Terra’s Kitchen unsponsored review

Since I’ve been using the Terra’s Kitchen meal kit delivery service for a couple of months, it seems like time to review them. I’m not an affiliate; I don’t work with this company in any way, but I do like writing reviews for services that I appreciate and think others may as well.

Why I started ordering meal kits

Several years ago I reviewed Hello Fresh, another well-known meal kit delivery service, and I actually really liked it but decided the expense didn’t make sense for our family at the time.

Then a year or two ago (I don’t remember exactly when), my job was getting really, really busy, and I decided to try meal kit delivery again. I was willing to pay the money if it meant more time with my family and better food. We were eating a lot of pizza at that point.

I’d already used my free box from Hello Fresh, so I decided to try Marley Spoon, Martha Stewart’s company. I used that service for at least a year, and the food was really, really good. When I had issues with the way the meat was arriving, customer service actually listened to me. They ended up changing the way they delivered meats in their kits. But eventually, it was taking too much time. I was still spending an hour in the kitchen not including the multiple pots and pans that needed washing. I’m slow at chopping things.

I was exhausted. I stopped that service for a few months, and instead I tried making more slower cooker meals and easy things like pasta. But I still found that we were turning to delivery and takeout more than was good for us. All that sodium! And the cost. Yes, a meal kit service (especially Terra’s Kitchen) is pricey, but around the DC-Baltimore area, take out and delivery restaurants are expensive too. It’s normal for us to spend $10-15 a serving on food around here, not counting taxes, tips and/or delivery fees.

Why I chose Terra’s Kitchen meal kit delivery service

A local friend of mine was using Terra’s Kitchen before she moved to her new duty station on the other coast. She had a newborn, an elementary age child, and she was active duty military with her husband overseas. Terra’s Kitchen was letting her get home cooked meals on the table for herself and her kids, so I knew it might work for us too.

For me, the selling point of Terra’s Kitchen is that the veggies already come washed, peeled and chopped, and the meals themselves are simple and can be prepared in 15 or 20 minutes. I realize I may sound lazy to some of you all (she cant even chop her own vegetables- what!?), but until you walk in my shoes, you shouldn’t judge.

How it works

Terra’s Kitchen delivers the food in a reusable insulated box (super fancy!) the company calls a vessel. Ice packs are inside. Even during the heat wave this summer, I never had any issues with the food staying cold. The vessel gets left on my steps, and then as soon as I get home, I take the vessel inside, unpack it, and put the food in my fridge.

I get both email and text notifications when my vessel has arrived.
The food containers sit next to ice packs on little drawers that slide out of the vessel.

After the vessel has been unpacked, I pull my shipping label off the top and the return label is already underneath. Then I put the vessel back on the curb the next business day, and the shipping company comes back and picks it up.

I use either the website or the phone app to select my meals. You can select dinner, lunch, breakfast, dessert and beverages. A little tracker on the site tells you how much room is in your vessel, so you can keep adding more food if you want. The price changes depending on what you select. Some meals are as cheap as $9.99 a serving; some are as much as $16.99 a serving. Some meals are for 2 people; some are for 4. You can search by the number of servings, or by an allergen (corn-free, dairy-free, etc.) or by eating style (paleo, gluten-free, weight loss, etc.). So there are really a lot of options for people.

Here are screenshots: the app is on the left, and the website is on the right.

If you’re in a hurry, they also have bundles that you can select. One bundle I saw recently includes salads, entrees, cold brew coffee, juice and fruit. I also noticed a keto bundle and a cleanse bundle. Both were around $100.

Orders $100 or more qualify for free delivery. If you order less than that, you will have to pay $6.99 for shipping.

It’s a subscription service, but it’s really easy to use the website or the app to skip a delivery.

I had one meal from Terra’s Kitchen that I didn’t think tasted very good, but every other meal has been delicious and easy to make. Every meal comes with a recipe card with a number on it. The food has been separated into little containers that have the corresponding number on top, so it’s easy to figure out which ingredient goes with which meal.

Notice the number on the top left of the recipe card? The food containers have a corresponding number, so if you order multiple meal kits, you don’t get confused.
Cheeseburger pizzas
Loaded turkey nachos
Korean bibimbap- so tasty! Next time I’ll add an egg on top.

One of my favorite things about Terra’s Kitchen (or really any meal kit delivery service) is that you can adjust how much sodium or spices you want to add to the meal. That’s another thing that I like about meal kits more so than delivery or takeout from restaurants.

