Our Hectic Mundane… and A Book Recommendation

It’s a quiet Friday morning in September – it was 3 degrees (Celsius) when I woke up and I can feel in my frozen toes that winter is coming.The boys have headed back to school, but like most people around here, that has meant nothing in terms of routine. As of today, we are officially on our specific schedules which still seems to involve a lot of juggling with varied timetables even though we opted (optimistically) for in person learning. My contract was reestablished and I headed back into the office on a scaled-back schedule.

While I have a few hours to myself (the oldest is only out of the house for 3 hours, every other day) on this dedicated “day off”, I sat down with a Tetley gingerbread tea latte (featuring a combo almond/coconut milk and oat milk froth because I’m eliminating reducing dairy) and realized I have a to-do list, yes, but nowhere and nothing that NEED to be done. If I want to sit in my pajamas all day and read, well, I could do that – guilt-free. (I won’t though, because I don’t think that’s what my body needs today. Yesterday, yes – I worked, I napped, I ate (ugh) cup-o-soup for dinner instead of the veggie stir fry I prepared because I wasn’t feeling up to anything. Not all days are a success on this journey.)

I have been scaling back on my NetGalley reads – the to-be read list is still ridiculously long, but so is my pile of books I’ve actually invested in. I most recently picked up The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri from the fabulous Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge. (It’s one of my favourite independent bookstores – probably my favourite locally!) I’ve been tip-toeing my way through this title because I’m feeling book burnout. It’s an unfortunate state of being. So instead of reading what I “need” to – as I felt I was sometimes missing the pleasure of the read and therefore, perhaps unconsciously skewing my reviews – I opted to read something that grabbed me in the moment.

The Wikipedia summary of this title blandly states: The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a 2019 novel by Christy Lefteri. It deals with the flight of refugees from Aleppo in Syria to Europe during the Syrian Civil War. While a work of fiction, it is based on the author’s experience over two summers volunteering in Athens at a refugee center.

What Wikipedia fails to mention is the passion, heartache, and beauty that has gone into this work. I don’t have a full review for you – I’m only half-way through, but I would, based on reading to date, recommend this title to anyone and everyone. It’s captivating and moving and almost too much for me to read in a binge session. It’s heavy-weighted and I need air in between passages at times, but it’s beautiful. Perhaps my view is a little slanted because as I read, I can’t help but relate the carefully crafted words to the experiences those of my own limited acquaintance have encountered as they lived the plight of the refugee.

So today, I leave you with that recommendation and quick glimpse into our current life. Myself? Well while the dishwasher runs, my toes warm under a blanket on the couch, and the kittens (yes, we adopted two kittens this summer) run amok through the house, I will take a few breaths, enjoy my few hours of freedom, find joy in the sunshine, and peace in our special hectic mundane (which may or may not involve unclogging a shower drain – oh the glamour!)

Some Meal Planning & Comfort Snacks

Summer is drawing to a close as far as freedom and flexibility in our schedules. The boys are returning to a modified school schedule next week and I return to work the week after. Gone is the ability for everyone to free feed with whatever is in the house – some extra thought is going to have to go into our snacks and meals, even more so as the cost of feeding two teenage boys seems to be growing each week.

We are heading up to the beach with part of our bubble tomorrow and the beach requires snacks. I will admit that I usually just pick up convenience food at the grocery store to throw into a bag or grab some fast food on the way up (it’s almost 2 hours – those boys are starving by the time we arrive if I don’t feed them on the way! )

I did my groceries this morning and all the snacks and muffins just seemed mediocre. And I just spent $250 on said groceries that will maybe just last me to next week, so no unplanned for snacks made it to the cart. I knew I’d have some “free” time (is it every actually free, though? I mean my “could do” list is neverending…) and thought homemade comfort food snacks were the way to go. My house smells like that perennial classic cereal snack mix and strawberry streusel muffins are awaiting their turn in the oven. I considered soft pretzel bites but decided that was just too much work. Tomorrow, I’ll toss some coronation grapes, apples, celery with peanut butter, and pepperettes into the cooler with our drinks, along with the cereal mix and muffins and I think we’ll be (more than) set – lots of variety, perfect for lakeside snacking!

