July 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

To kick off my last week before I head back to the old/new grind, I thought I’d focus on something sweet with my July review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

CC Made – Berkley, California
About the Company:
“’As a currency trader, brokers took us to the most amazing restaurants.  It opened up a whole new world for me.’  Cassandra Chen recalls. ‘ I realized that, even though my family’s expectation was that I would stay in my successful professional career, it just wasn’t for me.  On a whim, and wearing a skirt and heels, Cassandra walked into Vertigo Restaurant and asked for a job in the kitchen.  She w shored on the spot and told to ‘stage’ (kitchen lingo for ‘trail after the cook and work the line’). She had found her calling.  Manuel was born to Peruvian/American parents.  When he was 22, he worked at the Highlands Bar and Grill, where he learned about gourmet food and fell in love with wine.  With Kermit Lynch’s encourage, he moved out to California and worked for josh Jensen at Calera Wines deepening his love for the art of winemaking.  Later, under the tutelage of master sommelier Larry Stone, Manuel passed his level 1 exam.  In 1997, Cassandra and Manuel’s paths crossed.  They were both working for Traci des Jardis at the newly opened restaurant Jardiniere.  Through moving on from the restaurant, getting married, and having kids, their love for food never waned.  With Cassandra’s experience in the pastry kitchens, they started a line of caramel product and thus CC made was born.
Toasted Sesame Seeds with Nori Sea Salt Brittle

(2 oz Bag: $3.50)
Description: “Roasted organic sesame seeds with bright sea taste of nori and sea salt dusted on top,, this brittle will bring a whole new meaning to reinvented snacks.
Verdict: Nice!
Brittles aren’t really my favorite treats, but this had an appealing flavor that wasn’t overly sweet.  The sesame/nori addition made it feel sophisticated.  I think it would be an interesting addition to a fruit/cheese/nut dessert plate.

Potato Chips with Cracked Salt Pepper Brittle
(2 oz Bag: $3.50)
Description: “Potato chip combined with buttery brittle and topped with cracked black pepper, the perfect harmony of savory and sweet will make your taste buds dance.”
Verdict:
Not for me
The pepper on these treats came through quite clearly and they are much more savory than you’d anticipate in a brittle.  I just didn’t like the chip aspect, which is purely subjective.  I’m sure someone else would probably love these.
Classic Artisanal Popcorn
(3 oz Bag: $5.00)
Description: “Handcrafted to perfection, Cassandra and Manuel wanted to make something that was hard to find on the market – a really flavorful and quality caramel.  What they learned was that to develop a deep rich flavor form the simple ingredients of just sugar and water required an open flame, patience, and perfect timing.  This is the reason why mass manufactured caramels lacked the depth of flavor that they were craving, so they had to create ones that satisfy their standards for gourmet popcorn.
Verdict: Love!
I adore caramel popcorn and this one had a lovely, deep caramel flavor and a really nice texture.  The caramel wasn’t too thick or thin and the popcorn had a nice crunch.  My favorite item in the box!

McTavish Shortbread – Portland, Oregon
About the Company:
“McTavish Shortbread is baked daily in Portland, Oregon using old world techniques and recipes handed down through generations.  They use only all natural ingredients with no added preservatives.  They are a family owned company that takes pride in producing consistent, high quality melt-in-your-mouth, tastes like your Scottish Grandmother baked it-SHORTBREAD!  Their promise is to deliver handmade goodness to cookie lovers everywhere because everyone deserves a really good cookie!
Scottie Dog Shortbread
(Estimated Retail: $1.32)
Ice Cream Sprinkle Shortbread
(Estimated Retail: $1.32)

Description: “Using an age-old Scottish recipe, McTavish Shortbread bakes deliciously rich, traditional shortbread, perfect for summer!”

Verdict:
Hit!
This sub *really* loves to include shortbread cookies.  Typically, I like them but they aren’t my favorite cookie or dessert and not something I actively seek out.  However, these were delicious and probably some of the best shortbread I’ve had.  I couldn’t find these exact cookies on the McTavish site, nor can you buy them individually so I estimated the price based on the cost of a dozen of their seasonal shortbread.

OVERALL
Verdict: Great products, not great value
Let’s start with the good stuff.  I thought this box was well curated and the treats all felt like sophisticated spins on classics.  As usual, they were packed really nicely and even though not everything was to my taste, I could tell they were excellent quality.  Now the bad part, the value is just too low for a monthly sub.  I receive this box free in order to review it, but if I’d paid for it, it would have cost $25. After doing the math, I come up with an estimated value of only $14.64 for the included items.  That includes my estimate on the individual cookies and without shipping and packaging.  I appreciate that these treats would be pricey for us to purchase and have shipped individually, but I feel like we need to be closer to the $20 value mark to justify this as a monthly box.  Right now, with this price point and value, I’d say that this is a sub more suited for gift giving.  It’s great for folks you don’t know super well or who don’t need anything else taking up space in their house.  As a gift, paying a little more isn’t quite as daunting as shelling it out every month just for yourself.

What type of value do you expect from a sub box versus what you paid for it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

Save

June 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

To celebrate Foodie Friday, I’m focusing on sweet treats with my June review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.
Lovely packaging as usual.

Carolina Girl Cooks – South Carolina
About the Company:
“The first time Jennifer experienced the captivating flavor of lavender, she was having dessert during a night out with a group of girlfriends.  She fell in love with the flavor and immediately began experimenting with recipes of her own.  Oddly enough, the fragrant flower kept finding its way into sweet delicious cookies and from there, Carolina Girl Cooks Tea Cookies were born.  Creating the perfect packaging meant the most because soon Jennifer learned that the meaning of lavender when given as a gift ‘the promise of new adventure’…Jennifer’s sincerest hope is that each artfully crafted  cookie tin will serve a sa reminder that small passions can turn into wild adventures in the most unexpected and thrilling ways, just as lavender has for her.”
Rose Tea Cookies
($9.00 for 8 to 10 cookies)
Description: “Subtle yet elegant, the Rose Tea Cookies are made with the finest dried, edible rose petals and delicate rose water.  One bite is like a stroll through a summer garden.”
Orange Cardamom Cookies
($9.00 for 8 to 10 cookies)
Description: “Orange Cardamom is a light butter cookie balancing the delicate floral flavor of ground cardamom with the brightness of citrus zest.”
Verdict:
Pretty, but not my favorites
These type of crumbly tea cookies just aren’t my favorite.  I did think that the rose cookies in a June box were an inspired choice.  The packaging on these is gorgeous and made me immediately think of wedding favors (particularly the Rose Tea Cookies).  While these wouldn’t be my personal favorites, they were lovely cookies and perfect for June.

