5 Reasons to try Hello Fresh

This week I decided to give Hello Fresh a shot! One of my coworkers has been using the meal service for several weeks now and highly recommended it. For those that don’t know Hello Fresh is a meal subscription service. Each week a box of fresh ingredients and recipe cards show up on your door step. All you need to do is follow the super simple instructions and in usually 30 minutes or less you have a very tasty meal. I can’t tell you how nice it was not going to the grocery store this week!!!

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Here are my top 5 reasons why you need to give Hello Fresh a try right now!

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All the ingredients are pre measured. I always hate when I’m trying new recipes and I need a teaspoon for like 5 different things. I end up spending so much money on all the ingredients that I only need a small pinch of and then leaving them go to waste. The nutrition info is also spelled out completely! For those that are counting calories it is super easy to track!

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The recipe cards are SO simple to follow. There are pictures and detailed instructions for every single step! I also loved that there is a handy ruler on the side of each card. So when a recipe says to cut 1/4 inch rounds, you can easily cut 1/4 inch rounds.

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Who wants to go to the grocery store? Not me. I loved taking the week off from a big grocery store trip.

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The Hello Fresh meals may be simple to make, but they will definitely help you step up your creativity game. I’m guilty of making the same thing over and over…. Not with Hello Fresh!  The meals that were sent to us were all things I had never made before.

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Penne Arrabbiate with Pancetta? Something I would never think to make — especially on a weeknight!

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{ Crispy Chicken Milanese }

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You can save $40! Use my promo code and your first box is $40 off. If you choose the classic box with 3 meals for 2 people it will be $29 out the door. That is a STEAL for fresh ingredients for 3 meals sent right to your doorstep! You can’t even buy Big Mac meals for 2 for that price!

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Give it a try and let me know what you think!!

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Not to toot my own horn, but how awesome do these look?

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New Year, New Mom: 21 Day Fix Review

I can’t believe the month of January has come and gone! Like so many other people I started the new year with a resolution to become a better me. I’m usually so wrapped up in being “mom” that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was in terrible shape and absolutely needed to make a change for the better.

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I started the 21 Day Fix on January 4 and haven’t looked back! What I love most about it is how simple it is to follow. The meal plan is flexible and easy to prepare and the workouts are a mere 30 minutes a day.

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I’m a very all-or-nothing kind of girl so I researched as much as I could and followed the meal plan to a tee. This included starting every day with Shakeology and drinking ALL my recommended water.

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The hardest part was finding time to workout when my hubs was working late and I had two babes to corral. Instead of waiting for them to go to bed most nights I would set them up with their dinner & the ipad at the picnic table and get my workout in! Pressing play is the hardest part!

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The meal plan promotes eating every 2-3 hours. Instead of a carb filled snack or a calorie loaded specialty coffee my NEW go to is an apple with almond butter!

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Along with the support from my challenge group I think I was so successful because I made a plan each week and stuck with it! My meals were made ahead of time and my workouts were set in stone!

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I’ve gotten a lot of questions on my meal prep so I thought I’d share how I have been preparing for each week! This is a sample of a weeks’ worth of meals. To keep things simple I make the same lunches and dinners for a whole week. I do my meal prep on Sundays and never have to cook the rest of the week. It really is worth it to not have to mess my kitchen daily!

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Pictured above are turkey bowls, buffalo chicken bowls, and my Shakeology supplies.

Turkey Bowls: Lean ground turkey with low sodium taco seasoning, one yellow container of a rice/quinoa blend, and a yellow container of beans and corn. I usually add 2 tablespoons of salsa the morning I am going to eat it. I either eat the bowl plain or add to a cup of spinach to get another serving of veggies in. Recently I started leaving out the corn and only using one yellow container total between the beans and the rice.

Buffalo Chicken Bowls: I boil boneless skinless chicken breasts in plain water for about 30 minutes. Then I shred and add Mrs. Dash chicken blend,Frank’s wing sauce, and a diced red onion. I like to eat cold on top of pre made broccoli slaw. For dressing I combine plain greek yogurt and dry ranch. If I haven’t had a blue container for the day I add goat cheese too!

