What I Eat in a Day

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Today I’m sharing another What I Eat in a Day video. This one features lots of super simply, healthy meals you can make any time.

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3 Ways to Eat Quinoa

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Do you want to eat Quinoa, you just don’t really know how to cook or prep it? Well this week I’ve got you covered with 3 easy quinoa recipes.

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How to Stay Healthy in the Service Industry

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In this week’s video I’m talking about how to stay healthy in the Service Industry. I know working crazy hours and being around food all of the time can make it tough to keep your diet on track, but these tips can help!

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Restaurant Review | Makus Empanadas

Restaurant Reviews

Hello friends, long time no blog. I hope that you’re enjoying my new venture on Youtube. And if you haven’t seen my last couple posts, go give em a watch (hint hint). Today, though I’m back to writing, so you don’t have to listen to me talk. Last week I had the pleasure of trying Makus Empanadas, a delicious restaurant in Durham, and I wanted to tell you about it.

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Makus Empanadas’ store front has been open off of Highway 54 in Durham for just over a year, but they’ve been catering for much longer. The three owners, all from Argentina, have known each other since they were children. In fact, you can see photos of them together as children in their restaurant, which adds a nice coziness to the atmosphere. After many years apart, some rough family times brought the two brothers and their old friend back together and they decided to move to the US to open their business together. All three owners have a very obvious passion and enthusiasm for their business and their food, which I know every customer who walks in the door can feel.

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Now let’s talk about the food. Obviously, Makus Empanadas specializes in empanadas. However they also serve Chipa Bread, a latin american cheese bread, and a variety of side dishes, and even an Empadog, which is a hot dog wrapped in empanada dough. When I went, I tried three empanadas, chipa bread, and some salad. We started with the chipa bread, which was essentially small dough balls of bread filled with cheese. Who could not like that?! I probably could’ve eaten about twenty of them. Next I went with beef, pork chimichurri, and veggie empanadas. The empanadas are freshly baked and never fried, so the dough tastes truly homemade, and they offer a variety of traditional stuffings. Surprisingly, my favorite was actually the veggie empanada, which was stuffed with rice, zucchini, leek, onion, and spices. It had just the perfect amount of flavor and was like nothing I’d ever tasted. While the veggie was my favorite, the other two were amazing as well. With my empanadas I also got a spinach salad on the side. You normally don’t expect much out of side salads, but this one was actually delicious. It consisted of fresh spinach topped with dried cranberries and candied nuts. We finished the meal off with a nice, warm chocolate chip cookie and then went into a food coma.

As a lover of empanada I’d definitely go out of my way to come back to Makus Empanadas. You can also find their kiosk at Hurricane’s games as well as Carolina games. Whether you love traditional empanadas, or a little something new and different, you’re definitely go to love Makus Empanadas.

Makus Empanadas 
Hope Valley Commons
1125 West NC Hwy 54, Suite 304
Durham, NC, 27707

Foodie Christmas Gifts

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It is officially holiday season! Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is right around the corner. With the joy of Christmas also comes the stress of Christmas shopping and finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. I’m here to try to make that a little bit easier for you by giving you a few ideas for gifts for the foodies in your life. These gifts are great for both foodies who love trying new food and restaurants, and foodies who love to cook.

Veggetti Pro Spiralizer
If you’re a little behind on the trend, spiralizing is all the rage right now, plus its easy and delicious. This spiralizer is super affordable and makes spiralizing vegetables really easy. It also comes with three different blades. I normally use the thin spiral blade for zucchini noodles, but there is also a thick spiral and a ribbon blade. You could also include a cookbook with spiralizer recipes with your gift.

Snack Box Subscription
I think a subscription box is always a great gift because its kind of the gift that keeps on giving. In this case, a snacking gift box is perfect for your foodies friends and family. For trail mix type snacks, try Graze Box. For healthy snacks try Love with Food, or Urth Box. And for friends with a sweet tooth, try Treatsie. Most of these boxes are around $10 a month, so can judge the length of the subscription based on how much you’d like to spend.

