Monday, May 8, 2017

Hello or Good-bye?

Hello Everyone!
I am very excited to share my thoughts with you on the meal subscription company, Hello Fresh. 
I have pondered this type of convenience for quite some time. They have become all the rage with foodies and busy people all over the world. The curiosity was killing me, so after seeing some friends posting drool worthy photos on Facebook, I figured, why not? I was sold when my dear cousin sent me a coupon code for a free box. So, I started doing some research. You can choose from a Classic Plan, Family Plan or Veggie Plan. Their Classic Plan is designed to be foods with a wide variety of flavors, using seafood, meats, grains and produce. The Family Plan was created with a whole family in mind, less spices, but full of nutrition and also containing recipes with meat, seafood, grains and produce. The Veggie Plan, which is what I chose, is seasonal produce and vegetarian proteins. 
I decided that since my husband is a little less adventurous when it comes to food, that I would choose something that I could share with the kids but not waste the food. 

So here is the breakdown that I am going to give you my opinion on: cost, taste, waste, convenience and level of difficulty. 

First, let's talk cost. Hello Fresh charges $9.99 per meal with Free Shipping. I chose The Veggie Plan that would serve two people per meal and that plan includes 3 meals. So, 6 meals for $59.94. Now, in my opinion this is slightly high. I can feed my family for less than $9.99 a meal, way less. So, with the coupon code, I was definitely going to give it a whirl, but may have hesitated a little more without it. You can choose a 4 person plan, and of course that means you will may double. The serving sizes, from what I could tell from my box and are very, no leftovers to make it stretch. BUT you'll see later that there are leftover ingredients some times. 

Let's move to convenience and talk about how the subscription works. You sign up, using your email. (or Facebook account but be careful here, they get your public profile when you do that) You then have a Hello Fresh account. You can also download their app to your smart phone making it even easier to schedule or skip your next shipment. The plan itself is to send you a new box every week. However, it is very easy to skip the next week, and actually you can look ahead and skip the next few if you feel the need. When you are flipping thru the weeks, you will be able to see what recipes would be in that box. That is very good for people who maybe have dietary restrictions or aversions to different cuisines. 
The box came with a BIG frozen ice pack. The ingredients were fresh and looked pretty good, aside from one carrot that seemed a little soft. Each meal has it's own separated ingredients, so it was a pretty good size box and there were lots of little packets. You will want one crisper drawer or a little container in your fridge to organize those until you are ready, at least I did. But aside from your basics, (oil, salt, pepper, butter) everything is included. 

Are you thinking, "what if I am not a great cook?".....this is the easiest thing I have followed. When I cook dinner, I rarely follow recipes. But these are all new flavors and meals. I think even if you are a beginner you will have no problem. Each meal comes with a large recipe card. It lists all of the ingredients, shows pictures of the prep work and what your final product should look like. That is always nice when trying new things, no matter how experienced you are. I think all of mine were done in 30 minutes, too. BONUS!
Each packet is labeled. I gathered the things that I needed for each recipe and laid it out all on the counter when I began to prepare. The little packets are cute. If it calls for a small amount of mayo, you get a teeny, tiny jar of mayo. Most items are pre measured but some things you will have extra of. So....on to Taste and Waste! 

In choosing the veggie plan, I had three recipes. Garden Quesadillas, Crunchy Veggie and Lentil Salad, Mediterranean Tomato and Asparagus Bake. Every one of them was delicious. My planning for my first meal kit was not the best, as I was doing the Shred10 program, but I adapted. I also only had my little girl to share these with, as my son had busy nights and was away when I cooked two of the meals on Sunday. So I have them plated for my lunch and dinner for the next two days. 
The flavors are outstanding. Fresh herbs and produce. A very light menu, making it great to carry on my healthier lifestyle choice. I think the taste is a WIN! Definitely flavors I may not have used on my own. 
The neatest thing about this is the small amount of waste. Almost every thing comes to you in the size you need it. Remember, I mentioned the tiny mayo? They did send me a small bottle of Tobasco sauce, a Cinco de Mayo gift. I had fresh herbs left so I plan to use those this week on chicken and fish. I also rarely eat dairy and so I have some feta left. I will use that in a recipe soon that I can share with the family. A couple of things I already had on hand as well, but the convenience of having the close measurements that the recipe calls for, is very brilliant. 

I did not take pictures of every meal as I got busy and forgot but I was sure to document one, the Mediterranean Tomato and Asparagus Bake. I made the quesadillas for a home party I had on Friday night and those were a hit. The salad was amazing as well and I set that aside for lunches, just waiting on dressing the greens until I was ready to eat it. Those plates are salad size. So that can give you an idea of serving size. verdict. It's worth a shot! If you are a single person with a busy lifestyle, and you are adventurous in the kitchen....DO IT! You would get 6 meals from it and you can easily make a plate and have the leftovers the next day, on most items. If you are a large family on a budget, maybe signing up and trying it is great, but I would say you can make your money stretch a little further by meal planning and prepping. If you are a couple who loves to try new foods, it is definitely less expensive than going to a restaurant three times a week. I must say, this would make a great gift too. You can give gift cards from Hello Fresh and that might just be a relief for a busy family, housewarming gift or a new mom. 
I am going to keep my account for a while. They have improved their website and app, and you can now cancel with ease. I will stick it out, as long as I can remember to keep up with remembering to skip weeks when I am not in need. I really don't want to be charged if I already planned my week and have my groceries purchased. BUT I am sure it is going to come in handy over the busy summer! If I get a chance to review other companies I will update you all!

I hope this has helped you! As always, have a beautiful day and I hope you are saving some dimes! 

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