My experience with HelloFresh

Disclaimer, I should start off by telling you I am a terrible cook. I burn rice, I overcook fish, don’t even ask me what sauté is. My go to meal is mac and cheese.  I am hopeless in the kitchen, or at least that is what I thought.

This year, I decided that even though I am no Gordon Ramsey I wanted to start to develop some basic cooking skills. With an upcoming wedding I wanted to start eating healthier, with a new house I wanted to save money by cooking at home, and with a fiancé that is a whiz in the kitchen I wanted to contribute more. It was time.

However I was off to a bad start when I realized how overwhelming the dark web can be. Millions of “simple” recipes that require dozens of ingredients and endless marinating hours. Just when I had accepted that Uber Eats would continue bankrupting me monthly I was told by a friend to check out HelloFresh.

Discovering HelloFresh

HelloFresh delivers “cook from scratch” fresh meal plans straight to your door. What I liked about the idea of their meals, is that they also provide you with easy-to-follow recipe cards. The cards have step by step instructions and all the delicious ingredients pre-portioned ready to go. I also loved that the meals were quick to make (the ones I chose took about 30 minutes), and you know everything that is going into your meal so you know that it is not just delicious but also healthy.

So many options to fit your needs 

After doing some more research I found out that there are so many different options with HelloFresh, so it is easy to find something that fits your food preferences and budget.  You can order the Pronto Plan, which provides you with 3-4 quick, easy, and delicious recipes for 2-4 people. For the vegetarians there is the Veggie Plan, which offers three amazing vegetarian recipes. The third option is one for the kids too, the Family Plan makes sure the little ones will enjoy their meals and maybe even want to help out in the kitchen. It offers 3-4 recipes for four people. 

I decided to give the Pronto Plan a try since I was planning to cook for just two people. Even though I don’t eat red meat, there was such a variety of options to chose from. Some of the options were a little outside of the box like the Roasted Veggie Tagine. Others, more simple like the Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan.  I ended up choosing these two along with the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice.

A few days later there it was right on my doorstep, a HelloFresh box. Inside the box I found icepacks that were there to keep the food fresh as well as all three of my meals. Just as advertised it came with simple instructions and perfect food portions ready for cooking. 

The Experience 

Meal #1 Roasted Veggie Tagine 

The first meal that I decided to make was the Roasted Veggie Tagine with Nutty Couscous Pilaf. While the cooking level for this one is only a 1 it was such a unique dish with such amazing flavours. I can’t say that slow cooked stews are my go to in the kitchen so I loved that I had a chance to try something new. The combination of the sweet potatoes, homemade fig jam, and the nuts was so different but they all fit together so perfectly. The best part of it all was that the portions were so big I had left overs for days.

Meal #2 Chili Chicken 

Next up was the Chili Chicken with Green Bell Pepper and Basmati Cumin Rice. I knew I would love this dish because it was described as ‘a spicy food lovers dream’ and I sure love spice. This dish consisted of the perfect combination of fresh peppers, chicken, ginger, and garlic to add a little extra flavour. The homemade sauce was mouth watering and the best part when you break it down the actual cooking time was only about 10 minutes.

Meal #3 Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan

Last up was the Classic Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti and Parmesan. I loved the twist on this traditional meal. As I had mentioned one of my main goals was to start eating healthier and so by switching up the ground beef meatballs for turkey ones I could enjoy the pasta guilt free. The homemade tomato sauce was simple yet delicious.

I absolutely loved cooking with HelloFresh. Not only did it help keep my busy life a little less busy by delivering the food right to my door and providing me with easy and fast recipes, but the food was also delicious. I never thought I would be able to make a tasty Tagine dish, but thanks to the easy to follow directions of HelloFresh and their ever changing unique menu options I now feel like a bit of a whiz in the kitchen.

