Thursday, September 30, 2021

Week 4 of HelloFresh: Crushed Tomatoes

It's the fourth week that a HelloFresh box arrived at our home. We skipped last week but ordered five different dishes this week. The theme of this week happens to be tomatoes. Four out of the five dishes we ordered included crushed tomatoes.

Carb Smart Moroccan-Style Shrimp Stew with Zucchini, Feta, and Almonds
HelloFresh Description: This savoury bisque is inspired by the flavours of North Africa. A sprinkle of dry-roasted almonds adds a light crunch on top.

It's so easy to burn the toasted almonds. Otherwise, I love the shrimps!

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew with Kale, Peppers, and Spiced Croutons
HelloFresh Description: This satisfying stew packs lots of protein with smoky chorizo sausage and filling chickpeas. It's a fiesta of flavour!

It's spicy! I went crazy and added lots of chilli flakes. The croutons made of ciabatta roll are so good.

Cal Smart Chipotle Pork Chili with Poblano Peppers and Cheddar Cheese
HelloFresh Description: This nourishing and light chilli replaces beans with lots of wholesome veggies! We added extra fun... spicy chipotle and melty cheddar cheese are mucho delicioso.

PRO Tip: Add all the chipotle powder for all the heat. The sour cream and cheddar cheese definitely tone it down.

Tomato Garlic Beef Spaghetti with Sweet Pepper and Zucchini
HelloFresh Description: We've figured out the secret to adding oomph to a simple meat sauce - a splash of soy sauce! The saltiness is a subtle but tasty addition to the succulent ground beef, aromatic Italian seasoning and juicy tomatoes. It's a colourful and flavourful dish that's perfect for a night in!

This is my favourite dish this week!

Chow Mein-Style Chicken with Mixed Veggies
HelloFresh Description: This riff on the classic dish is quick and packs a satisfying punch! The perfect combination of tender chicken pieces, springy noodles, and crunchy veggies coated in a fragrant soy sauce will satisfy any craving for take-out!

I made a mistake with this dish. I added a bit of too much salt to the chicken. 

Meal Planning with HelloFresh

Like I did in Week 3, I will share with you when we enjoyed each meal. We ate each dish twice because the calories are pretty high for a single meal (since I am on a "diet," LOL). We get our deliveries every Saturday. How do I decide which ones to cook first? By the number of fresh vegetables in the dish. The more there is, the sooner I'll cook it just to ensure the veggies don't die in the fridge.
  1. Sunday Lunch: Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew
  2. Sunday Dinner: Carb Smart Moroccan Shrimp Stew
  3. Monday Lunch: Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew
  4. Monday Dinner: Cal Smart Chipotle Pork Chili|
  5. Tuesday Lunch: Carb Smart Moroccan Shrimp Stew
  6. Tuesday Dinner: Tomato Garlic Beef Spaghetti
  7. Wednesday Lunch: Cal Smart Chipotle Pork Chili|
  8. Wednesday Dinner: Chow Mein-Style Chicken
  9. Thursday Lunch: Tomato Garlic Beef Spaghetti
  10. Friday Lunch: Chow Mein-Style Chicken
As you can see from the schedule, HelloFresh takes care of our Monday to Friday lunch, which is a big help because we work from home, and I don't want to worry about what to have for lunch. I just grabbed one of our containers and reheated on the stove. Most of the dishes are actually better when we had it for lunch.

For breakfast, we usually have rice (we're still Filipino) or sandwiches or oatmeal. I am surprised that I am spending about the same with HelloFresh as I did before when we would do our weekly grocery. We don't suffer from eating the same dish over and over again, plus, we're eating more vegetables, It's a win-win.

HelloFresh Promo Code!

Save $100 with my code HS-PAL5157JZ!

