Box Subscription: Hello Fresh

I feel like there’s a box subscription for everything now. You name it, it can come in a monthly box, perfectly packaged, right on your doorstep. We’re either living in a very lazy age or a very lucky, innovative one. I haven’t quite decided yet.

My friends and family alike have been subscribing to food boxes recently. For me, I love my weekend grocery store runs and have stayed clear but when I got a call this weekend saying that someone I know ordered 2 boxes from Hello Fresh instead of 1 and asked if I’d like one, who am I to say no?

I first heard of Hello Fresh when listening to Lady Lovin’ but was a little skeptical. How can veggies be sent to you that are fresh and, most importantly, not full of preservatives? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible, delicious and extremely convenient.

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Within a refrigerated box, each meal comes in its own separate box with everything you’ll need to make your meal including a meal card with instructions, measurements and calorie information.

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I’m not a good cook. I’m too lazy. Truth be told, most days I come home from work to a dinner of cereal or, on a good day, a basic salad. I’ve always said though if I could be like the chefs on cooking shows where everything is already premeasured and ready to go, I could be a great chef. If you’re like me, you’ll love Hello Fresh.

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My box was vegetarian and my meals included quesadillas, couscous and a salad. After a weekend of fried mediterranean, salty thai and a big bowl of gnocchi, I figured a salad was necessary to start the week off.

All the veggies and fresh herbs in the box were fresh, flavorful and the perfect amount.

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The result: the perfect summer salad.

Chopped radish, persian cucumber, carrot, feta, cooked lentils flavored with mediterranean spice, over a bed of arugula and seasoned with lemon and a homemade dill salad dressing.

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The recipe was fantastic and took around 30 minutes to make which isn’t terrible. My misgivings about the quality of vegetables were all wrong and everything included was incredibly fresh.

It does make you feel like Giada (or whoever your favorite cooking show host is) when you don’t have to waste your time trying to figure out what would be good ratios and measurements.

I’ve since had the other meals in the box and really enjoyed them as well. If you’re having a lazy week and don’t want to cook or if you live alone (which can be very hard to shop for food for), definitely give Hello Fresh a try. It’s convenient, fresh and the recipes are not only delicious but easy to make.

Have you tried a box subscription? Which one and what did you think?

Galentine’s Day 2017

What’s Galentine’s Day?

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I love Galentine’s Day! I’m a firm believer in the importance of having strong women in our lives and a holiday that allows you to celebrate these women, what could be better?

If you don’t know what Galentine’s Day is, it was invented by Leslie Knope on Parks and Recs.

“Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

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A holiday that gives you an excuse to eat breakfast food and celebrate the women in your life who lift you up when you’re down, inspire you to do great things and challenge you to be the best you can be. Honestly, can you think of a better holiday?

City of the Dead, New Orleans

I gave you a little tease of my New Orleans trip last week, promptly got distracted and forgot the rest of my posts.

Believe it or not, I didn’t just go to New Orleans to enjoy beignets one morning then leave. Although if you’re thinking of doing that, you won’t be disappointed.

So, after eating our weight in sugary, fried pastries, we hit the street on to our next adventure. . .

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To the city of the dead.

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If you go to New Orleans, you have to do a cemetery tour. I don’t care if you like history, if you’re easily scared, if you think it sounds boring or any other excuse you can think of. You have to do one.

We visited the St. Louis cemetery, the older of the two where you can get tours, and to be fair, my photos don’t even do it justice. It’s utterly spectacular and like nothing I’ve ever seen.

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New Orleans is built on a swamp. The waterbed is about 3 feet below the ground and is extremely active, meaning underground burials in New Orleans, not such a great idea unless you want it to perpetually look like zombies are popping out of the ground to attack you.

Ironically, the concept of above ground burials arose out of fashion (it was all the rage in Europe) not necessity. Whoever said that fashion doesn’t lead to great things was obviously lying.

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A few years back, vandalism became excessive in the centuries. Tombs were desecrated (people actually broke holes in them and would pull bones out), grafitied and statues were beheaded make the cemeteries something straight out of your worst nightmare.

Each tomb belongs to a particular family, so when it gets destroyed, it is the financial responsibility of the family to restore it.

