind you I haven't done much research recently so there may be more.  No matter what it would only be a fun experiment and not a way to ensure that I am adequately fed. I am much too inclined to do my own thing to last very long on any sort of meal plan.  

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I am taking this week off from work for a little staycation and after an entire morning (like, from 9 am until just after noon) spent at the car dealership negotiating a new lease, I needed a little self-care and a lot of lunch: HelloFresh to the rescue! My last box this week was Powerhouse Eggplant Polenta:

 

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Roasted eggplant and zucchini over polenta with thyme and Parmesan, topped with a mixture of chopped walnuts, olive oil and more parm. Again, another huge portion remains. Tasty and filling, though it cries out for a little acid to cut the cheese and olive oil. Maybe a squeeze of lemon will find its way on to the leftovers.

 

Next box is due tomorrow; hoping it's problem free or else it will be GoodbyeFresh!

 


Edited by patris (log)
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This week's box arrived with almost no issues, save a couscous error: the za'ataar crusted grilling cheese recipe called for Israeli couscous, and the photo on the accompanying recipe card showed Israeli couscous, but the box contained the regular variety. Bit of a disappointment, but not terrible. This dish will be my not-so-sad desk lunch tomorrow and Tuesday:

 

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Sumac-dusted roasted onion and zucchini, tiny tomatoes, chiffonade of basil, lemon zest, and onion-infused couscous with za'ataar crusted halloumi, lemon wedges on the side for squeezing. Promises to be tasty and filling, and the extra halloumi in the box was a nice snack while I prepared today's early lunch and tomorrow's dinner, Mega Mushroom burgers:

 

IMG_2422.thumb.JPG.a60e8e8d2baeddd347d1e4b9b6c2e458.JPG

 

Browned onions, Roma tomato, avocado, mayo, hot sauce, and a good-sized mushroom cap on butter-grilled sesame bun, with a simple oil and vinegar-dressed arugula salad and the rest of the avocado half on the side. You can't see the couple slices of Cambozola tucked in under the mushroom, which were not part of the recipe but which helped make this an utterly luscious meal even for this vegetarian who scoffs at the standard portobello sandwich on every restaurant menu. It was so good, I didn't even dig into the bag of Utz potato chips sitting just outside the frame. Washed down with a Spiked Seltzer - definitely not the norm for me before noon on a Sunday, but HelloFresh should take note: I would probably forgive a lot if a few of these were tucked into each box!

 

I will probably stick with this service for a while, barring more quality issues, and use it to train myself to plan and shop a bit better so that my diet incorporates the increased variety and decreased food waste that makes this so appealing to me.

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That all looks good, @patris.  Am I correct in thinking you'll need to reheat that grilled halloumi in the lunches? If so, please let us know how that works out.

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I think the appeal of vegetarian meals to me is the variety that lands up on the plate.  If you belong to the old "meat and 2/3 sides" mind set, one needs to be on one's toes to incorporate much variety on the plate.  Remove that "hunk of protein" as my friend would call it and there is much more room for a variety of interesting ingredients.

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34 minutes ago, Smithy said:

That all looks good, @patris.  Am I correct in thinking you'll need to reheat that grilled halloumi in the lunches? If so, please let us know how that works out.

 

I will reheat the halloumi - I had a similar dish a few weeks ago and I just reheated the slices for about a minute at half power. It will never be as crispy as it was right out of the pan, but it's certainly serviceable.

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11 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I think the appeal of vegetarian meals to me is the variety that lands up on the plate.  If you belong to the old "meat and 2/3 sides" mind set, one needs to be on one's toes to incorporate much variety on the plate.  Remove that "hunk of protein" as my friend would call it and there is much more room for a variety of interesting ingredients.

 

Absolutely - it seems that very few people understand that vegetarian eating can be really rich in variety and interest. It just takes a bit of thought!

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Last night's Purple Carrot TB12 meal was summer rolls with minted edamame and cashew sambal.  The other filling ingredients were red bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, and basil.  It was easy to make and the flavors were good, but the substitution of quinoa for rice noodles (I am guessing to up the protein content) combined with the crumbly texture of the chopped edamame-mint mix made for messy eating when dipped into the sauce.  I used the leftover filling (there was tons left over) to make two good sized salads for lunch for me and for my husband to take to work today.  Overall the salad was a lot easier to eat!

 

Rolls

 

59388c766c33c_summerrolls.thumb.jpg.93c03ea3effe8f62363bc7d4a8ec66b0.jpg

 

Salad

 

quinoa.thumb.jpg.95671cd3904772a7a85995f3245cbf8a.jpg


Edited by liamsaunt typo (log)
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On 4 June 2017 at 5:25 PM, Anna N said:

I think the appeal of vegetarian meals to me is the variety that lands up on the plate.  If you belong to the old "meat and 2/3 sides" mind set, one needs to be on one's toes to incorporate much variety on the plate.  Remove that "hunk of protein" as my friend would call it and there is much more room for a variety of interesting ingredients.

 

I agree absolutely with your point @Anna N, while we seem to have been lucky in our experiences with HF the main plus for us has been trying out exceptions to what my generation in England would call 'meat and 2 veg.  

