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NiChef – Personal Culinary Experiences in your home

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As most of you know I have a full time job outside of blogging. I try to cook meals for my husband and I at least 4 nights a week but sometimes I just want someone else to cook for me. Is that took much to ask? Not if you ask NiChef!

NiChef is an online global marketplace where you can easily book a personal chef to cook in your kitchen. Niche is bringing communities together through authenticity and experiences while creating new job opportunities in the culinary world. Think of it like airbnb but for chefs.

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Having someone cook in your home, whether it’s a romantic meal for two, dinner party for 4 or 10, it’s such a fun experience and you don’t have to worry about being in the kitchen and not with your significant other/friends/guests. And it won’t break the bank. Contrary to what you are probably thinking, having someone else cook your food doesn’t cost as much as you’d think. In fact, it’s usually cheaper than eating at restaurants, and if you find the right chef like I did, the food tastes better. AND you get to choose exactly what you want to eat and when!

I recently had the chance to experience Nichef. I invited my sister over to share the experience with me. Out chef was Lisseth Conza-Berman. Listen grew up in Peru and all Nichef experiences are Peruvian; centered around the foods she grew up with. Peruvian food is a fusion cuisine, due to its long multicultural history. Lisseth cooked us a delicious meal of Lomo saltado; sautéed beef loin with veggies. Como salted is one of the most emblematic dishes that Peru has to offer. A mix between Chinese cuisine with Peruvian ingredients, makes this dish satisfying and full of flavor. It consists on marinated beef tenderloin stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and served with french fries and white rice.

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The price of the meal is $60 for two people. $30 each for a home cooked meal is a great price and a similar dish in a restaurant would cost you at least $30, if not more when you factor in tip, tax, and beverages/appetizers. 

So how does it work? 

Signing up to use the nichef marketplace is fast and easy. You can sign up with your facebook credentials or your email. After your have confirmed your email, you are ready to go!

To reserve a Chef you will need to sign up and create a Foodie profile. Once you have created and activated your profile, you can then start searching for a memorable experience by type of cuisine, location, and date. It’s recommended that you submit a request at least 1 week before your event date. Once you request a chef, the chef will accept or decline your booking within 24 hours. If you have any dietary restrictions, you can message the chef directly through Nichef’s messaging system.

There are about 40 chefs on the site that you can choose from. Chefs run their own business; choose their own schedules, menus and prices. Every chef has their own ‘niche’ in the culinary market and Nichef allows them to offer you a personal, and delicious, at home dining experience. 

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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Certified Steak and Seafood Company

Jeremy and I love cooking together. Cooking and trying new foods was one of the things that we bonded over when we first met. Six years later, we still enjoying making dinner together, trying new foods and new recipes, whether at home or at a restaurant. This past Friday night we had the chance to cook a delicious, high quality meal together thanks to Certified Steak and Seafood Company. They sent over a Surf and Turf kit complete with: 

6 oz. Bahamian Lobster tail (2 pack)  
9 oz. Chilean Sea Bass  
8 oz. Angus Filet Mignon

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While we love Chilean sea bass, it is a fish we have only ordered at restaurants. And not very often, as it can be expensive. Sea bass is not something either of us had ever cooked before. After doing a little “research” on google we decided on a simple recipe: garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. We baked the sea bass in the oven at 400F for about 20-25 minutes and finished it with lemon juice. It turned out absolutely perfect. It was perfectly cooked and held its shape during cooking, yet flaked easily when I shook my fork at it! It was so buttery, tender and smooth.It was definitely the highlight of the meal for me. 

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If there was ever a steak that you would believe could melt in your mouth, the Certified Steak and Seafood angus Filet Mignon is it. It has a delectable almost sweet beef flavor, with a strong buttery undertone that has to be tasted to be believed. Each filet mignon is hand-selected, cut from the center of the tenderloin, aged and custom trimmed for consistency in color and quality. It is a flavor you will remember long after your meal is over. Great accompanied by grilled root vegetables and horseradish mashed potatoes.

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The Angus Filet Mignon was also delicious, and one of the best and highest quality pieces of meat we’ve ever purchased. They truly did melt in my mouth! We pan seared it in a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic then finished it off in the oven for 15 minutes, rotating half way through. 

