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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Unsponsored Amazon Fresh Review

Balancing my life is always a work in progress. I try to cook somewhat-healthy meals for my family, but I’m constantly tempted to grab take out. Life is busy, right? I like to order groceries from Amazon Fresh and have them delivered to our door. It’s been a huge help and made my life less stressful.

J and I have been Amazon Prime members for probably around a decade now. We use Amazon often: cat food, bird food, toilet paper, clothes, etc. And now I’ve been using Amazon’s grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, for a few months.

Ordering is simple!

I pay to use Amazon Fresh because the convenience is worth it to me. For example, I went to visit my parents in Florida this summer, and I was able to order groceries while I was there and have them delivered right after I got home.

Keep in mind that our flight wasn’t going to land until close to midnight Saturday night, and on Sunday, I would have to take my MIL back to her house in Virginia. There’s more to it than that, but anyway, the point is I started to stress out at how much had to get done as soon as I got home and how little time I had to do it.

Then I remembered I could just have groceries delivered, which would save me 1-2 hours on a Sunday afternoon. Huge stress relief! And that’s what I did.

I’ve ordered through the Amazon website, and I’ve also ordered using the Amazon app on my iPhone, so it’s something I truly can do on the go.

I’m signed up to receive status updates and notifications about my orders. This one was for a late-night delivery.

When I go to order, the first thing I do is reserve a delivery time. You can choose either attended or doorstop delivery. Basically, do you want the delivery driver to ring your door bell and wait for you, or just leave your stuff there? I go with the latter, and I’m signed up for text alerts, so I know when my groceries have been dropped off outside my door.

Once you choose a delivery window, that time slot is held for you for 1 hour, so you have 1 hour to fill your “cart” and check out. You can go into the account after the fact and add more things to your order if they haven’t started filling it yet. Amazon will list a time on their site that you have to finish managing/changing your order by. Since I’m signed up for notifications, Amazon will also send me a message letting me know by what time I need to finish making updates to my order.

We signed up for the Amazon Fresh subscription service, so we pay a monthly fee of $14.99. Additionally, we have to buy at least $50 of groceries, or we’ll be charged a delivery fee of $9.99. That’s never been an issue because I always order more than $50 of groceries! There’s an automatic tip of $5 applied to the order, but you can change it up to 24 hours after the delivery. It used to take me 2 hours at the grocery store to shop and checkout every weekend, and that didn’t include driving. For example, if I want to go to Whole Foods, it takes 20-45 mins just to get there depending on traffic. Twenty mins would be first thing Saturday morning.

So not counting the tip, I pay $14.99 a month to not spend 8+ hours driving to and from and in the grocery store. That’s like 3 of my macchiatos from Starbucks. I love coffee, but I’d rather have the grocery delivery! Oh, and Amazon Fresh delivers Whole Foods brand stuff too, so it’s a win-win for me.

The delivery service isn’t perfect. Sometimes something gets broken. I had a yogurt container break once, not enough to make a mess in the delivery bag, but obviously I wasn’t going to eat it after that. I immediately went online to my Amazon account and filed for a refund since the product was damaged. It was an easy process.

Cracked yogurt container

The worst thing that has happened so far is that one time the delivery driver forgot to deliver one of my bags. I received my freezer items packed in dry ice and my bag of dry goods, but the bag of fridge items wasn’t on my doorstep.

I immediately contacted Amazon. The rep refunded that bag, and she said she would contact the driver to see the driver could still bring the groceries.

Well, the bag did show up on my doorstep, but it was about 5 hours later. Amazon packs the fridge bags with frozen water bottles instead of ice packs, and the water in the bottles in my fridge bag were starting to melt by that point. I tossed most of the food because I wasn’t sure it was safe. I kept the eggs and some of the salad stuff.

The food arrives in paper bags that have been taped closed.
Freezer items arrive inside an insulated sleeve with dry ice on top.
Fridge items arrive in a big plastic bag with frozen water bottles instead of ice packs. We dig free bottled water. 🙂

That was a very disappointing experience. Even though my money was refunded, I still had to go out to the grocery store. That’s what I was trying to avoid in the first place.

A forgotten bag has only happened once. As long as that unfortunate experience stays a rarity, I’m going to continue to use Amazon Fresh. The convenience is perfect for our current lifestyle, and the monthly fee is worth it for us.

Right now, if Amazon Fresh is offered in your area, and you are an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

(Affiliate link below: If you purchase anything through my link, I will earn a small fee that I will most likely spend on toys for my budgie, Deathrooper.)

Have you ever used Amazon Fresh? If so, what did you think?

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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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