For more information and to check out some of the delicious recipes make sure to visit their website at HelloFresh.ca

Happy cooking my friends,

xo

Mia

Why KeteKoha is the must have subscription box

Travelling has been a part of my life ever since I was a baby. My family is from South Africa, and I took my first flight before my first birthday. Since then, I have travelled around the world as a professional tennis player and now as a travel blogger. What inspires me about travel is learning more about the different lifestyles and culture from around the world. Wherever I travel to, I love to bring a piece of that country home with me. Unfortunately though, I don’t get to travel to every city and country, so I was pretty excited when I got a piece of the South Pacific dropped off right to my door with the help of KeteKoha.

What is KeteKoha?

What is KeteKoha you ask? It is a premium luxury subscription box with brands from a group of destination islands in the South Pacific. Inside the box I found homemade goodies and classic treats from places like New Zealand to Fiji.

Inside the box I found a variety of delicious and unique artisan products that I could never find on the shelves here in Canada. They are from small producers made with local products and really offer that pacific flavour and tradition. I  wanted to share some of my favourite products with you.

My Favourite Products

Viberi Ruby

straight from New Zealand these organic crispy blackcurrant berries are topped with white chocolate and are actually addicting. A guilt free and unique treat that offers the perfect combination of sweet and sour. The product actually comes from the soils of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, which gives the blackcurrant rich nutrients and taste. I pretty much ate them all in one sitting

Solomons Gold Smooth Dark Chocolate

I am a chocoholic and so I was very excited to find this dairy gluten and nut free treat. Basically the perfect chocolate since everyone can enjoy it. Solomons Gold is made with organic cacao beans directly grown on the Solomon Islands. You can truly taste how pure and smooth this chocolate is.

Hand Crafted Aroha Sauvignon Blanc

This none alcohol drink is so tasty and made with natural ingredients. The drink is made with famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc grapes and blended with saffron you will be sipping it until there isn’t a drop left.

Strawberry and Beetroot Chutney

Made in New Zealand this is a truly traditional and delicious treat from Artisan Vinegar. The sweet and savoury taste makes for the perfect breakfast or snack. Learning more about this product I realize how passionate this team is about their product. They keep their fruits in different areas of the house and produce it in everything from steel to glass to give it the unique taste.

I could go on and on and share about every product in this box because they are all so amazing, but I wouldn’t want to give all the amazing surprises inside away. I love that all of these products are from small artisan brands that make their product with such precision, tradition, expertise, and love that you can taste it in their food. From sweet to savoury the box offers something to please every single taste bud.

Environmentally Friendly 

Aside from the delicious treats, even the packaging is made right in New Zealand and they really care not just about their products, but about helping the environment which I really loved. They use a small ingredients list and minimal plastic to keep the products green.

 

Win one of your own! 

I honestly couldn’t be happier with my KeteKoha box and cannot wait to find out what goodies will be arriving at my door next month. I want you to be able to try and enjoy this amazing new subscription box as much as I do. By using the code “MIAWGORDON” at check out, you can receive $10 off your first purchase. On top of that, if you head over to the KeteKoha social media page right now, they are offering a giveaway to one lucky winner.

Now excuse me while I go and devour all the other products inside this box and pretend that I am on a magical beach in the South Pacific.

My top spots in Vancouver, so far

 

Like most Vancouverites that I have met during my 9 month stint here so far, I am not a true local. No I am an Ontario implant. We seem to be famous out here on the West Coast for trading in our cold winters and snow boots for mountains, ocean, and well rain boots.

Since moving here, I have been on the road a lot, but the time that I am here I have been spending it exploring the beautiful landscapes, hikes, activities, and nightlife in my  new home. 

Since I know a lot of us are all in the same boat, I wanted to share some of my favourite moments and places here in Vancouver so far.

