Big Cooking Day

I am so happy the weekend is here! This week was tough: I had a midterm on Monday, an exam on Tuesday, a quiz on Wednesday, and another quiz on Thursday. It was so exhausting that my parents decided to visit me a week early in addition to visiting next week, as we had planned.

It is great seeing my parents, and I had also received a delivery from Terra’s Kitchen. Since the process is different from other meal kit services, I will explain it to you. Every week, you pick what items will get delivered to you in a vessel. A vessel looks like this:

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It has about 100 uses to it. Like other meal kits, it is delivered right to your door. The delivery sticker gets peeled back to reveal a return sticker. On an agreed-upon date, the delivery service will pick up your vessel again, which means that you won’t have to worry about disposing of superfluous containers and packaging. Another aspect of the vessel that I like is the magnetized doors that attach to the sides once they are opened.

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Now, you ask, what options does one have for a vessel? Different from other meal kit services, there is a minimum total price of $62-ish before the vessel will ship. However, your options are more varied. The meals differ in price per serving, and the company also offers snacks, extra proteins, and smoothies. Once the delivery arrives, the doors open to reveal another door of sorts, and once that door opens, you will find your recipe cards.

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The vessel functions as a mini refrigerator and your ingredients are on the shelves of the vessel. Each shelf contains an ice pack to keep the food cool. All of the ingredients are pre-sliced and prepared with numbers that correspond to the numbers on the recipe cards. Here is a picture of the empty shelves after unboxing.

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You can then place your food in the refrigerator, close the vessel with the ice packs remaining in their, and return the box in a nice, consolidated fashion. This is what the food looked like in the refrigerator (my parents were staying at a guest apartment in my complex, so this is more empty-looking than my fridge).

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This afternoon, I made the sweet potato tacos. Below is an example of a recipe card, but it is not the recipe for the sweet potato tacos.

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There are several things that I love about this service (this is not a sponsored post, by the way). I really like how there are lower calorie options available, something that many of these services don’t offer. Each week, you get to choose from fifty-three different meal options, which is so much more than other meal kit services. Here is where the variety of meal options offered by Terra’s Kitchen becomes a pro and a con. Due to calorie and price constraints on my part, and due to the repetition from week to week, that still doesn’t leave many options for me if I were to use this service on a weekly basis. Eventually, I would have to choose the same options again either because the calorie count would be too high or the prices would be too high otherwise. Terra’s Kitchen has taken this into account and has recently decided to start adding new meal options every week. We’ll see how that works out.

One of the best parts of the cooking thus far was that the cooking times are very accurate, and it was easy to make the dish. Blue Apron’s dishes had more lengthy cooking times and many more working parts that from what I saw that it seemed more burdensome. The longest amount of time spent for this dish was further chopping the sweet potato slices into cubes. Below is a picture of the cooking process.

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Because of the ease of cooking, my parents arrived to a lunch already made for them. Not pictured are the avocado slices, prepared pico de gallo, and the jalapenos and garlic (already chopped and minced) that were added to the same pan as the sweet potatoes once they were cooked. Initially, I had ordered meals with two servings, but the portions were so generous that we stretched it to three servings with some leftovers to boot. Tomorrow, we will have lunch and dinner from Terra’s Kitchen.  One recipe is the black bean sliders, and the other one is a curry chickpea bowl with jasmine rice. My parents and I will also be using this service next week to avoid the cost of eating out.

In addition to the Terra’s Kitchen lunch, we made Thai chicken ginger stir-fry and mixed the filling and dough for hamantaschen. Purim is next weekend, and I found a cannoli twist on the traditional hamantaschen to try out: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-nosher/cannoli-hamantaschen/

I will post more on the rest of Terra’s Kitchen recipes and the hamantaschen with some more pictures! I hope you’re having a great weekend!

This Week So Far

Hello, dear readers!

I just wanted to give a little update on this week so far. It was a light enough school week (only two quizzes yesterday and one quiz today- you know you’re in PA school when you call that a light week) that I was able to go to the young Jewish professionals’ group’s version of paint night. It was very relaxing and just what I needed. Unlike other professionally put on paint nights that I have been to, and I’ve been to four of them, the artist that the group brought to help with the painting did not go through the process step by step. Fortunately, I had been to enough Paint Nites (not sponsored) that I knew the general process and was not completely clueless. To that extent, I was also able to help the person next to me in her endeavor.

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I have photos of others’ paintings, but as I do not have their permission to post them, I will just leave you with mine. The artist’s design was great, though! For the hamsa, we did our own designs, and some people got more creative and did not use the skyline. One person even used his hamsa to draw his own face in!

Next week, we have a much busier schedule. The original schedule was supposed to be a midterm on Monday, two exams on Tuesday, and a quiz on Wednesday. Fortunately, our class has amazing officers, and they negotiated for one of the exams to be moved to Thursday instead. My boyfriend is also making an unexpected visit. He is trying to move to the area, and he got a job interview. Normally, he tries to get Skype interviews if he was not planning on visiting me already, but this particular company would not allow for that, so he has to spring for lodging and gas for the 6.5-hour drive that he has to make. I’m still happy to see him, though! Otherwise, we might have gone yet another two months without seeing each other.

As I mentioned before, I have fallen in love with the idea of sheet pan dinners. It’s so easy to prep everything, throw it on the sheet pan, put it in the oven, and clean up or study while it cooks in the oven. The cleanup takes so much less time as well. I have also introduced my mom to the idea, and I’m hoping it will save my parents time too (they both do the cooking). She has never in all this time heard of the idea. I personally saw it for the first time when one of my roommates made it for one of the dinners that we have together (I cook two nights a week and she cooks two nights a week for the both of us). Tonight, I made chicken thighs with potatoes, carrots, and onions. I got the recipe from here: http://noshingwiththenolands.com/roasted-sheet-pan-chicken-thighs/?utm_content=buffer1accd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer.  Here is my dish in the oven:

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I noticed that readers really enjoyed my Blue Apron series, and hopefully, they will also want to read when I review Plated (not sponsored) in a few weeks. A couple of weeks ago, when there was the issue of cooking during my boyfriend’s visit here, my friend gave me not only a free Blue Apron box but a free Plated box so I will post my thoughts on that. I decided to redeem the free Plated box during a week when I could save money and have the time to cook. Have a great rest of the week and a good weekend!