Cookbooks
A good cookbook is always a great gift for a foodie who loves to cook and try new recipes. For healthy food try a Skinnytaste book, Oh She Glows, or Eat Smart. You could also try One Pan, Two Plates for a young couple cooking just for two. Another great gift is a blank cookbook, so your friend can keep track of their own recipes.

Stocking Stuffers
There’s also a lot of little things that would make perfect stocking stuffers for foodies. Some useful little things like an apple corer, pineapple corer, a garlic mincer, a rolling pin, or a lemon juicer. These are all things that are affordable and simple, but people often don’t think about buying for themselves.

Foodie Events or Giftcards
For friends and family who like going out to eat, get them a gift card for a restaurant they’ve been dying to try. You could also sign them up for a cooking class or other foodie event. If you live in the Triangle, reserve them a spot in a Triangle Foodie Adventure event, a special seven course meal at a local restaurant. You can also check out Groupon for things like brewery or winery tours.

These are just a few easy and affordable gifts for the foodie in your life. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

 

Eating My Way Through Alberta, Canada

Product Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized

As you may know from previous posts, one of my favorite parts about visiting a new place is trying new food. I especially love trying cultural foods in new countries. So as you can imagine, I was super excited to see what delicious food Canada had to offer. Recently my boyfriend and I took a little road trip through Alberta Canada, stopping in Calgary, Banff, and Jasper. Now, normally when I travel somewhere I try to make a whole post about each city, but we were constantly on the go and only stayed each place for about two days, so I figured I’d combine it all into one post. Plus, if you decide to go to Alberta, its pretty likely that you’ll visit all of these places on your trip too! Sidenote: I’m thinking of writing a separate post about our itinerary for the trip for anyone who may be thinking about going there as well. Anyways, on to the food!

Calgary

Naina’s Kitchen

I originally stumbled upon this place because I was in search of some good Poutine. Poutine was honestly the food I was most excited to try, and it definitely did not disappoint. Niana’s Kitchen is located kind of on the outskirts of downtown Calgary (at least thats what it felt like as a foreigner walking there). Its distance from the center of downtown meant is wasn’t super crowded and it wasn’t super overpriced, which were both welcomed surprises. What Niana’s specializes in is actually stuffed burgers. In fact, they won an award for the best burger in Canada, and are going to compete in a competition in the States soon. So even though I came for the poutine, I couldn’t pass up a good burger. I ended up going with the Jalapeño Popper Burger (stuffed with cream cheese, fresh jalapeños, and fried jalapeños, topped with ranch dressing) and Sam of course went with the Bacon Mac n Cheese burger (stuffed with, obviously, bacon and mac n cheese). The burgers come with fries, but you can make your fries poutine for a small fee. Man, this meal did not disappoint. Firstly I’ve discovered I love poutine! The burger was juicy and extremely flavorful as well. As you might guess I didn’t even come close to finishing this meal, but it was amazing nonetheless and I’d definitely suggest it if you’re ever in Calgary.

Tim Horton’s

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Besides Poutine, the only other really Canadian thing I was looking forward to trying was Tim Horton’s. I’m putting this under Calgary just because that was the first time we tried it, but I think we ended up getting Tim Horton’s about four times. It’s basically just like a Dunkin Donuts, but with really good and affordable food. I tried a bagel, Tim Bits (donut holes), a bagel sandwich, and an english muffin sandwich, and they were all pretty good. This was our go-to if we didn’t have breakfast planned for the morning and pretty much always came in under $10 or $15 (CAD).