1) Hiking 

and the mountain from my balcony. There is something so special about going out and taking in the fresh air. Beautiful views combined with a bit of a workout, what could be better? There are so many incredible hikes that offer something for everyone. I wanted to share a few of my favourite with you so far

  • Joffre Lakes: This hike is a bit outside of Vancouver, located in Pemberton but definitely worth the drive. I have never seen such incredible colours. The three lakes all a different shade of deep blue and turquoise, the trees painted red and orange, and waterfalls around every turn. It was the most magical place I have seen to date. But be warned, this hike is pretty difficult, and will take you about four hours.
  • Quarry Rock: For a much easier hike and one closer to the city head up to Quarry Rock and take in the views from the Deep Cove Lookout. From the dense forest to the beautiful water views, this hike is definitely a must.
  • Dog Mountain: Just 25 minutes from downtown and only about an hour hike, but definitely some of the most spectacular views. You can really  see the whole city, and it sure makes you feel like you are on top of the world. Plus there are plenty of small lakes and streams along the way to stop at. Find the trail head for this hike just past the Bear’s Paw lodge
  • The Grouse Grind: Ok, yes probably one of the busier, crowded hikes in Vancouver, but I feel this is a must for anyone to really call themselves a true local. Commonly referred to as Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, this one is definitely a grind. 2.9KM to the top and will see plenty of incredible trees, trails, and viewpoints. From the top you will see some of the best views of Vancouver.

2) Relax on the Beach 

It is crazy to think we live in a place where others vacation. Just five minutes from my house is the beach perfect for an after work stroll or a weekend of reading. There are some amazing beaches in Vancouver and here are some of the must visits.

  • Kits Beach: This is the place to be in Vancouver. It is definitely one of the busier beaches, but it is a great spot to interact and get some games going. Grab a group for spike ball or beach volleyball. Go for a dip to cool off. It is also a great spot to grab some nearby food and hang out with friends for a picnic. I also love eating at the Boathouse, it has great views of the beach and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
  • Spanish Banks: Just a little ways down from Kits Beach is Spanish Banks. It is a quieter spot if you are looking for a more tranquil beach experience or just to escape the busy city feel
  • Third Beach: Located in Stanley Park (what better backdrop for a beach) Third Beach is a great place to go swimming in the park. There is plenty of soft sand to set up shop and the shallow warm water makes for a great place to go for a dip.
  • English Bay: Right down the road from my house, this is my favourite beach because of the proximity. It is so easy to go explore after work. Again, there are lots of places to grab some food and head out for an evening picnic. A great spot to relax and unwind.

3) Sip some craft brews 

One thing I learnt when I moved to Vancouver, was that it has an incredible crafter beer scene. There are so many unique and quirky microbreweries to explore. I highly recommend taking a stroll on a Saturday afternoon in East Van and checking out some of the breweries in the area.

  • Brassneck Brewery: This was the first brewery that I visited and it did not disappoint. With over 50 unique beers to choose from and a very at home feel it is a great place to gather the group. I loved the reclaimed wood furniture and the chalkboard menu.
  • Main Street Brewery: Located in a beautiful heritage building it is a bright and fun place to grab a drink. High ceilings and high stools almost give it a cafeteria vibe. I love that there is a slew of seasonal brews to choose from.
  • Faculty Brewing: I love that the speakeasy vibe here. You feel like you are entering a dark, hole in the wall. A quieter spot to enjoy a delicious Oaked Stout.

4) Explore the food of Commercial Drive 

I have really enjoyed exploring the food scene here in Vancouver since the move and have particularly fallen in love with Commercial Drive. It is a funky part of town that stays away from chain restaurants.

  • Cafe Deux Soleils: I was told that this was a staple of the Drive and had to come and give it a try. Not only do they have everything from delicious breakfast to dinner choices, they also have live entertainment. Enjoy everything from poetry readings to standup comedy. This spot really has it all. 
  • Bandidas Taqueria: This vegetarian Mexican restaurant is the perfect comfort food spot. They make their tortillas in house, have a load of local beers, and even offer a full day breakfast menu.
  • Havana: I love this spot because of the year round patio and delicious sangria. I also love that the menu is always slightly different so you never get bored. The perfect place for friends to get together for Sunday Brunch. 
  • Addis Cafe: One of my favourite restaurants in the entire city is located on the Drive. I have a love for Ethiopian food and Addis is next to none. This is a cosy and casual spot with authentic Ethiopian food. You can bring your own wine, or try their traditional coffee. 
  • Kishimoto: In my opinion, this is the best sushi spot in Vancouver ( I know that is a tall order) but the line outside would also agree with me. From the food presentation to the actual taste, they have really perfected the art. They don’t cut any corners from fresh wild salmon to their edible flower garnishes.