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This was the first time I’ve ever tried Bahamian lobster tail. I’ve only ever had Maine lobster. So, how did these compare? Bahamian lobster is not as sweet as Maine lobster, is milder in flavor and not as rich. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t taste good! It was just different. You can grill the lobster tails or broil them. Included with the kit were three recipes, and we chose to follow the one provided for the lobster tail. We broiled it with a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

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QUALITY, VALUE, AND COMMITMENT

Certified Steak and Seafood Company was formed by the three Frisch boys, Mark, Adam, and Steven; all of whom thought that everyone should be able to buy the highest quality steaks and seafood directly. The brothers’ experience comes from a three generation family owned wholesale company that is one of the largest seafood importers in America.

Their vast experience in selling high quality seafood and meat products to the commercial trade means they’re able to bring you the same grade of products fine restaurants, resorts and hotels demand. Living the prime life has never been so easy. Beyond providing great products at affordable prices, the brothers’ background in working with commercial customers has taught them about the importance of taking each customer’s needs into consideration. It’s their commitment to quality, value and attentive service that sets Certified apart.

All of products come from inspected and certified sources. Ranchers and fisheries have to undergo a rigorous process to become a source and are reviewed on a regular basis. USDC and USDA inspectors are on-premises and keep a constant watch over all processes. Each and every product undergoes a chemical and/or pathogen analysis and is certified by an outside lab to ensure safety and quality. The institute-trained chef in the test kitchen samples all products for quality in presentation, consistency and taste. Yes, the standards are demanding, but customers expect and deserve only the best. 

Not only do you get quality steak and seafood you know you can trust, it tastes good and it will surely impress anyone you are cooking for. Certified Steak and Seafood also make great gifts! 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

 

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DICED – New 100% gluten free meal delivery service // Holiday Gift Card Special

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DICED is the newest meal delivery service to hit the market! But what makes it different from other meal delivery services is that DICES is 100% gluten free.
 
With DICED you can get gluten free meal kits delivered to your doorstep the next day. The meal kits come with everything included to make it fast and simple to prepare a delicious meal. Tinsley Meloy, the creator and head chef, was diagnosed with Celiac in 2008, and since then she has set out to make amazing, gluten-free meals and is now sharing them with others. 
 

Vegan Quinoa Chili Meal Kit
Vegan Quinoa Chili Meal Kit

 
I was super excited when I was contacted by Tinsley to try DICED! DICED launched earlier this month and for now offers  4″core” dishes that rotate seasonally that are very healthy, very quick (15-25 minutes start to finish), and very easy to make. They also have 4 dishes that rotate weekly that are a little more complex and take a little more time (30-40 minutes) but teach cooking techniques such as searing and braising, and expose customers to specialty ingredients.
 
Key features of Diced are: 
  • 100% gluten-free and prepared in a 100% gluten-free facility 
  • guarantee next day delivery (Monday – Friday)
  • customers can order 1 serving portions (no minimum requirements)  
  • no subscription is required (customer can order as little or as much as wanted)
 

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DICED meal kits

I tried three meals, two core meals – Chicken & Broccoli with White Rice and Vegan Quinoa Chili with Cornbread – and one from the weekly specials – Salmon Nicoise Salad. The meals could not have been easier to make. The dressing/sauce on each meal was full of flavor and for only being 1 serving size, the portions were quite big.
 
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Each meal comes with a handy menu card that tells you exactly what you are getting and how to prepare the meal.
 
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The Vegan Quinoa Chili with Cornbread was also easy to make, but for me did not come out as I was expecting; maybe I should have added more water* (*the recipe card says add 1/4 – 1 cup water and I added the least amount). None the less, the quinoa was delicious and even though it was only one serving size, both Jeremy and I shared it and had plenty to eat!
 
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ORDERING WITH DICED IS SUPER EASY!
  1. Look at the menu and choose your favorites from delicious core meals which change seasonally and yummy weekly specials. The core meals are super quick and very well balanced. The weekly specials can take a little bit longer to cook than the core meals, and you’ll find that some of them splurge on the calories a bit… because sometimes you just need a cream sauce! But YOU pick what meals you want, so if you’re not into that cream sauce or don’t have an extra 10 minutes in your schedule, not to worry.
  2. Add the meal(s) to your cart. 
  3. When you’re ready to checkout, you’ll just hit the checkout button and fill out the payment and shipping info.
  4. Receive your meals the next day. Yep, you heard right. The next day.* (*Delivery is available Monday through Friday.  No deliveries on weekends.)
  5. Open your DICED box, do a happy dance, cook, and ENJOY!
DICED is availablein the North East  and Mid-Atlantic regions. Type in your zipcode here and see if you live in the delivery zone. If not, don’t freak out, they’re working on getting their gluten-free goodness to everyone as fast as they can! Meals stat at $11.95 and so far haven’t coast more than $15.95. Shipping is a flat fee of $9.95 and free for orders $65+. 

