The Rosy Wanderer

Wandering with a purpose

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Green Chef

Green Chef is another meal subscription service, but with an organic twist. Like other services it provides 3 meals/week for 2 people. The price is a bit more expensive, but definitely some of the best meals I’ve made.  You can order based on your diet (vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, Paleo, and gluten free). This diet will affect the price of the box. The vegetarian is the cheapest at $62/box and Paleo is most expensive at $90/box. First time buyers can get 2 free meals.

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THE PACKAGING

This has been my favorite packaging by far because it’s color-coded. Who can’t love that?! Blue Apron was a box of ingredients and you had to determine which one went with which recipe. Green Chef had all of the ingredients in one box, but they each had a color label on them (goldenrod, red, orange), which matched the recipe card it was for. Such a better way to organize it.

All of their packaging is also recyclable. You had to read on the website how to recycle each part, but it was good to see their recognized how wasteful this could be if you received a box every week. They also pre-made sauces and some ingredients, so they had numerous small, plastic jars. I saved some of these to use in my lunches later.

THE MEALS

I ordered the omnivore box. You could choose from 6 meals (two or three veggie, chicken, beef, and pork, I think). Everything was high in calories (480-790 calories), which I think is because of the sauces and olive oil. My meals were:

  • White Bean Cakes
  • Shrimp Scampi
  • Greek Chicken & Potatoes

All of these were very delicious and made for good leftovers. My biggest complaint is that I enjoyed IMG_0839these recipes but couldn’t make them again because the sauces were already made. For example, the White Bean Cakes came with white bean puree (not sure if this is something I could make or if you need to buy it) and “mint-pea pesto.” Not sure what was included in these and what would be needed to make them. The instructions were easy to understand, but I should have made the hard-boiled eggs  the way I normally would (bring to a boil for 1 minute, then simmer covered for 13 minutes). This suggested it site for 12 minutes, but it wasn’t cooked enough for me.

Shrimp Scampi was also delicious, and I like that they included a salad with the meal. This one I can make on my own again. Shrimp scampi is one of my favorite things to cook normally. IMG_0840This was a pretty standard recipe; I liked how it flavored the shrimp. It used garlic and lemon. It also had Brussels sprouts. I love Brussels sprouts; the first time I made them was with my Blue Apron box. This was a completely different way to make them, and I like them. It gave the scampi a nice crunch and added a healthy food to the meal. I tried to add some wine in (I feel like this is just one of those recipes that needs it), but I was out of white wine! How is that possible? Lessons to learn…

Finally, the last meal I made was Greek Chicken & Potatoes, and it was my favorite of the three. There is something I like about a side of potatoes. This was the first time I made fingerling potatoes, which IMG_0857were delicious. I was surprised I liked this recipe because it included canned artichoke hearts. I love steamed or boiled artichokes, but I’m not a big fan of them when they are canned. Too salty or something for me. This dish had a great blend of flavors; the arugula is what brought it all together. I wish I could make this again, but the creamy sun-dried tomato sauce was pre-made. It says it included feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, but I’m not sure what I means. A nice step that can by used when cooking in the future is the marinate for the chicken. I let it sit for 2 hours, but it says it could marinate for 5 minutes. It was only lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and marjoram. How easy and good. Then it gets cooked on the pan. If you have this option in Green Chef – I highly recommend it.

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

I can appreciate organic, but I am not an organic eater and cannot appreciate an increased cost for eating in this manner. This box is about $20/week more expensive than other boxes. I didn’t see a quality different in the produce or protein, so I wouldn’t buy this box again. The food was delicious, but in the competitive world of subscription boxes, this doesn’t have enough compelling features to sway me into the Green Chef camp.

And the meals keep coming…Blue Apron

Well, I FINALLY got around to posting about my Blue Apron meals; I can’t believe how far behind I am. One of the things I am most excited about it I get to compare companies.

Compared to Hello Fresh, Blue Apron couldn’t be more different. Everything from the meals to the packaging – they are night and day. This box is 3 meals/week for 2 people – $59.94, which is slightly less expensive.

WEBSITE

The website was relatively easy to use and, if you’re a regular user, an app to help schedule your deliveries. I also felt it gave more information about how the program worked; I didn’t have any questions like I did before.

THE DELIVERY

Not too much to say here. The delivery was on time and seemed packaged well. In addition to the delivery, an email was sent notifying you about your delivery. It also had a link for tips and videos on how to cook your meals that week. That was cool help. The packaging was also very different. With Hello Fresh, they had a box for each meal’s ingredients. Blue Apron – all ingredients in one big box. No distinction for which item goes to which meal. This was probably my least favorite aspect of the service.

