Hello Fresh Thoughts and $40 Discount/Coupon Code- with Pics!

For those interested in getting the $40 Discount/Coupon Code is:  947T7A or simply follow the link Here

The subscription box industry has exploded lately with probably over a dozen different players joining. Everyone from Hello Fresh to Blue Apron to Home Chef and many more all wants to get in on the action. All have their pitch to sell and have their pro’s and con’s. Home Chef is actually one of our favorites (Our thoughts on it Here) but another solid box that is vegetarian friendly with easily veganizable recipes (for those meals that are not already vegan) is Hello Fresh.

Hello Fresh meals tend to be simpler, more common ingredients and the meals are very recreatable for those who like to get inspired in your day-to-day cooking. A number of our current staples that we make weekly originally came from a Hello Fresh meal. The portions tend to be smaller/less caloric than some of the other boxes so if you are big eaters, I would consider some other boxes like Home Chef. However, if you don’t want to overeat and have more portion control, this is a plus. Continue Reading…

Home Chef Thoughts and $30 Discount/Coupon Code- with Pics!

For those just looking for the Home Chef $30 discount code, without further delay:

$30 Discount:  Simply follow the link Here

Thoughts: Wifey and I love cooking, we love eating well and we love trying new things to eat. Unfortunately, between having two kids, jobs, furry animals and everything that has to do with the joys of owning a house, we tend to inevitably cook the same few quick (but yummy!) meals all the time. This is where food delivery boxes come in like Home Chef come into the picture.

For at least 3 meals every week, more if we order a larger box from them, we eat 3 new great meals. Like anything else, some dishes we like more than others but for the most part we have a blast learning new recipes and eating new delicious meals all the time. One great thing about Home Chef is they often use ingredients that are either harder to find in our local supermarket, or we flat out never knew about, so we get to explore that way too.

Vegan Home Chef? Home Chef actually used to have a Vegan menu to choose from each week but have since limited their options so that those ordering 3 meals a week need to pick a mix of vegan/vegetarian meals (at least one meal is usually fully vegan and you could always order multiples of that meal instead of the vegetarian options). We simply swap any dairy items for vegan alternatives we keep stocked at home. I know this really bothers some vegans but the more interest the vegan/vegetarian meals get, the more likely they are to increase those options and offer excursively vegan ones. We just give the non-vegan items to a local food pantry or to someone who would better appreciate them.

Long story short, it’s totally worth it, I highly recommend them. Anyway, enough talking, let the pictures speak for themselves. Here is just a sample of some of the deliciousness that we enjoyed thanks to Home Chef:

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$30 Off Home Chef

  • Full disclosure: for every person who signs up using the discount code/link above, we get a discount off of our Home Chef subscription. We appreciate and thank anyone and everyone who signs up this way!

5 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Want to Keep (+ Giveaway!)

New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Want to Keep

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions! The solemn vows of total abstinence from sweets and daily runs up and down the local mountain that seem so right (this is YOUR YEAR!) while you’re kicking back the bubbly on December 31st are suddenly living nightmares when reality kicks in (usually sometime in the first week of January). Turns out life without chocolate is barely worth living and running just isn’t enjoyable in that foot of New England snow that will be here until April. It’s no secret that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail within a matter of weeks or months. However, the birth of a new year is still a great time to make a change for the better in your life. It’s a good mental starting point after the craziness and overindulgence of the holiday season. A good resolution is obtainable and actionable. I.e. I will cook dinner at home 3 times a week NOT I’ll never eat takeout again (too extreme) or I’ll be healthier (too vague).

Happy New Year's from the Vegan Wifey! Cheers!

Happy New Year’s from the Vegan Wifey! Cheers!

Here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Cook at Home

Eating out (or getting carry out) too often is bad for your wallet and your waistline. Knowing what goes into your food and ergo into your body is one of the basic tenants of healthy living. Stock up on fruit, oatmeal, and nuts for a quick breakfast at home. Pack leftovers for lunch instead of spending $10 on a sad looking salad from the corner deli. Keep snacks in your bag (like nuts, apples, oranges, or seaweed snacks) so you don’t get tempted by the vending machine or coffee shop at 3 pm. And finally, make dinner at home. Takeout is almost always  uneconomical, unhealthy, and undelicious. We love doing a meal delivery service a few times a week. It reduces the amount of grocery shopping I have to do and forces us to try new recipes, many of which get modified and worked into our regular dinner rotation.

Meal delivery services are great for several reasons:

  • They arrive at your door, letting you skip the grocery store.
  • Ingredients are preportioned and depending on your local grocery prices (shiitakes are outrageously expensive at our local supermarkets) and whether you would use a larger container of an expensive ingredient (truffle oil comes to mind), can be cost effective. If you would otherwise be ordering takeout, they are definitely cost-effective.
  • Recipes are generally healthy (it depends on the company and what you choose) and can be modified to suit your preferences – less spicy, change up the oil, whatever
  • They’re fun! It’s like having your own sous chef. If you have a little one in the house, getting 20 minutes of time to yourself to make some Instagram worthy food is like a vacation in the kitchen. Even if I don’t love a recipe, I almost always learn something new.

