Category

Cooking at Home

Your Local Market Shifts Shape: Grocery Shopping Adapts to New Realities

Meal kit delivery services are blowing home cooking out of the water. Looking to compete, the number of prepared foods at Whole Foods and prepared foods at Costco has steadily ticked up. Supermarkets are losing customers as more and more avoid the long lines in favor of foods they don’t have to shop for or cook. Call the trend lazy, but after a long day at work, picking up the kids from soccer practice, and responding to those eternal emails, it seems that no one wants to spend time over a stove, hot or otherwise. While home cooking is your best bet for a healthy and affordable dinner, grocery stores and outlets that sell groceries are creating pre-made meals that are are focused on local produce, fresh proteins, and nutritious ingredients.

Time Savers

Meal kit companies like Blue Apron and Chef’s Menu have quickly developed a cooking replacement industry of easy, delivered-to-your-door ingredients that are perfectly portioned and ready to cook. These meal kits make cooking a breeze and with pre-portioned ingredients, yit’s easier to avoid food waste. Although the price is higher per serving than shopping for ingredients yourself, people are willing to shell out a little extra cash for the convenience factor. Supermarket chains like Whole Foods, as well as big box stores like Costco jumping on the meal kit bandwagon in an attempt to keep customers. (For more about meal kits and meal delivery srvices, look here for our recommendations.)

Kroger Co. is jumping right into the industry with their own meal kit, Prep + Pared, which you can find at four stores across the country (more are anticipated to start carrying the product soon). Dishes include Moroccan Inspired Spring Vegetables, Creamy Chicken + Bacon Alfredo, Japanese Inspired Beef Bowl, and Chimichurri Steak and clock in at around $14 (serves two). The meals take about 20 minutes to prepare with no chopping required.

Prepared Foods at Whole Foods

While Whole Foods doesn’t sell their own branded meal kits (yet), you can find Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit service, selling their pre-packaged dinners at Whole Foods stores around the country. Meal offerings include Mongolian Seitan Stir Fry, Pan-Seared Tofu and Black Rice Noodles, and Cashew Korma with Cauliflower Rice, to name a few.

Prepared Foods Sell. A lot.

Started in 2012, the meal kit market is seeing a huge spike in sales. Since its inception, the industry has generated about $1.5 billion in U.S. sales in 2016, according to Packaged Facts, and is expected to double to $3 billion in the next few years. Grocery store revenue, on the other hand, is in decline, so these markets are doing all they can to stay relevant. Only 49% of customers see a supermarket as the primary outlet for groceries and the average number of weekly trips to a grocery store is declining. These companies hope that meal kits will help bolster sales, and maybe even help families eat easily and healthily for affordable prices.

Cherish Mom by Cooking at Home this Mother’s Day

foods high in protein

Raising children, tending to their needs and cares, being there at all hours of the day and night, is no small task. Motherhood involves a myriad of responsibilities, small and large, significant and momentary, and lasts a lifetime. And honoring Mom or Moms in any way is a joy for mothers at every stage of parenthood or care-giving. But I would like to make the case for skipping the overcrowded, dining out brunch scene (unless the person who raised you is down with that) and, instead, treating the Mom in your life to a home-cooked meal.

Time is Precious. Cooking for Mom is Priceless.

My logic runs like this: time and the gift of time are extremely precious to every parent. Time with your children, especially children who are old enough to cook, is even more precious for its scarcity. Give a parent time with their kids, plus the bonus time saved by not cooking, and every mom I know will be thrilled. But to make a mom truly swoon, you need to put your back into it. Just a little. So plan a cooking party for Mothers’ Day. (Yes, I intentionally placed the apostrophe to the right of the “s” where it really belongs!)  If cooking is not your mom’s favorite activity, may we suggest you prepare a few foods high in protein and fiber for her enjoyment? If your mom loves to cook, set up a cooking party.

To make it easy for you, the team at Perspective:Branding put together a few of the dishes they plan to prepare for their moms on Mothers’ Day. There is not a vegetable in sight so the salad part is up to you. The dishes are big on flavor and doused with more than a soupçon of happy memories.

If you do choose to go out, no one in the room will notice the misbehaving three year-old at the next table. Tuning out the noise is part of mothering, too. Just don’t forget the champagne.

RECIPES

Grandma Wells’s sour cream coffee cake

In memory of Sarah Wells’s late grandmother, who loved a good baking recipe.

Perspective Branding sour cream coffee cake

Homemade sour cream coffee cake – recipe by Betty Wells

Cream          ¼ cup butter or margarine

½ cup sugar

Beat            3 eggs and add 1 teaspoon vanilla to above creamed mixture

Sift together    3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternating with ½ pint of sour cream (8 oz.)

TOPPING:  mix together -1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup of nuts (walnuts)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

In a greased 10” angel cake pan put in ½ of batter then sprinkle with ½ of the topping. Add remaining batter and sprinkle remaining topping over it.  Cut thru the layers with a knife all the way around – about every 2 inches.

Bake 350F for 50 to 60 minutes.

 

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

Erin Clarke is the whiz behind www.wellplated.com, a site dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. One of our staffers fell in love with her Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole.  Thick with eggs, ham, and cheddar cheese, it qualifies as one of the best-tasting, high protein foods around.

 

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig from Nom Nom Paleo

Michelle Tam’s all-things paleo blog,  nom nom paleo, is – natch – loaded with foods high in protein. One of our staffers, who grew up in Hawaii, prepares Tam’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig every Mothers’ Day as a tribute to this Hawaiian home.