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April 2022

Meal Kit Review: HelloFresh vs. EveryPlate - Bachelor on the Cheap

HelloFresh
Timely, cold delivery

By Mike Thayer

This is the first post in a series of HelloFresh meal kit reviews

I'm reviewing the ready meals from HelloFresh in another Bachelor on the Cheap series, receiving my first shipment today, it's a Friday, April 29, 2022.

Receiving four meals that serves two people per meal in my first shipment, the delivery included all the base ingredients and instructions for the following meals:

  • Meatloaf A' La Mom
  • Italian Chicken Over Lemony Spaghetti
  • Taqueria Pork Bowls
  • Citrus Pork Tacos
HelloFresh Packaging
No worries about food spoilage, great packaging

I've done the meal kit thing before, subscribing with EveryPlate last year and that was overall a good experience.  EveryPlate, a sister company to HelloFresh, was actually cheaper than the grocery store.  I did end up cancelling my subscription after a bit however and for two reasons.  The EveryPlate menu options at the time were pretty limited and I started to travel a lot with a new job.

I was impressed with the HelloFresh shipment, the tracking was spot on and the packaging was top notch.  The quality of ingredients was also top notch from the meats, fresh produce, dry ingredients, to the packaged sauces.  The recipe cards are an easy read, the instructions clear, so even if you're not an experienced cook, no worries!  The most impressive of all that though, the meals are individually wrapped. 

HelloFresh Meal Kit
It can't get much easier than this...

Contrast that to my experience with EveryPlate, which was boxed up nicely and remained cold through delivery, but shipments were always very simply packed.  All meats were lumped together, all other meal ingredients were lumped together into one large box, so you had to sort through everything, the produce, the sauces, the dry ingredients, using the menu cards to pick out what was needed for each meal.  HelloFresh eliminates that task (part of their elevated price).  While the meats are packed separately, all the other ingredients for each meal is wrapped in it's own, labelled and secure brown bag.  No sorting, no digging, no having to read menu cards to select the necessary ingredients, it's all ready to go for you with HelloFresh.

For my first HelloFresh meal I selected "Meatloaf A' La Mom with Potato Wedges, Green Beans & Gravy." My Mom made a pretty mean meatloaf so we'll see how this compares to my fond memory of what Mom served.

Hello Fresh Recipe Card
Free up counter space, put your recipe at eye level

Pulling the package of ground beef and "Meatloaf A' La Mom" meal bag from the fridge, I posted the recipe card and went to work.  TIP:  Don't get your recipe card or cook book messy with a food accident/spill by having it on the counter!  Not everybody uses a tablet/device to read recipes.  So for printed recipes - what meal kits provide - post the recipe at eye level in your kitchen using a binder clip.  Heck, even a chip clip will do.  This will also free up counter space for staging and chopping.

HelloFresh Meal Kit
Getting ready to prep

The prep time for this meal is 15 minutes with a cook time of 45 minutes.  As previously mentioned, the recipe instructions are clear, to include what kitchen tools you'll need, what pantry and/or fridge items you need to have on hand (salt, butter, olive oil, etc.) and even how to adjust the oven racks. 

The prep time is generous, as an experienced cook it didn't me take the full 15 minutes to wash the produce and slice/dice/mince the produce as instructed.  The meal was quickly put together and put in the oven as directed.  Everything was done in the oven, with exception to the gravy, prepared in yes, you guessed it, a medium pan and took about eight minutes to whip together.

In sitting down to eat, this meal was quite tasty.  The Yukon Gold potatoes had a nice roast on them and were delicious simply dressed with salt, pepper and olive oil.  The green beans were dressed the same way and I love fresh green beans that are done this way.  The green beans soften up in the roasting process, yet still maintain that slight crunch and punch of green been flavor in the bite.  Kissed with a bit of Parmesan cheese, they were wonderful. 

HelloFresh Meal
Complete meal, tasty meal

"But Mike," you ask...  "How was the meatloaf, was it as good as your Mom's?"  The meatloaf was good and worthy of a repeat eat, but it wasn't as good as Mom's.  Sorry, not revealing any recipe secrets...  But the HelloFresh recipe did hit all the notes of a classic meatloaf, what puts this over the top is the combination of the ketchup glaze and beef gravy.  You get the sweetness of that slow roasted ketchup, coupled with the savory, buttery notes of the gravy that make for a satisfying bite to compliment the juicy meatloaf.

