Last month I had wanted to start cooking more at home because I was tired of my Visa bill telling me that 70% of my expenses were food related (thanks CIBC for that feature haha). 70%!! Can you believe that?! So in an attempt to stop eating out, I started cooking more at home.
It just so happened that in my swag bag from the RBC Race for the Kids, there was a coupon for HelloFresh. So I shot them an email to and they were so kind as to send me a free box! For my foodie followers, I have a week’s worth of HelloFresh meals that I am giving away. But there can only be one winner… for everyone else wanting to try the service use “CARMY-50” at HelloFresh.ca to get 50% off your first box! Thanks HelloFresh!
(*disclaimer I am not being paid for this but like I said, I received my first box free. Only one redemption per household, for new customers only. Deal valid with purchase of 2- or 4- person box subscription.)
So what is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service offering both omnivore and vegetarian options, with farm-fresh ingredients, chef-inspired recipes, and offers flexible subscriptions for a family of 2-4. They average 30 minutes or less which makes my evenings super easy when I’m super tired and do not want to spend an hour cooking and prepping.
So lets see how my week went!
My delivery came in an insulated 100% recyclable cardboard cooler box! And inside were 3 mini boxes that each had all the dry ingredients for each recipe and at the bottom of the box were ice packs to keep the meat refrigerated. As you’ll see below, each set of dishes had their ingredients packaged separately.
The first dish I made was the Sri Lankan Shrimp Pilaf
Then I made the Italian Ribollita
And finally, Spaghetti with Arugula and Chicken
Fun story… The instructions for this dish required pan searing the chicken then popping it into the oven and of course I followed the instructions and was quite confused about the texture of the meat until half way through it’s oven baked that I… found out I had grabbed the duck from the freezer and not the chicken thighs that came with the dish instead. Sooooo I had a duck substitute! Oops!
I found the instruction sheets to be extremely easy to use/understand. Each recipe card had a photo of the dish, photos of all the ingredients, the prep time, difficulty level, if it is spicy, dairy free, and if it should be made first or not (the shrimp dish had that due to the shrimp). On the back of it, there are the instructions (where the ingredients were bolded so you cannot miss them when you skim), what allergens there’d be, what tools you’d need (i.e. large pot, grater, measuring cups, etc), nutritional information, and on the top edge, they have a little make shift ruler for you. In addition, having a few steps illustrated instructions met that I was able to not have to google as I went along.
So sometimes I buy stuff with the intent of making something delicious, i.e. red lettuce. Then I make said dish and realize that there is still 2/3 of the lettuce left as I really only needed a handful so off to the fridge it goes! And then it stays there… for forever. I of course had no idea what I wanted to make next with the lettuce and due to having an empty-ish fridge, I would have had to go back out to shop for more ingredients and unfortunately did not have the time. The pre-portioned ingredients from HelloFresh really helped with this pickle that I tend to put myself in! HelloFresh sent things like just two pieces of garlic, one red chilli, and just enough pine nuts that prevented me from leaving half used produce in my fridge then forgetting about it as I didn’t think about what else I would want to make with it.
In addition, the packaged ingredients were great as these were not recipes that I’d have ingredients lying around at home. For example, if I saw “Sir Lankan Spice” on a recipe online – I honestly would probably skip it as I have no idea where to purchase it and would have missed out on a delicious recipe! My favourite of the three was definitely the Italian Ribollita, something I would not have made myself on a whim. Now I’ll probably be stocking up on the ingredients and making it on my own from now on.
I would say that my only con about this service is all the recycling I have to do with the boxes! I did keep the ice in my freezer so I could potentially reuse it for when I need some for a cooler but the boxes I couldn’t really reuse due to their size and off they went to the recycling bin. However, after bringing up this concern, I was told that “we are improving our packaging to reduce outer packaging material by nearly 30%. We have started an ice pack return program. When you collect 3 week’s worth of ice packs, contact our customer care and we will provide a return shipping label.” I love that HelloFresh is constantly striving to improve their product.
Overall, I very much enjoyed my week with HelloFresh. Even as a picky eater, I enjoyed the 3 recipes that were sent out, it took me 30 minutes more or less to prep/cook, and I didn’t burn the house down!
Winner must live in Ontario, within HelloFresh’s delivery zone (https://www.hellofresh.ca/aboutus_delivery_areas/)