We all know that life doesn’t slow down for us when we need a break, and almost five months into our wonderful marriage as we cross over to our first new year together, life seems more crazy than ever. Finances, work, fitness, family… it doesn’t ever seem to end! Our lives are greater than we could ever accomplish in one day and any bit of simplification I can take to allow for more time with those I care about makes all the difference in the world; and that’s how a food delivery services made my marriage better.
After flipping through some of my favorite inspiration books for my last post, I found myself rereading my favorite passages and learning higher levels philosophies I couldn’t interpret on the first read-through. One book in particular stuck out to me in this point of my life – A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living. I could never think that the craziness felt throughout life is actually caused by the mental and physical clutter of my lifestyle, and the constant routine of filling the fridge, forgetting ingredients, making multiple store trips and cooking dinner seemed like an abundance of time I was wasting through my week when I was already pushing 12 to 13 hours days. This is where Hello Fresh stepped in.
Hello Fresh introduced us to food delivery and I didn’t think it would ever have the impact it had on our home. With the recent transition to my husband being home more after previously working 55 hour work weeks, I felt more pressure to constantly clean the house and cook with us both being home. Hello Fresh offered a few quick breaks in the evenings for me to not think about dinner, pull the quick little sack of ingredients out of the fridge, and just follow the simple recipe. My grocery list was thoughtless, the meal prep was nonexistent and the fun was more.
When we signed up, we were able to pick the top three meals we wanted for the week from a list of about 7 or 8, including pesto panko breaded chicken breast with roasted potatoes, pork tacos with kiwi salsa and even dipped Italian beef baguette sandwiches with a delicious salad. About 5 to 7 days later, it was at our door, wrapped in cooling packaging as to not spoil waiting for us to come home (even though it was 0 degrees F outside that day!). Each meal was prepackaged with every ingredient required to complete it, and the recipe cards outlines the exact utensils, pans, ingredients and appliances needed to get the job done. Step-by-step directions guide you through the cooking process and estimated prep and cooking times set the expectation on how long it will be from knife cute to forks in mouths.
The thought of having three meals a week practically set up and waiting for me made the scheduler in me just giddy with joy. I love having everything laid out and ready to go, so when I got home from the gym after a 10 hour work day on the first night starving and exhausted, I went for the easiest meal. Since it was our first time trying it with two of us in the kitchen (I usually am the primary dinner cook or cook just for myself since my husband used to work during dinner hours), we took a lot longer than anticipated, but managed to get the job done. My husband loved the cooking beyond what I though he would and became even more eager to cook the next meals. We had a few hiccups along the way – a missing kiwi for our kiwi salsa and a rotten tomato – but the wonderful customer service team redeemed themselves with credit for our next box and we luckily had replacement ingredients in the house. Overall, the experience was great in creating a convenient way for us spend more quality time together. My favorite part was that each recipe came with a heavy-duty recipe card outlining the ingredients so that you could create your own collection overtime, revisit the recipes to buy ingredients, and then cook them by yourself.
Blah blah, cooking together, blah blah, teamwork… no, this is not the speech I’ll give you today. Actually, this process changed our relationship in a good way totally different from what I could have expected. Aft er the first co-cooked box, I found my husband texting me saying that he was going to make the second meal himself and have it ready for me when I get home. Now, the roles have always been so reversed, so this was a complete switch in our relationship and not something I was really used to. Anyone who has read the 5 Love Languages book I ramble about in my last post knows that we each have a love language, or a few, and one of mine is acts of service. By him cooking me dinner, I was able to appreciate his time and effort even more, making the food even more bittersweet.
Hello Fresh forced us into a place that I didn’t realize I was missing – I missed having my husband around to help me with the normal things I’ve grown accustomed to handling on my own, like cooking, cleaning and even just eating dinner together. Since we both share this common services love language, he always felt appreciated by my actions, but we now share a mutual bond between sharing services and helping each other out to be more cohesive and caring. We now get completely disappointed when there aren’t three meals the next week we want to enjoy and skip the week, but now we’ve learned to take old recipes and make grocery lists based on those, and then spend the grocery shopping time together as well.
At this point, we’re too early in to possibly continually justify the money spent on it (at $60 a week, it can get pretty high up there in expenses), but it’s something we may opt into on our busy weeks for sure. From this, we’ve learned a bigger lesson aside from cooking, and it’s something we need to apply more into our daily lives as a married couple, to spend more time appreciating each others work and love languages. Marriage isn’t always easy, but you can always continue to improve your relationship with the little things.