Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

Nothing says the start of summer like grilling! Although summer still has not officially started yet, hubby and I have already entered grilling season. We recently moved into a new house and have not purchased an outdoor grill yet, but we do have a grilling pan that we have been using in the interim.

Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil
Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

About a year ago, I was introduced to Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and have been using it ever since! To read about some of my previous experiences with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil check out this post, which details what makes palm oil special, what makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil special as well as two of the recipes I made with palm oil:

Cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil 

Grilling at home with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

For dinner, I got out my grill pan and used Malaysian Red Palm Oil to marinate veggies and meat, as well as grease my grilling pan. On the menu were tuna steaks, oyster mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.

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I sliced the vegetables into long segments and then let them marinate in palm oil, salt and fresh herbs from my garden. I used basil, sage and parsley that I grew from seeds starting this spring. I love having fresh herbs on hand!

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After letting the veggies and tuna marinate and getting the grilling pan hot and nice and coated, I put the veggies on the grill for a few minutes on each side.

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Once all of the veggies were done, I lightly seared our tuna steaks, which were marinated with palm oil and soy sauce. I love those grill marks! Dinner was served and it was delicious!

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I am so happy that I tried grilling with palm oil! To learn more about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, visit http://palmoilhealth.org.

Upgrading Our Workspace with the AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

I received this product for free from AnthroDesk to use and post my honest opinions. 

Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I spent my days sitting in an office while staring at a computer screen. Those hours, coupled with daily work commutes have left me with constant shoulder and back pain, along with poor posture. If I ever return to a desk job, the first thing I am going to request is a convertible sit-stand desk.

Luckily, our home office is equipped with an adjustable convertible sit-stand desk. I am sure you know that many office workers have found alternating between sitting and standing to have numerous physical benefits. In our home, this is true, especially when it comes to dealing with chronic back and shoulder pain.

AnthroDesk - ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

While transitioning from sitting to standing can improve posture and reduce back pain, it can also result in unintended side effects, such as leg or foot fatigue. Adding a mat underneath your desk for standing on can help to make the transition easier.

AnthroDesk - ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat
AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

Use a Standing Mat

AnthroDesk: Standing Desk in the US recently gave me the opportunity to review its ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat for Sit Stand Desks. The ErgoSlant Mat’s ergonomic design helps to improve posture, reduce back pain and counteract the negative effects of wearing high-heeled shoes. What sets the ErgoSlant Mat apart from other mats is that it offers multiple degrees of cushioning depending on how the mat is positioned.

For me, the incline really helped me keep my back in alignment, which is something I am actively working on to improve my posture and keep my back and core healthy and strong.

The mat measures 22” x 34″, which makes it easy to store when your convertible desk is in the sitting position.

AnthroDesk - ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

If you are currently looking to add a standing mat to your office, consider the AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat. The mat is currently on sale for $69.99 on the AnthroDesk website.

I received this product for free from AnthroDesk to use and post my honest opinions. 

 

Cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

As a simple home cook, I tend to stick to what I know and hesitate to deviate from what works for my family. Since I started cooking, what I have known best in terms of cooking oils is extra virgin olive oil and use it for most of my cooking oil needs.

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I recently had the opportunity to try cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil. I did not know much about palm oil. One experience I did have with palm oil was that when I was getting my Masters in Business Administration, palm oil production was universally reviled.

When I heard about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, I was most interested in finding out what makes it sustainable. Through my research, I learned what makes palm oil special and also what makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil a good choice for palm oil.

What Makes Palm Oil Special?

  • Palm oil contains no genetically-modified organisms (GMOs)
    • As more and more consumers demand their food products to be GMO-free, many producers are using palm oil to fulfill this requirement. The majority of corn, soy and canola oils available in the United States are genetically-modified.
  • Palm oil is nutrient-rich. 
    • Palm oil is loaded with carotene and has more vitamin E than any other vegetable oil
  •  Palm oil is a natural alternative to trans-fat laden partially hydrogenated oils. 
    • Palm oil is semi-solid at room temperature, which eliminates the need for it to undergo hydrogenation.
  • Palm oil is ideal for cooking
    • I never knew that when used at high heat, some oils begin to degrade or lose its nutritional value. Palm oil, on the other hand, has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much higher than other oils. Olive oil begins to degrade at 380 degrees, canola at 400 degrees and coconut oil at 347 degrees.  Additionally, palm oil has a neutral taste.

What Makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Special?

  • Palm oil production has less of an environmental impact than other edible oils.
    • Palm oil trees produce more oil than annual crops, such as corn, soybean and canola. Palm oil trees also do not need to be cleared and replanted year after year like corn, canola and soybean crops.
  • Malaysia practices responsible growth to protect the country’s environment and wildlife. 
    • Palm oil trees are only grown on designated land, and Malaysia has pledged to keep at least half of its land under forest cover.
  • Malaysia plans to have 100 percent of its palm oil certified sustainable by the end of 2019. 

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My Experience Cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

I decided to try creating two dishes using Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil. First, I made popcorn.

The first thing I noticed was the palm oil’s interesting red hue. It looks so unusual compared to other cooking oils I have used in the past.

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To make the popcorn, I heated the palm oil in a pot with three kernels of popcorn and waited for the kernels to pop. When they did, I removed the pot from the burner and added the rest of the popcorn kernels to the pot. At this point, I partially covered the pot with a lid and shook the pot as the kernels popped. Unfortunately, as this was happening, the red oil was splattering all over my countertop and white cabinets. Not happy about this! But the popcorn turned out perfectly cooked and tasty.

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The second dish I created with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil is a staple in our weekly meals. It is a Mediterranean-inspired pasta dish.

Step 1: Boil pasta of your choice according to directions. I used some leftover linguine that we had in the pantry.

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Step 2: As the pasta is cooking, cube a single boneless, skinless chicken breast and flavor with soy sauce, oregano and basil. Add Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil to a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through.

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Step 3: Remove chicken breast from pan. Add an additional tablespoon of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and a bag of pre-washed baby spinach. Cook until the spinach leaves are wilted.

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Step 4: Add sliced kalamata olives to spinach and cook for 2 minutes.

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Step 5: Add cooked pasta and chicken breast to pan. Season with more soy sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.

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Step 6: Plate pasta in bowls and add sundried tomatoes.

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I honestly found that Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil was a great addition to this dish that I seriously cook almost every week. It came out deliciously!

After learning about the benefits of using palm oil, this creature of comfort is feeling less comfortable about going back to my old cooking oil ways!

To learn more about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, visit http://palmoilhealth.org.

Fuel For Fire Fruit + Protein Smoothies for the On-the-Go Mom

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

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When do I get to eat? Once you sign up for motherhood, you can kiss nice, leisurely meals goodbye, unless you have someone else watching the kids!

That is why I am always on the lookout for healthy, convenient meals and snacks that fit into our current lifestyle. I was recently introduced to Fuel For Fire Fruit + Protein Smoothies, which come in super convenient pouches. They are a great option for a quick snack while you are out-and-about with the kids or as a pre- or post-workout snack between meals.

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Using Fuel for Fire on a walk with the kids and pup

About Fuel For Fire

Fuel For Fire was founded in 2012 by professional chef, six-time Ironman Triathlete and fellow parent of twins Rob Gilfeather. He wanted to create a convenient snack made from real food that provided natural energy to fuel and recover from his workouts. His mission is to change the way people eat on-the-go by making smart, impactful changes to their daily nutrition that support lifelong, healthy habits.

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Facts about Fuel For Fire

  • Made with 100% real fruit puree and whey protein isolate that is 99.8% lactose free
  • No gluten, soy, nuts, GMOs, fat or added sugar
  • Each pack delivers nine essential amino acids in less than 125 calories and contains more protein than one whole egg
  • Conveniently packaged into single-serving pouches that come with a built-in straw
  • Pouches do not need refrigeration, but taste great when chilled

Fuel for Fire is available in five flavors:

Coffee
Each coffee pouch has 122 calories, 11 grams of protein and 65 mg of caffeine! Ingredients include banana and coffee extract. I found the coffee flavor to be a little bitter and don’t usually need the added caffeine due to the time of day I would be needing a snack, so this was not my favorite.

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Strawberry Banana
The strawberry banana pouch has 105 calories and 12 grams of protein. I loved this flavor.

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Banana Cocoa
The Banana Cocoa pouch has 115 calories and 10 grams of protein. Another great flavor in my book.

