Wednesday, July 19, 2017

13th Hello Fresh Subscription Box Review & $40 Coupon



Wasabi Lime Salmon over Soy Simmered Rice with Baby Bok Choy


Ingredients


Southwestern Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef, Quinoa & Monterrey Jack Cheese


Ingredients


Carla Hall's Summery Lemon Chicken with Tarragon Chimichurri


Ingredients


This is a review our 13th shipment from Hello Fresh. Calories ranged from 660 to 720 this week. Preparation time indicated on the recipe cards ranged from thirty-five to fifty minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from forty minutes to an hour. We gave one recipe four out of five stars and the other two recipes three stars. 

Wasabi Lime Salmon over Soy Simmered Rice with Baby Bok Choy

I absolutely loved the wasabi lime dressing on this dish! Yum! It's made with mayo, lime juice, garlic, ginger, wasabi paste, salt and pepper. We normally love bok choy, but the way they cooked it made it a different texture that was unpleasurable. Also, we didn't like the flavor of the rice after cooking it in the soy sauce and vegetable stock concentrate. Strangely, the picture on the recipe card shows white rice yet after you cook it in soy sauce it's no longer white, it's brown as shown in the picture above! The salmon was tasty due to the awesome sauce. This one says it takes ten minutes prep time and thirty minutes cooking time for a total of forty minutes. Actual total cooking and prep time was forty-six minutes. The calorie count on this one is 660. While I give the sauce five out of five stars due to the rest of the dish being disappointing, I brought the score down to three stars.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef, Quinoa & Monterrey Jack Cheese

Who doesn't love stuffed peppers, so I had to order this one. We gave it three out of three stars though, it had to much filler made of quinoa and there wasn't enough ground beef and cheese. The scallions were a bit limp. The recipe says it takes five minutes prep time and thirty minutes cooking time for a total of thirty-five minutes. Actual total cooking time was one hour. We gave this one three out of five stars. Calorie count on this one was 710.

Carla Hall's Summery Lemon Chicken with Tarragon Chimichurri

My guess prior to cooking was that this would be my least favorite recipe for the week. To my surprise this was my favorite recipe for the week. It's a Carla Hall recipe, she was a finalist on the TV show competition called Top Chef. I really enjoyed the dressing made with mustard, brown sugar, tarragon, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The chimichurri was tasty also. It's made with tarragon, garlic, chili flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I gave this recipe four out of five stars while Hubby gave it only three stars. This recipe took Hubby forty minutes to prepare while the recipe says it takes fifty. That's the first time a recipe has been quicker than the recipe indicated including all the meal kit subscriptions we've tried! 

The sauces used this week are definitely keepers that we plan to recreate on our own in the future. They were simple, quick and scrumptious. Have you tried Hello Fresh yet? If not, be sure to snag my coupon for $40 off! While it's not my favorite subscription box, it's worth trying with a coupon! What's your favorite food subscription box?

Bargain Alert:

Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef - $30 Coupon, click here
Mr. Rebates - Cash Back for Online Shopping, click here.
Vitacost - $10 off 1st order
Walmart Grocery - $10 off $50

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Fujisan Japanese Steakhouse - Raleigh, NC

8411 Briar Creek Parkway 
Suite 105
Raleigh, NC  27617
(919) 806-2888


Exterior View


Interior View


Mai Tai


Top Shelf Martini


Miso Soup & Salad with Ginger Dressing


Onion Volcano Fire Show


Cooking Mushrooms, Onions, Shrimp, Zucchini & Noodles


Steak Portion


This is a review of a Japanese steakhouse called Fujisan located in the Briar Creek Commons Shopping Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. To get there use the Lumley Road exit on 540. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 am to 2 pm and Sunday from Noon to 3 pm. They are not open for lunch on Saturdays. They are open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm and Friday they are open an additional hour. Saturday they are open from 3 pm to 10:30 pm and Sunday from 3 pm to 9 pm. Their sanitation score is currently 95.5 which is very good. We visited last Saturday at 3 pm and we were their first customers. We were immediately welcomed by a friendly hostess and seated at a table.

