1. This is a shot from my Thanksgiving table last year and while I’m no where near as prepared as I was last year, I am SO excited for Thursday! Now tell me about making mashed potatoes in the slow cooker because I’m going to do it.
2. Helllllllo giant cinnamon roll. It’s whole wheat so that’s a total health food, right?
3. I totally forgot that the winter Olympics will be on early next year and I am SO pumped. Always love watching them so much.
4. Oh my gosh, we got SO sucked into Mindhunter on Saturday that we stayed up until 3AM (!!!) watching it. As if being sleep deprived with the baby isn’t enough – now we’re doing it to ourselves so I can’t complain. The show was SO good. I wish it would have ended differently but hopefully there will be another season. Also, I was so excited to see Jonathan Groff in it because I loved him in Looking.
5. Speaking of TV, thoughts on the the Grey’s and Scandal winter finales?! Also, while watching the AMA’s the other night I was totally blown away at Christina Aguilera’s Whitney Houston tribute and thought it was incredible. And then I just about died at how amazing Diana Ross looks! I was pretty much crying over these things so… emotional rollercoaster.
6. Very interested in making a reverse bucket list. I think I may try this before the end of the year.
7. Pretty sure I ask this every year, but are you a black Friday shopper? I’m not, but I do love going shopping at some point late on Friday afternoon. I’m the weirdo who is obsessed with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. There is basically nothing I don’t LOVE about Christmas.
8. Tell me all about your experience with Hello Fresh and Blue Apron and those meal services. Not going to be doing it myself, but interested in gifting it and wondering some REAL thoughts?
32 Comments on “Tuesday Things.”
I make mashed potatoes in the slow cooker all the time. I just cook cubed (or whole small) potatoes in some chicken stock and then add cream, sour cream, etc. and mix them up with an immersion blender when soft. Plus, if you’re short on table space, they can stay warm in the crockpot until you’re ready!
We did hello fresh a few times and while I did like it because some ingredients were things we don’t have around here (hello Greensburg problems) I found the portions really small. Like Ben could have eaten the entire thing himself. Now I understand that those are probably “normal” portions but that was a downside for us. I think it’s fun to try now and again but not something I would do on a regular basis.
I love that Hello Fresh makes trying new recipes and flavors and cooking techniques easy, but I also find the portion sizes small. My husband and I are both athletic and typically eat smaller snacks through the day and a big dinner, so I always have to supplement our meals with extra meat or a side salad/veggie or something. My 60 y/o working empty nester parents get it though and absolutely love it.
I love HelloFresh! We’ve made so many different and delicious meals, always lots of variety. I was not impressed with Blue Apron’s recipie – one recipie was literally a cheeseburger with a lettuce and carrot “salad”. It had a shallot vinagarette that was really good, but not worth the price. I think it’s a great present! (Just be sure what you purchase is for a first time user, or check if they’re already signed up. My brother got me a Groupon which is supposed to be for new users only)
Is Mindhunter really scary? Looks like a great one to binge watch over the Thanksgiving holiday!
I’ve tried both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, both before and after having a baby (now 20mths old). The recipes for HF were simpler than the BA ones, both in terms of ingredients and preparation/technique/clean up. BA makes so many dishes! I’d recommend HF for a family or less adventurous eater and BA for someone more open to new things and has more time to clean up. BA is probably marginally better for vegetarians, too, since the veg options on HF seemed more cheese-centric to me. I think this is a great gift idea if you know your audience- we got some meals after baby arrived and it was a huge convenience/help. Others might see it as ‘work’ to do the cooking.
We have used both Blue Apron and HelloFresh. HelloFresh saved our lives earlier this year when I broke my dominant hand. They had tons of delicious recipes that my husband with no kitchen talents were able to make. We still use the recipes to remake some of our favorites. Blue Apron was pretty unremarkable for us.
