What’s in the “Kit”chin? A Bright Delicious Sun Basket!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Guess what?  The good folks at Sun Basket were generous in every sense of the word to send me a box of three meals to prepare, test, and review. And boy, do I have a story to tell you!

A wonderful surprise to come home to!  Look at how cute the box is!! It’s so happy!

It started with a Facebook group about food.  There was a post about the trend of meal kits.  I must say, the comments were pretty-much split on positive and negative—but, most of the negative comments were written by food snobs and food purists. I had an idea and reached out to Sun Basket!

How do I feel about meal kits?  Well—my feelings are basically this. If it is a good, and I mean a good kit (I sound like The Barefoot Contessa here with the good vanilla and olive oil), with fresh ingredients and detailed instructions, meal kits can be an immense help to both experienced and inexperienced home cooks.

Take Millennials.  Many of them are literally working over 12 hours a day. I know this. My three Millennials are workaholics.  And this demographic likes the best in everything.  (Oona just purchased a Sous Vide and is all over me as to why I never got one.)   Regardless. Between work, business trips, and the social life, when is there time to go and buy all the ingredients needed for a decent and fresh meal?

Millennials.  A great many are just too busy working and making money—especially with the cost of student loan debt to pay off.  But–this is a group that could do very well with the meal kits!

But— I also want to focus on our demographic.  The older and more mature demographic. How would this kit work for empty nesters who may want to try something new now that the kids are out of the house and time is spent cooking only for two?  What about older people who may not be able to get out as often?  What about older folks who want to try something different?

Yes. And many empty-nesters and older folks love to have fun, and travel, and enjoy good food–doesn’t Bonaparte look like an older version of Anthony Bourdain? 

And so today when I arrived home from work a huge box was awaiting me.  I was excited because I was intrigued about the whole kit and caboodle movement.

And caboodle it was.

Ingredients for three meals included these bagged and packaged for the pulled pork..

…for the salmon. And look how cute everything is packaged…

…and for the shrimp!

And look!  Instructions for recycling.  How could you not love this?

The recipe book–with lots of fun extras!

Look. I’ll be cooking three meals over the next three days, I’ll give my honest thoughts on the instructions, the process, and the result.

Here goes!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I couldn’t wait to get home and start dinner.  It didn’t just rain today, it stormed and the thought of sliders with slaw and corn gave me a feeling of comfort food.  Can I let you in on a secret?  I’ve never had pulled pork before. Swear to you. I’ve had barbequed chicken at the Salt Lick in Texas, but pulled pork is just one of those things that have eluded my palate.

Recipe book on the counter, ingredients gathered I was ready.  I followed instructions, which were extremely easy to follow. This recipe is a great one for a beginner cook!  Water on the burner for the corn.  Pork heating up in the vinegar sauce, with a bit of the sauce put aside and I was ready to make the slaw.  I’m weird when it comes to slaw. I’m very fussy.  In fact, my favorite slaw is made by my girlfriend, Marybeth DiBiase. Her slaw rocks! She should sell her slaw!

Recipe book opened, I was ready and eager to follow the very simple and clear instructions.

The meat, as well as other ingredients was well-packed!

Easy as one, two, three!

Slaw prepared while the meat was cooking and the water for the corn boiling!

The only change I made to this recipe was, in fact, with the slaw.  Rather than oil, I used mayo—only two teaspoons was called for so that’s all the mayo I used. The remainder of the vinegar sauce was poured into the bowl with the slaw makings and mixed.

The portion size was PERFECT.  And Bonaparte finished off the four sliders in no time!

Time to assemble!  I gave Bonaparte 4 sliders and I had two because I’m trying to stick to my diet.

Finger lickin’ good–note the corn juice on my chin.  Hey–it’s the only way to eat a good pulled pork and corn dinner!

Verdict—a winner!  Finger-licking good!  Bonaparte thought the slaw could have used a bit more mayo but I don’t like a very “wet” slaw. The slaw was very, very good.

The pork was tender and the sauce was great—had it been just a tad less sweet, it would have been excellent!  And leave it to a Frenchman to comment on the slider buns. He loved them!!!