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Salmon Nicoise Salad

 
Another great thing about DICED that I want to share with you is that they are eco-friendly and care about the environment. All packaging is eco-friendly, and does not cause damage to the planet. The boxes are 100% recyclable and almost always made from recycled material. Recycle it by breaking down and placing curbside. DICED uses jute for insulation, which is made from recycled coffee and cocoa bags and is completely compostable because it comes from the jute plant, grown predominantly in Southeast Asia. Throw it out or compost it with food or yard waste. The gel packs are water-soluble, non-toxic, and non-hazardous. The best part is that they are reusable, so keep a few in your freezer for when you need them! Or cut it open, pour out the gel in the trash can, and recycle the plastic liner with #4 plastics. The plastic bags are made from virgin polyethylene plastic. It’s not the best for our environment so they’re working on finding a new resource that better serves our planet! Since they are resealable and reusable, you are encouraged you to rinse it off and use it again. When you are ready to toss it, be sure to recycle it if your recycling facility accepts them.  
 
DICED is offering a holiday special. Give the gift of food and when you buy a gift card, you get a $10.00 credit added to your account!  So really it’s a win-win situation for everyone! 
 
The facility is a state of the art kitchen based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is a 100% gluten-free facility so you never have to worry about cross-contamination. They use fresh, local and seasonal ingredients when preparing meal kits. 
 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.
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FoodHotIssue: Gluten Free All Natural and Organic Snack Pack Bundle Review & Giveaway

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Today I want to tell you about a wonderful up and coming snack company called FoodHotIssue NYC.  FoodHotIssue is a specialty snack company that provides healthier snack alternatives to families and children searching for allergy-safe snacks. FoodHotIssue finds snacks with the health conscious in mind. All snacks are natural, non-GMO, and free from artificial ingredients or preservatives. They bundle the snacks for you, making great gift boxes, or you can shop from their online store and buy individual size portions of 15 different gluten free snacks. They also have options for vegans, nut-free, 
 
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Since 2013, the FoodHotIssue family has been working on ways to bring healthier food alternatives closer to the modern family’s home. But most importantly, making sure these snacks still taste good while making you feel good about your food choices.  Their leading team of organic food trend specialists enthusiastically embrace a natural and organic lifestyle, making it their passion to do the research for you.  They put these snacks together and send them to your home, knowing that they have sent the best there is to offer!
 
FoodHootIssue offers 9 snack bundles ranging from Gluten-free, Nut-free, to Vegan and spicy bundles, so there is something for every diet, and every palate. 
 
The Gluten Free Snack Box is very convenient for lunch, office, or after work snacks, and contains 15 individual size bags of snacks! From chips, to popcorn and even chocolate snacks, there are a variety of options. It’s also great for simple on the go healthysnacks, Having someone else do the research and send you the healthy snacks, rather than spending all that time reading labels at the grocery store, is always a plus in my book. 
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The Gluten Free Snack Box contains:
 
1) Food should taste good, Multigrain, 1.5oz
2) Terra, Chip Veg Original, 1.0oz
3) Cosmo’s Coconut Crunch, 1.7oz
4) G.H. Cretors, Chicago Mix, 1.5oz
5) Lundberg Rice Chips Made with Organic Grains, Sea Salt 1.5oz
6) Angies Kettle Corn, Boom Chicka Pop, Sea Salt Pop Corn, 0.60oz
7) Garden of Eatin, Blue chips all natural tortilla, 1.50oz
8) The Best Time of Day, Healthy Snack, Seaweed,, 0.70oz
9) Hi I’m Skinny, Veggie Tortilla, .78oz
10) Jackson’s Honest, Sea Salt, 1.2oz
11) Way Better, Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips, 1.25oz
12) Good Boy Organics Baked Organic Potato Snack, Sea Salt, 0.8oz
13) Snikiddy Snacks Cheddar Cheese, Baked Fries, 1oz
14) The Best Time of Day, Healthy Snack, Chocolet, 2.5oz
15) Good Boy Organics Baked Organic Potato Snack, Sour Cream and Onion, 0.8oz
 

One of my favorite finds.
One of my favorite finds.

