One of the best things about working with fellow foodies with fit booties is that we know the importance of comfort foods. Exhibit A: the Sprinkles Cupcakes my colleagues at Fit Bottomed sent over after my recent ankle reconstruction surgery.
But this Fit Bottomed Girl cannot live on cupcakes alone, and I needed food of substance and nutritional value. Because I was on orders of bed rest for 10 days, the cooking duties went to my husband, Neil.
Let’s get one thing straight: I love my husband with the fire of a thousand suns. But his idea of cooking involves a telephone and a Visa card. After a steady diet of Sprinkles and Domino’s, I was grumpy and hungry for a vegetable — any vegetable!
Luckily, my boss at another one of my writing jobs, No Meat Athlete, set over an incredibly thoughtful get-well-soon gift: a week’s worth of meals from The Purple Carrot.
I hesitate to call this a “meal-delivery service,” because that typically evokes images of freeze-dried crap in a box. That’s not what this is. Not even close. Instead, what arrived on my doorstep was a case of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.
It was like a paint-by-numbers version of a CSA delivery. Instead of a bunch of random vegetables for the recipient, The Purple Carrot provides recipe packages specifically designed to be combined into delicious, nutritious, plant-based meals and snacks. The ingredients are clearly labeled and the step-by-step instructions are so easy anyone (including my husband) can assemble a fantastic meal. Take, for example, the Sweet Potato and Mushroom Tacos with a spicy, fresh Mango-Chili Salsa:
If you know me at all, you know I love a good salsa, and this one was a great topping on a great dish.
The box also contained fixins for Israeli Couscous with Kalamata Olives and Sundried Tomatoes, another simple recipe with big flavors. For both entrees, the recipes made more than enough for a family of four — or, in our case, two people with plenty of leftovers.
It even contained the ingredients for a tasty snack: No-Bake Chocolate Chip Coconut Energy Bites!
They were so good. Don’t get me wrong — they were no cupcake, but delicious nonetheless. Probably a bit healthier, too.
I was impressed by the simplicity of The Purple Carrot — the guesswork is completely eliminated with each box, making plant-based cooking a cinch. It’s a fantastic gift for a person who can’t get to the grocery store to shop for fresh ingredients, and I’ll definitely be buying some gift certificates for friends in similar situations.
But I’m also planning to gift this to people who say plant-based cooking is difficult (like — ahem — my husband). One of the things I frequently hear from new vegetarians and vegans is how difficult it can be to build up a plant-based cooking repertoire when they’ve been taught to cook with chicken stock and shredded cheese. By providing the ingredients and the steps in a simple fashion, The Purple Carrot walks the cook through the process of how to create amazing, healthy flavors that can satisfy any crowd.
What dishes do you like to give or receive as get-well-soon presents for those recovering from illness or injury? —Susan