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Run Oregon Test Kitchen: Martha and Marley Spoon meal box + Run Oregon readers save $30

Super-fresh ingredients and everything you need to make a healthy, delicious dinner. On a Tuesday, even. (This is a provided photo, but mine looked very close to this.) Photo by Linda Pugliese.

I have a 4-year-old and 1-year-old, neither of whom enjoy "grown-up food," and both my husband and I work full time. So meal prep boxes are one of my favorite ways to try new foods, eat a wider variety, and quite honestly, be healthier. Most people (myself included) tend to prepare and eat what they know, limiting the range of nutrients used to build muscle, provide energy, and repair your body after a workout. Meal boxes like Martha and Marley Spoon make it easier to eat better because it's also delivered right to your front door. Which, face it, is a million times easier than trying to figure out which variety of kale you need while your toddler is chewing through the wax coating the cheese in your shopping cart. On my first order from Martha and Marley Spoon, I received two different meals: Raisin-Hazelnut Kamut Salad, and Creamy Bean and Poblano Tacos. Both of them were delicious, and even though I had to look up what Kamut was, nothing in either recipe was difficult to prepare. If prepped meal boxes fit your lifestyle, definitely give this one a try, as it's a great balance between ease and adventure. (Kamut, by the way, is an ancient wheat; and so easy to prepare.) To make it even more fun to try out, we've got a code for you: simply enter RUNOREGON30 at check-out and save $30 off your first Martha & Marley Spoon box. This offer will be available until September 30; click here to get started!

The provided photo of the ingredients prepped and ready for the next step. This was helpful in knowing how thin was meant by “slice” or how small was meant by “tear up.” Photo by Linda Pugliese.

The company started out as “Marley Spoon” in 2014, founded in Germany by Fabian Siegel and Till Neatby. Recently, they partnered with Martha Stewart, and the company adopted the new name Martha and Marley Spoon. If you’re familiar with Martha Stewart’s trademark qualities of simplicity, quality and making things look easy, you’ll immediately recognize her mark on these meal boxes. “Delivered and designed with simple weeknight cooking in mind” is the promise made by Martha and Marley Spoon, and they nailed it. They also have a great blog that will give you ideas about how to incorporate more fresh, healthy foods into your day-to-day dining.

When the Martha and Marley Spoon box arrived, I appreciated the thought that went into the promotion of the company’s partnerships with carefully selected food suppliers and those suppliers’ stories. It reminded me a little of that Portlandia skit where the diners need to know the name and life history of the chicken they were about to eat; it’s such an Oregon thing to want to know the provenance of everything on your table. For me, though, it’s nice to know that this company is supporting small suppliers such as Vermont Creamery, the condiment company Sparrow Lane, and meats from Pat LaFrieda. The pre-portioned ingredients eliminate much of the prep work and you don’t have leftover portions of ingredients, so there’s no waste when cooking, either.

The recipe cards are the same size as a regular sheet of typing paper, but on a much heavier paper. This was nice because I didn’t need to flip around to follow along and make sure I was on track. The front side showed a large photo of the dish along with a short explanation about how the recipe has been tweaked for better nutrition. For example, the Creamy Bean and Poblano Tacos I tried notes that the recipe started with a traditional Mexican dish, added pinto beans for protein, but used cream cheese instead of heavy cream to cut calories and fat.

I did that! And it looked like the picture! This is how I learned how easy it is to toast kale and make a delicious savory snack that is a million times better for you than my other favorite salty snack: potato chips.

The photos on the flip side showed the important steps and provided cues on things like how to peel poblano peppers. That’s something I would have had trouble with if not for the photo. It’s always helpful to read through the entire recipe before starting, but I found that the instructions provided cues like, “While you do this … ” which was really nice. There was also a concise list of what they’d sent, what to pull from my own shelves (salt, pepper, and olive oil), and what cooking items I’d need (a rimmed baking sheet and a large skillet).

For the two recipes I followed, the time estimate was fairly accurate, even when one of the meals was prepared by myself and some friends visiting from my hometown and we were focused much more on chatting than cooking. Most of their meals can be prepared in 30-45 (or less), making it very do-able after a full day at work while the little ones run around and make messes. By the way, if you have kids with more mature palates (as in, they like things like asparagus), there are also family boxes you can order.

 

The cost varies based on how much you order, but it’s comparable to what you would pay dining out at a low-priced sit-down restaurant (only you don’t have to leave a tip and you won’t be eating anything deep-friend out of the Martha and Marley Spoon box). When you order 4 meals for two (so, a total of 8 portions), the cost is only $9.50 per portion. We found that the portions were pretty generous, however; definitely enough for my husband to take leftovers for lunch the next day.

About Kelly Barten (1104 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

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