I have done both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, and am obsessed with BA!! I agree with what others have said: BA takes longer and has more ingredients in their recipes. That being said, I felt like BA allowed me to make things I never would make on my own. Everything I make from BA is restaurant-quality, while HF was meals that I could and would regularly make on my own. I love both of them for the fact that there is zero waste and the convenience factor of both is great. The price is essentially the same, so I would think about the person you’re gifting to. Do they like to cook? Do they have the time to cook? Are they open to trying new types of foods or cooking techniques? I love that BA has a very active website, where people cooking the same recipes will provide feedback and tips for making the meal. If you’re going to do BA, my Costco has a pack of two $75 gift cards for $110. I bought a bunch for myself and put them on my account to save some money!!!
I think Blue Apron is good for people who hate to grocery shop and who want to learn to be better cooks. I personally was not impressed because I already know how to cook so I didn’t need their instructions. I also found that it took longer than the estimated time even though I do know how to cook. :) Plus there is SO MUCH trash involved because everything comes in a tiny little plastic bag! I guess they’re working on it and allegedly a lot of the stuff is recyclable… but it’s still way more waste than I was comfortable with.
I agree with BA having SO MUCH TRASH. And it took foreeever to unwrap everything, so I didn’t love that. I understand they assume that you have nothing, but I kind of wish there was a disclaimer saying please be sure you have salt, pepper, butter, oil, etc.
So I consider myself to have pretty high standards when it comes to food, but when baby number 2 came, I needed something to help me with meals the first month or so. I tried several of the meal delivery services, including HelloFresh and I think they’re pretty great. I would have loved to receive any of those meals as a gift. But my favorite was Martha Stewart’s delivery service Marley & Spoon. I found their recipes to be just a bit more to my preferences and tastes and they just had some other smaller details I enjoyed. I’d choose Martha :)
I did potatoes in the slow cooker last year and followed Two Peas in their Pod’s recipe. Turned out great! I gifted blue apron to my brother in law last year and they loved it.
I think I’ve tried all the meal subscription services now. I love a free trial. Hello Fresh has been my winner by far. However it does depend on who you are shopping for. Both have new innovative recipes that push you to cook, but won’t throw you totally outside your comfort zone. I liked Hello Fresh because they have more vegetarian options and use less plastic packaging. Their portion sizes also run a little larger. Both allow the recipient to select from between recipes so I don’t think you can really go wrong. I’d say it would make an awesome gift.
I have used both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh – for about 6 weeks after my baby was born this year and I was ready to cook a bit more but didn’t have my life together to plan real meals. It was convenient and the recipes were pretty good! I didn’t notice a big difference between the two in terms of time or quality (though I did get one bad pepper from Hello Fresh one time, but they gave me a $10 credit). I stopped both of them after a while because it was pretty expensive and I actually got some good ideas for meals out of it (that I could shop for myself). So for a gift, I think it would be great! I would certainly accept it as a gift, but probably wouldn’t pay for it again myself.
We did blue apron for a few months until we got spoiled chicken in one of our boxes. While they did refund me $10 for the chicken, it was irritating because I was using blue apron to cut down on my trips to the store. The packaging was also wasteful.
The last bit of Scandal- Who did Olivia’s dad shoot? Did he actually do it? It’s like all I can think about.
So excited for the Winter Olympics- I feel like the events are so much more exciting than the summer games. Down hill skiing! Figure skating! Curling! Bobsledding (totally watched cool runnings with my kids the other day)!
Are you looking forward to the new movie about Tonya Harding? I remember when it all went down and I sort of love Margot Robbie.
Totally not a Black Friday shopper, but I always hit up Michaels in the afternoon. My oldest boy is a serious crafter (who always runs out of supplies) and I can never have enough holiday ribbon.
Have a great Thanksgiving Jessica!
