Thanks to HelloFresh for providing me with a complimentary Family Box order to review their service as they expand into Halifax. I received no compensation for this review and all opinions, as always, are my own.
Remember when cooking used to be something you did for fun? Pick out a new recipe, leisurely shop for the ingredients, crack open a bottle of wine, turn on some music and make a fun evening out of it? Yeah, me too, vaguely.
Once I had kids it became all about one pot meals, slow cooker prep, frozen dinners and, in a pinch, take-out. I miss the process of cooking and trying new things but no matter how hard I try, dinner is always a rush and something familiar and easy at the end of the day.
When I heard about HelloFresh expanding to Halifax I was SUPER excited. Like telling all my friends: "GUYS, they deliver all the ingredients and recipes right to your DOOR. NO grocery store, NO wasted food!" It seemed too good to be true and that was the reaction of most of my friends. So I decided to test it out for you (I know, I'm a giver. It was all for you guys).
This is what I received in my HelloFresh Family Box. It all fit in the one box that landed on my doorstep late Tuesday morning by courier. The three boxes you see were on top and underneath was loads of ice packs with the cold meat under that, all sustainable meats "raised without antibiotics or animal by-products." Everything in the box was fresh and nothing was missing. There are a few ingredients they expect you to have on hand but they're minimal (i.e cooking oil, salt and pepper, butter) but everything else you need is there - even a tiny package of flour for the gravy!
The HelloFresh boxes took up about three quarters of a shelf in my fridge and I'd expected that so I hadn't bought many groceries that week in order to be able to make room. If you wanted, you could take the items out of the boxes and stash them around the fridge but having them in the boxes makes it super easy to start dinner, just grab a box and corresponding meat and you're good to go.
My thoughts after using it for the week...
If you have some cooking skills that will help but it's not necessary. They explain any specific directions (like browning the butter or searing the beef) really well.
You should like cooking because there is cooking involved and mostly stove-top so, yeah, there are lots of bowls and pots and pans to wash afterwards.
Most ingredients were pre-prepped (like choppped onions, THANK YOU) but some had to be prepped at the time (like grating the carrot and apples).
There is a LOT of food in those boxes. My family got two full dinners out of each "meal" (but our kids are small and picky and only eat a little bit so if you have older kids or teens it probably works out to one hearty meal for each).
Our picky kids tried everything - fun tip, when you give your picky kid something they've never seen before they may be MORE likely to try it because they don't have any preconceived notions. WIN for discovering that and motivation to try more new things.
As everything was pre-portioned there was no waste. For example, they provided exactly the right amount of rosemary so I wasn't left either a) trying to find rosemary recipes to use up a bunch more or b) (more likely) throwing out leftover rosemary because I didn't use it before it went rotten.
I was able to make them all in the 30-35 minutes they promised (except the meatball and gnocchi, that took me 45 minutes). I laid everything out on the counter, along with the tools I needed and literally timed myself *kitchen nerd alert*.
They give you the recipes so you can buy the ingredients and make it again yourself if you liked it.
As for the price, a Family Box, which is what we got, it's $129.99 (or $64.99 if you use my promo code HEIDI50 to get 50% off). Once I figured in the fact that there was so much food (and it's portioned so you could cook half now and half later if you wanted resulting in six meals) it's all high quality and fresh, and the convenience of having it delivered, I think it's good value.
My favourite part was that it pushed me to try some new recipes and remember how fun it is to cook. I've been wanting to try gnocchi for a long time but never had as we're in a rut with our meals. I can say that after this week it will definitely be going into the meal rotation, we all loved it!
If you want to try HelloFresh and come home to a box of groceries and recipes on your doorstep, or give it as a gift for someone you know who could use the convenience of this service (psst it would make an AMAZING gift for a parent going back to work after a mat leave, a busy professional couple with or without kids or a stay-at-home parent with small children), hop onto their website, choose the plan that suits you and be sure to apply the promo code HEIDI50 and get three meals for the prices below for your first order (code good until December 31, 2017):
The Veggie Box for two for $36.99 (regularly $$73.99)
The Pronto Box for two for $40.00 (regularly $79.99)
The Pronto Box for four for $69.99 (regularly $139.99)
The Family Box for four for $64.99 (regularly $129.99)
YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A PRONTO BOX FOR TWO (THREE MEALS EACH) *CONTEST CLOSED*
You can enter to win the Pronto box for two right now!
For one entry, leave a comment below telling me your favourite go-to family dinner.
For another entry, hop over to our facebook page and leave a comment on this status.
*Winners must live in a Canada, in a place where couriers delivers, and be the age of majority in your province. Contest ends Saturday, March 25 at 8:00 p.m. AST. Unfortunately residents of Quebec are ineligible. Good luck! *CONTEST CLOSED*