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.

 photo DSC04379_zpsy10przhv.jpg

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.

 photo DSC04358_zpseicv0yjk.jpg

 photo DSC04357_zpst8ogeqhi.jpg

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.

 photo DSC04362_zpsyy3sqyqb.jpg

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.

 photo DSC04367_zpsffplgjdc.jpg

 photo DSC04365_zpsponyssuu.jpg

 photo DSC04368_zpswgoby1oj.jpg

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.

 photo DSC04375_zpsrkbejfe1.jpg

 photo DSC04378_zpsddvfn8hd.jpg

 photo DSC04374_zpsiez27ccl.jpg

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.

 photo DSC03709_zpsvqqajn4n.jpg

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

 photo DSC03692_zpsbt8yfmn9.jpg

Preheat ove to 350 degrees

Cream butter and sugar with paddle attachment on medium speed

 photo DSC03691_zpspb2lbqhq.jpg

Add egg yolks and vanilla

 photo DSC03693_zpsqkeoq0gd.jpg

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

 photo DSC03698_zpsh73cfl1o.jpg

 photo DSC03695_zpsfvyoqmrz.jpg

 photo DSC03696_zpsycdcehdi.jpg

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

 photo DSC03699_zpshuyfelga.jpg

Immediately add kisses to the center of the cookies

 photo DSC03703_zpsumh6wa7g.jpg

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.

 photo DSC03700_zps8w8rskzo.jpg

 photo DSC03702_zpsfxilkmqt.jpg

 photo DSC03709_zpsvqqajn4n.jpg

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.

 photo DSC03489_zps5mrpx5gc.jpg

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

 photo DSC03445_zpsaq13zm0b.jpg

 

 photo DSC03447_zpsuydmavcb.jpg

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.

 photo DSC03472_zpssezzopip.jpg

 photo DSC03474_zps4rrgdrwi.jpg

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

 photo DSC03481_zpske5cuvur.jpg

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

 photo DSC03484_zpso90q1sig.jpg

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.

 photo 881C27D5-7872-44E8-A869-A7058BA68D90_zps2e38zike.jpg

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

 photo 2F03A52E-9DB7-432C-A727-0123FA7F351D_zps0lsaedeo.jpg

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

 photo 8ECDAE86-5826-4B29-9B2D-F03C8221295D_zpsj8nlvhda.jpg

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.

 photo 31AAD615-EA43-408F-B53D-24EE3FA6C97F_zpskmx3zofb.jpg

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.

 photo 8250FA14-31EA-4916-B7BA-38FC0DD28C27_zpssbcgtj4g.jpg

 photo 103BB727-CE8D-4899-8D5A-82789F4324F6_zps9bms3vkl.jpg

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.

 photo 1E71E2D6-2E0A-430B-8076-71C99DCC8391_zps63tab001.jpg

 photo E9583541-092A-4BE4-94B7-66F5AEE07B4E_zpsn4sf2did.jpg

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

 photo 717FC569-EB0E-44AC-90E9-512A48F162B3_zpsiliq1zwk.jpg

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!

 photo 2681E891-C2CD-4EE9-BF0C-28F54BA7E19F_zpsupc3ckq3.jpg

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:

 photo 7EA2AAAA-6A96-4F0D-9F71-39991D4ADB2A_zpsbkkgdqlr.jpg

 photo EB8CB0F5-0A3F-49C6-AF1E-932A39A30507_zpshlbeqdgk.jpg

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.

 photo AD5662E6-3999-4A20-B121-D0419B5565F0_zpsyeqcmmvv.jpg

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.

 photo E93A774B-A413-40D3-939C-EA10AE8BDA12_zpskyelfvru.jpg

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.

 photo 479B7B36-4297-49FF-B9FC-A53751BC5249_zpswht6xcuy.jpg

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

 photo 482E7A56-F2A8-4E74-BF52-8814F2285F1D_zps75auhlmj.jpg

Or, you know, eat them all yourself.

 photo B2480EBD-BBF6-4A47-A535-0F76621C458A_zpshs7hmzb6.jpg

 photo 1D03B99B-D1E5-456D-ACBC-0384A2F9338F_zpsmcne31ww.jpg

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

 photo 92A3A781-62DD-48D0-AD77-43C532550935_zps37ajfeq3.jpg

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.

 photo Easy Fall Stew 4_zpsbjomvk0a.jpg

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:

 photo Easy Fall Stew 2_zpsiip8bz52.jpg

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.

 photo Easy Fall Stew 3_zpslpuiynjl.jpg

 photo Easy Fall Stew 4_zpsbjomvk0a.jpg

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

 photo Easy Fall Stew 5_zps4hudjgrn.jpg

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

 photo Easy Fall Stew 6_zpskvwafzdx.jpg

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.

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 13_zpsn77fcmnm.jpg

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.

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe_zpsjfiatsky.jpg

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

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 3_zpsbd9chtrc.jpg

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 4_zpsa1onv4gt.jpg

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

Add to banana mixture.

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 6_zpsingnuqhl.jpg

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.

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 8_zpsxkl81jfi.jpg

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

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 9_zpsbyf5c5i8.jpg

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 10_zps8g86v8mf.jpg

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 11_zpskmpk8yr2.jpg

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.

 photo Easy Baked Oatmeal Recipe 12_zpsmyyqcpi9.jpg

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:

 photo 54111A42-2D4E-479F-89C7-F6CAFD39BA9E_zpsq8xshslb.jpg

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

 photo B9626066-9629-4CC9-B837-1C1453A99927_zps6xmyz5qj.jpg

 photo D5FBB036-E905-469B-91F1-8AE77838DBE3_zpsmze0icmc.jpg

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

 photo F72FC710-3DD8-4E6C-8DC1-E5CA74C6181B_zps9al9medy.jpg

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.

 photo CA266B66-33C1-408E-BFF2-FD6D652E4FF0_zpsamutue4v.jpg

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

 photo 777FA76E-624B-4EB4-8E60-2608C4B12CD8_zpslfa6j4pr.jpg

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).

 photo EA5C116B-DB10-46E5-ABD9-D4A08F7B0B1C_zpsdzydi5yt.jpg

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!