Banff

Bear Street Tavern

Our first meal in Banff was at Bear Street Tavern. We wanted something that wasn’t super expensive, but was still kind of nice. We found Bear Street Tavern, which is one block off of the main street in Downtown Banff. This place has kind of a cool, young, hipster type feel and provides some truly delicious pizzas. Sam ended up getting The Big Bird (chicken, bacon, spinach, onions, goat cheese, mozzarella, pesto, and pizza sauce), which hit the spot. I wasn’t really in the mood for pizza so I went with the Pulled Pork Nachos, which were amazing. One thing I really appreciated was that they were kind of double layered nachos. All of the toppings weren’t just on the top of the chips, they were in the middle too, so you could really get a good bite with every chip. We also got a Baked Rosaline because it was the daily special and we were curious. It ended up being kind of like a different take on lasagna: homemade noodles rolled into a spiral with cheese, pesto, and ham. I really enjoyed our meal here, but if we go back I think we would just split a pizza because I ended up having half of my nachos left over.

St. Jame’s Gate Olde Irish Pub

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For our second night in Banff it was a little rainy and I really just wanted some soup and poutine to warm me up. It’s a good thing we found St. Jame’s Irish Pub because they had exactly what I needed. The pub is also just a block off of the main drag of downtown and has that laid back atmosphere you want in a pub. It’s also pretty reasonably priced compared to most things in Banff. I ended up getting an order of Poutine and cup of Guinness Crab and Asparagus Soup. I was a little nervous about the soup but I ended up loving it, it was nice and creamy and didn’t have an overwhelming flavor of crab or asparagus. Sam got the a chicken sandwich with fries, which he also really enjoyed. We both liked St. Jame’s so much that we went back again for dinner while we were in Lake Louise later in the week. This time I got the Chicken Pot Pie which really hit the spot.

Squish Sandwich Cellar

We packed PB&J most days for lunch, but we decided to go out for lunch one day while we were in Banff. On this day we happened upon Squish Sandwich Cellar, a shop located in a basement on the main drag. It was a chilly day and I was in the mood for soup, so I ended up getting the Soup of the Day with bread. On this day it happened to be a beef and vegetable soup, which I really enjoyed. They gave me a huge bowl of it along with like 6 pieces of good bread. Sam got the Triple Decker Sandwich, which looked delicious. It was a little expensive for a sandwich, but we quickly learned food in Canada is not cheap.

The Old Spaghetti Factory

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Our final meal in Banff was actually our final meal of the trip. We were in the mood for Italian but also didn’t want to spend a lot of money, since most of our meals had been more expensive than we’d planned. We found the Old Spaghetti Factory, which is actually a chain in Canada, but its really well priced. The restaurant was really large, so we didn’t have to wait to eat at all. I went with the Spicy Chorizo Penne Al Fresco, which was pretty good. It wasn’t as spicy as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed it. Sam had the Chorizo Cannelloni (can you tell we like chorizo), which were kind of like Manicotti but with chorizo. What made this place super affordable though, was that with each pasta dish you got bread, a salad, ice cream, and tea or coffee included in the price. The bread was delicious and came with garlic butter and the salad was good as well. I also got some vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio ice cream at the end of the meal. Overall it was pretty good, and you definitely get your money’s worth.

At Wit’s End B&B

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Ok I’m kind of cheating here because this isn’t a restaurant, but I just have to mention it. We had the pleasure of staying at At Wit’s End Bed & Breakfast during our stay in Banff. The B&B itself was lovely, but what really stood out was the breakfast. Our host, April, made the most amazing breakfasts I’ve ever had (no exaggeration). The first morning she made us bagel sandwiches with eggs, tomato, cheese, and ham on a cheese bagel. She also made us adorable little parfaits. The second morning (pictured above) she made an amazing spread of sausage, eggs, potatoes, and fresh tomatoes, as well as a little parfait to start. Sam & I were dreaming about her breakfasts for the remainder of the trip. So if you make a trip to Banff, I would highly suggest trying to stay here.