You can purchase snack bundles online via HotFoodIssue’s online store or on Amazon. Boxes cost $35, but are currently on sale for $27.50, making the price of each bag $1.83. You can save an additional 10%off  with the promo code healthykids, for my readers only. :)  These boxes also make great gifts for college students!

Now for the giveaway! One lucky reader will win the Gluten Free Snack Box, with all 15 snacks mentioned above! To enter, simply click on the rafflecopter below. 

 
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This giveaway will end on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at 11:59pm. Open to US residents only. 

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

 

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Handmade, Small Batch Gluten Free Miniature Alfajores

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The Sugar Coup traces its lineage to this diaspora of desserts. In 1985, a chef named James Swiatek married Virginia Velarde and they visited Peru to meet Virginia’s family. It was on that trip that James ate his first alfajor. Upon his return to the United States, he tirelessly labored to recreate that alfajor using his memory as his only reference. He passed his recipe on to his children, always paying homage to his wife’s Peruvian culture. To honor James’ passing in 2008, his daughter Javinia bakes to share their alfajor tradition. Javinia and The Sugar Coup offer a new and expanded interpretation of her father’s alfajores.

Gluten Free Original
Gluten Free Original

The Sugar Coup’s alfajores are modeled after a family recipe and inspired by alfajores from Arequipa, Peru. Arabic in origin, the word “alfajor” is derived from the word “al-hasu”, meaning “filling” — a phrase that entered the Iberian peninsula of Europe via conquest in the early 8th century. Traditionally made from flour, honey, almonds, and cinnamon, alfajores took on new life with the introduction of sugar cane to South America, brought in the 16th century by the  conquistadors of Spain. The alfajor was continuously reinterpreted throughout South America reflecting the unique ingredients of each region. The Sugar Coup is the new generation of a long lineage of Peruvian confectionary tradition.

Javinia has expanded her line to include gluten free and gluten free, dairy free alfajores, which are both outperforming the original product! A testament that gluten free products can be delicious, and even better than the ‘original’. 

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I recently met Javinia and tried the original alfajores. Modeled after her family’s alfajores, these closely resemble those made in Arequipa, Peru. A dulce de leche center topped with confectioner’s sugar, this miniature cookie doesn’t crumble — it flakes. Each order is handmade in small batches of 10 and delivered right away (in NYC) or can be shipped anywhere in the continental US (for an extra cost). A box of 10 gluten free alfajores costs $15, while a box of the gluten free, dairy free alfajores costs $16. Seeing that the traditional, gluten-filled, alfajores cost $14, the upcharge is very reasonable. 

So where can you find these gluten free alfajores. In addition to ordering online, you can find them at  Café Pedlar and Key&Cup in Cobble Hill, and coming soon to Doce Coffee & Brigadeiro in Chelsea.
 
Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.
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Peapod’s latest offering – Local Farm Box

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I want to share the latest news from Peapod – They have just launched a new offering called the Local Farm Box, making it even easier to enjoy fresh and local seasonal produce  Developed in partnership with FarmLogix, a company that connects local farmers to businesses, Peapod’s Local Farm Box is a convenient alternative to committing to a season-long Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) farm share. It’s a low-cost and flexible way for consumers to support farmers local to NY while enjoying the convenience of home delivery (and the freshest, in-season produce!). 

Unlike a traditional CSA, shoppers can view the contents of the box each week (as well as accompanying recipes) to determine whether they’d like to purchase the $34.99 box (sometimes even on sale for $29.99). Each box will include information about the farms where the produce is grown as well as information on the particular produce. To see what’s in this week’s box, visit peapodlocalfarmbox.com. This new service is available to customers in New York City, New Jersey, Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

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Each box contains five unique items from local farms, with approximately 10 – 14 pounds of produce per box. Items included will vary weekly depending on the farmers’ harvest.

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Last week’s box supported the farming community of Lancaster County, PA. The box contents for the week of August 24th-August 30th included: 

Italian eggplant
Red tomatoes (I received yellow)
Green or red okra
Sweet corn
Colored bell peppers

The produce was fresh and delicious. I love eating farm fresh produce, there is such a noticeable difference in the taste and quality of the products. 