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Sweet Potato Apple
The Sweet Potato Apple pouch has the least number of calories at 93 calories and 10 grams of protein. Unlike the other pouches, this one included cinnamon as an added spice. I personally thought that the cinnamon flavor was overwhelming and for some reason, I thought the consistency was a little weird compared to the other flavors. This was my least favorite flavor.

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Tropical *my pick*
The Tropical pouch has 116 calories and 10 grams of protein and included three fruits –  pineapple, banana and mango. This was by far my favorite flavor. It was light, refreshing and delicious!

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While I was not a fan of each and every flavor, Fuel For Fire made a great impression on me. I used them as pre-, during, or post-workout snacks to get me through to the next mealtime, and I found them to be perfect for this purpose. I also preferred them chilled, but run temperature worked better when we were on-the-go.

Where to purchase

Fuel For Fire Fruit + Protein Smoothie pouches typically retail for $2.99 each. They are currently available for purchase at fuelforfire.com, Amazon.com and select retail stores. To find Fuel For Fire in your area, visit fuelforfire.com/apps/store-locator.

I also wanted to share a special discount with you. You can get 40% off plus free shipping on any purchase on fuelforfire.com with the discount code SAVE40. Offer expires July 31, 2018.

Vegan Burritos, you say?

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

With two little babies (are they toddlers now?) running around, it is so difficult to prepare quick meals for myself. That is why I was super excited to try Alpha Foods 100% plant-based burritos.

Although I am definitely an omnivore, I actually do enjoy plant-based meals regularly. Coupled with the fact that these are quick, easy to prepare, grab and go meals, I was curious to see if the taste was also a good match for my busy mom life.

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Alpha Burritos come in four different varieties: Philly Sandwich, Chick’n Fajita, Pizza and Mexicali. I was able to pick up all of the flavors except for Mexicali from a local Walmart. Unfortunately, when I went they were out of Mexicali, despite the fact that I looked on the store locator to make sure that all four varieties were available. They were not! Sad face.

The burritos can be prepared by microwaving or baking them in the oven. I tried both ways. I found microwaving made the tortilla soggy, so I actually popped the burrito in the toaster oven to give it a slightly crunchy exterior.

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My favorite variety was Pizza, followed by Chick’n Fajita, then Philly Sandwich. They were very flavorful with excellent spices, and I did not miss the meat or dairy. The “meat” is soy-based, so they are not appropriate for those with soy allergies.

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While taste and convenience are the most important features for me, some additional pluses about the Alpha Burritos include:

  • Free of animal products
  • No cholesterol
  • GMO free
  • No artificial preservatives, hormones or corn syrup
  • 11 grams of protein
  • between 300 and 320 calories per serving

For San Diego residents, Alpha Burritos are currently available at Ralphs and Walmart stores. To find Alpha Burritos in your area, visit alphaplantbased.com/store-locator

To learn more about Alpha Foods and Alpha Burritos, visit them online:

Gobble Meal Delivery Review – Part 2

We recently received our second meal delivery kit from Gobble.com. I actually did not remember that we had a kit scheduled to be delivered, and so did not get a chance to pick out which meals we were to be receiving. Boo hoo. That was especially unfortunate because husband wound up not being able to eat parts of the meals, and they were also meals that I probably would not have selected on my own, had I remembered. I wish Gobble could send out an email that reminds you to confirm your selections for the week before the deadline, but I can see why they don’t. This kind of email might spur people to skip their delivery for the week rather than confirming their meals.

Anywho, the meals were overall pretty good and we will definitely be ordering from Gobble again in the future.

Sicilian-style Albacore Tuna with Cauliflower Rice and Balsamic Glaze

This was surprisingly my favorite of the week. I was expecting the cauliflower rice to be bland, but it was delicious and had great texture. I was very impressed. For hubby’s portion, I excluded the garlic confit and he even commented that the meal was really good!

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Mandarin Orange Pork Chow Mein Stir Fry

This meal I had to eat on my own because of the amount of citrus that was involved. I enjoyed this meal as well, but I probably would not have selected it, if I had the option. The only probably I had while cooking this meal was that the noodle were all stuck together when I added them to the pan, so I had to break them apart by hand in order to keep the cooking going.