Jasper

Cafe Mondo

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Our first night in Jasper we tried Cafe Mondo, a coffee shop by day, taco shop by night. I was a little surprised when we walked in and there were only two other parties in the restaurant, but we went in nonetheless. I was disappointed to find out it wasn’t the kind of taco shop I wanted. I was in the mood for some a la carte tacos, but this was more like a regular kind of Tex Mex restaurant. Our appetizer of Choriqueso was delicious, queso baked in cheese, served with flour tortillas. I then convinced the waitress to let me get some a la carte tacos and went with one chicken and one pork taco. They were alright, but nothing special. This was really the only disappointing meal of our trip, and I don’t think I’d go back.

North Face Pizza

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On our final night in Jasper we wanted something affordable and easy. North Face Pizza fit those requirements exactly. North Face is surprisingly affordable, and you can build your own pizza. I got an 8-inch build your own pizza with a pesto sauce base, sausage, and pepperoni. It was the perfect size for me, and it was only $9.75 (CAD)! You really can’t beat that in Alberta. Sam got the medium size pizza, but it was still only $13.50 (CAD). We got our pizzas to go and took them back to our B&B and watched some Narcos and had a relaxing night. North Face also had poutine, as well as sandwiches and salads.

And that is everything I ate during my road trip through Alberta. I hope this is helpful for anyone planning a visit!

Second Act Artisan Cheese Class

Product Reviews, Uncategorized

I love learning about food processes that I don’t know anything about. I always thought it would be so cool to be able to take the time to learn a lot about wine, or beer, or coffee. Well recently I got the opportunity to do just that, except with cheese! I love soft cheeses like ricotta or flavored cheeses that you can spread on crackers, so I was so excited to be able to take part in the Express Cheese Class with Second Act Artisan Cheese and Triangle Foodie Adventures.

In this three hour class of 6-8 people, we got to make two different types of cheese, with three flavors of each type. We started the class by learning about the process of making cheese. We even got to learn about the process of making aged cheeses, even though we were making a more accelerated version for our ready-to-eat cheeses. We then got into groups of two or three to start making our first cheese. img_0196

The first cheese was a Framage Facil (easy cheese) and was just that, super easy. It’s crazy how easy the process was. It involved a lot of stirring, and heat, and temperature taking, but we soon started to see cheese curds forming. Once we dumped the whey and were left with the cheese, each group mixed their own flavor for everyone to share. In my class we had a garlic and chive, sun dried tomato basil, and craisin, pepper, and South African Smoke cheese. img_0199

The second cheese we made was Ricotta. This cheese was just a little bit more complicated, but still easy to follow and hard to mess up. There was a little more waiting involved in this one, but in the mean time we got to see Rich’s (the host) cheese cellar where he kept all of the different cheese he’s made over the last few months. We also got to snack on Lauren’s (Rich’s wife) amazing chocolate chip cookies. For the Ricotta we kept one plain, added maple syrup, cinnamon, and orange zest to the other, and made chocolate mousse out of the third.

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Once all of the cheese was ready we headed upstairs to the dining room and got to try all of the cheese together. Lauren set up an amazing little spread of crackers, bread, and fruit so that we could try our cheese different ways. I loved spreading the Framage Facil on the warm baguette and dipping strawberries in the chocolate ricotta. All of the cheese turned out so tasty, and it was so cool that we had actually made it! I think my favorite was the Framage Facil with South African Smoke and craisins. The flavor was just so unique and it went perfectly with that warm bread. There was so much cheese that we all got to take home a little bit of each one as well.

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I loved taking this cheese class with Second Act Artisan Cheese and Triangle Foodie Adventures. One of my favorite parts was getting to spend time with Rich and Lauren. They were such nice people and very welcoming to open their house up to strangers so we could learn about Rich’s passion: cheese. It was fascinating to learn from Rich, who knows so much about the process. Rich also offers full day classes where you learn how to make some of the more complicated cheese and enjoy a lovely lunch. Any of the cheese classes that Rich offers are the perfect date night as well.

