Tag Archive for fresh prep

Christmas Gifts for Foodies (2018 Edition)

Read through to the end of the post for the chance to win a $50 Fresh Prep gift card! 

Well, here we are in December, and Christmas is just around the corner.

I’m going through my annual struggle; what do I buy people? What cookies do I make to give away? When will I have time to even bake cookies??

The good news is, I have very few people to buy presents for. I usually make lots of cookies and give those out to family and friends, but the main person I buy presents for is Michael. As he gets older, though, it becomes a bit more of a challenge to buy stuff for him. When he was younger, there were always cool toys and games, but now that stuff no longer applies.

So this year, I’ve decided to go in a different direction. This year is going to be more about experiences rather than stuff.

As time goes on, I become more concerned about the state of the environment, and more aware of what I’m doing and how it’s affecting the world. So I’m trying to be more conscious of gifts that don’t create waste, are more sustainable choices and are better for the environment, ideally support local businesses, and/or are more about the experience and creating memories rather than stuff (that may or may not be wanted). Think presence rather than presents. Of course you can always take your special person out for a meal at your/their/a new favourite restaurant. But I’m trying to think of alternatives to that experience.

Having said all of that, I humbly put forth my ideas for Christmas Gifts for Foodies for this year.

Cooking Classes. A cooking class for you and your friend/S.O. or family member is a great gift. You get to first of all spend time together, you get to learn something, and then you get to eat it at the end! It’s a win/win/win. Check out Dirty Apron or PICA. Maybe learn to make cheese with Paula? Or if you’re vegan, take one of Karen McAthy’s.

Fresh Prep Spicy Red Pepper Tofu

Prep-at-home meal kits. If you can’t get out to a cooking class, home-delivered meal kits are a great alternative. I really like Fresh Prep. They are committed to sustainability, and creating less waste, which I love. They deliver the meal kits by bicycle courier! They have vegetarian options, and they are suitable for all levels of cooking experience. If you’re just learning, they’re great, and if you’re a more experienced cook like me, they offer something new and interesting. And making a meal with a loved one is a great way to spend time together. Add a bottle of wine, and voila! instant date night. I also buy gift certificates for friends who are recently married, who have just had a baby…

Want to try it for yourself?? Just use the code INFCOLEMAN18 when you sign up here, and you’ll get $33 off your first order!

Food Experiences. In this category, I’m thinking wine tastings, beer flights, charcuterie. You can, for example, put together a selection of 3 wines to pair alongside different types of chocolates or cheeses, and then make a night of it. Or visit a local winery for a tour and a tasting. I like Backyard’s wine and charcuterie experience.

Homemade goodies. I’m a big proponent of homemade goodies to gift. For me, it often takes the form of cookies or preserves. However, an alternative I’m excited about this year is the mason-jar option. You can make a cookie or brownie mix and gift it in a pretty mason jar. You can do the same with Instant Pot options. Another option? Homemade vanilla (but you’d better start it now).


Cookbooks. I named this blog Cooking by Laptop because I found that I was cooking more and more from google and the internet than I was from my cookbooks. But I still love cookbooks deeply, and perhaps even more so since writing one myself. There’s always a selection on my coffee table. Some of my recent favourites include Cooking in Color, Bottom of the Pot, and Eating Local in the Fraser Valley (Angie lists agendas in the back of her book for foodie adventures).

Staub La Coquette

Legacy Kitchen Gear. Okay, these are the pricier gifts, but they are also gifts that last a lifetime. A dutch oven from Staub or Le Cruset is incredibly versatile–I use mine to make soups and stews, to braise in the oven, and I even make bread in it! Plus they are so pretty. Mine lives on my stove year-round, even when I’m not using it. A good chef’s knife will last a lifetime, or a really good blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec is basically forever.

SingleTree Wine Jellies

Specialty ingredients. There are things that many foodies lust for, but tend to be more expensive, and if you don’t have a reason to buy them, you might not. I’m talking about really good quality olive oils or balsamics, flavored sea salts (I love Amola and Vancouver Island Sea Salt. Specialty coffee is always wonderful, as is truffle oil. I also love to gift locally-made preserves, like Vista D’oro’s or Salt Spring Kitchen Co, or wine jellies to serve with your charcuterie. I am also IN LOVE with this local goat milk caramel.

Blue Grouse Wine Candles

Candles. I like food-scented candles a lot. My go-to are the vanilla ones from Ikea, but there are some locally-made versions that rock. Cartems, my #1 all time favourite donuts, have just launched a line of donut scented candles. Let me say that again: donut scented candles!!!! You can also buy wine-scented candles from Blue Grouse, that come in an upcycled wine bottle.


Tis the season for gift-giving, so I have one for you. Fresh Prep has kindly offered one of my readers a $50 Gift Card for their service, so you can try it for free, or you can gift it to someone for Christmas!

To enter, just comment below and tell me what’s on your Christmas wish list this year.

I’ll choose one lucky winner at random on Friday, December 14.

Good luck!


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.