 

I struggle with the now commonly used 'main' and 'side': to me 'main' makes me think of water supply (commonly referred to as 'the mains') and not for food unless followed by the word 'course' until recently; a 'side' is, to me, just that - one aspect of something - right side, left side.  Vegetables might have been placed in a side dish but not in my personal experience, we tend to place them to one side of the plate accommodating our 'main'.  Apologies if this seems ridiculous, having lived outside England for a while these terms seemed extremely odd when I returned and they appeared ubiquitous.

 

We haven't used HF or similar in the past few weeks, demands on time have made them impractical.  Perhaps for that reason we have received advice that we can give two more boxes to our friends at no charge to us or them whatever.  Frankly we are running out of friends!  Each friend we have given a box to has also received vouchers for their friends.  As friends are often mutual we are quickly working through our collective contacts.

 

I don't know if we can give boxes to acquaintances in other countries where HF operates.  If anyone in the UK wants a free box please PM me.  If anyone in other countries where HF trades would like a free box I will contact Customer Service to ask if this is possible.  Again, please PM me if you are interested.  It will be first come first served. Please understand there is no financial advantage to me for passing on the vouchers, this is not 'pyramid selling'.  The only condition that really matters is that a free box can only be donated to someone who has never tried HF before.  Facebook entries indicate problems when someone else at the same address has already had a box. 

 

Having been introduced to HF via a free box we looked around for other similar businesses.  I wrote about Gousto before but we also came across Simply Cook.  It should be called Simply go Shopping and then Cook.  Rather than provide all the ingredients ready for prep and cooking this option results in a box with a set of herbs, spices stock bases etc for various recipes.  Cards provide the instructions for cooking the meal and each has a shopping list telling you what you need to buy.  We only ordered their introductory box because, yet again, a kind friend gave us a voucher that brought the total price for these seasonings to £1.  The box has been sitting in the kitchen for weeks.  We had no choice in respect of the recipes for the intro box but I believe that has changed.  I have been inundated with emails despite cancelling my subscription and attempting to unsubscribe from email.  The recipes haven't inspired us but I'm sure if they had arrived with all of the necessary ingredients we would have used them and perhaps discovered more exciting new things.

 

For the sake of completeness here is what we received:

image.thumb.jpeg.57d33ef9ba0aaa69daa11f9db81f5335.jpeg

 

Here is the content of one set of seasonings.  Perhaps we shouldn't have opened the box so that I could have sold it to a collector in 20 years when I suspect Simply Cook will be just a part of food history.

image.thumb.jpeg.06559faf83995171dd1340976e204af4.jpeg

image.thumb.jpeg.06559faf83995171dd1340976e204af4.jpeg

 

We will continue with HF from time to time.  So far we have been lucky and the only item missing has been some rice. We had rice anyway so the omission didn't spoil the meal and we were refunded for that recipe.

 

Putting aside time saved and a reduction in waste that HF has brought the main (not water, not an element of a menu) plus for us has been an introduction to ingredients and recipes we would never have been tempted to try.  I think I've written about this before but more time has passed and now we often eat HF recipes having purchased the ingredients locally.

 

@liamsaunt  and @patrisur photographs are stunning!

 

 

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And now I shall report on what might be one of the most disgusting things I have had the misfortune to put into my mouth--the last TB12 meal from this week's Purple Carrot box.  Pizza bianca--a crust made from mung beans and garbanzo flour topped with vegan mozzarella and a salad of shaved asparagus and watercress with a balsamic vinaigrette.  The salad was lovely.  The "pizza crust," however, was vile.  It was chewy and pasty and gluey and had nothing at all to recommend it.  After one bite I scraped the salad off the "crust" and tossed it in the trash.  We ate the salad with some scrambled eggs.

 

That's it for me with experiments with gluten free substitutes for bread.  Luckily next week's box is "bread" free

 

593c04d013a34_tb12pizzabianca.thumb.jpg.457b6662242d56ab3b39e09878067dac.jpg

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@liamsaunt

 

oh dear.  Cannot really say that I am surprised having tried a few supposed bread replacements using gluten-free this that and the other.  

 

 I have definitely given up on HelloFresh because of their bizarre behaviour regarding Friday delivery.   But it appears there is a new kid in town that I have yet to explore fully.  Simply called Good Food, I see it popping up frequently in TV ads. I did have a quick glance at their website but it was not particularly user-friendly from the short time I spent there. 


Edited by Anna N (log)

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maybe H-F will change a bit in time

 

I can see these Vendors having a place with people who enjoy cooking but can't find exotic ingredients 

 

or are unable spend the time rooting them out.

 

Im enjoying their evolution .

 

its all here @ eGullet !

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Amazon sent me a letter -- yes a real, physical, paper letter -- asking if I'd like to cook like Martha Stewart?  And recommending to me her meal kits.

 

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Well, here is the latest snafu with my Purple Carrot TB12 meal kit.  I came home from work and there was no box!  According to FedEx tracking it was delivered to the front door this morning.  I suppose someone could have taken it, but I am skeptical.  My house is on a cul de sac that is not off a main road and my driveway is so long that you can't even see the house from the street.  It's pretty unlikely that someone looking to steal packages would have ventured up here.  I have an email in to Purple Carrot and we will see what they say.

 

So much for tonight's planned meal of kung pao noodles with charred pineapple.  Luckily, I have scallops in the fridge that I was planning to add to the meal, so I will just make scallop rolls.

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