That one thing…

The only thing I don’t like about Terra’s Kitchen is the number of plastic containers they send. According to their website, the FDA requires cut ingredients to be sealed in individually packaged containers. The company is actively trying to reduce the number of containers. Again, according to their site, they’ve recently started shipping lemons and limes without containers. We try to up-cycle and reuse the containers, but if we don’t, then we recycle them.

Other than that, I love Terra’s Kitchen and don’t plan to stop using the service any time soon! If you visit their website, new customers currently get $35 off their first delivery if they sign up for the Terra’s Kitchen email list.

How about you? Have you ever used a meal kit delivery service? If not, would you want to give it a try?

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Campfire pizza log


It’s almost Labor Day -a busy camping weekend- so I wanted to share one of my new favorite camping meals, a campfire pizza log!

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went camping at our favorite place to travel to and camp at, Shenandoah National Park. This time we went with a co-worker of mine and his family. We decided ahead of time to share some meals, so I started researching online different yummy meals for camping. I wanted to up my game since I was cooking for people other than my family!

One meal I came across was the campfire pizza log, but I couldn’t find a site that gave step-by-step instructions. Without instructions, we had to wing it, and we definitely have some lessons learned, which I thought I’d share.

To make the pizza logs, I used:

  • Refrigerated pizza dough (the kind you roll out from a can)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Pepperoni
  • Shredded cheese
  • Olive oil spray (okay, I didn’t actually use this, but I should have, and I will next time)
  • Nonstick foil

The logs are pretty simple to prepare. I made three large pizza logs (three cans of the refrigerated pizza dough), which is what you’ll see in my photos; HOWEVER, because the larger logs didn’t cook evenly, I recommend doing smaller pizza logs, so two logs from each can. I’ve written the directions below to reflect what I will do next time.

Directions for two small pizza logs:

    1. Cut two large pieces of nonstick foil. They should be large enough that you can completely wrap up the pizza logs. It’s better to cut them too big than too small. You can always trim off the excess with some kitchen shears or scissors!
    2. Have the nonstick side facing up off the counter (you’ll want the pizza logs on the nonstick side) and spray the nonstick with an olive oil spray or something similar. This will help keep the pizza log from sticking to the foil when you unwrap it after it’s been cooked.
    3. Before rolling out the pizza dough, cut the dough log in half. You’re going to make two smallish pizza logs from each can of dough.
    4. Place each piece of dough onto its own piece of foil.
    5. Roll out the pizza dough on the foil until each piece is in a rectangle.
    6. Spread the pizza sauce on top.
    7. Layer the pepperoni and cheese. (Obviously you can use whatever toppings you want.)
    8. Roll the pizza back up into the shape of a “log.”
    9. Fold the foil over top of the log and secure all the edges by rolling them in.

Camping Food

Camping Food
I didn’t do it, but cut this in half! Make two pizza logs from this sucker.

Camping Food

Corn and Pizza Logs
The smaller rolls to the left are pieces of corn on the cob. The three long rolls on the right are the campfire pizza logs.

That’s it! I actually froze ours in the freezer since we didn’t intend on eating them the first day of camping. Once they were frozen, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in our camping cooler with ice. I was hoping that as the ice melted, the plastic wrap would help keep any water out of the logs, and it did seem to work.

Camping Food
The two longer rolls are the pizza logs. The small and medium rolls are corn on the cob.

When it was time to cook the pizza logs, we got a nice fire going, and then we placed the pizza logs on the flat griddle above the fire. As I mentioned above, the pizza logs didn’t cook evenly. The logs were getting a nice char in the center within 20 minutes, but these larger logs that I made were so long that the edges were too far away from the fire and weren’t picking up heat. That’s why I suggest making two pizza logs from each can of refrigerated pizza dough. That will get you a more evenly cooked pizza log, and they should be done around 30 minutes.

Camping Food
You can see that the center part of the pizza log is a little more cooked and charred than the edges. That’s why I recommend making smaller logs, so the edges can also reach the fire.

The cooking time is going to vary depending on how hot your fire is and the proximity of the pizza log to the fire, so keep that in mind. You’ll want to peel back the foil about every 10 minutes to check the logs. Use tongs to help you check safely, and if you wear fabric oven mitts … keep them away from the flames!

Camping Food
So tasty inside!

The three cans of refrigerated pizza dough ended up making enough pizza logs to feed 4 adults and 3 small children with leftovers. I also served up some fire-grilled corn on the cob.

Have you ever made a pizza log? What is your favorite camping food?

 

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Fitness Friday: The Game On! Diet

Several of my co-workers invited me to participate in a weight loss challenge called the Game On! Diet. Since going back to work, I’ve struggled with eating as healthy as I’d like to and finding the time to exercise. This challenge seemed like a great way to get me back into a good diet and exercise groove! And on top of that, since I’m working in a new environment with new co-workers…it also seemed like a great way to foster teamwork and friendship.