* This offer entitles you to a total of $100 off HelloFresh: $50 off your first box + free shipping, $20 off second, $20 off third. Upon redemption, you will be enrolled in an auto-renewing subscription which you may cancel at any time, in accordance with our terms & conditions. Delivery fees may apply for subsequent orders. Please check HelloFresh.ca/FAQ for more information.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

#MyBridgesMemory Last Lunch at Bridges Restaurant

Bridges Restaurant in Granville Island will be closing its doors this weekend. Tomorrow is their last day of operation. After renovations, the iconic yellow building will be the new home of Tap and Barrel Bridges.

My Bridges Restaurant Memories

I moved to Canada in 2015, and my first full-time job was at the building by the entrance of Granville Island. According to my Swarm App, I have been to Bridges Restaurant seven times (before today).

First Promotion

My first time at Bridges was when I had lunch with our CEO last April 2018. He told me the fantastic news that I will be the new manager of our Vancouver office. I was shaking with excitement, joy, and fear all at the same time.

I wanted to cry after our meal as we were walking back into the office. You see, I was underemployed for nine months after I arrived in Canada. I got married in October 2017, and my hubby was unable to work right away until we get his work permit. It was a challenging time financially and emotionally. 

The news I received that day while enjoying a delicious meal at the patio of Bridges Restaurant is something I will always be grateful for.

Farewell Dinner

A month after my first visit (May 2018) - I am back at Bridges Restaurant to have a farewell and thank-you dinner for my first manager in Canada. He is a great manager and a wonderful human being.

Acquisition Celebration Dinner

The third time I was in Bridges Restaurant was a year later (May 2019). Our company just got acquired! It's an exciting and scary time for the company, but we celebrated the acquisition that evening.

Meeting New Colleagues

After the acquisition, we had many new colleagues, and some of them even visited us in Vancouver. For one team lunch, we enjoyed a meal at Bridges. It's the ultimate Vancouver experience - good food with amazing views.

Customer Meeting

Our office is isolated, meaning we only communicate with our customers over the phone or by email. The one exception is when a customer from Israel is on a series of business trips to meet their suppliers worldwide, which means a short stop in Vancouver. So my colleagues and I agree that they deserve to see and experience Bridges Restaurant.

Lunch with Parents

On a random stressful Friday, my parent's dropped by Granville Island, and we had lunch at Bridges Restaurant because I just knew my mom would love it - the view, the ambiance, and the food.

Celebrating Anniversary

Hubby and I got married twice - once in Canada and a second time in the Philippines. We celebrated our first Catholic wedding anniversary with a beautiful summer dinner in Bridges Restaurant.

Thank You Lunch

Thank you, Bridges Restaurant, for all the beautiful memory. I will miss the cozy yet sophisticated ambiance, delightful staff, and good food.

For lunch today, I made a reservation for 12:30 PM for a table outside. It was a beautiful sunny day! We were almost late because we decided to take a stroll along the seawall from Cambie Bridge.

Vancouver is so beautiful.

Kat is the name of our lovely server today. She told us that Bridges is closing and it's the last weekend. She also mentioned the items that are no longer available.

Nachos with Cajun Chicken
Menu Description: Tortilla chips, cheddar, mozzarella, cotija, corn and black bean salsa, cilantro, banana peppers, sour cream, avocado crema, and Valentina hot sauce.

For sharing, we ordered the Nachos with cajun chicken. Hubby and I enjoyed the cheesy goodness while discussing upcoming projects and planning for the future.

I ordered the Spicy Tuna Burger (the sesame lemongrass crust was amazing!) with french fries while hubby ordered the Grilled Steak (it was delicious!).

Spicy Tuna Burger

Spicy Tuna Burger
Menu Description: Seared ahi tuna, sesame lemongrass crust, avocado, cucumber, spicy miso mayo, crispy onion, and pickled onions.

Grilled Steak
Menu Description: 6 oz sirloin steak, truffle chive butter, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables

To finish things up, I ordered a double scoop of gelato (because the Milk Chocolate Brownie is not available). Meanwhile, hubby ordered the Pecan Caramel Cheesecake.

