Confession: I hate cooking.
Well, I used to love it. Then something happened.
Somewhere between my perfectionism streak and trying to adhere to every strict diet in the book (sometimes even at the same time *face palm*) — I learned to despise cooking. Preparing food became a blah chore.
This post is sponsored by HelloFresh. All opinions are my own.
It didn’t help that the family often didn’t like my extreme recipes. (Note to self: food without any fat tastes pretty awful. Also, cauliflower is definitely not rice.).
I didn’t blame them — sometimes I didn’t even like my own cooking. But somehow I always got stuck with all the leftovers.
When I gave up hunting for the “perfect” diet (there isn’t one), I also stopped trying to be superwoman in the kitchen.
But, sadly, the love of cooking seemed permanently damaged.
The Emotional Labor of Cooking
“Emotional labor” is the prepping, the planning, the list making, the noticing when things need to be done.
Or, basically, everything that cooking is.
I realized I didn’t exactly hate cooking. It was more that I’ve been overwhelmed with planning the meals, finding new recipes, making a list of all the ingredients I need, finding all of those ingredients at the store.
And it was making sure all the ingredients had their place in the pantry and the fridge (and don’t get accidentally eaten before they’re actually used in the recipe — it’s hard to have potatoes gratin on Thursday when someone ate half the potatoes on Monday…)
And then, timing it all magically in the kitchen so that everything was done at the same(ish) time. You know, so the potatoes aren’t cold by the time you’ve sauteed the veggies. And, whoops, burned the chicken.
Honestly, this is making me stressed just thinking about it.
By the time all this is being done, the thought of trying new foods just sounds more exhausting. It’s easy to get in a recipe rut and just use the old standby meals.
We’ve eaten a lot of chili in the past few years. A lot.
I wasn’t happy in the kitchen. I was surviving. And barely.
When Cooking Became Joyful Again
Last month, HelloFresh asked if they could send me a few meals so I could try them out.
Honestly, I hesitated.
I hate cooking. That was my only thought.
I was tired of hating it. I wanted to cook delicious meals for the family. And, frankly, for myself. (One can only eat so much chili, after all.)
So, I decided to go for it.
My box arrived on a Monday.
I opened the box with… glee? I don’t normally associate this emotion with cooking. Interesting.
I figured it would pass.
I was a little shocked to see everything already organized for me. Huh, not what I was expecting.
There were three adorable recipe cards for me to follow.
I chose the Creamy Dill Chicken. (Mostly because I was craving potatoes.) I flipped over the recipe card and was pleasantly surprised.
Six steps? This looked too easy.
This might actually be fun…
What I Loved the Most About HelloFresh
The organization. I need this in my life. I loved how each meal’s ingredients were already neatly organized into that meal’s bag. The only thing kept separate was meat ingredients, which were kept in a cold pack (which arrived super cold, in case you’re curious). Easy enough.
The freshness. The herbs and veggies tasted so much fresher than anything I can get at my local market. I was impressed.
The recipe cards. These cards make it unbelievably easy to prepare each recipe. The whole meal is broken down into a handful of simple steps so I never felt overwhelmed. And if you follow the instructions, the timing works out perfectly and everything is done at the right time.
The new ingredients. I had never cooked Thai food or tried fresh dill or bok choy before HelloFresh. Just having the ingredients and instructions right in front of me made it less scary to dive into trying new foods and recipes.
The veggies. Let me be super honest here: we really aren’t good at eating our veggies in this house. But with HelloFresh we all ate way more vegetables that week than we ever would normally. And I know that’s a good thing!
The flavor. I was also worried we just wouldn’t like the food. All four of us can be picky in our own ways. But everyone (even the pickiest! I’m not naming names) had good things to say about every meal I cooked. I guess, perhaps, we’re all a little more tired of chili than I realized.
The leftovers. HelloFresh was totally not stingy with its portions. We had delicious leftovers for lunch every day this week! So three full dinners turned into three dinners plus several lunches as well.
Is HelloFresh for you?
That’s a good question.
HelloFresh might be for you if you’re a lot like me and…
- You’re overwhelmed by the typical planning and creativity that goes into cooking.
- You either opt for take out, frozen pizza, or the same-old-same-old recipes because you don’t have the brain space to create a new meal plan.
- You want quality, fresh ingredients but you’re so over being an ingredient perfectionist.
- You’d like to get back to cooking healthy meals, but you’re a little intimidated and want someone to take care of the messy details so you can just have fun cooking.
This might not be for you if…
- You have a lot of food allergies. HelloFresh is pretty straight up about their allergens and ingredients, but if you need to avoid a lot of foods, this is probably not for you.
- You are militant about your ingredients. I’m looking for basic, healthy, fresh ingredients for my family — and HelloFresh more than has me covered there. But whether or not it works for you depends on how strict you are.
- You’re on an extremely tight budget. I found HelloFresh to be very reasonably priced considering the quality of the ingredients involved, and the fact that they do all the planning, shopping, and shipping for me. But I know what it’s like to be on a shoestring budget, and in those days this might not have worked as well for me.
Get $30 Off Your First Box
Ready to make cooking fun again?
I loved my HelloFresh box and I can’t wait for my next one. It’s worth every penny, but $30 makes this such a sweet deal!
Grab your discount while you can. I know you’ll love it as much as I do. 🙂
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Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.