Thursday, July 2, 2015

Home Chef Subscription Box - 8th Delivery

Spiced Turkey Kofta Gyros with Cool Tzatziki Sauce & Pickled Onions in a Soft Pita Ingredients

Recipe Results

Southern Fried Chicken & Biscuits with Onions, Pickles & Honey Butter Ingredients

Recipe Results

Orange Vanilla Dreamsicle Smoothie with Fresh Oranges and Vanilla Yogurt Ingredients

Recipe Results

Fresh Fruit Basket

This is a review of our eighth Home Chef subscription box delivery. This week I only chose two dinners since those were the only ones I was tempted by. The previous week I purchased five, but on average I purchase three. I've also been purchasing the smoothies every week except one that just had too many calories and I've been ordering the fresh fruit the last five weeks. I was happy to see that most of the six ice packs were still partially frozen when they arrived. We enjoyed all the meals this week and Hubby like the Fried Chicken Biscuit the most. I really didn't have a favorite this week.

Spiced Turkey Kofta Gyros

We were really looking forward to this recipe since we absolutely love gyros! This recipe was a bit different, it involved shaping the ground turkey into a rectangular shape and baking it. After baking, it was sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices. The gyro spices really made the turkey taste like gyro meat, it was very tasty. The tzatziki sauce had too much lemon in it and so as a result it was too tart. I would have enjoyed this meal more if the sauce hadn't been so tart and there was shredded lettuce added. I could have done without the feta cheese, I don't like it on gyros. Unfortunately, this meal gave me heartburn for several hours. This meal was average, so I give it three out of five stars. It took around 45 minutes to make and had 681 calories.

Southern Fried Chicken & Biscuits

We rarely eat fried chicken and never make it ourselves, but I thought this recipe would be a nice treat. I would have preferred to receive the dough and bake the biscuits ourselves rather than receiving already baked biscuits, but it does save time that way. I had to toss out about half of the arugula that arrived since it went bad and when we went to make it a couple days later, the rest went bad. The chicken breasts were very thin, much thinner than we would normally purchase. Hubby enjoyed this meal a lot more than I did. I'm not a big fan of biscuits. Hubby gave it four out of five stars and I give it three. I found the biscuits to be dry and not flaky enough for me, so I had to put mayo on them. This recipe took around thirty minutes to make and had 892 calories.

Orange Vanilla Dreamsicle Smoothie

We really enjoy their smoothie recipes and this one was no exception. What only 134 calories, is that a typo?! This recipe calls for using orange zest, I never thought about doing that for a smoothie before and it's a great idea since it gives it a stronger orange flavor. We really enjoyed this smoothie, it had a lovely taste, but wasn't as sweet as we would have liked. Hubby suggested that if the oranges had been sweeter, it would have been perfect. We give this one four out of five stars. If you can afford a Vitamix or similar high quality blender, I highly recommend it if you make smoothies on a regular basis. After going through so many blenders over the years, we decided it would be worth the investment and four years ago we bought our Vitamix. We just replaced the drive socket, but we didn't have any issues with it until then and I've heard that it is common to have to replace the drive socket.

Fresh Fruit Basket

It arrived with one pink lady apple missing. They sent us a huge grapefruit, one orange, two clementines, one golden delicious apple, one pink lady apple and two nectarines. Everything was ripe except the nectarines, but after a couple of days being left at room temperature they ripened. Their fruit has always been enjoyable and I haven't had any issues with their quality.

Well there you have it, my eighth review of Home Chef. What do you think of my recipe results? We purchased the following recipes for this week:
  1. Buttery Chicken & Waffles with Scrambled Eggs & Maple Syrup
  2. Grilled Pesto Flatbreads with Balsamic Feta Tomato Salad
  3. Chicken Rajas Tacos with Roasted Poblano Pepper & Queso Fresco
  4. Red, White & Blue Smoothies with Cherries, Blueberries, Honey & Greek Yogurt 
  5. Fresh Fruit Basket
Before you leave don't forget to claim your Free Graze Box and enter my Plated Subscription Box Giveaway worth $72. Also, check out my reviews of Home Chef's competition: PlatedHello Fresh and Blue Apron before you leave. Which of the four subscription boxes do you like the most?