Unna Bakery – Harlem, New York
About the Company:
“…Unna’s gourmet cookies are made using her traditional recipes passed down through generations.  To offer uncompromised quality, they use only the best ingredients like organic butter, organic locally milled flour and handmade jam with berries from the Hudson Valley.  Treat yourself their tasty cookies while enjoying the old Swedish tradition of taking a ‘fika’ (a little break).”
Raspberry Cave Shortbread
(3.4 oz: $7.99)
Description: “A buttery, rich , golden cookie with Raspberry Jam from award-winning Maya’s Jam”
Farmer’s Cookie’s
(3.4 oz: $7.99)
Description: “A traditional Swedish, crispy, light and nutty cookie with browned butter and almonds.”
Verdict: Hit!
I love jam cookies so the Raspberry Cave Shortbread cookies were my favorite dessert in the box. The Farmer’s cookies were also lovely.  Apologies for the spastic photos on the Farmer’s cookies – sometimes my camera has a mind of it’s own.

Shotwell Candy
About the Company:
“A corporate lawyer and father of three at the time, Jerrod spend this nights learning the science and art behind cooking caramel, testing several different ingredient combinations and eventually developing what he thought to be the best tasting caramel possible.  With the help and encouragement of his wife and close friends, Jerrod officially launched Shotwell Candy (named after Jerrod’s great grandfather), in December 2012.  Although the attention to detail process and classic caramel making process has not changed one bit, Shotwell Candy has since grown well beyond Jerrod’s home kitchen become one of the South’s great confectioners, even earning a food award form Southern Living Magazine in 2015 for ‘Best Sweet’.”
Craft Beer & Pretzel Caramels
(2.5 oz Bag: $5.95)
Description: “Other than their glorious caramels, beer is one of the Shotwell Candy’s grat passions.  Especially some of the locally made versions available in Memphis.  They combine their buttery soft caramel with a healthy dose of shot River Brewing’s Golden Ale and finish it off with nice sized chunks of hand-crushed salty pretzels.  It makes a perfect malty, caramelly, crunchy and salty bite!
Verdict:
Misfit
I didn’t think this product fit in with this box.  We’d actually received the same exact one in the February box.  It also doesn’t feel appropriate for June or match up with the Rose tea biscuit feel this one had going.  Another fruit related dessert or something with a summery feel would have been a much better fit.  My camera was apparently having a bad day so apologies for another off pic.

OVERALL
Verdict: Some good ideas, but overall a mess
Let’s start with the value.  I receive this box free in order to review it, but if I’d paid for it, it would have cost $25. After doing the math, I come up with an estimated value of only $13.30 for the included items.  Now that value doesn’t include shipping, but that’s just far too low a return on the investment, especially considering there is a repeat item in this box.  I feel like we need a total value closer to $18.  Shipping each item would be expensive, but for $25 you could get more of your favorite item, have it shipped to you, and still probably end up under $25.  The value issue could be solved by upping the quantity of some items.  Carolina Girl Cooks offers tea cookies in lovely tins.  One tin of cookies instead of the two tiny packs, would have added a lot of value and appeal to the box.

I thought the Rose Tea Cookies were a great idea for a June box and the Unna Bakery’s Swedish offerings paired with them to create a sort of summer tea party vibe.  Unfortunately, the beer caramels were like inviting your football watching uncle to a garden party instead of the Sunday game.  If I was curating, I’d have replaced the caramels with a fruity bar of some kind or dainty chocolate truffles.  There was a lot of potential with this box, but the overall value was just too low to justify the misstep with the caramels.

What type of value do you expect from a sub box versus what you paid for it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

May 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

Okay it’s time to get back to boxes. To push us over the mid-week hump, I’ve got some sweet treats with my May review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

Rustic Bakery – Larkspur, CA
About the Company:
“So, the bakers scrambled to find a commercial kitchen space in their hometown of Novato, which they outgrew in the first week, struggling to keep up with more orders while working with a rolling pin and standard convection oven.  It wasn’t an around-the-clock effort.  Josh would mix all of the dough, and Carol would shape and bake the flatbreads.  As luck would have it, there was a wine bar in Larkspur with a fully outfitted, but unused bakery in the back.  Carol and Josh signed a lease, and the crowds converged the same day.  Two days later they purchased the entire space , turning the wine bar into a café serving coffee and croissants alongside the crackers….As far as we know, it’s the only handmade sourdough flatbread anywhere…”

Pecan Shortbread
($2.99 Each)
Description: “Tender and luscious, this delicate cookie is topped with sanding sugar after baking to complete its yumminess!”

Chocolate Chip and Cacao Nib

($2.99 Each)
Description: “This sophisticated cookie has a double chocolate flavor with the Valrhona chocolate and cacao nibs with a tiny bit of salt on the finish.”
Verdict:
Like
These are lovely shortbread cookies that aren’t overly dry.  They didn’t blow me away as super amazing, but they were quite nice and would pair well with a cup of tea or coffee.


McCrea’s

About the Company:
“The company uses local, real-food ingredients and packages its caramel in beautiful compostable containers.  Everything is made in America.  In fact, McCrea’s is a Good Food Award winner, an honor given to outstanding American food producers and farmers who provide their ingredients.  The company was also selected by Martha Stewart as an American Made finalist, by USA Today as a Best Gift for Foodies and by People Magazine for inclusion in the publication’s gala gift bags.”