Cereal Snack Mix With Pumpkin Seeds

My mom used to make cereal snack mix when we were little but I don’t have her recipe and the ones I found online were all very similar. Knowing my mom, who I love dearly, it probably came off the box of Shreddies. I opted for base ingredients of Multigrain Cheerios, Shreddies, and Rice Chex. I omitted the pretzels because no one really likes them, do they? No? Just me? I added honey roasted peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and whole almonds because that’s what we had. The dressing is the traditional butter, garlic, seasoned salt formula but I kicked it up with a bit of chipotle chili powder. Then roasted in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, because the idea of microwaved cereal grossed me out a little. It’s a huge batch, but I’ll be lucky if it will last the next three days. sigh In all honesty, the pumpkin seeds are my favourite part!

My strawberry streusel muffins are made using a very loose recipe – the greek yogurt batter looked amazing in the cups, but who knows if they’ll actually taste good. I had some fresh local strawberries languishing sadly in the back of the fridge and feel just fine adding bruised produce into my baking. If they’re a success I’ll be posting the recipe just for my own reference. (FYI, I took them out to cool and sampled one – tastes delicious but was a little wet on the bottom. I’ve popped back into the oven hoping for triumph.)

FYI, our meal plan for the next few days looks like this if you need some ideas. Let the organized chaos begin!

  • souvlaki chicken, rice, salad
  • “charcuterie” for a quick meal, no kids
  • ribs, sweet pepper poppers, corn on the cob
  • grilled chicken, roasted cauliflower, cucumber, and herbed potatoes
  • beef dip sandwiches with crudites

What are your favourite make-at-home snacks to tide you over? I think everyone has a family favourite that evokes memories of their childhood or times with their own littles or that they just can’t get enough of… Now that we’re thinking lunches again, bonus points if they’re healthy, nut-free, and packable! Share away!

Book Review: Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay

In a follow up to The Printed Letter Bookshop (reviewed here), comes Katherine Reay’s new release, Of Literature & Lattes. I’m part of a Facebook group that Reay is one of the moderators on and I read A LOT of praise for this title prior to getting my hands on a copy. In full disclosure, I started the draft of this review a couple months ago and just found it dusty and with not much more than the opening sentences. Whoops!

What I remember of this title is that it was worth a blog post – it was sweet with small town charm, a cast of endearing supporting characters, and a heartwarming romance. It was easy to read as a stand alone title, but has some familiarity for those who read The Printed Letter Bookshop. Reay creates an easy-to-read enjoyable “everyday” novel – not that it’s mundane, but the plot lines aren’t completely unbelievable and us normal folk can often relate to the struggles and challenges the characters face. Overall, I’d recommend this one. It’s a cozy, slow paced, easy read that’ll leave you with a happy sigh by the final chapter – second chances for the win!

My thanks to Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy of this title that I received via NetGalley. It was published May 12, 2020 and should be available from your favourite bookseller!

Blog Tour & Book Review: The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is one of my go-to authors when it comes to contemporary women’s fiction with a dash of steamy romance, quirky humour, and lots of heart. I wasn’t about to let the opportunity to participate in the Harlequin blog tour with fellow booklovers slip me by as Mallery’s newest release, The Friendship List, hit shelves yesterday.

From the Publisher:

Already a worldwide success in mass market and trade paperback formats, Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story about two best friends who are determined to help one another shake things up and live life to the fullest…only to discover that possibilities are everywhere–especially in the most unexpected of places.

