Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Citrus Pear Dinner Review

My friend Sabra put together a private class at Citrus Pear dinners over the summer, and I was stoked to try it out. You head to a local grocery store, stand at a table for 2 hours, and go home with 20 freezer meals that are tasty and healthy. No shopping, no cooking, very little chopping, no raw meat touching, and no clean up. For a very reasonable price. This sounded like a lifesaver.

Every station is set up with all the tools you need (juicer, knife, can opener, etc), salt, pepper, chopped onions, and a cool little doodad that holds up a ziploc bag. They come around and prop up the bag that contains the raw meat, then they dole out the rest of the ingredients, either canned stuff or a veggie to chop or spices. You dump everything into the bag, shake it up, seal it, pop it into your cooler and go on to the next. It's a very efficient system.

In two hours I made 10 different recipes times 2 bags to equal 20 meals. They also email you a recipe sheet so you know how to prep (basically dump it into your crockpot or instant pot) and add maybe a couple other fresh ingredients to your meal. So easy and totally worth it!

Heather was my workstation buddy. And Sabra and Krystle came, too.

Let's taste the meals before I sign up again, shall we?

#1 Broccoli with beef

Tried this first since you only need to add rice, and we had that on hand. I added fresh broccoli into the crockpot halfway through instead of the frozen bag they gave us. I was a little worried we wouldn't have enough for both me and Anthony to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I added some extra rice to the portions to fill it up. The flavor was good (yay ginger!) and I'd give it 4 stars (out of 5).

#2 Coconut chicken curry

Another easy one, just add rice, and I happened to throw in some fresh zucchini for the last bit of cooking. As with the beef, they recommend mixing some cornstarch into the sauce to thicken it, but that didn't really work for me. I also added the additional recommended spices at the end to kick it up a little. Good flavors, but it tasted like a frozen prepped meal that wasn't fresh. Which is SO convenient, but I don't want all the time. Plenty of leftovers on this one. 3.5 stars

#3 Penne with turkey sausage

I was a little skeptical on this one, since I like classic tomato sauce flavors, and this recipe adds smoked turkey sausage links. I liked it pretty well, though. The sausage had a little bit of kick, which is nice. We only got 2 heaping portions from it, maybe could've gotten 3, because husband likes tons of sauce on his pasta. 3.5 stars

#4 Beef stroganoff

I didn't get to eat this one fresh outta the crockpot, rather a couple days later from the fridge. Still tasted pretty good. I had defrosted this one well, but I wish I'd cooked the beef a bit longer. It was a tad chewy. The sour cream you add at the end really helps it. 3.5 stars

#5 Chicken lime tacos

Favorite so far. The chicken is flavorful, and then when you add in all your favorite toppings, it turns out well. We had enough for 2 dinners - we did tostadas with some beans, sour cream, cilantro, green onions and fresh tomatoes. 5 stars

#6 Honey sesame chicken

I love sesame flavor, so I'm always game. I didn't get too much of the honey flavor, though I remember dumping in a pretty good helping of it during meal prep. The chicken turned out tender, and we topped it with green onions and served with a side of green veggies. Solid leftovers too. 4.5 stars

#7 Cajun chicken pasta

Along the same lines as the penne dish, I just like classic flavors with my pasta, so adding chicken and cajun flavors is not something I would pick. However, this was quite good! The sauce is a little creamy with good flavor, though I think it should've been a little spicier, which I would have enjoyed. Still, a surprising win for me. 4 stars

#8 Tex-mex chicken

I bought tortillas for this one to do tacos, and we thought about doing nachos with it, or you can add broth and make a soup. Even without the broth it had quite a bit of liquid in the pot after cooking, so I added it to a bowl with some fresh ingredients and used chips to shovel it into my mouth. The green chiles in this give it a different flavor than the previous chicken lime tacos. Not much for leftovers, but pretty good. 4.5 stars

#9 Indian Masala chicken

I grabbed some Trader Joe's frozen garlic naan for this and made sure to add extra spices to the slow cooker at the end. It really made a difference with those extra spices, and luckily I had curry and masala around. This one was okay, and even though we had leftovers, I don't think we ate all of it. 3 stars

#10 Sweet pork

I didn't get to eat too much of this one for some reason, but it was pretty tasty. We made tacos with the meat for dinner. Not a lot of leftovers, which Anthony took to work for lunch and used chips to soak up the rest of it. 4 stars

Would I do it again? Probably. The chicken dishes would definitely taste better if you have a chance to brown the meat first, instead of getting that chewy slow cooker texture. Maybe an instant pot would help? Either way, this is a time saver and it's so great to just have meals on the ready that will give you leftovers.