So if you love cheese, or are just curious about the process, I would highly suggest checking out Second Act Artisan cheese and taking a class yourself!

Ãn Asian Cuisine | Restaurant Review

Restaurant Reviews

This past week I was lucky enough to try the new Summer Menu at Ãn Asian Cuisine in Cary. I was so excited, as I had never been to such a fancy tasting before ,and I can definitely appreciate some good Asian food. While I do fancy myself quite the foodie, I more often find myself in hole in the wall restaurants, not upscale eateries. I was even more excited when I peaked at Instagram pictures from Ãn (does anyone else do that before they go eat somewhere?) and the dishes looked like works of art. So as you can imagine, I was incredibly excited to get to accompany my fellow Triangle Foodie Adventures writer, Tessa, to this tasting.

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It started with an introduction to the beverage director, Laura, who, as Tessa put it, seemed to give us all cocktails that matched our souls! She gave me the Carmen Amaya, which had Redemption Rye, Lustau Amontillado, Grand Marnier, Lemon Juice, Orange Bitters, and Basil. The drink was super refreshing and it was one of those cocktails where you can really taste the quality of the ingredients.

Next up were Chef Josh Hughes’ Canapés. These were three different appetizers that we all got to try. The popular Pork & Buns were fluffy buns filled with crispy pork belly and topped with pickled cucumbers. Buns are a recent love of mine, so I was so excited to see these included in our meal. We also got to try the Sudatchi Oysters…at least that’s what I’m calling them. They were so fancy that I honestly don’t know what they were called or what was in them. We each got one oyster that was topped with a citrus foam. The oysters were plated on a beautiful piece of wood atop a frozen towel to keep everything chilled. They were a little bite of heaven. Finally, we had a sashimi dish, which was placed on top of a dish steaming with liquid nitrogen. Again, one of the fanciest dishes I’ve had.

After the Chef’s Canapés we moved on to the remaining five courses (I know, so fancy). The first was the Korean Salmon, which was essentially a Salmon Tartar. One of my favorite things about this dinner is that pretty much all of the dishes (aside for the Pork & Buns) are things that I would not normally order on my own. I love salmon but don’t have a ton of experience with raw fish, so I was interested to try this dish.

IMG_0125The salmon was topped with Gochujang, which added just enough spice to the already flavorful salmon. There was also daikon, asian pear, some sesame seed clusters, and a piece of tempura lettuce. I know tempura lettuce sounds like the most boring thing ever, but even that part of the meal was amazing, so that’s saying something. I thought for sure this would be my favorite dish of the bunch… until we moved to the next one that is. The next dish was Sea Scallops with a sweet corn broth, small balls of tapioca, pickled plum, tempura okra and topped at the table with warm coconut broth.

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I think this was actually my favorite. Again, I like scallops, but this isn’t necessarily a dish I would order off a menu for myself, but man would I be missing out. This dish was so creamy and amazing. The pickled plum added a surprising amount of flavor, so I did my best to get a little bit of everything in each bite. We all decided that we could basically just eat a whole bowl of the warm coconut broth as well.

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Next was the Roasted Seabass, which was topped with Kung Pao Okra and fennel and placed on a bed of black jasmine rice. It was also topped with a yuzu tomato broth at the table. This came in a close second to the scallops. The Seabass was cooked perfectly and all of the flavors went beautifully together.

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The final savory dish was Spiced Duck with a Cherry Hoison Glaze, and a bed of rice with Zephyr Squash and Pistachios. This was my first time ever having duck, surprisingly, I liked it a lot. Tessa described it as a mix between pork and chicken, and I definitely agree. The cherry glaze was also a surprising twist to the dish. I was so full at this point that I couldn’t actually finish this dish and I felt so bad because it was so pretty!