Ellen and Unity have been best friends basically since birth, but they couldn’t be more different. Unity married her childhood sweetheart just after high school and became an Army wife, moving from base to base…until her husband’s shocking death in the line of duty leaves her a widow. Grief-stricken, it’s time for Unity to come back home to Ellen—the only person she can trust to help her rebuild her life. But Ellen has troubles of her own. Boys never seemed to notice Ellen…until one got her pregnant in high school and disappeared. Her son is now 17 and she’s wondering what to do with herself now that he’s heading off to college and he’s literally her entire world.

But now that Ellen and Unity are reunited, they’re done with their stale lives. It’s time to shake things up and start living again, knowing that they’ll always have one another to lean on. So they create a list of challenges they have to accomplish–everything from getting a tattoo to skydiving to staying out all night. And whoever completes the most challenges is the winner. But with new adventures and love just around the corner, there’s no such thing as losing…

My Thoughts:

Full of Mallery’s quirky humour and the strong bonds of friendships, this was a book that celebrated self-awareness, growth, and romance. The characters are quirky and real and the novel has a cadence that carries you from start to finish in a blink of an eye. While it wasn’t my favourite title by Ms. Mallery (her Fool’s Gold series has a few books to hold that honour), it was an easy-to-read contemporary story that will make you value your friends and want to try new things for yourself. You may find yourself wiping away a tear or two, groaning in frustration, or laughing out loud! You’ll be pulled in cover to cover and the ending will leave you feeling pretty content!

I was provided with a complimentary title via the publisher to download via NetGalley. I’ll leave my standard content warning for adult situations – reader discretion advised.

About the Author:

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

Buy Links:

Check your favourite bookseller or buy online.

The Friendship List: A Novel 
Susan Mallery
On Sale Date: August 4, 2020
ISBN 9781335136961, 1335136967
Hardcover
$26.99 USD, $33.50 CAD
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary 
384 pages

Blog Tour & Book Review: Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass

Every once in a while I like to take a break from romance and history and jump into a captivating mystery or thriller. I take it as a personal challenge trying to untangle the threads the author weaves into a twisted, complex puzzle. Of the five titles in the header above, I’ve read two, compliments of the publisher: Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle and Someone’s Listening by Seraphina Nova Glass. I just finished the latter and it was a sinuous, beguiling tale – more on that below.

From the Publisher:

You’re not alone. Someone’s waiting. Someone’s watching…
Someone’s listening.

In SOMEONE’S LISTENING (Graydon House Books; July 28; $16.99) Dr. Faith Finley has everything she’s ever wanted: she’s a renowned psychologist, a radio personality—host of the wildly popular “Someone’s Listening with Dr. Faith Finley”—and a soon-to-be bestselling author. She’s young, beautiful, and married to the perfect man, Liam.

Of course Liam was at Faith’s book launch with her. But after her car crashes on the way home and she’s pulled from the wreckage, nobody can confirm that Liam was with her at the party. The police claim she was alone in car, and they don’t believe her when she says otherwise. Perhaps that’s understandable, given the horrible thing Faith was accused of doing a few weeks ago.

And then the notes start arriving—the ones literally ripped from the pages of Faith’s own self-help book on leaving an abusive relationship. Ones like “Secure your new home. Consider new window and door locks, an alarm system, and steel doors…”

Where is Liam? Is his disappearance connected to the scandal that ruined Faith’s life? Who is sending the notes? Faith’s very life will depend on finding the answers.

My Thoughts:

This tale starts with a back and forth perspective after a terrible accident and sabotaged career. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but this title is so much more than just a missing persons whodunit. I was lulled into complacency through the first half of the novel – it wasn’t particularly “thrilling” at that point, but was needed backstory for the big hits in the last half of the book. The author carefully crafts an adversary with just enough detail to make you think you have it figured out but also with just enough vagueness that you may second guess your conclusions. There are a few red herrings that add layers of mystery to the novel, and the elements of suspense are devised to keep you engaged. The novel was easy to read without any overly disturbing scenes or imagery, but includes one high-stakes, possibly triggering sequence as part of the finale.

