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Eating Well with Green Chef

Eating Well with Green Chef
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Every January I find myself in the same place: a brand new year with the same damn resolution to eat healthier. Cleary I can use all the help I can get since eating well starts by deleting the Papa John's app on my phone in my own kitchen. Green Chef kindly offered to help me kickstart my year by sending me a few of their organic meals to test out and review for you. Spoiler alert: they are delicious!

Is this your first time hearing about Green Chef? I was new to the company, too, but let me tell you - they quickly swept me off my feet with their USDA-certified organic ingredient based meals that cater to the food guidelines you likely already follow. Paleo? Vegan? Keto? Yes, yes and yes! You choose which meal plan fits your lifestyle best and get a rotating menu of delicious dinners sent to your doorstep weekly. There's no shortage of unique flavors and recipes either, since October 2014 they've designed over 1,300 delicious dinners of the highest quality organic ingredients. 

Although I'm not eating 100% paleo right now, that's both mine and Tyler's preferred diet as we feel the best when we eat that way. So naturally I opted for the paleo meal plan option from Green Chef! For me, the unique recipes were a huge highlight of this service. I'm only moderately adventurous when it comes to branching out into new flavors and ingredients. If I've never used it before, I'll often skip over the recipe (or omit the ingredient altogether) to keep the meal in my comfort zone. Because Green Chef literally packs up each ingredient and sends them to my kitchen with incredibly easy to follow instructions, it was so easy for me try new foods! And while we're on the topic of delivery, all the ingredients came expertly packed and individually labeled/color coded for each different meal. Super efficient for organizing in my refrigerator! Bonus - all of the packaging is either recyclable, reusable, or compostable! 

While everything I tried from Green Chef was delicious, the photos you're seeing are of my favorite meal -- Memphis Pork Chops with roasted squash and sautéed collards topped with bacon & pecans. Are you drooling yet?! I am just thinking about how good it was! Green Chef recipes average around 30 minutes of cook time and this one was just a little higher at 40. I was stopping to take some photos along the way but I was still easily able to complete the meal in about 45 minutes.

I was incredibly impressed with how few dishes I dirtied while cooking with so many ingredients. The chef who created the recipe did a fantastic job of organizing the steps in order to reuse the same pan & cutting board as much as possible. This was brilliant for me (or should I say for Tyler since he is the typical dishwasher in our household) because I rarely use the same pan more than once when I cook on my own. 

Speaking of Tyler, he was a huge fan of these meals as well. I'll be  He's the first to admit that I cook the same meals over and over again so it was such a nice change from our normal dinner routine. We were also completely satisfied with the portion sizes of these meals - our kits were for 2 people and it perfectly fed us both with no waste. Do you have a growing teenage boy? These are probably not going to cut it for them, but for the vast majority of us - these portions sizes are perfect!

Thank you so much to Green Chef for sponsoring this post. You all know that all opinions here will always be my own & I'm so genuinely excited to share this company with those of you that are looking for a meal service option that is based in eco-friendly, nutritional and delicious food.  Have questions about anything I didn't cover? Leave a comment below or check out the Green Chef website here.

Interested in getting $40 off at Green Chef? Just click here - or any of the other Green Chef links in this post!


Why I Left New York City

Why I Left New York City
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Last August, Tyler and I made an exciting move to Austin, Texas. Below is a post I started writing in May of 2017 - the same day Tyler and I made the decision that we were ready for a change. This post was originally written to be an announcement for our move, but I think it so well speaks as a reflection on 2017.

"I don't think I've been very good at hiding the fact that I've not been 100% happy in New York as of late.  Not that I was trying to actually, because that's the entire point of this space - to be open & honest with you, my readers & friends.

It's crazy how much can change in just 4 years.  When Tyler & I decided to move to NYC it was with so much excitement and purpose. This city was never meant to be a stop on our journey but rather a final destination. I've met so many people here who have already moved away after their 1, 5, 10 years living here.  They would tell me about how they always wanted to live here for a season in life but that it was over and they were moving on to something else.  I honestly couldn't understand it at first because why would you want to move somewhere for just a moment in time.  But as the last few years have gone on, I can finally say I understand. More importantly, Tyler and I both understand.

This decision seems so sudden, yet at the same time, it's been a long time coming. We've toyed with the idea of leaving and moving to a place that was, for lack of a better word, easier. This city sure knows how to be invigorating.  And while that's what brought us here initially, it's also what is sending us on our way. We are constantly exhausted with this place and just want to stretch our legs in a bigger space that allows us to feel a freedom that we gave up when we moved here.  Yes, NYC has nearly everything you could ever want but sometimes that just isn't enough. Sometimes you have to give in and break up when you're not happy anymore.

Oh man, that's exactly what this feels like. It feels like a 4 year relationship with someone you've been so in love with but, after a lot of self-discovery, you've learned that you're not the same person anymore and you want different things in life. I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that Tyler and I mutually feel this way and are ready to leave this city together.  There have been a lot of tears while we've been making this decision - we are so passionate about this city and we think it will always be such a special part of our journey.

The strangest thing is that right now we are the happiest in this city that we've been in the 4 years we've lived here. We have good jobs, great friends, and even restaurants that know our orders -- but it's still time."

From this day on, the year was a whirlwind. After a few job applications & a few interviews, we were suddenly planning to pack up and move across the country. Any move is stressful, and I'm sure if we were packing up more than a tiny studio apartment it would have been much worse, but there were so many important decisions to make in such a short amount of time that I think we too anxious to enjoy those last few weeks to the fullest. Thankfully, we had two of our best friends in town for a week to visit just before we started packing up & it forced us to slow down a bit, relax, and enjoy some of our favorites one final time. 

Cookies at Levain Bakery (Always worth the wait in line. Always!)
A ride on the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island (Choose the moving carts - so much fun!)
Dinner & drinks at Javelina's (Get the Bob Armstrong queso! Delish!)

One of my biggest fears when we decided to move so suddenly was leaving with a lot of regrets. I'd like to say I don't live with those - and I'm working towards that mindset - but, honestly, I do have a few. Like I mentioned before, I thought I would have a lifetime of living in NYC to experience everything but that turned out not be the case. There are so many restaurants I never tried, museums I never visited, and risks I never took. I was so adventurous when I moved to NYC in 2013 but 4 years later I found myself playing everything safe. This was definitely one of the reasons why we decided to shake things up by moving to Austin.

We're now 4 months into life here and to be completely transparent with you, I've continued to play things pretty safe. Y'all, I'm so ready to find my adventurous side again! So ready for it that I could scream! My lists of places to see and things to do here in Austin (& beyond!) keeps growing and I am determined to experience it all - and share it with you!! I crave sharing more both on this platform and on social media but I often completely hold myself back because of my self-doubt and perfectionism. It's a huge struggle that I can't let stand in my way any longer. No more excuses. I'm never going to get what I want in life if I keep making excuses. Anybody feel me on that one?!

So that's where we are on this new journey -- ready to live the life that we literally packed up and moved across the country for. And I'm going to share it with you (duh!) both in long form here and a behind-the-scenes look on Instagram. For those of you who've been so patiently following my journey for years, thank you for sharing your encouragement and grace with me every time I post. You'll never know how much your words & actions (likes, comments, messages, prayers..) mean to me.   

Here's to new adventures in 2018!

>>A huge thank you to my favorite photographer, Ryan Nicholls, for these beautiful photos. Tyler and I will treasure them forever.
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