Cape Cod Sea Salt Caramel
(5.5 oz Tube: $14.95)
Description: “Sweet caramel with savory flakes of coast a New England se salt. A walk in the surf.”
Verdict:
Miss
While I thought the caramel had a wonderful buttery taste, I did not care for the sea salt addition.  It was like eating caramel that accidentally got some sand in it.  I’d have loved to sample one of their offerings without the salt.

Treat Bake Shop
About the Company:
“Sarah started her culinary career as an early-morning bake in college.  After college, she studied with a pastry chef in France and got a master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Collections and Food Research.  She then started working at food magazines, went to Japan, wrote, and published a highly praised cookbook, A Cook’s Journey to Japan.  All of her experience led up to the moment in November 2011, Sarah made the scary, but more-so exciting, decision to take the plunge and open Treat Bake Shop  – business focused on sourcing the highest-quality ingredients to produce unforgettable baked goods delivered with exceptional customer service.  Treat Bake Shop’s first product, Spiced Pecan, was inspired by her childhood friend, Sarah, and became an instant hit.”

Candied Pecans
(3 oz Bag: $5.95)
Description: “A salty-sweet treat with great crunch. Perfect with a little white wine…a creamy cheese…on salads. And of course, on their own.”
Verdict:
Love!
This is so beautifully packaged and would make a wonderful wedding or party favor.  These nuts were delicious and not overly sweet.  And as mentioned in the description, they are a versatile treat that can be used in as an ingredient in a larger dish or paired with other savory components.  My favorite item in the box!

Torie and Howard
About the Company:
“Coincidentally, along the road somewhere, each of them experienced a health related event that would have a significant impact on their life.  For Howard, Losing over a hundred pounds led to a renewed focus on eating as healthy and nutritionally conscious as possible.  For Torie, it was the onset of severe food allergies that forced her to make serious changes in her life and in her diet.  With a new dedication to nutrition in their lives and the relative lack of healthy, indulgent snacks on the market, it became apparent that the time was right to fulfill their dream of starting their own snack food company.  And so Torie & Howard was born, out of a mutual love of delicious and all natural foods that soothe the soul and nourish the body.

Pomegranate & Nectarine Hard Candy
(2 oz: $3.99)
Description: “Unique, sophisticated sweets brimming with fresh flavors that taste of real luscious fruit-picked straight from the garden.  You’ve certainly never tasted anything like these candies.  Carefully crafted from all natural ingredients, the candies feature sophisticated dual flavors of tart California pomegranate with sweet freestone nectarine.  No additives, no artificial flavors or colors.  Just pure. fresh. delicious satisfaction.”
Verdict:
Like!
These hard candies definitely have a fresh fruit taste, unlike so many that have a chemical or overly processed flavor.  The tin is lovely as well and is nice to keep in your bag or car when you need a little pick me up.

 OVERALL

Verdict: Hit!
Even though I receive this box free in order to review it, I’ve had some issues in the past with the price tag relative to the value you receive.  This month marks a huge improvement in that area.  The cost of a box is $25 and the estimated retail of the items comes out to $19.73, but that’s without shipping.  The flat rate shipping just from the Treat Bake Shop would set you back $9.99.  I don’t think a consumer would be able to get all these items for $25 or less on their own, so we’ll check off the value box as a win.

I thought the treats in this box had a nice variety and were all quite sophisticated.  Orangeglad is a great gift for someone who you may not know super well or someone who you know in a less personal capacity – like a work colleague or business associate.  It has a lovely high end feel and most people would find at least one treat in the box they’d enjoy.

Have you ever given a subscription as a gift?
If so, what was it and how did the recipient like it?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

April 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

So I’m going to admit it.  I am exhausted.  My book release, the home renovation, my full time job and my box reviews are keeping me more than busy.  But on the upside I have TONS of cool stuff for you coming in the next few weeks. A super low budget way to update laminate counters, interviews for my book, Kbeauty products, plus unusual new boxes including collectibles and Japanese snacks.  The tough part is finding time to tell you all about it.

For today I felt like I could use a treat, so I’m going with my April review of Orangeglad, a monthly artisan dessert subscription.

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

Lovely packaging as usual:

Salt of the Earth Bakery – Brooklyn, New York
About the Company:
“Salt of the Earth Bakery devotes themselves to elevating the sweet indulgence experience.  Their joy in life is re-imagining classic treats which is why they pair all of their goodies with hand-picked se salts and exotic spices.  Their creations are the result of countless rounds of taste and tests and nothing goes into production unless it is simply the best they have ever eaten.  Their entire product line is all-natural and certified Kosher (OK-D). Made in Brooklyn.”

The Brownie
(The Brownie – 3 boxes, 2/unit @ 1.6 oz each – $15.00)
Description: “For you brownie purists out there, this is nothing but intense chocolate satisfaction. A simply amazing trio of chocolate & more chocolate with a dash of Halen Mon Sea Salt.”
The Kona
(The Kona – 3 boxes, 2/unit @ 1.6 oz each- $15.00)
Description: “Welcome to paradise. An intense eruption of chocolate brownie with aromatic espresso and Kona Sea Salt. Aloha tastebuds!”
(Sorry missing a photo on this one.)
Verdict:
Like
I found these brownies to be a bit drier than I like.  I’m more of a gooey brownie lover.  They were good, but somehow by the description I expected a bit more.  The Kona definitely has a richer flavor because of the coffee. What’s very nice is that these are certified Kosher so they’d make a lovely treat for anyone who requires Kosher food.

Hard Crack
About the Company:
“What’s their story? They love toffee- and just about any other kind of caramelized sugar confection we can name.  Hard Crack’s first creation was the toffee chip cookie.  They make the toffee in small batches and then chop it into chips, which add into their buttery cookie dough.  The result is deliciously complex: great for cookie lovers, great for candy lovers (and the original is even great with cheese!).”