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Pan Roasted Chicken with Green Bean Casserole and Mashed Potatoes

This meal was my least favorite of the week. I though the green bean casserole was incredibly bland and soupy. This would not have been that bad but that was the most time-consuming part of the meal, so I had high expectations for it. The mashed potatoes were very good though, but all I had to do to prepare them was put them in a bowl and microwave them since they were already prepared. Lol!

Hubby’s portion did not have the green bean casserole since he tries to avoid dairy and cannot eat mushrooms.

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Gobble is still a great solution for mid-week meals, in my opinion, and I think they will continue to be a monthly part of my meal planning.

Freebies and Discounts for Twins and Multiples

I originally discovered that many companies offer freebies and discounts to parents after the birth of their twins or multiples through Twiniversity. I am so glad that I read about this because this is honestly something I would have never known about, and it is pretty darn easy to take advantage of.

Since the boys came unexpectedly early and were in the NICU for 4 weeks and life in general was crazy, I did not get around to working on this until 3 months after their birth.

To get started, you will need:

  • copies of their birth certificates or records of live birth from the hospital
  • a form letter (sample form letter can be found below)
  • envelopes and stamps
  • pen

This is an example of the form letter I used. To save paper, I printed two of the letters on each sheet of paper and cut them in half.

[DATE]

Dear Sir or Madam:

On [DATE OF BIRTH], my husband and I became the proud parents of twin boys. We understand that your company offers special benefits for families with multiples. We would love to take advantage of this offer and be added to any mailing list your company may keep for future coupons and informational mailings. Enclosed are copies of the proofs of birth for our children, [CHILDREN’S NAMES].

Thank you for your support of our family. If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at [PHONE NUMBER].

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

Some of the companies are extremely generous with what they sent to us, some were not and some gave no response whatsoever. Remember that these companies are being generous when they give you anything, so I was grateful for whatever we received.

I put an asterisk (*) next to the brands that I thought gave the best freebies or discounts, in case you are like me and are lacking in the time department. Remember, these programs and freebies can change at any time.

Aquaphor
Used contact form on their website. Received coupons for $1.50 and $2 off Aquaphor Baby products

Beechnut
Emailed through contact form on their website. Received coupons

Earth’s Best 
Consumer Relations
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
4600 Sleepytime Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Received coupons for discounted formula, baby food and diapers

Gerber
Attn: Multiple Birth Program
445 State Street
Fremont, MI 49413

Received coupons, including two coupons for $10 off of $20 of Gerber baby food products.

Happy Family Foods *
Emailed [email protected] Received great coupons including free baby food, oatmeal and pouches.

Huggies *
Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Department QMB-017063476A
P. O. Box 2020
Neenah, WI 54957-2020

Received coupons including free diapers

Luvs OR Pampers
Luvs [OR Pampers] Multiple Birth Offer
The Procter & Gamble Company
P.O. Box 599
Cincinnati, OH 45201

Received coupons for $3 off specific Procter & Gamble brand products

Ocean Spray Cranberries *
Consumer Affairs Dept.
1 Ocean Spray Drive
Lakeville-Middleborough, MA, 02349

Received coupons for free juice (64 oz or less) and Craisins (6 oz or less) and booklet of recipes

Similac *
If you are planning to formula feed or even if you want to have a stash of formula just in case, talk to your twins’ pediatrician about the Similac Multiple Birth Program. You will need to fill out a form from your pediatrician and mail it in with copies of birth certificates.

Received two cases of six 1 quart ready-to-feed bottles of Similar Pro-Advance formula

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TOMY *
Attn: Multiple Birth Program
2021 9th Street SE
Dryersville, IA 52040

Received two packs of 6 Take & Toss sippy cups and 2 Freddie the Firefly rattle toys

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Triple Paste for Triplets *
Summers Laboratories
103 G P Clement Drive
Collegeville, PA 19426

This program is technically for triplets and higher order multiples, but they honor requests from twin parents as well. To sign up, visit their Triple Paste for Triplets page here. Then fill out the form, and mail the completed form along with copies of the birth certificates. This program is so generous!

Received 8 oz jar of Triple Paste, 2 oz tube of Triple Paste, 8 oz bottle of Triple Wash, 3 bars of Comfort Bear Gentle Baby Soap and 3 cotton onesies. You also get 30% off Triple Paste products until their third birthday when you order directly from Triple Paste.