Our drink orders were taken right away. Shortly after additional people arrived and our table was full with eight people. I ordered a Mai Tai and Hubby ordered a Martini. We both really enjoyed our drinks, they were both very tasty. Ten minutes later we were served our Miso soup and three minutes later our salads. Dinner comes with both soup and salad. Their Miso soup was scrumptious and served hot. The salad & ginger dressing were also tasty. About five minutes later the chef arrived and started cooking. He cooked the rice and did a show with the egg and served it. He then started cooking the onions, zucchini and mushrooms. A few minutes later he started a fire show layering onion into the shape of a volcano and lighting it on fire, see photo above. While he wasn't the most entertaining chef there, he cooked all of the food perfectly. We were served the mushrooms, onions and zucchini first, followed by two shrimp and then the noodles. They were all delicious and filling. He then cooked the chicken, shrimp and steak. I ordered chicken and steak medium rare and Hubby ordered steak rare and shrimp. Both of our steaks were cooked as requested and they were very tender and yummy. They were trimmed nicely so there wasn't any remaining fat yet after cooking as to flavor the steaks. I've had chefs at other restaurants that trim them prior to cooking and they don't taste as good since they aren't cooked in the fat. My only complaint was the shrimp was very salty. If you are on a low salt diet you might want to ask for less salt. As you can see above the steak portion is generous considering I also ordered chicken. I think I will just order the steak next time since it was so delicious. We both ordered the "Choice of Two" Entree and it costs $19.95. Hubby's Martini cost $7.50 and my Mai Tai was $6.95. All entrees include soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, fried rice, noodles and hibachi vegetables. If you are especially hungry you may manage to eat all of your food, otherwise you'll want to take your leftovers home. You could easily have a lunch portion leftover. Several people were celebrating their birthday while we were there. The staff comes out and sings and they offer a small heart shaped red ballon and cheesecake for dessert. It was a very enjoyable dining experience. 

We have been to this restaurant many times over the years and we look forward to our next visit. I highly recommend this restaurant. If you haven't given it a try, be sure to put it at the top of your list of restaurants to visit. What's your favorite Japanese restaurant in the Triangle?

I invite you to follow my blog via InstagramPinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin'Networked Blogs and Zomato. Also, be sure to browse around my blog since I'm sure you'll find something else that interests you. To see a full listing of my restaurant reviews, visit my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board

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Fujisan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

QVC's TSVs for August 2017


Preorder Numbers for Today's Special Values


4th - Vionic Orthotic Suede Lace Up Casual Sneakers, A298996, $89.80 or 5 payments of $17.96, comes in 5 colors

10th - Duracell Eight Piece Solar Light Set, M54686, $49.98 or 3 payments of $16.66, comes in 4 colors

12th - Josie Maran Skin Care & Color Four Piece Kit: Argan Milk, Argan Oil, New Beauty Butter Velvet Foundation & mascara, item # not yet available

14th - Women in Control Pull on Leggings, Petite A298986 or Regular A298985, $37.68 or 4 payments of $9.42, comes in 5 colors

15th - Julep Super Size Oxygen Nail Treatment, A300239 $39.98 or 2 payments of $19.99

18th - Cuddl Duds Comforter French Terry Cascade Front Cardigan, A298987, $27.36 or 2 payments of $13.68, comes in 5 colors and 1 print

19th - Dooney & Bourke Smooth Leather Shoulder Bag with Accessories, A298995, $229.92 or 5 payments of $45.98, comes in 6 colors

22nd - Laura Geller Get Gilded Six Piece Collection, A299252 or A/D A300280, $49.98 or 3 payments of $16.66, comes in 7 shades

24th - Earth Vintage Leather Zip Up Ankle Boots, A298989, $89.90 or 5 payments of $17.96, comes in 5 colors

27th - Keurig K55 Coffee Maker with My K-Cup, K46308, $79.96 or 5 payments of $15.99, comes in 4 colors

28th - Susan Graver Everyday Liquid Knit Pants, A298991 or Petite A298993 or Tall A298994, $44.40 or 4 payments of $11.10, comes in 5 colors

30th - Masterbilt Portable Electric Smoker with Rib Rack, K46327, $79.96 or 5 payments of $15.99, comes in 3 colors

September

3rd - Lock & Lock Eighteen Piece Storage Set, K46329, $27.98 or 3 payments of $9.32, comes in 10 colors

So what TSVs are tempting you for the month of August? So far the solar lights are tempting me since we could use some new ones. These are about $6.25 each, I guess that's a decent price. What do you think? I wish I could find some that last a long time and are very bright. Any brand recommendations? I'm also tempted by the Josie Maran's TSV, but I find trying new foundations are risky for me since I need the fairest of fair and most don't provide that shade. I recommend her oil and milk, but I have a several bottles of her oil in reserve and I'm really picky about mascara. I'm curious about the T3 TSV since they make my favorite hair dryer which I use weekly to dry the hair of our four dogs. It definitely saves time and with four dogs that's a must. I recommend the Keurig and Julep polish. The Julep TSV seems pricey to me being a Maven (aka member of Julep). I'm one of their first subscribers to their subscription box. I have reviewed their subscription box and their polish many times. They have so many sales I never buy her polish at full price, so I recommend buying her products directly from their website.  If you aren't a member yet, join now and receive a 12 piece polish set ($168 value) as a gift for joining! Some other interesting TSVs that information hasn't been released on yet are:

1st - T3 Hair Care
5th - Isaac Mizrahi 
7th - Peter Thomas Roth
9th - Copper Chef
11th - Denim & Co
21st - H by Halston
25th - Bethlehem Lights
26th - Dyson
31st - Smart Home

I will update those as soon as I find out what they are. Please show your support for this blog by checking out the following referral offers I use and recommend:

Boxed - $15 off $60 
Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef - $30 off, click here.
Mr. Rebates - $5 Sign Up Bonus & cash back for online shopping including QVC, click here.
Sun Basket - $35 off, click here.
Vitacost - $10 Off, click here.
Walmart Grocery - $10 off $50 

You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don't forget to enter my monthly giveaways. I invite you to follow my blog via PinterestTwitterGoogle +Bloglovin', or Networked Blogs. Help out by sharing this post via Twitter & Facebook:

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Review Part II - Cancún, Mexico

Calle Retorno del Rey #36
Zona Hotelera
77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
+52 998 881 0808


View from Balcony


This is a review of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel located in Cancun, Mexico. Part I was mostly about the interior of the hotel and this post is about the exterior and the beach. When we first arrived we visited the El Café Mexicano restaurant in the hotel. Here's a view from the restaurant:



It looks just like a postcard with a lovely outdoor patio and a view of the gorgeous turquoise water. Here's a view of the hotel from the beach in the evening:


Note the three buildings. There are rooms on the side that only have a view of the ocean when standing on the balcony and looking over. The rooms on the front have a much better view of the ocean as shown in this video:



More of my Cancun videos can be found here. I highly recommend upgrading to the room in the front of the building rather than the side. This way you can order room service, sit in the air conditioning and look out at the beach. Check out my room service reviews: Part I, Part II and Part III. If you get a room on the side you can only see the beach if you lean over the edge and look to the side. You can't see the beach while seated on the balcony nor from inside. Your view is only that of the side of the building and the pool as shown here:




The glorious view from the room at sunset:




The view of the cabanas on the beach at sunset:



These are the cabanas that you can reserve for dinner starting at sunset. They had live jazz music during the dinner that we could hear from our room. Here's a video of the sunset view from the room:



Here's the view during sunrise from the balcony:


All in all it was a lovely stay and the views were spectacular. Have you been to Cancun? If so, which hotel did you stay in? Please comment below! Be sure to check out Part I of my review and my three room service reviews before you go. I also reviewed several restaurants in the area. Check out my Cancún Pinterest Board to see everything I have reviewed so far. Click on the photos that interest you and they will take you directly to the matching blog post. 
  
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

53rd Home Chef Review & GIVEAWAY



Acapulco Beef Burger with Chihuahua Cheese, Pico de Gallo & Cilantro Lime Fries


Ingredients


Garlic Studded Pork Tenderloin with Asparagus & Mustard Cream Béarnaise Sauce


Ingredients


Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Water Chestnuts & sesame Dipping Sauce


Ingredients 


This is a review of our 53rd delivery from Home Chef. This week we gave two recipes four out of five stars and one recipe three stars. Preparation time stated on the recipe cards ranged from twenty-five minutes to fifty minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from forty-five minutes to an hour. Calories ranged from 556 to 896. Our favorite recipe this week was the Acapulco Burger. If you have shown up only for the giveaway, scroll down.

Acapulco Beef Burger with Chihuahua Cheese, Pico de Gallo & Cilantro Lime Fries

When I saw this recipe it looked too good to pass up and I'm glad I didn't. It was scrumptious as most of their burger recipes are. Hubby & I both gave it four out of five stars. To reach five stars would require the addition of some avocado, more fries and less lime. The buns were of good quality though I only eat the top and toss the bottom for less calories and more burger flavor. The Chihuahua cheese was a lovely addition to the burger and it was applied shredded which makes it melt faster. This recipe has 896 delicious calories. It was a filling portion and it took about an hour to prepare. The recipe card indicated up to forty minutes preparation time. 

Garlic Studded Pork Tenderloin with Asparagus & Mustard Cream Béarnaise Sauce

We gave this recipe three out of five stars. Normally we really enjoy their pork tenderloin recipes. The sauce was very tasty and it had a lovely licorice flavor from the tarragon, but there wasn't enough of the sauce. It was a healthy portion with only 556 calories. This recipe took fifty-five minutes to prepare which was close to the recipe card's estimated time of fifty minutes. 