Original Toffee Cookie Snack Pack
(8oz, 28 cookies: $6.00)
Description: “Hard Crack’s caramelized take on a cookie classic.  It’s a combination of rich, complex caramelized flavors with not-too-sweet shortbread crispness to create this addicting treat.  Don’t let its thin size fool you, it’s packed with sweetness.  I dare you to eat just one!”
Verdict:
Hit!
These are super crispy with a satisfying crunch.  They aren’t super sweet and the toffee adds a nice complexity of flavor.  I just wish they’d included more cookies.  These seem relatively inexpensive, so adding a few more would have improved the box value and not have cost Orangeglad too much extra.

Three Kids and A Kitchen
About the Company:
“Inspired by unsuccessful attempts to recreate a treasured family fudge recipe, stay-at-home mom of three, Erin Spalding, began crafting and sharing delicious caramels with friend and family as holiday gifts.  Established in 2011, Three Kids and a Kitchen has grown from a single kettle on her home stove to a commercial custom caramel kitchen that includes a playroom so her kids can continue to be part of the sweet experience.”

Original & Salted Caramel Snack Pack
(???)
Description: “Handcrafted old fashioned and salted caramels paired to create a smooth, rich treat that literally melts in your mouth.”
Verdict:
Hit!
I’m not a huge caramel candy lover, but these were tasty and had a lovely smooth texture. They weren’t too sticky or hard to chew.  I tried to find their site online for links to products and more pricing info, but every link I followed took me nowhere.

Raley’s Confectionary
About the Company:
“Raley’s Confectionary is a family owned and operated artisan Candy Shop that combines centuries old candy making techniques with wholesome ingredients and modern artwork.  They have loads of fun making the candies ot that you can have loads of fun enjoying them.

Variety Fruit Rock Candy
(3 oz: $5.00)
Description: “Raley’s takes the art of hand-crafted hard candy to a whole new level, experience the masterpiece with this blend of everyone’s favorites: banana, pomegranate, watermelon, root beer, blueberry, tutti-fruitti, berry and raspberry.”
Verdict:
Intriguing
These are so lovely to look at and have a Willy Wonka vibe going on.  The flavors aren’t too sweet or cloying, which is a huge accomplishment with hard candy.  The flavors were unique.  Without looking at the card it was for me hard to place some of them.  They were really unlike any hard candy I’ve tried and a lot of fun.

 OVERALL

Verdict: Fun box, but value is still a problem.
This was a beautifully packaged box of treats that included a nice variety of sweets, but the retail value doesn’t seem to add up for me. It’s hard for me to come up with an exact amount because I couldn’t find info on the caramels, and some of these products aren’t available in such small quantities, but the retail value doesn’t seem like it would be much more than half of the box cost of $25.  Some cost needs to be associated with the shipping and the packaging/curation, but I think the gap between the subscriber cost and value of items needs to be narrower.  Even just adding the full $6.00 portion of the toffee cookies would have gone much further in making the box feel like it had more value.

I still love the focus on small businesses and artisan products and I think this would make a lovely gift.  Hopefully Orangeglad can work toward adding a little more value in future boxes.

What are you favorite sweet treats?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

March 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

I thought for Thursday we’d focus on treats, so today I’ve got my March Orangeglad review. They are a monthly artisan dessert subscription!  All the treats!

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

As with my last box, we had some lovely packaging.

This time I got a handy dandy reference sheet so I have a bit more info on the companies and products.

Little Belgians – Berkley California
About the Company:
“Little Belgians is an artisanal cookie company in Berkeley, CA, founded in 2014 by Evy Ballegeer. Evy started baking speculoos out of nostalgia for the many previous moments she spent with her family and friends over coffee and a koekkse in her native Belgium.  She now bakes her cookies in a cozy baking atelier in Berkeley and sells them to gourmet stores.  Little Belgians are made with all organic ingredients and no preservatives.”

Original Speculoos cookies
(4 cookie snack packs: $7.99)
Description: “Little Belgians’ buttery speculoos cookies are thin, crunchy, not too sweet and flavored with dark brown sugar and nine spices including cinnamon, cloves, pepper and cardamom.  They are great with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or all on their own.”

Vanilla Speculoos cookies
(4 cookie snack pack: $7.99)
Description: “Their buttery vanilla speculoos are thin, crunchy, and not too sweet.  They combine the sweet of light brown sugar with delicious hints of vanilla.  Great with tea, dipped in a glass of milk, or just on their own.
Verdict:
Like
These cookies are just as advertised: light, crunchy and not terribly sweet.  The flavors reminded me of the Christmas holidays and I preferred the vanilla just a little more than the original.

Theo Chocolate – Seattle, WA
About the Company:
“Founded in Seattle in 2006, Theo Chocolate is proud to be North America’s first Organic and Fair Trade certified bean-to-bar chocolate maker.  To this day, they strive to be the most progressive chocolate maker in the country.  Their founding principle is that the finest artisan chocolate in the world can (and should) be produced in an entirely ethical , sustainable fashion.  All of their ingredients are carefully screed and 3rd party verified to ensure they meet their standards for social and environmental responsibility.  Theo’s cocoa purchasing practices full transparency along eth entire supply chain and improved quality of life for cocoa farmers, now and I the future.  Simply put: Theo is passionate about chocolate.  And changing the world.”

Hazlenut Crunch Chocolate, 45% Cacao
(1 Bar: $3.00)
Description: “What’s your chocolate fantasy? Does is tart with a smooth organic 45% cacao, pure milk chocolate? Is it blended with hazelnut brittle and just the perfect touch of salt? Does it redefine delicious with every crunchy bite? If so, you’re in luck.”

Bread & Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate
(1 Bar: $3.00)
Description: “Theo’s unique twist on traditional pain au chocolat. Indulge in buttery toasted breadcrumbs immersed in rich dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt.”
Verdict:
Love the Hazelnut, Don’t care for the Bread
Chocolate & Saving the world?  What’s not to love here?  The hazelnut crunch bar was delicious.  The hazelnut flavor wasn’t overpowering and the chocolate was nice and creamy.  Unfortunately, the “Bread & Chocolate” bar just wasn’t my taste.  There was something off-putting about the breadcrumbs inside and I would have preferred it to be a touch sweeter.

