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?

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!

Cranberry White Chocolate Christmas Cookies

I think it’s safe to say we can stop saying the holidays are approaching and finally accept that they are here. The best part of this? The excuse to eat delicious and utterly gluttonous food and do I have the recipe for you!

One of the very best parts of the holiday season is the flavors. Rich chocolate, cranberry, cinnamon, peppermint. I can’t get enough.

This recipe combines quite a few of them together and may be one of the best holiday treats I’v ever had.

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Excuse some of the grainy iPhone photos – I had my camera but left my memory card some place else. Rookie mistake.

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You will need:

  • 3/4 C butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 bag of dried cranberries
  • 1/2 bag of white chocolate chips

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Beat butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy

Add vanilla and egg.

Continue mixing on low speed and add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

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Unstick the dough from your mixers (it’s almost the consistency of play dough and add your cranberries and chips.

Mix on low until completely blended.

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You may have to sample the dough at this point. You know, to make sure it’s up to your high standards.

Maybe one more sample. Just to be absolutely sure.

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Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

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While that’s chilling, can we talk about a few things?

For starters, how great is my Christmas apron? I know it’s bad to start celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving but who could pass up the appeal of little Gingerbread Man faces. I certainly can’t!

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Also, my new record! You know by now that I love listening to records when I bake, especially at the holidays.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories happened with Charlie Brown music playing in the background so when I saw Barnes and Noble had a special Charlie Brown Christmas record, I Road Runnered over to the store immediately!

How cute is this:

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No other album will compare now.

Anyway, back to why we’re all here. Cookies!

Pull your dough out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

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Take about a TBS size ball and flatten it a bit (they don’t spread that much) and space them out on your baking sheets and bake them for 8 – 10 minutes.

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Pull them out and let them sit on the baking sheet for another 10 minutes. Don’t skip this step!

Trust me, they’ll continue to bake through and if you remove them too soon, they’ll be too gooey and fall apart.

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After they’ve cooled, you can make holiday cookie plates for friends and family.

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Or, you know, eat them all yourself.

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It is the holidays after all and who can resist gooey chocolate?

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Do you have any good holiday recipes to share? From now until Christmas, all I want to do is bake so don’t hold back on me!

These would be a great Thanksgiving treat too. Served with a side of pie. After all, calories don’t count from now until January 2nd!

Easy Autumn Stew

I don’t cook very often (I’m a very lazy eater) so when I do, you best believe it’s going to be photograph, documented and posted within an inch of it’s life. Which is why I have two recipe posts in a row.

Well, that and I’m on the road and didn’t feel up to editing and uploading any other photos.

Anyway, fall is here and for my family that means one thing: Hamburger Soup.

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My Mom made hamburger soup my entire life and it’s my absolute favorite meal. The day I would come home from school to the smell of stew simmering on the stove, I knew fall was really here.

When I got my first apartment, I was so excited for her to teach me her culinary secrets. I had visions of us blowing the world away with our creative genius. Opening restaurants to rival even Giada.

Turns out, this is the easiest recipe in the world.

I’m a believer that us lazy cooks need to stick together so I decided to settle with posting the recipe here instead.

All you’ll need is:

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A handful of potatoes

Carrots, celery and onions – diced (you can really add whatever veggies you like. I normally will throw in a few handfuls of Soycutash if it’s in my freezer)

Ground round or vegetarian substitute (sautéed and fully cooked already)

Low Sodium V8 Juice

Ready for this. This is the only tricky part of the recipe.

You put everything in a pot over medium-low heat. Cover it. Leave it.

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Stir occasionally and then serve (when your potatoes are softened) with a big hunk of baguette. Or maybe add a little parmesan cheese.

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It isn’t the most photogenic of dishes but it makes up for it in taste. And ease.

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Proof that even lazy cooks can whip up a good meal.

Do you have any good autumn recipes to share? Fall is my favorite season, especially for food so don’t hold out on me!

Easy Baked Oatmeal

We need to talk about something important. Very important.

Food. Breakfast food.

If you live and breathe Pinterest (like me), go on occasionally or basically, don’t live under a rock, you’ll know that baked oatmeal is the biggest breakfast trend since avocado toast.

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When fall rolls around, I believe the best way to start the day off is with a big bowl of oatmeal and an even bigger mug of coffee.

So, when someone passed along a recipe for cinnamon, peanut butter baked oatmeal, I had to give it a try. For research purposes. Of course.

Here’s what you do:

In a bowl, you’ll mash up two ripe bananas.

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Add about 1/2 a cup of milk, 1 tsp vanilla and one egg.

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In a separate bowl, add a cup and half of oats, 1 TBS cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Add to banana mixture.

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It’s honestly the most unappetizing, unbaked dish I’ve ever seen. Fair warning.

Pour the mixture into a greased square baking pan and cook at 375 for about 45 minutes.

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Cut it into fourths, add a little fruit and milk then serve.

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Overall, I think the recipe was a great blend of flavors. The sweet banana, the rich cinnamon and gooey peanut butter.

The texture, however, is not my favorite.

I think I’m going to stick with regular oatmeal from now on but if you like baked oatmeal, you have to give this recipe a try.

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Now tell me, do you like baked oatmeal? Does the texture bother you?

More importantly, what’s your go-to fall breakfast? You know I’m always looking for new recipes!

The Easiest Summer Dessert

When I need a break at work, am standing in a long line and actively avoiding eye contact or sitting at home with the baseball game on, there’s about a 99% chance you’ll find me on my phone, scrolling through Pinterest.

It’s not an addiction because it’s not a problem . . . at least that’s what I tell myself.

In my (not so) humble opinion, Pinterest is the supreme happy place. Full of artsy pictures of your favorite things – I can think of no better place to destress.

Mine is full to the brim of geeky memes, fashion, quotes, weather (yes, just go with it), books and, of course, food. Okay, it’s mostly food. This means that I’m never at a loss for a new recipe to try.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about Pinterest but it seems once you see a recipe that looks good, almost overnight EVERYONE is posting about it! This just happened to me with the perfect summer dessert recipe, so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon and share with you.

I’m sure you’ve seen this a million times by now but here it is, sautéed peaches:

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Beyond easy with a tad bit of guilt (dessert isn’t dessert if it’s guilt free) but not nearly as bad as other indulgences.

All you have to do is slice your peach in half and place them on a non-stick pan over med/med-high heat until they caramelize

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Depending how healthy/naughty you are, add a smudge of butter or coconut oil and cook until peaches are soft and golden.

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Place in a bowl with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (or yogurt – I’d recommend whipped coconut greek yogurt) and drizzle the buttery, peach juice on top.

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That’s it! I know, I could hardly believe it was the easy when I tried it.

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The peaches are as soft as butter – you can cut right through it with a spoon and the warm peaches and cold ice cream make the most perfect combination since peanut butter and honey (you thought I was going to say jelly, didn’t you, you saucy little minx).

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Have you tried this recipe before? Let me know how you cook it – I can’t wait to try it again and would love to try your variations of it!