A few weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Aussie Farmers Direct, asking if I'd like to try their Weight Watchers approved Freshbox programme.
Freshbox is a food delivery service that delivers you recipes and the necessary ingredients to cook dinner for yourself and your family. There are other services similar and Freshbox boasts a few key differences.
Freshbox recipes are designed in conjunction with Weight Watchers, so that's a plus for anyone on that plan or looking to watch their intake. Each recipe is allocated Smart Points, so you can figure out how much of your daily intake you should allow for it. Other food & recipe delivery services offer nutritional information, but the Weight Watchers Smart Points system is a little easier to follow, especially if you don't have a sound understanding of nutritional panels.
Freshbox also comes in a little less expensive than some of their competitors - by up to $40 on the Classic Box feeding 4 people 5 meals. This could make a real difference for a family who wants to eat more exciting and varied meals, but not blow their budget. To give you some idea, the Couples Freshbox Vegetarian we received gratis retails for $64 which comprises of the recipes and ingredients for 3 meals for 2 people. A Classic Family Box offers 5 meals for 4 people and is $149.
The Aussie Farmers Direct website boasts these benefits for the Freshbox service:
All the planning and counting has been done for you
Easy-to-follow, SmartPoints™-friendly recipes
New recipes every week - View this week’s recipes
Generous meal portions
Free delivery to your door
Feed your family for as little as $6.95 per plate
So, after a little research into the programme, I said yes, and a lovely box of fresh gear arrived Saturday before last.
We received a vegetarian box - 2 x 3. So three meals, for two people.
This was a really nice amount of stuff for us - we have the children half the time, and 3 -4 weeknights we have to ourselves. We are generally pretty happy to be as boring or as creative as we like, and so the infusion of 3 meals for the week didn't feel like too much to take on. I had accidentally grocery shopped the day prior so we had more food than we knew what to do with! As it turned out we only ended up making 2 of the meals provided, with the other ingredients being kept or repurposed for other meals.
The recipes we scored were Zucchini Ribbon Pancakes (pictured below), Minted Sweet Potato Falafels and Pumpkin, Rocket and Rice Salad. We make the pancakes almost IMMEDIATELY that Saturday because they sounded totally delicious. Now, not being vegetarian, we accidentally added smoked salmon and I HAVE ZERO REGRETS. We generally don't go through a lot of dairy and grains in our house (unless cheese boards are happening) and so it was a bit of fun to work with fresh ricotta and whip up these fluffy savoury pancakes for lunch. The recipe was easy to follow and I think even young teens would be able to bust out one of these meals to take the pressure off Mum and Dad one night! We really enjoyed the pancakes, so much so that I had trouble sticking to the recommended portion size for Weight Watchers. STORY OF MY LIFE, RIGHT THERE. Pinot Grigio not supplied by Freshbox.
The Pumpkin, Rocket and Rice Salad was our next pick, and there we encountered a few issues. One, I'd left the pumpkin on the bench for two days and then LITERALLY PUT MY HAND THROUGH IT. It had cooked! Not even rotted, but cooked! I was tempted to use it but ended up tossing it. Sad! Lesson learned - Summer in Queensland is a killer for veggies!
We were happy to roast off some other veggies to use but didn't have brown rice to go in the salad and it wasn't included in our pantry provisions in the box. To be honest, we were more than happy to have roasties with rocket, sun dried tomato and fetta as per the rest of the recipe. It was tasty and delicious, although quite a detour from the original recipe. I do believe that the omission of brown rice was probably a packing error, as it wasn't listed as a supply the user ought to have from the pantry. I will admit that the other well known service that offers recipes + ingredients always includes miniature packets of staples so that you truly have every thing you need to cook. I think I even received a miniature bottle of olive oil once from that crowd!
The final recipe in the WW Vegetarian Freshbox was the falafel and sad to say we did not quite get there. I still have the chickpeas and recipe though, so will keep it up my sleeve for one night next year!
Overall I enjoyed the Freshbox experience and think it would suit couples or families who like to cook at home and are wanting fresh inspiration. The produce is good (especially the dairy! Yoghurt, ricotta and fetta were all delightful) and the recipes are easy to follow. Couples or families who are weaning themselves off takeout or eating out regularly could also save money and potentially broaden their cooking horizons using this service.
Personally I look forward to ordering these sorts of boxes sporadically when I hit food ruts and want to try out some new recipes without going to the effort of meal planning and shopping! Since we moved further south this year we have been eating out less due to lack of proximity to decent restaurants and I can see that trend continuing in 2017. A service like Freshbox could be a great tool to keep us on track with our budget and health goals.
Now in other news, who's into their Christmas baking?? I am in shortbread mode this week! Recipe to follow!
Disclaimer: this is not a paid post. All opinions are those of Brisbane Foodie. Freshbox was delivered free for author's consideraton.