lifestyle, Mom Stuff, Personal, Recipes

The Meal Service You Need in 2021

Photo from Hungryroot.com

I have gotten so many questions on my Hungryroot subscription so here is my full review now that I’ve been using it for a few months!

I have been searching for a while for a meal service that had a good selection of healthy gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian recipes. A lot of the popular meal service companies have vegetarian plans, or gluten-free plans, but rarely a good selection of recipes that are both. Hungryroot was the first one I’ve found that has a large amount of gluten-free and vegetarian recipes. On that note, you can customize the recipes you can choose from based on your own dietary needs. They provide the 10 minute recipes and the raw ingredients – so the meals are not prepped/pre-packaged. Hungryroot is essentially a half-meal plan, half-grocery service.

The plans start at $59 a week. I started at about $100 a week, then went down to $80 a week, and now I’m at $59 a week for now. I will probably go back and forth between about $60-$80 a week from now on. You can skip or reschedule deliveries whenever you want. The pricing depends on the amount of “servings” and meals you choose. However, once you select your plan (say you choose 2 servings each, 2 lunches and 3 dinners), your plan converts to Hungryroot “credits.” This is key! Here’s why:

You can edit your delivery based on recipes or groceries. The way I get more meals for my money now is I sort the recipes (I shop by recipe) from lowest credits to highest credits. So, instead of getting 3 meals that are 12 credits each, I can get 7 credit meals and get more meals for the same plan. You can also fully shop groceries only with those credits. I aim for 4-5 recipes, 2 servings each, and I normally have 1-2 credits left to add grocery items, like dressing, a pack of ramen or a snack. Here’s a snippet of how I browse through recipes by credits. The 28 credits is for my current $60/week plan.

The recipes are divided into categories of stir-fries, pastas, flatbreads, market plates, grain bowls, warm bowls, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, wraps, salads and bakes. The ingredients include fresh produce, some popular health brands, and Hungryroot’s own branded items. Some of my favorite popular brands they carry regularly are Beyond Meat, Banza pasta, Lotus Foods Ramen and Nutpods. A few of my favorite Hungryroot brand items include their Four Cheese Gluten-Free Tortelloni, Superfood Tomato Sauce, Cashew Cheddar Sauce, Spicy Refried Red Beans and their Hearty Tofu Veggie Burger. With my pre-set dietary preferences, I do not view the meat and gluten options when I select my recipes, but you can browse their current options on their website without setting up an account.

My typical weekly delivery will include a salad, tacos, grain bowl and a pasta, with maybe a couple snacks or extra packs of ramen.

You have a certain day each week you have to edit your delivery by. If you forget, they will choose the recipes for you based on your dietary preferences. This comes in handy for me so much because I often forget to choose my recipes by the deadline!

What I love:

  • The convenience of not having to shop, especially with a baby and during Covid.
  • It is so worth the money to me to not have to plan out each meal, easily select a few recipes each week, and have them show up at my doorstep.
  • I can’t accidentally overspend at the store. If you set me loose in Hyvee to get stuff to make a homemade pizza, or do pasta night, I can easily drop $60 for that one meal. This prevents me throwing random unnecessary stuff in my cart that will go to waste (and I’m really trying to limit our food waste!).
  • The pricing is constantly adjustable and you can skip a week when you don’t need it.
  • All my meals are balanced and have a healthy portion of protein, whether broccoli, protein pasta, beans, tofu etc., which is so important as a vegetarian.
  • The products, especially Hungryroot’s own brand, are so tasty, healthy and have good ingredients. A lot of the products they carry are also organic.
  • Their packaging is insanely eco-friendly down to the ice pack which doubles as plant food??
  • The recipes only take about 10 minutes which is ideal for this working mama with long work days and a long commute. Matt also doesn’t mind prepping dinner for me some days because it’s so easy to do!
  • Hungryroot is sustainability focused!

What I don’t love:

  • The delivery service they use is kind of sketchy. We have had some strange characters deliver and they always fly up the street in creepy unmarked vans LOL
  • I’ve had a few deliveries with missing items that showed they were checked off on the inventory sheet in the box but weren’t in there
  • I would like if the website adjusted more to what I usually order. For instance, I typically order tacos, pasta, salad and grain bowls. I never get any of the thai food with peanut sauce or stir-fries. Just not my style. When I miss the edit deadline though, I always end up with stir-fries and peanut thai food that I literally never pick (still within my restrictions of gluten-free/vegetarian). So, it would be nice if it sort of tracked my preferences better.
  • There were a couple weeks where their recipe selection was unusually limited. I don’t know if it was Covid-related or not but I haven’t noticed that issue again in a couple months.

Overall, my verdict is – I will be sticking with Hungryroot for the foreseeable future! I am addicted to the convenience of not only the cost-friendly delivery to your doorstep, but also the convenience of having pre-planned, simple and balanced 10 minute recipes within my dietary restrictions. For a busy mom, I have yet to find something that fits my needs so well.

If you want to give Hungryroot a try, you can use my referral code S7CAXUEN for $40 off your first delivery!

Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions I can answer!

lifestyle, Recipes

Gluten-free Apple Pie Bars

Apple-picking season is upon us. If you’re like me, you LOVE going to the apple orchard (shoutout to Jonamac in Malta, IL) and picking a bag full of apples! But then you get home, and you’re like – what am I going to do with all these apples?