Overall, this was a great weeknight meal. The serving portions and the amount of food calculated by Sun Basket were perfect!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s meal!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bonaparte is working late this evening. He’s got a late client meeting so I’m on my own.  Because he doesn’t like cooked salmon (But he does love salmon rillettes—it’s like loving crab cakes but not liking crab), I am going to make the Salmon with Snap Peas, Carrots, and Red Pepper-Almond Salsa.  I’ll be able to take the remainder to work tomorrow for lunch.

What’s in my bag?  All these goodies for a delicious dinner!

An added bonus is the nutrition per serving.  This should be an essential for every printed recipe in publication.

Salmon remained fresh.

The recipe, again, was concise and easy to follow.  But as I started prep work, I noticed that the nutritional value per serving was also included.  I quickly took my Weight Watcher’s calculator out and went to work as a points mathematician.

This dinner was 15 Smart Points per serving. On an allowance of 30 PP per day, this wasn’t bad at all.  I went back to calculate last night’s meal and at 22 Smart Points per serving, this warrants strong willpower of making sure you aren’t snacking during the day.

So, I did the prep work, which took absolutely no time at all.  And the Mint-Cilantro Chutney that is included–can I just say that Sun Basket should sell this on its own.  I kept sneaking little tastes.  There would be no more for dinner if I kept this up!

This.  Mint-Cilantro Chutney. Addictive.  Just. Addictive!

The fact that the ingredients were still incredibly fresh after receiving them on Tuesday was very impressive.  I cut the veg, and didn’t add oil to the salsa. In fact, the recipe did have a little tip to make it leaner—omit the oil in the salsa!

Ingredients for the salsa chopped..

Mixed and chutney added, I had to walk away or else I would have picked at it until it disappeared!

Carrots peeled and cut.

Oil was also not added to the carrots and snap peas. I added a bit of water to the pan instead and the vegs were cooked just the same.

But look at the tip!  OK–so it was to omit the oil from the salsa–but you get my drift!

Salmon in the pan and searing!

The salmon—the cooking time stated was 4 to 5 minutes on one side and 2 to 4 on the other. I like my salmon like my steak—rare! I only cooked the salmon maybe a total of five minutes. Period!

Plated and dinner tout seul—all alone.  Oh. My. God. This was definitely a winner!  This was better than last night’s pulled pork!  The chutney on the salsa and veg and salmon was such a great burst of aromatic favor!  The salmon was fresh, moist, and flaky.  The salsa—I’m making Bonaparte go to the store and buy everything that was in that salsa because I’m making a huge batch!!

Look how colorful and healthy this is. And the taste. I honesty felt as though I had gone out to a good restaurant.  This food is very high-quality!

Sun Basket gets an A+ on this one!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tonight’s dinner brings the taste of Brazil to the palate!  Brazilian Shrimp Moqueca with Yuca Mash.  This was the meal I was most excited to make. I love Shrimp and I love Cilantro.  I’m not familiar with yuca; I had it once many, many years ago but can’t really remember it all that well. Anyway, since it was Friday, and Bonaparte insists on his aperitifs on Friday and Saturday evenings, my one concern was “How long is this gonna take to prepare and cook”?

Yes. This would be me on a Friday evening pre-dinner apertif enjoyment!

Well, time-wise, it wasn’t even an issue.  Everything went smoothly.  In fact, Bonaparte was a huge help in peeling the yuca.  I’ll be transparent with you.  He can’t stand shrimp so I was on my own again—and my challenge was making sure I didn’t eat the entire two servings if I liked it!

Sun Basket had me at Cilantro and Coconut milk!

Who writes the instructions for these recipes anyway?  I want to kiss him or her for making the wording so easy to follow!

And the shrimp remained fresh!

Once again, the ingredients were fresh.  And just enough.  The amount of coconut milk, the garlic, everything in perfect portion, I’m still perplexed, though, as to how Sun Basket managed to send an onion that didn’t make me cry!!!  Thank you for keeping my mascara in place so that I looked pretty during dinner!

My eyes remained the same after peeling and slicing the onion.  Usually my face is striped–not my clothing, when I’m peeling onions!

Sliced and ready to go!

At the boiling point–and I’m not gonna lie. I was a bit concerned that the amount of coconut milk may have not been enough–but  it was, in fact, the right amount!

The yuca with the coconut milk cooked down and reduced wonderfully!