Someone’s Listening (ISBN 9781525836749) was released today (July 28) by Graydon House Books and can be purchased at your favourite bookseller including popular online retailers:

Author Bio:
Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Texas-
Arlington, where she teaches Film Studies and Playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting
from Smith College, and has optioned multiple screenplays to Hallmark and Lifetime.
Someone’s Listening is her first novel.

Book Review: The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall

I’ve been *gasp* in a bit of a reading slump lately. There’s been so many things on my to-do list to tackle and when I’ve sat down to read, it’s been hard to ignore the little voice whispering “get up and do things…” So I’ve been a bit more productive lately, but my to-read pile continues to grow. Fortunately, I actually picked up this title months ago and have been eagerly waiting to share my thoughts. I do think it was enticing enough that those niggles of guilt would have been quieted long enough to even read it this week.

The Guardian of Lies is the second title I’ve read by Kate Furnivall. My first experience with her work was The Survivors – a gritty and gripping historical novel – that I reviewed previously. Not as gritty as her previous title, I found The Guardian of Lies to be just as engaging with twists and turns as the heroine finds herself questioning the allegiance of neighbours and family loyalties in Cold War-era France. This title is rife with danger, intrigue, secrets, and betrayal – who can you trust, where can you turn – and a bit of romance to balance the scales.

A fast-paced read, this is not the typical era I indulge in with my historical fiction picks. I wasn’t familiar with many of the incidents or significance of some of the references, but it wasn’t difficult to be immersed in the events or to feel the gravity of the tensions conveyed. It was an atmospheric and captivating novel from start to finish. It opens with heart-pounding action from the very first chapter and finishes along the same veins. The dark and shadowy world of espionage will have you questioning and doubting and surprised at some of the outcomes. Definitely a gripping page-turner that’ll keep you hooked with a well-thought out plot and remarkable characters!

My thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy of this title via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada
Publication Date: July 2019

Harlequin 2020 Summer Reads Blog Tour – The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

If you enjoy WWII romantic historical fiction, you’ll want to head over to your favourite bookseller and pre-order Karen Robard’s new title, The Black Swan of Paris. If you don’t pre-order, be sure to add your name to your local library’s wait list or set a reminder to buy this book. It releases on June 30th – exactly a week from today!

Engaging, With A Beautiful Cadence & Voice

FROM THE PUBLISHER:
For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can’t be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford’s younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can’t allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother.

It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

MY THOUGHTS:
Robard balances the glitz and glamour of famed Paris nightlife with the tension and danger of being part of the Resistance in the midst of Occupied Europe. Opulence is countered with uncertainty, daring with danger. This novel is a bit of a slow-burn that will keep you fascinated from the very first chapter. The intricate story lines crisscross to create a beautifully crafted novel rife with romance, intrigue, heartbreak, and hope.

It was not as thrilling as other WWII novel’s I’ve read – the identity of the Black Swan in the novel also lends a layer of protection and benefits to the heroine that play very much into the pace of the story itself. Her celebrity affords a perfect veil and she becomes a ticket to move in circles otherwise inaccessible – but with this level of security also comes a risk that seems to be less intense (though no less real or relevant) than perhaps communicated in other characterizations found in this genre. When I say thrilling, I suppose I refer to pace. It’s very much engaging, but the excitement comes in to play well after you’ve begun to know the key players and care about them. Overall, it was a touching, engaging piece of fiction with a beautiful cadence and voice – reader discretion advised mostly for some grisly scenes.