Wooden Table Baking Co.
About the Company:
“Andreas Ozzuna is the ownder and baker at Wooden Table Baking Co. She grew up in Buenos Aires in a large family with a grandmother who cooked every day for her and her family.  When she moved to the Bay Area 15 years ago, there was not a lot of Argentinean food – so she had to make the food she craved! When her nostalgia kicked in, she surrounded herself with homemade Argentinean empanadas, alfajores, tangos y mate! Her grandmother taught her these recipes—it is from her that she inherited her love cooking. Andreas recalls being next to her at a wooden table making raviolis, gnocci, tarts every weekend!  A whole spoonful of Dulce del leche in her mouth as a reward when grandma wasn’t looking…She really loved being next to her grandma, looking up when she showed her how to make alfajores. Today, that’s how Andreas feels every time she makes alfajores. She feels the love and happiness of those days.  She feels at home and she loves bringing this joy to the Wooden Table Baking Co’s supporters.”

Traditional Alfajores
(16 cookies: $24.00)
Description: “Alfajores (pronounced Al-fa-ho-res) are a traditional Argentine pastry made of two shortbread-like cookies joined with “dulce de leche”: al made with non-gmo ingredients! Handcrafted vanilla cookie filled with dulce de leche eand rolled in grated coconut.”
Verdict:
Could eat a pound of these
These were so so delicious.  The cookie part was just soft and crumbly enough.  The caramel and coconut with the perfect sweet counterpoint.  These were absolutely lovely. I could imagine these as amazing wedding favors packaged in that same cute little box with a little bow on top.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Lovely box, but not enough of a value
This was a beautifully packaged box of treats, but unfortunately the retail value only came out to $13.  I understand that shipping costs should be added to that, but this box costs $25.  I feel like the value needs to be closer to that $20 mark. The goodies inside were lovely, but it felt like it was missing one more treat. This is a fairly new subscription though, so they still need some time to find the right balance of items and value.

That being said, I love the focus on small companies and finding out about them and how they make their products.  The packaging is beautiful, so I could see splurging on this as a gift and that extra money going toward the packaging and curation.  If your Mom has a sweet tooth, this would be a great Mother’s day gift idea.

Have you ever given a box subscription as a Mother’s Day gift?
If so, what was it and how was it received?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

February 2017 Orangeglad & 10% off Coupon Code!

If you’re like me, you just need a little something extra to face Monday.
Today I’ve got just the thing – an artisan dessert subscription!  All the treats!

The lovely folks at Orangeglad sent me a box to review.  Each month, Orangeglad sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts. The treats are created by local artisan chefs throughout the country.  A single portion box comes with 5 treats and costs $25, while a double portion of 10 costs $40.  (Shipping is included in the costs).

If you’d like to try out one for yourself use my code ST10 for 10% off your order.

This was a new sub, so I didn’t know what to expect.
I got a wrapped package and inside was a lovely box.

It was nicely packaged and perfect for gift giving.

There’s supposed to be a little book inside with info on the foods and vendors, but unfortunately mine was missing. I’ve used my best google skills to try to research the items and their cost, so bear with me.


Sweet Lydia’s S’mores

(6 Bar Box: $23.00)
Description: “Gourmet Vanilla Marshmallow is sandwiched between two graham crackers, covered in milk chocolate. You might think you know what to expect from a S’more but hold onto your hat as this treat will blow you away. Each s’more is individually wrapped, perfect for sharing or keeping all to yourself.”
Verdict:  You had me at hello, (sniff), you had me at hello
I adore s’mores and pretty much all marshmallow goodness (except for Peeps – they are for looking at, not for eating).  This was so very tasty.  The ingredients were fresh and the chocolate was creamy—so much better than what you find at your local drugstore.  I’ve never met this Lydia lady, but after tasting this and checking out her website, I think I love her.  I mean she has raspberry s’mores! And peanut butter!  So much marshmallow happiness! Unfortunately, you can’t buy these individually and a box of $6 will cost you $23.00.


Shotwell Candy Company – Craft Beer & Pretzel Caramels

(2.5 oz resealable pouch: $5.95)
Description: “We combine our buttery soft caramel with a healthy dose of Ghost River Brewing’s Golden Ale and finish it off with nice sized chunks of hand-crushed salty pretzels.  Makes a perfect malty, caramelly, crunchy and salty bite!  Beer and pretzels? Sure.  Beer, pretzels and caramel?  Back the truck up!”
Verdict: Hit!
I’m not a beer drinker, but I thought this was such a fun, unique spin on the caramel I had to give it a thumbs up.  I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet because I want to share it with friends, but even if it’s not my taste, I appreciate the creativity.


Shotwell Candy Company – Hand-Crushed Espresso Caramels

(2.5 oz resealable pouch: $5.95)
Description: “Like that perfect cup of coffee on a cold morning, these espresso caramels are something special.  Our small batch, hand-made caramel is infused with crushed Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee beans, a shot of pure, fresh pulled espresso, 100% natural vanilla and almond extract and then finished with a sprinkling of hand-crushed espresso beans and sea salt.”
Verdict:
Too repetitive
This box includes 5 treats so I was a bit disappointed that two of them were caramels.  If you happen to not like caramels, you’d dislike almost half the box.  I’d have split this one from the pretzel one and used them in different boxes.


QUIN Fruit Lollipops – 3 pieces

(6 Pieces: $6.00)
Verdict:  Like
These were definitely nicer than Dum Dum lollipops. The packaging and design of the candy also made it feel chic.  Like you should be eating these while you write your article for Vogue.  I only ate one but it had a nice flavor without being too cloying.