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The cemeteries were closed to the public in response to the vandalism but eventually allowed in tour groups who pay annual fees.

We booked our tour through French Quarter Phantoms.

Our guide, Robin, was fabulous. Full to the brim with facts and dripping in sarcasm. The kind of person you could listen to for hours and then want to grab a drink at a local bar with. If you can request a tour with her, do it. Absolutely do it.

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Robin also dropped the fact that the Weeping Angels were inspired by the statues in New Orleans cemeteries.

It goes without saying I adamantly refused to blink the entire tour.

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I have so many amazing stories from the tour but I won’t spoil them for you. Just be sure to ask about the Italian tomb and who the first person to be placed in it was (hint, it rhymes with shmarcitect).

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Leaving the land of the dead behind, we reentered the streets of living, as always, in search of something to eat.

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We ended up at Domenica inside the Roosevelt hotel and passed away the early afternoon with pizza and bellinis.

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Cheers 🥂

A post shared by Caitlin (@wandererandwolf) on

Can you think of a better way to spend an afternoon than with champagne and cemeteries? I certainly can’t.

Beignets For Days, New Orleans

Having your friends live all across the country can be extremely hard and frustrating at times. The silver lining though, you never have to look far for an excuse to travel!

One of my best friends lives in Texas which means getting together takes a little bit of planning. This past fall I told her, rather than coming to one of our respective states, we should pack our bags and travel some place we’ve never been before. Or some place with island drinks. I’m really not that picky.

We bounced ideas back and forth, Bahamas, Jamaica, Florida? Until I finally said, what about New Orleans (a place that meets both of those requirements above, might I add). A few days later, our tickets were booked and I began quoting Princess and the Frog every time we talked (something that continued through our trip).

This past weekend, I rushed from work to the airport, hopped on a plane, took a an Uber ride from the airport in the middle of the night, collapsed in bed, only to wake up the next morning to  . . .

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Despite our late night flights, we set alarms early our first morning. We were on a mission. You’ll see why in a minute.

We stepped out on our terrace with big Cheshire Cat grins, tossed on the closest clothes we had and rushed down to the streets below.

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New Orleans is known for their lively night culture but I think the mornings are just as good!

The fog slowly clears away, artists start setting up, the streets are all but deserted and it feels like the whole city is yours.

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If you do want some signs of civilization, I’ll tell you where to go (it’s where we were headed).

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Cafe du Monde. The place to go in New Orleans.

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Known for having the best beignets and Cafe au Lait in New Orleans. The line will always be long and will always be worth it.

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Believe it or not, the line moves quickly. Before you know it, you’re ushered inside and a waitress will want your order before you can settle down. The menu is small, beignets, a choice of coffees and juices.

You’ll order and she’ll disappear like a phantom in the night.

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In a blink of an eye, she’ll be bearing down on you with a plate full of warm, fried, sugary pastries that make you drool just looking at them and big mugs of strong, chicory coffee.

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Maybe not the best date spot, if you’re easily embarrassed. It’s just a little messy.

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You know when you travel and everyone tells you there are certain places you absolutely must visit. When you do you realize that they’re sadly overrated and you’ve completely wasted your time? That is not Cafe du Monde. It is well worth the hype (and that’s not just the sugar rush talking)!

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Extremely happy with day so far, we left Cafe du Monde in the happiest of sugar-induced moods and strolled to our next adventure singing and dancing to Down in New Orleans.

Okay, that last part may have just been me but tell me you didn’t have that song stuck in your head the whole time you saw these photos. If you say you didn’t, I’ll know you’re lying.

Mint Kiss Cookie Recipes

Can you believe the holidays are over? Even more, can you believe there’s only a few days left of 2016? Where has the time gone!

For those of you wanting to send 2016 off in style, I’m sure you have a slew of parties lined up and I’m guessing that a few of those are potluck parties.

Fear not, I have the perfect recipe for you.

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A treat that utilizes holiday flavors, small enough to pop and colorful enough to fit right in when the ball drops.