Overall this first meal from HelloFresh was a good and flavorful experience.   In a HelloFresh vs. EveryPlate comparison, they both have their advantages.  Keeping in mind they are sister companies, HelloFresh has better packaging, I like the individually wrapped meals, but that convenience does come with a higher price.  That's the advantage to EveryPlate, which has a lower cost per meal because they don't take the time to separate the ingredients for each meal.  You get to do that.  

I'll be sampling the remainder of the HelloFresh meals before I rate this service and tell you which one I prefer, breaking things down such as meal prep, variety, recipe instructions, the quality of the ingredients and most importantly the flavors at meal time.  Stay tuned.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: EveryPlate meal kit club vs. going to the grocery store

Related: EveryPlate meal kit club vs. the local grocery store - Griddled Onion Burgers with Creamy Dijon Aioli & Frites

Related: EveryPlate meal kit club vs. the local grocery store - Greek Pork Meatball Bowls

Side Note:  A friend of mine did alert me to the potential for a higher sodium content in some of these meal kits.  When meal kits first came out, foods included in those kits had a higher sodium content to help preserve various ingredients as they sat in the warehouse waiting to be ordered and shipped, to extend shelf life and yes, to improve flavor.  The portion sized meat packages, the seasonings, the packaged sauces, etc., had a higher sodium content than what you typically found for that same item in a traditional grocery store.  A study was conducted in 2019 by the University of Sydney that evaluated the popular meal subscription services and how healthy there were.  HelloFresh was put in the high in sodium category by this study.  HelloFresh has since improved it's processing, packaging and along with the ever-increasing popularity of meal kits lessening the need for so much warehousing, HelloFresh is now listed as one of the top lower in sodium meal kits available.  In reviewing the nutrition labels of what I got shipped, nothing is alarming, nothing would take me above the recommended daily allowance for sodium intake when eating balanced meals throughout the day.  Just keep in mind, if you need to watch your sodium intake, like anything else, read the labels before purchasing.


Cedar Rapids Receives Aa1 Bond Rating on General Obligation Debt and Aa2 Bond Rating on Revenue Debt

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The City of Cedar Rapids is pleased to announce that Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a Aa1 rating to the City’s $51.7 million General Obligation Bonds, Series 2022A and $3.7 million Taxable General Obligation Bonds, Series 2022B. The Aa1 rating indicates the bonds are judged to be of high quality and are subject to low credit risk. The outlook on the general obligation rating is stable, reflecting Moody’s expectation that the City’s healthy financial profile will be maintained and its long-term leverage will remain manageable. Moody’s maintained a Aa1 rating on the City’s previously issued general obligation unlimited tax debt.

Moody’s conducts a rigorous analysis of the finances and general management of the operations for cities across the United States. These ratings are used as a measure of confidence in the city governance upon each issuance of bonds. In addition to finances and general management, Moody’s takes into account the overall economic health of the city, including major employers, local residential, commercial and industrial construction, unemployment and other economic indices. Moody’s recognized that the city’s overall operations saw minimal impact from the pandemic and expects to end fiscal year 2022 with a surplus.

The Aa1 rating incorporates the City’s large tax base and its role as an economic hub in Eastern Iowa. The rating reflects the City’s strong fund balance and liquidity, supported by prudent management and ample revenue raising flexibility. The stable outlook on the GO rating reflects Moody’s expectation that the City’s healthy financial position will be maintained and its long-term debt and pension obligations will remain manageable.

“The City’s financial management practices have allowed the City to maintain a strong financial profile and reinvest in capital improvement projects that are important to its citizens. This rating from Moody’s demonstrates the City can maintain solid financials and at the same time get projects done.” said Casey Drew, Director of Finance for the City of Cedar Rapids.

Moody’s also assigned Aa2 ratings to the City’s $4.8 million Sewer Revenue Bonds, Series 2022C and $8.1 million Water Revenue Bonds, Series 2022D. Moody’s maintained the Aa2 rating on the City’s previously issued water and sewer revenue debt. Repayment of these bonds is secured by the City's sewer utility and water utility systems.