Fatty Sunday’s Chocolate Covered Pretzels – Toffee

(3 rod box: $3.49)
Description: “It’s no secret that toffee and chocolate make the perfect pair. How sweet (and salty) it really is. These gourmet pretzel rods are made with sweet and buttery toffee bits, creamy milk chocolate and of course, a salty pretzel. Sink your teeth into the sinful combination of crunchy toffee and milk chocolate – you will not be sorry you did. Your secret’s safe with us.”
Verdict:
  Hit!
I love chocolate covered pretzels and toffee so this was wonderful for me.  This is the only brand in the box that I was familiar with as I’m pretty sure it’s popped up in other sub boxes.  It’s quite tasty and the only item that you could buy in the same size included in the box.

OVERALL

Verdict:
Mixed
The positives – This is a beautifully packaged box with dessert treats that feel chic and adult.  It’s perfect for gift giving – particularly for those hard to shop for folks.  It would be great for those office gifts when you don’t want to give something too personal, but where a gift card might not be the best route.  The treats felt high end and nearly all of them were new to me.  Everything I tasted was excellent and I’d happily buy the s’mores if my budget allowed.

The negatives are two parts.  First, I think for 5 small treats you need a tight curation and having two packages of caramels and two treats that featured pretzels aren’t quite appropriate.  While I love pretzels and like caramels, if you disliked either (or both!) you would be quite stuck.  The lollipops are great, but I would have liked to have seen the pretzels and espresso caramels saved for another box and one replaced with fruit treat and the other perhaps with a peanut butter based one.

The bigger issue though is the value.  This box would cost you $25.  When I added up the cost of the items it came out to $15.57, not including the shipping or packaging.  Now, it’s important to remember that only one of these items can be purchased in the quantity included in the box.  You can’t just order 1 s’more, so while that may be what they are worth, you can’t buy them for that amount.  Still, it’s almost $10 between the value and what you pay and to me that’s way too much.   It feels like maybe there should be 6 items in the box, or some should have been in larger quantities.

This seems to be a newer sub box, so there’s always a lot of tweaking that goes on before they find their sweet spot (pun intended).  It has a lovely vibe to it and the treats are delicious, so I’m hoping they can up the value and variety in their future boxes.

Would you ever sign up for a dessert subscription?
Why or why not?

THE BACKSTORY
Orangeglad is an “artisan dessert box that sends handcrafted, unique and exclusive desserts each month. Eat delicious treats created by local artisan chefs throughout the country, and learn about the amazing people behind each item.”

Single Portion Box: 5 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 1-2 people happy
Cost: $25 per month (shipping included)

Double Portion Box: 10 Deluxe Sized Treats
Curated from around the country
Makes 3-4 people happy
Cost: $40 per month (shipping included)

Managing your account is easy. If you want a break, you can cancel or skip at anytime, with absolutely no hassle.

Coupon Codes: Use code ST10 for 10% off your orders

Marley Spoon: Keema Curry & Greek Poutine + $30 Off

It’s time to head into the kitchen again with another  Marley Spoon review. If you’d like to try out this weekly meal subscription service for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.
My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.


Keema Curry with Buttered Naan
Download the recipe here.
I love curry and I’ve never made a beef version, so I figured I’d give this one a shot.

Our Fresh Ingredients:

So we start with really simple prep, just some chopped onion and grated ginger.

Next we sauté some onion in oil until golden brown, then ginger goes in, and finally beef and salt.

After the beef is browned, we spoon of any excess fat and stir in the curry powder, followed by tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Then some water and coconut milk go in.


Now we get to the Naan.  Okay, this is some sad, sad Naan.  It’s broken and there is only ONE Naan.  Maybe I’m just a fatty McFatty, but I figure 1 Naan per person is the minimum.  Anyway, I butter it up and then give toast it in a pan.  It ends up looking really nice, but I just wish there was a bit more of it.


The last step for the curry is to stir in the peas and cook them through.  We pick some cilantro leaves off the stems and top the curry.
We end up with this:

Taste: Okay
This felt less like a curry and more like an Indian spiced chili.  I also found the flavor to be more subdued than what I’d expect from a curry.  This dish didn’t come with rice and each person only got ½ a piece of Naan so you just end up eating a bowl of seasoned ground beef.  Disappointing.
Portion Size: Skimpy. Without rice or lots of veggies to “beef” (pardon my pun) the curry, the portions come out looking pretty stingy.  And you know my feelings about the minimalist Naan.
Good for Entertaining?: Nope, not interesting or flavorful enough.


Greek Poutine with Spiced Pork & Cream Feta Sauce
Download the recipe here.
This recipe looked so intriguing that I figured it had to either be awful or amazing.

More fresh ingredients:


We slice up some potatoes, and coat them in olive oil and some salt and pepper.  They get roasted in the oven until golden brown.

Meanwhile, it’s ingredient prep time.  This comes with fennel and coriander seeds that need to be crushed.  I’m not a fennel fan, so I skip the seeds and grab some coriander from my pantry to use instead.  I also peel and finely chop some garlic and zest and juice an orange.


Next we heat some oil with coriander and garlic, then brown the ground pork in it.
We add orange zest, juice, red wine vinegar, dried oregano and water to the pork and deglaze the skillet.


We make a feta sauce with the cheese, water and some pepper.


Our roasted potatoes come out of the oven and we assemble our platter.  Potatoes, then meat, followed by cheese sauce and finally topped with baby arugula.  The recipe calls to drizzle the dish with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper, but I omitted the olive oil since I didn’t think it needed it.