The yuca took the longest to cook.  However, after it came to a boil, I turned the burner down to the lowest setting, put a top on the pot and enjoyed two Kir royals.  By the time we were finished with the drinks, the yuca was nice and tender and ready for mashing.

Once again, I did not use the oil to cook the veg.  I placed about a quarter-cup of water into the pan and let the veg get nice and tender.  The water evaporates and the veg still cooks without added calories.

Veg cooking in the water…

Reduced nicely with no oil.

Shrimp added and I’m getting hungry all over again!

Yuca mashed, veg and shrimp cooked, adorned with seasonings and cilantro, I couldn’t wait to try this.

As soon as I get  to maintenance, I’m buying some yuca!

I’ll tell you one thing; I cheated with the yuca. I tasted the mash before adding everything else to the bowl.  OMG!!  Yuca is manna from Heaven.  But it is starchy. It didn’t matter—it was so good, I could have eaten about five pounds of this.  Thank you, Sun Basket, for providing just the right amount—you saved me from gluttony!

The shrimp, refrigerated, was still the acme of freshness after the third day.  The mix of the onion, pepper, tomatoes, and garlic was not overbearing either.  Everything blended very well to make this an enjoyable event of flavor!  The yuca at the bottom of the bowl was like a buried treasure!

The plated or bowled dinner!  And I was “bowled” over at how delicious this was!

While I was enjoying my dish, Bonaparte kept looking over at me and repeating  in his heavy French accent “Ohhhh, zuh smell of zhat eez  soooo  nice.”  “Perhaps you weehl give me a test ov eet  eef ou don’ mine “He was a sorry Frenchman—sorry he didn’t have a serving.  And he couldn’t enjoy a serving because I dug in for a second helping!

Yes Bonaparte. I DO mime–I mean, mind if you try to take more of my delicious dinner. I’m territorial!

This was my favorite meal from the box.  Whew!  Aromatic and not overly spicy.  I would make this every Friday evening.  I’m not kidding either.  A ++++

The meal was so great that I started dancing the Samba on our deck!

18 Smart Points per serving brought my total up considerably because I went in for a second serving.  Hey.  Sun Basket is to blame for my weakness because the meal was that good. OK?  I’m not taking responsibility for my naughty behavior.  Sun Basket did not save me from overeating tonight!

Now that the three meals have been prepped and cooked and enjoyed, what’re my thoughts?

I highly recommend.  I’m telling my kids about Sun Basket. I think all three could benefit given their devotion to their careers and little time for shopping.   In addition, Oona is doing the “Whole-30” and I think she would love Sun Basket’s Paleo offerings.

To all my Atypical60 friends—Visit Sun Basket’s  website and check it out (And NO I am NOT receiving a compensation for recommending. I am recommending because this is a great subscription. You know I keep it honest and real! This company has great product.)

Would I subscribe/join Sun Basket. That’s a great question.  Yes. I would.  Not at this moment though. And the only reason is that I’m trying so hard to stick to my Weight Watchers point allotment.  And while the meals run the gamut of around 13 to 22 points per serving, I would really, really have to manipulate much lower points between breakfast and lunch.  Especially on the weekends when Bonaparte’s aperitifs are calling.

But—Sun Basket would be epic for maintenance and I’m giving this earnest consideration.

I’m going to research the Paleo, Vegetarian and Glutton-free choices because I think they could be an asset during my particular weight-loss journey. We’ll see—it’s just that I’m so used to counting points that it could be difficult for me to go out of the box—so to speak!

At a price of around $11.49 per person, per serving, this is a very good value.  Hold on. Coming in at less than $70.00 for two people,  the classic plan, this is an excellent value. The value is even greater for the family plan.

For two people, Sun Basket’s Classic Menu Plan is a great choice! And pragmatic too!

What I’m really astounded by is that that there is absolutely no waste with the amount of food provided.  The servings are perfect portions.  Trust me, I go into Wegmans to do my grocery shopping and the pre-cut and peeled vegetables cost from five up to over ten dollars for a plastic-wrapped, Styrofoam thingy—and how much of that will be wasted?  I’m big on no waste and believe me, Sun Basket gets a standing ovation (with me stuffing more yuca mash into my mouth) from me on that! I’ve even managed to save the little containers the extras come in. They are great for keeping spices and other odds and ends.