I thought a meal delivery service would be expensive but with all the great deals and referral programs, it hasn’t increased our grocery budget. If you’re not sure, try a discounted week at HomeChef ($30 off your first week when you sign up via our link) or HelloFresh (use our code 947T7A for $40 off your first box) let your tastebuds decide. (If you use my codes, I get credit to spend on my own boxes with HomeChef or HelloFresh. Thank you in advance!)

Good home cooking resolutions: I will cook at home x times a week. I will try one new recipe every two weeks. I will pack my lunch 4 times a week.

2. Learn to Say NO

Saying no let’s you say yes to what really matters. It’s a lifelong process to find the right balance. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s hard. It’s worth it. We get conditioned to say yes to the point where it becomes a reflex and not a true answer. Saying no to making 12 dozen Elsa cupcakes for the PTA bake sale let’s you say yes to more time with your munchkins (write a check if you feel guilty). Saying no to that weekly bar night that you’re not really feeling in your life anymore let’s you make space for something new (learning to cook? yoga? time with your SO?) that fits who you are now. You can also say no to activities (ahem hours wasted on youtube/pinterest/buzzfeed/pick-your-poison) that don’t improve your life. Ask yourself:

  • Does this bring me joy?
  • Will I wish I had done this in a week? A year? Five? When I’m eighty-five?
  • Is there another way to achieve this goal?
  • Am I doing this because I think I “should”?

Saying no and yes to the right things is a journey, so remember to make your resolution obtainable and actionable. Examples: I will say no to smartphones at the dinner table and will turn my phone on silent and leave it in the living room. I will commit to no more than 1 PTA project a semester. I will let someone else organize the family Easter party this year.

3. Maximize Your “Easy” Money

We all know (in theory) that decreasing our expenses and/or increasing our income creates more room in our budgets for savings, paying down debt, etc. The problem with this is that if you’ve already done a few rounds of decreasing expenses – cutting cable, no daily mocha-choca-five-dollar-lattes, etc. – you eventually run out of reasonable things to cut without feeling very deprived. And it’s always great if you can ask for a raise or switch jobs for a higher salary but sometimes that’s not in the cards in the immediate future. In the meantime, make it a point this year to increase your other sources of money. I like to save these and use for vacations, padding an emergency fund, extra student loan payments, etc. Some examples:

  • Use credit card rewards to your advantage – one card gives me 3% on gas, another on groceries, and another gives 5% on rotating categories. At no point am I earning less than 1% on any purchase and a year’s worth of purchases can me a couple hundred dollars back for things I was going to buy anyway (gas, food, etc.). This only makes sense if you pay your credits cards in full each month, of course.
  • Take advantage of cash back sites when you shop online. I go through Ebates and probably average $25-50 a quarter in cash back. It really adds up and is free to join. Join here. (I may get credit from Ebates if you join – thank you!)
  • Once a season, unload items you don’t need on Ebay or Craigslist or hold a yearly yard sale. Donate the rest. It’s a bit of a pain but old ipods, clothes in nice condition, books, special edition DVDs, etc. can add up to a pretty penny over the course of a year.
  • Sign up for focus groups. Search “focus groups NEAREST CITY TO YOU” or check Craigslist (use common sense on there) to find groups near you. Many are held online or via phone nowadays and you can earn $25-400+ in only a few hours or at most days.
  • Get a side hustle — teach a dance/karate/soccer class a few nights week, walk dogs, watch children, pick up one shift a week at the local diner.

Continue Reading…

Amazon #Giveaway + Home Chef Review and $30 Off Coupon Code!

Vegan Meal from HomeChef

Wifey and I are slowly but surely getting hooked on the awesome convenience of subscription food boxes like Home Chef and Hello Fresh (see our Hello Fresh Review and $40 off discount code). I can’t stress how awesome it is getting fresh food delivered to us saving us the trip to the grocery store with a newborn. Home Chef has an interesting spin on the subscription box too, you get a lot more customization with them including options like vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and paleo to name a few. If you like eating restaurant quality food, you’d enjoy this one! Use the link below for the $30 discount!