Peapod’s Local Farm Box is one of many innovative offerings from the leading online grocer to meet the evolving needs of the modern grocery shopper. Peapod also recently released a refreshed mobile application to make shopping easier than ever, including Order Genius, an intuitive technology that can predict a customer’s order based on purchases made on Peapod.com and at Stop & Shop and Giant stores.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

 

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Celiac Awareness Month Day 21: Peapod.com Delivery expands its service to NYC’s 5 boroughs // $100 gift card giveaway

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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend less time grocery shopping and more time enjoying doing the things you love? 

In New York, grocery shopping can be tougher than anywhere else in the country — schlepping to your local grocery store (if you even have one near your home!), navigating the narrow aisles, and bumping into other shopping carts – what a nightmare!

Enter Peapod.com, the country’s first and number one internet grocer. This spring, Peapod is expanding its already popular service in a big way in NYC’s five boroughs!

In NY, Peapod now offers the best of the suburban grocery store without having to go to the suburbs! A full assortment of popular grocery and store-brand products, from grocery basics to farm-fresh produce; top quality meats and seafood; prepared foods and party trays; deli meats and cheeses that are sliced to order; Kosher, organic and specialty foods; time savers like rotisserie chickens; office, school, health & beauty and pet supplies and store brands like Nature’s Promise (affordable organics and natural products). There are over 4000 results for “gluten free” including some big name brands (glutino, Amy’s, Bisquick, Lundberg, Barbara’s Bakery, etc….).

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The Best of NY selection offers local specialties from purveyors Balthazar Bakery, Brooklyn Bread, Distinctive Sweets, Grumpy Johns and more on Peapod.com so you can still support local businesses.

The average time it takes Peapod customers to fill their virtual grocery carts and check out is just 20 minutes. My grocery shopping trips are much longer than that!

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You’ll place your order online at Peapod.com or with the mobile app, select a delivery time, and watch as your groceries are delivered right to your door.

Savvy shopping

  • Peapod.com shows the running total of the bill as you shop so it’s easy to determine a budget and stick to it.
  • The site sorts products from highest to lowest unit cost in each aisle so it makes finding the best value a breeze – you can also sort by health criteria.
  • Avoid impulse buys – since there’s no check-out line, there’s no temptation to buy that candy bar or celebrity magazine (unless you want one!).
  • Peapod doubles manufacturers’ coupons and offers a variety of budget friendly store brands like Nature’s Promise and Simply Enjoy.
  • Guess My Order (Called Order Genius on the new mobile app) can auto-fill your cart with the items you buy most frequently and even recall shopping history from Stop & Shop or Giant loyalty reward cards.
  • You can also search by your dietary preferences, allergens or other health concerns.

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Update Your Order

  • Forgot something? No problem. You can make any change to your order, including changing your delivery day and time, even after you’ve checked out. Log into your Peapod account and when you are finished making your changes, just close your browser and everything will be saved. There is no need to go through checkout every time you make a change.

Money Savings

  • Check out the 100’s of weekly specials. You can review all items on sale or review the My Specials sections which curates anything that’s on sale from your past sales history.
  • Shop this week’s specials & check out by Wednesday at midnight– but schedule delivery when the new specials start, so that you get both sets of weekly savings.

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Compare Products

  • It’s easy to compare products and pricing with Peapod by Stop & Shop’s “Sort” feature. Find products with the best price, to meet your dietary needs – even sort by which product is most popular.
  • Select your sort preference from the drop-down box at the top of every page. Click the “Save Sort” link, and your products will always be sorted that way.

View Nutritional Information

  • Click on the name of the product as you shop the aisles to view the product’s ingredients, nutritional information, and other packaging details. You can also see the standard substitution for that product.

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  • You can also select “no substitutions” for your entire order, and then designate certain items as “substitutions allowed.” To do so, click the name of the product, click on the “Details” tab in the Item Detail popup window and then click the substitution link. You’ll see which product will be substituted. Check the box to approve that substitution.

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PodPass

  • For orders of $60-$99, Peapod’s delivery is $9.95. For orders over $100 it’s a $6.95 fee.
  • With the new PodPass, shoppers can get unlimited home delivery or pickup services for:
    • 3 months: $39
    • 6 month: $59
    • 1 Year: $99
  •  First time Peapod shoppers can do a free PodPass trial and get 60 days of unlimited fee free Orders. Sign up for your free trial here.

Now for the giveaway! Peapod has generously offered to give one lucky reader the chance to win a $100 gift card so that you, too, can experience all the perks of shopping on Peapod.com and perhaps once and for all say goodbye to the many hassles that come with grocery shopping in the city! To enter, simply click on the rafflecopter below. 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

To be eligible, you must live in one of NYC’s five boroughs. Giveaway ends on May 31, 2015 at 11:59pm. 

