Monday Reviews: eMeals

I was single for 10 years before meeting my now husband, Christian. During that decade I developed the perfect “single girl” dinner: bowl of popcorn, sliced up apple, cheese or peanut butter, and crackers. Mmmm. So good. Occasionally I would cook a “real meal” but more often than not I would do something simple and easy. Then I got married, and suddenly needed to make “real meals” all the time. Like, every night!

Although I enjoy cooking, I discovered that I was really bad at coming up with things to make. We would go through 5 or 6 basic menus every week – tacos, spaghetti or italian, stir fry, some kind of meat and veggies, or eating out. Sometimes I would get fancy and make salmon, soup, or a big salad with meat on it. Am I the only one who has this problem of repeating meals? Maybe so, but I am guessing I am not alone.

We had our first son 18 months after getting married, and having a newborn only makes coming up with recipes and cooking harder, not easier. I knew I needed help in the creative and easy meals department. I heard about eMeals and decided to give it a try after hearing some great recommendations. We found a Groupon deal for 6 months of weekly dinner plans for $35 from eMeals, which is $20 off the website price, and almost instantly my cooking improved. Meal planning made easy!

What I like about it: Variety! Options! Easy to follow recipes! There are over 16 different meal plan options to choose between, from Clean Eating, to Budget Friendly, to Paleo, to Mediterranean, to Kid friendly, to Quick and Healthy, and many more. They give you the ability to change meal plans whenever you want, so we were able to try a bunch of different meal plan types which gave us a wide variety of recipes each week.

There is an app, and you can select which meals you want to make (we found that we made 4-5 of the 7 they give you each week), and it creates a shopping list for you. If you have additional things to get, you can also add those to the list. Having this list made it easier to stick to our grocery budget and we found that we made less impluse and unnecessary purchases while using eMeals.

Most Favorite Elements:

  • 14 day free trial – we did this, and liked it enough to get the 6 month dinner plan through Groupon. You can also preview all of the different menu types.
  • Flexibility – we could change the meal plan we had each week, which gave us so many different recipes!
  • The meal plans are delivered via email with the recipes included as a pdf, so you have them forever. It is not a deal where you only get the recipes that week – they are yours to keep. This was one of the main highlights for us.
  • You can choose recipes for either 2-3 people or 4-6 people, and your shopping list is created according to how much you will need.
  • The food was delicious and creative – we only found a couple that we would not make again, and overall liked everything we tried.
  • The recipes were easy to follow, and most take 45 minutes or less to make
  • You have the option of connecting your shopping list to a grocery store and doing grocery pick-up. Genius.

Things I Would Change:

  • The app. There is an eMeals app that is pretty good, but occassionally did not work well. Ideally, it gives you your meal plans on your phone, with your shopping list, favorite recipes saved, recipe directions, etc. It worked most of the time, but sometimes I would open the app and nothing would be there. I would have to close out of it and restart the app, sometimes multiple times. The recipes come by email as mentioned, so the app is a bonus and not necessary to make eMeals work, but it would be nice if it worked all the time.
  • The new meal plans are sent out on Wednesdays. This was the only thing I really did not like about eMeals. I used to do meals from Sun-Sat, or Mon-Sun, but with eMeals I had to plan meals for Thurs-Wed, with shopping on Thursdays each week after the new plan came out. Not a huge deal, but just annoying to have to start the new meal plan in the middle of the week.

Cost: Varies by plan. The 6 month weekly dinner plan is $55 on the website, or $35 on Groupon. They also have options for adding breakfast, lunch, or all three that are more expensive.

Where you can get it:

Summary: We found eMeals easy to use, delcious, and helpful in varying our dinner menus. I now feel more confident in my meal planning, and have 6 months’ worth of recipes that I can refer back to over and over without having to go searching for ideas. For us it was definitely a good investment of $35 and worth it for the 6 months, and would recommend it to anyone looking to improve your meal planning and dinner menu.


Coffee, please.

Picture this: I am on my way to Western Pennsylvania with the whole family to go to some water park for our vacation, when suddenly the happy chatter of my five month old wakes me up. Out of a deep, dream-filled sleep. After already waking me up at 12:45 and 4:45 to nurse during the night.* I stumble out of bed, get the baby, and go downstairs where my wonderful saint of a husband is making coffee.

Aaahhhhhh. I get the beautiful steaming mug of happiness, lean over to smile at our beautiful son, and pour hot coffee all over my leg. Life. Is. Awesome. I manage to drink the rest of the coffee, and slowly the fog lifts and I feel human again.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, during my sophomore year of college I stopped drinking caffeine and diet soda after discovering that aspartame was the trigger for my migraines. For the past 12 years my caffeine has been hot showers and ice water, with the occasional cup of decaf coffee or full strength tea (which still has way less caffeine than coffee) when I felt like enjoying a cup. I did not require coffee to live.

But I get it now. I relate in a new way to the shirt that says “All I need is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus”. Yes. Amen. I need that shirt. Having one kid has turned me into a full-blown coffee drinker. Hot showers are still great, but there are days when coffee is just essential. By kid #3 or 4, I will probably have a coffee maker installed next to my bed.

Anybody else become a coffee drinker after having a baby, or is this just me??

coffee and jesus.jpg

*Henry had heart surgery a few weeks ago, and one of the side effects that the doctors forgot to tell me about is how babies who stay in the hospital forget how to sleep and are hungry all the time. It’s just so much fun! He was a great sleeper before the surgery, and we are hoping that returns soon….er than later.

Thankful Thursday: July 12th

Last few days in Berlin, and thankful today for….

