Category Archives: Services

Review: Fun and Interesting Meals from Plated


On something of a whim I took advantage of an offer from this site called Plated. Buy 2 plates, get 4 free! My initial order I had to cancel, which resulted in an account credit of $70-80 after paying around $20. Not a bad deal in my book. A little later, I took advantage of that “free” money to try out the service.

I ordered two different meals/4 plates. When you’re ordering, one recipe usually makes 2 “plates” (some might make 4). The actual amount of plates would depend on how much you and/or the other people that enjoy the dish want to eat, of course. I would mostly classify the recipes as gourmet homestyle, occasionally ethnic or fusion. They send you a recipe card–more like a recipe poster–and most of the ingredients to cook it. You will probably have to supplement it with things like olive oil, butter, pepper, or other basic cooking ingredients that most people have available in their kitchen.

Although many things sounded delicious, the price was important to me (not all plates cost the same), so my final decision was tomato-braised chicken with fennel and steak gyros. Once the order shipped, it got to me overnight. Considering that some of the food they send is perishable, that’s a very good thing. I thought everything was very well-packaged and everything from my order was present and accounted for. I actually decided to do an unboxing and first impression video, which you can watch if you’re interested in this part of the process:

But I made it before I’d fully experienced my meals, so I wanted to go a little more in-depth here.

Steak Gyros: This was pretty easy to make and turned out to be delicious! I did overcook the steak just a tiny bit, as they recommend having it rare and mine was closer to medium-well, but that didn’t hurt it. It was good-quality steak and the seasonings they provided gave it a great flavor. The naans that came with the order were so tasty, I wished I had more of them. I did alter some of the side/sauce aspects of the recipe (I explain this a little in the video). Overall I was very happy with this one.

Tomato-braised Chicken with Fennel: First I should say that I HATE black licorice, and so I don’t like strong fennel flavors that much, but I love chicken, and I’ve had recipes with fennel that I did like, so I decided to try it out. This one was slightly more interesting to cook because I’ve never made fennel before. This used the leafy part as a garnish, but also the root as one of the main ingredients. Cooked in oil and tomato with a rather interesting mix of spices, I actually really liked the end result. I would have liked there to be more chicken, and I must admit I was a little disappointed by the cuts I was provided because there was a lot of fat on them. So it wasn’t perfect, but I liked the flavor of the dish. It also came with couscous, which I had never made before. That part turned out to be incredibly easy and although couscous doesn’t have much flavor on its own, I like it. Also, between the fennel bulb, a yellow onion, and the chicken, the yield for this recipe was HUGE. I’d say it could feed four people, maybe adding another side dish.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed my first experience with plated despite one or two things that weren’t perfect. (And expecting perfection is silly, really.) Promotional deal aside, this is not exactly a budget-friendly service. For the amount of food I got for the money, I probably would have been better off just getting a similar recipe and getting the ingredients myself. BUT, you’re not just paying for the food. You’re paying to have it bundled and ready to cook, as well, and for the convenience of having it delivered right to you. They also make efforts to send sustainable and ethical ingredients, which are worth paying a little extra for if you can afford it. Also, if you can’t afford to order frequently, you can always skip a few weeks to save up for your next order, but make sure you keep an eye on your account so you don’t accidentally get one when you didn’t want it. The default is every one or two weeks, depending on what you select. I’m not in a position to afford this very often right now, but I’d be interested in doing this regularly in the future, after my income grows.

Why you should try it: I think the best reason to give Plated a try (other than the great first-time deal they offer!) is to experiment with a recipe you might never have tried otherwise. I doubt I ever would have made gyros if left entirely to my own devices, and now I know I might like to use fennel in cooking other dishes. I might have done that eventually, but without this incentive I doubt it. I made the recipes on my own, but this could also be fun to do with friends and family, if you like to cook together.

If after all that you’re intrigued, and you want some free plates, use my referral link below:

https://www.plated.com/invites/7c742d

Happy cooking!

The Best Service


Hello! I haven’t been posting very often for a while, I know. I have been very focused on certain things in life and not feeling that motivated to talk about my food. I also haven’t cooked too many things that merited full posts–not to mention that no one has responded at all when I asked if anyone would be interested in posts about particular dishes, so I figured it wouldn’t matter…

While I have a few food-related posts on deck, I’m taking a minor detour at the moment to say how impressed I am with Drugstore.com, which is owned by Walgreens. I first purchased from them sometime in the past two months. I wanted to check them out because I’d heard that they have much more variety than any of my local drugstores and they have a lot of natural, organic products. They even have a tab just for “green” products.

