Yesterday was one of those days I thought, “Damn it’s cool to be a blogger.” When people ask, “But how do you pay your rent?” (um I have a part time job too), “Don’t you get bored?” (nope…not one to sit on the couch all day), or “You’re so young. Give the corporate world a chance…” (no thanks), days like yesterday make it all the more clear to me of why I love to do what I’m doing so darn much. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Not a lot of people I know get to write all day long (my #1 passion), surf the internet doing social media (something I’ve grown quite fond of), and wonder the city of Boston daily. Oh and free food and fun event invites definitely doesn’t hurt!
But back to the point. Yesterday I was invited by the kind people of Healthy Habits Kitchen to come check out what exactly it is they do, and let me tell you it’s pretty darn cool! Oh, and look how adorable it is inside…
[lounge area for tastings & events]
[look at all that food!]
Well now that you’ve got a little virtual tour, I guess I should tell you a little more about what exactly you’re looking at. Put simply, it’s a place that offers healthy meal kits (including protein, sauce & all necessary toppings) so that YOU can prepare a lovely, nutritious meal for friends and family hassle-free. And when I say hassle-free, I mean it; all of the meals can be prepared in 10 to 30 minutes, making cooking fun and enjoyable instead of a dreadful post-work chore.
Owner Sue Schochet started the company three years ago because of the convenience-factor. She recalls moms driving home from work late-night taking the easy way out by ordering McDonald’s because they simply don’t have time. “I always felt it’s convenient to eat unhealthy, but not convenient to eat healthy,” Sue said. That’s why she started Healthy Habits Kitchen, where you can eat healthy…conveniently. “Not only is the food good for you, but it tastes good too!” she added, excitedly. So Sue brought her passion for cooking and creativity together to form a place where families can bring healthy food to their home table. It’s like bringing restaurant-quality meals to your place-setting, as you can even pick ‘n’ choose through their season menu to order whatever your little heart desires.
And let me tell you, my little heart (and tummy) definitely got what it desired after trying one of their tasty meals. Owner Sue was nice enough to send me home with one of their specialty meal-kits: the Bourbon Pecan Chicken. Holy YUM! When she said the words “pecan” and “chicken” I was sold. (Hellloooo dinner tonight). I immediately texted my roommate and told her, “Dinner’s on me tonight.” I knew it’d be a good one. My kit, which serves three “healthy servings” and two “hearty servings” included frozen antibiotic-free chicken breasts, pecan breading, and a rich Bourbon sauce, containing mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and of course, Bourbon. At only 278 calories per serving, this dish was a winner!
All the directions were listed right on the box, making this recipe as easy as 1, 2, 3! I first dethawed the chicken in cold water (it had been sitting in the fridge all day so was pretty thawed out already). I then mixed the pecan/bread crumb mixture with 1/2 TB melted smart balance butter on a large plate, coating each piece of chicken in the mixture (making sure to coat evenly on each side). Once the chicken was fully coated, I sprayed a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cooked the chicken for about 7 minutes on each side on medium heat. While the chicken was cooking, I heated up the Bourbon sauce with another 1/2 TB smart balance butter, and poured it onto the chicken. Looking goooood.
I also cooked up some sweet potatoes, ’cause I’d thought they’d taste really yummy paired with the chicken, and I just love sweet potatoes in the fall.
Our apartment was definitely smelling delicious, and the meal was done just in time for my roomie to come back from the gym. What a post workout treat!
I enjoyed my chicken with sweet potatoes drizzled in cinnamon & a touch of agave. My roommate lathered hers in her fave: ketchup. We both scraped our plates clean, and barely talked throughout the meal (which is rare for us) other than the occasional mmmm and yummm that came out of our mouths. DELISH. Oh, and we finished off every bite of the chicken other than one little piece I wrapped up for my other roomie for a late-night snack. Needless to say, we LOVED it, and definitely went for the “big girl” hearty serving. Hey, we deserved it after a long day and strenuous workout!
If you want a little taste of Healthy Habits Kitchen yourself, I urge you to browse their website. You definitely won’t regret it… : ) Just a little heads up: they have Pumpkin Turkey Chili, Honey Ginger Grilled Salmon, and Spinach Lasagna on their menu as well! Now how’s that for home cookin’?
Quickie Interview With Owner Sue Schochet:
H.C: Why did you decide to start Healthy Habits Kitchen?
S.S: I always felt it’s convenient to eat unhealthy, but not convenient to eat healthy. At Healthy Habits Kitchen, you’re getting food that’s good for you, tastes good, and is easy to make. People always equate eating healthy with not tasting good, but we’re here to show you that you can eat a really tasty meal that’s also healthy for you. It’s about fresh, whole ingredients and portion control.
H.C: That’s wonderful! What kind of ingredients go into these meal kits?
S.S: Well, all of our proteins are antibiotic/growth hormone free. Our produce is from local farmers markets, including Newton, Natick and Wayland. Our fish is wild caught, and all meats are 90% lean, the turkey 97% lean! Also, all the menus are reviewed by a dietitian with nutritional information and serving sizes on all of the boxes, and all the meals are 400 calories or less per serving.
H.C: What’s your favorite meal?
S.S: Right now it’s the Pumpkin Turkey Chili, which is popular right now. The kit even comes with a corn bread mix!
H.C: Now you’re making me hungry! Have you always loved cooking?
S.S: Yes, I’ve always loved to cook. I’ve created all of the recipes, and have tweaked some recipes from The Cooking Channel loaded with mounds of fat. I used to have a pre-Thanksgiving bash every year, and I’d do the whole sha-bang. Turkey, 3 appetizers, desserts, everything, and then friends would bring side dishes. I’ve also always been interested in food, watching what I eat, and noticing how good you feel after. At first I was like ‘I love baking! I could bake!’ but I’d grow three times my size if I did that. [laughing]
H.C: What has been some feedback from customers?
S.S: A handful of customers are excited because their teens or husbands can do the cooking. And a lot of them appreciate the quality of the recipes. It’s like eating at a restaurant and yet they cooked it!
H.C: This lounge is beautiful! What goes on in here?
S.S: We do two workshops every month. Back in April we had a wine and chocolate pairing with a mixed crowd of couples, people from work and groups of girlfriends who gathered together. There was also a “Healthy Lunch Packing” where parents were taught how to make healthy lunches for their kids.
H.C: Mmm…chocolate and wine seems right up my alley! If you want to attend the next event at HHK, check out their website. Coming up: a Ladies Holiday Trunk Show on Wednesday, Nov. 10 for only $5 admission (donated to the Julie Fund).