Mindful Chef: the Healthy Recipe Box
I don’t often post about food on this blog, but when I do, it’s because I’ve found something that really makes life a little bit better. I’ve talked before about how my love of cooking has diminished since having children. It’s something to do with the endless nature of feeding a family. No sooner is one meal consumed, than another has to be prepared, and the cycle of menu-planning, shopping, prepping, and cleaning up seems to go round too fast for me to ever feel like food is not on my mind. Add to that the joylessness of counting carbs and weighing food for good diabetes management, and it’s fair to say that food – which should be such a pleasure – can sometimes feel like a bit of a slog.
I have a variety of go-to family meals that are guaranteed to be relished by the kids, and those are my staples. I know the carb counts, I know they’ll get eaten, and I know they’re reasonably healthy, with the odd treat on the side. Occasionally I rip a page out of a magazine, tempted by asian spices or marinades, pulses I rarely use, or gorgeous-sounding cuts of meat. Sometimes I’ll get the kids into bed early and open a bottle wine, while I prepare something ‘interesting’ for myself and my husband to eat alongside a good episode of our current crush, The Good Wife.
But often I flag. I end the day tired, and my good intentions disappear into a packet of fish fingers and a ready meal. And I wish they didn’t.
Mindful Chef to the rescue
This week I’ve made two meals that have injected a fresh feel into my cooking. We were sent a recipe box from Mindful Chef, a recipe box service that focuses on creating tempting dishes with healthy ingredients. They are big on organic and gluten-free, and use no refined carbohydrates, which is what I love. Whilst my daughter can eat anything she likes, the pursuit of a stable blood sugar is sometimes easier if she eats low GI foods, as it is with all of us. But what I really like is the vibrant, fresh look of all their recipes. Everything on the site looks incredibly tempting, so much so that I found it difficult to choose what we would have.
Mindful Chef are on a mission to make healthy eating easy and tasty. The recipe box contains everything you need for a meal, in the easiest format to prepare and cook. We got tinned pulses, so there was no soaking, and interesting variations on our usual carbohydrate staples that were much better for our bodies, from buckwheat, to red rice.
In the end, I chose a dish to cook for the whole family, and a delicious-sounding vegan meal for the two of us to eat one evening with Netflix. Not that we’re vegan, it just sounded amazing! Here’s how we got on:
Sensational grilled chicken and buckwheat
Tell me I’m going to grill chicken and I’ll grimace at the prospect of dry, chewy meat. Threaten me with buckwheat, and I’ll prepare myself for a health food experience that will leave me craving chocolate and wine. So I was nervous. I was even more worried about what the kids would think. But as I unpacked the box, I realised the ingredients looked really good. All the foods come well packaged, and the chicken was well padded in a gel cool pack. It looked really good quality, and despite the ‘ugly veg’ warning on the box (Mindful Chef don’t pander to polished versions of vegetables – they send fresh, unpreserved, imperfect, but tasty products) the peppers and coriander looked perky.
I followed the recipe exactly, (all the Mindful chef recipes claim a 30 minute maximum prep time), and whilst I could have done with prepping the salsa before I got started – I never was very quick at finely dicing! – the whole thing was done pretty quickly and on the table. This was the moment of truth. When you dose insulin, it’s best to take it 10 minutes before you eat. So if you don’t eat what’s on your plate, you’ve overdosed and risk a big hypo. Would she eat it? She did – all of it, and declared it enjoyable. The Bug said he really liked it, and both of them declared the chicken delicious – not too spicy, and not dry at all. In fact, it became such an enjoyable meal that I poured a glass of wine and took my time over it!
Recipe Box Tangy Miso Aubergines
This was a bit tricker. The recipe called for kebab sticks, which were supplied, but I’ve never been good at kebabs. It was fine though, I just popped my maple and miso covered aubergine cubes into a frying pan while I cooked the red rice and edamame beans with ginger. All the spices and liquids come in well-sealed little plastic pots, the rice is pre-measured, so really there’s nothing to do but add ingredients to pans at the correct points. I reserved this one for Actually Daddy and myself, my kids not being fans of aubergines, but we loved the tangy flavours of the dressing, and the unusual rice mixture.
My presentation skills weren’t the best in this image, as I was yelling upstairs that Daddy and I were having a night off, and could they please get themselves to bed (the joy of having slightly older kids)! But it tasted delicious, Will got suspended, and Alicia told Grandma where to go. Decent food and Netflix is a winning combination.
Check out our recipe box unboxing video to see some of what was in our box:
Mindful Chef recipe boxes start at £4.50 per meal. All recipes can be made in under thirty minutes. There is currently a 25% discount offer on first orders at Mindful Chef.
Our recipe box was given to us for the purposes of review. All opinion, editorial, and imagery is our own.