Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Tag: healthy eating

HelloFresh Review: All the Glorious Details and My Final Thoughts

     Hey There Well-Beings,

It’s the end of our week of fabulous food, but I can’t properly wrap up my review unless I give you all the delicious details. To do that, I have to go back to the beginning to a week before I placed my first order. Don’t worry! I won’t meander and if you stick with me, I’ve got a surprise at the end!  Think of it as the dessert at the end of dinner. 

I’ve wanted to try a meal delivery service for a long time but always thought I couldn’t afford it, so when a friend mentioned that she and her husband were enjoying the perks getting a weekly HelloFresh box sent to their doorstep and preparing home cooked meals a few nights a week, I got super excited. I spent a little time on the website and scoped the variety of plans they had. I could choose from meals for 2, meals for 4, family plans, 3 recipes a week or 4, the classic box with meat and fish dishes, and the vegetarian box and jotted down some numbers. That night went home and looked at my weekly spending and not only did I break even on the cost, it solved the age old question of what to prep for dinner and what to eat for lunch. I excitedly ordered the Classic Box for 2 with 4 recipes a week for $79.92. (Shipping was free and I had a coupon code that my friend provided me with that gave me $40 off my first order, bringing it to $39.92, and helped her get $20 off her next box. Pretty rad!) 

After I signed up, I was taken to a page with 8 meals, one of which was what’s called a Premium Meal. This meal costs a little extra per person, but lives up to it’s name with prime cuts of steak, duck, and higher end sides like mushroom truffle risotto, and specialty produce like heirloom tomatoes. For me, it would be a once in a while treat, but the traditional meals I got to choose from were plenty interesting. Once I chose my 4 meals, I chose a delivery date that worked best for me and impatiently waited for my food to arrive! 

When the box showed up on my doorstep, I opened it to find everything packed incredibly carefully, with each meal separated into brown bags. The exception was the bottom of the box, which had all frozen items surrounded by ice packs. All my meats were still frozen and as I peeked into the bags, the ingredients lived up to the name. They were indeed fresh. I loved that the salmon dish I selected had a note on the sticker indicating that it should be prepared first. I’d already planned to make it in that order, but this attention to detail was appreciated. The recipe cards were printed on glossy, full sheets of paper, and are quality enough to compile and save in a personal cookbook, which I plan on doing as soon as I have time to get crafty with some Mod Podge and a three ring binder. 

My boyfriend, who doesn’t impress easily, pointed out that nearly everything I was sent was completely recyclable and nodded in approval. Once my items were in the fridge, we broke down the box, and let the freezer packs melt in the sink. The gel is water soluble, so once it thawed, I was able to pour the solution into the toilet (yep, they recommend this), rinse out the bags, and recycle those, too. Each time I made a meal, the bags joined my weekly pile, as well. I feel no guilt about ordering. They’re looking out for Mother Earth. 

When it came to preparing my meals, the instructions were simple, easy to follow, and had beautiful pictures to help with dressing the plate and making sure prep went smoothly. Even though I was learning new techniques, I never felt like I was doing anything too beyond my abilities. The recipes contain fresh herbs, seasonal produce, and other simple ingredients that aren’t so outlandish that they scare you and all of the flavors went together so well. I sent my mom photos each night of my meals and she may have been flattering me a little, but said they looked restaurant quality. They certainly tasted that way! 

So, I’ll bet you’re wondering…Am I ordering another box? You bet! Here’s why:

  1. I’m eating real, fresh, high quality, home cooked meals each night and not processed, convenience junk that I was never that excited about.
  2. The variety is awesome. Other than leftovers for lunch, I never eat the same thing twice.  
  3. I’m getting cooking lessons each night, and my confidence in the kitchen has soared in just a week’s time.
  4. I no longer have to subject myself to the anxiety of meal planning, scour the internet for healthy recipes, or feel overwhelmed each week at the store trying to put meals together.
  5. I’ve wanted to eat healthier, and this allows me to do that in a way that not only nourishes my body, but nourishes my soul. I feel joy about my food now, and that’s the greatest gift of all. 

Because I’m such a fan of HelloFresh and I know you will be too, I have a deal for you! If you use this link you can get $40 off of your first box. If you use it, I will earn a thank you of $20 off of my next box from HelloFresh for the referral, and you’ll get a coupon code of your own to offer your family and friends. I’ll be eternally grateful and you’ll get a taste of what I’ve been raving about the past few days!  Bon appetit! 

Wishing You Total Well-Being, 

Jennifer

HelloFresh Day Four: Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Kale in a Sage Brown Butter Sauce

     Hey There, Well Beings! 