As someone who uses meal boxes almost weekly (My biggest pregnancy symptom is the inability to grocery shop and plan lol), I’ve tried them all and my favorites are Home Chef and Plated. This is due to the largest selection of meals each week AND the best portion size bang for your buck. Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have such TINY portions, my husband was not a fan. And I always had something go wrong that irritated me, whether it was bad communication of not telling me I had a box coming, or the quality of produce. They have some unique menu options, but for those two reasons we quit those.
Pioneer Woman’s slow cooker mashed potatoes are perfection. I actually will not shut up about how much I loved them and how much easier it made my life. I’m a devoted slow cooker hater, so having something work out in the slow cooker is high praise.
While I’m trying not to sound like a psychopath and say I’m cool if Rowan killed Quinn, I’m ok with it. Scandal has a flair for the dramatic and it’s the final season. I don’t think he did though. And if Liv is supposed to be all heartless and cold now wouldn’t she have wanted to double check it was Quinn? Honestly, just gimme some more Fitz.
I have tried a number of meal services and Blue Apron was my least favorite. I found the choices limiting and the meals a little more complicated than I wanted for a weeknight. Hello Fresh is good, but also has a limited menu. Home Chef is my favorite because of the variety of meals there are to choose from each week. I also found their meals to be more the type of thing that I enjoyed- obviously that’s totally personal preference.
My husband and I did Blue Apron for a while but shortly discovered there was too much prep work and dishes involved so we switched and started using Plated and we really like it. I feel as though there are more options for meals using Plated, as there are 6 meals to choose from, and get this they have DESSERT OPTIONS too. I also really like that there are “one pan meals” and “stovetop only” meals that you can select for quicker cooking times during those nights you only have a 1/2 hour or so. Plated also caters to certain diets and has gluten free options
I’ve tried both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, and I fall into team HF. I agree with people saying that BA includes dishes you would never cook for yourself (more restaurant like), but my husband and I found them to be too complicated for busy weeknights. BA portions were also much smaller and took too long to prepare, and involved using too many dishes/pots/pans. For HF, yes the recipes are simpler, but everything is really good. We tend to fall into a rut of cooking the same things over and over, it’s nice to mix it up with HF. That said, I do think that all meal services are pricey and we only do it when we have zero time to grocery shop or meal plan.
I just made these “make ahead” mashed potatoes this AM, which can be in the fridge for 2 days or freeze ahead for like a month! From the initial taste of what I put into the dish…these potatoes will be LEGIT.
I’ve made crock pot mashed potatoes before and had a hard time with them not drying out. i’m sure the answer is more butter, more cream, more everything!
My comment on Blue apron relates to expense. If you are feeding a family of 6 (we are 3 adults and 3 children, baby doesn’t count yet, whew), it’s really expensive. Our two older kids sometimes eat as much as me, and we are all active and therefore hungry end of day. I would have to purchase BA to serve 8, at which point, I might as well order out/pick up prepared from the deli. BUT, I think it would be such fun for newlyweds, or others in a different stage of life, particularly those that want to cook more, but don’t know where to start. Personally, I’d prefer to be gifted a cooking class.
Also, that black edging on the dinner plate is beautiful. What a lovely table!
I loved the idea of Crockpot mashed potatoes, but the flavor? NOPE! It didn’t matter what I added to them, they just didn’t taste as good as fresh! And I could not stand the texture either.
I like Hello Fresh for the convenience of being able to put together a yummy meal quickly. But I think it’s too expensive and the meals are start to feel the same. Also, we like doing leftovers for lunches and the meals don’t really lend well to doing that.
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I have honestly tried like 7 different meal services. Marley and Spoon, Blue Apron, Hellofresh, Green Chef, way more…but PLATED was my FAVORITE. So many choices each time, and great dietary options if you want those. It’s the best one.