Espresso and Chocolate Gelato

Pecan Caramel Cheesecake
Menu Description: New York cheesecake, candied pecans, and caramel sauce

Tap and Barrel Bridges

The iconic yellow building in Granville Island will be the new home of Tap and Barrel Bridges. According to Kat, the renovations will take around six months, and they expect to open late spring or early summer next year.

This photo of the Bridges Restaurant and Granville Island Public Market was taken last May 9, 2021, when we were walking along Burrard Bridge.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Lunch at Pho 37

It's a busy Saturday for hubby and me (and my beautiful parents, who helped us with our errands today).

We decided (just a week ago) to send a balikbayan box to my in-laws in the Philippines. It's our first time doing such a thing, and we have no idea what to get and how to do it, but we chugged along.

We started the day in Costco, where we purchased many things we think they're going to enjoy - a personal favourite is the box of 40 (10 pieces of 4 different hot chocolates!). Of course, we also got the usual like Spam, body soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Then, we head to Superstore. I shopped for our food for the week since I am not getting HelloFresh delivery this week. Hubby also got tea and chips (limited edition Pringles and ketchup flavour chips), which we can include in the box.

Before heading to lunch, we stopped by Manila Cargo Express to buy a balikbayan box and ask about the process of sending a package and its costs.

Then, we drove all the way to Ironwood for lunch because my parents love Pho37.

11. Special Beef Noodle Soup (Pho Dac Biet)
Special beef noodle soup with medium-rare beef sliced, beef brisket, meatballs, tendon and tripe.

The soup is much sweeter than what I am used to from other pho places. The combination plate (especially the spring rolls) was good, but I thought the one from Thai Son near Walmart was better. Though, the desserts are delicious! The next time we're back in the Ironwood area, I'll ask my parents to try the nearby Chinese Restaurant.

32. Lemongrass chicken, spring rolls, and minced shrimp on sugarcane with rice

1. Regular Spring Rolls

Deep-fried Banana

After our late lunch, we went back to my parent's place to pack and finalize the balikbayan box. Unfortunately, it was too late to drop it off at the Manila Cargo Express warehouse, so we headed home, and my parents will drop it off on Monday.

When we got home, we had to unpack all our groceries from both the Superstore and Costco. It was an exhausting day, but I am grateful.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Week 3 of HelloFresh

This is the third week that a HelloFresh Box arrived at our home. I went a little crazy and ordered five different dishes.

Zucchini and Lemon Linguine with Basil Pesto and Goat Cheese
HelloFresh Description: We love zucchini all year long here at HelloFresh, and this dish combines some of our favourite flavours. Sweet snap peas, zucchini and basil pesto combine in this delicious linguine pasta! A little squeeze of lemon at the end brings the whole dish together!

My favourite part of this dish is the pesto and goat cheese combination. After enjoying this for dinner, I told hubby we could totally make this again!

Chicken Tikka Masala with Peppers and Garlic Rice
HelloFresh Description: Bold tikka masala and creamy coconut milk coat tender chicken and sweet peppers in this quick and easy curry! The aromas will make you want to dig in before this hits the table.

I hate this dish! Ugh! Why? It's making me eat more rice than I should. It's so creamy and delicious.

Mediterranean Falafel Sandwich with Tzatziki and Side Salad
We're celebrating veggie night with this Mediterranean-inspired sandwich! Packed with pan-fried falafel, creamy hummus, briny pickles, spring mix and tzatziki, it checks off every flavour box!

This is an unfortunate meal. The falafel for the falafel sandwich wasn't inside the box. So I had to be resourceful and use the frozen meatballs we had in the fridge. Well, the hummus was delicious.

Chinese-Style Beef Bowl with Garlic-Ginger Rice and Green Veggies
HelloFresh Description: Chili Garlic Sauce adds a spicy and zesty kick to this bountiful beef bowl. Taking a pic for the 'gram? #putaneggonit!

