Archive for What I Ate

Fresh Prep

So, it’s January, and everyone I know is hitting the gym or going sober or participating in Veganuary.

Yes, it’s that time of the year when a young woman’s thoughts turn to making healthier choices. Especially after all the cake and all that mulled wine you drank in December.

You need to make healthier choices around your diet. You need help!

Fresh Prep Sushi Bowls

I feel like we eat pretty healthy at our house. We stick pretty strongly to a vegetarian diet that includes lots of plant-based protein, but also some free-range eggs and cheese. A typical dinner at our house might include stir-fried veg with brown rice and tofu or sietan. We love our carbs, so pasta is usually on the menu once a week or so, usually along with a caesar salad. I pretty much always keep pizzas in the freezer for the weekend, or veggie burgers.

So while we aren’t terrible junk food addicts, and while much of what we eat is whole foods and not from a package, honestly, I feel like I get stuck in a rut sometimes.

Like every week, we eat something similar, just because that’s what we do, and the choices are pretty healthy, and we have it in the cupboard… *sigh*

So, while our goals here at our house are obviously to eat healthy, we are also looking to shake things up a little. To try new things. To get out of our rut.

But not at the expense of spending hours and hours in the kitchen. I mean, we have a life and all (okay, not really, but we do have a new kitten, and playing with her constitutes “our life” right now).

So, we were excited to sign up for a new meal delivery service called Fresh Prep. Now, this isn’t one of those services that delivers you the whole meal. There’s still some assembly required. But basically, the shopping, measuring, and most of the chopping is already done for you. And best of all, the thinking is done for you. You don’t have to decide what to make for dinner, you just have to make it! Ahhh, the freedom!

They allow you to choose what kinds of meals you like; vegetarian, fish and/or meat. It’s a great way to shake up your routine–like, if you’re an omni, maybe try some fish or vegetarian options.

Fresh Prep Delivery via bike

So, I signed up and waited for my first order. They gave me a window, and I was working at home, waiting for them to arrive, when I got a text message my delivery was a few minutes away. You click on the link, and it takes you to a GPS locator that is tracking your delivery. How cool! I expected my delivery to show up in a truck, but instead, it came via bike courier!

fresh prep delivery cooler bag

I love that. I don’t eat meat for the envoirment, I love that my meals were delivered in an enviornmentally sustainable way.

The driver delivered me my cooler bag with my two meals inside, which were packed with ice packs to keep them cold. Into the fridge they went until it was time for dinner.

The idea of the meals is that you can get them on the table in 30 minutes. I cooked one of them live on Facebook, and it took 20 minutes (I did a couple of prep things in advance to save time).

We had a yummy pasta dish baked in a cream sauce with roasted veg on the side and sushi bowls with tofu and lots and lots of veg.

Fresh Prep Pasta ingredients

I loved that most of the prep was already done for me, like slicing onions (no more crying) or mincing garlic. I don’t mind doing these things, they’re just time-consuming. Having the prep work done for you speeds things up.

Fresh Prep Pasta

The service costs about $11 per serving ($44 a week for 2 meals that serve 2), but the meals actually serve more than 2. One night we fed a third person, and the other times, there were always leftovers for the next day’s lunch.

Add to that the fact that you don’t need to shop for the ingredients, and the time you save with prep work. Also, I have lots of weird ingredients in my house, like sesame oil, but I recognize not everyone buys that stuff. And you may only want or use a tablespoon or two, and you don’t need that whole bottle. This is also where a service like Fresh Prep excels.

So, if you’re feeling stuck like me, or you just want to eat healthier, I’d encourage you to give Fresh Prep a try. They even gave me a special code for you. Click here to order, and you’ll get three free plates credited to your new account.

Have you tried a meal prep service? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Dine Out Vancouver {Vegetarian Edition}

It’s Dine Out Vancouver time!

This time of the year is always particularly dark. First off, it’s post-Christmas, and nobody has any money, because they just opened their January Visa bills. Secondly, we live in Vancouver where the rain is unrelenting, and all I want to do is huddle under the covers with Season 4 of Grace and Frankie and eat ramen.

But then there’s this magical chunk of two weeks where Dine Out Vancouver happens. Restaurants all over the city try to convince us out of our cocoons to sample cheaper-than-usual local fare. It’s a fantastic idea, and one I look forward to every year.

The Blackbird DOVF menu

Local joints do a fixed-price, three-course menu, starting at $20. There are also $30 and $40 versions, depending on the restaurant. It’s a great way to try something new at your favourite eatery, or to try an all together new eatery that may eventually become your favourite.

Last night, I got to try the DOVF offering at The Blackbird. The great thing about this particular menu is that it’s super vegetarian-friendly (though I went with a carnivore friend, and she was quite happily satisfied as well).

Here’s what we had.

Kale Caesar The Blackbird DOVF

There are two options for starters, a kale caesar (my fave) and a very warming cauliflower soup with a chunk of brie melting away in its centre.

There are three options for mains. The veg one was a very hearty, Mediterranean-themed bowl which included roasted yams, pickled cabbage for acid,  salty feta, and some shockingly good falafels that were almost creamy on the inside.

Yam Falafel Bowl The Blackbird DOVF

My dinner companion quite enjoyed her pasta with a rustic brisket ragu, and pronounced it hearty and filling–comfort food perfect for this time of year.

The advantage of going out with a friend for a night like this is that you can order more, and then share. And that’s exactly what we did with the dessert, which was a coconut panna cotta (although we found the texture to be more pudding-like than custardy) and a slice of chocolate praline bar with a layer of peanut butter in the middle, which I will admit I may have hogged.

The Blackbird DOVF desserts

All in all, a great value for only $20 per person. Oh–and do yourself a favour and spring for the wine pairings. They feature some of my local favourites, like Summerhill’s Alive Organic Wine, Tinhorn Creek’s Merlot, and Volcanic Hill’s Pinot Gris. These are all wines I buy and enjoy on a regular basis.

The dessert pairing was not dessert wine or port. It was, rather, scotch, which is apt because The Blackbird is well known for it’s selection of rare scotches. And I am a fan.

So, even if you don’t eat meat, I want to encourage you to get out and try something new this Dine Out. It goes until Feb 4, and according to the Dine Out Vancouver website, there are 157 out of the 300+ that have veggie options.

Don’t be surprised if you run into me at one of them, though I can’t guarantee I won’t be wrapped in my duvet. 😉

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