Shakeology Staples: I usually freeze a cup of spinach to add to my Shakeology in the am. Sometimes I add frozen banana or frozen berries too!

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I try to do a lot of my shopping at Costco and Aldi. At Costco I buy my chicken, ground turkey, microwave packs of the rice/quinoa, spinach, eggs (SO cheap!), almond butter, and broccoli. I can get away with shopping every other week for a lot of those items mentioned. Read my Costco Must haves here.

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I also utilize Aldi as much as I can because their prices are pretty amazing for some staples to my meal plan! This taco seasoning was 39 cents a pack!

Also on the meal plan are eggs! My hubs and I have been addicted to hard boiled eggs and I have to share a few egg tips with all of you! We each take 2 eggs with us to work each day so it’s safe to say I’ve kind of become an egg-pert! On my meal prep day I also boil my eggs. I place them in cold water and bring the pot to a boil. Once the water is boiling I remove from heat, cover, and set a timer for 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark I transfer them immediately to ICE cold water. They turn out perfect every time! To peel them easily, use the back of a teaspoon. A co-worker told me this tip and it has been life-changing!

 

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So that’s where I’ve been the past month! Following my meal plan, doing my work outs, and making ME a priority. I’m down 15 pounds and UP a whole bunch of energy!

I’m starting my next 21 days TODAY and cannot wait to see my results.

What are your favorite 21 Day Fix meals?

**Edited: Since writing this post it has seen a lot of traction on pinterest. If you are getting started make sure to read my 21 Day Fix Must Haves and my 21 Day Fix Costco Staples

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Blue Cheese Chicken Wrap

 IMG_7884   It’s { almost } time for back to school!! Summer is coming to a screeching halt and it’s time for the babes to head back to school! For me that means the return of packing lunches. Womp Womp. During the school year things are very hectic in the morning and I leave the house super early. There is NO time to be playing around with lunches in the morning so I make everything the night before.

This wrap is perfect for mom & dad anddddd your babes! I can’t say enough good things about it! The flavors combine so well and it is a great make-the-night-before lunch! I would have never thought to throw an apple in a wrap, but it adds the perfect sweetness & crisp.

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Ingredients:

Diced Chicken, 1 Tablespoon of Cream Cheese, 1 Tablespoon of Blue Cheese, Whole wheat tortilla, Half of a Granny Smith Apple chopped

In a microwavable bowl combine the blue cheese and the cream cheese. Microwave for 20 seconds until the sauce has a creamy texture. Spread this on your tortilla and then add the rest of the ingredients.

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Roll it up and wrap in plastic wrap!!!

A few { time saving } tips!!

Pre portion chicken in small bags from Target (this is a great job for little hands)! I use this chicken for salads, wraps, nachos, etc. I always check the nutrition and figure out exactly how many 100 calorie servings I have and then divide accordingly. It’s a great portion control!

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Toss a little lemon juice on your diced apple to prevent it from browning!

There you have it! I hope you { and your babes } love it!

 

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Chocolate Covered Popcorn

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2 more days until our Luau to celebrate both the babes! They are turning 2 and 4 and I decided to throw one giant party this year instead of 2!  I’ve been working with Beth from The Paper Prince and I must say utilizing a party planner is incredible.  I’m usually a hot mess leading up to birthday parties staying up late and then having to scratch a lot of my ideas due to time.  This party is different thanks to Beth! All of those ideas I’ve been pinning are truly coming to life and I can sit back and enjoy my babes!

I like getting stuff ready ahead of time so earlier this week I made one of my favorites….Chocolate Covered Popcorn.

Ingredients: Plain popcorn, White Chocolate, & Sprinkles!

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This was SO easy to make and my babes LOVE it.

