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Reviews

Just Add Cooking!

by agirlandhermutt on April 2, 2014

Life has been a little hectic these past few weeks. In between a trip to Missouri to visit family and tons of work, I was packing to move and then actually had the move itself. I’m sure that every single one of us can agree that MOVING IS THE WORST.

I’ve kind of been using the whole “life is busy” to just eat random meals, go out to eat a little too often and kind of be a little lazy in the kitchen. Just at the right time the folks from JustAddCooking contacted me and asked if I was interested in giving their new 2-person/3-meal box a try. Groceries delivered to my house? Yes, please.

Just Add Cooking is a Boston-based company that creates “meal kits” that include fresh, pre-measured and locally sourced ingredients that are delivered straight to your doorstep.

There are 3 easy steps to get started:

1. See what meals are coming up for the next week.
2. Pick your size box (4 or 2 person-box & 3, 4 or 5-meals).
3. Start cooking!
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I ended up picking 3 meals that sounded easy to make and perfect for a busy week. Mexican Cod, Couscous Marrakech and Quinoa with Shiitake Mushrooms.


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The JustAddCooking website is pretty easy to use and makes choosing your meals for the week pretty easy. Each option is clearly pictured and includes all the ingredients that will come in your box, along with the instructions on how to prepare the dish.

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This was particularly helpful for me when picking my meals because I needed a few dishes that didn’t take too much time to prep and shorter cooking times. While I had plenty of fridge space for the box, I didn’t have the time to actually make anything extravagant.

My box was delivered with all the ingredients, herbs, spices and instructions for the 3-meals that I had picked.


This included two envelopes that had separate instruction sheets for each meal and a all the spices & seasonings you would need.

These are all the bits and pieces for three meals. Everything is portioned out for exactly how much you will need in the recipe. Protein, fresh veggies, tons of herbs, portioned out grains and even some white wine.
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A few nights before my big move I only had a limited number of things available in my kitchen. Most of goodies were all packed up! Based on JustAddCooking’s order of cooking recommendation, I decided to try out the Couscous Marrakech.

The directions are easy to follow since they are in a timeline form. All recipes should be set up this way! The prep is listed separately from the cooking portion and it goes in the exact order that you need to be doing thing. No more getting to the part where it says to add onion and you haven’t done your chopping of onion yet so your pan just sits there all hot and smoky with no onion in it.

Speaking of chopping onion, JustAddCooking really does mean that you have to do the cooking. This is NOT a ready-made-meal service. They provide you with the onion you need, but you better be ready to get to choppin’. I actually like doing prep work, but I could see where some people might find this a bit tedious.

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Just about 20 minutes later and dinner was served!
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This dish had tons of flavor and was definitely not a recipe I would have ever picked out randomly on my own. I loved the addition of the fresh green beans, jalapenos, and chorizo. Delish!

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Let’s chat about portion sizes. The box that I had was meant to serve 2 people from each meal. I gave myself a generous serving since it had been a loooonnnng day of packing.
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Even after pigging out on my part, there was still TONS left over. This dish was easily enough to get two dinners and a lunch out of. Which is exactly what I did.
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A day later I moved and my household got a little fuller. The BF, Korky and I are officially in one house now (eek!). After the kitchen was put together I was pleased as punch to just pull out the recipe for the Mexican Cod and have everything I needed right at my fingertips.

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This dish originally called for new potatoes (which they provided), but I decided to just add a side of mashed cauliflower instead. The sauce was so good I just smothered everything in it! Both the BF and I enjoyed the whole meal.

Final thoughts…

I really enjoyed my JustAddCooking box! This 2-person 3-meal box would normally cost me $79. That is AT LEAST 6 meals. Is it worth it?! On most occasions…yes! I like to grocery shop sometimes and I putting specific meals together. However, there was something magical about not having to go to the grocery store or measure a single thing out when I was in a time crunch. It was the perfect solution during an extremely busy week that could have resulted in more eating out and of course, spending more money.

This was also great way for me to try out a few new meals too. Often times I find myself eating the same thing over and over because it is what I have on hand without having to go to the grocery store or look for recipes.

We have a particularly busy week coming up soon and JustAddCooking will definitely be my solution!

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Want to try JustAddCooking yourself?! Use code SPRINGBLOG for $20 off your first purchase!

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Hope you guys are having a great week! See ya soon!

 

*NOTE: I was provided the JustAddCooking box for free. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own!*

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All About Pure Barre: Part 2

by agirlandhermutt on March 24, 2014

Ready to chat about Pure Barre a little more?! My last post was a break-down of the class structure and a few tips for first-timers. You can check it out here. This post is going to be a bit more focused on my experience and the Pure Barre Coolidge Corner studio specifically.

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My Experience
I think the main reason I was hesitant to try Pure Barre for a second time was because I felt extremely uncomfortable the first time I tried it out. My first experience was in September of 2012 which was several months before I had started to lose weight. The first studio was nice enough, but I didn’t feel super welcomed and nothing was really explained. I also felt like I could have easily eaten another one of the students for breakfast. But now? At this point in my fun weight loss adventure I am much more confident about trying new things and also not giving a crap what anyone else thinks of me.

The number one thing people mention when I talk about Pure Barre is that they think the class is filled with Lululemon clad clones. Ready for some real talk?! It kind of is. MANY of the fans of Pure Barre at the studios that I have visited are petite women that are a fan of fashionable workout clothes.