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Even though I was stuffed, I of course somehow made room for dessert. Tonight it was two small pieces of chocolate. They weren’t your typical pieces of chocolate though, they were almost like mini little mousses, one chocolate and one raspberry. They were rich but also incredibly refreshing, made even more refreshing by the passion fruit ice cream they were served with.

If you couldn’t already tell by my musings thus far, this was one of the best dinners I’ve had. Each dish felt like so much time and thought went into it, and the service at Ãn was impeccable. I would definitely recommend you go check it out and try out a few of the things on the summer menu. Yes, its a little expensive, but for the quality of the food it is exactly what you would expect to pay. I will say that I would suggest trying some of the more adventurous things on the menu. I had been to Ãn once before and gotten the Ramen, and while it was good, I didn’t think it was anything amazing. However, after trying these dishes that were different from something you can get anywhere else, I felt that it was really something special.

Ãn Asian Cuisines
http://ancuisines.com
2800 Renaissance Rd, Cary, NC

 

Plated Review

Product Reviews, Uncategorized

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about Blue Apron? Well I enjoyed the concept so much that I decided to just go ahead and try another meal delivery service as well… for the blog of course. This time I decided to try Plated. For some reason I feel like Plated is the service that pops up most often in ads on Facebook and other things of the sort. I also thought their recipes looked the most unique out of all of the meal delivery services I’ve looked at. So I searched for a deal (hint you get $30 off your first order) and I gave it a shot.

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The first thing I noticed about Plated is that the packaging was all recyclable. Even the outside packaging and ice packs could be recycled. So if you appreciate that sort of thing you’ll probably appreciate Plated. Like Blue Apron, the smaller ingredients for each meal were all grouped together in little bags to keep things organized.

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The meals that we chose were the Barbecue Salmon Burgers, Brown Butter Pork Chops, and Moo Shu Chicken tacos. Again, like Blue Apron, each recipe was on an individual card and was very easy to follow. They included some nutrition information, prep and cook times, and all ingredients and instructions.

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The first meal I cooked was the BBQ Salmon Burgers with Fingerling Potato Salad. The meal itself was very easy to make. I actually had to go out before dinner time the night I made this and I was able to prep everything in about 30 min before I left so that I could just quickly cook the burgers when I got home. I really liked the burgers themselves, but unfortunately the buns were a little stale, which I feel like can really put a damper on a good burger. I did appreciate that the meal came with a side. I felt like these meals had a more realistic amount of food than Blue Apron. The potato salad was alright, but the star of the show was definitely the salmon itself.

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Meal number 2 was the Moo Shu Chicken with pancakes (which were basically very thin tortillas). This was definitely my favorite meal on the bunch. It was sooo flavorful and different from anything I’ve made. I tweaked the recipe a little bit by only putting about 1/4 of the amount of mushrooms as I was supposed to. I do wish that this meal had come with a small side item of some sort, but other than that it was definitely a hit.

IMG_0606The final meal was the Brown Butter Pork Chops with Roasted Artichoke Salad. The pork chops were tasty (even though I think I over-cooked them a little). It was also nice to have something I don’t normally cook. I also surprisingly enjoyed the salad. I’m not a big artichoke fan, but I think roasting them and tossing them with some dressing made a big difference.

Positives
More substantial meals than Blue Apron
Diverse recipe selection
You can chose any meal combinations you’d like
All meals were tasty
All meals were easy to prepare
You are able to chose a meal plan with 2, 3, or 4, meals per week

Negatives
Stale buns for the salmon burgers
More expensive than Blue Apron ($72 vs. $60)

Like all other meal delivery services I would say that Plated is probably more money than you would normally spend at the grocery store each week. However, it does making cooking more convenient and allows you to switch up your meals and try something new. In conclusion, while I think Plated has more exciting recipes to chose from, I think I would chose Blue Apron based on price and taste of the food.

Stay tuned for  Hello Fresh review later as well. Have you all tried any other delivery services? What is your favorite?