Tag Archive | recipes

My Experience With a Meal Service — NOT an Ad!

I found what I thought was a really good introductory deal to Hello Fresh. I ended up paying about ten bucks for two meals for two people. But I didn’t actually want to receive that first box.

How did you end up with a box you didn’t want? you ask.

Because they make you put in your delivery address AND payment information BEFORE you get to see the food. I was able to select a preference for Beef, but that was it. (remember that for later)

I tried to cancel. When I couldn’t find a way to select my own first meals, and the meals they had on offer were nothing I’d be interested in eating in the first place, I clicked to cancel the subscription.

The first shipment, however, did not cancel. I received it this morning.

Okay, fine. Let’s see what they gave me, I thought. Maybe they gave me some ingredients I can make my own meals out of.

Bag #1: Turkey chiles Rellenos. Made with ground turkey. — I hate ground turkey. I mean with a passion. I actually don’t like turkey itself very much, or Mexican food. I would never have ordered this. I’d far rather make stuffed green & red peppers made with hamburger or sausage.

So this is a fail right out the gate.

Bag #2: Salmon with dijon mustard sauce and arugula. Just…sigh. I never make anything fish. I never buy anything fish. I might have tuna ONCE a year, out of a little pouch, in one sandwich. Maybe. I don’t like fish. And, might I say, that the amount of arugula included may have been enough for a garnish on the top but was not nearly what I would ever call a salad.

And I did not get my preferred protein. Beef.

I have wasted ten bucks.

Yes, it was all well packed. Two bags inside a cardboard box, with cotton wadding all around it, and the meat was between two thick ice packs under a cardboard plank. That IS a lot of trash. We have recycling of paper/cardboard, so all that went into clear bags. But the innards of the ice pack aren’t recyclable. You are to cut the package open, empty it into the regular trash, and then recycle the plastic from the ice packs. I’ll be turning at least one of the cotton wadding lengths into a lower back protector. Maybe I’ll make the other into a couple small quilts to donate to an animal shelter.

Yes, the ingredients were fresh. But it was nothing I couldn’t have gotten a recipe off the internet and gone to the grocery store around the corner to buy things for.

Sure, it’s convenient to only have as much turmeric as is needed for the one recipe. I never use turmeric, so portioning out the ingredients is a good thing.

I actually thought maybe I’d pluck out the seasonings for that reason; but decided against it. I grabbed up everything included, plus the instruction sheets, and went downstairs to knock on my landlord’s door. I gave them to her and her family. Here. Enjoy.

Otherwise…it’s going in the trash.

So thank you, Hello Fresh. My ten bucks went toward building Good Will with my landlord.

Melty Mints

Melty Mints

I saw the original recipe online but the video shows an extremely inefficient method of making these and tells you to make them FAR too large. These aren’t intended to be a small cookie, but a quick bite.

I’ve not altered the recipe (except to offer suggestions for other flavors and flavor combinations). My changes are largely in the instructions.

This is a very kid-friendly thing to make together. The kids will have a terrific time rolling the mints and smooshing them into discs. Plus, mixing colors is always great fun!

Using a stand mixer will allow them to add the sugar and press the button themselves. Using a hand beater, they may not be able to do much beyond the second addition of sugar…and it’s likely to be a bit messy with powdered sugar getting thrown out of the bowl. YAY!

Ingredients:

8 oz brick of cream cheese, any brand, softened
Half a stick of butter, softened (I used salted and it was perfectly fine)
2 pounds of powdered sugar + extra for on your waxed paper and for rolling
1, 1 ½, or 2 teaspoons (how strong do you want it?) of mint flavor of your choice (Peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen) – You could also use half mint and half another flavor, such as lemon, orange, coconut, chocolate, cherry. Get inventive.

Time: Initial mixing, about half an hour. At least 2 hours rest in fridge. However long it takes you to scoop and roll them into mints. Then drying time, which was six hours for mine.

Instructions:

First, be warned. A stand mixer really is best for this recipe. It gets VERY stiff and difficult to manipulate with a hand beater by the time you get halfway through adding the sugar. It stressed my little hand mixer and my 15 year old had a hard time controlling it in the bowl.

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and the butter. They must be soft or they won’t mix smoothly. You don’t want chunks of butter and cream cheese in this. If you need to, put them into the microwave for ten seconds at a time until they are soft but NOT melted.
  2. When that is nice and smooth, add your flavoring and incorporate.
  3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and incorporate. Repeat until your 2 pounds is all in the bowl. Make sure to scrape the bowl down after each incorporation of sugar.

At this point, decide what you want to do about your colors.

Coloring:

If you only want two, start with a primary, then add another primary to save yourself some work. Example, start with yellow. When it’s incorporated and even, take half out and set aside, then add blue to make green mints or red to make orange ones. If you want three or four colors, divide the dough out into mixing bowls, leaving the last portion in the mixer.

Add your color.

Use the mixer for this! Hand mixing the color in is laborious work! Make sure to clean off your mixing tool between colors. You don’t want to contaminate with colors you don’t want mixed.

Cover bowls and put in the refrigerator for at least two hours. I make the dough the night before and then roll them out the next day.

Making Individual mints:

  1. Prepare your pan. Put waxed or parchment paper into a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a generous amount of powdered sugar all over it. The mints will stick until they are dry, so you need the sugar to stop them sticking too much. Also get a small bowl and put half a cup of powdered sugar into it for rolling. I used a square bowl so I could get a number of them into it at the same time.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Use a spoon to scoop up a small bit of dough about the size of a standard gumball. Roll quickly in your palm and drop into the bowl. Considering how many this makes, you can roll two between your hands at the same time. One in the palm and one in the fingers. I did try three, but that was not as efficient or as easy as doing two.
  4. When you have half a dozen or so balls in the sugar, swirl the bowl around to coat them all.
  5. Take the balls out and place on the cookie sheet. Use a fork (dipped in the sugar) and gently press down to make ridged lines. If you don’t want the thin lines, just press them with your fingers. You could even leave them as balls if you wanted. You don’t have to press them down at all.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until you’ve done them all.
  7. Leave the pans out so the mints can dry. At about the three hour mark, turn them over to expose the bottoms for drying. The original recipe said 4 hours total. I made them smaller and mine needed a good six hours, half of that with a small fan blowing on them, before I was confident they were solid enough to tolerate being in the container together to travel to the event I made them for.

NOTE: The discs will be white at this point because of the powdered sugar. During the drying time, they will absorb the sugar and be (mostly) the color of the dough.

The original recipe said it would make 8 dozen. The first time I made them, I ended up with over 12 dozen (around 150 mints) because I made them smaller. I want them smaller still, to be one quick bite rather than a small cookie, and will update this with my count when I make them again.

About the picture — I’m not a food stylist. I’m not going to be taking my foods to a professional photographer to get the pictures. This is what they actually looked like when I actually made them and actually took them in a container to a party.

Melty Mints