Bargain Alert -   Home Chef - $30 off your 1st box, click here.
                           Hello Fresh - $40 off your first box, use coupon code "YVWF79". 
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Village Tavern Restaurant Review - Winston Salem, NC

2000 Griffith Road
Winston Salem, NC  27103
(336) 760-8686

Interior View from Booth (click on photos to enlarge)

Hot Crab Dip Appetizer $10.95

Chicken Club Sandwich with Fries $10.95

Huevos Rancheros Supreme $11.95

This is a restaurant review for Village Tavern located in Winston Salem, North Carolina at the corner of Hanes Mill Boulevard and Stratford Road not far from Hanes Mall. They have eleven locations, two of which are located in North Carolina. We were really looking forward to trying this restaurant, but came away disappointed. We walked in last Saturday at around noon and noticed at the reception desk their sanitation grade was 95, which is very good. Even though the parking lot was full we were seated at a booth as soon as we arrived. 

We had a hard time deciding what to eat since they were serving breakfast and lunch and there were so many choices on the menu. We started with water with lemon for Hubby and Diet Coke for me and the Hot Crab Dip Appetizer. My Diet Coke was off, it tasted like licorice which I'm told means they need to clean the soda fountain. It was quite the wait to be served the appetizer and we were starving. I was shocked beyond belief that they served the cheapest hamburger buns with the Crab dip. Never in my life have I seen crab dip served with hamburger buns. It should have been served with tortilla chips, high quality crackers or some type of artisan bread! According to the menu it was "backfin crab meat served with toasted garlic bread". We only tasted a hint of garlic on two pieces of the toast. The dip was very good, but the toast was insulting. Twenty seven long minutes later our entrees arrived. Wow, what a long wait! If the atmosphere hadn't been so nice & we had not eaten an appetizer, we would have probably left since that's just too long of a wait for lunch.

My Chicken Club had some chunks of chicken on the right side and lots of Virginia Ham on the left side. Normally a sandwich is made in layers, so I found that odd. It had two thin slices of low quality cheese, lettuce that had bad spots on them that I had to tear off and tomato. There was so little mayonnaise on it that it was absorbed by the dry bread that was toasted too long. I had to ask for some mayo and apply it myself. I was never asked if there was an issue with my sandwich or if the food was ok at anytime during the meal. I think the waiter should have asked me what the issue was when I asked for mayo and then immediately taken it back to the kitchen to apply more mayo and let the kitchen know about this issue. This entree is described as "grilled chicken, classic Virginia cured ham, sugared applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and Monterey cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, multigrain bread". The bacon wasn't cooked long enough, so it wasn't crispy as it should be on any type of club sandwich. It was also very greasy. The fries weren't very hot when they arrived, so they were cold by the time I got to the bottom of the cup of fries. I immediately had a stomach ache upon eating this sandwich, so I didn't eat it all.  It was either the dirty Diet Coke or the sandwich that made me feel ill.

Hubby ordered the Huevos Rancheros Supreme. It is described as "our Huevos Rancheros, Andouille sausage, spicy black beans, tavern hash browns and fresh fruit". There were only about five tiny little pieces of sausage in it and it was served in a burrito style which is not how Huevos Rancheros is normally served. The hash browns certainly didn't look like hash browns to me which are suppose to be thin and crispy. Their idea of hash browns is potatoes cut into large pieces. If they had made them into much smaller pieces and fried them in a pan long enough to make them crispy, then I would consider them hash browns. The only thing Hubby enjoyed was the apple walnut muffin and the fresh fruit. He tried a sample of my sandwich and disliked it just as much as I did.

In conclusion, we will not be returning to this restaurant. Our waiter filled my husband's water glass several times, but my soda was never refilled. While he was friendly, he wasn't attentive. Also, he went missing for a long period of time between the appetizer and the entrees' delivery. Ladies, note that you will need a jacket or sweater since they run the air conditioning too cold. The atmosphere is really lovely, but that doesn't make up for the low quality food, the long wait for food and the unsatisfactory service.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews for the Raleigh, Triangle area (search engine is over on the right side) or check out my Pinterest Restaurant Review Board. Also, check out my latest reviews for the Winston Salem, Triad area which are linked below:

Chef Samir Shaltout - Greensboro, NC
Dairi-O - King, NC
Green Valley Grill - Greensboro, NC
Hakka Chow - Winston Salem, NC
Mary's Gourmet Diner - Winston Salem, NC
The Tavern in Old Salem - Winston Salem, NC

I have several more restaurant reviews in the works, so be sure to stop by again soon. We just moved to the Winston Salem area from the Raleigh area, so my Piedmont list of reviews is just starting. What are your favorite restaurants in the Piedmont Triad area?  Please comment below!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