Monday, October 21, 2019

India: Part 15 - Delhi and the Souvenirs

At the end of my group tour, a couple of us were hanging around Delhi for one more day. Our awesome guide, even though he was off the clock now, offered to take us around to old Delhi and the markets so we could pick up goods to take home. The market is quite a confusing spot, so I definitely recommend taking someone who knows what they're doing.

I bought quite a few of these to bring home for myself and for gifts. And awesomely, this little shop takes American Express. Even though their machine was only half working and we had to walk outside to get a signal.

Since it's wedding season, it's pretty common for families to send platters of fruit and nuts to each other.

This market was up some stairs through a tiny building. Never would have known it was here.

After Hyderabad, I flew back to Delhi to catch my flight home. I had about 12 hours to spend in the city, so my coworkers from Amex India picked me up and took me around. They are the absolute best, and it was such a wonderful way to end my Amex career. Sameer and Pooja met me at the airport and we went shopping at the Santushi Shopping Complex. Of course all nice places that take Amex :)

One store - PlayClan - had the coolest art. I wanted all the things, and managed to buy a few that would fit in my suitcase.

Then we headed back to the Amex office complex for dinner and so could see some friends. This is Kulbir and Shailey - I met them at the very beginning of my Amex career in Phoenix. So incredible to see them again.

Dinner with Pooja. The office complex is really nice and has some great restaurants.

My Phoenix crew again - Kaushik, Kulbir, me and Shailey. They are so, so great. Friends across the world.

I did a quick tour of the building, even though I'd already turned in my badge. Cool to see all the places that my colleagues on the other side of the world spend their time in.

Then we went for a tour of the Oberoi - super fancy hotel where we had tea. If I'd ever gone over here for business, which sadly I didn't, I would have stayed here. Worth a mention, my coworkers who picked me up definitely all own cars and hire a driver. That's the thing here - it's so wild to drive, you either take shared cabs arranged by work, or you buy a car/hire a driver to take you around.

Around 10pm it was time to head to the airport. My flight to Dubai wasn't until 4am, so I had some time to kill. I did walk by and check out a little sleeping pod you could rent, but it was still kind of expensive and didn't seem worth it for around 4 hours.

I wasn't able to check into my flight until around midnight, so I had some time to kill out front. I found a spot to change clothes and then I sat. 

Time for a long journey home through Dubai and Los Angeles.

There's the LA temple and my old street below.

My bags were bulging but I managed to get home with everything. So let's review. 

Delicious sesame brittle snack.

Chai for gifts.

A few days after I got home, my rug arrived in the mail!

Placemats and napkins.

Fun coasters.

Elephant tapestry. Maybe I'll frame and hang up somewhere.

Pashminas - one for me and one for mom. Made with cashmere from Kashmir.

Fun little purse.

Another fun textile. Not quite sure what to do with it. It could be a table runner, but I also don't really have a dining table.

Notebooks from PlayClan.

These stunning envelopes for wedding season. 10 for $1! They're so beautiful.

More textiles - could be a scarf or a shawl or decoration on a table. I wish I had 10 of them.

Because Starbucks. This is a gift from a colleague.

Elephant pajamas! They're supposed to be one-size-fits-most and they're not quiiite the right fit but I still like them.

Quilts - I bought three and wish I had seven. This one went to a brother. It's full of colors.

And this one went to another brother. I kept the blue/green one for myself.

And then for Christmas I got an India puzzle!

That's the end of my Indian adventures. I'm really so glad I made it there and got to spend so much time exploring. I would definitely love go back and see more of Rajasthan, Mumbai, Calcutta, and the south. If you're debating a trip, I say go!

Citrus Pear Dinner Review

My friend Sabra put together a private class at Citrus Pear dinners over the summer, and I was stoked to try it out. You head to a local gro...