Here’s your solution: gluten-free apple pie bars. I’m not a huge baker, but these are so easy and simple to make!

Ingredients for the gluten-free crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used half rice flour and half almond flour)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cubed, cold)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • A couple pinches of salt

Ingredients for the filling

  • 3-4 medium Apples (use different colors!)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • Squeeze half a lemon to finish it off

Putting it all together:

  • Oven at 350 degrees. Prep baking dish with unbleached parchment paper.
  • Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, butter and vanilla into food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, I used my ninja bullet and manually pulsed it. It worked perfectly!)
  • Press dough into bottom of baking dish. Save some for some crumbles or cut-out shapes/designs on top.
  • Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
  • Slice apples and combine filing ingredients in a bowl. When the crust has cooked for 15 minutes, pour filling onto crust.
  • Crumble dough or add crust designs to top of apples.
  • Bake for another 35-40 minutes.
lifestyle, Recipes

Vegan Gluten-Free French Toast

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Hey hi hello, Tiana the brunch lover here. You know what’s so frustrating? Going to gluten-free friendly brunch spots but they don’t EVER have gluten-free french toast, and it’s definitely not vegan.

I’ve been experimenting with flaxseed meal as an egg replacement for a while now, using it for everything from cupcakes to pizza crust. I was craving french toast the other day and decided to try using flax meal as an egg replacement for french toast. GUESS WHAT! It actually worked, and it was delicious.

Here’s how I did it! You will need:

  • 1-2 packages Schar Deli Style Bread
  • Flax Meal (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Almondmilk
  • Vanilla flavoring/extract
  • Vegan Butter

The key with using flaxseed meal as an egg replacement is always using one part flax meal to three parts water. To make one “egg,” you would typically do one tablespoon flax meal and three tablespoons warm water. You then let it sit for about five minutes, mixing in between, until it forms an egg-white texture. For this recipe, using only one package Schar bread, I did 1/4 cup of flaxseed meal and 3/4 cup warm water. After it began forming an eggy texture, I mixed in about half a cup of cold almondmilk.

Whisking the mixture, I then added a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring to cover up the flax taste (vanilla almondmilk will help with this too!).

From there, you simply dunk the bread in the mixture, being careful to not let it sit because the gluten-free bread will crumble easily, and slap it on a hot, buttered frying pan.

You will use A LOT of butter, as the flaxmeal coating on the bread is very sticky. It might be better on a non-stick pan, but we use stainless steel over here.

Add butter to the pan as needed, and cook to desired browning level. Remember – you don’t have to worry about cooking the egg-soaked bread to the right temperature because it’s eggless!

We topped ours with blueberry preserves and powdered sugar! The blueberry spread compliments the buttery taste of the toast so well! If you’re a plain butter and syrup kinda person, try Walden Farms calorie-free pancake syrup.

Let me know how it works for you! ALSO – comment below with your favorite french toast topping!

 

Recipes

GF Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Salad

I am a huge fan of buffalo anything. One of my favorite things to make for football Sundays or any kind of event that warrants finger food snacking is buffalo cauliflower “wings.” Also – I eat chickpeas ALL THE TIME. You’ve probably seen my chickpea salad on my blog or instagram feed before. Consider this a major flavor upgrade from that!

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What you need:

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Spring mix/greens of your choice
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Red onion
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • Daiya Vegan Homestyle Ranch
  • Sea salt or pink himalayan salt
  • Black pepper

Step one: Spray frying pan with a good amount of coconut oil spray, or begin liquifying about 1 tbsp coconut oil in pan. Add drained can of chickpeas, 2 pinches of salt, and a dash of black pepper.

Step two: while the chickpeas are cooking and crisping, prep the cold salad base. Use spring mix, halved cherry tomatoes, slices of avocado and cucumber, and a few slices of red onion.

Step three: Once the chickpeas have gotten a little crispy, with partial blackening, add the buffalo wing sauce. You want enough to coat all the chickpeas. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens and the chickpeas have a good coating of buffalo sauce.

Final step: top the cold salad with the hot buffalo chickpeas, and top it off with vegan ranch.

Enjoy!

Recipes

Gluten-free Vegan Balsamic Bruschetta

This recipe was surprisingly a hit this Christmas – it’s difficult to make gluten-free recipes that non-GF people will enjoy. The key to this recipe is toasting the gluten-free bread, which changes the texture just enough to make it taste just like a regular gluten-y crostini!

You will need:

  • Schar Gluten-Free Baguettes or Schar Ciabatta Rolls (Vegan!)
  • Fresh Roma (approx. 4-5) or Cherry Tomatoes (2-3 containers)
  • One medium red onion
  • 1 bulb fresh garlic
  • One package fresh basil leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Gluten-free Balsamic Vinegar
  • Spices (Black pepper, garlic powder, pink himalayan or sea salt, parsley)

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  • Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F
  • Slice the Schar bread into crostini slices
  • Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil

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  • Chop the tomatoes, red onion & fresh basil
  • Mince the entire bulb of fresh garlic
  • Mix in bowl with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spices
  • Allow to bruschetta mix to settle while you toast the crostinis in the oven to your preference. I cook mine for a few minutes just to slightly toast them.
  • Scoop the bruschetta mix on the toasted crostini & drizzle with GF balsamic vinegar
  • Enjoy!

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