THE MEALS

The biggest contrast with Blue Apron (and a reason why picky-eater Kristin was nervous), is I hadn’t tried – or even hear of – many of the ingredients. Of all the ingredients, I think I was familiar with 5 or 6 of them. A big reason why I enjoy these boxes is it forces me out of my comfort zone. Therefore, this week’s meals…

  • Adobo-Style Chicken
  • Seared Salmon & Spinach Walnut Pesto
  • Crispy Brown Butter Gnocchi

I wasn’t a fan of the Adobo-Style Chicken, but that didn’t surprise me. It was too spicy for me, but I ate it all.

Now, the other two dishes…WOW. I  could not believe that I liked the salmon dish. It wasn’t hard to make but it turned out amazingly. The “hash” was purple potatoes (didn’t know they existed) and red onion. Sounds like a horrible combination – then you make the pesto with spinach and capers – YUCK! But in reality…YUM. I would never have ordered that as a restaurant. Now I can’t wait to make it again.

The gnocchi dish was good, but I would have liked more gnocchi in it. I think I had too many red onions. I do really like Brussel sprouts. It was my first time cooking them, and easier than I thought. That was an intimidating food, but I conquered it.

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

Blue Apron was great! More affordable than Hello Fresh and exposes you to unusual foods to make unique meals. It’s easy to order and easy to do. Somehow, I messed up each of the meals at one step or another, but it was all still delicious.

Stay tuned for my backlog of posts…

 

FabFitFun. The name says it all.

Since moving out on my own again, I have been taking full advantage of my mailbox. And thanks to Facebook advertising, I am learning about all kinds of things to buy and try. Next on the list – FabFitFun Box. This ALWAYS pops up on my newsfeed, and their 50% off special sealed the deal. Anyone else have this problem?

But, alas, the box arrived, and I was actually really excited. I’ve tried other boxes before IMG_0757
like Conscious Box and some others, but after one or two I was done. It had been a while, so I thought I should try this new one. I’m happy I did because it was quite good. Essentially, FabFitFun is a box that sends full-size health and beauty products to subscribers once/quarter. The full-price box costs $49.99 with a supposed $250-$350 value of products in each box. Consumers can then go and buy these products on their own and additional products from the same companies. It is a way for companies to advertise to an engaged audience. I haven’t ever bought additional products, since I just like trying things and getting mail. The reason why I’ll continue to subscribe is because I actually liked the products I received and could see myself buying some of these things on my own.

IMG_0758The Packaging: Well done. The packaging for FabFitFun was very girly and exciting. It had a few brochures which explained the company as well as each of the products found in the box. They contained websites of each product so you can learn where to buy them in the future. Everything was arranged nicely, which helps portray a higher value. It felt special, as opposed to some boxes that just provide samples and throws everything together.

IMG_0759The Products: I have to note to all of you, that I am not a big shopper. I have had my days when I was younger, but I am not the type of person to just buy things at the store. This box was like someone just went and did that for me. Love it.

  • Cosmobody Jump Rope – by far my favorite item since I had been wanting to buy one. Jump roping is great exercise, and easy to bring with you when you travel.
  • Organic Valley Milk Protein Shake – I really liked this! I was (and am) a bit weirded out by it since it isn’t refrigerated, but it was a great on-the-go snack/light dinner. I think it would be really delicious after a run, but I didn’t think that far ahead. I will buy this in the future since it was so easy to take with me.
  • Gorge Conditioning Spray – I love hair products. I love to try them and love to use them. I’ve been using this for a few days and have a good impression thus far. Sometimes conditioning sprays say you can use them and style your hair, but they make my hair look oily. This one hasn’t done that yet. I haven’t observed a huge improvement in the condition of my hair, but I’ll keep trying it.
  • Zoya Nail Polish – another nail polish. That was my first thought, but I told myself I would try everything. I like very natural colors, but I got the blue one. Actually, I still can’t decide if it’s blue, gray, or periwinkle. I feel like it changes depending on what I am wearing. I am not a huge fan of the color, but I absolutely love the way it goes on and it dries. It’s very smooth and consistent. I’ll continue to use it, but on my toes only. I’ll have to do research later on other colors they sell. A weird thing it said in its description was that it was safe for women who are pregnant. I know nothing about babies, but I wasn’t aware nail polish was something forbidden…hmm…my friends may need to watch out.
  • My least favorite products were the necklace and the headphones, for the same reason. I find it crazy to buy duplicate items. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry and when I do, I wear pearls. It’s simple, classic, and it goes with everything. I don’t have to worry about matching. As for headphones, my iPhone came with headphones and they work fine. Eventually, I’ll try these, but right now, not my thing.