The finished product:

Taste: Love!
This was so delicious and fresh.  It had a great Mediterranean flavor and wasn’t too difficult to prepare.  The meat makes the dish really filling and I found it perfect for a Netflix and chill evening.  After making this, I thought that the ingredients and flavors would work really well in a pasta dish.  I swapped out the potatoes for some rigatoni and the pork for ground chicken.  The end result was a tasty and healthy dinner. Definitely give this one a try.
Portion Size: Excellent
Good for Entertaining?: Yes.  I’d use this as part of a fun girl’s night menu where we camp out in front of the TV and watch movies about totally unrealistic relationships – basically the kind of food you can nibble on while you gawk at Ryan Gosling’s abs.  In addition to the poutine, I’d serve Coconut Shrimp and some mini quiches.  Dessert would be my “Heavenly” cream cheese brownie recipe.  The drinks would be champagne cocktails – just the bubbly plus some elder-flower liquor & a few raspberries.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Mixed
The curry was disappointing to me because I thought it was a very unbalanced dish.  It’s just a bowl of meat and a tiny piece of bread to go with it.  It needed more – more flavor, vegetables, rice, bread–something.  On the other hand, the poutine was exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for in a meal subscription – a unique dish that can inspire me to be more creative with my own dishes.

I can’t wait to get my new kitchen finished so I can try out some more recipes.

What other food subscriptions should I try?
I’d love to hear your suggestions!

THE BACKSTORY
Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Beef & Parsnip GHOULash and Jamaican Jerk-Spiced Chicken + $30 Off

For throwback Thursday, I’m going way back to Halloween 2016 and one of my stockpiled  Marley Spoon reviews. If you’d like to try out this weekly meal subscription service for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.
ghoulash
Beef and Parsnip GHOULash with Caraway Spaetzle
Download the recipe here.
They labeled it “spooktacular!”, so how could I resist?

Our Fresh Ingredients:
ghoulash-ingredients
spaetzle-dough
We start with making our spaetzle dough.  Now there was just one itty bitty problem.  I hate caraway seeds.  Hate them so, so much.  They are the reason I don’t care for sausage and everything bagels.  I’m leaving them out.  If you like them, just pretend my spaetzle is filled with little death pods, er seeds.

prepped-ghoulash
Next we get to chopping.  At this point I was supposed to dissolve a beef broth packet with water, but alas there is no beef broth packet included.  Luckily I have chicken broth in my pantry so I use that instead.

cooking-beef ghoulash-wih-liquids
Next we cook the onion and ground beef until brown, and then stir in tomato paste and paprika.
We add in the parsnips, beef broth, salt, and pepper, then cover and cook until the parsnips are tender.  We remove the lids and then cook until thickened.

Now the tough part.  We’re supposed to spread the spaetzli dough on to a cutting board over a pot and then scrape it into boiling water.  This dough is sticky and I can’t express how stressful this was for me.
In the end my spaetzle was really sad looking.  It gets tossed with some oil, and then divided between two plates.
sad-spaetzle
We top our spaetzle with goulash, sour cream and chives:
beef-and-parsnip-ghoulash
Taste: Like
This dish had a lovely flavor, and despite the ugliness of my spaetzle, it tasted excellent.  The recipe is just a bit fussy for a weeknight with multiple bowls and pots, plus getting the spaetzle right was tricky (at least for me).  I was also missing the beef broth packet, so that detracted from the recipe.  I’m not sure if this was “spooktacular” enough but it was hearty and the parsnips paired very well with the beef and paprika.
Portion Size: Generous
Good for Entertaining?: No.  It’s a bit too homely a recipe and the spaetzle is just way too stressful to get right.

jerk-chicken-recipe
Jamaican Jerk-Spiced Chicken with Coconut Rice and Cucumber Salad
Download the recipe here.
I can never say no to Jerk Spices and Coconut.

More fresh ingredients:
jerk-chicken-ingredients
We do some slicing and zesting, then marinate our chicken in lime zest, oil and salt.
prepped-ingredients-jerk-chicken marinated-chicken
The chicken gets cooked while we make rice with scallion whites, coconut milk and water.
cooking-chicken
Thinly sliced cucumbers turn into a salad with the remaining lime zest ½ the scallion greens and a bit of salt and lime juice.
cucumbers
We toast some coconut and then plate our ingredients.
toasted-coconut
Our finished dish:
jamaican-jerk-spiced-chicken
Taste: Hit!
The chicken had a nice flavor and I loved the coconut rice.  The cucumbers were refreshing and this dish didn’t require extensive prep or a lot of clean-up.  It was well balanced and worked nicely for a weeknight.
Portion Size: Excellent
Good for Entertaining?: With some tweaking.  I’d turn the bone-in chicken thighs, into boneless jerk spiced kabobs and do everything family style. For drinks I’d serve pitchers of pina coladas and mint iced tea.  I’d add on another main dish of Thai Mango Salad with Shrimp.  Appetizers would feature an Asian inspired dip, like this Thai Peanut Hummus served alongside tortilla and veggie chips, and some beef curry puffs.  Dessert would include a tropical fruit salad and a light, fluffy Coconut Cake.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
I thought both dishes tasted great and had interesting elements.  The only real downsides were the missing broth packet and the challenging spaetzle.  Without those two issues, this box would have been a “love”.  I’ve been on a break from Marley Spoon for the last two months because I’m in the process of moving and renovation, but I’ve still got one review left to finish up.

Once I’ve got my new kitchen up and running, I’ll be trying out some new Marley Spoon boxes as well as some other food subs.

What other food subscriptions should I try?
I’d love to hear your suggestions!