The Aa2 sewer and water revenue ratings reflect the systems’ strong debt service coverage and ample liquidity supported by its unlimited rate setting authority. The rating also incorporates the systems’ large size, moderate debt burden and significant concentration among top customers.

To view the full report, visit www.moodys.com/researchandratings.


City Circle presents LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL May 6–8 & 13–15 at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts

Legally Blonde 1CORALVILLE -- City Circle Theatre Company will present award-winning musical based on the movie, Legally Blonde the Musical May 6–8 & 13–15 at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost $14–$29. For tickets and more information, visit www.CoralvilleArts.org or call the CCPA Box Office at 319-248-9370. 

A fabulously fun, award-winning musical based on the adored movie, Legally Blonde The Musical follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Action-packed and exploding with memorable songs and dynamic dances — this musical is so much fun, it should be illegal! 

This production is sponsored by GreenState Credit Union. 

Additional Ticketing Information:

• Student Rush! Students can buy any remaining seats for only $10 each starting one hour before the show on Saturday, May 7. One night only!

• Groups of 10 or more save 15%! Contact the Box Office for more info. 

Legally Blonde 2COVID-19 Protocol

As of March 1, 2022, the City of Coralville no longer requires the use of masks in its public, indoor facilities. This is in accordance with the guidance of the CDC and Johnson County Public Health (JCPH). Disposable masks and hand sanitizer will still be made available in the Box Office during CCPA events. If you have any questions, please contact Patron Services at 319-248-9372. 

View the cast list online: bit.ly/BLONDEccpa


2ND STREET SE LANE REDUCTIONS

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Effective Monday, May 2, 2022, 2nd Street SE will have a lane reduction between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue for street improvements. Work will begin on one side of 2nd Street and then it will move to the other side, and is expected to take approximately one (1) month, weather permitting.


Scooter’s Coffee Shows Gratitude to Nurses and Healthcare Workers with a Free Drink on May 6

Scooter's coffeeOMAHA, Neb., Scooter’s Coffee will celebrate nurses and healthcare workers and help them fuel their day with a free drink of any size on Friday, May 6, for Nurse and Healthcare Appreciation Day.

“Nurses and healthcare workers have been going above and beyond in their communities—especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We notice their efforts to keep us safe and healthy and want to show a small token of our appreciation for their resiliency and compassion,” said Bill Black, Chief Marketing Officer at Scooter’s Coffee.

The commitment and sacrifices from our nation’s healthcare heroes reflect Scooter’s Coffee values of Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage.
To express gratitude, Scooter’s Coffee will treat nurses and healthcare workers to a free drink crafted with love at Scooter’s Coffee participating locations. The offer is valid one per customer with Healthcare ID on May 6 only. The offer is not eligible for order ahead.

Scooter’s Coffee drinks include specialty espresso-based drinks, energizing Quenchers, fruit smoothies, teas and more. Visit scooterscoffee.com/menu to discover a full menu of smooth and delicious offerings.

About Scooter’s Coffee
Founded in 1998 by Don and Linda Eckles in Bellevue, Nebraska, Scooter’s Coffee roasts only the finest coffee beans in the world at its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. In more than two decades of business, Scooter’s Coffee’s success is simple: stay committed to the original business principles and company’s four core values, which are Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage. The Scooter’s Coffee Brand Promise, often recited to franchisees, customers and employees is: “Amazing People, Amazing Drinks… Amazingly Fast!®” It represents the company’s business origins and reflects a steady commitment to providing an unforgettable experience to loyal and new customers.

Scooter’s Coffee is at the dawn of a strategic growth phase nationwide, approaching 500 stores in 24 states. The U.S. coffee market is an estimated $48 billion a year recession-resistant industry, and Scooter’s Coffee is striving to become the #1 drive-thru coffee franchise in the nation.


Traffic Alert - Melrose Avenue/IWV Road

IOWA CITY -- Weather permitting, travel on the following street will be impacted beginning on Monday, May 2, 2022. It is anticipated that normal traffic will resume by the end of October.

  • Melrose Avenue/IWV Road, from Hwy 218 to Hebl Avenue
  • Various lane reductions and lane closures
  • Flaggers, pilot cars and/or temporary traffic signals will be utilized to direct traffic through the area
  • Access to residences, businesses and the Iowa City Landfill will be maintained

For information on road construction in Iowa City, visit www.icgov.org/travelalerts