Sage and Brown Butter Pumpkin Gnocchi  With Kale and Sweet and Spicy Candied Walnuts

#Vegan Sage and Brown Butter Pumpkin Gnocchi
With Kale and Sweet and Spicy Candied Walnuts from HomeChef

Features:

  • Choose the number of meals you want each week on their website
  • All ingredients needed for those meals come straight to your door with free delivery on orders over $50 and no sales tax!
  • Flexible subscription so you can skip any weeks you want
  • The recipes are pictured and explained on color cards with step by step instructions, making even tricky meals seem easy to make
  • All ingredients are pre-measured so you only have to chop and toss in, no guesswork required
  • Choose what day of the week you want your food to arrive
  • You can choose from specific diet options, including vegan- something other subscription boxes don’t do
Asian Hot Pot With Rice Noodles, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Sesame Oil from HomeChef #vegan

Asian Hot Pot With Rice Noodles, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Sesame Oil from HomeChef #vegan

My Thoughts:

  • At less than $10 per meal, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going to a restaurant to eat
  • For just $5 per person you can also add a nice bunch of fruits to your box!
  • It saves us from going to the grocery, which is SO nice
  • You basically make restaurant quality meals with Home Chef so it can save money from going out
  • We have actually learned a ton of interesting new cooking techniques and have recreated many of the recipes on our own already
  • Feels like a date night every night we make one of these
  • Totally worth a try for $30 off- 3 free meals basically

$30 Discount:  simply follow the link Here


Bottom Line: 
Signing up to Home Chef has been a ton of fun and I highly recommend it. This may just be our favorite subscription box yet I’ve already got my parents hooked on it! You can skip or cancel at any time so it’s a great idea to have a little fun and at least try it out for a week, especially for 3 free meals using the discount code! Warning: you may get addicted 😀 Continue Reading…

HelloFresh Review and $40 Off Coupon Code!

HelloFresh Review and $40 Discount Code!

Wifey and I love cooking. Did we ever mention that? So when we found out that there is a way to cook new fresh home cooked recipes without having to even get the ingredients from the supermarket, we said, “Yes please!” We decided to try out the HelloFresh subscription food delivery service with a sweet discount code (see below for the code). Long story short… we loved it! Read below to find out why!

Warm Grain Salad - Already Vegan and Super Easy and Flavorful

Warm Grain Salad – Already Vegan and Super Easy and Flavorful

Features:

  • Choose 3 delicious recipes on their website each week
  • All ingredients needed for those 3 meals come straight to your door with free delivery!
  • Everything is farm-fresh and the produce is delicious
  • Flexible subscription so you can skip any weeks you want
  • You get a very nice preprinted color booklet that include the recipes, cooking instructions and even a step by step picture that shows you how to prep the meal- the booklets are higher quality than other services we’ve tried
  • All ingredients are pre-measured so you only have to chop and toss in, no guesswork required
  • Choose what day of the week you want your food to arrive
  • Vegetarian options are always available and we veganize them with ease.
Mushroom Stroganoff - Made Vegan!

Mushroom Stroganoff – Made Vegan!

Continue Reading…

New Season, New Look: Paula Dorf’s Perfect Color in Ecstasy + Special Offer

A new season (it’s above freezing here in CT today for quite possibly the first time since Christmas!) always puts me in the mood to try out new beauty products and looks. Paula Dorf was kind enough to send me their Perfect Color in Ecstasy, an all-in-one product that seemed perfect for a busy new mom. So what did I think?

Product Features:

  • 0.30 oz / 8.50g
  • Does triple-duty: eyes, lips, and cheeks
  • Can be used to create subtle shimmering accents, dynamic highlights, or dramatic contours
  • Convenient container is easy to take on the go
  • Comes in five shades: Angel, Candy Apple, Ecstasy, Innocence, Sensuous
  • Retails for 35 USD

Continue Reading…

NaturaliDerm Organic Facial Moisturizer Review + Discount!

When Wifey asked me to review a facial moisturizer, I was a little bit skeptical and hesitant to be testing it out. However, when I did swallow my pride and try the NaturaliDerm Organic Facial Moisturizer I was pleasantly surprised! It was completely different from any face lotion that I have ever seen or used before. I’ve actually been using it every night after showering since then. So let’s see the nice list of product features this lotion is able to sport:

Product Features:

  • Organic facial moisturizer
  • Lightweight
  • Non-greasy
  • Contains antioxidants from Aloe, Shae butter and Witch Hazel
  • Unisex/neutral smell
  • Paraben free
  • No synthetic fragrance/color
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial
  • Quality ingredients
  • Smoothens skin
  • Made in the USA
  • 60 day no questions asked money back guarantee

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My Thoughts:

  • Love the ingredient list on this lotion, plus it’s organic! It has everything that it should have and nothing that it shouldn’t.
  • The bottle is small but it will last a long time! A tiny amount of the lotion is all that is needed to cover your entire face. The price is not cheap, but the quality shows.
  • The neutral smell means that I can use it too so it’s not just for women.
  • It is a great moisturizer, it is dense but light and leaves my skin feeling nice and smooth- not greasy. Continue Reading…