You will need:

  • 10 TBS Butter
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • Holiday Dot Sprinkles
  • 1 1/2 C Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Peppermint Kisses

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Preheat ove to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar with paddle attachment on medium speed

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Add egg yolks and vanilla

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Add flour 1/2 C at a time while mixing on medium speed

Add baking powder and salt

Roll into balls (about TBS large) and roll in sprinkles

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Bake for 9 minutes – while baking, remove foil from kisses

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Immediately add kisses to the center of the cookies

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For the kisses to keep their shape, place cookies in the freezer right away for a few minutes. If you’re like me and want them melted a bit, put them in the fridge for about 5 minutes and then the freezer for about 5 minutes.

Let the cookies thaw a bit, arrange on a sparkly plate and serve with a glass of champagne.

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The perfect party treat. After all, who doesn’t love peppermint and sprinkles?

Peppermint Sugar Cookies

When the holidays roll around, there’s a lot to love. Time with family, decorations, finding the perfect gift. If we’re being honest though, we all know what the best part is. The food!

The holidays are the time for all things cinnamon, pumpkin, cranberry, peppermint and white chocolate. I’m drooling just thinking about it. If you are too, then do I have the Holy Grail of holiday recipes for you.

Are you ready? Are you sure? You should probably sit down for this.

Peppermint Sugar Cookies.

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Peppermint shortbread cookies with peppermint cream cheese frosting and candy canes on top. Not for the faint of heart, let me tell you.

Now,  I love peppermint with a fierce passion but I was skeptical to try this recipe. I had a friend who made peppermint cupcakes with peppermint frosting once and it was so overwhelming, it tasted like toothpaste.

Not this recipe though, I promise. Now, let’s get started.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1/4 C Vegetable Shortening or Butter
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Large egg white
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract
  • Crushed Candy Canes (topping)

For the Frosting:

  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 4 TBS Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Peppermint Extract
  • 2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside
  2. On medium speed, whip butter, shortening ad sugar until fluffy
  3. Add egg. Then add egg white, vanilla, peppermint
  4. With the mixer still running, slowly add the dry ingredients
  5. Put dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F
  7. Scoop dough out and flatten on a flour powdered surface until 1/2 inch thick then cut cookies using a cup (dusted in flour)
  8. Bake 10 minutes then let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing

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With a paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.

Add peppermint and powdered sugar.

Crush candy canes into small pieces and sprinkle on top.

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For best results, enjoy curled up under a blanket on your favorite couch with a mug of strong black tea.

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The flavor is strong but not overpowering. No confusing these cookies for toothpaste (unless you want to. No judgements here).

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I’d love for you to give them a try and then tell me what you think!

In the meantime, any good holiday baking recipes to share with me? We only have a few more weeks until Christmas and I’m determined to make as many treats as possible before the holiday season ends!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I meant to put up this post last week to go along with my fall/Halloween theme but Photobucket was down on Friday morning and then I got so wrapped up in the fact that The Abominable Bride was posted on Netflix, any thought of blogging was pushed out of my mind in favor of deerstalkers and pipes.

However, late as the post is, there is never a bad time to post a recipe. Especially a cookie recipe. With pumpkin. And chocolate.

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I think when baking, you can never really go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. You can only make them better. How? Adding pumpkin.

Whether you’re a baker or a slice-and-bake-baker, you’ll be able to do this recipe. It’s beyond simple – the real challenge is not eating them all yourself (something I will not judge you for doing in the slightest).

You will need:

1 stick of butter (softened)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 TBS pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice (or pumpkin pie spice) to taste – the more the better
1/2 package of chocolate chips

Whisk together butter, brown sugar and sugar in a bowl. Add vanilla and pumpkin, mixing until smooth.

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In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, backing soda and spices.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Add chips.

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Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for 1 hour to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and take the dough out of the refrigerator.

Roll the dough into balls and press flat (they don’t spread much when baking) and bake fro about 10 minutes.

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Let the cookies cool ON THE BAKING SHEET for 10 minutes before setting them off to the side to cool. This is really important, if you don’t the cookies are too gooey and the texture is completely off.

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Keep in mind, while most of the instructions here are similar to regular chocolate chip cookies, the texture is very different since you’re replacing eggs with pumpkin puree.

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They’re very soft and chewy. The perfect amount of sweetness and a great mixture of flavor.

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Have you ever made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies? Last year I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins which were amazing!

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If you have a good pumpkin recipe, please be sure to share! We still have a few weeks left before Christmas flavors take over!