My only regret with this dish is not adding the whole packet of chilli garlic sauce it came with. It's sweeter than I'd like, so the chilli garlic sauce would have been a big help.

Carb Smart Tagliata Steak Salad with Basil Pesto and Arugula
Fresh Italian flavours, without the starch. Hearty steak, drizzled with sweet balsamic vinegar, tops a zesty salad with a pesto dressing. Steak and Parmesan bring lots of protein to the table in this satiating supper. Carb Smart is based on a per serving calculation of the recipe's carbohydrate amount.

The best part about this dish is the zucchini covered in basil pesto. It's so delicious!

Random Thoughts

Looking at the pictures of the dishes this week, I can't believe how much more vegetables and greens I'm eating since using HelloFresh. We still do our once-a-week grocery, but it's mostly for bread and frozen items we can enjoy for meals that we don't have HelloFresh. We (two-person) enjoyed all five dishes for eight of our meals outlined below:
  1. Saturday Dinner: Carb Smart Tagliata Steak Salad with Basil Pesto and Arugula
  2. Sunday Lunch: Chinese-Style Beef Bowl with Garlic-Ginger Rice and Green Veggies
  3. Sunday Dinner: Mediterranean Falafel Sandwich with Tzatziki and Side Salad
  4. Monday Dinner: Chicken Tikka Masala with Peppers and Garlic Rice
  5. Tuesday Lunch: Chinese-Style Beef Bowl with Garlic-Ginger Rice and Green Veggies
  6. Tuesday Dinner: Zucchini and Lemon Linguine with Basil Pesto and Goat Cheese
  7.  Wednesday Lunch: Chicken Tikka Masala with Peppers and Garlic Rice
  8. Thursday Lunch: Zucchini and Lemon Linguine with Basil Pesto and Goat Cheese
As you can see from the list, I divided the meals, so essentially, we only eat half the serving for some of the meals. This is intentional for diet purposes. It is difficult to lose weight, especially for someone like me who loves food, so HelloFresh helps with my health journey.

HelloFresh Promo Code!

For a limited time (until September 29), save $100 with my code HS-PAL5157JZ!

* This offer entitles you to a total of $100 off HelloFresh: $50 off your first box + free shipping, $20 off second, $20 off third. Upon redemption, you will be enrolled in an auto-renewing subscription which you may cancel at any time, in accordance with our terms & conditions. Delivery fees may apply for subsequent orders. Please check HelloFresh.ca/FAQ for more information.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Peanut Butter Cheesecake from Trees Cheesecake + Organic Coffee

It's that time of the month when Trees Cheesecake + Organic Coffee changed their limited-edition cheesecake from Mango to Peanut Butter, and of course, we went there to enjoy a slice. It's much sweeter than I like, but it tastes like peanut butter.

I wonder if they can make a PB & J cheesecake.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Happy Saturday!

Dinner at MASA Japanese Restaurant

Happy rainy Saturday in Vancouver!

After Mass today, we decided to have dinner somewhere that serves soup (i.e. pho or ramen or anything with noodles). I had a dentist appointment recently, and they just placed a temporary crown, and I am paranoid that it will crack, so I thought noodles would be soft enough not to cause any damage. Also, I am not allowed to eat anything crunchy (like chips), hard (like nuts and candy), and sticky (like gum). So, except for the chips, I don't eat nuts, candy, or gum regularly. We also changed our diet recently, and we don't buy chips anymore.

Anyway, as we were walking from the Church to our home, we kept pointing at different restaurants and whether they had noodles and if we had eaten there recently. So that went on until we reached MASA Japanese Restaurant.

Volcano Roll (Salmon)
Menu Description: Deep fried spicy salmon roll with spicy salad and sauce

I love the Volcano Roll; it was spicy good! Though, to be fair, I think I enjoyed all the rolls we've tried so far, like Crispy Jumbo Dynamite RollDevil's KissMasa Aburi Cheese Monster Roll, and Knights of the Round Table.