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No Response

Boogie Wipes – used contact form on their website

Evenflo
1801 Commerce Dr.
Piqua, OH 45356

Handi-Craft Company (Dr. Brown’s)
4433 Fyler Avenue
St. Louis MO, 63116

This was my experience in May 2017. Addresses and programs may change at any time.

Gobble Meal Delivery Review

After our move to San Diego last month, I have found myself back in the role of primary meal planner, shopper, cooker and cleaner upper. From time to time, I love ordering a meal delivery kit so that at least part of our week of meals is taken care of.

Last week, I tried out Gobble.com‘s meal delivery kit for the first time. In the past, I have tried HelloFresh, Blue Apron and HomeChef. I found Blue Apron and HomeChef to be too complicated with too many steps. I even wound up at the ER after cooking a HomeChef meal because it was too complicated and my head had mom brain fog. Oops. Is that my hand that is burned??

Gobble.com meal delivery review

Well, Gobble.com claims to provide meal recipes that only take 15 minutes to prepare. I was intrigued by that alone. If that wasn’t enough to sell me, the recipes looked tasty and they were running a promotion for 50% off your first meal kit. Sold!

My box arrived in the late morning, so I had plenty of time to use one of the meals that evening. Like most meal delivery services, the food arrives in a large box with all of the meals and ingredients separated out. The box also contains reusable ice to keep the food cold during transport. Now, this is one of the things that kills me about meal delivery kits. They are so convenient but have so much waste! While you aren’t creating food waste, the boxes, ice and plastic bags produce a ton of waste and is the main reason why I don’t do meal delivery kits more often. This is true of all meal delivery kits and not specific to Gobble.com.

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Trash after I unpacked the box
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Recipes cards and ingredients for our meals

Here is a run down of the meals we picked and how they went:

Meal #1: Thai Pork Stir-Fry with Haricot Verts and Petite Sweet Peppers

The hubster has a very restrictive diet, so I always have to pick meals that either he can eat or that are easily modified. For this meal, I cooked the sweet peppers and serrano chili separately and left them out of his portion.

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One of the things that stood out to me about Gobble’s recipes is that they are basically one pan recipes. It probably took me around 20 minutes to prepare and plate the meal, but the added 5 minutes could have been due to the fact that I had to cook certain items separately due to hubster’s diet.

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The meal was easy to make. Clean up was not too painful and most importantly, it was delicious. I also didn’t go to the ER.

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I did find the portion to be smaller than other meal kits we have tried. On occasion, we have even had leftovers, not with Gobble though.

Meal #2: Miso Soy Buddha Bowl with Quinoa and Avocado

This dish sounded so delicious that I didn’t even notice that it was vegetarian until I started to get it ready. For this meal, I excluded the red onions and avocado from hubby’s meal and the cilantro from mine.

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Gobble was two for two! I still cannot decide whether this meal or the first was my favorite. Again, I felt like the preparation took about 5 minutes longer than advertised, but it was still super easy and a one pan situation.

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Meal #3: Pan-Roasted Culotte Steak with Colorful Veggie Hash and Lemon Tahini Dressing

This was my least favorite meal, both preparation wise and taste wise. On a positive note, though, the only modification I had to make was excluding the dressing from hubby’s plate.

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When I cooked the steak according to the directions, it was definitely not done when I cut into it and this was after it had been resting for a significant amount of time. I wound up having to put the steak back in the oven for longer, which extended the cooking time way past 15 minutes. In addition, I thought the veggie hash was pretty bland, and the meal overall was not amazing.

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Bonus: Chocolate chip cookies

Since it was my first order with Gobble, they added in two chocolate chip cookies into our box! Yum! I just had to pop them in the oven for 15 minutes, and since hubby can’t eat chocolate, they were both mine. Nomnomnomnomnom!

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All in all, I was very happy with our first experience with Gobble and I will definitely be using them again. I foresee it being a delivery once per month and switching between Gobble and HelloFresh.

If you are interested in trying Gobble, they usually are running some kind of promotion for first timers. Otherwise, the meals cost $11.95 per meal if you order 6 or more meals and $13.95 per meal if you only order 4 meals, inclusive of shipping.

You can also use the following link to try out a FREE dinner kit for two: https://www.gobble.com/invites/G0BCvhves