My thanks to my friends at Mira Books (Harlequin) and the author for the complimentary copy of this title and chance to share my thoughts as part of the 2020 Summer Reads Blog Tour. This is a great sunny day on the deck or lounging in a hammock read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND BUY LINKS:
Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

Author Website: http://karenrobards.com/
Twitter: @TheKarenRobards
Facebook: @AuthorKarenRobards

THE BLACK SWAN OF PARIS
Author: Karen Robards
ISBN: 9780778309338
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: MIRA

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Book Review: The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by Daven McQueen

Today is Juneteenth. What is Juneteenth, you ask? Good question. I’m a 38 year old Caucasian women of Dutch descent and just heard about Juneteenth on social media this week. 38. Years. Old. and I knew nothing about a holiday that reflects on an important aspect of Black history, when Union Soldiers arrived in Texas with the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. I probably can’t do justice in explaining all the details of significance, so I’m going to tell you to Google (or, click here) and then ponder what it would be like to find out you were emancipated 2 1/2 years before you were told. Two. and. a. half. years. I’ll never clearly be able to understand or relate. Lord knows, we’ve come a long way since then, but in all honesty, I don’t think we’ve come nearly far enough. There’s still a lot of hate and inequality in this world and that needs to change. We need to do better. We need love. We need hope. We need people to speak up and speak out and stand up for their friends and neighbours.

One of the most heartrendingly beautiful books I’ve ever read

This post isn’t actually a history lesson, or a conversation on civil rights, but a book review. Seriously. I requested “The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones” more than three months ago. I downloaded the ARC in February. A few days ago, I decided Young Adult fiction might be the right tonic to get out of a reading slump as *sometimes* (but not always) YA fiction can be a little lighter or less complex. As this title was released this week, I thought I’d give it a go. I was mistaken in thinking it might be light (although there were shimmers of brightness throughout) or less complex. I’ll be purchasing the book for re-reads this weekend.

The novel throws you back to 1955, where you’ll land in small-town Alabama. The narrator is Ethan Harper, a biracial child who’s had some trouble at school and is sent to live with his white Aunt and Uncle in a community that is anything but tolerant. He’s befriended by the strange and lovable oddball title-character, Juniper Jones. Juniper has decided that the summer of ’55 will be the most epic ever, and doesn’t really give her new accomplice a choice but to join her, and their adventures are recounted in beautiful, immersive writing.

There is a lightness and hope that is weaved throughout their summer, but also a heaviness and complexity that comes with the illumination of racial tensions and the wrong-mindedness of the era. You cannot help but to fall in love with Juniper and feel a tenderhearted affection towards her. On the other hand, your heart will break for Ethan over and over again – you’ll want to draw him into a protective bubble and shelter him from the hatred he encounters while wanting to bash some sense into his adversaries. This book will swallow you whole, chew you up, spit you out, and leave you with big emotions to process, but it also brings to light some very unfortunate aspects of history, while balancing the strength and value of true friendship.

The author weaves some unexpected moments in and you’ll be gasping for air as you bawl your eyes out more than once. It’s one of the most heartrendingly beautiful books I’ve ever read. It’s recommended for 12 & up (grades 7 – 9) and the author, Daven McQueen, acknowledges that difficult subjects are broached and offensive terminology is used. While I would recommend it unabashedly, if you have a particularly sensitive tween/teen, you may want to read it first, and then use it as a platform for conversation afterwards. For myself, it was a 5 star read for sure and most definitely one of, if not my most, favourite books of 2020.

My thanks to the author and publisher for the complimentary title via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by: Wattpad Books
Publication Date: June 16, 2020

The I Don’t Like Beets Smoothie

I am firmly rooted in the “I don’t like beets” camp, but last week when I did my online grocery shop I decided it would be a good idea to add them to my cart. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea, but knew I wanted to bring home some beets and checked out before I could change my mind. A few days later, the boys are unpacking the groceries and I suddenly realized I have to use these things. I’m going to attribute this lapse in good sense to making healthier food choices and my body craving food that’s grown in the ground.

I dug out the rotary shredder attachment for my stand mixer last night so I could stop staring at these ugly vegetables sitting on my counter. The shredder made short work of these babies, peeled and chopped first, and now I have a good size supply of shredded beets. I still don’t like them.