4th of July Manicure - Sinful Colors' Star Blast Off

Well it's that time of year again, the Forth of July is this coming weekend! What patriotic manicure have you come up with this year? If you need help figuring that out, you are welcome to copy the manicure I came up with above. I chose Julep's red nail polish called Myrtle as a base for the wonderful Sinful Colors top coat called Star Blast Off. Myrtle is from the Classic with a Twist collection and Julep describes it as a flapper red crème. I used two coats of it and it was nice and opaque. It was pretty easy to apply except at the cuticle line. I had to make sure I was using the side of the brush that has a nice edge to it, because the other side was crooked. After about ten minutes drying time, I applied Sinful Colors' Star Blast Off which has red, white and blue dots and white stars in a clear base. After I brushed it on, it left red, white and blue dots, but I had to fish out the stars and dab them on. I also went back and dabbed on some more dots where there were bare spots. After about five minutes when the top coat settled, I applied one top coat of Seche Vite. I swatched this top coat on top of white, metallic white and silver nail polishes, but the dots and stars didn't pop enough, so I went with the red color as a base. I just applied it yesterday, so I don't know how long the polish will last nor how easily it chips. I will update this post with that information in about seven days. Also, I will be applying another top coat of Seche Vite before I wash our dogs so that it will last longer. Star Blast Off is available at Walgreens and only costs $1.99. The photo above was taken outside on a mostly cloudy day. Myrtle looks much darker indoors, it has more of a red hot candy color.

So there you have it, my latest manicure. How do you like it and what's on your nails today? Please take a moment and comment below. I have over eighty manicures featured on this blog. Take a quick glance at them all on my Pinterest Manicure Board. Then simply click on the ones you want to read about on my blog, since the photos are linked to their matching blog post. Before you leave, don't forget to enter my Plated Subscription Box Giveaway worth $72 and claim your Free Graze Box!

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Giveaway & Home Chef Subscription Box - 7th Delivery

Caramel Apple Smoothies with Vanilla Greek Yogurt & Roasted Peanuts Ingredients

Recipe Results

Cuban Style Pork Chop with Ensalada de Aguacate & Citrus Caramelized Onions Ingredients

Recipe Results

Hearty Steak & Goat Cheese Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette & Pepitas Ingredients

Recipe Results

Farmer's Market Gazpacho with Avocado Microgreen Tartines Ingredients

Recipe Results

North Indian Aloo Tikki Crispy Potato Cakes with Pineapple Mint Chutney Ingredients

Recipe Results

Pan Seared Chicken Moutarde with Chervil Gremolata & Smashed Yukon Potatoes Ingredients

Recipe Results

Fresh Fruit Basket

This is a review of a subscription box we have been receiving for the last eight weeks called Home Chef. Out of the eleven recipes offered last week, I chose five recipes and could have ordered more since they were all tempting. I also ordered the fruit basket and the weekly smoothie recipe. Unfortunately, the chicken thighs and steak didn't do well during the trip here, so we had to go to the grocery store and purchase replacements. It appeared the condensation from the refrigerated ingredients weakened the cardboard box causing the bottom of the box to tear open during shipping and then FedEx taped it back together. The chicken, pork and steak were put back in three different locations in the box and not next to the ice packs. Also, a tomato was squished and half the spinach went bad. Home Chef gave me a $40 credit for the damaged ingredients. Our favorite recipe this week was the Caramel Smoothie, second place goes to the North Indian Aloo Tikki and our least favorite was the Pan Seared Chicken Moutarde

Caramel Apple Smoothies Ingredients

Wow, was this tasty! We've never used caramel in our smoothies before since we usually only use healthy ingredients, but this was a nice treat. I was so glad the replacement drive socket for our Vitamix arrived in time to make this recipe! Their smoothie recipes are always something we look forward to trying since it usually only takes about five to ten minutes to make and even if it's healthy, it's a nice treat. Home Chef has helped us get back into the routine of making smoothies on a regular basis. It's amazing how few peanuts it took to give this drink a yummy peanut butter flavor. This recipe had 570 calories, so it was a dessert for us.

Cuban Style Pork Chop

We had not tried Cuban food before, so we were looking forward to giving this recipe a try. Unfortunately, it didn't have much spice, so it really didn't taste much different and was a disappointment. One of the tomatoes arrived smooched, so we didn't use it. The side salad was ok, but we weren't crazy about using lime juice, lemon zest and lime zest as dressing. This recipe took about thirty minutes and was 510 calories.