Today is definitely a sad day. This is my last meal for the week. I’ve been having so much fun with my nightly cooking class! I don’t want it to end. I do get to share one last meal with you, and that’s been pretty great, so set the table, because this was another good one!

I’ve always wondered about shallots. Now I can’t wait to use them in more things. It was definitely oniony, but with a milder flavor. The star ingredient of the night was fresh sage, though. Ohmyfreakinggoodness! The smell was unbelievable. I mean, I’m used to using a bundle of the dry stuff for smudging purposes, but if I didn’t come in at 20 minutes making this meal, it was because I was standing over the sink huffing this glorious herb. If I need to be ashamed, I’m not and I don’t care. Fresh sage. Please find an excuse to use it in something. 

I must confess, I think I under sautéed the kale mixture and I know I over cooked my agnolotti. I was worried. As this was coming together, I wondered if my pasta tooth lead me astray when I selected this dish. The smells didn’t seem like they were meshing very well. I’m so glad I followed through and got to the point where it all went into the pot together. This is where the magic happens. The flavors came together beautifully and as I’m writing this, I’m telling myself that I’d better not sneak to the fridge and leave myself without lunch for tomorrow. Did I mention fresh sage? 4 out of 5 for a slightly longer clean up, but this meal was an unexpected delight and the serving sizes were not skimpy in the slightest. 

Well-Beings, we have one more post together this week. I’m giving the deets on the set up, boxes to choose from, and the menu selection process. I’ll also answer the burning question: Is another box coming next week? 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

HelloFresh Day Three: Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

     Hey There, Well-Beings! 

I made my third HelloFresh meal tonight and I’m starting to feel a little bummed out that my box is nearly empty. I came home later than usual, and I was still stoked to get into the kitchen. It’s my new favorite part of the day! You want to hear about the actual food though, so here’s what happened on Day Three. 

I started by peeling my sweet potatoes and cutting them into small pieces. I coated them in a small amount of olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper and put them on my roasting pan for ten minutes while I dressed my green beans the same way. I had never roasted green beans in the oven before, only boiled, and I will make them this way from now on. The end result was crispy and more flavorful than what I was used to. I’m comfy with roasting now and I see a lot of sweet potatoes in my future in the months ahead. 

Admittedly, I was nervous about the rest of this recipe. I’ve heard a lot about how notoriously difficult pork is to cook, and boy was that not the case. I pan seared for about 8 minutes, which sped up the roasting time and sealed in the juices so it didn’t dry out in the oven. Then 12 minutes at 425 degrees, and I had perfect pork tenderloin. I’m still wondering what all the fuss is about. The honey glaze was simple and added some additional moisture to the pork, making it very tender. I might use another herb other than thyme when I make this again, but that’s merely a palate preference. 

As for time, I only had one roasting tray, so I exceeded the 30 minutes by just under another 30. Am I upset? Nope. This meal was worth waiting for. Personally, it was a rough day and this was incredibly satisfying both in the making and in the eating. I’ll price pork tenderloin on my next Costco trip and look forward to experimenting with some new flavors. 4 out of 5. It was a little more labor intensive and required more clean up than the other meals, but it was very good and I will definitely make it again. 

Wishing You Total Well-Being, 

Jennifer

HelloFresh Day Two: Presto Pesto Panko Chicken with Green Salad and Roasted Potatoes

     Hey There, Well-Beings! 

After a success with my first meal, I was really excited to come home and get in the kitchen. Yay! Cooking is really a lot of fun when you no longer believe you’re terrible at it. I’m starting to feel like this experience is going to do more for me than just change the food I eat, and I’m a thousand percent okay with that. Food as therapy. Soul is nourished. I’m rambling. Back to the food! 

I was excited as I opened the bag on this one. I’d never used panko before, but I’ve seen it in a ton of Pinterest recipes and on restaurant menus, and I’ve been wanting to work with it for a while. The ingredients were very high quality. I’ve never seen potatoes so fresh. I think I’ll be a lot pickier with my produce from here on out. 

The prep was really easy, and because I had an oversized baking sheet, instead of using two as the recipe suggested, the clean up was super quick. Especially because I lined it with foil.  In fact, I did most of the clean up while waiting for the potatoes to roast and the chicken to bake. The pesto and panko-mozzarella made my kitchen smell heavenly while I washed dishes and the pup stayed close by, sniffing the air. 

Tasting time: My photos do not do this meal justice. This was soooo good! The chicken was juicy, the pesto panko coating gave it such delicious flavor. The potatoes were tasty and a good side choice and the salad with the simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing was very flavorful. I honestly might be done with traditional salad dressing. I know! What is happening?!?! 

