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Hello Fresh: Meal Planning (and Preparation) made easy

Meal planning has always been a struggle for me.

While I enjoy cooking for the holidays, it’s the day to day cooking that can wear a woman out.

Eating out every night isn’t an option and while I’ve fantasized about a personal chef showing up in my kitchen right about dinner time, that’s not going to happen either.

hello fresh box


Thankfully, there is Hello Fresh.

Hello Fresh took all the thinking and trips to the grocery store out of meal planning and made cooking enjoyable again.

I now look forward to dinner time  because it’s no longer stressful for me.

All of the ingredients for each recipe come pre-portioned and clearly labeled.

It’s almost like having your own sous chef in the kitchen.



What I like about Hello Fresh

- Everything I need for 3 meals shows up in the box. I don’t have to do anything other than unpack the box and prepare the meal.

- The meals are healthy, the recipes are easy to follow and prepare, and the food is delicious!

- It’s very affordable and I don’t waste ingredients or money on ingredients I don’t need or didn’t use.

- Cooking is enjoyable again.

The portions are generous, not skimpy.  Our family of 7  (including 5 children, 10 and under) orders the meal plan for 4 and there is always a little left over for someone to have seconds.


What I’d change about Hello Fresh

- Currently deliveries are only available on Thursdays.  I would prefer to receive my order on Monday or Tuesday.

- The meal options are limited to 3 meals per week.  I would love to order 4-5 meals per week and receive my order earlier in the week (Monday or Tuesday).


How to try Hello Fresh for yourself

Check the Hello Fresh delivery zones in the United States to make sure you can subscribe to the service.

Choose your subscription (Classic or Vegetarian Box).

Use code: TUC92B to receive $20 off your first order!



I received one complimentary week of Hello Fresh.  All opinions are my own and I was so impressed with the service that I am now a paying subscriber.  If you use the discount code above you will receive $20 off the regular subscription price and I will receive $20 off my next week’s subscription.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Pumpkin Dip

For my kids nothing says Fall like some Pumpkin Dip to dip your apples into for snack time.  It’s their version of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte I suppose.



6oz cream cheese

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 can pumpkin (not pie filling)

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

apple slices



Place ingredients in a bowl and beat until well blended.  Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with apple slices.


You may want to consider making a double batch right from the start.  You’ve been warned.


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Cooking in My Kitchen: The Slow Cooker Addition

After reading how adjusting a recipe doesn’t make it yours I am a bit reluctant to post recipes on my blog.  I know that I’m not a food blogger by any stretch of the imagination, but still I like to follow the rules as best I can understand them. 

I’m contemplating a new series where I share the recipes that I’m trying out in our home. I’m a newbie with the slow cooker (AKA Crock Pot).  Other than Turkey  Chili I’ve never used it to prepare a meal.  

With my new schedule from my 2nd job as a Chauffeur to my children, I think it’s time I embrace what many women before me have probably long known—-the ease and magic of preparing meals in a crock pot.

I cannot say enough fantastic things about this meal.  The smell alone was enough to send me to heaven and back…and it tasted even better. Try it. You’ll love it.

Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder Tacos

Adapted from Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos / Bon Appetit April 2008

3 lb pork shoulder 

2 tsp Kosher Salt

3 tsp Fresh Black Pepper

2 tsp Dried Oregano

1 Bay leaf

2 cups of chicken broth

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 Jalapeno

juice from 1 lime

2 Tablespoons cumin

1 large onion (quartered)

1 avocado


 Optional Toppings

shredded mexican cheese


Sour cream



Mix Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, and oregano in a bowl.

Rub olive oil and spice mixture (above) onto Pork.

Place pork into slow cooker.

Top with chopped Jalapeno, onion, and squeeze fresh lime juice on top.

Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 hours

Transfer pork to cutting board and shred (separate onions if you prefer)

Warm tortillas as directed

Create platter with pork and toppings &  serve

You can also check out my Pinterest Boards:  Crockery, Recipes to Try, cooking with kids, and Kid Friendly food.

What have you cooked in your slow cooker lately? 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Cooking in my Kitchen: Zuchinni Chips Edition

I’m getting back into the cooking groove. Slowly but surely. Because I’m tired of eating “kid food” for dinner and I think it’s time the Picky Little Eaters expand their horizons. Don’t you agree?

Healthy Snack Food is on my mind and these are so delicious I really think that you forget they are healthy! For kids who don’t like spice I’d just cut back on or omit the pepper.


  • 2 small Zucchinis
  • 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (fresh or dried)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I use whole milk but 2% or fat free is fine)
  • Olive oil Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Spray oven proof wire rack with olive oil cooking spray and place on baking sheet OR place on a baking stone. I prefer the baking stone.

Combine all ingredients except milk in a bowl and mix with fork

Slice Zucchini in thin even slices

Dip Zucchini in milk and then dredge in bread crumb mixture

Place slices on wire rack and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until golden and crisp)

* adapted from a recipe by Linda Oldenburg in Cooking Light August 2005


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

What the road warrior taught me about flowers

Fresh cut flowers in the home were never something I truly appreciated until The Road Warrior.  He always liked them and his “Bachelor Pad” always had fresh arrangements.  When we got married he inquired a few times why I didn’t have fresh flowers in our home. Usually after  few inquiries I would grab a mixed bouquet at the grocery store and put it in a vase in the kitchen.

Needless to say that wasn’t what he meant.

He meant floral arrangements that were an accessory to the home, not just haphazardly thrown in a vase in a random place.  But I didn’t get it then.  

Last year I decided to hire a florist to do customized weekly arrangements in the home. It was fun planning out the areas that I wanted to have flowers and after a few weeks I began to develop preferences.    Walking through a house with beautiful flowers, artfully placed, made me smile.   And no matter what was going on in our lives I believe our house looked a little dressier and neater because of the floral arrangements.

As I’m seeking to simplify the running of our home and lifestyle I’ve been looking at the services we use.  Am I being a good steward?  Is this something that really adds value to our family life? Is it something that we could do ourselves? 

This week I discontinued the flower service.  Using a wholesale flower distributor I placed my first order, took a deep breath and gave it a try.

I’ve discovered that I enjoy flower arranging.  Who knew?

The Road Warrior said he was so happy to come home to a (clean) house full of flowers. It looked welcoming and inviting after a hard week away working on the road.  My husband felt loved by this (simple) act of service.  

Now as I walk through the house, they not only make me smile, but they have become a tangible sense of accomplishment that one doesn’t always find so easily as a homemaker.

I’m adding Florist to my job description…

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.