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Water Chestnuts & sesame Dipping Sauce

This recipe is similar to one we have reordered many times. It wasn't as tasty and the slaw mix had gone bad, so we couldn't use it. Not a big fan of the addition of the water chestnuts since they are a filler and take away from the awesome flavor of the sauce and the turkey. We still managed to give it four out of five stars though the other version comes in at five stars. This one surprisingly comes in at only 576 calories though it doesn't taste low calorie!  It states preparation time is up to thirty-five minutes while the actual time was forty-five minutes.

It was another enjoyable week of recipes from Home Chef. I sent an email to complain about a couple of ingredient issues and I received a $15 credit. If you have cooked with a Home Chef meal kit before, please share your review in the comment section below. If you haven't tried Home Chef before, please share the reason you haven't given it a try yet. If you would like to, be sure to snag my $30 coupon! Check out my Home Chef Pinterest Board to see all of the recipes we've made so far.

GIVEAWAY:
The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Home Chef, provide me with their email address to give to Home Chef, provide Home Chef their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Home Chef & simply need to click on the link to redeem their free $50 Home Chef trial. To cancel future shipments visit their website and go to my account, contact info then chose "pause your account" or to skip future shipments select delivery calendar and chose "skip delivery". 

This giveaway is only for those that have never subscribed to Home Chef before.  Do not enter if you aren't planning on claiming it since there are many people who really would love to win.

Bargain Alert:

Home Chef - $30 Coupon, click here
Mr. Rebates - Cash Back for Online Shopping, click here.
Vitacost - $10 off 1st order
Walmart Grocery - $10 off $50

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Monday, July 10, 2017

20th Blue Apron Subscription Box Review



Crispy Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes & Summer Squash


Ingredients


Smoked Trout & Asparagus Salad with Fingerling Potatoes & Garlic Croutons


Ingredients


Roasted Beef & Farro Salad with Sweet Peppers, Summer Squash & Olives


Ingredients


This is a review of our 20th shipment from Blue Apron. Blue Apron is a weekly food subscription box that costs $59.94 for 2 servings of 3 recipes. This week we gave two recipes four out of five stars and one recipe three stars. Calories ranged from 610 to 730. The preparation time stated on the recipe cards ranged from twenty-five to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from fifty minutes to over an hour.

Crispy Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes & Summer Squash

Hubby gave this recipe four out of five stars and I gave it three stars. We received zucchini instead of summer squash which explains why it's green instead of of yellow in the recipe results photo above. The chicken tenders had a wonderful crisp coating and they were very yummy. I wasn't crazy about the potato wedges since the baking directions were too long. The zucchini was tossed in the chimichurri which is made with parsley, lemon zest, garlic paste, lemon juice, oil olive, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. It was tasty. This recipe has 730 calories and it was a healthy portion. It took over an hour to prepare yet the recipe stated up to thirty-five minutes.

Smoked Trout & Asparagus Salad with Fingerling Potatoes & Garlic Croutons

Anytime trout is offered I snatch it up since I love trout. This one included smoked trout which I found it's smoky flavor to be too strong. I prefer to taste mostly the fish with not so much smoky flavor. Hubby gave it four out of five stars while I gave it only three stars. As usual we skipped making croutons and just made garlic bread since we're not a fan of croutons. It was scrumptious. I was disappointed that we received so little arugula and some of it was yellow. The sherry vinegar leaked during shipping and the garlic was wet as a result. It was a tasty meal, it just didn't live up to my high expectations. This recipe has 610 calories and it was a generous portion. The recipe card says it will take up to thirty-five minutes to prepare while in actuality it took fifty minutes to prepare. 

Roasted Beef & Farro Salad with Sweet Peppers, Summer Squash & Olives

Hubby & I both gave this recipe three out of five stars. We felt the olives and feta cheese were too tart. The beef roast was lacking a sauce so it was just ok. This recipe has 730 calories and says it takes up to forty-five minutes preparation time. The actual preparation time was fifty-four minutes. It was a healthy portion.

It was another enjoyable week of recipes from Blue Apron with a few ingredient and flavor issues. We do not like the recent changes that have made to the recipe cards. The way the instructions are listed and not having the prep time and calories listed are all aggravating. The recipe cards they offer online are much better. I wish they would just print those out and send those instead. Have you tried Blue Apron yet? If so, what's your opinion on the service? If you have not, what's keeping you from giving it a try? Check out my Blue Apron Pinterest Board to see all the recipes we have made so far.

Bargain Alert:

Home Chef - $30 Coupon, click here
Mr. Rebates - Cash Back for Online Shopping, click here.
Vitacost - $10 off 1st order
Walmart Grocery - $10 off $50

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