First I popped my popcorn and took out all the left over seeds.  (Hint: dump bag in a large bowl and then transfer large spoonfuls into another bowl…the seeds will be left in the first bowl.) Next I melted my Wilton chocolate according to the directions on the bag. Once that was a nice smooth texture I poured it over my popcorn and carefully stirred it.  I transferred all the popcorn to a cookie sheet with parchment on it and then added the sprinkles as the chocolate was hardening. Once the chocolate was dry I stored in an air tight container.

image How adorable does this popcorn look in these tiki cups?!

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Mama “Must-Have” Monday: Greek Salad

  I’m at the point this Winter where I am doing everything in my power to will Spring to get here. I’ve been buying Spring clothing and now resorted to cooking Spring meals (is that even a thing)? Well fresh salads remind me of sunshine and warmer weather so I’m going with yes!  My Mama “Must-Have” this week is Greek Salad.

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This side salad is so addicting. Hubs and I cannot live without with it. We’ve been on a kick lately having this with our lunch and dinner! Tonight I made grilled chicken marinated in homemade tzatziki sauce and added it to this! It was amazing. You are going to love it!

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Ingredients: Diced red onion, Cucumber, Cherry tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, & Greek Dressing (I use Ken’s) All you do is toss all your ingredients together and voila! A nice “Spring” side dish.

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Taco Pie

When it comes to weeknight meals I’m all about fast & easy recipes!  This week I found a winner!

Taco Pie!

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Ingredients:
1 tube of crescent rolls

1 lb of ground beef

2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

3/4 cup salsa

can of black beans

can of corn

shredded cheese (any kind will do-I used Mexican)

1.) Spray pie pan and line with crescent rolls.

2.) Brown meat, add seasoning & salsa, and let simmer 5 minutes. Add corn & black beans to mixture.  (I like to prep all my meats the night before so I’m not starting the whole cooking process when I get home with both babes at 5:30 pm!) So when I made this meal I just pulled out my meat mixture from the fridge and was ready to go!

3.) Pour mixture in pie pan & top with cheese! (The original recipe I adapted this from didn’t have the corn/black beans so there will be some extra! I usually freeze for an easy nacho topping!)

4.) Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Edges should be brown! Top with sour cream & salsa!

Cheesy Sausage Tortellini

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I’m about to make a pretty big promise here but……this recipe will change your life. Seriously.

Tis the season for comfort foods and crazy schedules.  I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do during the holiday craziness is worry about preparing lengthy meals. Not to mention the clean up after them. I have made this recipe in the past without the sausage and it was just “ok”. But I made it this past week and my husband (the one who comes from a large Italian family and is super critical of my cooking) told me this was probably one of the best meals he’s ever had. One of the best parts? There are 5 ingredients. That’s it!

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Can you tell I shop at Kroger? Gotta get them fuel points. 😉

Ingredients:

1 block of cream cheese

2 cans of diced tomatoes

32 oz of chicken broth

1 bag of frozen tortellini

1 lb of ground sausage

(I was lucky enough to find it out of the casings but you can use regular sausage too, just take them out of the casing before cooking)

To Make:
1. Brown your sausage.  While its cooking cut your cream cheese into small cubes.

2. Add ALL ingredients to your crock pot. I usually drain one of the cans of tomatoes and use the juice from the other. Give everything a good stir.

3. Cook on low for 4 hours.  Remove the cover for the last hour to thicken the sauce if you would like.

4.  Serve with parmesean cheese on top and enjoy!

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I’m all about saving time so I keep enough supplies on hand to make a few of these.  When I am browning the sausage I like to make 2 or 3 pounds at a time and freeze them in one pound servings. That way I can easily thaw one out and throw this in my crock!!

Also, the 4 hour cook time is pretty short for those that work outside the home. I either make this on the weekend OR cook it as soon as I get home.  6-10pm and it makes a great lunch  and dinner for the next day!

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Make Ahead Egg Muffins

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It’s no secret I am an early bird and love being up before the rest of the house!   I TRY to make my mornings as relaxed and organized as possible…. BUT (and I’m sure anyone else with kids can agree) things don’t always go as planned and more often than not mornings end up chaotic in my house!   

Here is an easy make ahead recipe I like to have on hand for busy weekday mornings!