I’ve tried both Blue Apron & Hello Fresh. I love cooking but they’re a fun way to mix things up. Would NOT give it to someone who doesn’t enjoy cooking or is a true beginner. It’s not hard, per se, but I didn’t exactly find it as easy to follow as it seemed it should be. Yes, everything is measured out for you but I think some understanding of cooking and how recipes work is good. They are flavorful and not boring so not for people who like plain foods (not me, obviously, ha!). They’d be great for someone who wants to mix it up, hates going to the store, or is busy but likes cooking. Hope that helps!
P.S. Congratulations on your baby girl. She is beautiful and I love reading your updates! <3
I’m also Team HelloFresh – it’s so nice for weeknights – the meals come together quickly and they’re tasty! I have found a few of the recipes to be a little bland, and so I’ve needed to kick them up with a few extra ingredients I had lying around – but I made French Onion burgers with kale chips last week that were SO GOOD. Your recipes completely surpass these, but these are good, easy, and so convenient when you’re short on time, but still want to cook a meal!
And agreed on Mindhunter – I watched it last weekend too! So good – and they’re already hinted that season 2 is going to happen. Seeing Jonathan Groff in January in NYC – love him!!
I’m with you on loving the hustle and bustle of the holidays and venture out Black Friday afternoon just to enjoy that. As far as hello fresh, it has its pros and cons. For me, I love that it does the bulk of the dinner planning and dinner shopping on weeks when we are really busy or had a crazy weekend. The food is generally good, and the meals seem like a lot of Asian or Mexican inspired meals but there have been some different ones. But: you are definitely paying for the convenience. It’s more expensive than going to the store and buying x,y, and z but that’s why we use it on busy weeks when we’d otherwise be getting takeout. Also, hello fresh has been late on delivery a couple times and the last time we ordered it one of the meals was lacking ingredients it should have come with. Customer service is helpful and offers credits when that happens but it still is annoying, especially since we haven’t used it a ton (1 to 2 weeks a month the last 4 months) and have had 3 separate instances.
De-lurking to weigh in here – first, crockpot mashed potatoes are THE BOMB – the recipe we use has cream cheese (!) and sour cream (!) in it, and a stick of butter (!!) stirred in at the end. What’s not to love?!
Also, I’ve tried Hello Fresh and Blue Apron and the one I stuck with was Hello Fresh. I LOVE it and so does my husband. The meals are DELICIOUS and I love that (on the Classic plan) we can pick whatever recipes we want. A few times I’ve had some ingredient issues and emailed customer service and every single time they were awesome. We seriously feel like the HF meals we make and eat at home are better than most restaurant meals we could get – and I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is to make delicious pan-sauces and how good seemingly simple combinations are! There are so many of their recipes we have put into frequent rotation at our house. Caveat – I never order the fish/seafood recipes (I’m just weird about shipped seafood).
Blue Apron was super disappointing in comparison to HF – they have some weird thing where you can only choose certain combinations of recipes (like, if you choose Recipe 1 you can’t choose Recipes 4 or 5, that kind of thing), and honestly it was hard to find a combination of recipes I thought we’d eat. I only tried one week but in every recipe we were really underwhelmed by the flavors. The ingredients were very fresh and packaged well, but in all three of the recipes we made we felt like the finished dishes were lacking…. something. There was just a lack of balance in the flavors and acidity and just… meh.
I’d love to see you do a blog post about trying various meal delivery services – I know you said this is a gift question, not something you’d sign up for, but I wonder if Plated and Sun Basket and Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and Purple Carrot and others would send you freebies to review?! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear someone I actually trust from a recipe- and prep-standpoint review the various options!
Maybe an alternative to HF or BA, contact a personal chef in that area, find one easy on Thumbtack and hire them to do meals for XX amount of days. I am a personal chef and get tons of referrals from people who were gifted by a client. Guaranteed fresh, great menu selections and personalized attention makes your gift even better.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for you and other quality bloggers who have given me and inspired new ideas to a rather seasoned chef. You are a breath of real fresh air, not some over the top gimmick and I appreciate all you do. Can’t wait for the new cb to arrive!