All that’s left of my rich red smoothie… featuring beets, blueberries, strawberries, and rhubarb

Later today if I find the motivation, I’ll probably attempt some chocolate beet muffins. First, I need to finish the amazing smoothie I snuck some beets into. They add a deep red hue to a refreshing – and yes, slightly earthy – concoction that includes a lightly sweetened berry iced tea I made yesterday, frozen blueberries, a handful of fresh strawberries, the remains of a rhubarb compote made earlier in the week, and some chia seeds for extra goodness.

This blend truly tastes like summer in a cup – rich with balanced, fresh, healthy flavours. So while I am still firmly entrenched in the I don’t like beets camp if we’re talking pickled, roasted, or other classic takes – pureed with complimentary flavours into a frosty summertime drink? I can definitely say I don’t mind them.

Chef’s Plate: An Honest Mixed-Feeling Review

Last night, we gave Chef’s Plate a try.  Someone provided us with a coupon and I thought the discount might make the convenience worth it.  We chose two meals for 4 people, all delivered in an insulated box with a ton of reusable ice packs right to our deck.  The two meals we chose were Spicy Thai Peanut Pork Noodles and Tandoori Chicken Naan Wraps.  We started with the noodles.

All the ingredients from our Chef’s Plate meal – Spicy Thai Peanut Pork Noodles

J. came into the kitchen after I started prep and quickly took over using the easy to follow directions card.  The meal was extremely tasty, but not anything we couldn’t pull together using our own ingredients by the time you wash, chop, mix, and cook.  I’m sure Just will add the recipe card to his growing collection. We enjoyed it. Kaleb (surprise, surprise) did not approve.

My thoughts on the meal as a whole was that a 4-person kit could easily have made 8 portions for our family.  Served as instructed, each meal was a whopping 1120 calories and 80g of net carbs.  Yikes.  I trimmed back to make 6 portions and eliminated some of the oil and eggs called for and I believe my plate still came to approximately 746 calories and I was somewhere between well-sated to uncomfortably full.  (Still yikes!). Divided into 8 portions, it’s slightly more manageable at approximately 550-560 calories per serving.

If I were to prepare this meal from scratch, some small substitutions would include switching out the chow mein noodles for a whole wheat or veggie noodle.  I’d reduce the amount of peanuts on top, and I’d probably add in some extra veg.  I’d also cut way back on the ground pork or – hear me out – eliminate it completely.  It wasn’t extremely necessary from a taste point of view and with the eggs, nuts, and nut butter, the dish had plenty of protein for a single meal.

From a budget point of view, I didn’t find it overly ridiculous WITH THE COUPON – dinner and leftovers costing approx. $15 for the meal.  And there are plenty of leftovers for three of us.  Seven servings at just over $2 per plate is pretty hard to complain about.  At full price, I’m not sure it would make the cut.  Sure, not having to think about dinner was fantastic AND it was simple enough for a young chef to follow along.  Plus, they delivered the box right to my door… but for slightly more than the actual cost of $35 a meal, I could feed the family with takeout from a local restaurant and not have to do any prep or cooking.

Final conclusion… if you want the home cooked experience without having to hit a grocery store or think about what’s for dinner, this might be worth it.  I am going to prepare our second meal before my menu cut off for next week and see if it feeds us as amply as the noodles did.  I may try to cut back to a 2 person menu next week and see if we can stretch that to accomodate all of us and cut back on calories and cost.  There’s lots to consider, but for two easy meals this week at a discount, I think it was a win.  Full price? I’m not sure it will be worth it for us.

TLDR: The food was tasty and fresh. Directions were easy to follow. Nothing that you couldn’t do yourself with some meal planning and a grocery list. Likely too rich (expensive) for a regular commitment from this family.

If you would like to check out Chef’s Plate for yourself and form your own opinions, I have a coupon code to make your first week a little more budget friendly.  Copy and paste referral code HS-UQG4Z1KJR at www.chefsplate.com for $40 off your order, and a $40 credit for me. Sharing is caring.  If you do select a box to try, let me know in the comments if you agree with my review.