You will need:

  • Wilton Mini Pie Pan This is 11.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and truly is the perfect size (IF you don’t want another pan you can always use a non-stick cupcake tin, but the muffins end up a lot smaller than your English muffin)
  • Eggs
  • Pre-cooked bacon (1 slice per egg)
  • Seasoning salt & Pepper 
  • Cheese
  • English Muffins or Bagel Thins

Make sure to spray your pan with non stick spray. Cook your bacon for about 30 seconds, cut each slice in half, and then line the bottom of your pie time with each slice.  Crack an egg in each and break the yolk with a fork. Top with your favorite seasonings (I use a little pepper and seasoning salt).  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until the yolks are firm.

I like to store mine in the fridge, but you could easily freeze them.  I’d suggest pulling them out the night before to defrost before you eat them.

During the morning time microwave each muffin for 30 seconds, top with a piece of cheese, and serve on top of your bread of choice (English muffins or bagel thins work best!)

Perfect on the go breakfast for you or your babes! Enjoy!!

Pretzel Chicks!

Need a last minute easy Easter snack for your babes?

Look no further! These are the perfect size for little hands and were so simple to make!!

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Per usual I signed up to bring snack to my son’s school for their “Easter Party”. I wanted something that was cute but most importantly EASY!  These fit the bill! They were so simple to make and only took me about 15 minutes from start to finish!!

To make Pretzel Chicks (not to be confused with Hot Chicks) you will need the following:

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Small pretzels, Mini Chocolate Chops, 2 Orange starbursts, and Yellow baking chocolate (found at Michaels)

Make sure to line a cookie sheet with wax paper so the chocolate comes off easily and have all your supplies ready to before melting your chocolate.

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To make the beaks simply cut each starburst into 3 rectangles, cut those in half, and finally cut each on a diagonal.  Each starburst will give you 12 beaks.

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Melt your chocolate in the microwave according to the package directions and then transfer to a plastic bag when it is melted.  To easily do this line a drinking glass with your bag for a mess free transfer!  Cut a small hole in the corner of your bag so you can easily fill each pretzel.

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Use the chocolate to fill in each pretzel.  It might be a little uneven but you can use the back of a spoon to smooth out.  Immediately put an eye and a beak on the wet chocolate and place the entire tray in the fridge for them to set.

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Enjoy!! How cute do these look in a little Easter basket?  What kinds of Easter treats are you making? I’d love to see!

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Pizza Cupcakes

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These are seriously the EASIEST dinner to throw together on a weeknight for the kids AND one that they can help make!!   I love including my son in the process of cooking dinner and he enjoys getting his hands in the mix.  This recipe is a win win!  Pizza cupcakes would be great as a make ahead meal to freeze and pull out during the week for lunch/dinner OR would be great as a “make your own pizza bar” at your next play date. I can guarantee they will be a hit!!!

I usually just make them with cheese and pepperoni but you could customize each “cupcake” for your family.  Green peppers…. olives…. banana peppers….. Hawaiian toppings….anything you would put on a pizza can go in these!  I’d love to hear what combinations you used!

To make pizza cupcakes you will need:

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  • Grands Biscuits (8 Count)- I use Butter Flavor, original would work too, just don’t use flaky
  • Mini pepperoni
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Any other seasonings you like on your pizza-I use garlic and oregano
  • Non-stick cupcake tins

First spray your cupcake tins with non stick spray so your cupcakes don’t stick.  Next cut each Grands biscuit in half lengthwise.

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Push one half of each biscuit in each muffin spot and pull the edges up so that it makes a cup for the toppings.

You will have 16 total cupcakes.

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Then fill each muffin with about a tablespoon of pizza sauce.  Add some pepperoni to each and then add any additional toppings.

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Cover each muffin with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and then top with your desired seasonings.

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Best part about this recipe?  Bake according to the directions on the biscuits container!  I love that I don’t have to remember a temperature and a time.  I just follow what the biscuits say to do!

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Last thing to do??? Enjoy with some ranch!

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