True story…in one of my first classes I was standing near the back wall and a woman stood directly in front of me. I could see my body on either side of hers in the mirror. I couldn’t see my head, but I could see my hips. I died a little inside for about 2 minutes and then I sucked it up.

Once I got over myself and all my freaky insecurities I realized that they weren’t staring at me. They were all too busy staring at themselves and all their strange insecurities.

Pure Barre *seems* really easy in theory. However, those isolated movements are unlike anything you normally do in your workouts. Running, spinning, Zumba, weight lifting. All of these things got me into pretty good shape, but nothing prepared me for the world of pain that my “seat” would feel after a Pure Barre class.

I also wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to love it. AND! How quickly I would start to see results.

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My results
I didn’t lose a ton of weight. Lets just say that I have been steadily maintaining my weight for the past few months. I lost a couple of pounds (about 3) but nothing that could be really attributed to Pure Barre specifically. The biggest change though was in how many inches I lost and how different my legs and arms looked!

In just 5 weeks I have lost about an 1 inch on my arms and 2 inches on my hips/thighs. That may not seem like a lot, but it makes a huge difference in the way my body looks! My triceps are starting to show. Like, “hey! look at your triceps showing!” from a friend of mine kind of way. My thighs are starting to just *look* smaller and my pants fit better.

I realized that I can do REAL push-ups now. Or at least 6 of them in a row. I can hold a 90 second plank. I can keep my seat tucked. My lower back doesn’t hurt.

Overall, I just FEEL so much better!

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One of the reasons that I enjoyed going to often was the studio. The Pure Barre in Coolidge Corner is really amazing.

Pure Barre Coolidge Corner (Brookline, Ma)

Instructors:
All of the instructors are super nice. They all make it a point to try to remember your name and will often seek out people they don’t recognize before class to introduce themselves. I like that they take a minute to acknowledge people as the enter and leave the studio too.

Of course, there are definitely some that are better than others.

I’m not sure if this is taboo to talk about in the PB world, but I have some favorites. Katelyn, Erin W and Jamie. They all do a little more talking throughout the class than other instructors. I don’t mean chatting about their personal lives, but more about where you should be feeling a particular move or how to improve the move. They all walk around and constantly are improving people’s form. They are engaged the entire class! Plus, I find that when they take classes and aren’t the teachers they are great people to watch for tips on form. There aren’t any instructors that I hate, but there is one that I don’t care to take her class. She rarely talks and seems annoyed that she has to be there. That class also happens to be one of the fullest classes. It just goes to show that you should try out all kinds of instructors to find your best fit!

Cleanliness:
This place is CLEAN. It is also brand new. The Pure Potty (yep, they say that) is clean and has whatever products you might need. They encourage you to wipe down your mat and equipment after use. I’m not really sure how much those little disinfectant wipes work, but I appreciate the effort.

The only issue I have at this location is that it is quite hairy. You spend a good chunk of the class lying on the floor. Sometimes the seat work can even be done on the floor. There is some serious shedding happening by the ladies here since it is winter. That hair tends to end up my workout capris. I’m not sure if it is my pants exactly, but I’m like a magnet for that stuff. My socks look like I walked through a dog park barefoot when I leave. I know they vacuum so there isn’t much they can do about it, but just be forewarned.

Accessible:
This place is literally right in Coolidge Corner on Beacon St. Easy to get there by the C line. Plenty of parking both in the parking lot behind the Coolidge Corner theatre and on the street. I never have a problem finding street parking after work. On Sundays parking at the meter is free. Apparently everyone likes to come to Brookline on Sunday for free parking so I tend to avoid classes on that day.

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What’s Next?!
My unlimited package has run out and it is time to figure out what to do next. I have to keep Pure Barre in my life. The benefits are too great to not keep going. However, I am looking forward to adding other workouts back into my schedule. I mentioned in my first post that I didn’t think this could be my only form of exercise and I still agree with that statement.

I NEED TO SWEAT. Like gross using my shirt to wipe my forehead sweat. I miss spinning, zumba, Mshell, etc.

Plus, a month unlimited with no discounts is $225. My budget isn’t a fan of that right now. Instead I purchased a set of classes at a discounted price.

My plan is to get to Pure Barre at least 1x a week, but ideally 2x. I’m in a bit of a training plan limbo right now for the month of April, but in May I start triathlon training (EEK! More details soon!). The plan is to use PB as part of my strength training.

I’m also going to take advantage of the Bride-to-Be package.

In August I will sign up for a 3 month unlimited package that will fall right before my wedding. You can’t beat the deal they offer!

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I know these past few posts have been a bit wordy but hopefully it has been helpful to those of you on the fence about giving it a try. My biggest tip to those of you thinking about it is to go at least 2 times. Once to feel like a complete tool and a second time to figure out if you like it. Don’t be caught up in who is wearing what concerns. Just get there!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to answer what I can!

See ya soon!

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All About Pure Barre: Part 1

March 11, 2014

Hello, hello, hello! Typically I would have a fun recap of what I’ve been up to, but really all I have been doing is purging and packing for a move at the end of the month. Fun, huh?! Instead I’m going to chat a little bit about my recent workout routine. About a month ago […]

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