Hearty Steak & Goat Cheese Salad Ingredients

I had to make a special trip to the grocery store to replace the steak that went bad due to the temperature in the box being too high. I bought some thinly sliced sirloin from Harris Teeter. Only half the spinach was in decent shape, so I had to throw out about half of it. I didn't purchase more spinach and yet it was still a good portion. This recipe was ok, really nothing special about it and we didn't like the dressing since it was sour. This recipe took around thirty minutes to make and had 677 calories.

Farmer's Market Gazpacho

I planned to make this for my lunch, but put it off until the last moment since I wasn't in the mood to cook. This was ok but I really prefer Tracy Anderson's version of this recipe which uses cilantro instead of basil, red onion instead of shallot, roasted tomatoes instead of tomato juice, mixed bell peppers instead of just red peppers, rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar and adds lemon juice, chives, paprika and cayenne pepper. Also, this should be made in a food processor rather than a blender, so that it's not totally turned into a liquid and has some chunky bits in it. This is the first time I have tried avocado mashed on top of bread and while it was ok, I really prefer slices of it in a sandwich with meat or cheese or something other than just avocado. I added red onion, paprika and cayenne pepper to the leftover gazpacho and it was much improved. This is the perfect diet recipe, if you use cayenne pepper since it boosts your metabolism. This vegetarian recipe took about twenty-five minutes to prepare and had 452 calories.

North Indian Aloo Tikki

I also planned to make this dish for lunch, but procrastinated. When I went to make it eight days after it arrived everything was fresh except the peas, so I just used the frozen peas I always keep on hand for our dogs. This was very tasty and quite unusual like nothing I've had before. I especially enjoyed the chutney which consisted of mint, red onion, pineapple, cilantro, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. It was easier to make than the recipe looked. Perhaps another reason I put it off since it looked intimidating to me and Hubby wouldn't be around to help out during lunchtime. I ate the second portion today after warming the patties in our little oven and they were a little dried out but the chutney rectified that. This delicious vegetarian recipe took around forty minutes to make and had 457 calories.

Pan Seared Chicken Moutarde

Shortly after Hubby started this recipe he opened the chicken package and there was a really awful smell that was no doubt proof that the chicken thighs had gone bad. Since we didn't have any other chicken in the house that wasn't frozen, we put this one off until we could find chicken thighs which required a trip to two different grocery stores to find them. This recipe would have been ok if it wasn't for the awful sour lemon sauce that went on top. This recipe took about forty minutes to prepare and had 591 calories.

Fresh Fruit Basket

This was a nicely ripe group of fruit that they sent this week. I just wish they would change it up a bit since this is the third week of the same types of fruit. I just checked the new menu that they put up today for the week of July 6th and they have changed it to trail mix, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit and apples. I'm so excited! So they are listening to our suggestions, how wonderful.

Well there you have it, a review of our seventh delivery from Home Chef. I really shouldn't have bought so many recipes, but I was really tempted by them that week and had no idea we wouldn't be in the mood to cook since Hubby came down with a cold. Maybe that was the issue with the shipment, that they placed too many recipes in the same sized box. I ordered less for this week since the menu wasn't as tempting. But boy am I challenged to pick less than five items for the current menu that is up for the week of July 6th. So many dishes that I want to try! Here's what we received today:
  1. Southern Fried Chicken & Biscuits with Onions, Pickles & Honey Butter
  2. Spiced Turkey Kofta Gyros with Cool Tzatziki Sauce & Pickled Onions in a Soft Pita
  3. Orange Vanilla Dreamsicle Smoothie with Fresh Oranges and Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  4. Fresh Fruit Basket
Thankfully, they arrived safely with six ice packs, five of which were still partially frozen. Check out my reviews of Home Chef's competition: PlatedHello Fresh and Blue Apron before you leave.  Also, before you leave don't forget to claim your Free Graze Box and enter my latest Giveaway which is a Plated Subscription Box worth $72:

Plated has provided me with another free subscription box worth $72 to give away. Congratulations to Tina who won the last one. Plated will send the winner one shipment that includes all the ingredients for three recipes for two people for a total of six servings. The winner must be over 18 years old, a new Plated customer, provide me with their name and email address to give to Plated, provide Plated their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US. To skip future weeks' shipments, visit their website & go to my account, subscription and click "skip this week" on the calendar or chose "cancel subscription".

Bargain Alert -   Hello Fresh - $40 off your first box, use coupon code "YVWF79". 
                           Home Chef - $30 off your 1st box, click here.

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