Disclaimer: I received a trial of peapod.com delivery for free.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I was not paid to write this review.

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Instacart – Grocery Delivery comes to Boston & NYC! // $10 off your first order

You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep in an hour or two, for a delivery charge of as little as $3.99. Sounds too good to be true, right?

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Well thanks to Instacart, a grocery delivery service that delivers in as little as an hour, this is actually possible. Instacart, a website and an app where you order your groceries from your favorite stores, recently launched in Boston and connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores. In Boston, this includes Whole Foods, Shaw’s, Market Basket and Costco. Instacart is not affiliated with these stores, but it makes shopping there so much easier.

I have a busy life and getting to the grocery store is not always easy, nor is it on the top of my “favorite things to do” list. I mean who likes going to the grocery store at 5pm? The lines are long, the people are moody, and I’m usually hungry. And lets face it, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to go to the grocery store.

Eating a gluten free diet makes this even more of a chore. I shop at multiple food stores because each one offers different gluten free items or significantly different prices for the same product. Instacart lets you mix and match from various stores. So rather than having to run all over the city to different grocery stores, someone else can do the schlepping for me!

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With delivery prices as low as $3.99, and free for orders $35 or more this is a no brainer. I can definitely spend $35 in one shopping trip, thanks to the high prices of gluten free items. The minimum order is $10. Deliveries can be made in less than two hours but can also be scheduled for specific times or days when you’ll be home. The company says its fastest delivery was made in 12 minutes. Instacart also offers a service similar to Amazon Prime: for $99 a year, all under two hour deliveries over $35 are free.

I placed my first order at 5pm today. I ordered items from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods. It was easy to browse items by aisle, as you would in a grocery store, and I could filter by brand and/or dietary preferences including gluten free, organic, kosher, and vegan. This was a huge time saver. I was impressed with the number of gluten free products on the site. It’s not like food delivery/take out sites that don’t always list the gluten free options- you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.

Can’t find what you are looking for? It’s impossible to list every single item a grocery store carries. Luckily there is an option to Add a Special Request/Custom Item. All you have to do is include a description of what you are looking for the, the more specific the better, and you can even add a photo, which I did to make it easier for the shopper.

What happens if something is out of stock? When something is out of stock at the store Instacart will do their best to replace it with something similar. During checkout, you can choose specific replacements for any item, or ask for no replacement of an item. If you allow it, your shopper will call from the store to confirm replacement items.

You can view the status of your order and make changes and if the Shopper has not started working on your order, you can add to, modify or cancel your order very easily.

My first order:

Placing my order was super easy. I ordered food from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods.

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Photo Courtesy of Instacart, this was not my actual order.

My shopper called me because an item I wanted wasn’t in stock, but they had another flavor, so I told her that was ok. She also told me she was having a hard time finding the special request item I had added to my order. That didn’t surprise me because I know that not all Whole Foods carry that very new item. A few minutes later I received a text message with an estimated delivery time. My shopper actually arrived 15 minutes before the estimated time, I can’t complain about that!

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I was impressed with the quality or service and communication. I also really liked the convenience and ease of the entire processes.

Prices are set by Instacart and may vary from what you may see in your store or your sales flyer. However, you will see the price for each item when selecting your grocery list. I found that the prices were very similar, if not the same, as what I typically pay for my groceries. For example a carton of Almond Breeze Almond Milk at Whole Foods cost $1.99 in the store and on Instacart. There were some items that seemed a bit high to me, Barbara’s Bakery Puffins at Whole Foods sell for $3.99 and a bit more at Shaw’s, about $5.99-$6.99. On Instacart the price at Whole Foods was also $3.99 but at Shaw’s the Puffins cost $7.99.

After your order(s) is delivered you receive both a text and e-mail. If any replacements had been made the e-mail will show this as well as the adjusted price. You are also asked to rate and tip your shopper. Tipping is not required but shoppers appreciate recognition of their hard work. You can tip in cash or using your credit card during checkout or after delivery.

Instacart is available in and around Boston and NYC (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Woodland Park) 7 days/week from 9am-midnight, depending on local store hours.

 

 

Want to give Instacart a try? Use this link or enter promo code GlutenFreeBostonGirl to get $10 off and free delivery on your first order!

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I did receive $35 of free groceries from Instacart, but all of my thoughts and opinions are my own.