1. Nutella on German bread (brötchen)! Just cannot beat it. Soooo delicious. I’m pretty sure we’re going to have both of those items in heaven.

2. Getting to hang out with Richard, Katie and Andy on the Admiral’s Brücke. So fun remembering old times and talking about where the Lord has brought us all up to this point!

Hanging out on the Admiral’s Brücke! A Little blurry, but still great! 











3. History, and being able to remember what has happened. We took a trip to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp memorial yesterday and did an audio tour. I haven’t yet processed through everything to put it into words, but I am thankful we took the time to go, and for our group to experience that piece of German history and be able to see where the country has come since then.

4. New friends! Even though our time here has been short, I was able to have two follow-up lunches with some dear ladies. We have had delightful conversations about what we believe and our world views, and I hope we stay in touch for a long time.

5. Medicine. A cold/flu/bug/plague has gone through our team the past couple weeks, and a lot of us are running on low energy. Thankful for cough drops, nyquill, dayquill, tylenol, and hot tea. Also thankful that everyone seems to be on the mend, so we can finish strong these last few days in the city!

Thankful Thursday: December 22nd

As Christmas approaches, I am thankful today for…

1. Shelley! We got to have lunch yesterday, and I just love her! So thankful that we have been able to stay in touch over the years.

Shelley and I at Schlotzky's Deli for lunch!











2. Delicious holiday food

3. My family

4. Christmas Music and Spotify

5. Jesus coming to earth as a tiny baby, and the way the Jesus Storybook Bible shares the story:



Thankful Thursday: November 24th

My parents are visiting me in Indy this week, and I asked them to help me out with my weekly Thankful Thursday post.  In honor of Thanksgiving today we have compiled a list of 100 things we are thankful for:

  1. Jesus (He has to be first, all others are in no particular order)
  2. Books
  3. The Word, and its ability to speak into every area of life
  4. Sanctification, even the painful parts
  5. Dark Chocolate
  6. The privilege of maintaining a home
  7. Hosting others in my home
  8. Starbucks
  9. Family
  10. World Traveling
  11. Time off
  12. Fresh Flowers
  13. Hot Chocolate
  14. Snow
  15. Christmas!!!! The best holiday EVER!!!
  16. Wisdom
  17. Coasters
  18. Good food
  19. Digital Cameras
  20. No more headaches!
  21. Beauty
  22. My bed
  23. Friends around the world
  24. The Faithfulness of the Lord
  25. Reconciliation and Redemption, and seeing both at work this year in the life of my family
  26. Grannie and Grandpa’s cabin in Strawberry, AZ
  27. DVR
  28. Guest rooms
  29. Tea, hot or cold, sweet or unsweet, love it all
  30. Laughter
  31. Road Maps/GPS systems
  32. Spending Thanksgiving with Emily (mom)
  33. Our immediate family will be together this Christmas
  34. Holiday Traditions
  35. Sweet memories that come with those traditions
  36. Museums
  37. Hospitality
  38. My sweet, godly, loving husband of 31.5 years (mom)
  39. The opportunity to experience other cultures
  40. The ability and blessing to give Bibles and Jesus Calling devotionals into the hands and lives of almost 150 inmates at Riverside Regional Jail
  41. Technology that functions the way it is supposed to, and patience when it doesn’t
  42. Peace that passes all understanding, and for El Rapha, the God who sees
  43. God’s abundant provision that is greater than anything we could ask or imagine
  44. Enjoying the work God has given us to do (Job satisfaction)
  45. Physical Therapy, and being able to take care of pain naturally, without lots of meds
  46. Being able to see and enjoy God’s creation around the world
  47. Scrapbooks
  48. Real mail arriving in the mailbox
  49. Unique and beautiful tea cups
  50. Blankets to keep warm under
  51. Heating Pads
  52. Airplanes
  53. Imagination
  54. Living in Berlin for 2 years
  55. Recycling
  56. The ability to change (by the power of the Holy Spirit)
  57. Prayer
  58. Journaling
  59. Things that smell good
  60. Hot showers
  61. God’s grace and great provision over the past 20 months for our family
  62. That I get to live on a lake
  63. God’s desire to treat the root issue, not just make it pretty on the outside
  64. Grace
  65. Connecting with God through nature/His creation
  66. Copy machines. Seriously.
  67. Friends who love me/us enough to speak truth into my/our life
  68. My home
  69. Ministry partners, and the joy it is to be in this mission together
  70. Lamps, flashlights, light bulbs, etc
  71. Having a job
  72. iPhones
  73. A wife who is a travel agent and takes me to Fiji with her J
  74. Good pillows
  75. Education
  76. Children who love God (dad)
  77. A wife who is committed to Christ first and me second
  78. Vehicles (older ones) with no major maintenance problems
  79. A good work environment
  80. Freedom
  81. Mexican food
  82. The internet (sometimes)
  83. Rain
  84. New starts and fresh beginnings
  85. Wonderful & friendly neighbors
  86. Pastors who preach the gospel and accurately handle the Word of Truth
  87. Kleenex with lotion
  88. God gave someone the intelligence to figure out how to fly
  89. Crying is a great stress reliever
  90. Stuffed animals don’t require maintenance
  91. Comfy couches
  92. Fuzzy socks
  93. A home in a great neighborhood
  94. Children’s laughter
  95. Photographs to capture the memories
  96. Mother/Daughter Tea Time Outings
  97. Scarves
  98. Smiles
  99. Fall leaves (and college boys to come and rake them up)
  100. The power of the gospel to change lives


What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Praying you have a restful and enjoyable holiday today wherever you are!