Standing ovation for an A+ product!

One suggestion I do have for the people at Sun Basket is why not create exclusively foreign meal plans.  It would be awesome to open a box and have makings for old school French recipes, Middle-Eastern meals—dishes that people are intimidated to try making on their own, but may cook if they had the ingredients on hand.  This idea could also be a good one for our immigrants who may not have access to the ingredients they miss from their homelands.

Also, I would give up my Longchamp bags if Sun Basket could collaborate with Weight Watchers—those frozen WW meals are nothing but sodium disguised as processed food. I have many Weight Watchers cookbooks and truth be told—I’m too lazy to go out and shop for the ingredients. Sun Basket would be my best friend if they could do Weight Watchers kits and I believe would be wildly popular!

Sun Basket is one of the few kit companies that is USDA-Certified Organic in their ingredients.  Justine Kelly and Adam Zbar did good on this one when they christened Sun Basket in 2014.

Youse did good!

And that’s it!  I want to give a special shout-out to Sean Timberlake of Sun Basket.   Many companies are not running out of the gate to have the over-60 demographic test and review.  Sun Basket is not ageist.  And I love and respect that—a company with a social conscience that welcomes the older demographic group.   Thank you, Sean. Thank you, Sun Basket!

Many thanks.  Sun Basket is a winner!  

Since my favorite meal was the Brazilian dinner, I have the need to play a Samba!  One of MY favorite singers, Laurent Voulzy and “Spirit of  Samba”

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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20 Responses to What’s in the “Kit”chin? A Bright Delicious Sun Basket!!

  1. scotcheather says:

    It looks like a great box with one exception. The ‘Keta’ salmon is simply a marketing name for chum/dog salmon. My husband was a commercial fisherman and I would never serve dog salmon to him or guests. It’s a very inferior flesh (and don’t listen to all the marketing hype about it.) But the rest looks lovely!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi scotcheather! Hey, all comments are welcomed here at all and any time–and so are opinions! Thanks for your mention regarding Keta salmon. But–for me, it doesn’t matter what’s used as chum. I love fresh sardines and they are chum fish too. LOL–I am also that person who eats kidneys, liver, heart and gizzards–and many people I know are disgusted at some of the things I will eat. But I won’t eat hot dogs–OK. the ONLY hot dogs I’ll eat are the Sabrett ones in NYC—the ones left in water–we call ’em Dirty Dogs!! That being said, I’m glad that you enjoyed the other dishes! PS. I checked out your blog. Any blogger who refers to herself as “an old broad” is my friend. You got this ol’ broad!!! XOXOXOXOX!!!

  2. Nancy says:

    Hi – That is a great endorsement. Initially when I saw the price I thought it was a bit high but after thinking how often I waste food at our house…we are either feast or famine …no in between…well except in wine and cheese…always the right amount in that dept…Ha…I think I will be making something, buy the ingredients plus who just buys off their list? Not me that is for sure…also adding in the fact that the food items are organic…i think it is a great deal. Also nice in the cold snowy months to have food for dinner at home and ready to go with no stop at the grocery store after work. I am almost totally vegetarian these days so happy to know they have that option.

    Will look at site and see how many meals I would have to purchase to try it out.

    Hope you have having a good weekend.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nancy–you just brought up a great point that I didn’t even think of. Winter weather. It’s true! Yeah. I think about all the food that we waste here and it is a bit sinful! I’m honest one hundred percent when I tell you that the meals were great. I was truly impressed. Sun Basket appears to be a very decent company….XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. I checked the site out as soon as I saw your mention of it….wanted to wait and see what your verdict was…..I’m going to consider it….I’m having a really hard time adjusting to cooking for myself..SUCKS…and don’t get me started on grocery shopping alone, for one……..but I know I have to eat,,,thinking this may be a good fit for me..

