One week. I wanted one week to feel good about cooking for my family. Is that so much to ask? I usually start out strong with something like roasted chicken and rosemary potatoes and by Wednesday the dino nuggets and mac and cheese rotation starts again and I end up serving questionable leftovers and cereal for dinner. Sometimes I think the hardest part about being an adult and a mom is having to cook. If the Genie from Aladdin were real I know my first wish. Well maybe third-after solving world hunger and never having to work out again. I was recently contacted to try out HelloFresh (a weekly meal delivery service) and got to try out their Family Box which included three meals, quick sausage Bolognese, a honey-ginger chicken dish and a beefy-taco casserole. I sort of got my wish, there were less nuggets in the house this past week.
Before you go freaking out saying that I’ve complained that my children eat nothing in previous posts, let me tell you, I insist that they try every concoction I come up with in the kitchen (poor fools) and last week was no different. They tasted and ate small parts of the meals which made me (who tries constantly to force feed them vegetables on a daily basis) very happy. They ate rice, bites of chicken, spaghetti and sausage and Dane ate a sleeve of sour cream. Whatever works. Truth is they also ate a fair share of chicken nuggets for dinner and had yogurt and other random crap from my kitchen because they are toddlers and they have the palate sophistication of frat boys at 2AM on a thirsty thursday. Carbs? Cheese? Okay!
Mark and I didn’t eat nuggets and mac and cheese this week. YAY! We get tired of making alternate foods and have both narrowed our nutritional intake since having these kids. We mostly eat what they will eat. Anyone who has children who happily eat sushi and kale and salmon… congrats. My children nearly vomit. So nuggets it is. I do what I can. We used to eat strict paleo. Unfortunately, since having kids, pasta is on the menu probably twice a week (we sneak in quinoa pasta or like chickpea stuff but most of the time gluten and white flour make an appearance) much to my booty’s dismay.
HelloFresh is really a gift to parents. For a week we…
Didn’t have to decide what to eat.
I loathe making dinner choices. I never remember to take anything out and even if I do I usually take it out so late it’s going into the oven unseasoned and with some random sides I threw together last-minute. Breaded chicken and steamed green bean dinners with a side of dry pasta- toddler food. YUM. HelloFresh sent me what I was making. I chose the box I wanted from the site and knew what was for dinner. One less decision in my life. Flavorful, complete. Not food for the sake of food. I was actually excited to eat what was planned.
Ate actual food.
That the kids would be happy with pretzels and applesauce for dinner. Most nights a glass of wine, some hummus and cheese would satisfy me. Needless to say, my husband was pretty ecstatic about getting to eat three real meals this past week- meals with meat (as is his requirement for it to be considered a meal). Beyond that they were satisfying and actually pretty healthy. The nutrition facts are all spelled out so if you’re dieting or trying to watch your macros or just be aware of what you’re eating there is no guesswork. The pasta dish was the highest calorie at 891 calories but had 11 grams of fiber and 42 grams of carbs. The other two were under 600 calories a piece with over 40 grams of protein so they were filling, even Mark thought so. The quality is good too. I’m neurotic about this stuff. The vegetables were fresh, the meat was good quality and they list the suppliers online so you know what you’re getting.
I am notorious for buying way more of everything than we need. As I sit here there are two Costco-sized bags in my refrigerator of brussels sprouts and broccoli that are most likely ready to go in the trash. I over purchase some things and then when I go to cook roasted broccoli, realize that I am fresh out of olive oil or garlic or something essential to the making the food not taste like dry, burnt leaves. With HelloFresh, everything comes for you- down to tiny little bottles of soy sauce and white wine vinegar (which I incidentally had none of at home…shocker). You use what you need. You may have a little left over but you don’t end up buying a bottle of white wine vinegar that you use 3 tbsp of and then push to the back of the cabinet only to find it rancid three years later the next time you actually need it again.
I hate cold cuts. Sandwiches (unless from an italian deli) are garbage in my eyes. I always have intentions of having leftovers with dinners I cook and end up with one pork chop and a granola bar for lunch (which I eat at 2 AM on nights so you can guess how I feel after that). We had enough from each meal to pack for both of us to eat the next day and the spaghetti meal fed us for lunch and dinner with Mark’s dad. We had enough sauce left over we just needed a little more pasta.
Entertained the kid.
Logan is obsessed with cooking. He keeps telling me he’s going to be either a “cooker” or the Hulk when he grows up. Either way he’s getting his practice in. He saw the box and helped with the prep of every meal. He usually does this regardless of whatever it is I’m cooking but it was better this time for two reasons. First, almost everything was premeasured so there was a lot less mess, I’d open the packages and let him pour it out himself. Secondly, I was a lot less stressed out knowing that each meal was timed to take about a half hour and I wasn’t having to think about much other than following the recipe in front of me. Less running around throwing stuff together while he mixes and Dane unpacks the entire pots and pans cabinet.
To be clear…I do let him use knives and be around hot pots and pans. I want him to understand that he can help and can do it himself but that he needs to be careful and “respect cooking”. He knows to use “angry fingers” when cutting, to let mommy help him and not to touch hot pots and pans. He learned the hard way this week when getting all huffy when I explained he needed to allow me to help him stir on the stove. The pan “bit him” and gave him a tiny little burn. We treated it, threw the obligatory band-aid on and he was fine in less than 5 minutes. He understands it even more now and is still excited and happy to cook with mom.
Got some alone time.
My favorite part. I am notorious for making humongous mess in the kitchen when I actually cook good food. Six pots, three bowls, cutting boards everywhere. All of these dishes required were not more than a cutting board, maybe one bowl and a pan or baking dish. Way less clean up means way more Mommy-Daddy time. Early baths. Early bedtime. Happy Mommy and Daddy.
I enjoyed our experience. For three meals for four people it’s a little over $1o0 which is well below my grocery bill and means that three days and three lunches are done. Win. Win. Win. It’s flexible too which is nice for weeks that you don’t really need it or want it you can pause or change your plan as you need to. It ships free in a big box with ice to keep everything super fresh when it gets to you.
I would do it again and if youre interested in trying use code “onpurpose35” to get $35 dollars off your first box (new customers only). Let me know if you try it!
What are your biggest dinner challenges? Do your kids eat like humans instead of alternating between the appetite of a sumo wrestler or ballerina? HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO EAT VEGETABLES? Don’t say hide them. Logan knows.
Let me know!
Thanks as always!
*This post was sponsored and compenstated by HelloFresh. All opinions are my own.