THE BACKSTORY
Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Chimichurri Steak & Moroccan Lamb Stew + $30 Off

For throwback Thursday, I’ve got one of my stockpiled Marley Spoon reviews. If you’d like to try out this weekly meal subscription service for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.
My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.
steak-recipe
Chimichurri Steak with Cilantro Rice & Sautéed Collards
Download the recipe here.
Marley Spoon’s steak is always amazing so I had to give this one a try.
Our Fresh Ingredients…
steak-ingredients
We slice and dice our veggies and herbs.
steak-ingred-choppedchopped-collards
Then we cook the shallots and cilantro stems in oil, and add our rice.
sauteeing-shallots
We make a chimichurri dressing from the rub, vinegar, oil and water.
chimichurri-sauce
The steaks get seared and then are allowed to rest.
cooking-steak steak-resting
We cook the collards in the same pan the steak was seared in.
cooking-collards
steak-in-sauce rice
We finish steaks by tossing them with dressing, fluff our finished rice and then we end up with this:
marley-spoon-chimicurri-steak
Taste:
Love!
The chimichurri dressing was wonderful and gave so much flavor.  This recipe was incredibly easy and very flavorful.  It came together fast and tasted well balanced. The side dishes were simple and fresh and allowed the steak to be the rock star of the meal. I adored the Elvio’s chimichurri seasoning and would love to add some to my pantry.
Portion Size: Excellent.
Good for Entertaining?: Yes, for a dinner party.  For cocktails, I’d pair this with a Mint Juleps and a Blackberry iced tea.  My appetizer would be a marinated seafood salad and I’d serve some herbed focaccia bread on the side.  My dessert would highlight fruit and I’d go with something like this Grape Galette and espressos.

stew-recipe
Moroccan Lamb Stew with Farro, Carrots & Apricots
Download the recipe here.
I love Moroccan flavors and how they mix fruit into savory dishes so I opted for this recipe.
More fresh ingredients:
stew-ingredients
We start with some chopping and zesting.
stew-chopped
Then we move on to cooking our ground lamb with some salt and pepper.
lamb-cooking
Spices get added, along with the carrots, apricots, tomatoes, farro and ½ cup of water.
stew-cooking
We finish the stew by covering it and transferring it to the oven.  It bakes until the carrots and farro are tender.
thickened-stew
We make a parsley salad with some oil, salt and pepper.
parsley-salad
Our finished masterpiece:
marley-spoon-morrocan-lamb-stew
Taste: Love!
First, this all takes place in one pot!  That alone can win me over.  Second, the flavors were delicious and even though the seasoning mix included some cumin (the spice I hate above all others) it was well balanced enough that it didn’t overpower the dish.  I’ve discovered that I really enjoy farro and I thought the parsley salad added a nice fresh component to the dish.  Stew is perfect for a cold night and this recipe was a great variation on the typical stew.
Portion Size: Generous
Good for Entertaining?: Yes.  I’d add this as part of a family style meal.  For  drinks, I’d experiment with a rosewater punch and offer an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version.  The appetizer would be a Middle Eastern style platter with some dips like hummus and baba ganoush, nuts, cheese, dried fruit and some fresh pita. I’d include another main dish option that highlights poultry, like Harissa Roasted Chicken.  As an additional side, I’d add a simple platter of roasted veggies.  Dessert would feature a Moroccan fruit salad and a Honey cake like this amazing one at Cake Crumbs and Beach Sands.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Love!
These dishes were flavorful, interesting and easy to make.  I made both on weeknights and it worked out just fine.  Both meals were healthy and balanced  with really fresh meat and excellent portion sizes.  This box was definitely a win.

Have you tried any food subscriptions?
If so, what were your expectations and did the box meet them?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART

Marley Spoon: Picadillo-Style Chili with Olives & Currants + $30 Off

Since today is supposed to be a day about love, and the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I thought I’d feature one of my Marley Spoon reviews. If you’d like to try out this weekly meal subscription service for yourself, use the coupon code COOKSMART for $30 off.

My meal plan is for a weekly delivery of 2 meals (2 portions each), which costs $48.
chicken
This week included a repeat recipe of Fried Chicken Sandwiches with Root Vegetable Fries that I’d already reviewed fully before. Since this was my second time with the recipe it came out even better.  The breading stayed on and it was delicious.  It’s one of my fave Marley Spoon recipes and one I could easily replicate on my own.  Definitely consider trying out the recipe for yourself.

Now for the other recipe in my box:
recipe
Picadillo-Style Chili with Olives & Currants
Download the recipe here.
I love Cuban style recipes and when beef is mixed with things like raisins and currants, so I decided to give this one a try.

Our Fresh Ingredients…
ingredients
We get some rice cooking and then prep our ingredients.
chopped
We cook the aromatics and spices in oil and then add ground beef.  After it’s browned, we add in vinegar, tomatoes, water and salt.  Then cook until thickened.
beef with-sauce
We slice up some olives, then top our chili with them and the currants.
olives
Our finished dish:
marley-spoon-picadillo-style-chili-with-olives-currants
Taste: Like!
I’m not the biggest fan of olives so I went light on them. I thought this had a nice flavor and was a unique spin on chili.  I do wish that the olives and currants were cooked for a bit with the chili, rather than just added on as a topping.  I think it would have added a lot to the flavor.  This recipe was easy to put together and didn’t require a ton of prep or clean-up.  Overall, a nice twist on a familiar recipe.
Portion Size: Generous (there were leftovers)
Good for Entertaining?: While the flavors are interesting, it’s probably not something I’d entertain with.  It’s more of a cold Sunday indoors type recipe.  I do think that some fried plantains would pair well with it as a side.

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
The chicken dish was even better now that I’d gotten the hang of the recipe.  I liked the creativity of the chili and the ease of preparation and clean up.
Both recipes called for easy to find ingredients, so they’d be a snap to recreate on your own.
Overall, a great box.

Have you tried any food subscriptions?
If so, what were your expectations and did the box meet them?

THE BACKSTORY
Marley Spoon creates delicious, easy to follow recipes.
They deliver fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and you select your recipes from their changing weekly menu.

They are dedicated to sourcing organic and sustainable whenever possible. Building relationships with environmentally aware farms and producers ensures that the highest quality ingredients arrive at your door each week.

Using trusted delivery partners, your Marley Spoon boxes come insulated and chilled, staying cool for 30 hours! After delivery, all the ingredients are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 4 days – allowing you to decide when to cook.

Marley’s Spoon donates any leftover ingredients to City Harvest. City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

Each week you’ll automatically receive great dishes, but as a flexible subscription, you can skip a week or pause your subscription anytime. You can also change delivery frequency, recipes, and the number of portions you’d like to receive.

Monthly Cost:
Varies by number of servings and number of meals.
Check here for the configuration of your choice

COUPON CODE: COOKSMART