5 out of 5 on this recipe. I am so pleased with this meal. I will definitely make it again. In fact, I’m thinking about skipping the catered lunch my job is generously offering us tomorrow so I can eat the leftovers instead. There’s no way it will be better than what I just made. 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

HelloFresh Day One: Spiced Dijon Salmon with Arugula Salad and Couscous

     Hey There, Well-Beings! 

Since I took the day off from blogging last Sunday, I thought it might be nice to make up for it with 5 days worth of posts about a new experience I had recently.  I got my first box from HelloFresh last week and thought it might be nice to feature all four of meals, one at a time, so I can give a full and honest review for you and then an overall impression and run down of the nitty gritty at the end of the week. It doesn’t make for linear storytelling, but let’s be honest. What you really want to know was whether or not the food was any good, right? Roast assured, that’s exactly what I plan to do!

 

It was thoughtfully suggested that I cook last night’s meal first by the label on the bag. Since it contained salmon, I thought this was a really cool detail, and one I’d already considered as I was planning my week. As for the food itself, I’d l never had Blue Circle Salmon before, but was very impressed with the quality and the fact that sustainability and non-GMO sourcing were some of the standards they uphold. The recipe called for a cumin based spice rub that was included in the bag and was very tasty. I actually flubbed this a little and didn’t get the rub on before the salmon was already in the pan, but that didn’t mess anything up in the slightest. Adding it right in the pan and giving the top and sides a little pat was all it needed. The recipe suggests a non stick pan if you have one, and I agree. Maybe it was the fact that I was using stainless steel for the first time, but the skin side of the filet adhered to the pan with a quickness because I didn’t oil it as well as I needed to.  It was by no means a loss, though. I just added some additional olive oil to the pan before I flipped the fish over and as you can see from the last photo, it plated up well.

The couscous was nice and fluffy and made a great bed for the salmon. I think you could easily sub in quinoa and make this a gluten free meal, if you have dietary restrictions. The dijon cream drizzle was a nice touch and added a little sweetness to the savory elements of the meal. I used the extra on the salad because I’m still a creamy salad dressing gal at heart, even though the simple olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper dressing made the arugula salad taste pretty dang good on it’s own. The crunchy apple and pecan added good texture, and I’ll likely make this salad again to serve with other things.

Overall, the instructions on this meal were easy to follow, the clean up wasn’t bad at all, the ingredients were simple and indeed fresh.  It did take me a little longer than the recipe suggested, but I consider my culinary skills to land somewhere near beginner and I think a slightly more experienced cook could have easily come in right at 30 minutes. I feel confident that I could and would make this meal again on my own.  Score: 5 out of 5

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see how Monday’s meal turned out.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

From the Archives: Don’t Have a Cheat. Have a Treat!

 

  Hey There, Well-Beings! 

I’m replaying an article that’s been close to my heart as I’ve been completing a wonderful course about self-love that’s been created with so much care by the wonderful owner of Olivine Atelier (which you should check out if you’re into beautifully crafted perfumes and gorgeous little gifts that amp up your joy in a big way). I’ve been revisiting and doing some healing of some body-issues I’ve had as I’ve watched myself change over the past twenty years and it’s reminded me how powerfully our words can create or undo the goodness we want for ourselves. I hope you enjoy this insight from 2015 about the compassionate shift we can have in our thoughts about food. I hope it inspires you to speak to yourself more kindly.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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I’m concerned about the use of the phrase “cheat meal”. I see it all over social media and fitness forums, and something about it isn’t sitting right. I think it puts a negative spin on the entirely positive and awesome decision people make when they decide to eat healthfully.

One could argue that I’m just being silly about semantics, but I believe it runs much deeper than that. I believe it’s about our mindset when it comes to food and that starting with the words we allow to leave our lips or fingertips, we form the thoughts that can make or break us. Hear me out while I get to the heart of the matter; your heart.

Taking good care of yourself should be a choice you make with a joyful heart each day, not a chore. Stuffing yourself with sad salad all week so you can go buck wild on a cheeseburger and milkshake on Saturday is a kinda crappy way to exist, don’t ya think? Restriction isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, the name of the game. If your day to day is so joyless that you have to cheat on it once a week, maybe you should try shifting the way you think about it.

Eating well fuels your body. You give it the proper nutrients to keep it functioning optimally and in return it gives you sustained energy and wellness to do both the things you need and want to do. It’s a fair trade, especially when you weigh the way you feel when you drink a smoothie vs the way you feel when you eat from the drive-through. Sometimes, yes, just sometimes, you really want that bag of peanut butter M&M’s or to actually eat a sno-cone with your kids, and by infusing that desire with guilt by suggesting that you’re somehow cheating by having it, it strips you of the joy you experience when you receive something you really, totally and completely want. Please don’t do that to yourself, Darling Heart. Life is meant to be lived!