I haven’t actually read this book, so it’s possible that I’m not understanding all the aspects of it. My co-worker has this book, and has given instructions to those of us participating. I’ve also flipped through her copy a few times.

It seems pretty simple. I eat five small meals a day, about two-four hours apart. At each  meal, I have a palm-sized portion of lean protein, a fist-sized portion of carbs (think complex and whole grain) a thumb-size portion of a healthy fat. We each have a print out of what would be considered acceptable choices for each category. At least two meals a day should have two fist-fulls of veggies. Cucumber and celery can be eaten at any time throughout the day. Artificial sweeteners and processed sugars should be avoided. I get daily points for the five meal that I eat, following the competition guidelines (you don’t get points for eating more or eating less). I get one cheat day a week and cheat meal a week. I also can eat 100 calories every day of almost whatever I want (I choose flavored coffee creamer).

But it’s not just about what I eat. I also get 20 points a day just for exercising 20 minutes (I’ve been doing yoga). At least seven hours of sleep scores me 15 points, and drinking three liters of water gets me 10 points.

But wait! I also get points for dropping an old habit and beginning a new one (a good habit). At the beginning of the competition, we each listed out bad habits that we wanted to get rid of and new habits that we want to adopt. You get 10 points a day for each bad habit that you don’t do, and 10 points a day for each good habit that you do. One of my bad habits is hitting the snooze button every morning. Although now I stopped doing that, and I just wake up and reset my alarm for 15 minutes later. That’s kind of the same thing, right? Hmmmm….clearly need to keep working on that.

For good habits, I added things like daily push-ups and squats. I also added spending more time with Little J. When I get home from work, I tend to incorporate him in what I’m doing (helping Mommy made dinner, etc.), but I’m making a point of just focusing attention on him -no distractions- every day.

At the end of the week, each person adds their points up. Points can be lost for snacking (other than celery and cucumber) and drinking alcohol, and a couple of other things as well. Each team then averages the individuals’ points, and then the teams compare their overall scores. Last week, my team lost. 🙁 But it’s okay. We have time! We’re doing this for three weeks, then one week off, and then we’ll repeat the process. At the end, the winning team gets a trophy and bragging rights.

I’m almost at the end of week two. This week was definitely harder than the first week, as far as getting things done at night in time for seven hours of sleep. I’m not quite as hangry this week, as I was last week, so that’s good. I’ve been doing great at sticking to this diet, although I’m not very happy about it. I’m currently munching from a bowl of a mixed lettuce blend…no dressing, sauce, nothing. It’s rabbit food. Sometimes I boil my veggies (usually collard greens or kale) in chicken stock with onions and garlic. That definitely gives it more flavor. I probably could put vinegar on my lettuce. I should try that.

My body fat has gone down, woot! I chose to use a tape measure instead of weighing-in on a scale. Some of my pants are still really tight (hellooo, muffin top), so I definitely need to drop more fat. Diet plays a huge role in that; I just need to keep plugging away at the lean meats and veggies.

Below you can see some examples of food that I typically eat for one of my meals:

This is a typical breakfast- low fat plain Greek yogurt with plain raw oats and a half teaspoon of raw honey. Sometimes I use pure maple syrup instead of honey. For my healthy fat, I usually eat a spoonful of peanut butter (the kind that’s just peanuts…no added sugar or junk).

Now that I’m looking at the photo above, that might actually be a whole teaspoon of honey not a half. I should probably wean myself off the sweets!

My lunch today- raw mixed greens (no dressing), quinoa cooked in homemade chicken broth, grilled chicken (just a teeny bit of olive oil on it), and water to drink. For seasonings on the chicken and quinoa I skipped the salt and used garlic powder and cumin. I also had 5 cashews.

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard for me to eat like this. I think once I can use sauces and dressings again it won’t be so bad, but right now I’m trying to avoid the fats and sugar, so it is what it is.

Sometimes I want to quit, but the competition with my co-workers keeps me motivated. It’s not even so much about my team losing as it is that I don’t want them to lose because of me. I don’t want to let them down.

Tomorrow morning I’m having a breakfast “date” with Little J, and I’m going to thoroughly enjoy my cheat meal! I may even have an iced coffee with sugar and cream. Ohhhhh boy!

How was your week? Have you ever tried a diet and/or weight loss competition with your co-workers or friends? What delicious things have you eaten lately? (I’m trying to live vicariously through you.)

 

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