EDIT: I just read that Walgreens is trying to take advantage of some of those ridiculous benefits corporations get from the government in dodging taxes and stuff, so I might not be able to buy from them anymore. NOT COOL, Walgreens.

The truth is, they have EVERYTHING. They’re like a mega-drugstore, with all sorts of products and so many brands, you’ll be REALLY GLAD you have a database to search instead of trying to pick it off a store shelf. They even have vibrators. Drugstore.com has all the basics for your hygiene and health needs. The other side of the site, Beauty.com, has more specialty and prestige brands, but you can shop on both and check out from both sites at once. It’s so damn useful, I don’t know why more sites don’t do this…

 

Not only do they have a ridiculously wide variety of products, they always have sales and deals going on, and they give 5% credit back on (almost) all purchases. It’s a good place to get a good price on things, and it cuts down on your physical errands–always a plus for me.

Having placed my second order just a little while ago, I am also reminded how quickly they fill orders. So far, my orders from Drugstore.com have been shipped on the same day. It doesn’t take a week for the package to come to me, either. It’s more like 1-2 days. I’m a frequent online shopper and it comes with the territory that your orders might take a while to reach you, depending on the shipping service the company uses. This is logical and I generally accept it, but this super-quick delivery is what we really want when we shop online. In this case, it means that you could buy cold medicine without actually going out to the store and have it the next day, theoretically. Since I don’t have anyone to go buy cold medicine for me, this is a great advantage. I just hope they’re not using delivery drones (as I heard a while ago Amazon was planning to do). Those things freak me out. And wouldn’t they have to launch it at your front door? Weird.

That concludes my somewhat rant-y review. Overall, I think this site is worthwhile and if you’re like me and hate going to the drugstore in person, you should check them out.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon to check for food posts!

It’s Food


Uh oh… I’ve been neglecting my recipe-less life. I can’t remember if I’ve made anything worth writing about lately. I’m going to have to assume I haven’t… I’m sorry! I’ll just have to come up with something to say.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I assume everyone is drinking green beer or Guinness or Irish whiskey, or Bailey’s, or something like that. Or eating soda bread, potatoes, butter, irish style bacon, stew, or anything someone once told you was a very Irish thing to eat. I’m wearing a green t-shirt, and I’m going to heat up some of my seasoned curly fries as part of dinner. Potatoes are so Irish! No alcohol for me today. And really… I don’t care.

Last weekend I went to Bertucci’s with my dad, and as usual I really think my family’s recipe for meatballs can’t be beat. I forget how to make them though. I ate a LOT and somehow went home with three salads and a bunch of other leftovers.

I have also finally been to one of the many Mexican places in my neighborhood, a place called Acapulco – I tried the enchiladas. Good, but I wonder if some of their other options are better. The week after that, I went to Tres Gatos, a tapas restaurant/bookstore. The food is very tasty, but the ambiance isn’t great (it was really loud in there), and I’ve been to other tapas places I definitely prefer. I would definitely go there again, but only once in a while.

In actual news, I subscribed to two different tasting boxes and received my first one from Love with Food!

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I’ve heard that some bloggers get paid to review the stuff in their boxes. I would be happy to be one of them, but I am not, so I’m not planning to go through the contents of each box and talk about them. I might note anything that really stood out, like this time, the Cosmos salted caramel corn snacks. They had the consistency of cheese puffs, and more of a buttery than caramely flavor. I gave the chocolate covered wasabi peas to my roommate, because I didn’t think I’d want them.

Love with Food is a good one to subscribe to, because there’s a charitable aspect. They give food to the needy for every box you purchase, or something… I don’t know the details, but you can look it up on their site.

The other one I ordered, Goodies Co., I won’t get until April. They’re cheap, $7 a month, and availability is limited because they’re in beta mode, but I think I waited a week or two before they emailed me that I could get the box.

The point of these boxes for me is to reduce the need to buy snack items at the grocery store. And of course, if I find that what I get is not really worth the investment for me, then I can always stop getting the boxes. We’ll have to see how it goes. For now I am sure I’ll be happy enough with them, as it’s under $20 a month for both boxes.

And, in food news, that really is pretty much all I have to say. Not too exciting, I know. I’m going to have to make something interesting to fix that, and in the meantime I might have other life adventures to share with you.

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