Do I want you to make good choices that help you live a long, healthy, happy life? You betcha! There’s room for both smart eating and lovely indulgences, though. Don’t cheat yourself by feeling bad about wanting what you want and treating yourself to it now and again. In fact, call it a treat meal! Call it self-care! Call it “I wanted some damn pizza and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it!”. Call it whatever you need to call it to get the unnecessary negativity out of the middle of your joy! You may even find that the longer you purposefully practice this, the more you may find your heart hearts a weekly kombucha or daily green juice and all from just watching your words!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Fall in Love with Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds     Hey there, awesome readers! Since it’s October, and I know a lot of you will be buying pumpkins for decorating and recipes this month, I wanted to share the article I wrote for Inner Child Magazine with you this month.  You may just discover your new favorite autumn snack as a result!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

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When you’re carving Jack-o-lanterns this month, do yourself a big favor and hold on to the seeds. Pumpkin seeds, or Pepitas as they are also known, are a nutrient powerhouse and have a host of awesome benefits. Below are a few big reasons to get more of this little seed in your diet.

Prostate and Postmenopausal Health –  Send the kids out trick-or-treating. This snack is tops for adults! Pumpkin seeds are wonderful for both men and women. Because they are high in zinc, research supports the use of pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed extract to maintain proper prostate health. Pumpkin seed oil contains high levels of naturally occurring phytoestrogens which may help soothe hot flashes in menopausal and postmenopausal women, and in cases of low progesterone or estrogen dominant hormonal imbalances. Eat up!

 

Sleep – You know the stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy? It’s called L-Tryptophan and its in pumpkin seeds, too. This amino acid works because your body turns it into serotonin, then turns that serotonin into melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that signals  to your brain that it’s time for sleep. Wanna catch a few more zzz’s? Snack on pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed and snuggle up with your favorite book, partner or pet. Sweet dreams!

 

Plant Based Omega-3’s – In raw form, pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid. This type of omega is purported to help with high blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent heart disease and have benefits for the skin. s the hormone that signals  to your brain that it’s time for sleep. Wanna catch a few more zzz’s? Snack on pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed and snuggle up with your favorite book, partner or pet. Sweet dreams!

How should you eat them? Raw is best, but lightly roasted is okay, too. Choose a low heat setting, 150-170 degrees for about 15 minutes to keep the nutrients. If the seeds aren’t for you, ask your doctor and supplements store about adding pumpkin seeds to your diet in capsule or extract form so you don’t miss the benefits! Happy Halloween!

jack-o-lantern

 

 

Don’t Have a Cheat, Have a Treat!

macaroons-690399_1280    I’m concerned about the use of the phrase “cheat meal”. I see it all over social media and fitness forums and something about it isn’t sitting right. I think it puts a negative spin on the entirely positive and awesome decision people make when they decide to eat healthfully.

One could argue that I’m just a Persnickety Polly and I’m being silly about semantics, but I think it’s about much more than word choice. I believe it’s about our mindset when it comes to food and that starting with our word choice, we form the thoughts that can make or break us. Hear me out while I get to the heart of the matter; YOUR HEART.

Taking good care of yourself should be a choice you make with a joyful heart each day, not a chore. Stuffing yourself with sad salad all week so you can go buck wild on a cheeseburger and milkshake on Saturday is a kinda crappy way to exist, don’t ya think? Restriction isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be the name of the game. If your day to day is so joyless that you have to cheat on it once a week, maybe you should try shifting the way you think about it.

Eating well fuels your body. You give it the proper nutrients to keep it functioning optimally and in return it gives you sustained energy and wellness to do both the things you need and want to do. It’s a fair trade, especially when you weigh the way you feel when you drink a smoothie vs the way you feel when you eat from the drive-through. Sometimes, yes, just sometimes, you just WANT that bag of peanut butter M&M’s or to grab a sno-cone with your favorite friend or your kids, and by infusing that desire with guilt by suggesting that you’re somehow cheating by having it, strips you of the joy you experience when you receive something you really, totally and completely want. Please don’t do that to yourself, Darling Heart. Life is meant to be lived!

Do I want you to make good choices that help you live a long, healthy, happy life? You betcha! There’s room for both smart eating and lovely indulgences, though. Don’t cheat YOURSELF by feeling bad about wanting what you want and treating yourself to it now and again. In fact, call it a treat meal! Call it self-care! Call it “I needed some damn pizza and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it!”. Call it whatever you need to call it to get the unnecessary negativity out of the middle of your joy! You may even find that the longer you purposefully practice this, the more you may find your heart hearts a weekly kombucha or daily green juice and all from just watching your words!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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