The Final Word: I enjoyed receiving this box and would recommend it, but I do find the website and program a bit confusing. When I signed up for this box, I assumed it was for the program, but what I actually received was the “Welcome Box.” I had to sign up again (or not cancel) to receive the spring box. I am excited to receive the spring box, but I am not sure when I receive it or if I should already have received it. Their communication is confusing, and I’m not sure what to expect. I was billed on March 10, but who knows when it will come. According to Facebook, maybe it already came, but I haven’t received it. Stay tuned for more details…

What types of boxes do you like? Any type of suggestions I should try?

Hello Fresh…Take 2

Well, It’s complete. I finished cooking three more Hello Fresh meals – 6 in total. I have to say, either I’m a really good cook or they pick good, easy recipes. Personally, I don’t think they were easy to make. For example, on the Spring Shrimp Risotto recipe, I messed up every step. Burnt the onions, added too many onions, and it took me MUCH longer than estimated, but yet, it was still delicious.

IMG_0775I love risotto, but I have always been too scared to make it myself. The fun thing about Hello Fresh is it challenges you to make something you may not have normally. I guess it’s like many things in life, I will take a challenge when it’s presented, but I won’t do anything “daring” on my own. Once I work myself up to something, I’ll go for it, but it takes A LOT of thought before. As another plus, I learned you can make chicken on the stove when I made the Dukkha-Roasted Chicken recipe. Talk about a useful skill!

Overall, I would recommend Hello Fresh. They gave me a link to send friends free boxes, so I’m anxious to see what they think about the boxes as well. As for me, it’s time to wander to other things…

Sunday Funday

Weekends are time to catch up on things or spend time with friends. I was supposed to catch up on things, but let’s be honest. That didn’t happen, but I did get to spend time with friends wandering to two of my favorite activities: wine tasting and the theatre.

Wine Tasting

North Carolina has over 150 wineries across the state. Wine varieties range from French varietals in the mountains to the native muscadine on the coast. Visiting wineries is one of my favorite wanderings. Each one is unique and different from the other. There are large productions (i.e. Biltmore Winery) to small mom-and-pop-type locations.

 Sunday I visited Junius Lindsay in Welcome, NC. Great outdoor seating area and space to hang out. It’s definitely a good lunch stop on a wine tour if you pack a picnic. I went with one of my best friends, Heart, who is very friendly and social. She struck up a conversation with other patrons, and it was awesome to hear their stories. We met “The Boss” Bell who makes and sells his own BBQ sauce in Lowe’s and Harris Teeter around the Moore County area. It’s called Boss Bell’s BBQ Brew. I look forward to trying it! More to come on this.

Overall, a great afternoon, made better by Heart’s social skills and outgoing personality. I enjoy wandering, but am very timid. Something I should work on in my adventures. That’s why I like that my friends are friendly and outgoing!

Book of Mormon

I absolutely love to go to the theatre. People are so talented, and I love to see how someone can envision a story then make it come to life in a small, stationary place. Everything from the set and costumes to performers and the music, it’s amazing to watch it all come together. Broadway was (and is) one of my favorite things about NYC. The great thing about Charlotte is there is a large theatre here (Blumenthal Performing Arts Center), so we have the chance to see many shows that are coming to town. Sunday, I got to see The Book of Mormon with my friend. I was nervous about this show because I’m not sure if I can appreciate the humor…and I was right. I was probably the only person in the theatre not laughing.

Prior to the show, my friend and I were talking about our expectations for the show. He asked, “Do you know the plot?” Wow. I was stumped. I had heard about this show a lot, but no one had EVER mentioned the plot. (Essentially, two mormon young adults go to Africa for their two year mission. Their religion and the local cultural are different – insert drama and inappropriate jokes.) The writers are from South Park, so I didn’t have high expectations since I don’t enjoy that show. I could go on about this, but it’s probably not worth it.

I was really happy to see how many men my age attended the show. Typically, you don’t see a lot of guys at the theatre, but it was full of them! They laughed the whole time, so if anything, I’m glad it exposed the theatre to a population who doesn’t usually attend.

So long until the next journey…

Hello Fresh…Again

So, apparently I didn’t cancel my Hello Fresh subscription in time so I received another box over the weekend. I was slightly annoyed because I didn’t want another box. With the applied credit of $23 from the last box’s missing ingredients, the total cost was $46. A little pricy (since I am getting a shipment from Blue Apron on Wednesday), but a more reasonable price in my book. Just looks like I’m going to have A LOT of cooking to do.

The Delivery

The box was much better on this delivery than on the first. I don’t know if my first box was missing more than just the chicken/shrimp or if Hello Fresh made improvements since my first order. There was an instruction book that told you more about their tips for ingredients and what you may need to have in your house to compliment their recipes. They also had advertisements for other snack programs, which is similar to a company I am obsessed with – Graze.com. Not sure if I’ll try these out, but a clever avenue to advertise their product. Chicken and shrimp were also included in this box, which is a plus. Overall, a much, much better impression.