    • Catherine says:

      Linda!! This would be great for you!! Definitely check it out–the portions are great for one–two meals outta it!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️💖💖💖💖💖

  4. margaret daley says:

    We have done Blue Apron(customer service bad), Plated, and Hello Fresh. They were all OK. Made me try different things. I have always wanted to try this one! Maybe after our garden is done.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret! Yes. After the garden season is over, it would be great if you tried Sun Basket and gave your opinion! Some of my co-works tried Blue Apron and said that they often times either missed sending an ingredient or sent the wrong items. So it’ll be interesting to read your comparisons! I have to say, I’m very impressed with the quality of the produce that was sent to me!! It’s all good!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. Momcat says:

    In Canada there are several of these companies and as I work in the food side of health care my colleagues are all over these plans. You can stop start and cancel as you like, no strings. A friend who is using one plan sent me a link which gives me three free meals as a bonus sign up gift. My friend ( family of 5) orders three family size kits and says it’s a boon on nights when everyone is going in different directions. We are three so four meal kit is great for some leftovers or if 20 is especially starving. This is a great way of keeping my husband from going back for seconds ( which he def doesn’t need). I agree that food waste is huge in my house ( I am talking to you Costco) I buy with good intentions but watch the salad etc turn to slime after using a few servings. I think I could do this three nights/ week for the gents. One night a week I do dinner with my posse, Friday night is Dad’s night to cook ( pizza) Saturday we go out for dinner or cheese and wine or a BBQ and Sunday is fam dinner night and with a new baby grandson arriving in November EVERY Sunday will be a fam dinner night!!! We’ll be there or they’ll be here!
    Hmm Anthony Bourdain should look so good!!

  6. Renee in Northern California says:

    I’m going to give it a go! I think this plan will work really well for the husband and me. The price seems very reasonable, portions looks perfect and.. OMG the food looks delish!! I’m starving..now that I checked out their website, lol!! I’m off to forage in my kitchen…nothing will to compare 😉 It might just have to be, cheese, nuts, fruit and WINE for dinner…
    Have a great weekend!!

    • Catherine says:

      You know Renee, I’m glad you are going to give it a go. I don’t receive any monetary compensation or anything besides the three meals that I received. And that’s cool because if I like a product, you know that I’ll stand behind it. Sun Basket appears to be everything I would look for in a meal kit plan. Please let me know how you enjoy it!! XOXXOXOXOXO!!!! Hey girlfriend–you have a great weekend too!!!!

  7. Q.D says:

    I love the idea of these fresh food kits, but every one I have investigated can’t work with food allergies so that means they are out for me 🙁

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Q. Yeah. I notice that there is a caveat that the food is prepared where nuts are prepared. That’s too bad. It’s too bad that companies can’t do “allergy prone” kits. XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. 3C Style says:

    This is a great review and endorsement Catherine. I like that your Sun Basket Box came along with a cook book which from your pictures looks beautiful. Another good point for the Brand is their use of exotic vegetables in some of their recipes. I often see recipes with exotic ingredients but then I have to search for them at the grocery and it’s not always clear on how to prepare them. The idea of not having to search for the ingredients does appeal to me. If Sun Basket products were available in Quebec I certainly would give it a try. Have a happy Sunday!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Dominique! And a happy Sunday to you too! I’m going to have the leftover shrimp for dinner this evening. You hit it right with the fact that sometimes recipes often call for ingredients that are very hard to find. This kit took great care of all that!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

    • Momcat says:

      Salut 3C Style…both Chef’s Plate and Goodfood do kits in Québec. In fact Goodfood’s spokesperson is Québec TV personality Anne-Marie Withenshaw. There are also more local kit producers in the Montréal area. Chef’sPlate is as good as Sun Basket, we are a group of dietitians and busy Mom’s so we have tried several suppliers. You are correct about the exotic ingredients, it’s a good way to try them, no waste!

  9. Juliet says:

    They all look delicious – the thing I dislike about coming home every evening after work is putting together a meal (we might have thing with romaine, or something with romaine, or something else with romaine…. I love lettuce and it fills a plate and means after a long day of thinking I dont have to think any further). If someone else would just say to me – tonight Juliet, you are cooking blah, Id be so happy. I am loving the fish in particular – I dont care what variety it is as long as it is fresh and good quality – when I buy fish I never go in with a specific fish in mind, I’ll go with what is good then and there and often times I like to ask the fishmonger and try something new, it doesnt matter about price or popularity, go with whats nice and bright looking.

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. I feel the same way about Spinach. Every night. Spinach salad. Shrimp and Spinach. Shrimp over a bed of Spinach. That’s the great thing about the kits. And it took me no time to prep and cook!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

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