My Food Bag

As a wife and a mother, I (like many others, I'm sure) have come to dread those age-old words "what's for dinner?". If I'm perfectly honest there are about a million things I'd rather be doing than cooking a meal night after night, but the health of my family deems it necessary ;) Now, if someone told me what to cook each night and delivered all the food to my door, that would be half the battle. My Food Bag to the rescue... the concept is brilliant - a nutritious weekly menu with all the ingredients and step-by-step recipes for four to five meals, delivered to your door at the start of each week.

Head chef and dietitian, Nadia Lim, works with a talented team to design delicious, easy-to-follow recipes each week. There are five different food bags to choose from:

My Classic Food Bag: 5 recipes to feed 2 adults and 2-3 teens, or 4 adults. 
My Family Food Bag: 5 recipes to feed 2 adults and 2-3 younger children. 
My Gourmet Food Bag: 4 recipes to feed 2 adults. 
My Veggie Food Bag: 4 vegetarian recipes to feed 2 adults.
My Own Food Bag: 4 recipes for 5 meals to feed 1 adult (1 recipe feeds 2 adults).

Once you've chosen the Food Bag that suits you can choose to have it delivered every week or every fortnight, and either on Sunday or Monday. A few days before the bag arrives you'll be emailed your menu and notified of any staple ingredients you'll need eg: flour, olive oil (things you generally have in your pantry already). This gives you time to pick anything up you don't have. Your Food Bag is then delivered to your door with the freshest ingredients, and all seasonal produce (free-range and sustainably farmed products are used whenever possible).

My Family Food Bag

My Classic Food Bag

Hawke's Bay is one of the latest areas to receive My Food Bag deliveries, so Dael and I were super excited to try it out. Dael chose My Classic Food Bag, and I decided to try My Family Food Bag so that we could compare the two. We were emailed our menu for the week ahead and on Sunday afternoon everything was delivered to our door.

There was a large chillbox holding all the meat and deli items, and two paper bags filled with everything else - delicious, fresh veges, eggs, spice mixes, bread crumbs, rice etc. You also get a free recipe folder with the week's recipes. The recipe cards are fantastic and really easy to follow, including the prep and cook time, and nutritional information.

It was lovely to feel so organised and know exactly what was for dinner each night. I really enjoyed the cooking experience and trying new ideas, and there was much excitement, as well as critiques from my family when they sat around the table in the evening.

Dael's family loved their meals too. Her husband, Lee, had taken the week off work to look after their two girls during the school holidays, so for them the delivery of My Food Bag was perfect timing. With everything he needed on hand and instructions, meal time was a breeze, and it was lovely for Dael to come home to. One night when they had friends over for dinner they gave the kids something simple and served their guests 'Char Siu Pork with Sticky Sesame Pea Rice and Veges'. Needless to say the guest were most impressed!

After trialling My Food Bag for a week, Dael and I both highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take the stress out of meal times. With the busy lifestyles most of us live, it's a fantastic way to make sure your family is getting a beautiful, healthy and delicious meal. You don't have to be a Master Chef either, if I can do it, you definitely can. Why don't you give it a go.

NutriBullet Goodness

There was much excitement in our household this weekend as we tried out our amazing NutriBullet for the first time. I have heard a lot about how fantastic this machine is, and with the amount of processed/convenient food available these days, I love the idea of getting extra nutrition into my family's diet.

The NutriBullet is a powerful superfood nutrition extractor that completely blitzes and blends any ingredients, including fibre, pulp, seeds and skin of whole fruits and vegetables. This means you extract the highest degree of nutrition from your food, and the silky smooth texture makes it easy to digest. No more partially blended spinach leaves or berry pips. There are so many ingredients you can use, and we've had a lot of fun making up recipes to please the whole family.

We started with a couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves, a green apple, a pear, and chopped pineapple topped up with coconut water. It's amazing how quickly it blends into a smooth and super healthy drink.

The NutriBullet comes complete with a tall cup, two shorter cups (one with a handle), two resealable lids, the extractor blade, and a milling blade which turns dry ingredients into powders (perfect for milling oats, nuts and seeds). So next time you're running late and don't have time for a sit-down breakfast, you could simply throw your favourite fresh ingredients into the NutriBullet, pop a lid on and take it with you. Now that's what I call "fast food"!

I whipped up a ginger and citrus flu-fighter recipe from two whole oranges (skin removed), the juice from half a lemon, a teaspoon of fresh ginger, and a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup to sweeten. You can tweak these recipes to suit your taste - less ginger, more maple syrup... it just takes a bit of experimenting.

The kids wanted a berry smoothie so we went quite traditional with a banana, lots of frozen mixed berries, yoghurt and milk. I added a dash of vanilla and organic carob powder. Needless to say, they loved it. It really is a fabulous way to get fussy eaters to get their fruit intake. My eldest doesn't like bananas, her favourite recipe so far includes mango, pineapple, coconut flakes, almonds, almond milk and yoghurt - delish!

The last drink I made was a mix of some of my favourites, and was just like a healthy dessert. I used almond milk, a shot of cold coffee, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and two tablespoons of organic rolled oats. Once blitzed I added two tablespoons of chia seeds and let it sit for ten minutes, stirring regularly. Topped with coconut flakes, slivered almonds, and chocolate chips, it was a delicious guilt-free treat.

I would highly recommend a NutriBullet to anyone wanting a quick and fun way to create exceptionally healthy drinks and meals. Check out the website to see where you can buy yours, and lots of great recipes.

My Veggie Patch

You know how I love seeing other women succeed in creating a business out of their passion, and My Veggie Patch is extra special as it's a local Hawke's Bay business. Founder, Anna Curtis, has channelled her love for gardening and healthy eating into a unique business opportunity.

With years of experience in tending her own garden, she's passing on her enthusiasm to her children, and teaching them that veggies don't grow in the supermarket. And if you, like me, are also keen to provide your family with fresh, nutritious veggies, but are perhaps short on time or gardening know-how, Anna will create a garden for you.

If you live in Hawke's Bay you can hire Anna to come and create your very own veggie garden and give you expert advice on how to maintain it. Or you can purchase a veggie crate as an instant garden solution, lined, filled and planted out with seasonal veggie seedlings. These recycled crates are also available to purchase lined and waiting for you to fill and plant, and can be delivered throughout the North Island.

If you're short on space, or have a wall that needs beautifying, the vertical pallet garden is for you. You can plant most small veggie varieties and small plants, anything that likes growing in pots will love the pallet environment. They're great for apartments, offices, shop fronts and more. And the industrial wheel at one end means they're very easy to move around if needed.

As well as gardens and gardening services, Anna has also created a fun and colourful range of My Veggie Patch products. This includes tea towels, harvest hats for adults, and cute bucket hats for the littlies, tote bags, and big spotty Euro-sized cushions - great for your bed or your sofa.

I'm a huge fan of fresh, healthy veggies, but also happen to be slightly challenged in the art of gardening, so I love the idea of having an expert create a garden for me. If this appeals to you too, go and check out Anna's website now. You can also commission her to create customised gardens to suit your space requirements and style preferences. You can keep up to date with all the news on the My Veggie Patch Facebook page.