This week’s meals include:

  • Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto
  • Dukkah-Roasted Chicken
  • Mushroom and Spinach Flatbread

I’m excited to get started!

Hello Fresh

When I moved to Charlotte, I wanted to try all of the food-cooking, delivery services (is there a real name to these)? First up is Hello Fresh. I had a $40 off coupon to use, so the original $69 price tag was reduced to $29, which includes shipping. This costs covers 3 meals for 2 people.

Website

The website is relatively easy to use, but I did find it confusing to learn FAQ section and how to pick the meals I wanted. Since I’m a picky eater, this is important to me. I emailed the team and received a quick response back in how to do this.

The DeliveryIMG_0673

I love to get mail, so the delivery was really fun. I received a huge box and in it where there separate meal boxes. It also included a recipe book for all of these meals. Unfortunately, the box was missing the protein items (chicken and shrimp) for two of the meals.

Customer Service 

Customer Service (I used email) was very prompt and helpful. I told them I was missing these two items and they put a $23 credit on my account. I felt like it should have been something more since I now had to go to the store to buy shrimp and chicken. I was pleased with how quickly they responded.

The Meals

Now it was time to cook. I really liked the concept of having all of the ingredients provided to you in their correct quantities. The meals I chose for the week were:

  • Jamie’s Aloo Gobhi with Fluffy Rice & Yogurt
  • Chili Roasted Shrimp
  • Mozzarella-Crusted Chicken

These were interesting because I wouldn’t have chosen to make these if I was looking in a cookbook. Overall, all of the recipes were really delicious. It was fun to cook dinner, and they came out well.

IMG_0680The Aloo Gobhi was supposed to take 45 minutes, but it ended up taking me closer to 1.5 hours. I may not have cooked it on high enough heat. I am also slow when it comes to chopping vegetables and this took quite a lot of chopping.

IMG_0681I usually don’t cook a lot because it makes too much food, but this was only two portions. It made for a great lunch the next day. I was nervous it would be too spicy (I don’t like spicy), but it wasn’t. It was surprisingly delicious.

IMG_0679The Chile-Roasted Shrimp was really delicious, and I will make this again in the future. It was low carb and very easy to make. It is a quick weeknight dinner, but it involved ingredients I wouldn’t normally buy at the grocery store, like cannelloni beans. I need to figure out where I could find this in the store. Having it provided in one box was very helpful.

My favorite recipe was the Mozzarella-Crusted Chicken. True confession, I HATE touching meat and it creeps me out to buy it at the store. This recipe was so easy, and I could make it more often to get protein in my diet. It was such a good dinner and took less than an hour to make.IMG_0702

Overall Recommendation

This was a fun wander. I had a great time cooking the food and it was relatively effortless. The recipes were easy to follow, even though the they took me longer to make than suggested. I won’t be a regular customer though because of the steep price tag, and it was really annoying that the chicken and shrimp were not included. I may have different opinions once I try other programs. The program concept it great.

“Not all those who wander are lost”

Webster’s dictionary defines wandering as “traveling aimlessly from place to place.” I wander through life, but it is not aimless. Why does wandering have to be aimless? I need to classify my actions as wandering because the purpose is no more than finding the unexpected. Exploring is “traveling in an area to learn more about it,” but you have to know where you’re going first. I explore when my wandering stops.

Wandering these past few years has taught me there is no point in having a firm, concrete plan because life has so much to give. (Contradictorily, I also believe the only way to accomplish goals is to plan.) There is so much to experience, and I don’t want to miss out on opportunities. How do I know what is out there if I don’t wander? Physical wandering, mental wandering, social wandering. I enjoy stumbling into unexpected experiences and working to experience other people’s ideas.

I don’t want to sound like I am a go-with-the-flow person, since I am quite the opposite. I have goals and dreams, make lists for EVERYTHING, schedule my calendar to the minute, and organize my closet by color. Throughout the last decade, I have come to appreciate having a plan but keeping things flexible enough to enjoy the unexpected.

My blog will highlight my wanders because, who knows, you may wanted to embark on a similar trip or try a product without wandering down the path yourself. I love to explore, and I believe I should share my experiences with other. Whether it is traveling, dining, trying new products/technology, history, or general activities, I will share my thoughts. I’m an optimistic person, and like most of my experiences so far in life, I’m sure my new wanderings will have a rosy-tint. Life’s too short.

Comments and suggestions are always appreciated. I will look into them with due diligence. So, without further ado, my blog goes live! Here’s to wandering and experiencing life’s unexpected surprises!

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