Miso Chashu Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen

Delicious ramen to warm the body and soul on this relatively cold night.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Week 2 of HelloFresh

Happy Saturday! I can't believe this is the second week of us ordering from HelloFresh. I now understand better why people enjoy the service so much. We get to enjoy restaurant-quality recipes for a fraction of a cost. The best part for me is the nutritional information and good portions. I divide all serving into two, which solves lunch and dinner, plus I only eat half of the calories.

Bacon and Mushroom Linguine with Spinach and Thyme
HelloFresh Description: Velvety mushrooms and smoky bacon are a savoury match made in pasta heaven! A cheesy and creamy final touch will take your taste buds to new heights.

Cal Smart Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey and Parmesan
HelloFresh Description: The soup we all know and love has gotten a Cal Smart makeover! All of the classic players are here, with DIY, herbed turkey sausage mix and a deliciously hearty mix of veg and pasta. This is sure to please!

Mediterranean Gnocchi with Bocconcini and Oregano
HelloFresh Description: Gnocchi gets a Grecian makeover! Fluffy pan-fried gnocchi get tossed with salty feta, tomatoes, spinach and fresh bocconcini for a Greek pasta upgrade! All we can say is "Opa!"

All three dishes were surprisingly delicious, and I didn't need an oven for any of them (I don't have an oven). Plus, hubby has been super helpful in preparing all three dishes, and it's such a great bonding time.

We both work from home, and after office hours, we would do a YouTube cardio video for exercise, then prepare our HelloFresh dinner. I save half for lunch the following day and enjoy the rest for dinner that night.

Thank God for allowing us to work and earn to be able to afford this service.

Want to try HelloFresh?

For a limited time (until September 29), save $100 with my code HS-PAL5157JZ!


* This offer entitles you to a total of $100 off HelloFresh: $50 off your first box + free shipping, $20 off second, $20 off third. Upon redemption, you will be enrolled in an auto-renewing subscription which you may cancel at any time, in accordance with our terms & conditions. Delivery fees may apply for subsequent orders. Please check HelloFresh.ca/FAQ for more information.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Dinner: First time trying Popeyes

Happy Saturday and Labour Day Longe Weekend.

We spent most of the day at my parent's place in Richmond, BC, and their apartment is close to a Popeyes and a Church's Chicken. I want to do a fried chicken battle between the two fried chicken fast-food chains, but to get things started, I ordered from Popeyes tonight. We ordered for delivery with UberEats.

Popeyes Feast

As you can see from the picture above, I ordered a lot. I ordered 8 pieces Bonafide Chicken Family Meal (half mild and half spicy), large cajun gravy, three chicken sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, cajun fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, onion rings, and 8 pieces of New Nugget. Plus, they gave us five biscuits.

Bonafide Chicken Family Meal 

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

8 pieces nuggets

Signature Sides: Cajun Fries, Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Fries, Biscuits, Onion Rings, and Macaroni and Cheese

As I write this blog post, I haven't tried the spicy fried chicken, so I can't comment yet if I like it better than the one from Church's. However, I can tell their biscuits are using salted butter, and the texture is my favourite of all the ones I have tried so far.

The Spicy Chicken Sandwich was delicious. It was spicy, and the chicken was big. Unfortunately, I can't deliver it to our home in Vancouver; otherwise, I will order one chicken sandwich from KFC, Church's, and Popeyes.

My favourite side is Macaroni and Cheese. Unfortunately, the Onion Rings and Cajun Fries didn't arrive crispy, which is unfortunate. However, the Cajun Gravy is the surprise; it was sweeter than I expected.

Overall, a good experience from Popeyes. However, there are many good fried chicken restaurants in Metro Vancouver, so I don't think I'll crave Popeyes anytime soon.