5) Get a sweat in

Sure, when the weather is nice I have really enjoyed working out outside, but let’s be honest it rains a lot here in the winter. I still love to keep up with my fitness even when the weather outside is frightful and have found some amazing local gyms that make working out fun.

  • The Practice Studio: I started working out at the Practice Studio about four months ago and absolutely love it. From the awesome instructors to the unique classes it has really made fitness fun. They also offer a Whole Life Practice so that you can focus on improving all areas of your life form coaching to nutrition.
  • Spin Society: This was the fist class I went to in Vancouver and fell in love instantly. I have always been a big fan of spin classes because of the high intensity and low impact. I loved this class because it literally felt like a workout dance party that targets your entire body.
  • Pure Barre Vancouver: Let me start off by saying this class really scared me because I am so uncoordinated, but you really get such a good workout. I love that it targets muscles I didn’t even know I had through very precise movements.

6) Camping 

While I haven’t had too much free time to explore the beautiful camping spots, it is something I am really looking forward to getting out and doing more of this summer season. I love how naturally beautiful Vancouver is, and how each camping experiences offers an opportunity to see a different side of that beauty.

So far I have just been able to experience camping at Half Nelson. The views from this spot were incredible and there were plenty of mountain bike trails in the area.

I cannot wait to get to know more of this amazing city as I spend more time exploring. I have truly fallen in love with this city in the short time span, and can see why so many people make the move.

I would love any suggestions on your favourite spots to visit so please share some in the comment section below.

Happy exploring my friends,

xo,

Mia

Why Carnivore Club is the gift on everyone’s wish list

My partner and I are quite different. He is a whiz in the kitchen, I am a whiz at ordering take out. He keeps our house spotless, I bring a storm of a mess into every room I enter. He loves a good BBQ, and well, I define myself as a cute-aterian (don’t ask questions). So when it came time to find the perfect gift for his 30th birthday, I was lost.

Cleaning products? A cook book? um.. no. Through my hours of searching, I came across Carnivore Club and was intrigued to find out more about the product.

Finding the perfect gift 

Going through their site, I found out that Carnivore Club is the world’s first charcuterie delivery service, how cool is that? Charcuterie delivered right to your front door. But so much more than that, their plates include premium cured meats for an incredible home tasting experience with friends.

The gift subscription boxes are filled with hand crafted products by distinguished local artisans. It gives you the opportunity to sample amazing flavours from around the world, while not spending a lot of money. The prices per box and items very, but it costs anywhere between $30-$50+

What you can expect 

The boxes include everything from  Ibérico Jamón from Spain to duck breast prosciutto from California, every month is a new surprise and a new discovery. It is an amazing way to discover unique and delicious meats from around the world, without having to leave the comforts of your house. 

An added bonus 

If that wasn’t already the perfect gift, the Carnivore Club had a little added bonus for new US subscribers. When I signed up for my box, I also received a free Opinel knife. Opinel is one of those brands that is known around the world for hits high quality. Their knives have been perfected for over a century. Just like the Carnivore Club, they pride themselves on offering an excellent services.

To sign up and get your free knife, all you have is click on this link and use the code “MIAWGORDON” at check out.

I was so happy when I signed up for Carnivore Club because it ended up being a truly unique, memorable, and of course delicious gift. It was also a great addition for parties, BBQ’s, and dinners with friends.

Happy tasting my friends,

xo,

Mia

 

Why Saskatoon is a Must Visit

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What comes to mind when you think of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan? Probably not a must see destination. Well guess what, the Paris of the Prairies really is a must see. In fact,when the New York Times released their list of the top 52 places to visit in 2018, Saskatoon came it at number 18. Even more surprising, it was the only Canadian city to make the final cut.

When I first took the job as the Saskatchewan Rush’s TV and in game host and reporter, I didn’t really know what to expect. The first thing that came to mind when I thought of Saskatoon was I better bring my warmest winter jacket. Yet after a few trips, I soon found out why it is so easy to fall in love with Saskatoon.

What makes this place special?

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This city offers so much to see and do. Located right on the Saskatchewan River there are beautiful hiking trails to explore. There is an extensive art and culture scene, which has grown even more with a brand new modern and contemporary art museum, Remai Modern. The local cuisine scene offers a variety of must visit restaurants. Oh and there is a professional lacrosse team called the Saskatchewan Rush which sells out every game. 15,185 members or Rush nation come to cheer on their first place team every home game. Today, I get to take you behind the scenes as I head to Saskatoon for this week’s Rush game.

Day 1: 

When I arrive in Saskatoon, I head straight to our downtown Radisson Hotel. I love staying here because it overlooks the river. In the summer this is a spot for boat rides and kayaking. In the winter it is covered in a layer of snow and offers picturesque walks and outdoor skating.

I don’t have time to explore because I need to get ready for our first shoot of the day at Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Saskatoon has a rich Indigenous culture, which we had the chance to learn more about at the park. In fact, there have been archaeological finds that pre-date the pyramids of Egypt.

Today, the players and myself are treated to an amazing history lesson. After our lesson our skills are put to the test in a game of double ball. Similar to lacrosse where they use a stick and get this, two bison testicles attached by a string. After we head out back to see the beautiful plains. There are even teepees for summer camping. Today it is a little too cold for that. Before we leave, we are treated to a performance from a traditional dancer.

Once the shoot is done we head  to dinner. Saskatoon has so many quaint local restaurants that it is hard to pick just one. Tonight we decide to stop into The Rook and Raven. A cross between a pub and fine dining, the menu has endless options. What I love about this spot is its laid back feel but uncommon decor. Oh and while you are here you need to get Saskatoon’ed. Confused? I was too at first. Basically a shot with part Great Western Brewery’s Original 16 beer and part Lucky Bastard Distillery’s Liqueur. Once you complete the shot, you get a card showing your status as an honorary local.

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Day 2: 

I wake up with butterflies in my stomach because it is game day, but I can’t get too excited just yet. There is still plenty of work to do.

I start the morning with a delicious breakfast at Poached, which doubles as a cocktail bar at night. Sitting at my high top, I once again see why this town gets compared to Paris. While here you have to try the PB&J hot chocolate with a shot of expresso is a must.

Walking back to the hotel, I am so giddy over all the Rush jerseys I see out and about. This city really does love their team.

Next stop, axe throwing at Timberjaxe. The owners say the goal of Timberjaxe was to bring some good old fashion fun to Saskatoon, and they have done just that. The rustic design makes it one of the best looking axe throwing centres I have seen. While we tried to keep it all fun and games, with professional athletes in the house there is bound to be some competition with bragging rights on the line.

Now it is time to head to Sasktel Centre and start getting ready for game time. The Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders are in town for tonight’s event so it is sure going to be a show. For me, the greatest moment of the entire weekend is when the lights go down and I know it is time for the pre game show to start. I walk out on to the field with my co-host and look out onto 15,180 screaming fans. Well, that and when we score a goal and everyone in the arena takes part in our goal tradition of pounding your chest.

I know lacrosse isn’t the most mainstream sport, but all it takes is seeing the excitement, intensity, and none stop action in one game to get you hooked for life. The Rush do such a good job on putting on a show. From pyro acts, to a DJ spinning the tunes the fun never stops.  It also doesn’t hurt that our team is currently first overall in the league.

After the game the adrenaline is pumping, but I have to try and get some sleep because I fly out early the next morning. The weekend always goes by so fast and I am never ready to leave. There is so much I still want to explore here. Then I get my schedule for the next game and see that I get to go to the art gallery, and I start counting down the days until I am back. This Prairie city has stolen my heart.

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